Review: ‘M.O.M. (Mothers Of Monsters)’ is ominous warning.

Synopsis:  A distraught mother (Hamilton) suspects her teenage son (Edwards) is plotting a school shooting, but when he slips through the cracks of the system, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. After installing an elaborate spy camera system in their home, Abbey captures a series of disturbing videos that confirm her worst fears. Torn between a mother’s unconditional love and a mother’s acute intuition, Abbey caters her videos to all the other “mothers of monsters” online. Abbey’s plan backfires when Jacob uses a dark family secret against her, launching both mother and son on a terrifying, and ultimately deadly, game of cat and mouse.

When I was a senior in high school, I watched Columbine unfold live. The next week, I was locked down in s drill in the cafeteria. The trauma of those experiences stays with me to this day. Now that I have children of my own, I have to be informed via email that my 2 and 4-year-olds do active shooter drills in their preschool. M. O. M. (Mothers Of Monsters) is one of the most disturbing films I’ve watched as a parent, this far. 

Melinda Page Hamilton and Bailey Edwards give startling performances. The entire film hinges on their chemistry. This casting is brilliant. M.O.M. solely utilizes the look of web, cell, and security camera angles, making for sharp and intrusive shots that cleverly mirror the storyline. This plot is upsetting but plausible in the rage-filled world our kids live in. You are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. The use of a single sound effect creates an off-kilter feeling a viewer can’t quite put their finger on beyond the subject matter. When that is revealed, wow. That moment flips the script and causes a chain reaction that you’ve been dreading. The script, based in large part on the testimonies and journals of real school shooters and their parents, is hard to watch but essential viewing. Parents need to watch this film. Genre fans need to watch this film. I hope people will seek it out after this week’s run in Los Angeles.

 

M.O.M. (Mothers of Monsters) will open in Los Angeles for a weeklong run at the Arena Cinelounge on Friday the 13th of March.

 

Review: ‘Most Beautiful Island’ Takes Some Time To Get The Wheels Spinning

Most Beautiful Island

Select City Release: November 3, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND is a psychological thriller set in the world of undocumented female immigrants hoping to make a life in New York City. Shot on Super 16mm with an intimate, voyeuristic sensibility… MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND chronicles one harrowing day in the life of Luciana, a young immigrant woman struggling to make ends meet while striving to escape her past. As Luciana’s day unfolds, she is whisked, physically and emotionally, through a series of troublesome and unforeseeable extremes.

Ana Asensio… who is she? We had no idea either until Most Beautiful Island. Now we can’t get her out of our minds. Director and star of the movie… she did it all in Most Beautiful Island, but in particular, she did excellent in her role as Luciana. Looking forward to seeing her in more projects after this performance. We had an idea of what this thriller may entail, but we were wrong. What a nice spin it came with, when it got down to it, that is. The first half hour of the movie seemed pointless and in fact, our recommendation would be to just fast forward to around the 35 minute mark and start from there. We get that Ana was trying to build up to the action, but it was too much build up. Once it hits that point is when this movie actually gets really good! We didn’t think it would be as intense as it was, but Ana had us on the edge of our seats. It took some time to get the wheels spinning, but once they did, we didn’t want it to end.

Reel ROB Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘Against The Night’… Not As Predictable As We Thought

Against The Night

Theatrical Release: September 15, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Against The Night is a thriller that follows nine friends into an abandoned prison to film a ghost hunting video. Hank (Luke Persiani), is a filmmaker who set up this whole adventure. It is his idea to film the ghost hunting video so he can hit the fast track to becoming a big director. When Hank (Luke Persiani) disappears, everyone is pointing fingers and placing blame on one another. They work together to try to uncover the truth and quickly realize that they may not be alone.

Going into this we thought it was going to be another lame attempt at a Blair Witch Project type movie… well, we were kind right. Against The Night has its hits and misses. More misses than hits, but it really wasn’t far away from being a good movie. Seeing as though we are from just outside of Philadelphia, we found it pretty cool that the prison they were filming in was Holmesburg Prison. Director, Brian Cavallaro certainly did his research on the prison because they implemented a lot of factual knowledge about it into Against The Night. The biggest miss to us, however, was the acting. It just made the movie feel more like a teen comedy. We couldn’t relate to any of the actors. They were all too stiff and goofy. With better acting, Against The Night gets a higher rating from us for sure. We did like how the they made Sean (Tim Torre) and Rachel (Hannah Kleeman) work together even though they were ex lovers. That’s always a nice spin to put on thrillers. Our favorite part about this movie was the fact that the entire time we kept telling ourselves, “this movie is wayyyyyyy too predictable.” Well, guess what? Once the ending came around, it wasn’t very predictable at all and when we can’t predict an ending to a movie it makes us love it that much more! Go into this with an open mind and try look past the acting, we think you just may like it!

Reel ROB Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: Wechsler’s Mind-Boggling Thriller ‘Altered Minds’

AlteredMinds_3D_DVD

Imagine a loving guardian; someone who cares for you as your soul protector. This person has supported you and your dreams for as long as you can remember. Then one day a memory surfaces into an eye-opening nightmare. A memory of a time when you were no longer protected. A time when you became altered. Michael Wechsler’s film Altered Minds shows how fragile the human psyche can be when it’s betrayed. So broken that it may never piece itself back together.

altered-minds-judd-hirsch-nathaniel-shellner-02-300dpi SMALLTommy Shellner (Ryan O’ Nan) is one of four children who return home to celebrate their father’s last birthday before he passes away from lung cancer.  Their father, Dr. Nathaniel Shellner (Judd Hirsch), is a retired psychologist of the CIA, who specialized in working with soldiers suffering from PTSD, and wants to be remembered for his patriotic achievements. With the knowledge that their father is approaching his final days, the children and their mother do what they can to make their night a pleasant one, however that is not Tommy’s main concern. Tommy, his sister Julie (Jaime Ray Newman), and their brother Harry (C.S Lee) were adopted into the family when they were kids while their other brother Leonard (Joseph Lyle Taylor) was their mother (Caroline Lagerfelt) and father’s biological son. For a while now, Tommy has felt that his father has been hiding something from his children, and after multiple sessions of therapy he has now reached the conclusion that his father had experimented on him and his adopted siblings when they were young. Over the course of the night, voices get raised and minds get rattled, while Tommy and his siblings trying to piece together what seems like a repressed memory of torture.

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Despite the overall production of the film being mostly contained within the Shellner’s home, Michael Wechsler did what he could with the intriguing plot and compelling performances by the cast, especially from C.S. Lee. Overall, the film was substantial, it didn’t leave me in awe, however it also did not leave me disappointed. Altered Minds will be available DVD on June 14th.

3 out of 5 Stars

Don’t forget to enter into the Altered Minds DVD giveaway! 

Review: ‘QUEEN OF EARTH’ is stunning portrait of a maddening descent.

Queen of Earth PosterMelissa and I were privileged to be invited to a special screening and Q&A of Alex Ross Perry‘s fourth feature, QUEEN OF EARTH, a deeply unnerving psychological drama. The film traces the relationship between Catherine (Elisabeth Moss, MAD MEN) and Virginia (Katherine Waterston, INHERENT VICE), best friends who retreat to a lake house after Catherine’s father dies and her boyfriend leaves her. Desperately seeking rest and recovery, when Catherine arrives at the cabin, she’s overwhelmed with memories of time spent at that same house with her boyfriend the year before and finds herself unable to decompress. As Virginia begins spending increasing amounts of time with a local love interest, Rich (Patrick Fugit), what was once closeness between the two women pivots toward hostility and resentment, sending Catherine into a downward spiral of delusion and madness. Read More →