Review: ‘Summerland’ is an escape, but not from reality.

Surviving graduation is just the first challenge for Bray (Chris Ball), Oliver (Rory J. Saper), and Stacey (Maddie Phillips), three friends determined to make it to the SUMMERLAND music festival, no matter what it takes. Embarking on a road-trip in high-spirits, there’s more than just music waiting for them at the end of the rainbow. Bray has plans to meet Shawn, a boy he met on an online Christian dating site he’s convinced is questioning his sexuality. The problem? He’s been pretending to be Stacey, Oliver’s girlfriend, to get close to him.

Now that I’ve has some time to sit on this film, I realize that the entire premise is based on deceit. While centered around the premise of actually getting to a music festival, it is really a selfish trip meant to distract, take advantage of, and use Stacey, the only female character in the film. She is manipulated by her boyfriend so that he can have one last hoorah before being kicked out of the country on an expired visa. He delays their arrival to take in the sites and generally be kind of a douche. While that sounds pretty awful, it’s a great setup for dialogue and genuinely hilarious shenanigans that ensue. Directed by Lanykboy, a filmmaking duo comprised of Noah Kentis and Kurtis David Harder and co-wrote the script for SUMMERLAND alongside Chris Ball and Dylan Griffiths. But, that not the only plotline in this film. You’ve got yourself a Catfish story. Bray’s story is engrossing. While technically a lie, it highlights self-esteem and self-loathing. It’s coming-of-age realness that adds drama and intrigue. The dynamic between Ball, Saper, and Phillips is fantastic. Ball ends up being sympathetic but Saper ultimately does not. I guess that means Saper has done his job as an actor. He’s kind of punchable. Maddie Phillips is a gorgeous go-between. She is genuine and lovely. The ancillary characters in Summerland are hilarious and fun as hell. The film is an easy watch and authentically good time. Take it from Harder is also a celebrated producer on a number of breakout hit horror movies including Brandon Christensen’s Z, Rob Grant’s HARPOON, Colin Minihan’s WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE, and Michael Peterson’s KNUCKLEBALL. These films are incredible. Kentis and Harder clearly know how to reach their audience with what appears to be frivolity on the surface but in truth hits much deeper. Summerland is now available on VOD.

 

Review: ‘VIRGINIA MINNESOTA’ is a quirky and heartfelt road movie.

 Daniel Stine’s feature film debut, Virginia Minnesota, received its world premiere on March 2nd at the Cinequest Film Festival and stars a primarily female cast led by Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix.

Two young women, torn apart by a childhood tragedy, unexpectedly reunite and embark on an illuminating 24-hour journey, where they unlock memories of long forgotten innocence and what it means to truly believe.

This unexpected indie takes your heart by surprise within minutes. It’s part folklore, part road movie, and all charm. When four girls are called together to hear the reading of the will of their former headmistress, sparks fly and memories burn with truth and misunderstanding. I was not expecting this story to turn into a road movie at all, although with a character that is a suitcase with a personality (you’ll just have to watch to understand what I mean) I guess I should have predicted it in hindsight. While a small piece of the plot does revolve around a fiancé, the dialogue definitely passes The Bechdel Test with flying colors. Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix have a chemistry that is fun and comfortable.They challenge one another at every turn making Virginia Minnesota just as delightful as it is insightful. Guilt, repressed feelings and some seriously quirky encounters create a truly lovely and endlessly engrossing film.

VIRGINIA MINNESOTA – Trailer from Daniel Stine on Vimeo.

Virginia Minnesota premiered at the 2018 Cinequest Film Festival on March 2nd at 9:30 PM.

Virginia Minnesota was recently awarded the Global Grand Jury award for Best Hollywood Film at the Hollywood Film Festival (HFF), with Aurora Perrineau and Rachel Hendrix receiving special mention as Exceptional Emerging Artists. The film is produced by Rushaway Pictures, with cinematography by Pedro Ciampolini and a score by Gary Dworetsky.

New York Film Festival Review: ‘MICROBE & GASOLINE’ is a charming coming of age road movie.

NYFF 53 bannerMICROBE ET GASOIL-4So many of us did not fit in while we were in school. Maybe we wore clothes that were different, has religious parents, or just had quirky personalities that wouldn’t be appreciated until college. Director Michel Gondry tackles the coming of age genre with his new film MICROBE & GASOLINE. With credits like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, Gondry has no problem tackling the whimsy many of us enjoy while sitting in  a dark theater to escape our everyday lives. Still brimming with that very same sense of lightness, Microbe & Gasoline takes on the subject of two young boys trying to navigate insecurities and innocence… all while alone on the road in a car they build themselves.

Available to rent and buy onTuesday, September 4th with behind-the-scenes extras on We Are Colony

MICROBE ET GASOIL-7Newcomer Ange Dargent, is a true delight on screen. His natural presence is so relatable. He plays young introvert and artist, Daniel. Nicknamed ‘Microbe’ by classmates, even though he continually points out he is not the shortest boy in the class, he is constantly picked on at school. While at home, mother Marie-Thérèse (played effortlessly by the beautiful Audrey Tautou) dotes so heavily it drives him deeper into himself. Enter new kid, Théo, rambunctious, confident and perfect foil for Daniel, he is unafraid of standing up to bullies even if he not the most popular. Young actor, in only his sophomore picture, Théophile Baquet, plays Gasoline with the perfect balance of snark and charm. Buzzing onto the scene with a souped up electric bicycle and smelling of, yep, you guessed it, gasoline, he adopts our Microbe as his new project. The two discover that with a whole lot of ingenuity they can build their own car to escape struggles at home for the summer. But why stop at a car? Why not add a house on top for camouflage and living purposes. MICROBE ET GASOIL-12

Tackling subjects like confidence, sex, loss, and just plain growing up, MICROBE & GASOLINE has enough heart to compete with Gondry’s previous adult incarnations with the same issues. The dialogue is snappy, sweet, and funny. While the plot itself is not necessarily a new idea, I still believe it to be a true success. Below you can find the trailer. While for now we only have it  available in French (sans subtitles), you still get the general idea of how wonderful this film truly us. And, not to worry, there are English subtitles during the film itself.

  • Directed By Michel Gondry
  • 2015
  • France
  • French with English subtitles
  • DCP
  • 103 minutes

The new handmade-SFX comedy from Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind) is set in an autobiographical key. Teenage misfits Microbe (Ange Dargent) and Gasoline (Théophile Baquet), one nicknamed for his size and the other for his love of all things mechanical and fuel-powered, become fast friends. Unloved in school and misunderstood at home—Microbe is overprotected, Gasoline is by turns ignored and abused—they decide to build a house on wheels (complete with a collapsible flower window box) and sputter, push, and coast their way to the camp where Gasoline went as a child, with a stop along the way to visit Microbe’s crush (Diane Besnier). Gondry’s visual imagination is prodigious, and so is his cultivation of spontaneously generated fun and off-angled lyricism, his absolute irreverence, and his emotional frankness. This is one of his freshest and loveliest films. With Audrey Tatou as Microbe’s mom.

Showtimes

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4

12:00 PM

Buy Tickets

MONDAY, OCTOBER 5

9:00 PM

Standby Only