Review: ‘Echo Boomers’ pushes all the boundaries.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Knives Out) stars in this gripping crime-thriller filled with pulse-pounding twists and turns. A recent college graduate Lance Zutterland (Patrick Schwarzenegger) leaves school in debt, realizing everything he had worked towards was built on a lie. When he is pulled into a criminal underground operation, he finds his peers fighting the system by stealing from the rich and giving to… themselves. With nothing to lose, they leave behind a trail of destruction but with the cops closing in, tensions mount and Lance soon discovers he is in over his head with no way out.

With superb writing and slick editing, Echo Boomers is intoxicating. With Patrick Schwarzenegger’s voice-over narration the flow feels like a novel, and I do mean that as a compliment. This could easily be further developed into a long-running series. There is a lot to unpack in all the right ways. There’s a psychological subtext to each character that is carefully crafted. The cinematography is sharp, combined with the immersive score, you cannot help but love this crew.

Michael Shannon does what Michael Shannon does best. He lives and breathes every role. He is somehow terrifying and more approachable all at once. Patrick Schwarzenegger is amazing. He grabbed my attention in last year’s Daniel Isn’t Real. I recommend casting him in everything he has time for. He has the innate ability to connect with his castmates on a truly grounded level. He is comfortable in his own skin. You feel like you know him. He is undeniably magnetic. The nuanced dynamics in the screenplay let everyone have impactful moments. You can easily argue this is a true ensemble piece.

I cannot stress enough how fantastic the writing and directing is. This could have gone off the rails in a heartbeat or come off as an Ocean’s franchise ripoff but it holds its own and then some. It’s wildly entertaining. There’s something about Echo Boomers that makes it unique from any other film in 2020. It’s brimming with complexity, action, drama, suspense, and some unbelievable performances. The stakes keep getting higher and higher and even though you know it’s morally reprehensible, you’re all in. You can watch Echo Boomers now in Theaters, On Demand, and Digital from Saban Films.

ECHO BOOMERS stars Patrick Schwarzenegger (Daniel Isn’t Real, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Gilles Geary (“The I-Land”), Hayley Law (“Riverdale,” “Altered Carbon”), Jacob Alexander (I Don’t Know How She Does It), Oliver Cooper (Project X), Kate Linder (“The Young and the Restless”), Lesley Ann Warren (“In Plain Sight,” Victor Victoria), Alex Pettyfer (The Last Witness, I Am Number Four), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, 99 Homes).  The film is directed by Seth Savoy (“Blood Brothers”) from a script by Kevin Bernhardt (Shiner, Peaceful Warrior), Jason Miller (“The Whisperers”) and Savoy.

Review: ‘The Shadow of Violence’ in Theaters Only July 31st!

SYNOPSIS: In the dark underbelly of rural Ireland, ex-boxer Douglas “Arm” Armstrong (Cosmo Jarvis, Hunter Killer) has become a feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family. When his ruthless employers order him to kill for the first time, his loyalties are tested in this powerful thriller costarring Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) and Ned Dennehy (“Peaky Blinders”).

ONLY IN THEATERS: July 31, 2020

Under the structure of a crime thriller, this film is truly a redemption story. After seeing Cosmo Jarvis in the leading role, I can no longer imagine any other actor owning this role with such a tender precision. His physical presence has an ominous feel but at the core, he’s a gentle giant with emotional, and perhaps physical, PTSD. While The Devers family uses Douglas’ strength and stature to intimidate, their psychological abuse of him is pervasive and perhaps more effective than any threat of physical harm.

Now for the story’s most gripping aspect; a father/son connection, or lack thereof. Douglas’ son Jack is on the spectrum. As a mother of a young boy also on the spectrum, this story grabbed me immediately. The juxtaposition of him and Jack cannot be ignored. The script highlights trauma and the feeling of inferiority. It is grounded writing and extraordinarily acted. The Shadow of Violence is a perfect title. The tense action scenes keep the heart pumping. Seriously, nothing short of gripping sequences. The success of the film ultimately lies in family dynamics and letting go of guilt. You will undoubtedly be touched by this story. We all want better for our children than we had for ourselves.

TITLE: THE SHADOW OF VIOLENCE

ONLY IN THEATERS: July 31, 2020

DIRECTOR: Nick Rowland

WRITER: Joe Murtagh

CAST: Cosmo Jarvis, Barry Keoghan, Niamh Algar, Ned Dennehy

SYNOPSIS: In the dark underbelly of rural Ireland, ex-boxer Douglas “Arm” Armstrong (Cosmo Jarvis, Hunter Killer) has become a feared enforcer for the drug-dealing Devers family. When his ruthless employers order him to kill for the first time, his loyalties are tested in this powerful thriller costarring Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) and Ned Dennehy (“Peaky Blinders”).

RUN TIME: 101 minutes

RATING: R

GENRE: Thriller

DISTRIBUTOR: Saban Films

Review: ‘The Night Clerk’ keeps you guessing until the very final moment.

SYNOPSISWhile on duty, a young, socially challenged hotel clerk (Tye Sheridan) witnesses a murder in one of the rooms but his suspicious actions land him as the lead detective’s (John Leguizamo) number one suspect.

Tye Sheridan is immensely talented, this is a solidly indisputable fact. In The Night Clerk, he takes on the role of Bart, a young man with Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. In order to be socially accepted, he studies the behavior of other people; the inflection of their voice and their body language. His honesty in one on one conversations with others is nothing short of jarring. His attention to detail is astounding, his split-second observations revealing. Truth be told, he is spying on the guests of the hotel where he works.

John Leguizamo plays detective Espada. He nails this role. He’s a hardass but very sly in the way he handles his job. He’s really great in this role. Helen Hunt plays his mother. Her Mama Bear persona is viscerally familiar to me, personally. She is gentle with Bart and commanding with Detective Espada. The yearning to protect, teach, and soothe is palpable. The moments of acquiescence really hit home. It’s all done with love.

Ana De Armas plays a mysterious hotel guest Andrea. Her kindness and grace pair well with Sheridan. Their chemistry is genuine. The scenes between the two actors are the perfect balance of sensual and heartwarming. But there’s a duality to this role that keeps you on your toes.

Tye Sheridan‘s specificity hits close to home as a mother of a child on the spectrum. The eye-contact avoidance, repetitive verbiage, comfort in routine, the incredibly high intelligence are all things I have experienced first hand. The care with which he handles this role is refreshing. Major applause from a community who tends to see over-the-top characterizations of loved ones.

The script challenges your concept of right and wrong. It grabs you from the first scene and never lets up in its intrigue. It is a love story and mystery all in one. The performances are simply stellar. The Night Clerk is a smart film. Writer-director Michael Cristofer weaves a tale that is nuanced and thrilling. Everyone involved should be extremely proud.

Saban Films will release the thriller film THE NIGHT CLERK in select theaters, on demand and digital on February 21, 2020.

Review: ‘TONE-DEAF’ kills it in these brutal times.

 

After losing her job and imploding her latest dysfunctional relationship, Olive (Amanda Crew) flees the city for the weekend, escaping to the countryside for some peace and self-reflection.  She rents an ornate country house from an eccentric widower named Harvey (Robert Patrick).  Soon two generations collide with terrifying results as Olive awakens Harvey’s homicidal tendencies and is plunged into a blood-soaked fight for her life.  More than your average slasher film, TONE-DEAF provides a dark critique of the bizarre cultural and political climate that currently exists.

This spectacularly weird and wonderful film has some of the most biting humor and solid scares. Tone-Deaf is left vs. right, generational romp through madness. The music is in your face and perfect. The script is frankly, shocking. I did not see many of the twists coming and damn, is that refreshing. The hyper Millenial stereotypes show up as modern art fever dreams for our terrifying antagonist, Harvey. Elaborate sets and repeat framing create the illusion that you will be able to predict certain tropes, but you’re dead wrong.

Amanda Crew as Olive is absolutely hilarious in her sense of entitlement and charm. She delivers this dialogue like one who has had to sit through brunch surrounded by girls whose Instagram is life. She is fabulous. Robert Patrick, who always brings to mind a bit of evil from his iconic T2 role, is balls to the wall amazing as the Baby Boomer off his proverbial rocker. As much blood as we see in this film, honest to God, the most startling thing is when Patrick’s character breaks the fourth wall. I was unsure at first if I was seeing what I was seeing, but the monologue lasts long enough for you to realize your perception as a viewer has been skewered. I was genuinely uncomfortable and dammit, I’m a Gen Xer. Writer/Director Richard Bates, Jr. has not only nailed the eccentricities of these two generations but lights a fire under the ass of the audience with quippy dialogue and carefully placed gore (yes, that’s a thing).  Tone-Deaf is undeniably fun and fresh.

Saban Films will release TONE-DEAF in theaters and On Demand on August 23, 2019.

TONE-DEAF is written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr. (Trash Fire, Suburban Gothic), and stars Robert Patrick (“Scorpion,” Terminator 2: Judgment Day), Amanda Crew (“Silicon Valley,” The Age of Adaline), Kim Delaney (“Chicago Fire,” “NYPD Blue”), AnnaLynne McCord (Fired Up!, “90210”), Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Game of Thrones,” Whale Rider), Hayley Marie Norman (I Am the Night, “Lonely and Horny”), and Ray Wise (“Fresh Off the Boat,” “Twin Peaks”).

Review: ‘Occupation’ has a full sci-fi miniseries feel in 2hrs

A ragtag group of folks from a small town band together when the unexpected is thrust upon them. Think The Walking Dead (RV and all), but with aliens.. and sped up in time. The intersection of different personalities makes for an intriguing story of survival. There is a beautiful first visual, and perhaps an homage to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as we are introduced to the threat. But that does not last long. In a matter of seconds, mass explosions and hysteria as a heavily armed alien army approaches the local rugby game and obliterates the scene. It’s pretty exhilarating immediately. You are invested in these folks. The alien armor is designed in a RoboCop meets Cybermen (Doctor Who) fashion. While I wasn’t a huge fan of their appearance underneath, I’ll forgive it for all the other positive aspects. Our group takes aim at not only survival but fighting back, and making a new life for others. The film pushes forward in time quickly covering a ton of story ground. The performances are great. The FX are pretty stunning. This could have easily been an entire series. Occupation is truly action-packed and phenomenally engrossing. It goes far beyond the normal invasion movie. At its core, Occupation is about humanity.

Saban Films will release the upcoming sci-fi film OCCUPATION in theaters and on VOD and Digital HD on July 20, 2018.
The film was written and directed by Luke Sparke (Red Billabong)and starsDan Ewing (“Home and Away,” “Power Rangers R.P.M.”), Temuera Morrison (AquamanGreen Lantern), Stephany Jacobsen (Alex Cross, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”), Rhiannon Fish (“The 100,” “Home and Away”), Zachary Garred (“General Hospital,” Marriage of Lies), Izzy Stevens (“Puberty Blues,” “Underbelly”), Charles Terrier (“Interface,” King of Ashes), Charles Mesure (“Once Upon a Time,” “The Magicians”), Trystan Go (“Small Town Hackers,” “The Family Law”), Felix Williamson (Peter RabbitThe Great Gatsby), Jacqueline McKenzie (The Water Diviner, “The 4400”), Aaron Jeffery (Turbo KidX-Men Origins: Wolverine), and Bruce Spence (WinchesterPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales).

Review: ‘SIBERIA’ left us out in the cold.

Keanu Reeves

in

SIBERIA

When a business deal in Russia goes south, a U.S. diamond merchant (Keanu Reeves) and his lover (Ana Ularu) are caught in a lethal crossfire between the buyer and federal intelligence service.

Sometimes I forget how talented Keanu Reeves truly is. He can take a pretty lifeless role and make it into something we weren’t expecting. That being said, these talents are really wasted in Siberia. It’s a poor man’s John Wick. The pace is often excruciating. When it is on, it’s vastly entertaining. The potential lies within the higher stakes, action-oriented scenes, but since they are few and what feels like far between it’s tough to stay on the train. 50 minutes into the 1:44 minute run it finally feels like,”Ok now we’re getting somewhere!” Alas, it will be 15 more minutes until something relatively interesting occurs. The script really takes it damn time getting to the point.

The performances are strong. Ana Ularu is vastly underutilized opposite Reeves. There is so much going on behind that tough girl veneer, a sadness that you want to fix. She has a brilliant presence but has been diminished to sex doll with a heart of gold. Someone write her a juicy role, please.  Molly Ringwald appears for what is tantamount to a cameo, speaking of underutilized. Her performance in this year’s Tribeca selection,  All These Small Moments is proof we need her back in our lives on a more permanent basis. Reeves, as Lucas Hill, diamond dealer trapped in a lackluster marriage and put in a shady work position, is the only saving grace. The problem being, you can feel the pained longing to kick some real ass. Ultimately, Siberia ends up being a midlife crisis cry for help, more than anything else. It left me cold and a bit empty.

Saban Films will release the romantic crime thriller SIBERIA in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD on July 13, 2018

SIBERA stars Keanu Reeves (The Matrix, Speed, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure), Molly Ringwald (“Riverdale,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” Sixteen Candles), and Ana Ularu (Outbound, Inferno). The film is directed by Matthew Ross (Frank & Lola) from a script by Oscar nominated novelist/screenwriter Scott B Smith (The Ruins, A Simple Plan) and producer/screenwriter Stephen Hamel (Passengers, Henry’s Crime).

Review: ‘THE ASSIGNMENT’ flips the script on your average action flick.

THE ASSIGNMENTDirector Walter Hill gives the revenge film a modern neo-noir twist with this electrifying thriller. Hitman Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) is given a lethal assignment, but after being double-crossed, discovers he’s no longer the man he was.  Having been surgically altered, Frank now has the body of a woman. Seeking vengeance, he heads for a showdown with his assailant (Sigourney Weaver), a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.

The film is structured in a Sin City meets iZombie format with graphic novel transitions and narration. The premise is interesting and certainly engages your attention without pause. The Assignment has caused some stir in the transgender community, as our hero/villain’s view of his/her transition is on the rather negative side. That being said, if you woke up the opposite gender, you might be a tad peeved as well. The action is tempered with monologues from Sigourney Weaver‘s character. My only complaint there? I wish there had been more visual to back those stories up as some run at quite a length.Michelle Rodriguez does a great job with both genders, keeping the masculine edge once she wakes up a woman. Without prior knowledge of the plot, you may think that a very thin Oscar Isaac had tackled the first half of the role. It’s pretty uncanny. Her past work in action films is on full view with her natural handling of weapons and aggressive presence. `It’s a pretty fearless performance. Weaver as Dr. Kay has an eccentric air to her speech patterns and carriage, even when she’s in a straight jacket. Tony Shaloub as Dr.Galen is a perfect foil for Weaver and the appearance by Anthony LaPaglia is casting heaven. On the whole. The Assignment is different in a good way. Engrossing and lively, you can’t go wrong. Check out the trailer below.

In Select Theaters and On Demand April 7th

 

Directed by: Walter Hill
Screenplay by: Walter Hill, Denis Hamill
Story by: Denis Hamill, Walter Hill
Producers: Said Ben Said, Michel Merkt
Cast: Michelle Rodriguez, Tony Shalhoub, Anthony LaPaglia, Caitlin Gerard, Sigourney Weaver
Distributor Saban Films, Lionsgate
Release Date: Ultra VOD on March 3rd, in select theaters April 7th
Running Time 95 minutes

Rating

Synopsis:

R

Director Walter Hill gives the revenge film a modern neo-noir twist with this electrifying thriller. Hitman Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) is given a lethal assignment, but after being double-crossed, discovers he’s no longer the man he was.  Having been surgically altered, Frank now has the body of a woman. Seeking vengeance, he heads for a showdown with his assailant (Sigourney Weaver), a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.