Review: ‘The Sonata’ has a script and score to die for.

Synopsis: After being informed of the sudden death of her long lost composer father (Rutger Hauer), a young virtuoso violinist Rose (Freya Tingley) inherits an old mansion in which he used to live. There, she discovers her father’s final work: a mysterious music score marked with strange symbols. With the help of Charles (Simon Abkarian), her agent and manager, she deciphers the symbols and, little by little, starts to unlock secrets concerning her father’s past, setting in motion the mechanisms of a somber plan imagined since the very day she was born. They soon discover that there’s more to the sonata in question than meets the eye which, when played, triggers and unleashes dark and terrifying forces

When first-person horror video game POV camera work ramped up the discomfort and intrigue even before the titles appear, I was fully immersed in The Sonata. What an interesting choice for a film that only utilizes this mechanism once. I had no idea what I was in for next. What I got, what unexpected and wonderful. Music is a character in this film. The score is as powerful an entity as any actor. Bravo to composer Alexis Maingaud. The Sonata has stunning cinematography. The shots are incredibly thoughtful. The lighting is haunting, perhaps even reminiscent of a Guillermo Del Toro film. The sets are simply breathtaking. The script is complex and thoroughly engrossing with Davinci Code-like intricacies. You appreciate that doom seems inevitable but you are genuinely glued to the screen. Performances, across the board, are magnificent, including the late, great Rutger Hauer. The Sonata is a masterpiece of genre filmmaking.

The Sonataprominently features Rutger Hauer in one of his last on-screen roles. Co-written and directed by Andrew Desmond, the film also stars Freya Tingley (Hemlock Grove, The Spinning Man) and Simon Abkarian (Casino Royale), and was co-written by Arthur Morin. The film marks Desmond’s feature directorial debut. Screen Media will release the film in theaters and on demand January 10th.

Review: ‘Corporate Animals’ is an awesome ensemble comedy.

Lucy (Demi Moore) is the delusional CEO of a struggling startup aimed at millennials. In her infinite wisdom, Lucy leads her staff, including her long-suffering assistants Jess (Jessica Williams) and Freddie (Karan Soni), on a team building retreat in the caves of New Mexico led by an overeager guide (Ed Helms). When disaster strikes and the food runs out, mandatory office bonding becomes a lot more… appetizing.

Demi Moore plays a caricature of a “crunchy” CEO who takes her employees on a team-building excursion that goes awry. Trapped in a cave, already eccentric personalities are pushed to their limits. This script uses the “ripped from the headlines” and pop culture tactic to drive its tongue-in-cheek dialogue. It has a very Office feel to its co-worker chemistry dynamic. Demi Moore is authentically hilarious as an entitled phony nightmare. Ed Helms is never not funny. Jessica Williams and Karan Soni make an incredible team, SNL needs to take them both on immediately.  Each and every cast member has funny moment after funny moment. These are fully fleshed out characters which is a compliment to both the cast and the writer, Sam Bain.

Filmed almost entirely in the cave set, you can feel the claustrophobia of the cast. This is a “Lord of the Flies” daydream for anyone who hates their boss. The funniest moments revolve around hallucinations of all kinds. Corporate Animals doesn’t break any new ground but who cares. It’s still an undeniably fun time and a great comedic platform for both veteran and newcomer cast.

Screen Media will release the film in theaters and on demand September 20th.

Review: ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ is Terry Gilliam’s fantastic passion project.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote 

Toby (Driver), a cynical advertising director, finds himself trapped in the outrageous delusions of an old Spanish shoe-maker (Pryce) who believes himself to be Don Quixote. In the course of their comic and increasingly surreal adventures, Toby is forced to confront the tragic repercussions of a film he made in his idealistic youth – a film that changed the hopes and dreams of a small Spanish village forever. Can Toby make amends and regain his humanity? Can Don Quixote survive his madness and imminent death? Or will love conquer all?

Decades in the making, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally coming to the big screen. It was worth the wait. Adam Driver plays a young director taking on his own passion project under the financial thumb of studio execs, locals, and his own ego. No doubt is the film about as metaphorical as you can get for the wild ups and downs the legendary Terry Gilliam has endured in bringing this film to fruition. Poking fun at itself and the industry at every turn, it must have been truly cathartic for Gilliam to shoot. The visuals and writing are all so satisfying you’ll want to applaud at the twists and turns along the way. Though admittedly, you’ll most likely be just as confused as both Driver and “Don Quixote” himself, Jonathan Pryce. One of the film’s best moments perfectly sums up the controlled chaos that is this epic story. “Try to keep up with the plot.’ To which Adam Driver‘s Toby replies, “There’s a plot?!”

Having watched, there is no way these roles would have been better served by other actors. Pryce walks the perfect line between madness and sadness. His commitment from beat to beat is the glue that keeps the story moving along its absurdist pace. But it is Driver who had me belly laughing every time a “FUCK” was spewed with genuine intention. I’ll have to go back and watch again if only to count the number of “F” words, each precisely placed and completely warranted. It’s sheer perfection. There is no doubt that Toby is Terry… and Don Quixote. The love that is so obviously infused within the film will be evident to anyone familiar with Gilliam and his fantastic passion project. It’s a combination of hilarity and insanity. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and filmmakers like Terry Gilliam are the reasons we go to the movies.

Screen Media will then give the film a theatrical run starting April 19th.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Molla.