Review: All hell breaks loose in Shudder Original, ‘The Cleansing Hour’

presents

I’m not even going to lie, if The Cleansing Hour actually existed I would watch it. Shudder is a genius platform for this film, especially now. Religion is always a solid platform to skewer but add in a social media angle and you’ve got yourself one entirely engrossing genre flick. The exploitation gets flipped by a demon in a terrifying (sometimes comical) way. It’s divine justice for a con man. But there is much more to it than first meets the eye. The writing is sharp and twisted.

The performances are outstanding. Truly scary shit. Kyle Gallner as Drew is the good guy, the brains behind the operation. His dedication to Max and Lane may be his ultimate downfall. Gallner is deep in this role, which is no surprise. I am a huge fan of his eclectic body of work. This is no exception. Ryan Guzman as Max is the perfect self-obsessed asshole. Guzman plays the victim very well but walks a phenomenal line between the need for attention and contrition. But it is the performance from Alix Angelis that is fully immersed in terror and sheer brilliance. The entirety of the film’s success is driven by her insane work, and I do mean work. She must have been exhausted after every take.

The practical fx missed with the sound editing made me almost vomit. It took me way too long to catch my breath. The look of the film is spot on. The camera work is cool as hell. But it is the storyline that will suck you in. The entire plot is centered around confession. This demon is looking for something very specific and until then, it will torture and kill until it is satisfied. I could not tear my eyes away from the screen even when I wanted to. Writer/director Damien LeVeck and co-writer Aaron Horwitz know exactly what they’re doing. The social commentary is unmistakable. The Cleansing Hour is full tilt, batshit crazy. The ending… you’ll never see it coming. Stay. Through. The. Credits.

Directed by: Damien LeVeck | Written by: Damien LeVeck and Aaron Horwitz

Starring: Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner, Alix Angelis

Review: Take the ride of your life with ‘SPREE’

SYNOPSIS: Meet Kurt (Joe Keery), a 23-year-old rideshare driver for Spree, who is so desperate for social media attention that he’ll stop at nothing to go viral. He comes up with a plan to livestream a rampage as a shortcut to infamy – coining his evil scheme “#thelesson”, he installs a set of cameras in his car and begins streaming his rides. Wildly miscalculating the popularity that would come from his lethal scheme, Kurt’s desperation grows as he tries to find a way to overcome the plan’s flaws. In the middle of all this madness, a stand-up comedian (Sasheer Zamata) with her own viral agenda crosses Kurt’s path and becomes the only hope to put a stop to his misguided carnage.

Our favorite Stranger Things ex-boyfriend, Joe Kerry, is taking social media to the extreme. Eugene Kotlyarenko’s new film is what would happen if CAM had a baby with American Psycho. Spree is a found footage post Livestream extravaganza of crazy. It hilariously holds an unfiltered phone screen up to our faces and chokes us with our own carefully curated reality. Approximately 26 minutes in my mouth literally dropped open. It would not be the last time. Spree has incredibly fun kills. The editing is head-spinning. Extra points for the double entendre title.

Joe Keery is amazing. He is in almost every shot of this film. This would not be as successful without him. Cast him in everything from here on out. The nonchalance he has with this level of violence ups the anty. Stockholm syndrome because Keery’s portrayal of Kurt is something I fully endorse. Sasheer Zamata is the audience, the antagonist, and the protagonist. This is only something that will make sense when the credits roll. She is fierce from every angle. The script is so well developed it will blow you away with its sardonic wit. The setup is pure genius. The cast is superb. It’s a nonstop adrenaline ride of gore and laughs. Spree will kick you in the teeth with its irony. And now, the only way to end this… #thelesson #KurtsWorld96 #Spree #FiveStarRating

RED BAND YOUTUBE TRAILER:

SPREE is available in select theaters, drive-ins, on-demand and digital August 14th.

IN THEATERS: August 14, 2020

AVAILABLE ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL: August 14, 2020

DIRECTOR: Eugene Kotlyarenko

WRITER: Gene McHugh, Eugene Kotlyarenko

CAST: Joe Keery, Sasheer Zamata, Mischa Barton, John DeLuca, Josh Ovalle, Lala Kent, Frankie Grande with Kyle Mooney and David Arquette

RUN TIME: 92 min

RATING: NR

GENRE: Thriller

DISTRIBUTOR: RLJE Films

Fantasia International Film Festival review: ‘CAM’ flips subject and voyeur.

Cam is unique for so many reasons. First, it’s a genre-bending menagerie. You think you know what you’re in for with a sex worker vying to be in the top ten of her live sex show site. But the script is flipped several times and in completely unexpected ways each time. It’s difficult to categorize Cam and I do mean this as a compliment. It seesaws from horror to thriller and swings into surreal territory all while keeping the audience in the dark until the very end. Rarely do we see sex workers treated as human beings, but in Cam, there is a sense of empowerment attached to the storyline. Lead actress, Madeline Brewer, has the massive task of being more than two distinct characters and to explain further would ruin the plot. Brewer knocks it out of the park here. Her talent is undeniable. I will say that the commentary on social media and immediate gratification it can produce is front and center. The final scene renders the plot unapologetic. Cam is an all-around good trip.

Fantasia International Film Fest 2018 ends tonight. But we’ll keep you updated on release dates for all the films that screened this year.

Review: ‘The Ottoman Lieutenant’ is more than “just a romance”.

Paladin

Presents

THE OTTOMAN LIEUTENANT

THE OTTOMAN LIEUTENANT is the first movie to explore the eastern front of World War I, and tells the story of a beautiful, strong-willed woman (Hera Hilmar, ANNA KARENINA, DAVINCI’S DEMONS), who, frustrated by ongoing injustice at home, leaves the United States after meeting Jude, an American doctor (Josh Hartnett, PENNY DREADFUL, BLACK HAWK DOWN, PEARL HARBOR ) who runs a remote medical mission within the Ottoman Empire — a world both exotic and dangerous, and on the brink of what is about to become the first World War.  There, she finds her loyalty to Jude and the mission’s founder, (Ben Kingsley, GANDHI, SCHINDLER’S LIST) tested when she falls in love with a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army (Michiel Huisman, WILD, THE AGE OF ADALINE, HARLEY AND THE DAVIDSONS, GAME OF THRONES).  Now, with invading army forces at their doorstep, and the world about to plunge into all-out war, she must decide if she wants to be what other people want her to be, or to be herself.

This sweeping romance is everything you want it to be. A grand score by Geoff Zanelli sets the tone for this gorgeously constructed period piece with a powerhouse cast. Director Joseph Ruben brings to life the story of a young woman, although born into wealth, has the desire to be of service as a nurse wherever she is needed. Inspired by a visiting doctor, she makes arrangements to use her inheritance to fund medical supplies and travel to a remote hospital in the Ottoman Empire. Along the way she tags a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army to be her escort to her inspiring doctor. Sparks fly as tradition and duty come into call and cooler heads must prevail in love and war, but who will win? Hera Hilmar plays our leading lady with the tenacity and innocence to make you both admire and route for her. Michiel Huisman as our Lieutenant is valiant, passionate, and maintains a ceaseless faith in doing what’s right. Josh Hartnett plays Jude as elegantly strong and equally stubborn. The unsurpassed master, Sir Ben Kingsley as hospital founder Woodruff, is strong-headed but for good reason. He becomes the guidance so desperately needed in Lillie’s adventure. The chemistry between the cast is deliciously palpable. I cannot imagine any of these roles filled by other actors. The costumes and the attention to detail are impeccable. The Ottoman Lieutenant is historically interesting and beautifully written, but don’t write it off as “just a romance.” The film tackles such issues as the outbreak of the Armenian genocide, gender politics, and transcending cultural and religious norms in the name of love. You can catch the film nationwide today, March 10th.


Starring:

Michiel Huisman (Wild, Age of Adaline, Game of Thrones”)

Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina, Davinci’s Demons)

Josh Hartnett (“Penny Dreadful“)

& Academy Award-Winner Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Schindlers List)

Directed by: Joseph Ruben

Written by:  Jeff Stockwell

RT: 100 minutes

http://theottomanlieutenant.com/

Social Media:

Facebook: @theottomanlieutenant

Twitter: @theottomanlieut

Instagram: @theottomanlieutenant

Review: ‘THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD’ takes on The Right and how wrong they really are.

Gravitas Ventures Logo

in association with

JSenko Productions
and Cinco Dedos Peliculas

present

The Brainwashing of My Dad_PosterEveryday, I have the urge to block friends on Facebook. The vitriolic political rhetoric being thrown around in both “article” and meme form is more over the top than it has ever been. Thank the internet gods for Snopes. Now that we’re heavy into this circus of a presidential campaign, a new film could not be more timely. Director Jen Senko brings us her personal story in her doc THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD.

Right-wing cable news and “conservative” talk radio attract older Americans like graying moths to an angry flame. But why would someone who was either apolitical or a Democrat in younger days become addicted to conservative talk shows in their twilight years? Filmmaker Jen Senko wondered how her WWII veteran and Kennedy Democrat father had been transformed into a Fox News fanatic, suddenly and inexplicably railing against minorities, homosexuals, poor people, and Democrats. Using her dad as an entertaining example, Senko pulls back the curtain to expose the tools and tricks of the wizards behind the right-wing media revolution. And in discovering what happened to him, Senko reveals the all-too-chilling bigger picture of what’s happening behind-the-scenes to influence our national discourse.

The Republican Noise Machine. Illustration by Bill Plympton.

The Republican Noise Machine.
Illustration by Bill Plympton.

Delving into this phenomenon in interviews with industry insiders, Senko illustrates how Right-wing media is used to manipulate conservatives. (Speaking of illustrations, the film features fantastic original art from the great Bill Plympton.) In memos and interviews, Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch openly admit how they use FOX News to turn people into sheeple for pure profit, and how the term “Liberal Media” was another product of the machine. “War on Christmas”? Yeah, that’s another doozy pumped out to infuriate for entertainment purposes.

Check out this clip from the film:

Clip #7: Language is Not Neutral from Cinco Dedos Peliculas on Vimeo.

Frank Luntz discusses his language techniques.

Frank Luntz discusses his language techniques.

But, it’s not just Senko’s father we’re privy to. Hundreds of people reached out to her to tell their story of how they “lost” family members to conservative radio. The film has a wonderful mix of informative visuals. The chronological breakdown of the industry is user guide friendly, with examples of each step in it’s creation. It is certainly beyond successful in it’s history lesson, though I fear it may be preaching to the choir. Democrats will adore this film, there is no doubt about it. Trying to get a viewing audience on the far right may prove just a difficult as trying to talk foreign policy with Donald Trump. (Too soon?)

The right-wing media boat pushing National Thought. Illustration by Bill Plympton.

The right-wing media boat pushing National Thought.
Illustration by Bill Plympton.

You can check out THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD today in theaters and on VOD and I highly recommend you do. A little knowledge is a powerful thing.

Directed by: JEN SENKO

Narrated by: JEN SENKO and MATTHEW MODINE 

Produced by: MATTHEW MODINE ADAM RACKOFF 

Featuring animation by Academy Award nominee BILL PLYMPTON 

 

Official Website: www.thebrainwashingofmydad.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebrainwashingofmydadmovie?ref=hl Twitter: @brainwashingdad

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_brainwashing_of_my_dad/

Opening Theatrically in New York (Cinema Village) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall) on Friday, March 18 and on VOD (iTunes, GOOGLE PLAY, VUDU and many more)