Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Podcast Interview: Jeremy Gardner, Christian Stella, and Brea Grant share all the gory and gorgeous details of ‘Something Else’.

Something Else Podcast

Something Else was one of the most unique selections in this year’s festival. Both a monster movie and a love story, the film’s deliberate structure is a standout all on its own. The writing is fresh and funny and the use of light makes it a joy to watch. There are brilliantly theatrical moments. I believe this film would actually translate incredibly well onstage! When you see it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a complete compliment. I sat down with co-directors Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner (who also stars and wrote the script) and star Brea Grant to chat all things Something Else. How did the script come about? What in the world were they thinking with certain choices? What did Brea think the first time she read the script?  We talk favorite movie monsters, and how the filmmakers of one of my favorite films The Endless, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, got on board. You can read my full review of Something Else here, but give a listen to the awesome time we all had together. Be warned, when I walked into the room, Christian, Jeremy, and Brea had all been in the super cool bathroom of our interview room at The Roxy Hotel taking a photo, and I’m disappointed in myself for not getting in on the selfie action on my way out the door. Also, when you hear us refer/talk to “Ted”, we’re actually talking to We Are Still Here and Mohawk filmmaker Ted Geoghegan who just so happened to be in our presence. No big deal. Anyhow, without further ado, here is our podcast talking all things Tribeca, monsters, and Something Else.

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR(S)

Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella are the filmmakers behind the indie zombie film The Battery and survival comedy Tex Montana Will Survive! Lifelong friends, both directors were born and raised in Florida.

FILM INFO
  • Section:
    Midnight
  • Year:
    2019
  • Length:
    83 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
    World
  • Connect:
CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Jeremy Gardner and Christian Stella
  • Producer:
    David Lawson Jr., Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Arvind Harinath
  • Screenwriter:
    Jeremy Gardner
  • Cinematographer:
    Christian Stella
  • Editor:
    Christian Stella and Jeremy Gardner
  • Executive Producer:
    Venu Kunnappilly
  • Cast:
    Jeremy Gardner. Brea Grant, Henry Zebrowski, Justin Benson, Ashley Song, Nicola Masciotra

Review: ‘Big Fish & Begonia’ is a luscious Chinese fairy tale.

BIG FISH & BEGONIA

From ancient Chinese legends comes a beautiful tale of love and sacrifice. There is a mystical race of beings that control the tide and the changing of the seasons. But one of these beings, a young girl named Chun, wants to experience the human world, not simply observe it. When she turns sixteen, Chun is allowed to transform into a dolphin and explore the human world. However, she soon learns this world is a dangerous place. Chun is nearly killed in a vortex, but saved by a human boy at the cost of his own life. Moved by his kindness and courage, she decides to give the boy life again, but this power comes at a price. Chun will have to face adventure and sacrifice in order to protect the boy’s soul until it is ready to return to the human world.

Big Fish & Begonia is part love story, part fable, and all elegant Chinese animation. This visually luscious film follows in the steps of Studio Ghibli delights in both wonder and overall feel of the storytelling. While you do feel the entire 105 minute run of the film that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The story has enough going on to engage an age-appropriate audience. With a PG-13 rating, some themes will go over the heads of younger viewers. It is the perfect film to enjoy, just sitting back, listening, and watching the vivid colors and curious characters that pop up along the way. It has a bit of a Hans Christain Anderson’s Little Mermaid feel but most definitely has more going on. And without a doubt, it deserves to be viewed on the largest screen possible. Big Fish & Begonia opens today. Check out the trailer below for a taste of the film.

Shout! Studios will release the film in New York and major cities across the country starting April 6th with a national rollout to follow on April 11th.

 

Big Fish & Begonia made its international debut at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival. Already a great box-office success overseas, the film is China’s foremost animated feature film

 

Review: ‘Keep The Change’ is a laugh out loud funny and charming as hell.

Set in New York, the story centers on the struggles of David as he comes to terms with his own high-functioning autism, when he unexpectedly falls for a quirky and outgoing woman whose lust for life both irks and fascinates him. Keep the Change is based on an award-winning short film developed by Rachel Israel and Brandon Polansky that was inspired by Polansky’s experiences at Adaptations, a community for adults on the autism spectrum.

Keep The Change premiered last year at The Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and won awards for best U.S. narrative feature and best new narrative director along with a special mention for the Nora Ephron Prize.

This film is a sidesplitting winner. Outside of the documentary genre, we’re not often let into the world of adults on the autism spectrum. Keep The Change follows the beginnings of a relationship between two very different individuals who are ultimately seeking to be accepted and cherished for who they are. The issues of self-love, sexuality, class, are addressed in endearing and tongue-in-cheek ways. Newcomers and leads Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon have an insane chemistry. The two appear to be polar opposites making their banter all the more entertaining. Any time you pit a glum and cynical individual against an outgoing and seemingly innocent one, interesting things are bound to happen. The dialogue is biting, witty, and oftentimes offensive, keeping the viewer on their toes and thoroughly amused. Writer/director Rachel Israel has given us a true gem. This unique romcom will undoubtedly charm the pants off of you and teach you some much-needed tolerance.

Kino Lorber will open the film in New York on March 16th at the Quad Cinema, in Los Angeles on April 20th at Laemmle Town Center and Laemmle Royal Theatre followed by a national rollout.

Keep The Change stars newcomers Brandon Polansky and Samantha Elisofon. Written and directed by Rachel Israelthe film also stars veteran actress Jessica Walter (“Arrested Development”), Tibor Feldman and non-professional actors with Autism, Nicky Gottlieb and Will Deaver. 

Review: ‘The Vanishing of Sidney Hall’ weighs heavy.

The idea of personal responsibility can be a double-edged sword. It can be our life’s motivating factor or our downfall. In the new film The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, one young man’s past has an effect on the entire world around him.

After publishing a bestselling novel based on the death of one of his high school classmates, the controversial writer Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman) finds himself catapulted to unexpected fame and renown. His relationship with his girlfriend (Elle Fanning) begins to fall apart as the dark consequences of the book intrude on their life together, and he disappears without a trace. Nearly a decade later, an enigmatic detective searches for the missing author, whose books are connected to a string of mysterious arsons.

There was something about this film that really affected me throughout its nonlinear two-hour run. The script tackles issues from resentment to guilt, human connection to the feeling of powerlessness. With the award-winning performances from no less than four cast members, including Logan Lerman, Elle Fanning, Michelle Monohan, and Blake Jenner, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall has a twisted plot that pulls your emotions in various directions throughout. The one overall theme here is undoubtedly sadness. The film has a heaviness that is unshakeable. It’s a strangely perfect companion piece to Netflix‘s 13 Reason’s Why, and without going into too much detail (because I want you to see it) the film’s themes are universally relevant. The film’s score acts as an emotional and nostalgic catalyst to the time jumps. Despite the terrible beard on Logan Lerman throughout a third of the film, he gives the audience a multilayered and tragic performance that makes Sidney Hall what it is. Speaking of tragic, Blake Jenner plays a seemingly typical jock with a hard-on for bullying but it’s his character’s home life that haunts many others in the film. A massive departure from his role in GLEE, I hope Jenner gets some much-deserved attention from this one. Elle Fanning is ever surprising as a bold, unique, and confident girl next door (or across the street to be exact) saddled with both the romantic and strained man Lerner becomes. Michelle Monaghan plays against type as Sidney’s mother. A woman’s whose vitriol and resentment make her loathsome. The cast boasts other heavy hitters like Kyle Chandler and Nathan Lane. There is not a weak link in the entire ensemble.  I can tell you, you won’t be able to guess how this one wraps up. The Vanishing of Sidney Hall is fraught with love but mostly the loss of it. Be prepared prior to viewing.

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL  

Exclusively on Direct TV on January 25th & In Theaters on March 2nd

Director by:  Shawn Christensen (Academy Award Winner – Curfew, Abduction,)

Written by: Shawn Christensen & Jason Dolan

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL stars Logan Lerman (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Indignation), Elle Fanning (Super 8, Maleficent, The Neon Demon)Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective,” Gone Baby Gone, Source Code)Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”, “Bloodline”, and Manchester By The Sea) and Nathan Lane (“Modern Family,” The “People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story”).

Review: ‘DRIFTWOOD’ is anything but hollow.

You might think that a film without a single word of dialogue would be difficult or tedious to watch. You’d be completely wrong in the case of festival favorite, Driftwood. After a young woman washes up on shore, an older man “rescues” her and brings her to his home to recoup. But all is not what it seems from the very beginning. The relationship between the two is unsettling at every turn. Is the woman an amnesiac? Performances from all three cast members are equally intriguing. Each wanting for something completely different. Again… all without dialogue! The viewer’s insinuations make this story a unique emotional journey. Writer/director Paul Taylor has done something so new and strange, easily running the gambit of humorous to patriarchal grotesque, Driftwood will leave you scratching your head and wanting to watch again and again. The impact is undoubtedly endless.Check out the film’s chilling trailer below…
DRIFTWOOD is now available on ITUNES

_____________________________________________________

Paul Taylor’s DRIFTWOOD was the 2016 Slamdance Jury Prize winner for Best Narrative Film

DOC NYC review: ‘A Murder in Mansfield’ is an emotional gut punch.

A MURDER IN MANSFIELD

WORLD PREMIERE Filmmaker Barbara Kopple explores the legacy of the 1989 murder of Noreen Boyle in Mansfield, Ohio. Her 12-year-old son Collier gave a devastating videotaped testimony blaming his father for the murder. Now, over two decades later, Collier returns to Ohio seeking to retrace his past and confront his imprisoned father, who remains in denial of his guilt. Collier’s depth of character is a wonder to behold from childhood to adulthood. Out of this tragic story, we witness the power of human resilience.
Collier Landry brings us on a journey no child should ever have to go on. 27 years after a horrific crime by the hands of his own father, we learn that Landry had the foresight to keep all the correspondence between the two, adding to the real life, emotionally manipulative drama that endured. This doc has some of the most graphic details shown to an audience as we are privy to the actual crime scene photos alongside Collier. While he attempts to come to terms with the truth about his father, he also explores the greater effect that violence leaves on a community. Through interviews with friends and family, the hold this event still has on so many is more than evident. Landry not only had his mother stolen from his life, not only his innocence, but an adoptive sister. As a viewer, I mourned right along with him at every turn. His determination is contagious and brave. Director Barbara Kopple yet again delves into the lives of people making waves, big and small. A Murder in Mansfield displays a sorrow and engages the detective we all have buried inside. It is both an honest portrait of grieving and a peak inside the chilling mind of a murderer.
Criminal defense lawyers sometime get a not-so-flattering portrayal because people assume that they defend guilty people. However, if you are a defendant in a criminal proceeding, you need the assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer, regardless of your guilt or innocence. As the protectors and advocates of the accused, defense lawyers play a pivotal role in the United States justice system to see that everyone charged with a criminal act has an opportunity to defend themselves.

 

Choosing and employing a criminal defense lawyer early on in any case is the best way to increase one’s probability of success in any criminal trial. Many of the more prominent people in society already have a battery of lawyers at their behest that spring into action whenever any legal problem arises. Click here if you want to find out more about deportation defense attorney.

You may not be one of these high profile people, and you may not have employed an attorney as of yet because a) you do not really have a need for them yet or b) they are, of course, too expensive to just have on hand. But even given this you will have to keep in mind that in the case of an impending criminal trial, choosing and hiring a good lawyer early on is your top priority.

In fact, the outcome of your entire case may even hinge on whether this single matter alone. If you hire a lawyer early on, there is a chance that, due to his or her timely actions, there will be no need for any case and trial at all. You might just be able to dodge the bullet on time.

Your choice of lawyer can also affect the amount and quality of evidence that is allowable by law to police and investigators. This alone is reason enough to hire good lawyers with good grasp of such kinds of investigation practice. If you have been watching enough trial TV, you will notice that many trials drag on endlessly only to argue whether an evidence is acceptable in the court of law.

Look at the lawyer’s background. Does he or she have specialization in criminal defense? Just because on is an attorney does not mean that he or she automatically qualifies as a good criminal defense lawyer.

Lawyers are a lot like doctors. And the legal field is pretty much similar to the medical field. There is a host of specializations and fortes making having one lawyer adept at all close to impossible. And in the same wise that you wouldn’t trust a brain operation on a dermatologist, you should stick to a defense crime lawyer when you need such representation in cases.

Also look at past case performance to see if the lawyer is fit to represent you fully in your case. If the lawyer has had experience in cases similar to yours, and has been able to perform well and respectably, then that would be a good thing to look out for.

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MansfieldDocumentary/
Director: Barbara Kopple
Producer: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy, Ray Nowosielski
Cinematographer: Gary Griffin, Tony Hardmon
Editor: Rob Kuhns
Running Time: 88
Language: English
Country: USA
Year: 2017

DOC NYC review: ‘A Better Man’ is an emotionally raw healing session.

A BETTER MAN

US PREMIERE  While they were a couple, Steve exposed Attiya to terrifying daily verbal and physical abuse. Twenty years later, they revisit their relationship in an intimate, therapeutic context, walking through the physical — and emotional — spaces they once inhabited together. As Steve is put in a position to acknowledge and take responsibility for the abuse, will Attiya complete her long process of healing and be liberated from her demons? A Better Man explores the revelatory potential of involving the abuser in domestic violence prevention.

If you’ve ever been a victim, A Better Man feels surprising and cathartic. While this is  Attiya and Steve’s story, Attiya becomes our emotional surrogate. With so many victims coming forward in this tumultuous climate, especially over the past year, this film is very timely. 1 in 2 women has experienced physical, verbal, emotional and/or sexual abuse in her lifetime. To have the opportunity to revisit an old relationship in a safe and constructive environment might not be on everyone’s bucket list, but I know from firsthand experience that I would gladly take part in such a chance… but perhaps that is a hasty statement. Until it is real, these are just words. Attiya is a brave woman. Steve is a remorseful man. Let it be known, I am not a fan of Steve here, but do acknowledge that not every abuser would be so open and willing to offer a public apology and seek counseling sitting directly across from his victim. A Better Man is a film that is important for audiences to see and I for one hope that they absorb it for the powerful piece it truly is.

Official Site: https://abettermanfilm.com/

On Twitter: ABetterManFilm
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ABetterManFilm/
Director: Attiya Khan, Lawrence Jackman
Producer: Christine Kleckner, Justine Pimlott
Cinematographer: Iris Ng
Editor: Lawrence Jackman
Music: Lesley Barber
Running Time: 78
Language: English
Country: Canada
Year: 2017

DOC NYC review: ‘Abacus: Small Enough To Jail’ will cause you to rage against the machine.

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

 Abacus Federal Savings Bank is a modest institution of New York’s Chinatown that came under harsh prosecution in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. While other banks were considered ‘too big to fail,’ Abacus was ‘small enough to jail.’ Filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams) follows the bank’s founder Thomas Sung and his family as they fight back in court against Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr. in an effort to redeem their name and to dispel biases against Chinatown. Courtesy of PBS Distribution
Wall Street got a free pass, once again. But someone had to be made an example of. Most of us probably didn’t now that one bank was taken to court, but it’s no one you’ve ever heard of outside of Chinatown in Manhattan. In Abacus: Small Enough To Jail, the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished,” could not be truer. You will be witness to one family’s battle as they are thrown under the bus to save face.The film is filled with strong daughters who go to bat for their father, family honor, their employees, and community. It will floor you as you watch the bogus claims and prejudice that occurs because it seemed to be easier than taking on the Wall Street household names. Abacus: Small Enough To Jail will expose lies we’ve been fed for years. Get ready to rage.

Showtimes:

Wed Nov 15, 2017, 11:45 AM Cinepolis Chelsea
Official Site: https://www.abacusmovie.com
On Twitter: AbacusMovie
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abacusmovie
Director: Steve James
Producer: Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
Cinematographer: Tom Bergmann
Editor: John Farbrother, David E. Simpson
Music: Joshua Abrams
Running Time: 88
Language: English, Mandarin & Cantonese with English subtitles
Country: USA
Year: 2016

DOCNYC review: ‘What Haunts Us’ is unfortunately a timely film.

Why are the men of Charleston, South Carolina’s Porter Gaud School killing themselves? Alarmed by the latest in a long-running series of suicides from her high school in 1979, filmmaker Paige Goldberg Tolmach returns to her hometown for answers. Stonewalled by administrators, she mines her own memories, and those of her former classmates, to uncover long-held secrets, revealing a disturbing cover-up centered around a popular teacher and sports coach.

With years of sexual assault/abuse allegations surrounding the current political administration and entertainment industry, let us not forget that this problem is pervasive anywhere and everywhere. The coverups go deep and pride and reputation often cause the guilty to go free. Shame is a killer of dreams and, as we see in What Haunts Us, it is also a killer of people. Unravelling the mystery that surrounds not even a well-kept secret in this particular story will anger and shock you. Along with intimate sit-down interviews with our subjects, both innocent and guilty, memories are illustrated in beautifully vibrant colors. What Haunts Us is a stunning film that will hopefully open eyes to the ongoing abuse so many face on a daily basis. We have to change our rhetoric and realize the consequences of staying silent.

WHAT HAUNTS US
at DOC NYC Film Festival
Monday
 Nov 13, 2017
7:30 PM with Q/A following with
Paige Goldberg Tolmach, Matt Tolmach and
Special Guests from the Film

IFC CENTER
323 6th Ave. New York, New York 10014

Review: ‘MAYHEM’ is contagious fun.

Have you ever dreamed of punching Karen from Human Resources in her stupid face? Sure you have, who hasn’t?! In a new unapologetically violent and incredibly awesome film, you can live vicariously through others in kicking Karen’s ass.

MAYHEM stars Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead,” Okja), Samara Weaving (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Showtime’s “SMILF”), and Steven Brand (“Teen Wolf,” “Secrets and Lies”) is directed by Joe Lynch (Everly, Knights of Badassdom) and marks the feature film debut from writer Matias Caruso.

SYNOPSIS:  Derek Cho (Steven Yeun) is having a really bad day. After being unjustly fired from his job, he discovers that the law firm’s building is under quarantine for a mysterious and dangerous virus. Chaos erupts throughout the office as the victims of the disease begin acting out their wildest impulses. Joining forces with a former client (Samara Weaving) who has a grudge of her own, Derek savagely fights tooth and nail to get to the executives on the top floor and settle the score once and for all.

We all know Steven Yeun as our beloved (may he rest in peace) Glen, but in Mayhem, he does such a fantastic job that you completely forget about his Walking Dead persona. Mayhem is literally laugh out loud funny all while having some of the coolest fight choreography and blood gushing effects. Screenwriter Matias Caruso might have hit the jackpot with the plotline because this is the most imaginative way to utilize “The F-word” in a script possible. I would go back and watch to count the number of times it’s used and not a single time is it superfluous, it’s genius. Yeun’s training with zombies made him the perfect pick for this role. He is the embodiment of everyone who has ever felt oppressed by the BS hierarchy of corporate. Samara Weaving gives a borderline Harley Quinn inspired performance as a woman who was wronged by Yeun’s character. Her effortless delivery and comic timing, down to specific idiosyncracies she displays are spot on brilliant. In reality, this is an ensemble piece of pitch-perfect character work. You cannot help but get revved up watching Mayhem. It has to be one of my favorites of 2017. You can catch MAYHEM in theaters and available On Demand / Digital HD November 10, 2017(PS- that’s today.)

RLJE Films will release the upcoming horror, action film MAYHEM in theaters and available On Demand / Digital HD November 10, 2017.

 **World Premiere – SXSW Film Festival 2017**

**International Premiere – Fantasia Film Festival 2017**

**West Coast Premiere – Beyond Fest 2017**

TITLE:  MAYHEM
IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD:  November 10, 2017
CAST:  Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand
DIRECTOR:  Joe Lynch
WRITER: Matias Caruso
GENRE:  Horror/Action
DISTRIBUTOR:  RLJE Films

Review: ‘ A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE’ is eternally mysterious.

PRESENTS THE ACCLAIMED NEW MASTERPIECE
FROM LEGENDARY JAPANESE DIRECTOR SHUNJI IWAI
A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE
リップヴァンウィンクルの花嫁
Synopsis: Nanami is an apathetic, part-time junior high school teacher, whose only solace comes from connecting with others on “Planet”, a new social network service. One day, a young man named Tetsuya messages her and asks to meet in person. The two begin dating and quickly become engaged. When Testuya begs Nanami to increase her guest list for the wedding, Nanami reaches out to online-friend, Amuro, a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, who hires actors to play Nanami’s guests on her big day. A few weeks following the ceremony, Tetsuya’s mother confronts Nanami with allegations of lying and cheating. Heartbroken and despondent, Nanami checks herself into a hotel and manages to get hired there as a maid. One day, Amuro offers Nanami a housekeeping job in an old mansion, whose sole resident’s infectious spirit helps Nanami to open her heart. However, Nanami soon realizes that Amuro, the mansion, and its occupant aren’t what they seem – and even dreams have limits.
There is something otherworldly about Iwai Shunji‘s latest film. While A BrideFor Rip Van Winkle runs just minutes shy of 3 hrs, the story is vastly engrossing. Our beautiful lead actress, Haru Kuroki, gives us an honest and quietly bold performance that allows us to feel each beat in real time with her. We are along for the ride just as much as she is. The classical soundtrack adds an ethereal quality to mysterious turns in the script. To speak too much about the plot would ruin it for the viewer. I can say that it will be unlike anything you’ve seen before. It certainly speaks to the power of social media. It tackles isolationism and the yearning to feel truly connected physically and emotionally. A Bride For Rip Van Winkle will surprise and delight to no end. You can check out the trailer below and catch the film in theaters this Friday.

A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE opens in cinemas November 10th!

Color
Japanese Language with English Subtitles
179 minutes
Not Rated

Review: Can Daniel Radcliffe survive the ‘JUNGLE’?

 

Based on the international best-selling memoir by Yossi Ghinsberg

An enthusiastic young adventurer follows his dreams into the Amazon jungle with two friends and a guide with a mysterious past. Their journey quickly turns into a terrifying ordeal as the darkest elements of human nature and the deadliest threats of the wilderness lead to an all-out fight for survival.

Daniel Radcliffe is almost unrecognizable as real-life adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg. Greg McLean‘s film, based on Ghinsberg’s harrowing journey (and autobiography) in the Bolivian jungle in 1981 is filled with some of the most gag-inducing moments in a non-horror film we’ve seen since 127hrs. Radcliffe, sporting a heavy accent, transforms onscreen from a fit hiker to gaunt survivor. His emotional and physical rollercoaster ride is quite the experience for the audience, proving once again that Radcliffe’s talent is far beyond his Harry Potter years.
The film is essentially broken into 2 equal parts equally. The first hour is how Yossi and company come to be in the jungle, to begin with. Relationships are challenged, tempers flare, bodies are wearing down. Suddenly, and by a devastating accident, Yossi falls into the raging river, stranding him alone. This second hour has Radcliffe in almost every shot. Blended with colorful flashbacks, seriously intense stunts, and beautiful insight, JUNGLE thrills. The story is beyond incredible, lending you to wonder how and if you could survive. Check out the trailer below!

Momentum Pictures will release the thriller JUNGLE in select theaters and On Demand/Digital HD on October 20th.

A true story of survival against all odds, JUNGLE is based on the international best-selling memoir by Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg and is directed by Greg McLean (The Belko Experiment, Wolf Creek).  The film adaptation stars Daniel Radcliffe (Swiss Army Man, Horns, Harry Potter franchise) as Yossi, Thomas Kretschmann(Wanted, King Kong, Resident Evil: Apocalypse), Alex Russell (Carrie, Unbroken), and Joel Jackson (“Safe Harbour”).

Review: ‘GIRL FLU’ is contagious fun.

Growing up is awkward. No one is ever really prepared to deal with puberty, whether it’s the child or the parent. In Dorie Barton‘s brilliant directorial debut, Girl Flu, one little girl isn’t the only one that comes face to face with what it means to become a woman.

Synopsis:

Bird, 12, has to become a woman whether she wants to or not when – in the worst week of her life – she gets her first period, is ditched by her impulsive, free spirited mom, and learns that you can never really go back to The Valley.

 

Girl Flu is truly an endearing film. Funny, relatable, and just enough edge to surpass the afterschool special pigeonhole, it’s a directorial debut that Dorie Barton can be proud of. Whether the reality of the plot is who is really raising whom, we are treated to some incredibly sold performances from the entire cast. Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) brings Jenny to life; an ill-equipped, young mother, raising a 12-year-old, who never quite grew up herself. Her crunchy and pot smoking morning rituals annoy the hell out of her daughter and her boyfriend, played by Jeremy Sisto (Waitress). Sackhoff is a beautiful balance of super flighty and genuinely sincere. Sisto, solid as ever, navigates his evolving feelings for mother and daughter alike adding to the heart and humor of a universal milestone. Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse), as mom Jenny’s best friend, is damn hilarious. Not surprising for Matarazzo, as she lights up the screen in every role she plays. The real breakout star, without a doubt, is our major lead Jade Pettyjohn (School of Rock) as Bird. Humiliated and bullied, surviving on the resiliency she’s been forced to develop, she is whip-smart, vulnerable, and a total pro in this role. Irrational child logic is what makes this script so honestly entertaining. We laugh because we’ve been there. The cool soundtrack is the perfect addition. It’s been a fan favorite at over two dozen film festivals so far and it’s easy to see why. You can catch GIRL FLU on VOD (Amazon, iTunes, Google Play) today, September 29. Check out the trailer below!

 

Review: ‘Literally, Right Before Aaron’ takes the cake.

 LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON

There is always that one questionable guest at a wedding. You might think to yourself, “How the Hell did they get invited and who do they know?” In the case of the new rom-com, LITERALLY, RIGHT BEFORE AARON, turns out the Bride invited him.

 

Synopsis: Still reeling from his breakup, Adam (Justin Long) is devastated when he learns that his ex (Cobie Smulders) is engaged. What’s worse is he’s invited to the wedding. When Adam returns home for the festivities, he must confront his unresolved feelings and an uncertain future in hopes of convincing himself and everyone else that he is truly happy for her. There he discovers the comedy in romance, the tragedy of letting go and the hard truth about growing up.

Justin Long has always been on my radar as far back as I can remember. His comic timing and boyish charm are pretty hard to compete with onscreen. This is no less true in his role as Adam. On screen for the entirety of the film, Long’s emotional journey is written both within the quippy dialogue and all over his face. Funny, heartbreaking, endearing, and relatable, there isn’t an audience member out there that won’t find something earnest to latch onto. While familiar sounding in plot, I never found the script cliche’ thanks to writer/director Ryan Eggold. Showcasing solid performances from Cobie Smulders, Kristen Schaal, John Cho, and Ryan Hansen, Literally, Right Before Aaron marries our own insecurities with the emotional roller-coaster that is love. For Eggold, it’s merely the beginning of a long career at the helm of a film. For Long, it’s further proof he’s being underestimated in the industry.
You can catch the film in theaters and on VOD this Friday.

In Theaters and On Demand September 29, 2017

Starring: Justin Long, Cobie Smulders, Ryan Hansen, John Cho, Kristen Schaal, Dana Delany, Peter Gallagher, Lea Thompson, and Luis Guzmán

Written, Edited and Directed by: Ryan Eggold

Review: ‘The Houses October Built 2’ scares up some déjà vu.

Recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped last Halloween by the Blue Skeleton – a group who take “extreme haunt” to another level – five friends decide they must face their fears in order to move on. Heading back out on the road to visit more haunted house attractions, signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing again and a new terror begins…

 

THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 is the sequel to the 2014 cult hit, and marks the return of Brandy Schaefer (“coffin girl” from The Houses October Built) along with the original filmmaking team of Director and Co-Writer Bobby Roe, Producer and Co-Writer Zack Andrews , and Producer Steven Schneider (Split, Insidious, Paranormal Activity).

This sequel essentially picks up where the first ends… so (SPOILER ALERT) everyone is actually alive. Surprise! The cops come to the rescue and it has all been for publicity and extreme scares thanks to The Blue Skeleton crew. Convenient, but alright let’s roll with it. What we’re really getting with The Houses October Built 2, is The Houses October Built but with even less of a narrative. The first hour, exactly like the first film is a massive ad for all the top haunted houses across the US. The only added storyline is the fact that Brandy a.k.a. “coffin girl” is famous on Youtube and now everyone wants the group to visit their attraction and they will pay them… as long as Brandy is present. Problem being, she is understandably traumatized by her experience being kidnapped and emotionally tortured. Cajoled into a tentative travel schedule, our five experience The Zombie 5k, Zombie Pubcrawl, and a few other new Halloween fan favorites. Every once in a while we get what appears to be a snippet of plot thrown into the roughly hour and a half runtime, but basically, it doesn’t really amount to much until the final 25 minutes. Yes, it’s got a clever ending but that doesn’t save the fact that the acting is underwhelming and the guys, consistently disregarding Brandy’s feelings are kind of the only real villains in the film. If you’re looking to try out haunted houses of various kinds but don’t actually have the nerve to do it yourself, then The Houses October Built 2 might be up your alley. You can catch the trailer below for a sneak peek into the sequel and can catch it in theaters or on demand starting today.

RLJ Entertainment will release the upcoming horror film THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT 2 in theaters and available On Demand / Digital HD September 22, 2017.

Review: ‘WETLANDS’ blows by with little gusto.

Synopsis: Babel “Babs” Johnson (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) is a police detective who finds himself assigned to a precinct in the Wetlands, the no-man’s land surrounding Atlantic City, within eyeshot of the once fancy and now dilapidated hotels and boardwalk, but a world away.  A year ago, he was a top cop in Philadelphia, but mysterious circumstances intervened and now he finds himself back home and back in the lives of his estranged daughter, Amy (Celeste O’Connor), and still-bitter ex-wife, Savannah (Heather Graham)

 

Surrounded by locals, Surfer Girl (Reyna de Courcy), a surfboard builder who has dreams of moving to Hawaii to ply her trade; and Kate (Jennifer Ehle), a local news anchor; and local thugs Jimmy (Louis Mustillo) his boss, Lollipop (Barry Markowitz); and with a new partner, a fun-loving gambling addict named Paddy Sheehan (Christopher McDonald), Babs slowly adjusts to life back on the beat.

 

Meanwhile, as the region prepares for a massive, late-season hurricane, the storm threatens to destroy the Wetlands… and the lives of some of its inhabitants.

Wetlands tries really hard to be a noir that never really pans out. It’s painfully slow and rather cliche in its character development. With such a heavy-hitting cast, it is difficult to walk them try so hard at something that doesn’t give them, or the audience, enough to care about. What information we do have about Babs, comes in what feels like misplaced and piecemeal black & white flashbacks. The nonchalance of the shadiness that’s occurring in this town makes it all the more underwhelming. 

While beautifully shot, with sweeping shots of the rundown boardwalk, that’s just about the only pretty thing about Wetlands. I was left with an overall feeling of, “Meh.” This cast deserved a whole hell of a lot more by way of character development. There is never any feeling of genuine urgency, and with one of the major plot points being an impending hurricane, it certainly seems like that should have been quite the priority.

WETLANDS – starring Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Suicide Squad, ABC’s “Ten Days in the Valley,” TV’s “Oz,” “Lost”),Heather Graham (The Hangover, TV’s “Californication”), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty, Fifty Shades of Grey, TV’s “A Gifted Man”) and Christopher McDonald(Requiem for a Dream, TV’s “The Good Wife,” “Boardwalk Empire”).

The film is written and directed by first-time filmmaker Emanuele Della Valle and will be released in theaters on September 15th.

 

 

Review: ‘Against The Night” has one big winner…

presents

AGAINST THE NIGHT

AGAINST THE NIGHT is a psychological thriller that tests the boundaries of trust as nine friends sneak into an abandoned prison to film a ghost hunting video. When their friend, Hank, disappears, everyone is pointing fingers and placing blame until they realize they may not be alone.

Against the Night has a plot we’ve seen before… until it doesn’t. I have to admit, this film tries really hard to be unique but ultimately ends up being totally convoluted. There are moments in the script that are so far out in left field I literally said, “What?!” out loud as I watched. The practical effects don’t help, and the majority of the acting is pretty blah and even ventures into the downright atrocious. Oftentimes, the cast’s reactions, (mostly the girls) are completely unbelievable and frankly, don’t lend you to care about them. The chemistry is humming along one moment and nonexistent the next. The tropes seem forced and cobbled together without any flow to the story. While I did enjoy the opening setup and the use of multiple camera styles, Against the Night just didn’t work for me as a whole. The one saving grace in this film is actor Josh Cahn. Playing what feels akin to Jaimie Kennedy‘s role in SCREAM, Cahn is funny, likeable, and I wanted more of him on screen. I would watch an entire stand alone film with him as the lead, any day. This kid is a gem. If you do catch the film, he and the appearance of Frank Whaley as Detective Ramsey are worth their short amount of screen time. Check out the trailer below. As always, we want to know what you think, so those of you heading to the theater this weekend, tell us how Against the Night played out for you!

AGAINST THE NIGHT will be released theatrically in LA, NY and additional select markets on September 15.  The film has a running time of 86 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.

Review: ‘THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM’ gives us a theatrical look at murder and mayhem.

 presents

THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM

**World Premiere – Toronto International Film Festival 2016**

**Official Selection – Sitges Film Festival 2016**

The city of London is gripped with fear as a serial killer – dubbed The Limehouse Golem – is on the loose and leaving cryptic messages written in his victim’s blood.  With few leads and increasing public pressure, Scotland Yard assigns the case to Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) – a seasoned detective with a troubled past and a sneaking suspicion he’s being set up to fail.  Faced with a long list of suspects, including music hall star Dan Leno (Douglas Booth), Kildare must get help from a witness who has legal troubles of her own (Olivia Cooke), so he can stop the murders and bring the killer to justice.

Based on the novel “Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem” by Peter Ackroyd, the film was written by the acclaimed writer Jane Goldman (KingsmenThe Woman in Black), directed by Juan Carlos Medina (Painless) and produced by Stephen Woolley (Their Finest, Interview with a Vampire), Joanna Laurie (Hyena) and Elizabeth Karlsen (Carol).  The film stars Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Underworld), Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, “Bates Motel”), Douglas Booth (Pride, Prejudice and ZombiesNoah), Daniel Mays (“Line of Duty”) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, “Ray Donovan.”) The Limehouse Golem is a whirlwind mystery. Jane Goldman has taken Peter Ackroyd‘s novel and brought it to life from page to screen and ultimately stage since much of the story revolves around live performances and theatrical ambition. The costumes and set are gorgeous, striking a perfect visual balance of play costumes and period dress. The dark Limehouse district scenes of macabre and the vibrant, hyper-saturated theater are striking in contrast. The story cannot help but grab you as you try to keep up with the suspects alongside Nighy‘s lead. The cast is a true ensemble of talent. Bill Nighy‘s role was originally meant for the late Alan Rickman, but once his health began to decline Nighy stepped into the role. The film is actually dedicated to Rickman’s memory. Nighy is brilliant and powerful as usual in his honest search for the truth. Olivia Cooke, who’s talent is grossly underrated, does a spectacular job as she navigates a complicated woman in Lizzie Cree. I would be remiss if I didn’t give a standing ovation, as it were, to Douglas Booth in his engrossing portrayal of real life actor Dan Leno. Funny, touching, purely entertaining, Booth owns this role. The script will keep you on your toes and with a murder mystery, what more can you ask for?

THE LIMEHOUSE GOLEM in Theaters, on VOD and Digital HD today September 8, 2017.

Review: ‘KILL ME PLEASE’ will bend your mind and throw you back in time.

Bia (Valentina Herszage), Michele (Júlia Roliz), Mariana (Mariana Oliveira) and Renata (Dora Freind) are a clique of affluent high school girls. They waste away their days wandering the fields between the vertigo-inducing high rises in Barra da Tijuca, an affluent new neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Both privileged and abandoned by busy parents, the girls spend most of their time together.

When a wave of murders begins to terrorize the neighborhood, the girls develop a morbid curiosity with the victims – and lines separating life, desire and death begins to break down.

If you were a fan of IT FOLLOWS, then KILL ME PLEASE will strike a chord with you. With oversaturated moments in its cinematography to its perhaps allegorical message of teenage lust, this film is filled to the brim with bizarre but very real moments. Ghost stories are woven into the narrative as warnings or maybe even as excuses for avoiding sexual contact, all while an actual serial killer takes out young girls that bare a striking resemblance to our ingenue. As the viewer goes deeper into the mind of Bia, you begin to realize that this film is all of us growing up. Blissful ignorance, metaphors of self-doubt and self-sabotage bring back too many dark memories. Boasting an eclectic and truly kickass soundtrack, KILL ME PLEASE is a one of kind blend of horror and coming of age film that will throw you for a loop. The cast has a brilliant chemistry and director Anita Rocha da Silveira has quite a masterpiece on her hands. If you’re lucky enough to be in NYC today and LA in October, you can catch the film on the big screen. If not, you’ll have to wait until May to catch it on VOD and DVD. Until then, check out the trailer below, though truth be told, the film is on a whole other level than what you’ll see here.

 

September 1, 2017 – Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn in New York, NY
October 13, 2017 – Arena Cinelounge in Los Angeles, CA

A VOD and physical media release are expected by May 2018.

Review: Is ‘Bushwick’ a new normal just around the corner?

SYNOPSIS: When Lucy (Brittany Snow) steps off the subway, she walks into an utter bloodbath on the streets of Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Texas is attempting to secede from the Union, and militia forces have descended upon New York City to claim it as an East Coast base of operations and negotiation tool. Faced with a flurry of whizzing bullets and total destruction around every corner, Lucy takes shelter in the basement of Stupe (Dave Bautista), a burly war veteran who reluctantly helps her traverse the treacherous five-block stretch of Bushwhack to reach her destination—assuming it’s still there.

BUSHWICK stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect franchise, Hairspray), Angelic Zambrana (Precious, Fighting), Jeremie Harris (FX’s “Legion,” The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Pariah), and Christian Navarro (Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” Amazon’s “The Tick”).

The film is directed by the filmmaking team of Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott (Cooties), and written by Nick Damici (We Are What We Are, Stake Land) and Graham Reznick (Chilling Visions: 5 States of Fear).

BUSHWICK is unrelenting from its opening shots until the final frame. The audience experiences the story in real time just as the main characters do. With the use of what feels like a single camera, lengthy POV takes (as if the viewer were the unseen third character), add to the heightened pace and overall menace of the film’s plot. Bushwick pulls no punches with its realism. There are small lulls but you might imagine that to be the case if the scenario presented were actually occurring. Overall, the action is non-stop and scary. Both Snow and Bautista deliver down-to-earth performances and give us two very different backgrounds from which to relate to. There are moments that seem unscripted they are so natural and out of the blue. Without spoiling anything, you’ll have to watch to understand what I mean by that. The timing of the film’s release is eerie considering our present political climate. It’s almost like a creepy omen of things yet to come. Don’t be fooled by the trailer. You are in for a much darker ride than you might expect. You can watch BUSHWICK now in theaters, on VOD and Digital HD.

TITLE: BUSHWICK

IN THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON VOD AND DIGITAL HD: August 25, 2017

DIRECTOR: Cary Murnion, Jonathan Milott

WRITERS: Nick Damici, Graham Reznick

CAST: Dave Bautista, Brittany Snow, Angelic Zambrana, Jeremie Harris

GENRE: Action

DISTRIBUTOR: RLJ Entertainment