SXSW 2020 review: ‘I Used To Go Here’ is an emotional second chance.

I Used To Go Here

Synopsis:

Following the launch of her new novel, 35-year-old writer Kate Conklin (Gillian Jacobs) is invited to speak at her alma mater by her mentor and former professor (Jemaine Clement). After accepting the invitation, Kate finds herself deeply enmeshed in the lives of an eccentric group of college students.

Gillian Jacobs is charming as ever as a woman whose life isn’t quite stacking up with the fiction she has spun. She comes face to face, literally, with everything from her college experience; her house, her coursework, her professor, and fellow students. After a reading from her debut novel, she is confronted by her own shortcomings as she becomes entangled in the drama of current students. The script allows her to let her guard down and accept the dark. Failure allows her to grow.

While certain plot points feel like a cliche rom-com, there is nothing wrong with that. I Used To Go Here is a comfort film for people who feel stalled. Finger wagging Gen Xer’s (like myself) will instantly connect with Jacobs. Ironically longing to be in her shoes for a few days. It will remind us all of the hope and fearlessness of our youth. It’s a motivating, genuinely funny look as adulthood. Besides Jacobs continuing to be a lovely and heartfelt actor, her castmates also offer a plethora of laughs and light. Jemaine Clement is always hilarious and this is no exception. Sometimes, the more sincere he tries to be the funnier I fond him. This is a total compliment. I find him easy to watch and connect with.

Josh Wiggins as Hugo is a breath of fresh air. His nonchalance and enthusiasm are a joy to watch. Hannah Marks is everything we need her to be; ambitious, moody, and ultimately vulnerable. Brandon Daley is one of the most hilarious characters in this film as Tall Brandon. His confidence and comic timing are pure magic. Lastly, Zoe Chao plays Laura, Kate’s best friend that is living vicariously through sporadic phone calls. She is both a voice of reason and a reliable one-liner spouter. I’m going to need way more of her in the future, please and thank you.

While we’re not breaking any ground with I Used To Go Here, I still really loved it. I lived in it. Sometimes you just need a well written, well-acted film that universally gets you. Congratulations to writer/director Kris Rey and cast for leaving us with a feel-good gem.

I USED TO GO HERE— Directed and Written by Kris Rey

SXSW 2020 Official Selection – Narrative SpotlightWorld Premiere — Acquisition

Starring Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Josh Wiggins, Hannah Marks, Zoe Chao, Jorma Taccone, Forrest Goodluck

Review: ‘Run This Town’ is a successful look at who does the dirty work in truth telling and true suppressing.

A young journalist and a young political aide become entangled in a larger-than-life political scandal as they struggle to navigate adult life. Like all their friends, Bram and Kamal are struggling to climb the ladders at their respective workplaces: Bram at a newspaper, Kamal at City Hall. When Bram learns of a scandal involving Kamal’s larger-than-life boss, he seizes the moment to advance his career. Meanwhile, Kamal grapples with containing the story while maintaining his integrity.

Ben Platt is swiftly becoming a household name for anyone outside of the Broadway, music industry, and Netflix world. Frankly, shame on you if you haven’t heard of him at this point. In Run This Town, Platt plays a budding journalist, Bram, who has Toronto’s biggest political scandal fall into his lap.

This entire cast has fresh and energetic chemistry. They ooze the ambition that each of these characters needs. Platt, Speedman, Dobrev, Ehle, and Massoud make things more than interesting. If I had to nitpick, the makeup on Damian Lewis as Ford is a bit over the top. It feels a bit cartoonish and is slightly distracting. That being said, the performance is so good I actually didn’t know it was Lewis under the makeup. The scene where Ford goes on a drunken rant with his employees is so cringey and intense, it will make your skin crawl. Replace Ford with any current slime ball “politician”, it’s an easy swap. Lewis’ performance is unhinged in the best way possible. Ben Platt is solid as ever. The specificity that he brings to Bram both physically and emotionally is top-notch.  His casting was a perfect choice. Massoud and Dobrev are equally vulnerable. Their performances are nothing short of captivating.

The editing in this film alone is so sharp that it forces you to sit up and pay attention. You have to keep up with the dialogue and quick cuts from the get-go. This script is timely as hell. It may revolve around Toronto’s Rob Ford but the rest of the world has its own garbage politician. This film is about the down and dirty and real work journalists have to do to battle to bullshit. But it’s also about the political spin; the young and hungry aides that twist the truth to put a party base at ease.

The score, along with the title and credit sequences are simply brilliant. Sort of a visual metaphor for finding the truth. The script takes a look at where On the whole, Run This Town is a super intriguing look at scandal, those who try to expose it, and those who suppress it. It highlights the work you don’t see and who is really responsible for moving the needle behind the scenes. It’s a great commentary on power, greed, ambition, xenophobia, and #MeToo. Run This Town is a fantastic feature debut for writer/director Ricky Tollman. The dialogue, in pacing and quippiness, is very reminiscent of Aaron Sorkin, particularly in the opening scene. That is precisely how you get an audience’s attention. Well done.

 

RUN THIS TOWN will be in U.S. theaters through Oscilloscope and On Demand and Digital through Quiver Distribution on March 6th, 2020.

Review: Scary Movies XII’s Opening Night Film ‘VILLAINS’ is terrifyingly good.

presents

Scary Movies XII’s Opening Film

VILLAINS

Opening In Theaters Nationwide This Fall

Two hilariously small-time millennial robbers break into the wrong house. Something is clearly amiss when Jules and Mickey are confronted by the owners. In an attempt to do the right thing, they are faced with challenges no one will see coming. Evil comes in many forms.

The film has fantastic framing and awesome camera work. Beautifully sprinkled horror homages keep genre fans in a state of pure delight. This is already a crowd-pleaser less than 15 minutes into its 89 minute run-time. The animation under the final credits is like a drug induced plot recap. I am obsessed. The script is quirky is wonderful. With stylistic elements that reminded me of The People Under The Stairs, it’s a film you’ll have to go back and watch to catch all the little details.
Bill Skarsgård and Maika Monroe are young balls of energy. Both quickly becoming genre icons in their own right, these two make a stunning pair. Their chemistry feels super organic and appropriately playful. By the end you will be genuinely invested in their survival. Homeowners Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Donovan are total creeps. Sedgwick, in particular, will blow you away with a complex performance. They are a perfect foil for Jules and Mickey. It’s scary what we’ll do for love.

You’ll be totally enamored with Villains from start to finish. It’s funny and bizarre as hell. It has a classic feel but somehow completely fresh all at once. From the acting to the cinematography to the smart script, directors Dan Berk & Robert Olsen have a real winner on their hands.

Written & Directed by | Dan Berk & Robert Olsen

Starring | Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Jeffrey Donovan & Kyra Sedgwick

Co-Produced by | BRON Studios, Star Thrower Entertainment, Creative Wealth Media Finance & The Realm Films

Review: ‘GALVESTON’ impresses with its story and star, Ben Foster.

SYNOPSIS: Roy (Foster) is a heavy-drinking criminal enforcer and mob hit man whose boss set him up in a double-cross scheme. After killing his would-be assassins before they could kill him, Roy discovers Rocky (Fanning), a young woman being held captive, and reluctantly takes her with him on his escape. Determined to find safety and sanctuary in Galveston, Roy must find a way to stop his boss from pursuing them while trying to outrun the demons from his and Rocky’s pasts.

Just when I think Ben Foster can’t get better, well, I should know better by now. His fearless choices in roles continue in the new film Galveston. A man double-crossed and doing a good deed for a captive young girl (played spectacularly by Elle Tanning), Foster once again transforms voice, physicality, and persona to become a hero. His powerful on-screen presence is undeniable and one day, sooner rather than later, we will see him with a much deserved Oscar in his hands. His chemistry with Fanning is delicate and honest as the reality of their dilemma unfolds. The film is a tour de force of intensity from the get-go. It only becomes darker as the story rolls on. Galveston is as heartbreaking as it is triumphant.

RLJE Films will release the thriller / drama GALVESTON in theaters and On Demand / Digital HD on October 19, 2018.

Based on the novel by the creator of “True Detective,” GALVESTON stars Ben Foster (Hell or High Water), Elle Fanning (The Beguiled), Beau Bridges (The Mountain Between Us), Lili Reinhart (“Riverdale”), and Robert Aramayo (Nocturnal Animals). The film made its world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival and was directed by Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) from a script by Jim Hammett.

 

Review: ‘BLOOD FEST’ is a fun homage to genre filmmakers and fans alike.

presents

BLOOD FEST

Fans flock to a festival celebrating the most iconic horror movies, only to discover that the charismatic showman behind the event has a diabolical agenda. As attendees start dying off, three teenagers with more horror-film wits than real-world knowledge must band together and battle through every madman, monstrosity and terrifying scenario if they have any hope of surviving.

Blood Fest takes a page out of the Scream franchise playbook by breaking down the scary movie rules and tropes. It’s a horror fan’s playground, literally. “Bloodfest” is horror’s Comic-Con or Disneyland. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, the dialogue is snappy as hell, and the sets are incredible. I know people, myself included, that would pay good money to enter such a gore-infused playland. Blood Fest is unapologetically silly and wonderful. Once on location at Bloodfest, we get right into the slashing, enhanced by a nice practical FX and some CG shots. It’s like being trapped in a horror video game you’re watching someone else play for you. Every nightmare someone might have is explored even if only for a moment.Think Cabin In The Woods level humor and (frankly, plot, as well) but with some new twists. To top it off, the entire cast is phenomenally talented. Also, ladies and gentlemen, Zachery Levi cameo. Blood Fest is wildly entertaining and undeniably fun. If you love the horror genre you’ll be thoroughly amused by the tongue-in-cheek way the plot rolls out, despite a few corny moments. Simply sit back and enjoy the bloody ride. Oh, and back to the franchise mention, there is no reason why this couldn’t turn into one itself. A sequel, at the very least, is completely plausible and welcome.

In Theaters & On Demand on August 31, 2018
Written and Directed by: Owen Egerton

Starring: Tate Donovan (The Untouchables, The Only Boy Living in New York,”The O.C.”), Robbie Kay (“Once Upon a Time”), Seychelle Gabriel (The Last Airbender, “Falling Skies”, “Sleepy Hollow”), Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War, Every Day, and The True Don Quixote), and Barbara Dunkelman (RWBY), Nick Rutherford, Chris Doubek, Rebecca Wagner and Zachary Levi

Executive Producers: Matt Hullum, Burnie Burns, and Ryan P. Hall

Producers: Seth Caplan, Will Hyde, and Ezra Venetos

Fantasia International Film Festival Review: ‘Relaxer’ pulls you in with its beautifully weird premise.

Y2K is right around the corner, and Cam just gave his younger brother Abbie ( Joshua Burge) the dopest, most ultimate challenge, um, ever: to beat Billy Mitchell’s infamous Pac-Man high score (by going beyond level 256’s glitch, of course) without ever getting off the couch.

Emotionally abused Abbie has accepted this challenge to finally prove a point to his older brother. He is not a quitter. With the very real threat of Y2K looming on the horizon, Abbie is hell-bent on defeating his brother’s perception of him and earning a massive cash prize all at once. But literally not getting up has consequences for our leading man. Eventually, food and drink run out. The lengths to which he will go to survive on this couch are beyond ludicrous, some downright disgusting. But this is about principal dammit. Joshua Burge, once again, proves to be a master at tackling the oddball guy with an ease that is frightening. A longtime collaborator with writer/director/editor Joel Potrykus, the two have brought some of the boldest characters and stories to life over the past 6 years. Buzzard is still one of my top recommended films of all time. Potrykus pulls inspiration from his real-life experiences. Relaxer is set at a very specific moment in time and anyone who is of a certain age will feel bombarded (in a great way) with 90’s nostalgia. Fantasia International Film Festival is the perfect platform for this film to shine. The film has a genius undertone of supernatural and the final sequence is so satisfying, I cheered out loud.

Relaxer Director Joel Potrykus

The Fantasia International Film Festival runs from July 12th- August 2nd. You can find out more about the full lineup and tickets at Fantasia.com 

Review: ‘Wildling’ is dark, coming of age tale.

WILDLING

 **WORLD PREMIERE – 2018 SXSW FILM FESTIVAL**

The feature debut from Fritz Böhm, WILDLING is a spellbinding take on the werewolf legend starring Independent Spirit Award Nominee Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), SAG Award® Winner Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings, Armageddon) and Academy Award® Nominee Brad Dourif (One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest, Child’s Play).

 WILDLING is a unique dark fantasy tale centered on young Anna (Powley) who has been raised in isolation by a man she knows only as Daddy (Dourif) who has done everything possible to conceal the truth about the girl’s origins from her. But when the teenage Anna is suddenly thrust into the real world under the protection of no-nonsense police officer Ellen Cooper (Tyler), it soon becomes clear that the young woman is far from ordinary. Unable to adjust to a normal life, Anna finds herself drawn instead to the wild freedom of the forest while struggling to resist the growing bloodlust that has awakened inside her. This moodily atmospheric thriller combines supernatural scares with a myth-like tale of self-discovery.

There are many elements of Wildling that excited me. The cast is beyond excellent. Bel Powley is undeniably a star. As she never seems to age, she can continue to portray exceedingly young characters. Her onscreen presence is captivating. And while she actually speaks relatively few lines in the film, she owns each scene she appears in. Liv Tyler is as elegant as ever. Never doubt her ability to completely inhabit any role. Brad Dourif is scary as hell. He makes your skin crawl in the best way possible. The lighting is truly something to behold. Extra attention to the sound mixing plays perfectly on the audience’s sense of dread or wonder, depending on the moment to moment needs of the plot.

After all of the positives, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the rushed feel of the story. Much of the plot seems to be missing as if there is an entire section of canon that was left out for runtime. I have so many questions pertaining to missing elements (I won’t be too specific because of spoilers) and I was a genuinely baffled by their absence. Some serious plot holes. The emotional transition of all the major players was swifter than feel natural under the circumstances. Finally, if I hadn’t seen Netflix’s original series Big Mouth, perhaps I wouldn’t be so bothered by the final creature FX.

Wilding has a graphic novel turned feature film feeling to it. It’s most definitely entertaining and worth the watch. You can watch the trailer below.

IFC Midnight will release the upcoming thriller WILDLING in theaters in NYC and LA as well as on VOD and Digital HD on April 13.

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: ‘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.

Fantasia International Film Festival 2017 Review: ‘The Honor Farm’ leaves an empty feeling.

THE HONOR FARM

INTERNATIONAL PREMIERE
  • USA
  • 2017
  • 75 mins
  • English

On prom night, a group of kids wander deep into the woods and come back changed forever.

I had very high hopes based upon the set up of The Honor Farm. It took the typical 30ish minutes to get to what seemed like the ramping up of a really great plot. Everyone is tripping on shrooms and walks into an abandoned prison farm, super cool, right? Rumor has it, two girls died there! Also intriguing, yes, yes, give me more. It’s dark, spooky, and covered in weird suggestive graffiti, this is looking like a blast. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be. While the shrooms do provide for some magical visual moments, the follow through was a letdown. There were several plotlines writer/director Karen Skloss could have expounded upon; satanic ritual, haunted location, séance, but not one of these was ever fully realized. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful, there’s no arguing that point. Unfortunately, the fear factor left me feeling unsatisfied. Even our leading lady expresses in the film, “I was hoping something real was going to happen to me tonight.” Me too, girlfriend, me too.

We’re wondering what you thought of The Honor Farm at this year’s Fantasia Film Fest! If you caught the film over the weekend or this afternoon, we’d love to hear your thoughts. For those not at the fest, you can start with the trailer and decide for yourselves. Check it out below.

CREDITS

  • Directed by: Karen Skloss
  • Written by: Karen Skloss, Jasmine Skloss Harrison, Jay Tonne, Jr.
  • Cast: Olivia Applegate, Katie Folger, Dora Madison, Will Brittain, Louis Hunter, Jonny Mars, Liam Aiken, Mackenzie Astin, Josephine McAdam, Christina Parrish, Michael Eric Reid
  • Company: Gravitas Ventures

Review: ‘PREVENGE’ takes killer kids to the next level.

presents

PREVENGE
Written and Directed by Alice Lowe

**Official Selection: 2016 VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**
**Official Selection: 2016 TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL**
*
*Official Selection: SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2017**

Sometimes, when it’s 3 am and my unborn baby girl decided it’s an awesome time to do a dance instead of letting me sleep, I become, shall we say, a little grumpy. 3 weeks away from my second child, I’m freaking tired and sore and over being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled for this peanut. My soon to be two children will be less than 16 months apart. Yup, two under two. I shudder to think about the amount of rest I will not be getting for the next 18, nay, 19 years. All that being said, I’ll have my perfect little salt and pepper set, all we need is the dog. There will be days I will want to flee, I’m sure… but I cannot imagine a day where the acts of my kids will compel me to start, let’s say, murdering people. Though, it’s early and who am I to judge. In Alice Lowe‘s directorial debut, PREVENGE, Ruth’s unborn child is telling her to murder a very specific list of people and perhaps for a good reason.

Synopsis:

A pitch black, wryly British horror comedy from the mind of Alice Lowe (“Sightseers,” “Hot Fuzz,” “Paddington”) that’s as funny as it is vicious,  PREVENGE follows Ruth, a pregnant woman on a killing spree. It’s her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth’s actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father. The child speaks to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. Struggling with her conscience, loneliness, and a strange strain of prepartum madness, Ruth must ultimately choose between redemption and destruction at the moment of motherhood.

Written, directed and starring Lowe while she was actually 7 1/2 months pregnant, Prevenge is savage and wickedly demented. Sharp British humor heightens this in-your-face rampage. As much as you attempt to figure out the actual reason for the string of murders, you won’t until very late into the film and thus a sign of great writing. Lowe’s portrayal of Ruth is frighteningly grounded and wonderful. The cast is filled with familiar faces and the chemistry between Lowe and her (mostly) victims is perfection. The colors are vibrant and the jarring jump cuts interspersed are incredibly effective. The film is weird and gruesome and unlike anything you’ve seen before. It’s just plain cool.

Check out a clip from the film below.

PREVENGE opens theatrically in New York and Los Angeles and will be available nationwide on Shudder, on March 24th

About SHUDDER:

Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving fans of thrillers, suspense, and horror. Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder has a growing and dynamic selection of thrilling premieres, originals, and exclusives, which complement its impressive library of international and independent films, gripping TV series, and Hollywood blockbuster favorites.

TRT: 88 min
Director: Alice Lowe
Writer: Alice Lowe
Cast: Alice Lowe, Gemma Whelan, Kate Dickie, Jo Hartley
Distributor: Shudder

 

Review: ‘Johnny Frank Garret’s Last Word’ is anything but quiet.

JOHNNY FRANK GARRETT’S LAST WORD

Based on a true story,  a nun was murdered in her convent bedroom in Amarillo, Texas on Halloween 1981. The police arrested a young man, Johnny Frank Garrett, who always maintained his innocence but he was found guilty and sentenced to death. On the night of his execution, he wrote a curse letter condemning the people and their families who helped send him to his demise. Shortly after Garrett’s death, members of the community start mysteriously dying. One of the jurors takes it upon himself to break the curse when his son is suddenly struck with a life-threatening illness.

Director Simon Rumley brings us the eerie and unsettling story of a man’s whose spirit is haunting and destroying the lives of those directly responsible for his potentially wrongful conviction and eventual execution. With quick cuts and a brilliant use of sound dynamics, Rumley has managed to create an incredibly effective scary movie. With cringeworthy moments and no essentially zero jump scares, Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word will make you uncomfortable from start to finish. The casting is wonderful, with Mike Doyle as the juror with a conscience, attempting to break the curse Garrett has set upon the truly guilty. Sean Patrick Flanery‘s portrayal of corrupt DA is both enraging and engaging. Devin Bonnée‘s performance as Garrett is frightening and powerful. There are moments where the film feels more like a Nine Inch Nails music video than a film, but that’s not a knock. Its stylistic choices are what make it most intriguing. Check out the trailer below.

The film comes to VOD 3/14 from Momentum Pictures.
Directed by: Simon Rumley (The ABCs of Death, Red White & Blue 
Written by: Tony Giglio (Chaos), Ben Ketai (The Forest), and
Marc Haimes (Kubo and the Two Strings 
                       Cast: Mike Doyle (The Invitation, Jersey Boys)Sean Patrick Flanery (Powder, The Boondock Saints), Erin Cummings  (Late Phases, Bitch Slap),
and Devin Bonnée (Fashionista).

Review: ‘FROM NOWHERE’ is a timely look into the daily struggle of undocumented kids.

Presents

From NowhereThree undocumented Bronx teenagers are graduating from high school while navigating the treacherous waters of trying to get their papers to stay in the US.

 From Nowhere stars Julianne Nicholson as a Bronx high school lit teacher who has three students that are undocumented immigrants. Denis O’Hare is their passionate case worker. While these two stars make a massive impact in the script, the plot focuses on the three students in questions. We are privy to their home lives, their backstories, and their final few weeks of senior year. In a time in our country when undocumented immigrants are being dehumanized by an administration that has become more dysfunctional than anything we’ve ever seen in our history, From Nowhere gives us faces to focus on, people to care about, stories to route for. It’s a timely film and one that needs to be viewed by a wide audience in this era of chaos. Our young leads, played by J. Mallory-McCree, Octavia Chavez-Richmond, and Rachel Castro, are extraordinary. These kids could have easily been picked out of a real high school in the Bronx. The chemistry they possess with both Nicholson and O’Hare must be applauded. Nicholson, also appearing in a drastically different role with Sophie and The Rising Sun, shines as per usual. Her ability to connect with her fellow actors in uncanny. Not surprising is the incredible performance from Denis O’Hare. His chameleon acting chops, which I thoroughly enjoy on American Horror Story every season, serve him well. It was really lovely to see him in a role like this. Anytime you give a great actor a great script, you have the potential for movie gold. From Nowhere’s screenwriters, Matthew Newton and Kate Ballen did their homework on the immigration process. Taking a realistic look at the difficulties that can tear families apart. Also directing the film Newton does not pull punches with a surprisingly honest ending. You cannot wrap this subject in a pretty bow. We are experiencing this crisis in real time and From Nowhere brings the struggle into our homes.

  • Opens tomorrow
  • FEBRUARY 17, 2017
  • (Limited NY/LA/National)
  • NR, 1 hr 29 min
  • Drama

Review: ‘BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS’ aren’t always what you expect.


Best and Most Beautiful Things poster

Synopsis: In rural Maine, a bold and magnetic 20-year-old woman named Michelle Smith lives with her mother Julie. Michelle is quirky and charming, legally blind and diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with big dreams and varied passions. Searching for connection, Michelle explores love and empowerment outside the limits of “normal” through a provocative sex-positive community. Michelle’s joyful story of self-discovery celebrates outcasts everywhere.

Emmy Award-winning producer ofFriends”, Kevin S. Bright met Michelle while teaching a filmmaking class at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston years ago, the school Helen Keller went to. The director, Garrett Zevgetis also volunteered his time at the school. Independently, both were completely struck by her authenticity and exuberance, and have been involved with Michelle and her story ever since. While filming, they discovered the startling lack of opportunities available for all people to fully engage in our society, and the need to fix the fear and misunderstanding people have towards those considered “other”.

best-and-most-beautiful-things_still-7When we all graduated from high school, we had big dreams. Perhaps, moving away from home and starting a career, finally being able to go out when we wanted, eat what we wanted, buy whichever shoes she wanted from shoe hero, and party until dawn. Michelle is much like any other young woman. She’s trying to find her way in the world by following her passions without judgement or outside pressure. The only difference being, Michelle is legally blind and on the autism spectrum. Much like myself, she’s a total fangirl. She likes the dry wit of Daria, attends convention, yearns for acceptance and respect in her niche groups. She acts appropriately for her age. The film follows her for several years post graduating. Through her love life, job searches, and striving for her independence. All seems pretty “normal” until you propose her challenges to those who function without them. Her Mom suggest she attend her brother’s basketball game and at first her protest seems nothing more than a bored and annoyed sister, unwilling to cheer on a sibling just because their interests don’t align. But,  once you listen to her reasoning, as a viewer, will gain further insight into the life of someone forced to live differently. It’s a perfect turning point in the film. You finally get to walk in her shoes and mind for a brief moment. Although, director Garrett Zevgetis, does and excellent job early on with a blurred focus lens to help explain how Michelle figuratively sees the world around her. It is incredibly effective. Above all, this is the story of a young woman whose almost constant stream of self-esteem and positivity shines like a beacon of hope for anyone that has ever felt left out or chastised for being slightly different. I wish I could be as outwardly upbeat every single day and now perhaps I’ll take a second breath and thank my lucky stars I have the life I do. Michelle asks us to love who we are as much as she loves who she is. She asks us to “unlearn normal”. In a year where so much has happened to us as a country, maybe it’s time to take her advice.bestandmostbeautifulthings_still2

BEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS opens in NYC on Friday, Dec 2nd, and in LA Dec 9th. Check out the trailer below:

Websitehttp://bestandmostbeautifulthings.com

Facebook: BestandMostBeautifulThings

Twitter@BestandMostFilm

RT: 90 Minutes

ACCOLADES
Independent Film Festival Boston 2016
Won
Special Jury Award, Best Documentary Feature
Florid a Film Festival 2016
Won
Special Jury Award, Individuality of the Human Spirit
Superfest International Disability Film Festival 2016
Won
Best of Festival Award, Feature
Tulsa American Film Festival, 2016
Won
Best Documentary Feature Film
SXSW Film Festival 2016
Nominated
SXSW Grand Jury Award, Documentary Feature

Review: ‘JACK GOES HOME’ proves that Rory Culkin is terrifyingly good at his job.

jackgoeshome_theatrical_27x39They say you can never go home again. Maybe some of us should heed this advice depending on the skeletons in our closets. In Thomas Dekker‘s new film JACK GOES HOME, Rory Culkin finds himself playing the title character whose loss might be his greatest gain. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
r1I’ve see a horror film or two in my day, but I’ve never seen anything like Jack Goes Home. The story appears to be straight forward: Jack’s parents are in a car accident. His father dies and he goes home to take care of his mother, who has survived. When something goes bump in the night, he is compelled, by his father’s own words, to explore his childhood like never before. It doesn’t take too long before things get weird. Grief can make people act in funny ways, but this film takes it to a whole other level. Dekker’s script is off the hinges with scares both physically and emotionally. You’re never quite sure who is fooling whom. rl1With genre veteran Lin Shaye as Jack’s mother, you’re immediately thrown for a loop. Her presence is this insane mix of calming and unnerving. Each scene she appears in makes your skin crawl. Rory Culkin is more intense with each role he takes on. Following up on his fierce performance in Gabriel, there is no doubt this young man is a star. Jack is one hell of a character and when the film has the balls to open by having him break the fourth wall, you know you’re in for a ride. Each scene tops the next in mystery and fear and Culkin is the driving force behind your unease. As the credits rolled I thought, “What the hell did I just see?!” Then in watching the trailer again, I had so many more questions and theories. This is a film I’ll be speculating about for some time. It begs for multiple viewings.

JACK GOES HOME hits US cinemas and VOD on Friday, October 14th, from Momentum Pictures.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, language throughout, and drug use.

Interview: ‘Ava’s Possessions’ Director/Writer Jordan Galland & Actress Louisa Krause

Avas-Possessions-Movie-Poster

I’ve always been a fan of turning the tables on a familiar story or topic. A story from a different perspective is nothing new, but as with everything, it’s how you tell that story. Director and writer Jordan Galland‘s third film, Ava’s Possessions, focuses on what happens to a young woman immediately after being possessed. She has to answer for the crimes she committed, reconcile with people she wronged and figure out how to get her life back to “normal.” To aid her in her journey, she joins SPA, Spirit Possessions Anonymous, where she meets others in similar circumstances. With surrealistic imagery and a delightfully enchanting soundtrack, this film flows in between horror and comedy in a playful way.

I got a chance to sit down with Ava herself, Louisa Krause, and Jordan Galland to talk about this unique film. It was clear that the energy on set was very collaborative and relaxed, and yet completely thought out. Jordan takes the role of leader seriously, but doesn’t get hung up on it. Louisa is so full of passion and talent, you feel like it could rub off on you.

Speaking with the two of them, I did my best to not ask the typical questions and really dig into the process of making a film. So often audiences have no idea what motivates the talented people who entertain them. Here are some of the highlights:

Jordan Galland

  • Took him 2 years to arrive at the right concept
  • Had an idea of Men In Black with demons, but was too big of an concept
  • Had an idea for using colors because of how constrained he was on his last film, Alter Egos
  • So many current horror films are desaturated and “there’s a bleakness to it.” Jordan wanted a totally different feel and the use of color was a perfect way to achieve that
  • When I asked about accounting for the audience watching on smaller screens, not in a movie theater, Jordan responds, “You have to fight it, not to. The fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s really hard to get a lot of wide shots. Shooting an indie film is hard. At night, it’s hard to light the whole background…it takes hours and permits and sometimes you don’t have those resources. Sometimes you do, so you choose your battles. That’s why close-ups are thought of as a very indie film trait. When you have a close up, it’s easier way to film the frame. For a movie like, It Follows, I feel like they put all their budget into lighting these beautiful backgrounds and filming so much in wide shots and I actually think that you have to not think for the iPhone or TV.”
  • “I think that’s the fun part, is educating yourself with the history of movies and how people achieved, moving, great, disturbing and unsettling images and not worry too much about the media. It’s still photography. Not “still photography” it is still photography ultimately. Until there’s 3D holograms telling stories. That would be a different approach.”
  • Original score by Sean Lennon, who has composed his other films as well.

Louisa Krause

  • “Had a blast doing the possession stuff.”
  • Jordan had her watch My Own Private Idaho with River Phoenix
  • When filming movies, rarely are they shot in sequence. Louisa likes to look at all the scenes in order to get a better idea of the character and how she is developing. “It’s faster than looking at a full script.”
  • When talking about the crew, “Everybody wants to be there, because of Jordan, Because of his energy and brain.”

Ava’s Possessions is available today on demand – on iTunes it’s $9.99, and in select theaters below

Love never dies as ‘NINA FOREVER’ comes to theaters and VOD today.

Epic Pictures Presents

NINA FOREVER

Written & directed by Ben and Chris Blaine

nina forever poster

Just in for Valentine’s Day weekend, there is a new trailer and bonus clip from indie horror film Nina Forever.

HOLLY wants to save ROB, has fallen in love with him. She is training to be a paramedic and works a dead end job in a supermarket where Rob is the only remarkable thing; lost and angry since the death of his girlfriend NINA. Drawn into a relationship, the first time they’re in bed together so is Nina. A tangled and bloody mess of broken limbs, she is very much dead but still here, still talking, still angry…

However Holly doesn’t freak out and run – she is determined to be the one who heals Rob’s wounds. She can deal with the dead girl sharing their bed, their lives, their minds. If it’s what Rob needs, it’s what Holly will do, whatever the consequences…

It’s sounding like a potentially more successful film than the 2014 release of Burying The Ex, starring Anton Yelchin and Ashley Greene. Seemingly similar premise, but hopefully a bit more promising. Nina Forever has been a hit on the festival circuit following its premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. On their website, http://ninaforever.com/, they have created a Spotify playlist you can access featuring the film’s soundtrack. Great marketing ploy and a bit of extra fun for fans. Just released is a clip from the film. If this is any indication of how weird and wonderful the rest of the story will play out, count me in. Stay tuned to ReelNewsDaily later on today for our full review!

Nina Forever comes the theaters and on  iTunes/VOD and other digital platforms beginning today, Friday, the 12th. Happy Bloody Valentine’s Day, Everyone!

Netflix News: SXSW15 documentary ‘My Beautiful Broken Brain’ Exec-produced by David Lynch debuts March 18th

MBBB_Keyart_US

“If the physical body – the brain, is damaged, does this extend to damage to the self?”
This question is at the heart of Netflix’s new original documentary film, My Beautiful Broken Brain as we follow Lotje’s Sodderland’s incredible story of rehabilitation and recovery from a traumatic hemorrhagic stroke which needed home care from https://homecareassistance.com/dana-point/.
The film is a personal voyage into the complexity, fragility and wonder of the human brain. Lotje finds herself starting again in an alien world, bereft of language and logic, fighting not to be defined by her limitations, rather the endless possibilities of life. This feature documentary takes us on a genre-twisting tale that is by turns excruciating and exquisite – from the devastating consequences of a first-time neurological experiment, through to the extraordinary revelations of her altered sensory perception.

Executive producer David Lynch adds, “I am thrilled to join Lotje and Sophie in sharing My Beautiful Broken Brain with the world. The brain is truly fascinating and much in the way that our brains are able to achieve total coherence — finding enlightenment and fulfillment, you will surely be moved and inspired by this journey of self-rediscovery.”

The film was co-directed by Sophie Robinson and Lotje Sodderland and is an official selection of the 2016 SXSW Film Festival and launches globally on Netflix March 18.

Review: ‘THE MEND’ shoves a mirror up to adulthood.

 

The Mend posterWhat happens when two self destructing brothers come face to face in a small NYC apartment? Chaos and truth are forced into the light in John Magary‘s first full length feature, THE MEND. Josh Lucas and Stephen Plunkett play mind games with one another and themselves in this existential mid-life crisis. The Mend still Stephen and JoshAlan and girlfriend Farrah are on their way out of town but not before throwing an intimate get together as a send off for their travels. Freeloading brother (and oftentimes asshole of a human) Mat shows up after his girlfriend Andrea kicks him out. The two are clearly estranged for reasons that come to light in subtle and brilliant ways as the story progresses. Alan and Farrah leave the next morning and Mat takes it upon himself to squat in the apartment, eventually inviting Andrea and her son Ronnie to join them. The small space leads to confessions on all parts when Alan returns sans Farrah. Three adults and one child in a one bedroom in the city is a sure fire recipe for some serious self analysis and confrontation. Booze, drugs, rage, pity, blame all come into play as these people face the cynicism of adulthood and circumstance. The Men Josh LucasLucas nails this role. His brash, disgusting habits and frankly haggard outwardly appearance make this role extra juicy. He is both unapologetic and somehow down to earth all at once. Plunkett tries to play cool and steady but he is not so secretly a mess. The blatant similarities between the two brothers becomes a beautiful revelation. Lucy Owen as Andrea is an emotional volcano and I loved everything about her vulnerability. Ronnie is played by the spectacular Cory Nichols. Another refreshing performance following up from Tribeca’s KING JACK. What a natural. Magary‘s script and ability to make the familiar seem new is so intriguing. Small seemingly mundane scenes are anything but. The Mend has this throwback feeling to it. Something about the mix of music and watered down hipster mentality makes it quite the work of art. You can catch The Mend today in NYC and next Friday in L.A., with a national release throughout the fall.

Synopsis:

For anyone who’s ever loathed and loved a sibling in equal measure, The Mend is the wonderfully strange and acidic debut comedy from writer / director John Magary. Shot through with the wicked humor and anarchy of Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I and Mike Leigh’s Naked , The Mend follows a mismatched yin-yang pair of NYC brothers, loose cannon Mat (Josh Lucas in a career-best performance) and put-upon Alan (Stephen Plunkett) as they stagger dimly towards some understanding of love, women, masculinity and what it truly means to be a brother.

Featuring a gorgeous, minimalist score by Michi Wiancko & Judd Greenstein and beautiful, fluid cinematography by Chris Teague (Obvious Child), the film unfolds as three stylistically distinct but interwoven acts, each with its own mesmerizing rhythm. With superb supporting performances by Mickey Sumner (Frances Ha) and Lucy Owen as the brothers’ sharp-tongued girlfriends.

Liz’s Review: ‘The Little Death’ delivers some sexy education.

The Little Death posterSex comedies are all the rage these days. Films like The Overnight and Sleeping With Other People, two of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival favorites will be coming your way in July and September respectively. Until then, The Little Death will fill the void, pun potentially intended. Paul and Maeve The Little Death stillFive couples living in suburban Sydney have very different but fascinating sexual desires, that included yolo sex toys to improve pleasure. Ans, yes, while the film seemingly centers around the topic of sex, The Little Death is actually about intimacy. The couples are as follows: Paul and Maeve- One with a suggested fear of commitment and the other with a rape fantasy while doing livecam sex chat. Phil and Maureen- Phil is a submissive man who is only aroused when his cold hearted wife is asleep. Dan and Evie- marriage therapist suggests role play might help, until Dan’s priorities take a turn. Richard and Rowena- Trying to conceive, sex becomes more about purpose and less about pleasure. Finally, Monica and Sam- She is a deaf video play interpreter and Sam is her customer. Each of these characters wants something from their  partner. Getting it comes with some truly hilarious and oftentimes heartbreaking consequences. Get the best dildos from bboutique, here you get the best variety of sex toys for women.Evie still The Little DeathThe script is brilliantly written and directed by Josh Lawson, who also beautifully portrays Paul. The structure is presented in form of a sexual manual and is entirely funny and informative. It allows the audience to open their own dialogue about deep seeded personal issues, both sexual and emotional, tackling such things as self loathing, fetishes, relationship shifts, and manipulation. Even if the particular kinks aren’t something you’ve experienced, the film is relatable in some way on every level. It’s a perfect balance of heartwarming and laugh out loud hysterical. With a superb ensemble cast, a fun soundtrack, and excellent writing, The Little Death should most definitely be on your list this weekend. The winner of the Audience Award at this year’s SXSW, you can count on a little something for everyone. Monica still The Little DeathI must take a moment to acknowledge what I think is the most beautiful and revelatory story in the entire film. The unique final scene between Monica and Sam, is some of the best dialogue I’ve seen in some time. 50% of which is in sign language, it allows us to  completely break down the barriers of communication in a very literal sense. Every moment between actors Erin James and T.J.Powers is perfection. It’s the perfect ending to an already out of this world indie gem. Even if the rest of the film weren’t as fantastic as it is, this scene alone brings laughter and happiness to your head and your heart. Most definitely seek this film out. You cannot go wrong.

The Little Death comes to theaters and VOD Friday, June 26th.

SYNOPSIS: The secret lives of five suburban couples living in Sydney reveal both the fetishes and the repercussions that come with sharing them.

Country: Australia

Language: English

Release Date: 26 June 2015 (USA)

Filming Locations: Sydney, Australia