Review: ‘A Good Woman Is Hard To Find’ puts power back in the most deserving hands.

Forced into an emotionally and physically abusive relationship under unusual circumstances, Sarah must navigate her family’s safety and survive financially. Essentially being held hostage by the ripple effect of a drug dealer’s irrational behavior, she strives to regain control of the situation all while attempting to solve the murder of her husband. The intrusive nature of the plot will stifle the viewer. You will not even realize how long you’ve been holding your breath.

Sarah Bolger, who terrified me in Emelie, now plays the complete opposite. She’s a woman on a mission for good. You will root for her. You will be nervous for her. You will cheer her on as she finds her voice. What she must do in self-defense is gruesome. Each beat is so genuinely played, you will not soon forget this performance.

There is a beautiful dichotomy in the fact that she is being terrorized and is financially empowered by her captor. But the abuse is not limited to him. She is verbally assaulted and disrespected where she goes. The assumptions made by everyone in her path are insulting and cruel. As a woman, this film is excruciating to watch. This is a complete complement to the authenticity of the judgment and misogyny (not just from men) that we deal with on a daily basis.

The practical FX are gruesome but completely necessary to feel connected with Bolger’s crisis. The augmented sound editing combined with slow-motion dynamics in a particular scene is visceral. A Good Woman Is Hard To Find proves to be an amazingly insightful commentary on power dynamics and a pretty satisfying story of revenge.

Review: ‘We Summon The Darkness’ makes satanic panic rock.

On the way to a heavy metal concert, Alexis (Alexandra Daddario) and two girlfriends hear a news report of a local murder believed to be tied to a series of satanic killings. After the show, the girls invite three guys to join them at the estate owned by Alexis’s father, a fire-and-brimstone preacher (Johnny Knoxville). What starts as a party suddenly turns dark and deadly in this devilishly entertaining thriller.

The amazing connection between heavy metal music and satanic worship in the ’80s is exploited to it’s fullest and most awesome extent in We Summon The Darkness. This film flips the script on the typical slasher film. Not only does it challenge religious extremism, but it puts the power in the hands of our three female leads. While we’re used to a final girl, this script does what few did back in the day. Some of my favorite genres films A Girl Walks Home Alone A Night and High Tension, take female characters that would otherwise seem the victim and make them the antagonist. We Summon The Darkness splits the difference.

The chemistry between Alexandra Daddario and Maddie Hasson is off the charts cool. You’ll find yourself rooting for something you never thought you would because it’s entertaining as hell, no pun intended. The kills are fun, which always sounds weird no matter how much horror I consume. We also get everything 80’s you ever wanted, iconic tunes, over-the-top decor, bitchin’ cars, big hair, and cocaine. It’s no surprise that with a team of Marc Meyers and Alan Trezza, We Summon The Darkness has, at the very least, sequel potential.

Saban Films will release the horror/thriller WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS on VOD and Digital HD on April 10, 2020.

WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS stars Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch, San Andreas), Johnny Knoxville (Bad Grandpa, Jackass), Keean Johnson (Midway), Maddie Hasson (“Impulse”), Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse), Amy Forsyth (Hell Fest) and Austin Swift (Live by Night).  The film is directed by Marc Meyers (My Friend Dahmer) from a script by Alan Trezza (Burying the Ex).

Review: ‘The Postcard Killings’ keeps things twisted.

In The Postcard Killings, based on the James Patterson and Liza Marklund #1 New York Times bestselling novel, NY Detective Jacob Kanon’s (Jeffery Dean Morgan) world is destroyed when his daughter and son-in-law are brutally murdered in London. Unable to sit idly by and do nothing, Jacob travels to London get the answers he needs. As he learns of similar heinous murders happening across Europe – each preceded by a postcard sent to a local journalist – Jacob is in a race against time to stop the killings and find justice for his little girl.

Famke Janssen becomes more relevant as Jacob’s ex-wife Val in the second half. She is his eyes and ears on a lead back in the States. Her ever dark, brooding, and strong presence was the perfect casting choice. Denis O’Hare‘s startling appearance is awesome. He can essentially do no wrong and is one of the most sought after character actors working, just ask Ryan Murphy. Jeffery Dean Morgan, who I have adored since his Supernatural days, has superstar range. Not only does he have a booming voice but truly dashing good looks. He owns the entire screen whenever he appears. Here, he plays NYPD detective thrust into the honeymoon murder investigation of his own daughter and son-in-law in London. When the details seem familiar, he makes it his mission to find the killer on an international chase. Morgan has the ability to say very little but expresses so much simply through a glance. He is undeniably fantastic. I hope we see more big-screen appearances once The Walking Dead comes to an end.

Opening with some gruesome imagery, The Postcard Killings immediately captures your interest. The script is thoroughly engrossing. It has a bit of a Se7en feel with a body horror aspect. Just when you think you know what’s going on, think again. As bodies pile up, clues are revealed that will both intrigue and shock. You will place yourself in Jacob ‘s shoes. One hour in, you will be thrown so much information and the tonal shift will knock you down. You will never be bored. The international locations are stunning, mixed with the light orchestral score, The Postcard Killings is an entertaining thriller.

RLJE Films will release THE POSTCARD KILLINGS in theaters and On Demand and Digital on March 13, 2020. The film is based on the #1 New York Times bestselling novel “The Postcard Killers” by James Patterson and Liza Marklund.

THE POSTCARD KILLINGS stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan ( “The Walking Dead”), Famke Janssen (X-Men franchise), Cush Jumbo (“The Good Fight”), Joachim Król (Run Lola Run), Steven Mackintosh (Rocketman), and Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story”). Written by Andrew Stern (Disconnect), Ellen Furman (The Infiltrator), Liza Marklund and Tove Alsterdal, the film was directed by Academy Award Winner Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land).

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: ‘Blood On Her Name’- a killer neo-noir brimming with tension.

SYNOPSIS: The dead body lies at her feet, its blood still draining onto the floor. It was an accident, borne of self-defense, but its discovery could have devastating consequences for local garage owner Leigh Tiller and her son.

Feat. Bethany Anne Lind (REPRISAL, OZARK), Will Patton, (REMEMBER THE TITANS, ARMAGEDDON) and Elizabeth Röhm (AMERICAN HUSTLE, JOY)

There is a heavy and devastating state of dread that occurs as you experience Blood On Her Name. The film occurs in what feels like real-time pacing making the tension truly palpable. As details of a haunting past slowly leak into view, karma’s long-arm feels destined to right the universe. This story is nothing short of tragic. Leigh simply wants to make a better life for her son but circumstances will not release her from childhood trauma and poor current choices. As a mother, I immediately put myself in her shoes. The fear and panic were overwhelming. It was an actual experience sitting through this film.

Bethany Anne Lind is a force to be reckoned with. She has an extraordinary ability to own the screen and pull you along her emotional journey. She is the heart of this film. Frankly, the other members of the cast could have been played by anyone. Don’t get me wrong, the chemistry among everyone else is spot on. What I mean is, Lind is so captivating that it’s her performance alone that remains seared into your psyche. Blood On Her Name is a triumphant feature debut for director Matthew Pope and co-writer and producer Don Thompson. It opens in select cinemas (Today) Feb. 28th and on VOD.

BLOOD ON HER NAME will expand nationwide in the coming weeks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: ‘You Go To My Head’ has a long lasting psychological effect on its audience.

In a desolate stretch of the Sahara, a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman lost and alone. Jake, a reclusive architect, finds her unconscious. He drives her to the nearest doctor, to discover that she’s suffering from post-traumatic amnesia. Intoxicated by the woman’s beauty, Jake claims to be her husband. He names her Kitty and takes her to his remote desert home to recuperate. The Angell Law Firm knows personal injury law, which is why our Atlanta car accident attorneys are able to offer the best legal representation in the state. For best legal advice, check out your url. At JLF Firm | Accident Attorneys, we will fight for the rights of all the victims who are injured in accidents or caused by negligence. We are the car accident attorney Riverside residents trust. Your life is valuable and you deserve fair compensation. If you have an accident, then you need to get a Riverside accident attorneys to fight for your rights. When it’s time to find a law firm it’s very often because of a sudden unexpected event. Perhaps an accident or injury that you need to act on right away. Sometimes it’s not unexpected as much as it is just delaying the inevitable. This is often the case where bankruptcy attorneys are involved. Many of their clients spend time looking for simple answers to their debt until they get sued by a creditor and it’s time to find a bankruptcy attorney. So the question is, how do you go about finding an attorney? Seems like a simple enough question on the surface, but when you start to look for a Long Island Personal Injury Attorneys firm, you’ll notice right away that there seems to be an endless number of law firms and how will you manage to find the one that’s right for you. As good as the search engines are, the legal profession is just as good as marketing themselves on the search engines. For this reason, if you type in a particular legal issue, such as bankruptcy or medical malpractice, it’s very likely that you will get results from law firms all over the country. In a medical malpractice personal injury lawsuit, a victim seeks compensation for the injury or injuries he or she has suffered. Compensation can include past and future medical expenses, disability or deformity, loss of income, emotional and mental anguish, loss of a spouse’s comfort and society, past and future pain and suffering, and an amount which would be necessary to make the person whole as respects a permanent personal injury. You can check this news for more detail about the medical malpractice attorney. Those firms that have done such a good job trying to get noticed on search engines will be displayed when you are searching. Exploring a bankruptcy attorney’s website and finding a lot of great information may lead you to believe that this is the attorney you want to retain. It is a bit disappointing to find out that when you click the contact tab, you find out the attorney is in Chicago, and you are in New York. Certainly I am not suggesting that you turn to the Yellow Pages! However, there are sources that still let your fingers do the walking, but this time, on the keyboard. One of the most underused resources on the Internet is the local search directory. The major search engines have long recognized this with sites like Yahoo Local and Google Places, but many people don’t know that they have to access those sites differently. It’s hard to change old habits, and eve the major players aren’t making inroads to the local marketplace as fast as they had hoped. In addition, the thrust of their marketing seems to be directed to retail stores and services.
Vehicle accidents are the most common type of incident which will require you to go seeking the services of Attorneys’ dealing in personal injury cases. Aside from auto accidents, there are other kinds such as motorcycle, truck and boat accidents as well. These can result in personal injuries or death at worst. The main reason why there are car accidents is the failure to exercise care while driving. Irresponsible and reckless driving is usually the main reason why car accidents occur. Unfortunately not all countries have laws that can protect people from personal injury. As a driver one should follow the rules, exercise care and adjust to different driving conditions. The failure to do so could result in serious injury and your lifestyle to be compromised. When an auto collides with another, personal injury is very likely to occur and this leads to having to be represented in court by an Attorney for personal injury. Usually the case is taken to court to determine fair and just compensation and this is when you need an experienced Attorney to represent you. You can check this https://www.stephenbabcock.com/ site for more information regading to personal injury and accident attorney.
The party who is proven to be responsible will be ordered to pay for damages, loss of income, medical bills and other related items. If a car is damaged, they have to pay for repair or if a victim is suffering from injuries, the medical bills need to be paid which can amount to a considerable sum of money. The victim may also suffer from mental anguish and trauma as well. This will all be taken into account when the judge makes his decision. As a victim, there are things you need to bare in mind. When the injury is severe, call an ambulance and the police, so that everything is recorded. There are cases when injuries are not visible like fractures or internal injuries so receiving hospital treatment is vital. A good idea is to take a picture of everything like skid marks, location of cars and injuries to the injured. These should be available for immediate release. Photographs are considered to be great evidence. It is also a good idea to collect details from witnesses. The success of a case is often determined by witnesses and an instance of this is when a driver runs a red light. In order to make sure that the maximum payment is received, you need to do some research on Attorneys for personal injury in view of engagement. You need to select a licensed person to ensure that they are legitimate to practice. Perhaps asking friends and family for personal recommendations can help you in your selection process. Being confident that you have the very best personal injury Attorney representing you will lessen the stress involved when dealing with a court case.
There is no need to worry about upfront payments, we can guarantee there will be no charges until we get you your compensation. We can handle any type of situation such as car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slips, falls, wrongful death, and any situation which involves negligence. You will not have to worry about anything because your Riverside accident attorney from the JLF Firm| Accident Attorneys will take care of you. You can trust our knowledge and experience in this stressful moment of your life. Contact your Riverside accident attorney today. Jason Stone Injury Lawyers are great firm if you need someone to handle your injury case. Jeff and his associates and legal assistants are very precise in what they do. They are skilled, efficient, professional and compassionate. They did such a great job that I even didn’t have to appear in a court. I could not have had better representation. I would highly recommend him to anyone! Thank you for the amazing job Jeff! The personal injury attorneys at denton & zachary, pllc are committed to helping victims in Little Rock obtain the compensation they deserve for his or her injuries. Our injury lawyers will go above and beyond to carry the at-fault party accountable and make sure you are fully compensated for your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
As Kitty struggles to come to grips with who she is, Jake invents an elaborate life they can share – the life he has always yearned for. Little by little, Kitty begins to fall in love with him. But when shreds of her past begin to surface, Jake takes steps to ensure he will not lose the love of his life…
As a viewer, you feel just as captive as our leading lady. The constant feeling of dread looms large. The beautiful desert landscape in stark contrast to the modern, predominantly white architecture, allows us to fully immerse ourselves into the relationship between Kitty and Jake. You will feel the isolation and wonder if you have a bit of Stockholm syndrome. Waiting for “the other shoe to drop” is maddening. The score is jarring and incredibly effective. You Go To My Head is a masterfully structured film from every angle. Not to mention it is breathtakingly shot.
Performances by Delfine Bafort and Svetozar Cvetkovic are hypnotizing. They are both charming and flawed, and their chemistry is a perfect balance of wonder and skepticism.  And while the film is almost a full 2 hrs with a slow burn, the anxiety holds you down and forces you to watch. That is a sign of a truly successful film. I cannot stop thinking about this story. It sincerely through me for a loop. You Go To My Head will confound audiences long after the credits roll… and that’s a great thing.
DIMITRI DE CLERCQ’S GRIPPING 
PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER 
YOU GO TO MY HEAD
OPENS ON VALENTINE’S DAY (FEBRUARY 14) IN 
NEW YORK CITY & FEBRUARY 21 IN LOS ANGELES

Panic Fest review: ‘Greenlight’ – Making movies takes a killer instinct.

A young director is looking for his big break, but when a producer asks him to goes beyond his limits the opportunity could break him. Coming this month to Kansa City, MO’s Panic Fest, Greenlight is an industry thriller you’ll want a ticket to.

Jack’s passion for filmmaking is put to the test when he is hired to direct his first feature: a psychological thriller about a sleep experiment gone awry. But when the producer makes a request from Jack that he knows he cannot fulfill, everyone and everything is at risk. He wants to last kill in the film to be real.

There are some really smart heads up lines in the dialogue. When the production begins, the coloring and shots improve tenfold. The film has a sleek look, especially if you’ve even been on a set. The tension is immediately felt. When the shit hits the fan at about 30 minutes in, you can see where Jack has no choice but to comply. Threats of manufactured blackmail and violence leave him in a panic. The audience is with him on this sick ride. We now own his paranoia.

Chase Williamson as Jack is thrilling to watch. His amped-up slide into desperate madness is palpable. Shane Coffey as Williamson’s best bud and DP is incredibly natural. He very much deserves a mention. Director Graham Denman does a great job with this script from Patrick R Young. The anxiety is brilliantly enhanced by the metaplot and the literal use of the word “Cut!” Greenlight is entertaining as hell and you will need to see how the end plays out for your own sanity’s sake. The film has already garnered Best Feature and Best Male Performance awards at multiple festivals. I am excited to see what Denman brings to the genre world next.

 

https://panicfilmfest.com/greenlight/

GREENLIGHT comes to VOD and digital platforms Feb. 25th, 2020

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2020 review: The world premiere of ‘The Night’ is as captivating as it is terrifying.

Kourosh Ahari’s THE NIGHT
The Iranian-American Ahari makes a startling feature directorial debut with a stylish psychological thriller about a young couple trapped in a mysterious hotel that hungers for their secrets and may not release them or their child back into the world. The film stars Shahab Hosseini (star of A SEPARATION and THE SALESMAN).

What a knock out world premiere for director Kourosh Ahari. Beautifully lush cinematography (including some early haunting POV shots) props up the richness of The Night. The score adds a layer or jarring dread that is simply gorgeous. While the script skillfully utilizes a number of classic tropes, it is also stacked with a multitude of original imagery that unnerves the viewer from the very beginning. I was thrown for a loop more times than I can count. The heightened sound editing also pushes The Night into next-level scary. The plot will have you questioning your own sanity. Is this a dispute between exhausted new parents? Is this an alcohol-induced hallucination? Or is this hotel housing unwanted guests?

Performances are so strong you will quickly forget that the film is predominantly in Farsi. As Parasite director Boon Jong-Ho so eloquently stated at this year’s Golden Globes, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” This is the most important quote in cinema right now. Kourosh Ahari’s THE NIGHT is a heart-pounding and twisted watch. Santa Barbara International Film Festival is lucky to host its world premiere. This film should be on every genre fan’s radar this year.

WORLD PREMIERE – SATURDAY, JANUARY 18

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

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

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

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

Review: ‘The Wolf Hour’ will close in on your comfort level.

SYNOPSIS: It’s July 1977, and New York City is awash with escalating violence. A citywide blackout is triggering fires, looting, and countless arrests, and the Son of Sam murders are riddling the city with panic. June, once a celebrated counterculture figure, attempts to retreat from the chaos by shutting herself inside the yellowed walls of her grandmother’s South Bronx apartment. But her doorbell is ringing incessantly, the heat is unbearable, and creeping paranoia and fear are taking hold. Visitors, some invited, some unsolicited, arrive one by one, and June must determine whom she can trust and whether she can find a path back to her former self.

Naomi Watts gives a powerful performance that is so raw, it will get under your skin for long after the credits have rolled. This stylistic film hits a nerve for the viewer instantly. Its claustrophobia consumes you as much as Watts’ character June. Clearly suffering PTSD exacerbated by the current overwhelming outside forces that play out keep June locked in her house 24hrs day for God knows how many years at the point we meet her. Her desperation is palpable. The colors and sound editing combined with brilliant slow-burn pacing make The Wolf Hour hypnotizing. It feels post-apocalyptic. It feels far too relevant. Watts is like a ticking timebomb. Her performance is one of the year’s best. This could have been a stage play based upon its singular location but I’m not sure you could have captured the heaviness of the air and environment in the same way. In film form, The Wolf Hour digs its nails into you in the fiercest way.

In theaters December 6

Written & Directed by: Alistair Banks Griffin
Starring: Naomi Watts, Jennifer Ehle, Emory Cohen, Kelvin Harrison Jr.

Review: ‘Grand Isle’ is much like the hurricane it’s set against.

Grand Isle follows Walter (Nicolas Cage) and his neglected wife (Strickland) who lure a young man (Benward) into their Victorian home to escape a hurricane. When the man is charged with murder by Detective Jones (Grammar), he must reveal the couple’s wicked secrets to save himself.

Kelsey Grammer plays a southern detective with an old-world charm, attempting to get the truth in a twisted case of breaking and entering turned murder. Buddy is a young, working-class father who gets wrapped up with one of the most volatile couples in town. (Nic Cage and Kadee Strickland) These two have secrets and a love/hate relationship for the ages. The plot seems cliche but it’s anything but. You will not be able to predict what’s coming next. I have to give credit where credit is due to co-writers Iver William Jallah and Rich Ronat. The script is much more emotionally complex than expected. It’s a film about deep down trauma and how we do or do not cope. With some decent fight choreography and a whole hell of a lot of weirdness, Grand Isle is a sick mystery no one will see coming. Cage is scary and bizarre as usual. Kadee Strickland is sexy as hell and damn lunatic. She pretty much owns this entire story. Luke Benward as Buddy, our main protagonist, gives a solid performance. Besides Strickland, Kelsey Grammer is my favorite part of this movie. While he is in fewer scenes than I’d like, his delivery and presence is exactly what Grand Isle needed to succeed.

The southern gothic thriller stars Nicolas Cage, Kelsey Grammer, Luke Benward and KaDee Strickland. Directed by Stephen S. Campanelli, the film was co-written by Iver William Jallah and Rich Ronat. Screen Media will release the film in theaters nationwide and on-demand December 6th.

Review: Kevin McMullin’s ‘Low Tide’ is a successful teen noir.

LOW TIDE

In the long days of summer in a beach town on the New Jersey shore, high schooler Alan (Keean Johnson) and his friends Red (Alex Neustaedter) and Smitty (Daniel Zolghadri) break into vacation homes to steal valuables, funding dates at the boardwalk and lunches at the burger stand. When Alan and his younger brother Peter (Jaeden Martell) find a bag of gold coins, they try to hide them from the others — but Red, suspicious and violently unpredictable, seems willing to do anything to get the money.

This teen thriller is so well written and acted that the foreboding behinds immediately and never lets up. Nothing good can come of white boy rage and resentment. But a whole lot of great can come from a brilliant young cast of this caliber. Jaeden Martell is captivating as younger boy scout brother Alan. There is something truly special about this young man’s ability to fill a frame with a powerful silence. Older, sort of ne’er do well brother played by Keean Johnson is a dynamic foil for Martell. Fueled by equal parts passion and pride, he inadvertently puts both boys’ lives in jeopardy. The other two young men that keep these brothers deeply mired in danger are complete opposites of one another. Daniel Zolghadri gives a phenomenal performance as Smitty, playing somewhere between a mob rat and a boy who is terrified to feel rejected. The fourth and certainly most brutal of the bunch is Red. Alex Neustaedter utilizes a physical and emotional volatility that is truly unsettling. You will keep one eye on him at all times because you know nothing good can come of his angry townie attitude. These four boys try to avoid getting caught robbing summer tourists but deceit leads the group down a deadly path. Writer-Director Kevin McMullin has crafted a real thriller. The cinematography is beautiful. Existing in a time driven by greed and favoring the elite, Low Tide proves that human nature reveals its flaws just as easily among children as it does adults. This film undoubtedly brings unsettling intrigue and true noir.

Written and Directed by: Kevin McMullin
Produced by: Brendan McHugh, Kevin Rowe, Richard Peete, Rian Cahill, and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones 
Starring: Keean Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Alex Neustaedter, Daniel Zolghadri, Kristine Froseth, Shea Whigham

Distributed by A24 and DIRECTV
Run Time: 86 Minutes
Rated R for language, some violence and teen drug use

 

Review: ‘Depraved’ reminds us who the real monsters are.

The legend of Frankenstein gets a provocative modern update in the stylishly disturbing new film from indie horror master Larry Fessenden. Suffering from PTSD following his stint as an army medic, Henry (David Call) now works feverishly in his Brooklyn laboratory to forget the death he witnessed overseas by creating life in the form of a man cobbled together from body parts. After procuring a brain from an unwitting victim, his creation—Adam (Alex Breaux)—is born. But it soon seems that giving life to Adam was the easy part; teaching him how to live in a dark and troubled world may be perilous. A complex, emotionally shattering tale about what it means to be human, Depraved brings Mary Shelley’s immortal fable fully into the 21st century.

 

Like Mary Shelley‘s novel, as you watch Depraved, you immediately realize that our Dr. Frankenstein character is the monster and not his creation. The emotional connection in this script is what engrosses you from the very beginning. It explores the good, the bad, and definitely the ugly of the human condition.

Performances are out of this world. David Call as Henry is exceedingly ambitious. He easily flips from hopeful excitement to an underlying irrational rage, fueled by military PTSD. As a mother, it’s like watching myself teaching my toddlers, especially when I’ve reached my mental and emotional limits. Joshua Leonard as Polidori is the diabolical shit starter that propels the insanity to the next level. Alex Breaux as Adam is captivating. His vulnerability is literally a head to toe performance. These men give us a complex dynamic that is undeniably intense and brilliant. Director Larry Fessenden has created something spectacular in every way. Depraved is easily one of my favorite films of 2019.

The overall editing of Depraved is a masterclass unto itself. Utilization of flashbacks fills in the backstory gaps. The visual overlays of synapses firing are truly effective. We become Adam. It is damn near perfect. The special effects make-up is striking. The sound editing is hypnotizing and the score is breathtaking. Fessenden has given us a complex character study that subtly shines a light on issues from big pharma to the treatment of our veterans and beyond. It is a story about moral corruptibility at its finest. You will be left in awe. Depraved is a modern-day, movie monster masterpiece.

 In Theaters September 13

Directed and Written by Larry Fessenden (The Last Winter, Until Dawn, Habit)
Starring David Call (“The Sinner”), Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project), Alex Breaux (“When They See Us”), Addison Timlin (Odd Thomas, Fallen), Maria Dizzia (“Orange Is The New Black,” “13 Reasons Why”)

Review: ‘BURN’ will knock you for a loop.

SYNOPSIS: BURN follows a lonely, unstable gas station attendant Melinda (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), tired of being overshadowed by her more confident, outgoing co-worker Sheila (Suki Waterhouse).   When the gas station is held at gunpoint by Billy (Josh Hutcherson), a desperate man in need of quick cash, Melinda finds an opportunity to make a connection with the robber, regardless of who gets hurt.

The young cast has fiery energy, pardon the pun. Suki Waterhouse is a fantastic, atypical pretty girl with a bitch streak. Harry Shum, Jr. is charming as the local newbie cop. Josh Hutcherson, who I cannot help but picture in his now-iconic Hunger Games role, is undeniably strong. The emotional highs and lows of his situation are striking. The real star is our leading lady, Melinda. Tilda Cobham-Hervey is haunting in both her physicality and nuance. She keeps you on the edge of your seat all while tapping into that lonely place we all have inside ourselves. The film begs the question, who is the real villain in this story? It tackles self-harm, isolation, and flips the classic power structure on its head in truly shocking ways. The plot is unique and it will go places you are not expecting. BURN will cause you internal struggle and that is what makes it pretty damn spectacular.

Momentum Pictures will release the thriller BURN in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on August 23, 2019.

Written and directed by Mike Gan (No Evil) who is making his feature directorial debut, the film stars Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games Films), Suki Waterhouse (Insurgent), Tilda Cobham-Hervey (Hotel Mumbai), Harry Shum Jr. (Crazy Rich Asians) and Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead).

Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 review: Let us all worship at the altar of ‘THE DIVINE FURY’.

The Divine Fury

After losing his father at a young age in a terrible accident, Yong-hu (Park Seo-jun) abandons his Christian faith and chooses to only believe in himself. Now as an adult, Yong-hu is a champion fighter and has everything he has ever wanted, that is until mysterious wounds appear in the palms of his hands. He solicits help from a local priest Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki), hoping the priest can help relieve him of the painful markings, only to find himself in the middle of a dangerous fight against otherworldly evil forces seeking to wreak havoc on the human world.

Set against the neon lights of Seoul, The Divine Fury utilizes incredibly effective special fx mixed with a dynamic plot of good vs evil. Roman Catholic use of exorcism is rare and must be approved by the Vatican. As a former Catholic school kid and genre fans since the age of 2, I know this to be fact… At least as factual as one can attribute to organized religion in general. All that aside, The Divine Fury adds an extra supernatural element by giving an MMA fighter a demon expelling stigmata superpower. It takes faith into a genre-bending underworld and it is fascinating. From the very first shot with its heightened sound editing, you know you’re in for a ride. There is never a dull moment during its 2-hour runtime. The fight choreography is outstanding and meticulously specific to this unique plot (Think MMA meets demon streetfighter goodness). As a “lapsed Catholic” viewer, it does a brilliant job of melding together religion and otherworldly lore for one hell of an entertaining storyline. I cannot express how truly fun this film is. As the closing film of Fantasia International Film Festival 2019, The Divine Fury puts this year’s selections over the top.

Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 review: DREADOUT plays well on the big screen.

Jessica, Beni, Dian, Alex, Erik, and Linda want to increase their popularity through recording their adventures to upload to their social media accounts. They chose to go to an abandoned apartment famous for its awesomeness. Linda manages to persuade Kang Heri, security guard, to enter the apartment. Linda and friends found one apartment unit which is given a police line. Encouraged by curiosity, they brake down the door of the apartment unit. When they are researching the room, they find an old parchment, which only Linda could read. After Linda reads the writing on the parchment, suddenly a portal open. Inadvertently Linda and her friends have opened the door to the magical world and anger the portal guardian supernatural creatures.

Those crazy teenagers. Always opening the gates to other worlds. DREADOUT had its North American premiere last night at Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 and audiences were not disappointed. The film begins with all the buildup of suspense and visual feel of playing the DreadOut video games. The framing feels sharp and the character dynamics are as fresh as Cabin In The Woods. As the audience peers through the cell phone lense of the group’s live stream, it has an amazing effect on how the lighting is filtered and you find yourself glancing at the viewership every so often. But mostly, it forces your attention to the mysterious surroundings even more intensely. This is simply the introduction to this film’s plot. 30 mins in, some creative and fresh hell awaits our ingenue Linda (Caitlin Halderman). She must explore her new otherworldly environment and figure out why she’s there and how to escape. The film’s location bounces between realms keeping the audience on its toes and the pace moving. The sets are incredibly intricate and the film really never ceases to entertain. Now, I’ve never played the game but it is reminiscent of Silent Hill and I have played that for years. The best shots recall first player gameplay with pointed POV camera work that’s impossible to miss. I do wish that had not completely disappeared. If I’m being honest, I could have used a bit more otherworldly background, perhaps flashes just as the gang is discovering the storyline. As someone who has not played the game, I feel like this was a missed opportunity.  As a whole, I was fully engrossed. DREADOUT has all the elements of a great horror adventure. Genre fans should be nothing but pleased.

DREADOUT

 

Review: ‘A Violent Separation’

In Theaters and On-Demand May 17, 2019
Directed by: Kevin and Michael Goetz (A Scenic Route)

In a quiet midwestern town, Norman Young (Brenton Thwaites) is faced with an impossible decision; arrest his older brother Ray (Ben Robson) for murder or help him cover it up. Norman chooses family. As the ensuing investigation withers, neither of the brothers are prepared for the weight of their guilt or how that guilt will strain their loyalty to those closest to them.

Brenton Thwaites is the one thing that truly shines in this film. His emotional journey is a tad more interesting, but not by much. That is a reflection of the writing and not his abilities. He does the best he can and should be commended for it. While the cinematography is lovely, this script ends up feeling really anticlimactic and frankly pretty dull. I can see what it was trying to do but there was very little in the way of character development outside of the first 20 minutes. Even then, it was small-town cliche. Alycia Debnam-Carey is vastly underutilized and her character is overly simplistic. You knew exactly where this was going from the very beginning and the final scene between brothers was telegraphed from a mile away. The investigation (the driving force of the plot) was not very thorough which led to little to no intrigue. A Violent Separation needed more meat on the bones for my taste.

Starring: 
Brenton Thwaites (“Titans, The Giver)
Ben Robson (“Animal Kingdom,” “Vikings”)
Alycia Debnam-Carey (“Fear the Walking Dead,” “The 100”)
Claire Holt (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Pretty Little Liars”)
Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs, “Monk”)
Francesca Eastwood (Outlaws and Angels, M.F.A.)
Gerald McRaney (“This Is Us,” “Promised Land”)
Peter Michael Goetz (Father of the Bride Part II, My Girl)

Kevin and Michael Goetz’s film explores how far we will go to protect the ones we love. Screen Media will release A VIOLENT SEPARATION in theaters and on-demand May 17, 2019.

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 Review: ‘Come To Daddy’ is everything you’d want an Ant Timpson film to be.

COME TO DADDY

Elijah Wood plays an emotionally overwhelmed uber hipster attempting to reconnect with his estranged father. Summoned to a secluded home via a mysterious letter from his dad, he finds himself in an unexpected situation. Wood, as always, is vulnerable and funny. I’ll buy anything he’s selling. His body of work is so eclectic and wonderfully bizarre, what’s not to love? Now let’s talk about Ant Timpson‘s amazing directing. As a producer, The ABC’s Of Death is off the wall fun and don’t even get me started on the insanity that is The Greasy Strangler. Come To Daddy, Timpson’s directorial debut is a genre-bending funhouse. Tribeca’s Midnight section is the perfect slot for Timpson’s work and I do mean that as a compliment. This film takes a sharp turn at 30 minutes in, then hurtles from mysterious to funny, unsettling to WTF, and it is a delight. The camera work is top-notch. There is mayhem for days. Wonderfully timed plot treats fall into our laps like a busted piñata. I simply cannot express how damn fun this film is. You will not have any clue where this is going.

Norval’s (Elijah Wood) life has been, to put it lightly, difficult. Currently living home with his mother, the troubled young man is coming off alcohol-related struggles. So when he receives an unexpected letter from his estranged father requesting a visit, Norval catches a bus up to his dad’s secluded and scenic waterfront home. Maybe reconnecting with his father will give Norval the emotional fulfillment he’s been lacking. Before long, though, he notices something off about his dad, an uneasy feeling triggered by inappropriate comments and a possible over-dependence on booze. Norval quickly realizes that his hope of father/son bonding is doomed. Instead of a family reunion, he finds himself in waking nightmare.
FILM INFO

Review: ‘Leaving Neverland’ exposes the man in the mirror. The two part doc airs this Sunday and Monday.

PRESENTS

LEAVING NEVERLAND

Debuts on HBO March 3rd and 4th

This two-part documentary explores the separate but parallel experiences of two young boys, James Safechuck, at age ten, and Wade Robson, at age seven, both of whom were befriended by Michael Jackson. Through gut-wrenching interviews with Safechuck, now 37, and Robson, now 41, as well as their mothers, wives and siblings, the film crafts a portrait of sustained abuse, exploring the complicated feelings that led both men to confront their experiences after both had a young son of their own.

I’ve started this review many times in the past seven days. It’s been difficult to put into words how Leaving Neverland has made me feel. For my sixth birthday, I can only recall receiving one particular gift. It was Micheal Jackson’s Thriller on cassette. This was my very first album that was all mine, outside of Sesame Street or Disney songs. I had already been dancing for three years and MJ would influence my musical and performance taste going forward. In 2009, my husband and I were in the car and the radio came on with the breaking news on Michael’s death. We were stunned, devastated, conflicted. We’d lived through the accusations at the same time his accusers and fellow defenders had. Macaulay Culkin was my childhood crush and one of Jackson’s close friends. Culkin has categorically denied anything inappropriate ever happened. He and Wade Robson‘s testimony had a huge effect when Jackson went to trial. I was relieved when Michael was acquitted of all charges in the early 2000s. I wanted to believe that his hands were clean. Now, I think my idolization of this once in a lifetime artist is destroyed.

The personal risks for Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck coming forward now are immense. Hardcore fans are up in arms. Threatening to protest in droves at the film’s premiere at Sundance. But in the doc, we see and hear more evidence than ever before. Family photos, home video, faxes, and to top it off, voicemails, all from Michael. There is new video from inside Neverland. The sheer number of bedrooms hidden onsight should have been alarm enough. The pattern is laid out for us to see. The grooming is there. The gifts, the promises, and all the personal attention. But obviously most upsetting is the sexual abuse itself. Each act described in illicit detail. I want so badly for these stories to be lies. I do not think they are. In a time when victims’ voices are more important than ever, we have to respect Robson and Safechuck for finally feeling healthy enough, physically and emotionally, to share their stories. They are not being paid for the film. They have confronted the abuse that they were groomed to believe was love. Now, as father’s of little boys themselves, they have to come to terms with not only their hurt but the onus of their mothers who failed to protect them. There are no winners here. No amount of money can bring back the childhoods that were stolen. What emotion comes after denial? I think it’s anger. Now, after Leaving Neverland, I’m just really angry.

RT: Part 1: approx. 2 hours
Part 2 approx. 2 hours

Directed and Produced by Dan Reed
Edited by Jules Cornell
Featuring Wade Robson and James Safechuck