Review: ‘NOLA Circus’… the most average show on Earth

NOLA Circus

Theatrical release date: April 21, 2017
VOD (Video On Demand) release date: April 25, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

NOLA Circus is a comedy, directed by Luc Annest, about two competing barber shops in New Orleans, that are right across the street from one another, and the ridiculous events that take place surrounding the owners and their friends and families.

One of the barber shops is owned by Will (Martin Bradford), a black barber who loves afros and regularly gives speeches on racial issues. Will is having a secret love connection with Nola (Jessica Morali)a white woman dreaming of a career in showbiz. Will’s rival, Marvin (Vas Blackwood), is a sex addict who is having an affair with a local drug dealer, Karen (Kamille McCuin). The drama in everyone’s lives seems to all come together at once, creating a series of crazy events. Whether its Nola’s brother, Denzel (Reginal Varice), beating up pizza delivery guys to “protect” his sister or the KKK going after Will, you just never know what will happen next.

Nola (Jessica Morali) is the focal point in this movie. The “circus act” of events all seem to stem from her life. Without Jessica Morali this movie would have gotten an even lower rating. NOLA Circus is labeled a comedy, but we only found ourselves laughing only a few times and most of those times can be found in the trailer. With the amount of craziness going on in this movie, it’s easy to see why it would get put in the comedy genre… we however, just didn’t find it that amusing. With a similar premise to the Barbershop franchise, we were expecting more out of NOLA Circus. So was this circus, “The greatest show on Earth?” Not by a long shot… average at best.

Reel ROB Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: Werner Herzog’s ‘SALT AND FIRE’ leaves a bitter taste.

SALT AND FIRE

World Premiere – Shanghai Film Festival 2016

North American Premiere – Toronto International Film Festival 2016

Official Competition – Dubai International Film Festival 2016

Official Competition – Glasgow Film Festival 2017

SALT AND FIRE is about a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Shot in Bolivia, the film stars Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, and Gael García Bernal and was written and directed by Werner Herzog.

I have to be honest. I had extremely high hopes for Salt and Fire based on Werner Herzog‘s direction and the star studded cast of Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, and Gael Garcia Bernal. Boy, oh boy, was I disappointed. Filled over the brim with overly philosophical quotes and MIA cast members, I struggled to even finish the film.  The disjointed feeling of the plot and the hyper theatrical dialogue delivery in the first half of the film are pretty brutal. Michael Shannon, however, gives another sterling performance especially considering what he’s been given to work with. The ending, the final 10 minutes of the film, is so syrupy I sort of just sat there with my mouth open. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe, somehow, the film is over my head. At this point, I just can’t tell. By all means, be your own judge. You can find the trailer below:

TITLE:  SALT AND FIRE
IN THEATERS: April 7, 2017
AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES: April 4, 2017
DIRECTOR: Werner Herzog
WRITER: Werner Herzog, based on the story “Aral” by Tom Bissell
CAST: Michael Shannon, Gael García Bernal, and Veronica Ferres
SYNOPSIS: SALT AND FIRE is about a mysterious hostage-taking where the leader of a small scientific delegation is deliberately stranded with two blind boys in an area of gigantic salt flats. Shot in Bolivia, the film stars Michael Shannon, Veronica Ferres, and Gael García Bernal and was written and directed by Werner Herzog.
GENRE: Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media

Review: ‘PATCH OF FOG’ will engulf you in its plot.

XLrator Media will be releasing A PATCH OF FOG on VOD and iTunes on January 24th.  The film stars Stephen Graham (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”), Conleth Hill (Lord Varys in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) and was directed by Michael Lennox.  
Fame. What are the inherent risks we take to remain in the spotlight? And for those who want to attain the same status, how do we crack the upper echelon if our station begs to differ? In the new film, PATCH OF FOG, famed author and television host is caught shoplifting and the security guard who snags him uses blackmail to kindle a relationship that spells danger for both parties.The plot seems relatively straight forward, but writers John Cairns and Michael McCartney take us on a journey with more clever twists and turns than perhaps any mystery novel on the shelf. Conleth Hill, known for his role as Lord Varys in Game of Thrones, shows a completely different side. Living life with a compulsion for the old grab and run, he is in a constant state of putting his renown on the line. It is his high. On the other end of the spectrum, Stephen Graham, who made quite the name for himself as Al Capone on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, wishes nothing more than to be lifted from his mundane obscurity and leverage power over the his victim. The chemistry between Hill and Graham is electric and unnerving. Don’t be fooled by the baseline description of the plot. Patch of Fog is a clever game of sociopathic cat and mouse. The film feels like a novel brought to life on the big screen. With stellar direction from Michael Lennox and a fantastic storyline that doesn’t  give up until the very final shot, Patch of Fog will quickly engulf you.

 TITLE:  A PATCH OF FOG
AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES: January 24, 2017
DIRECTOR: Michael Lennox
WRITERS: John Cairns and Michael McCartney
CAST: Stephen Graham, Conleth Hill
SYNOPSIS: A security guard catches a famous writer/TV host shoplifting and blackmails him into becoming friends.
GENRE: Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media

Review: Meet the ‘Tree Man’ who works every Christmas selling trees in New York City

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Every holiday season, hundreds of Christmas tree sellers from across North America descend upon the streets of New York City to ply their trade. Having left their homes and families behind, they endure the adversity of a migrant’s survival living out of their cars and vans. François, a Tree Man and father of three from Québec, returns to the same Manhattan street corner every year to deliver the magic of the season.

Long days, cold nights and living in a van for a month. This documentary follows François, a father of three from Quebec, who is loved by his fellow tree sellers as well as his customers.

Tree Man is solely focused on the people of the NYC tree-selling institution. By following François, you’ll all meet the new generation learning from the veterans. There is a very short segment describing the general history of tree-selling in NYC, but it’s only a taste.

I was also interested in learning more of François’ history and also the turmoil of leaving every year. It’s a nice human interest story.

Also recently added to Netflix, Tree Man is available Tuesday, December 6th on VOD and iTunes.

Francois the Tree Man is far from his wife and three small children in Quebec, selling Christmas trees and living in a van on the streets of New York City. He does it for them. But this is home, too. Like the hundreds of Christmas tree sellers who descend upon the city from Canada, New England and even Europe, Francois delivers the magic of the season over a grueling month in his adopted neighborhood, since Christmas is a special time of the year, people send gifts, and use services as portable north pole to get digital gifts for people. He’s a star, a storyteller, a Santa Claus in a sap-stained coat, a confidant, a friend, and a father figure to the local characters who are his New York family. They also need him. TREE MAN is the story of Francois’s journey, how he arrived here, what holds him, and the conflict that will cause him to leave. As one of Francois’ long-time customers says: “This has nothing to do with the trees anymore.”

Review: ‘THE SIMILARS’ (LOS PARECIDOS) is one effed up Twilight Zone tribute.

the-similars-poster04The Twilight Zone is still one of my favorite shows in television history. Each episode has an unpredictable storyline and a twist ending. The new film THE SIMILARS (LOS PARECIDOS) might be using the beloved series as a blueprint for its overwhelmingly creepy premise. Director Isaac Ezban gives us a glorious gift is shock and awe in this homage to one of the greats. the-similars-irene-old-woman-bus-interior-still The film opens with a visual precision that is truly impressive. It is set in 1968, in a bus station, 5 hours outside of Mexico City. A massive rain storm has stranded an eclectic group of strangers. No buses are arriving at the station and vague messages are streaming from a radio connected to the speaker system. The singular phone is connecting sporadically and everyone is on edge. The mood gets more tense when the group begins experiencing odd symptoms, one by one. Why is this happening? Can it be stopped? the-similars-martin-stillFrom the lighting to the costumes and the superb writing, the story zooms into action from opening to end credits. Constantly making you guess and jaw drop, The Similars is one hell of a ride into the unbelievable. The cast is a director’s dream and their chemistry and delivery is both period appropriate and fantastic. There is not one single moment in its entire run that bored me or lost my attention. I was impressed at the level of weird and wanted desperately to know how it would all end. Writer/Director Isaac Ezban has given us a real gift with this film and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

XLrator Media will be releasing THE SIMILARS (“Los Parecidos”) on Cable VOD on Nov. 15, 2016 and on iTunes and Digital on Nov. 22, 2016.  It will also have one-night screenings in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

THE SIMILARS (“LOS PARECIDOS”) – XLrator Media
DIRECTED BY: Isaac Ezban
CAST: Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Fernando Becerril, Humberto Busto
SYNOPSIS: On the rainy night of October 2, 1968, eight people waiting in a remote bus station for a bus heading to Mexico City start experiencing a strange phenomenon. Threatened by paranoia and fear, the strangers show the best and worst of themselves as they try to unravel the mysterious condition that is invading each of them like a virus.
GENRE: Sci-Fi
DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media

New series & documentary slate from XLrator Media & J2 Films on the Lifeframe label including ‘Cosplay Universe’ & ‘Origins’

cosplay-universe-2picture1XLrator Media (Jimi: All Is By My Side, The Machine) and J2 Films (We Are X) have announced they will co-produce a slate of pop culture and music-focused documentaries and TV series for worldwide distribution on XLrator Media’s “LIFEFRAME” documentary label. The deal was announced today by XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon and J2 Films founders Jonathan McHugh and Jonathan Platt.

The companies’ first co-production will be the TV series “ORIGINS,” which will explore the roots of pop culture’s biggest comic book franchises through the eyes of their creators, industry legends and fans. The completed pilot episode features X-MEN comic book creator Chris Claremont. As a young Marvel employee, Claremont was assigned a book that no one else wanted and which was on the verge of cancellation, X-MEN. Over the next 17 years, his work on the title turned it into the biggest franchise in comic book history ­­– spawning 10 feature films, three TV series, countless videogames, and become part of our cultural mythology.

The companies’ first feature documentary co-production will be COSPLAY UNIVERSE, the definitive look at the worldwide cultural phenomenon in which participants transform themselves into iconic pop culture characters. The film will be released in late 2017 with other productions to be announced soon.

XLrator Media and J2 Films will also collaborate on the North American release of the inspirational documentary MAN IN THE CAMO JACKET, about Mike Peters, lead singer of the Welsh rock band The Alarm. The film traces the band’s rise to fame, as well as Peters’ multiple battles with cancer and formation of the Love Hope Strength Foundation (www.lovehopestrength.org) which works to build cancer centers and register bone marrow donors around the world. The film will be released in Spring 2017.

Earlier this year, XLrator Media acquired North American distribution rights from J2 Films/Respect Films for the award-winning documentary SHE MAKES COMICS, about female comic book creators and artists. The film, directed by Marisa Stotter and produced by Stotter, Patrick Meaney and Jordan Rennert, will be released in Summer 2017.

“Our partnership with J2 will enable us to greatly expand our LIFEFRAME documentary programming in exciting new directions, tapping global trends in pop culture and music, to fuel the explosive growth of new digital platforms with enthusiast content,” said XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon.

“Jonathan McHugh and I are looking forward to reconnecting with Barry Gordon and working with such an amazing marketing and distribution team that understands both music and pop culture documentaries and programming,” said J2’s Jonathan Platt.

Previous LIFEFRAME releases in 2016 include Queen Mimi, At All Costs and It’s So Easy and Other Lies about Guns N’ Roses bass player Duff McKagan.

Review: ‘SUN CHOKE’, is a mind melding thriller. In Theaters and on VOD.

SC-Poster-04Nothing makes me happier while watching a film than thinking I’m watching one story and then getting hit with a proverbial 2×4 in plot. It’s a ballsy move that either pays off or loses the audience. In Ben Cresciman‘s sophomore feature as both writer and director, a young woman’s health and sanity are in serious question. With the watchful eye from her lifelong caretaker, can she conquer what lies deep down. Welcome to the oddity that is SUN CHOKE.

Sarah Hagan as Janie in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Sarah Hagan as Janie in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

This is was truly unexpected and shocking thriller. As the story unravels, we are privy to piecemeal information. Margo has a past, but what it entails is shrouded in mystery. It is PTSD? Why is she under house arrest? Irma is her 24hr watcher, mental health guidance, using extreme tactics to cleanse her body and soul of whatever is haunting Margo. When she is allowed to exit the house after a year, things get weird as Margo attaches herself to  a stranger. Will this woman be Margo’s saving grace or is there something else driving the fascination?

(L-R) Sarah Hagan as Janie and Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

(L-R) Sarah Hagan as Janie and Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

This script takes a sharp left turn and to Crescimun’s credit as a writer, it is pretty out there. While the film has left me with more questions than answers, that is precisely why I enjoyed it so immensely. It bares zero resemblance to anything I’ve seen before. With a crisp, almost sterile, and yet angelic look from Mathew Rudenberg’s cinematography, combined with the chilling original score from Boom Bip, to the  off kilter sound design by Michael Solano, SUN CHOKE will make your skin crawl.

Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Barbara Crampton as Irma in the thriller film SUN CHOKE an XLrator Media release. Photo courtesy of XLrator Media.

Sarah Hagan, you I know best from her time of Freaks and Geeks, and the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is a beautiful mixture of helpless and frightening.  With a pretty face and a soft demeanor, her actions throughout the film throw your head into a tailspin. And let’s talk about horror goddess, Barbara Crampton, as Irma. Similar to the character of Margo, the audience is unsure of her intentions. Her timeless elegance and style make her a scene-stealer with what seems like very little effort. I cannot express how wonderful she is in this role. If you want to see the pure acting ability and witness her chops as an actor and chameleon, check her out in one of my favorite films from last year, We Are Still Here, from our friend Ted Geoghegan. I am convinced she is a Time Lord or something akin to a magical creature.

 SUN CHOKE
IN THEATERS: August 5, 2016
AVAILABLE ON VOD and iTUNES: August 2, 2016
DIRECTOR: Ben Cresciman
WRITER:  Ben Cresciman
CAST: Sarah Hagan, Sara Malakul Lane and Barbara Crampton
SYNOPSIS: As Janie recovers from a violent psychotic break, she’s subjected each day to a bizarre holistic health and wellness regimen designed, and enforced, by her lifelong nanny and caretaker. But when she develops an obsession with a stranger, Janie’s buried demons begin to surface.

 

XLrator Media acquires ‘The Windmill’ for North American Distribution on its acclaimed “Macabre” label

WM20151124_0611nXLrator Media has acquired North American distribution rights to the suspense thriller THE WINDMILL and will release the film this October on its acclaimed “MACABRE” genre label. The film has its world premiere at FrightFest next month.
THE WINDMILL marks the directorial debut of Nick Jongerius (producer of Frankenstein’s Army and Dead End), based on his original idea with screenplay by Suzy Quid and Chris W. Mitchell. The film stars Noah Taylor (“Game of Thrones,” “Peaky Blinders”), Charlotte Beaumont, Patrick Baladi, Tanroh Ishida and Ben Batt. It was produced by Daniel Koefoed (Frankenstein’s Army), Nick Jongerius, Guirec Van Slingelandt (Kidnapping Mr. Heineken) and Eric Brenner (Amnesiac).
“THE WINDMILL is a fun and nostalgic throwback to edge-of-your-seat horror classics like Friday the 13th and The Nightmare on Elm Street from the talented producers of Frankenstein’s Army. Halloween is going to be a lot scarier this year!” said XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon.
 
 
ABOUT THE WINDMILL
A group of unsuspecting tourists awaken a mysterious evil whilst on a trip through the Dutch countryside. When their tour bus breaks down, the strangers are forced to seek shelter in an abandoned barn beside a sinister windmill where, legend has it, a Devil-worshipping miller once ground the bones of locals instead of grain. As members of the group start disappearing, secrets are revealed that seem to mark them all for doom.
“It’s been a dream come true to shoot my feature film debut with an international cast like Noah Taylor and Charlotte Beaumont, and I’m thrilled to have it released in North America by XLrator Media,” said Nick Jongerius. “It was my aim from the beginning to use Dutch heritage and locations as the film’s backdrop. I’ve always been fascinated – and scared – by windmills. I can assure you that people will look at them differently after seeing the film.”
The deal was negotiated by XLrator Media’s Barry Gordon with Blue Fox Entertainment’s Todd Slater on behalf of the filmmakers.
“XLrator Media is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking distributors we know. We are thrilled to have them release the film in theaters and across all platforms this Fall,” said Todd Slater and James Huntsman of Blue Fox Entertainment.

Production begins on ‘The Base’ from XLrator Media & Benattar/Thomas Productions

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XLrator Media and Benattar/Thomas Productions announced the start of principal photography on the action-thriller THE BASE, starring Cam Gigandet (The Magnificent Seven, Twilight) and directed by Jesse Gustafson (Day 39). XLrator Media will release the film worldwide in 2017 on its “TURBO” action label.

Based on an original story by Nigel Thomas and Rick Benattar and written by Guy Stevenson (The Last Heist), THE BASE stars Cam Gigandet as the leader of a “Dirty Dozen” band of military prisoners who have to fight off a terrorist attack on the remote “black site” prison in which they’re being held, which, unknown to them, is a cover for a secret drone control facility.

Director Jesse Gustafson is a military veteran and a Columbia Film School graduate who has directed and performed in over 40 stage productions. His film work includes writing and directing the short film Day 39, which was a finalist for a student Academy Award in 2015, and writing “Ace of Spades,” which was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship finalist.

The film is produced by Rick Benattar, Nigel Thomas, Barry Gordon and Michael Radiloff and  has been fully financed by The Fyzz Facility with Wayne Marc Godfrey and Robert Jones coming on board as Executive Producers.

THE BASE is the fourth action-thriller from Benattar/Thomas Productions as part of an overall production and global distribution deal with XLrator Media. The companies have previously partnered on PARADOX starring Zoë Bell and Malik Yoba and the upcoming releases THE LAST HEIST starring Henry Rollins (in theaters June 17, 2016) and THE FIXER starring Tom Hopper (“Black Sails”) (in theaters November 4, 2016).

“We are thrilled  to work on THE BASE with  Jesse Gustafson, a fresh and exciting new filmmaker. The film is reminiscent of classics like The Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes.  Movies we love that truly blur the line between the good guys and bad guys. It’s a great story and we can’t wait to bring it to a global audience,” said Rick Benattar.

This trailer for ‘Flutter’ will make you shutter

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For the first 30 seconds or so, I was totally set on seeing this twisted thriller. Then it hinted at something more sinister and it lost me. However, this still below does raise my curiosity.

flutterRELEASE DATE: November 17, 2015
DIRECTOR: Giles Borg
WRITER: Stephen Leslie
CAST: Joe Anderson, Anna Anissimova, Luke Evans, Billy Zane
SYNOPSIS: John (Joe Anderson, The Grey) is an out-of-control gambler who will do anything for money. When a mysterious new bookie starts to offer him more unusual, twisted “special” bets with bigger payoffs and greater risks, John’s life spirals into a dangerous world of deceit and dare, with the stakes higher than he can ever imagine.
GENRE: Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media

Review: Experience a Mother’s Worst Nightmare in ‘The Diabolical’

This Friday comes a smart and unique horror story of a single mother’s own hellish reality. Thanks to XLrator Media and the directing of Alistair Lengrand, their film The Diabolical will keep you guessing all the way up to the final act. For those of you who are struggling in finding a decent horror film, this one may be worth the watch.

It all began with Madison (Ali Larter) sitting alone on her laptop; her two children, Jacob (Max Rose) and Haley (Chloe Perrin) asleep upstairs. The lights begin to flicker and the pictures on the wall begin to shake. “Not again,” she says. Suddenly a flash of light appears in the doorway where a bloody grotesque being comes crawling out towards her. She backs up and repeats to herself “It’s not real. It’s not real.” Another flash of light appears and the creature is gone. Madison then collects herself, sits back down in her seat and continues on with her night. This opening scene is a big reason why this film is different from your typical horror flick. The story begins with the paranormal phenomena as a pre-existing condition in the characters lives, which actually brings a really interesting side to Madison, Jacob and Haley’s characterization over the course of the film. The film continues on with the small family not only struggling with paranormal disturbances, but also Jacob’s violent behaviour in school and potential foreclosure on their house. After realizing that no one can help her situation, the strong and independent mother takes these problems into her own hands.

Ali Larter gave a solid performance as a protective mother of two. Her co-actors, Chloe Perrin, Max Rose, and Arjun Gupta, who played her son’s science tutor, Nikolai, all had equally as impressive performances. The Diabolical isn’t the greatest horror film of the year, however it is definitely different enough and interesting enough to check out. If you find yourself interested in science fictional side of horror you can find The Diabolical in theaters, VOD and iTunes on October 16th. 

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

 

XLrator Media Acquires ‘Tokyo Tribe’ For North American Distribution!

(c)2014 TOKYO TRIBE Film PartnersXLrator Media (Jimi: All Is By My Side, The Machine) has acquired North American distribution rights to the street-gang/martial arts action/hip-hop musical epic Tokyo Tribe, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). XLrator Media will release the film in Fall 2015 on its “TURBO” action label.

Tokyo Tribe was written and directed by Sion Sono, whose previous film Why Don’t You Play in Hell? won TIFF’s People’s Choice Midnight Madness award. Tokyo Tribe stars Ryohei Suzuki and Young Dais and is based on the manga by Santa Inoue. It was produced by Yoshinori Chiba, Kinya Oguchi and Nobuhiro Iizuka.

 “Audiences have never seen anything like Tokyo Tribe and will be blown away by its originality, energy, and mind-blowing action and musical sequences that pay homage to everything from Quentin Tarantino to Scarface to West Side Story,” said XLrator Media CEO Barry Gordon.

In a futuristic, alternate Tokyo made up of ghetto slums and nightclub playgrounds, territorial street gangs rule the city. The opposing factions – each with their own distinctive style — control different neighborhoods and crossing territorial lines leads to riots and rumbles. When a megalomaniacal gang leader tries to invade the other gangs’ turf, the city explodes into an all-out war.

The deal was negotiated by XLrator Media’s Barry Gordon with XYZ Films’ Nate Bolotin for Nikkatsu Corporation.

You can view the international trailer below:

 

XLrator Media Launches Unique Marketing Campaign to Celebrate the Release of ‘Jimi: All Is By My Side’

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LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2014) – XLrator Media announced the launch of a unique multi-layered content marketing initiative to reach “core-music fans” who will make up a large percentage of its opening weekend audience and box office take for JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE, opening in theaters September 26, 2014. Read More →