Review: From scholarships to scandal, Dan Chen’s ‘ACCEPTED’ is explosive.

ACCEPTED

Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams.


TM Landry was a beacon of hope for the underserved community of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. In Dan Chen‘s ACCEPTED, the incoming senior class of 2019 gears up for the admissions process, chasing that elusive stat; 30% of Landry students who receive acceptance to an Ivy League school. But, that’s not all this documentary catches during the school year. An explosive New York Times expose sends shockwaves through the student body. ACCEPTED delves deep into the subsequent chaos. 

 There is a Montessori feeling to the day. Children of all ages break out in small groups in a nondescript warehouse/office building, tackling complex arithmetic and socially relevant discussion. Founder Mike Landry‘s enthusiasm and passion are infectious. He’s the ultimate hype man for his students. He takes calls from them after hours, assisting them with homework. As a former teacher, I am captivated by his fiery pep talks. 

When emotions run high and the stress piles on, our kids start to push back against Mike’s methods. They realize something is incredibly wrong. When media becomes more important than being in the classroom, everything backfires. Going into Accepted knowing nothing, you’d think he was the high school Messiah. Mike Landry is no Wizard. He is the man behind the curtain. 

Adia is an avid animal lover whose spirit almost collapses under Mike Landry. But, her spirit outshines the negativity, and she’s a soul that will undoubtedly achieve greatness. Isaac’s dream school is Stanford. His levelheaded approach to life and learning is something we should all aspire to be. Alicia is the new girl, admittedly baffled by the school’s structure when she arrived halfway through Junior year. When you hear her college essay, you’ll gasp in awe of her eloquence. Cathy would be the first member of her family to attend college. With two disabled older sisters and a widowed mother, a car accident payout allowed her to prepay for two years at Landry. Cathy is a powerful young woman, flipping the script on her narrative. For her, truth and integrity reign supreme. 

The deteriorating mental health of these kids is palpable. Their bravery cost them their potential future. Fear and shame should not be the motivating factor to succeed. You cannot help but walk from the film filled with anger and questions about the socioeconomics of higher education. ACCEPTED is an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. 

 

GREENWICH ENTERTAINMENT is releasing the timely documentary Accepted, from director Dan Chen in theaters and VOD on July 1st!


DIRECTOR:
Dan Chen
PRODUCERS:
Jason Y. Lee
Dan Chen
Jesse Einstein
Mark Monroe
GENRE:
Documentary
RUNTIME:

91m


FESTIVALS & AWARDS:
Tribeca Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Sidewalk Film Festival 2021
Winner Audience Choice Award Best Black Lens Film
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection
Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Cleveland International Film Festival 2022

Nominee Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award


  Original New York Times article as referenced in the film linked HERE.


Now in Theaters! ‘OFFICIAL COMPETITION’ is sheer perfection.

PRESENTS

OFFICIAL COMPETITION

Turning a Nobel Prize-winning novel into a movie on the whim of a millionaire, “it” director Lola Cuevas pairs two different kinds of actors to breathe life into her version of the story. What could go wrong casting a serious leading actor with a box office action star? Only everything, of course. If you’ve ever been through the rehearsal process with a director that is secure in their vision, Official Competition is for you. The film is a masterclass in writing and acting. It encompasses all the temperamental moments in the history of cinematic genius.

Oscar Martinez plays Ivan will a cultured legitimacy that feels elevated. He has a pedigree and air that is unmatched. His humble passion is so overblown you’ll give him a standing ovation while rolling your eyes. Antonio Banderas plays Felix with a Blockbuster pretty boy carelessness that is so familiar it’s brilliant. He is every cliché wrapped in a bow. Banderas brings a hot-tempered and diva nature to Felix. Almost play acting against Martinez, the evolution of their chemistry is like a tennis match. Each man absorbs traits from the other.

Penélope Cruz is eccentric director Lola. Her commitment to this character is extraordinary. The interactions between Lola and her leading men will have you smirking. The script allows her to push boundaries that challenge her fellow actors and the audience’s comfort. It’s another role that tops the last. She’s cheeky, powerful, unapologetic, and completely unconventional. Cruz gives her best performance to date.

These three astonishingly talented actors epitomize the industry. Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat explore the sheer absurdity of Hollywood. The cinematography is unforgettable. In many instances, our leads speak directly into the camera. Breaking the fourth wall is equal parts intrusive and entrancing. Official Competition might be the most extraordinary industry farce I’ve ever experienced. Making an award-worthy film while simultaneously acknowledging that awards are meaningless is a stroke of genius. It’s a wild meta joyride.

ONLY IN THEATERS JUNE 17, 2022  

DIRECTED BY Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat

WRITTEN BY Mariano Cohn, Andrés Duprat and Gastón Duprat

STARRING Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, and Oscar Martínez

ABOUT THE DIRECTORS

Gastón Duprat (December 8, 1969, Bahía Blanca – Argentina) and Mariano Cohn (December 1, 1975, Villa Ballester – Buenos Aires, Argentina) have directed ten films including the successful “The Man Next Door,” “The Distinguished Citizen,” “Todo sobre el asado,” “My Masterpiece,” and “4×4” which competed in the most important international film festivals garnered with more than thirty international awards, including a Goya, the Platinum and the Ariel for Best Ibero-American Film. “Official Competition” is his latest, and highly anticipated feature film.

NEW YORK THEATERS

ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE MANHATTAN 14

 28 Liberty Street, Suite SC301 | New York, NY 10005

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE

 1998 Broadway | New York, NY 10023

AMC EMPIRE 25 THEATERS

 234 W 42nd St | New York, NY 10036

BAM ROSE CINEMAS

30 Lafayette Ave | Brooklyn, NY 11217

IFC CENTER

323 6th Ave | New York, NY 10014

STORY SCREEN / BEACON THEATER

445 Main St |Beacon, NY 12508

BELLMORE PLAYHOUSE

525 Bedford Ave | Bellmore, NY 11710

NEW CITY CINEMAS

202 S Main St | New City, NY 10956

STARR THEATRE – RHINEBECK

6415 Montgomery St | Rhinebeck, NY 12572

SAG HARBOUR CINEMAS

90 Main St | Sag Harbor, NY 11963

CINEMAPOLIS

120 E Green St | Ithaca, NY 14850

TIME & SPACE LIMITED HUDSON

434 Columbia St | Hudson, NY 12534

MOUNTAIN CINEMA

7971 Main St, Hunter, NY 12442

SPECTRUM 8 THEATERS

290 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12209

PICTUREHOUSE

175 Wolfs Ln | Village of Pelham, NY 10803

WESTHAMPTON BEACH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

76 Main St | Westhampton Beach, NY 11978

CONNECTICUT THEATERS

AVON THEATRE FILM CENTER

272 Bedford St | Stamford, CT 06901

CRITERION CINEMAS NEW HAVEN 9

 86 Temple St | New Haven, CT 06510

NEW JERSEY THEATER

CLAIRIDGE CINEMAS

 486 Bloomfield Ave | Montclair, NJ 07042

114 MIN / SPANISH / COLOR

#IFCFilms

#OfficialCompetitionMovie


The original version of this review appeared on AWFJ.org. To see more reactions to the Official Competition from the amazing members Click Here!


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Butterfly In The Sky’ is a warm hug of nostalgia.

BUTTERFLY IN THE SKY

Like toddlers and the Cocomelon theme song, the iconic and space-aged first notes of Reading Rainbow had me running around a corner with eyes wide in anticipation of LeVar Burton telling me about a new book my Mom needed to find me at the library. With a wink and a promise, a group of former educators, a young producing couple, and a newly minted TV star would change the relationship between children and reading. 

When LeVar Burton became a household name following the breakout success of ROOTS, no one would have guessed that his second job, a PBS television show, would have had such an enduring impact on education. Pairing television and reading into a series seemed a daunting, if not impossible, task. But there was something about Burton’s ability to connect with children through the screen. Having kids do book reviews alongside the onsite exploration of story-related subjects engaged viewers in a way that made them feel they were along for the journey. 

Representation was key. With the rotating cast of diverse child reviewers and seeing a loving and tender black man as the host, kids at home garnered self-esteem that they perhaps had not felt before. The film interviews Burton, the creators, and now adult viewers. We learn how the books were selected and how that iconic theme song came to fruition. Reading Rainbow will live in the memories of innumerable individuals. Butterfly In The Sky has the potential to light new sparks of fire for young and old readers alike. It’s a nostalgic warm hug and a brilliant highlight in Tribeca 2022.


To find out more about Tribeca and Butterfly In The Sky, click here!


DIRECTOR
Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb
PRODUCER
Bryan Storkel, Bradford Thomason, Brett Whitcomb
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Tony Hardmon, Brett Whitcomb
EDITOR
Bradford Thomason
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Leonardis, Bryn Mooser, Justin Lacob, Kathryn Everett, Tony Hsieh, Andy Hsieh, John Brooks Pounders, Dava Whisenant


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Travis Stevens’ latest genre fare ‘A Wounded Fawn’ is… different.

A WOUNDED FAWN

I must admit that I might be one of the biggest Travis Stevens fans. His aesthetic gets me every time. The boundary-pushing in sound editing, practical FX, and color saturation are things of beauty. The man knows how to write iconic feminist leads. Understanding how much I love Girl On The Third Floor and Jakob’s Wife is paramount. His latest film premiering at Tribeca 2022 is called A Wounded Fawn, and it pains me to say it confounds me. Let me explain.

The first half, or Act One, as indicated by a dramatic and beautiful bright red title card, is classic throwback magic, dirt filter included. Going into the film, we understand the setup. Bruce is a suave art dealer who invites gallery curator Meredith away for the weekend at his secluded cabin. From the second scene, we know that Bruce is also a serial killer, and poor Meredith is about to be added to his “special” collection. The opening of the film features a specific sculpture of Greek mythology. That piece will come to haunt our characters in a very literal way. 

First, let’s talk about the best parts of the film; the performances. Sarah Lind (Jakob’s Wife) and Josh Ruben knock it out of the park. Lind navigates the cringe and slyly aggressive overtures of Ruben’s Bruce. She walks an incredible line between submissive and badass. Her fight or flight instincts will have you yelling at the screen. Ruben, whose film Werewolves Within is one of my favorites from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, owns this role. He’s creepy as fuck. There’s no other way to describe his nature. Bruce is peak Stevens’ calling card. Ruben doesn’t play the over-the-top premise for laughs but lives in the madness. I sat through the credits and relished in his endurance of that take. When you see it, you’ll understand what I mean. 

Now, let’s discuss Act Two. I found myself confused during this act. I thought maybe I was missing something, or it was over my head somehow. But, no, it’s meant to be a Greek tragedy akin to Agamemnon or Hippolytus. The film is such a departure from Stevens’ first two films that it’s hard to believe they’re by the same person. Can I respect that he’s trying something new? Yes. Did I love the dozen or so specific visuals in red? Absolutely. Was the hyper-augmented sound editing fucking stellar. You’re goddamn right. The payoff of the final laugh-out-loud line of dialogue wasn’t enough to make up for the second half of the film. A Wounded Fawn most definitely lives up to its Midnight section category. It’s the type of film you’d find in the late 70s at a theatre that exclusively shows cult films in the wee hours of the morning. Yet, here I am, needing to talk about the film ad nauseum. For that reason, Travis Stevens has, sort of, done it again. 


The find out more about Tribeca Film Festival 2022 click here!


DIRECTOR
Travis Stevens
PRODUCER
Joe Barbagallo, Laurence Gendron, Travis Stevens
SCREENWRITER
Travis Stevens, Nathan Faudree
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Ksusha Genenfeld
EDITOR
Zach Clark, Travis Stevens
COMPOSER
Vaaal
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Melissa Rossaki, Emily Gotto
CO-PRODUCER
Jonathan Hsu
US DISTRIBUTOR
Shudder
CAST
Josh Ruben, Sarah Lind, Malin Barr, Katie Kuang, Laksmi Hedemark, Tanya Everett, Marshall Taylor Thurman, Leandro Taub, and Neal Mayer

Tribeca 2022 review: ‘FAMILY DINNER’ is a recipe for disaster, and that’s what makes it delicious.

FAMILY DINNER

One of Tribeca 2022 Midnight selections features the sickest fad diet you could ever imagine. When Simi joins her famous nutritionist aunt for the Easter holiday, the tension in the house boils over almost immediately. Simi, an overweight 15-year-old girl, seeks approval and guidance, but things do not go according to plan. Family Dinner is a film that slowly and deliberately crawls under your skin.

Michael Pink creates a lecherous character arc for Stefan. His presence made me shudder with each appearance. Alexander Sladek gives relentless nuance to the role of Filipp. Displaying all the characteristics of a serial killer, what lies beneath the surface is even more disturbing. Sladek is unnerving.

Pia Hierzegger plays Auntie Claudia with an energy that is powerful and scary. The head of the household in every way possible, Hierzegger is astounding. Nina Katlein is spectacular as Simi. Despite every red flag, the bravery in Katliein’s eyes is shocking. Writer-director Peter Hengl’s script allows Simi to be a feminist icon.

The complexity of this script kept me guessing from beginning to end. Just when I thought I’d figured out what was going on, another twist. Much like in the films A Banquet and Honeydew, the preparation and consumption of food become weaponized. The infantilization between mother and son sent shivers down my spine. It is an added layer that compounded my unending distress. If you follow the proverbial breadcrumbs, the finale feels like a natural endpoint to a series of microaggressions that become exponentially more horrendous. Family Dinner had my heart in my throat with bona fide fear. Tribeca audiences are in for a frightful treat.


For more information on Family Dinner and the full Tribeca 2022 experience, click here:

https://tribecafilm.com/films/family-dinner-2022


Review: ‘1982’ is a cinematic wonder.

Visually stunning cinematography heightens the emotional stronghold of 1982. The film is unusually relevant as the war in Ukraine threatens the everyday lives of children and adults in the region. As news of the Lebanon war is a constant din in the film, elementary school children navigate love, exam anxiety, friendship, and all that encompasses those complex feelings. 

Mohamad Dalli plays Wissam with genuine star quality. His performance feels effortless as he attempts to confess his love for classmate Joanna. Miscommunications lead to natural hurt feelings and aggression toward his best friend and scene partner Ghassan Maalouf. The two boys have brilliant chemistry. Add on the object of Wissam’s affection in actress Gia Madi. Their energy is movie magic. 

1982 keeps you on the edge of your seat, heart in your throat from beginning to end. The harrowing juxtaposition of war deliberately creeps up on you. All eyes are on the skies as teachers and students notice the increased activity of planes and then smoke. The intense sense of dread is consuming. All while these kids are just trying to be kids. The film speaks to the resiliency of children. There are many parallels for American audiences, as school shootings fill parents and students with dread. The script has a universality that will touch every single viewer. It might seem like an unusual suggestion, but I believe this is a film that can be and should be, watched with the entire family. With a final touch of much-needed, childlike whimsey, 1982 is a glorious cinematic triumph. 


The award-winning Lebanese film “1982” which is opening exclusively in select theaters beginning June 10th in New York (at the Quad Cinema), followed by Los Angeles (at Laemmle Royal & other locations) on June 24th. The film will then expand into additional theaters nationwide throughout the summer.

About the filmmakerOualid Mouaness is an award winning Lebanese-American writer, director and producer. Liberian born to Lebanese parents, Mouaness grew up between Beirut and Monrovia. His work traverses narrative and documentary feature films, music films, music videos and commercials. Mouaness has produced nine feature length films (docs & narratives): notably, the indie film “Kitchen Privileges” (SXSW 2000) that he co-produced and edited, the acclaimed documentary ‘RIZE’ (Sundance 2005) which was shortlisted for the Oscars in 2006, as well as the South African LAIFF Audience-award-winning documentary “I Am Thalente” (2015), and most recently the experiential documentary “Max Richter’s Sleep” (2020) that had its world premiere at IDFA 2019 and its North American premiere at Sundance 2020. His short film “The Rifle, The Jackal, The Wolf and the Boy” was shortlisted for the Oscars in 2017. His straddling of life in diaspora with a window into life in Lebanon brings a heightened understanding and nuance to his work. He’s a Sundance Institute Fellow and has called Los Angeles home for over two decades. He completed his undergraduate studies in Journalism and Theatre in Beirut and holds an MFA in Film from the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. “1982” is Oualid’s directorial feature film debut.

The countdown is officially on for Tribeca Film Festival 2022. Here are 20 films we’re keeping our eyes on this year.

Tribeca is back in action. The 2022 interaction of the festival will have events including films, talks, masterclasses, immersive selections, and a watch at-home option if you’re not in the city. There is so much to experience this year, but here is a list of films we’re keeping our eyes on. More to come as the festival rolls on over 12 days.


HALFTIME

– Opening Night –

Launches on Netflix on June 14th

HALFTIME offers an intimate peek behind the curtain revealing the grit and determination that makes Jennifer Lopez the icon she is, from her performances onscreen and on stages around the world, to her Super Bowl Halftime show, to the recent Presidential inauguration. The documentary focuses on an international superstar who has inspired people for decades with her perseverance, creative brilliance, and cultural contributions. And it’s only the beginning. HALFTIME serves as the kickoff to the second half of Lopez’s life, as she lays bare her evolution as a Latina, a mother, and an artist, taking agency in her career and using her voice for a greater purpose.

Directed by: Amanda Micheli

Produced by: Benny Medina, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Dave Broome, Angus Wall, Terry Leonard, Jennifer Sofio Hall, Kent Kubena, and Serin Marshall

Screenings: 

6/8 at 7:00pm – United Palace

6/9 at 9:00pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 1

6/11 at 11:30am – Cinépolis: Theater 4


CAROL AND JOHNNY

The unbelievable, decade-spanning, and surprisingly heart-warming true story of two of America’s most successful bank robbers, Carol & Johnny provides the opportunity for the real-life Bonnie and Clyde to reflect upon and record their unique love story in their own words. Comparing and contrasting the oral histories of both now-elderly ex-cons, Colin Barnicle’s riveting biographical documentary traces the history of the duo with equal intensity and intimacy, transforming true crime into a rich, literary epic. 

If you’re not obsessed with true crime at this point, I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under. This one has an intimate and personal touch to it.

Directed by: Colin Barnicle 

Produced by: Barnicle Brother with Words and Pictures

Section: Viewpoints, Feature Documentary

Screenings:

6/12 a 5:00pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 2

6/14 at 6:00pm – At-home Virtual Screening  

6/15 at 2:45pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 6

6/16 at 8:00pm – Village East by Angelika: Theater 2


RUDY! A DOCUMUSICAL

Whether you love, hate, or loved then hated Rudy Giuliani, everyone knows his name. He was “America’s mayor,” Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and a personal lawyer to the former President of the United States. Dissecting the rise and fall of its titular subject with thorough research and an inquisitive eye, Rudy! A Documusical is a political documentary that goes beyond well-known headlines to explore the psyche and circumstances of a man in free-fall.

The downfall of “America’s Mayor” (and yes, we did call him that as someone who experienced 9/11 here in the city as a college student) is one of the most shocking things to witness. Share in the media-frenzied weirdness why don’t you?

World Premiere

Directed by: Jed Rothstein

Produced by: Ross M. Dinerstein and Sarit G. Work

Section: Spotlight Documentary

Screenings: 

6/9 at 8:30pm – SVA Theater 1 Silas 

6/10 at 2:45pm – Cinépolis: Theater 5

6/17 at 8:15pm –  Tribeca Center


FAMILY DINNER

It’s no surprise that the Midnight films happen to be the ones I covet most during Tribeca. This year, Peter Hengl’s film Family Dinner features a young woman named Simi visiting her family for Easter. Seeking the guidance of her famous nutritionist aunt, Claudia, she is introduced to a diet that will take every ounce of willpower. The film simmers in uncomfortable tension. Don’t think that for a moment, I missed  Ant Timpson as one of the executive producers. Family Dinner has all the ingredients for a feast, that might just come back up later.

Fri June 10 – 9:00 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 6
 
Sat June 11 – 9:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 4
 
Wed June 15 – 8:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center

BODY PARTS

This stellar documentary dives headfirst into the “reality” of sex scenes in Hollywood. In conversation with actresses, directors, and intimacy coordinators, Body Parts mixed social relevance and amazing editing to bring you into the bedrooms of some of the most iconic sex scenes in cinematic history. And that’s only the beginning of what this film tackles. Get ready for a lesson in industry intimacy.

DIRECTOR

Kristy Guevara-Flanagan

 
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Ruth Ann Harnisch, Abigail Disney, Daniel Chalfen, Adrienne Becker, Roger Clark
 
CAST
Jane Fonda, Joey Soloway, Angela Robinson, Karyn Kusama, Rose McGowan, David Simon.
 
Sun June 12 – 2:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 1
 
Mon June 13 – 8:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center
 
Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM
At Home

Only available in New York state

Thu June 16 – 9:00 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 6
 

THE YEAR BETWEEN

(US Narrative Competition) – Clemence Miller, played by comedian writer/director Alex Heller, is coming home to live in her family’s basement after dropping out of college with a newly diagnosed mental illness. Having to face her battered relationships and responsibilities of adulthood, she is driving everyone around her… crazy.

Alex Heller is a tour de force in this unapologetic and in-your-face indie. Wearing all the hats in this film as star, writer, director, and producer. 
 
DIRECTOR
Alex Heller
 
PRODUCER
Eugene Sun Park, Amanda Phillips, Sonya Lunsford, Rachel Gould, Caterin Camargo-Alvarez, Alex Heller
 
SCREENWRITER
Alex Heller
 
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Jason Chiu
 
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Adrienne Becker, Susanna Fogel, J. Smith-Cameron, HaJ
 
CAST
Alex Heller, J. Smith-Cameron, Steve Buscemi, Wyatt Oleff, Emily Robinson, Kyanna Simone, Rajeev Jacob, Waltrudis Buck
 
Sun June 12 – 5:30 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 1
 
Available Starting
Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM
At Home
 
Tue June 14 – 8:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 3
 
Fri June 17 – 9:00 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 6

NAKED GARDENS

(Documentary Competition) – An immersive film from filmmakers Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan (Pahokee), about the unseen world of nudism. Set in the Florida Everglades, NAKED GARDENS follows the stories of individuals drawn to this lifestyle and the dilemmas they face, as they prepare for the Midwinter Naturist Festival.

Charming and insightful, push your judgment aside and meet a community attempting to live and accept one another. They just happen to be nude.

DIRECTOR
Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
PRODUCER
Patrick Bresnan, Ivete Lucas, Tabs Breese, Julia Nottingham, Roberto Minervini, and Denise Ping Lee
SCREENWRITER
Ivete Lucas
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Patrick Bresnan
EDITOR
Ivete Lucas
 
Fri June 10 – 5:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 3
 
Sat June 11 – 5:15 PM
Tribeca Film Center
 
Thu June 16 – 5:45 PM
Village East by Angelika: Theater 3


AMERICAN DREAMER

Based on a true story. American Dreamer is the story of Dr. Phil Loder (Peter Dinklage), a low- level, adjunct professor of economics, whose grand dream of owning a home is tragically out of reach…until an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity comes his way when a lonely, near-death widow (Shirley MacLaine) offers Phil her sprawling estate for pennies. But Phil quickly learns the deal is too good to be true and the American dream is not quite what it used to be.

You had me and most viewers at Peter Dinklage. The man can do no wrong in my book and we’re beyond excited to see him tackle this role based on a true story.


Directed by: Paul Dektor
Written by: Theodore Melfi
Produced by: Toyo Shimano, Emily Shimano, Theodore Melfi, Kimberly Quinn, Peter Dinklage, David Ginsberg, Paul Dektor
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Shirley MacLaine, Matt Dillon, Danny Glover, Kimberly Quinn, Danny Pudi

RT: 106 Minutes

Public Screenings
Saturday, June 11, 2022, 8:00 PM at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Tuesday, June 14, 2022, 5:30 PM at Village East Cinema: Theater 3
Friday, June 17, 2022, 3:00 PM at Village East Cinema: Theater 3



THERE THERE

World Premiere – Spotlight Category

Directed by: Andrew Bujalski
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Lili Taylor, Molly Gordon, Lennie James, Avi Nash, Annie LaGanga 
Music by: Jon Natchez, Roy Nathanson

RT: 93 minutes

Ever wonder if falling in love again is worth the effort? If someone you cared about were crazy, or if you were crazy for caring? Could someone you trust destroy you while trying to support you, or vice versa? What if the boundaries were getting awfully blurred? Are we being judged for these choices, and who’s judging? Should we have another drink? Are we even communicating now, are we on the same planet, in the same time and place here?

A lover’s doubt in the cold light of morning leads to a chain of uneasy intimacies–counselors, disrupters, peacemakers, and firestarters–everyone looking to have a little faith rewarded.


Public Screening
Friday, June 10, 2022, 5:30PM at SVA Theater 2 Beatrice
Saturday, June 11, 2022, 6:00PM at Cinépolis: Theater 6
Friday, June 17, 2022, 3:45PM at Village East by Angelika: Theater 4



CORNER OFFICE

World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category 
 

Directed by: Joachim Back
Starring: Jon Hamm

RT: 101 minutes

CORNER OFFICE an absurdist tale of a man lost in his own space. Orson (Jon Hamm) is a corporate drone trying to move up in his newly acquired entry-level job who discovers a secret room in his drab, soul-crushing office building; a discovery that causes problems with his new colleagues (Danny Pudi and Sarah Gadon). Director Joachim Back’s Kafka-esque debut feature, adapted by Ted Kupper from Jonas Karlsson’s international best-selling novel The Room, explores how to be sane in a world gone mad.

Public Screenings

Thursday, June 9, 2022, 8:00 PM at BMCC Tribeca PAC
Friday, June 10, 2022, 3:00 PM at Cinépolis: Theater 6
Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 8:30 PM at Village East Cinema: Theater 1



THE COURTROOM

World Premiere – Online Premieres 

Directed by: Lee Sunday Evans
Executive Produced by: Lee Sunday EvansArian MoayedRyan ChanatryGena KonstantinakosAnne Carey
Starring: Marsha Stephanie BlakeMichael BraunKathleen ChalfantHanna CheekMichael ChernusMichael Bryan FrenchMick HilgersLinda PowellKristin VillanuevaBD Wong

 
RT: 87 Minutes
 
In this powerful drama from director Lee Sunday Evans and writer (and Succession breakout star) Arian Moayed, the legal thriller is given a bold and innovative new twist. Adapted verbatim from court transcripts, The Courtroom follows the harrowing journey of Elizabeth Keathley (Kristin Villanueva) a Filipina immigrant who mistakenly registers to vote while on a K3 visa, a crime punishable by deportation. Married with a newborn baby, Elizabeth, with the support of her husband and the tireless efforts of their lawyer, struggles to navigate an increasingly convoluted and nightmarish legal system.
 
Originally presented as a critically-acclaimed off-Broadway play, The Courtroom successfully captures the intensity and intimacy of live theater while also feeling undeniably cinematic. Audiences are thrown directly into Elizabeth’s story and through fluid, immersive direction and striking set design, experience her terror and desperation right alongside her. Evans and Moayed’s fascinating experiment with dramatic reenactment and hybrid storytelling is anchored by standout performances from an accomplished cast of actors – including BD Wong in a moving third act appearance – who bring genuine nuance and emotional heft to an already gripping true story.

Online Screening
Sunday, June 12, 2022, 8:00 PM


THE DROP 

World Premiere – US Narrative Competition

Written & Directed by: Sarah Adina Smith 
Produced by: Mel Eslyn, Jonako Donley, Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass
Starring: Jermaine Fowler, Anna Konkle, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Jillian Bell, Robin Thede, Elisha Henig, Jennifer Lafleur, Joshua Leonard, Aparna Nancherla

RT: 92 Minutes

Lex and Mani’s happy marriage is thrown into a tailspin when Lex accidentally drops their friend’s baby during an otherwise picturesque destination wedding weekend. While the baby is fine, the adults are not.  Lex’s mistake causes a crisis of confidence in those around her, challenging our most primal gender expectations.   

Can a relationship withstand the stress of when things get real? When things get “baby-on-the-pavement” real? 



Public Screenings
Saturday, June 11, 2022, 8:30 PM at SVA1 – Silas
Sunday, June 12, 2022, 9:00 PM at Cinepolis Chelsea -06
Friday, June 17, 2022,  9:30 PM at Village East Cinema -07


 NEXT EXIT 

DIRECTORMali Elfman
WRITERMali Elfman
CAST: Katie Parker, Rahul Kohli, Rose Mciver, Tongayi Chirisa, Tim Griffin, Diva Zappa, Nico Evers-Swindell, and Karen Gillan
 
SYNOPSIS: When a research scientist makes national news proving she can track people into the afterlife, Rose sees a way out and Teddy sees his chance to finally make it. These two strangers, both harboring dark secrets, race to join the doctor’s contentious study and leave this life behind. While Rose is haunted by a ghostly presence that she can’t outrun, Teddy is forced to confront his past. As these two misfits humorously quarrel their way across the country, they meet people along the way who force them to reckon with what is really driving them.
 
This genre-bending road trip film will get under your skin with its incredibly thoughtful performances. Parker and Kohli’s chemistry is cinematic magic. 
 
RUN TIME: 106 minutes
GENRE: Dramedy, Horror, Fantasy
 

TRIBECA PREMIERE DATE: June 10, 2022 / 6:15 p.m. ET / Village East by Angelika Theater 7 


TAURUS

DIRECTOR: Tim Sutton
WRITER:  Tim Sutton
CAST: Colson Baker, Maddie Hasson, Demetrius “Lil Meech” Flenory, Megan Fox, Ruby Rose, Scoot McNairy, Lil TJay, Naomi Wild
 
SYNOPSIS: A rising but troubled musician searches for the inspiration to record one last song, pushing himself deep into the void. A work of fiction that explores fame, addiction, the artistic process, and the music industry, Taurus is a soulful and universal cautionary tale. 
 
 Colson Baker ( AKA Machine Gun Kelly) gives an award-worthy performance. While described as a work of fiction, the story is a cautionary tale. 
 
RUN TIME: 95 Minutes
GENRE: Drama, Music
 

TRIBECA PREMIERE DATE: June 9, 2022 / 8 p.m. ET / Beacon Theatre


FOUR SAMOSAS

*WORLD PREMIERE**
 
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Ravi Kapoor
CAST: Venk Potula, Sonal Shah, Sharmita Bhattacharya, Nirvan Patnaik, Karan Soni, Summer Bishil, Meera Simhan


 
 Synopsis: Determined to disrupt the wedding of his ex-girlfriend by stealing her dowry, underachieving, wanna-be rapper Vinny and his neighborhood pals in LA’s “Little India” concoct a plan to take her family jewels from a supermarket safe.
 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 In-Person Screening Info
– Friday, June 10th at 6:00pm ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003) *World Premiere*
– Saturday, June 11th at 8:45pm ET at CIN-04 (260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011)
– Saturday, June 18th at 2:45pm ET at CIN-04 (260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011)
 
Tribeca Film Festival 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online starting on June 12th at 6:00p EST


CHERRY

**WORLD PREMIERE**
 
DIRECTOR: Sophie Galibert
CAST: Alex Trewhitt, Joe Sachem, Dan Schultz, Sandy Duarte, Alice Bang, Hannah Alline, Melinda DeKay, Angela Nicholas, Charlie S. Jensen, Darius Levanté
 
 

Synopsis: Cherry, a driftless 25-year-old young woman discovers she is 11 weeks pregnant and has only 24 hours to make a consequential decision.
 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online starting on June 11th at 6:00p EST

 


GOD SAVE THE QUEENS

**WORLD PREMIERE**

WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jordan Danger
CAST: Justin Andrew Honard AKA Alaska Thunderfuck, Jay Jackson AKA Laganja Estranja, Kelly Mantle, Jordan Michael Green, Peter Facinelli, Michelle Visage, Joaquim De Almeida, Lunell, Zack Gottsagen

Synopsis: A dramedy about four Drag Queens who find themselves at the very same therapy retreat. In an effort to overcome issues holding them back, they dissect their dilemmas, seen through vignettes of their lives. They discover common ground; Perhaps, it wasn’t serendipity that brought them together. Maybe they’re not alone? 


Tribeca 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online starting on June 8th at 8:00p EST


YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER

**WORLD PREMIERE**
 
WRITER/DIRECTORS: Sarah Watts, Mark Slutsky
CAST: Anwen O’Driscoll, June Laporte, Liane Balaban, Deragh Campbell, Tim Campbell, Antoine Yared, Hasani Freeman
 

Synopsis: When lesbian teen Jaime is sent to live in a Jehovah’s Witness community, she falls hard for a devout Witness girl and the two embark on an intense affair with consequences that will reshape the rest of their lives. 


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 In-Person Screening Info
– Saturday, June 11th at 5:30p ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003) *World Premiere*
– Sunday, June 12th at 2:30p ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003) 
– Tuesday, June 14th at 9:00p ET at VEC-06 (181-189 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003)
 

The Integrity of Joseph Chambers

Desperate to acquire the skills necessary to provide for his family in case of an apocalypse, insurance salesman Joseph Chambers goes deer hunting for the first time ever, alone, when his experienced buddy is too sick to join him.
 
DIRECTOR
Robert Machoian
 
PRODUCER
Clayne Crawford, Kiki Crawford, Robert Machoian
 
SCREENWRITER
Robert Machoian
 
 
CAST
Clayne Crawford, Jordana Brewster, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
 
WORLD PREMIERE – Thursday, June 9th, 5:30 PM at SVA Theater 2 Beatrice

Subject

SUBJECT explores the life-altering experience of sharing one’s life on screen through key participants of acclaimed documentaries The Staircase, Hoop Dreams, The Wolfpack, Capturing the Friedmans, and The Square. These erstwhile documentary “stars” reveal the highs and lows of their experiences as well as the everyday realities of having their lives put under a microscope. Also featuring commentary from influential names in the doc world, the film unpacks vital issues around the ethics and responsibility inherent in documentary filmmaking. As tens of millions of people consume documentaries in an unprecedented “golden era,” SUBJECT urges audiences to consider the often profound impact on their participants.

DIRECTOR
Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall
 
PRODUCER
Camilla Hall, Jennifer Tiexiera, Joe Caterini
 
SCREENWRITER
Jennifer Tiexiera, Camilla Hall, and Lauren Saffa
 
 
CAST
Arthur Agee, Ahmed Hassan, Margie Ratliff, Michael Peterson, Mukunda Angulo, Jesse Friedman, Elaine Friedman, Lisa Walsh, Susanne Reisenbichler
 
Sat June 11 – 4:30 PM
SVA Theater 2 Beatrice

At this time, SVA Theatre requires proof of vaccination for entry. Masks must be worn at all times. More Info

Mon June 13 – 5:30 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 4
 
Sat June 18 – 3:00 PM
Cinépolis: Theater 6

Don’t forget to check in here at Reel News Daily throughout the fest for reviews, photos, insights, and shared content from our amazing friends at UnseenFilms!

The 2022 Tribeca Festival will take place across the city from June 8-19.


Review: Christina Ricci stars in ‘MONSTROUS,’ a visually spectacular story of unresolved trauma.

MONSTROUS

***Official Selection – 2022 Glasgow FrightFest***

A terrifying new horror awaits Laura (Christina Ricci) and her seven-year-old son Cody when they flee her abusive ex-husband and try to settle into a new life in an idyllic and remote lakeside farmhouse. Still traumatized, their physical and mental well-being are pushed to the limit as their fragile existence is threatened.


The pastel-soaked costumes from Morgan DeGroff contrast perfectly with the thoughtful set and production design from Mars Feehery and Taylor Jean. The house has an era-perfect look, simultaneously possessing an eerieness that is hard to describe. The entire film is a genre lover’s dream.

Santino Barnard plays Cody with maturity beyond his years. Ultimately, Monstrous belongs to Christina Ricci. She is glorious as Laura. Navigating sexism, motherhood, and abuse, Ricci rides the emotional nuances of deep-seated trauma and grief. As a mother, her performance had my heart in my throat.

Assisted by clever editing, the final twist makes the script’s build-up more powerful. Monstrous morphs genres instantly, jolting the audience alongside Laura. This device results in a creative spin on loss and acceptance. It speaks to our coping mechanisms and unresolved trauma we all try desperately to hide.


In Theaters and On Demand May 13, 2022

Directed by Chris Sivertson (I Know Who Killed Me, All Cheerleaders Die)

Written by Carol Chrest (The Prophet’s Game)


Starring

Christina Ricci (“Yellowjackets,” The Matrix Resurrections, Buffalo ’66, Casper)

Colleen Camp (SliverClueDie Hard With a Vengeance)

Santino Bernard (8-Bit ChristmasPenny Dreadful: City of Angels, “Bing”)

Don Baldaramos (Suburbicon, “Castle”)

Nick Vallelonga (Green BookThe Many Saints of Newark, The Birthday Cake)

RT: 89 minutes


Review: Inconsistencies aside, ‘ESCAPE THE FIELD’ is a solid horror maze of madness.

ESCAPE THE FIELD

The fear is inescapable in Emerson Moore’s horror-thriller about six strangers who suddenly awaken in a remote, endless cornfield. Stripped of their possessions, they are left with only six items: a gun with a single bullet, matches, a lantern, a knife, a compass, and a flask of water. As mysterious sirens blare in the distance and traps appear at every turn, the group realizes it’s been plunged into a cat-and-mouse game with an unseen evil, and survival depends upon solving a diabolical — and deadly — puzzle.


With reminiscent aspects of the cult favorite The CubeEscape the Field is an intriguing foray into the escape room genre. A cornfield is our game board, making for an entirely different dynamic in a scenario we’ve seen for years. An eclectic group of people comprises this cast. Writer-director  Emerson Moore, alongside screenwriter Joshua Dobkin and Sean Wathen, take a different approach, mixing ideas from past films to brand new and exciting elements. There’s a lot to chew on in Escape The Field. 

Shane West plays Ryan with intimidation and alpha male toxicity. West ups the anty with emotional unpredictability elevated by a clever script device. Theo Rossi plays Tyler. If you haven’t been paying attention to indie cinema or mainstream television series, Rossi has become a familiar face and a damn fine actor. Escape the Field is no exception. Rossi has this undeniably accessible aura about him. Jordan Claire Robbins plays Sam, a doctor whose skills are pertinent to the group’s survival. Robbins’ neighborly energy brings trustworthiness and ease to the viewers. You’re rooting for her. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tahirah Sharif. Her presence drastically improves Escape The Field every second she’s onscreen. 

The solutions to the puzzles evolve from difficult to unchallenging and back again. This inconsistency is forgivable from someone who is an avid winner of ‘Escape The Room’ experiences. (*Nerd alert)  Escape The Field has all the raw elements of a spectacular franchise. I’d watch a prequel and a sequel, as long as the next film’s evolution takes notes from its incarnation. Make sure you stick around after the credits begin to roll. You don’t want to miss one final moment of goodness. 


U.S. Release Date: In Select Theaters, On Digital and On Demand on May 6, 2022.


Cities:                                    New York (Cinema Village), Los Angeles (Lumiere Cinema), and key cities nationwide.           

Cast:                                      Jordan Claire Robbins, Theo Rossi, Tahirah Sharif, Julian Feder, Elena Juatco, and Shane West

Directed by:                           Emerson Moore         

Written by:                             Emerson Moore and Joshua Dobkin & Sean Wathen

Produced by:                        Andrew Davies Gans, Michael Philip, Jason Moring and Emerson Moore

Genre:                                    Thriller            

Rating:                                   R

Running Time:                      88 minutes


Review: Despite fantastic performances, ‘The Ravine’ takes a turn for the worse.

presents

In THE RAVINE, when an unspeakable crime rocks a peaceful community, family and friends are left to wonder if they overlooked the murderer among them or if there might be more to the story. Inspired by true events, this haunting thriller stars Eric Dane, Teri Polo, Peter Facinelli, and Leslie Uggams.


Based on a true story, The Ravine skillfully creates a tense atmosphere. The film opens to ominous phone messages, tight-knit relationships, and one pulse-pounding vignette. It’s a familiar panic for someone who has lost a friend in the prime of their life; the unanswered phone tag, the swirl of shock, and unadulterated, unfiltered emotion. Performances are heartbreaking from the children to the adults. They are raw and riveting. All these positive aspects cannot save the film from a failed ending.

Director Keoni Waxman writes the script based on Robert and Kelly Pascuzzi‘s novel of the same name. Its structure utilizes flashbacks and present-day fallout. Through police work, past regressions, and the unexpected introduction of a gifted and religious psychic, The Ravine takes a turn in genre and never fully recovers. The script leans on religious redemption in the end, but the audience does not expect the hard right turn in the narrative. As a choice in storytelling, regardless of how close these depictions are to true events, it doesn’t match with the repetitive scenes of violence. The final 20+ minutes of the moment-by-moment explanation felt rushed and overwhelming. For a film that begins like an episode of True DetectiveThe Ravine ends in a preachy manner. It soured the entire experience. 


Cinedigm will release THE RAVINE in theaters and on Demand and Digital on May 6, 2022.


 
The film stars Eric Dane (“Euphoria”), Teri Polo (Meet the Parents), Peter Facinelli (The Vanished), Byron Mann (The Big Short), Leslie Uggams (Deadpool), and Kyle Lowder (“Days of Our Live”).

THE RAVINE was written and directed by Keoni Waxman (The Hard Way). It was co-written with Kelly Pascuzzi and Robert Pascuzzi whose book “THE RAVINE” is the basis for the film.


Review: ‘BLACK BOX’ is one of the year’s most intense films.

BLACK BOX

Mathieu is a young and talented black box analyst on a mission to solve the reason behind the deadly crash of a brand new aircraft. Yet, when the case is closed by the authorities, Mathieu cannot help but sense there is something wrong with the evidence. As he listens to the tracks again, he starts detecting some seriously disturbing details. Could the tape have been modified? Going against his boss’ orders, Mathieu begins his own rogue investigation – an obsessional and dangerous quest for the truth that will quickly threaten far more than his career…


The first thing you’ll notice about Black Box is the sharp cinematography work. It’s unmissable as the film opens in one long take. The camera glides from inside the cockpit, down the aisles, into the rear of the aircraft, to land squarely on the titular object. It’s a stunning and terrifying beginning of a taut thriller. Mathieu is a gifted acoustic engineer tasked with transcribing the audio that leads up to the crash of Atrian 800, where 300 passengers and 16 crew members perished. When details begin to shift, Mathieu’s obsession with the truth spirals. 

Paired with the Netflix documentary Downfall: The Case Against BoeingBlack Box is even more frightening. Aviation insider politics adds an additional layer of suspense. My heart was in my throat every second of this film. Writer-director Yann Gozlan, alongside screenwriter Nicolas Bouvet-Levrard, and collaborator Jérémie Guez (The Night Eats The World, one of my favorite films), cleverly compounds conspiracy theories and intertwine them with raw emotion.

Watching the physical process of removing the voice recording apparatus is fascinating. To understand that such a small piece of equipment contains the key to such pertinent knowledge astounds. But ultimately, it’s a human being that leads to a conclusion. 

Pierre Niney as Matthieu gives a brilliant performance, luring you in with measured intensity. The nuance Niney presents hit differently for me as a mother of a neurodivergent child. Niney presents the physical aspects of an individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. Some people with neurotypical children don’t know that this can actually be a superpower. Ultra-sensitive auditory issues are both a blessing and a curse. Niney also brings emotional trauma, heightening Matthieu’s intention. Niney is, simply put, astonishing. 

The recreations of the crash circumstances and recovered wreckage have a visceral effect. The editing is award-worthy. In a narrative where the audience believes they have the entire picture, tweaking that understanding jars the brain. This evolving monster of a mystery slowly and relentlessly squeezes the air out of your lungs. After watching Black Box, I don’t know when I’ll be comfortable flying again. 


Directed by
Yann Gozlan

 

Cast
Pierre Niney, Lou de Laâge, André Dussollier

Opening

NYC – Village East by Angelika – 4/29/2022

LA – Laemmle Glendale – 5/6/2022


2022- France – Thriller – 129 mins
In French with English subtitles


Review: Malin Akerman and Lorenza Izzo star in the taut thriller ‘THE AVIARY.’

THE AVIARY

SYNOPSIS: Malin Akerman and Chris Messina star in the twisted journey of two women’s desperate flee to escape the clutches of Skylight, an insidious cult. Lured in by the promise of “freedom” in the isolated desert campus called “The Aviary”, Jillian (Akerman) and Blair (Lorenzo Izzo) join forces to escape in hopes of real freedom. Consumed by fear and paranoia, they can’t shake the feeling that they are being followed by the cult’s leader, Seth (Messina), a man as seductive as he is controlling. The more distance the pair gains from the cult, the more Seth holds control of their minds. With supplies dwindling and their senses failing, Jillian and Blair are faced with a horrifying question: how do you run from an enemy who lives inside your head?


Two women attempt to escape a cult by hiking through the desert. When plans go awry, deception, confusion, and brainwashing pit them against one another. 

While we only see Chris Messina as cult leader Seth in brief moments, they are undoubtedly impactful. With his calm yet persuasive demeanor, it is easy to see why these characters fell under his spell from the very beginning. Lorenza Izzo plays Blair with unbridled, vibrating energy that is captivating. You clock every single beat in her eyes. Malin Akerman‘s confidence as Jillian makes her a perfect foil for Izzo. Akerman walks a fine line between vulnerable and secretive. She’s frighteningly good. 

The screenplay’s wordplay, score, and scene blocking heightened every moment. There was never a dull moment. The endless mindfuckery rubbed my nerves raw. I found I had left fingernail impressions on my palms without realizing it. The paranoia and tension in the dialogue had my head spinning. Are these women gaslighting one another, is one of them a villain and is this even real? These are some of the questions I had while sorting through the madness that is The Aviary

You cannot ignore the comparisons with Scientology and Rajneeshees. The final 20 minutes had me on the edge of my seat. If you think you know where this story is going, think again. The Aviary is a whirlwind of manipulative tactics. It’s fantastic. 


In Theaters, on Digital, and On Demand April 29, 2022


WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Chris Cullari & Jennifer Raite

STARRING: Malin Akerman, Lorenza Izzo, Chris Messina, Sandrine Holt

RUN TIME: 96 minutes

RATING: Rated R for language and some violent content.

GENRE: Thriller


OPENING THEATERS INCLUDE:

NEW YORK CITY – Cinema Village

LOS ANGELES – Lumiere Cinema

 

ATLANTA – Studio Movie Grill Marietta

CLEVELAND – Atlas Diamond Center

DETROIT – Emagine Royal Oak

HOUSTON – Studio Movie Grill Pearland

MINNEAPOLIS – Emagine Eagan

ORLANDO – Studio Movie Grill Sunset Walk

PHILADELPHIA – Westown Movies

TAMPA – Studio Movie Grill Seminole


HOT DOCS 2022 review: ‘Images Of A Nordic Drama’ pits art lovers against the art world.

IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA

Who would have ever guessed that the discovery of paintings by an unknown Norwegian artist would cause such upheaval in the art world? When art collector Haakon Mehren was led to a barn filled with oversized canvases, his jaw immediately hit the floor. Who was this artist? After some sleuthing, Mehren introduces the world to Aksel Waldemar Johannessen, an unapologetic alcoholic who did the unthinkable. Johannessen painted the poor, often using his image mixed with dark and twisted imagery of inner turmoil.

Self-portrait painted by Aksel Waldemar Johannessen

Art is subjective, but there is undoubtedly a most elite shroud in curating. Norway’s most coveted paintings never before depicted the lower class. Their claim to fame was Edvard Munch. If you know even a sliver about art, you can immediately conjure the image of “The Scream.” The curatorial staff at the National Museum and gatekeepers of the Munch Museum immediately pushed back on adding the works to Norway’s collective narrative. Mehren made it his life’s mission to share Johannessen’s artistic contributions, scheduling exhibitions throughout Europe. The public’s reaction was overwhelmingly delightful. That only fueled the fire from Norway’s elite.

Director Nils Gaup uses a gorgeous score while repeatedly showcasing Johannessen’s paintings. This distinctive choice brings due awe to each piece. There’s no denying that some of the work is frightening, while others are simply breathtaking. The variety of subjects is astounding. You will find yourself lost in them. IMAGES OF A NORDIC DRAMA is the perfect addition to this year’s HOT DOCS 2022 lineup. If you weren’t an art lover before, get ready for your world is about to change.

The painting “Man on a diving board” by Aksel Waldemar Johannessen. This painting was exhibited at The Met.


HOT DOCS 2022 Link to buy tickets:

https://hotdocs.ca/whats-on/hot-docs-festival/films/2022/images-of-a-nordic-drama

@hotdocs #HotDocs22


HOT DOCS 2022 FESTIVAL SCREENINGS:
PUBLIC SCREENINGS:

Saturday, April 30 at 11:30 am
Location: Varsity 8 (55 Bloor Street West)

Thursday, May 5 at 8:45 pm
Location: Varsity 8 (55 Bloor Street West)

Running Time: 71 minutes

Language: English, German, Norwegian

Country: Norway, Germany (Feature Documentary)


Review: ‘STANLEYVILLE’ is so weird it works.

An exercise in the absurd, the hit indie STANLEYVILLE opens with Maria (Susanne Wuest) walking away from her life on a moment’s whim. Found lounging aimlessly on an airport chair, an odd man named Homunculus (the absolute legend Julian Richings) informs her of her selection to participate in an exclusive competition. The prize is an orange compact SUV.

Without hesitating, Maria arrives at an apartment alongside four other contestants. In a series of eight individual challenges, the first being balloon blowing, Maria, Felicia, Manny, Bofill, and Andrew battle to be the victor. The Master of ceremonies appears equal parts confused and confident in his role. As the stakes get higher and the games get weirder, chaos ensues. Five opposite archetypes collide in one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever witnessed. 

STANLEYVILLE is so odd it works. The film’s pacing is intentionally erratic, and the personalities are strong. That is, all except Maria. She is content to play the game fairly and with an abundance of reverence. The performances of our six cast members are outstanding. This eclectic mix of actors pours their heart into a script that must have seemed outrageous when they first read it. Full disclosure, I’m not sure I walked away understanding what I watched either, but I’ll tell you this, I cannot stop thinking or talking about STANLEYVILLE.

The finale is equally enigmatic, occurring offscreen. It’s a keenly written full-circle moment that makes you think. STANLEYVILLE is like nothing you’ve seen before. Some will assume writer-director Maxwell McCabe-Lokos was making it all up as he went along. I cannot be the first to salivate at the idea of turning this into a stage play without intermission. The story is a conversation starter. What that conversation consists of is determined entirely by each viewer’s experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind film. 


Oscilloscope Laboratories is proud to release STANLEYVILLE — the quirky, dark feature debut from writer/director Maxwell McCabe-Lokos that has won festival accolades across the globe — exclusively at New York City’s Metrograph on April 22nd, with a wider rollout to follow.


Color
English Language
88 minutes
Not Rated


The pitch-black comedy, which critics lovingly call “a strange movie for strange people” and “an episode of Survivor for sociopathic miscreants”, stars Susanne Wuest (GOODNIGHT MOMMY), Cara Ricketts (FOX’s The Resident), Christian Serritiello, George Tchortov (Amazon’s The Expanse), Adam Brown (Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT trilogy), and genre legend Julian Richings (CUBE).


Review: ‘Marevelous and The Black Hole’ is a family film with heart and pizzazz.

MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE

A teenage delinquent (Miya Cech, ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE) befriends a surly magician (Rhea Perlman, “Cheers,” MATILDA) who helps her navigate her inner demons and dysfunctional family with sleight of hand magic. A coming-of-age comedy that touches on unlikely friendships, grief, and finding hope in the darkest moments.


After losing her mother, Sammy lashes out physically and emotionally. When her dad forces her to take a business class in summer school, she encounters a magician by happenstance. Under the guise of a final project, Sammy trades anger for magic. 

The score heightens the film’s charm. Cartoon animation and black & white fantasy sequences create playful transitions whenever Sammy feels rage. The costumes are meaningful. Sammy is in black the entire film, while Margot dons lush colors adorned with embroidery or applique. 

Rhea Perlman plays Margot, AKA The Marvelous. Perlman’s cheery disposition is a brilliant foil for Miya Cech‘s Sammy. She brings a motherly quality that Sammy so desperately needs. Cech is outstanding. She possesses a fierce attitude that’s relatable. Cech levels up the typical teenage angst with grounded sass and genuine vulnerability underneath. Together, their chemistry is like a warm hug. If I’m being honest, I would gladly watch an entire series about these two characters.

Marvelous and The Black Hole is nothing short of darling. This family-friendly flick is about navigating grief. Writer-director Kate Tsang gives audiences a sweet ode to storytelling and healing. 


MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE
Opens in Select Theaters on April 22, 2022


Written + Directed by: Kate Tsang
Produced by: Carolyn Mao
Co-Producers: Allison Avery Jordan, Christa Boarini
Director of Photography: Nanu Segal, BSC
Production Designer: Yong Ok Lee
Edited by: Cyndi Trissel, Ryan Denmark
Costume Designer: Amanda Bujak

TRT: 81 minutes


 

Review: Mayim Bialik’s directorial debut ‘As They Made Us’ is relatable in its drama.

AS THEY MADE US

As They Made Us follows Abigail (Agron), a divorced mother of two, who is struggling to find sanity in her dysfunctional family as she attempts to cultivate new love. Her father, Eugene (Hoffman), has a degenerative condition that he and his wife, Barbara (Bergen), refuse to accept. Her brother Nathan (Helberg) has been estranged from the family for decades. A self-appointed fixer, Abigail attempts to mend her complicated family before it’s too late.


Mayim Bialik‘s feature debut packs an emotional punch. As They Made Us feels like a fresh wound for anyone with childhood trauma. Brilliantly structured with flashbacks and present-day chaos, Bialik weaves a portrait of a family existing in turmoil. 

Simon Helberg plays the son who escaped the weight of negativity. Estranged from the family, he leaves Abigail (Agron) behind to take the brunt of the aggression. Helberg plays a vastly different role from Bialik’s costar on The Big Bang Theory, and her script allows Helberg to show his range. Dustin Hoffman is patriarch Eugene. Navigating his cognitive decline, Hoffman plays dual roles in a way. At times, happy go lucky and defiant, others violent and loud. His journey is the most outwardly complex. Candace Bergen is the epitome of Jewish mother cliches, with a real mean streak. She lands somewhere in between abrasive and meddling. Still managing to be charming, Bergen brings heightened energy to the film. 

Dianna Agron is the default child, the emotional packhorse. Taking on caregiver roles that ought to belong to Bergen’s Barbara, Agron must shift between daughter, nurse, and wife roles to ease Eugene’s suffering. These are all at her own cost as she carries these scars. Agron is the star of this film. Even with Hoffman and Bergen, she steals the show. Her exhaustion is palpable. 

The family’s Jewish faith is a significant plot point. It becomes a large part of Abigail’s coping mechanisms, parenting, and healing. The character reminds me a lot of my Mother. Replace Judaism with Catholicism, and I’ve witnessed this same story play out a generation before. As They Made Us speaks volumes in roughly 90 minutes. Tackling forgiveness, acceptance, and mortality, Bialik’s voice as a filmmaker is pretty striking for her first time out. I am eager to see what comes next.



OPENS APRIL 8, 2022
IN THEATERS AND DIGITAL / VOD


Writer & Director: Mayim Bialik

Cast: Dianna Agron and Simon Helberg, with Candice Bergen, Dustin Hoffman, Justin Chu Cary, Charlie Weber, and Julian Gant

Producers:  Jordan Beckerman, Ash Christian, Anne Clements, Michael Day, Jordan Yale Levine, Mark Maxey

Runtime Time: 96 minutes

Rated: R for language


 

Official Trailer Drop: ‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ is getting served up in May. #BobsBurgersMovie

The Bob’s Burgers Movie

A ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, blocking the entrance indefinitely and ruining the Belchers’ plans for a successful summer. While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant. As the dangers mount, these underdogs help each other find hope as they try to get back behind the counter.


 The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Only in Theaters on May 27


Release date: May 27, 2022 (USA)
Directors: Loren Bouchard, Bernard Derriman
Adapted from: Bob’s Burgers

#BobsBurgersMovie

Capsule review: Inspired by actual events, ‘NITRAM’ is a gripping tale of inevitable violence.

NITRAM

SYNOPSIS: Nitram (Caleb Landry Jones) lives with his mother (Judy Davis) and father (Anthony LaPaglia) in suburban Australia in the Mid 1990s. He lives a life of isolation and frustration at never being able to fit in. That is until he unexpectedly finds a close friend in a reclusive heiress, Helen (Essie Davis). However, when that relationship meets a tragic end, and Nitram’s loneliness and anger grow, he begins a slow descent that leads to disaster.


Witness the downward spiral of an already unwell young man as he slowly travels down the rabbit hole of complete darkness. When Nitram finally connects with a reclusive heiress named Helen, his world appears brighter. Helen provides the comfort and emotional shelter his parents could not. When the sadness becomes too much, his anger and anxiety manifest in violence and unfathomable tragedy. Inspired by actual events, NITRAM tells the story of one man’s undoing, changing Australia’s history forever. 

Caleb Landry Jones embodies the mentally fragile Nitram with his entire being. It’s no wonder he won Best Actor when the film premiered at Cannes last year. Jones’ uncanny ability to live in the skin of his character is something you don’t see often. He’s on another level, whether that be his voiceover work in Finch or his haunting performance in Antiviral. Alongside stellar performances from Judy Davis and Anthony LaPaglia as Nitram’s emotionally exhausted parents and a breathtaking turn from Essie DavisNITRAM is an eerie chronicling of inevitable implosion.


IFC Films will release the thriller/drama NITRAM in Theaters, on Digital Rental and AMC+ on March 30, 2022.

Directed by Justin Kurzel (TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, SNOWTOWN MURDERS, MACBETH) and written by Shaun Grant (TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, BERLIN SYNDROME), NITRAM stars Caleb Landry Jones (THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, GET OUT, HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT), Essie Davis (THE BABADOOK, TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG), Oscar Nominee Judy Davis (HUSBANDS AND WIVES, BARTON FINK, NAKED LUNCH), and Anthony LaPaglia (EMPIRE RECORDS, WITHOUT A TRACE).


 

Review: Chris Pine helmed action thriller ‘The Contractor’ has franchise potential.

THE CONTRACTOR

SYNOPSIS: Chris Pine stars in the action-packed thriller as Special Forces Sergeant James Harper, who is involuntarily discharged from the Army and cut-off from his pension. In debt, out of options and desperate to provide for his family, Harper contracts with a private underground military force. When the very first assignment goes awry, the elite soldier finds himself hunted and on the run, caught in a dangerous conspiracy and fighting to stay alive long enough to get home and uncover the true motives of those who betrayed him. Also starring Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Foster, Gillian Jacobs and Eddie Marsan.


If you’re a fan of hit franchise films like The Bourne Identity and TakenTarik Saleh’s new film The Contractor is right in your wheelhouse. J. P. Davis’ script gives us a top-tier espionage and black ops storyline, creating an emotionally taut thriller with Chris Pine as our hero.

Keifer Sutherland does his effortless badass thing, and you’ll be on your toes every second he’s on screen. Ben Foster, who I attended Interlochen Arts Camp with when we were young, is a star yet again. Ben has that “it” factor. I knew it the second I met him. As Mike, Pines’ former Sargent and best friend, he’s charming and funny. He, too, handles the physical aspects of the film like an expert. You cannot help but focus on Foster when he appears onscreen. His presence is undeniable. 

Chris Pine gives James Harper all the qualities we need. Harper is a fully fleshed-out, flawed human being. He’s layered and complex, and Pine gives him life. The action sequences are just as hard-hitting as the emotional ones. It should come as no surprise, given Pine’s natural ability to pull you into any role. I’d love to see The Contractor become its own franchise. Pine has the chops. 

The film’s plot comes at an auspicious time in history. To give any more detail would be spoiling it for the audience. The fight choreography is enthralling. The twists and turns and emotional impact glue you to your seat. The Contractor is a solid action thriller with the heart to back it up. You can catch the film in theaters, Digital, and On-Demand on April 1st.

IN THEATERS, ON DIGITAL AND ON DEMAND: April 1, 2022
DIRECTOR: Tarik Saleh
WRITER: J.P. Davis
CAST: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gillian Jacobs, Eddie Marsan, JD Pardo, Florian Munteanu and Kiefer Sutherland
RUN TIME: 103 minutes
RATING: R for violence and language
GENRE: Action, Thriller

DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures


BUFF 2022 capsule review: Creature feature ‘HATCHING’ takes growing pains in a horrifying direction.

HATCHING


Tinja exists in a world where her mother expects perfection. Subconsciously, she seeks to replace her lack of affection. When she stumbles upon a strange abandoned egg, she decides she will nurture it. When things go awry, Mother has created a monster.

There’s no denying Hatching is a metaphor for puberty. Physical and emotional changes in Tinja are tied directly to the creature. As terror, anxiety, and jealousy intensify, so does Hatching’s horror. Our leading lady, Siiri Solalinna, is nothing short of extraordinary. She’s vulnerable, grounded, and fearless. It’s an astounding performance.

The creature design is reminiscent of something that might come out of the Wētā Workshop from Jim Henson‘s team. Its evolution is fascinating. It manages to be shockingly grotesque and yet adorable. If you’re a fan of Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal, you’ll especially appreciate the aesthetic. Hatching is a unique and terrifying journey. It’s one of the most emotionally brutal scripts of the year. BUFF 2022 fans are in for one hell of a film. 


IFC Midnight releases HATCHING in theaters April 29th and on VOD everywhere you rent movies May 17th.

Starring: Siiri Solalinna, Sophia Heikkilä, Jani Volanen, Reino Nordin

Directed By: Hanna Bergholm

Synopsis: 12-year-old Tinja is desperate to please her mother, a woman obsessed with presenting the image of a perfect family. One night, Tinja finds a strange egg. What hatches is beyond belief.


To find out more about BUFF22, click here!