Review: ‘Halloween Kills’ is all slice and no soul.

HALLOWEEN KILLS

Minutes after Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) left masked monster Michael Myers caged and burning in Laurie’s basement, Laurie is rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, believing she finally killed her lifelong tormentor. But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddonfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster. The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage who decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all. Evil dies tonight.


*Warning – this review contains light spoilers*

 

Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees are foundational to the horror genre – when it comes to recipes for other killer movies, they are basically salt, pepper, and butter. It’s interesting that in this age of reboots and resets, there hasn’t been a new Freddy movie since 2010, or a Jason one since 2009. But while Freddy and Jason have stayed home sharpening their weapons, Michael’s kept slashing right through the decade.

In 2018, David Gordon Green’s quasi-reboot Halloween executed a welcome return to form for the series. 2018’s Halloween represented a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original classic – it cut out bloated plot details and re-framed the film around the core battle between Myers and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). It brilliantly merged classic slasher tropes with new twists and underscored it all with a thoughtful feminist attitude anchored by Curtis’ full-throttle performance. The final images of the film were nearly perfect: Myers is cleverly caged within a burning house and the 3 generations of Strode women who disarmed and defeated him ride into the sunrise united and triumphant. They’ve literally taken away his knife, and figuratively taken back their lives.

Woof. That finale would have been tough for any sequel to top, but I was comforted by the fact that many of the same players that made 2018’s entry so successful had returned for 2021’s Halloween Kills (the 2nd entry in a planned trilogy, with Halloween Ends already penciled in for next year.) And, for the first 15 minutes, Halloween Kills is up to the challenge. It doesn’t take us back to Michael in that burning building but instead flashes back to the original night of carnage back in 1978. Here, Green mirrors much of the visual norms of Carpenter’s original film to great effect. It’s a shot of nostalgic adrenaline.

But the film eventually has to come back to that burning building, and Michael, of course, has to somehow escape and get back to killing. So, what’s the problem? Like my high-school physics teacher always told me, the problem’s not what you did, but more the way you did it.

To begin with, this film is grotesquely violent. I’m no shrinking violet (and the 2018 film is far from clean), but Halloween Kills goes to such an extreme that it appears out of character for Myers. Across 10 films, Michael Myers sure has sliced and diced, but he’s never truly been sadistic. In Halloween Kills, Green seems newly obsessed with the trauma the human body can take before it expires. Heads are smashed relentlessly into walls, eyes are constantly gouged out, and blood flows like water.  If I had a quarter for every shot of glass or wood impaling a character’s throat in Halloween Kills, I could buy myself a nice sandwich.

What I don’t understand about this tone shift is why Green would abandon the core tenants of what made his previous film so successful. Maybe he was bored by the previous film’s pacing? Maybe he fell victim to studio pressures to continue to amp things up for a sequel. Whatever the rationale, it was a mistake.

The second, more critical issue, is the framing. Laurie is hospitalized for nearly this entire film, and she and Michael don’t even interact throughout this entry. I can’t help but feel that this film is just treading water until we get to Laurie and Michael’s final confrontation in next year’s Halloween Ends. With Laurie on the sidelines, her daughter Karen (the always magnificent Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) have to do more of the plot’s heavy lifting. I’m always happy for Greer to get more screen-time, but this narrative choice splinters the power of that feminist trinity from the 2018 entry. You miss it, and I hope there’s a chance to get that back in 2022.

Halloween Kills has some good moments but ultimately fails to meaningfully advance the plot (or the stakes) of the franchise. Worse, it wastes the goodwill it so carefully built in 2018. I’ll still be first in line for Halloween Ends, but I’ll be scared sitting in that seat – and not for the right reasons.


 

Halloween Kills is now in theaters and on Paramount+

Universal Pictures, Miramax, Blumhouse Productions and Trancas International Films present Halloween Kills, co-starring Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins, Thomas Mann (Kong: Skull Island) and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight). From the returning filmmaking team responsible for the 2018 global phenomenon, Halloween Kills is written by Scott Teems (SundanceTV’s Rectify) and Danny McBride and David Gordon Green based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. The film is directed by David Gordon Green and produced by Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block. The executive producers are John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, and Ryan Freimann.


Shudder Original Review: ‘V/H/S/94’ is another fantastic gore-soaked addition to the franchise with a killer nostalgic twist.

V/H/S/94

Synopsis

A Shudder Original Film, V/H/S/94 is the fourth installment in the hit horror anthology franchise and marks the return of the infamous found footage anthology with segments from franchise alumni Simon Barrett (Séance) and Timo Tjahjanto (May the Devil Take You Too) in addition to acclaimed directors Jennifer Reeder (Knives & Skin), Ryan Prows (Lowlife) and Chloe Okuno (Slut). In V/H/S/94, after the discovery of a mysterious VHS tape, a brutish police swat team launch a high-intensity raid on a remote warehouse, only to discover a sinister cult compound whose collection of pre-recorded material uncovers a nightmarish conspiracy.


Boasting unbelievable practical FX, the scares in V/H/S/94 are brilliant. I’m talking legitimate, meticulously timed jump scares from every single director. The quality of the film forces you to sit up and pay closer attention, sometimes squinting over the tracking adjustments as they crowd the screen. The V/H/S franchise has been able to capture something glorious beyond the found footage genre. It’s the mystery behind the overall arch that keeps you creeped out and engaged on top of the fantastic individual stories. It’s a double whammy of horror goodness. You’ll shiver and gag and think, “Damn, this is good shit.”

The grand scheme of V/H/S 94, or “Holy Hell,” has the audience following a SWAT team into an industrial building filled with monitors and plenty of body parts. They don’t know who or what they’re searching for, exactly. As they sweep the rooms a new tape begins to play. Each one is completely different and spectacularly twisted. Tape 1, titled “Storm Drain” features a local legend of Ratman. An ambitious reporter and her cameraman get in over their heads. Tape 2, “The Empty Wake,” sees a young woman left to record the wake of a recently deceased man. Alone with a dead body during a storm? No thanks. This segment was my personal favorite. It’s old-school scary meets nuts visuals. I couldn’t help but yell NOPE at the screen, again and again.

Tape 3 “The Subject,” tells the tale of a mad doctor attempting to improve humans with technology. If you ever wanted a live first-person shooter game experience, now you’ve got one. Tape 4 “Terror” takes aim at domestic terrorism with a group of militiamen planning to cleanse America with s monstrous weapon. I also have to mention, director Steven Kostanski’s infomercial “The Veggie Masher.” It’s totally maniacal and random as hell. But at the same time, perfectly harkens back to those 3 am hour-long commercials for ridiculous kitchen gadgets. The finale actually gives you answers. As the 4th installment of the franchise, V/H/S94 makes it clear that these films are alive and well and ready to fuck you up.


V/H/S/94 WILL BE RELEASED

EXCLUSIVELY ON SHUDDER ON OCTOBER 6TH

Available on Shudder US, Shudder CA, Shudder UK, and Shudder ANZ


Directed by Chloe Okuno, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto,

Ryan Prows & Jennifer Reeder


Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: U.S. / Indonesia

Language: English / Indonesian

Review: Part One of Ja Morant original series ‘PROMISELAND’ premieres today exclusively on Crackle.

PROMISELAND

PROMISELAND takes a fresh, visceral approach to exploring the intimate journey and personal evolution of Ja Morant, a remarkable athlete who comes of age during his rookie season in the NBA. The story unfolds in real-time, shining a spotlight on the evolution of an extraordinary young man working hard to achieve his dreams of basketball superstardom. A small-town kid is thrust into a brave new world, made up of big business, power players, a small-market NBA franchise and a ravenous public spotlight, all while the radically unprecedented twists and turns of the 2019-2020 season come into focus.

Nowadays, it seems like every athlete has a documentary crew following them around.  The definition of “behind the scenes” has broadened, and what once was novel or surprising now can feel like table stakes. What makes the journey of budding NBA superstar Ja Morant in Promiseland unique is that the narrative is almost exclusively articulated via Ja’s network of family, friends, and mentors. The first installment follows Ja from humble beginnings in Sumnter, South Carolina to the bright spotlights of the 2019 NBA draft, where the Memphis Grizzlies select him as the #2 pick.  Through it all, Promiseland’stop priority isn’t to dazzle you with basketball highlights (although it has plenty of those) but to root you in the places and people that motivate Ja daily.

 Dexton Deboree’s focused direction prioritizes small human elements that ground you in Ja’s reality. It’s the hum of cicadas as Tee Morant coaches his son through a difficult drill. The camera lingers on friends, family, and empty chairs acting as phantom opponents as Ja grunts and weaves across his makeshift concrete court. These striking sounds and images paint a portrait of the daily effort and strong foundation of support Ja has needed to reach his current heights. It isn’t flashy – but the grind is approachable, relatable, and ultimately inspirational.

Promiseland unfolds in real-time, so we already know the challenges lying in Ja’s future: an uphill climb towards the NBA playoffs, a brutal pandemic, and the harsh realities of systemic racism. Watching Promiseland, you understand why this young superstar is ready to meet the moment.

PART ONE OF THIS ORIGINAL SERIES
PREMIERES JUNE 3 EXCLUSIVELY ON CRACKLE
PART TWO PREMIERES JUNE 17

Created and directed by Dexton Deboree (Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1)

PROMISELAND features interviews with:
Ja Morant, NBA star for the Memphis Grizzlies, 2020 Rookie of the Year
Carmelo Anthony, NBA All-Star
A’ja Wilson, WNBA MVP
Tee Morant, Ja Morant’s father
Jamie Morant, Ja Morant’s mother
Teniya Morant, Ja Morant’s sister
Phil Morant, Ja Morant’s uncle, and manager
Taylor Jenkins, Memphis Grizzlies head basketball coach
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies NBA star
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies NBA star
Matt McMahon, Murray State head basketball coach
Moneybagg Yo, Rapper
and more

Produced by DLP Media Group (30 for 30’s Lance, Rodman: For Better or Worse),
Falkon Entertainment, RTG Features, Interscope Films, and Waffle Iron Entertainment
Soundtrack from Interscope Records, Original score from Steve “Swiff D” Thornton

Review: ‘GENIUS FACTORY’ on Discovery + is mind-blowing story of money and mad science.

GENIUS FACTORY

In the 1980’s an eccentric billionaire named Robert Graham wanted to create the world’s smartest kids, so he funded the largest legal genetic experiment in human history. He felt that unintelligent people were breeding too often and smart people weren’t breeding enough, so he decided to do something about it. Today, 30 years later, the children of his eugenics experiment walk the streets of America as adults. These super babies seem normal enough, but there is a hidden struggle to understand who they are and why they came to be. They struggle to understand if the Genius Factory rewarded them or condemned them.

The founder is dead, the sperm bank is closed, and the records were burned. But now, for the first time, people who worked at the bank are ready to talk, the genius children are going to meet each other and find out who their fathers are. Never before has nature vs nurture ever been tested quite like this.

Discovery+ documentary Genius Factory tells a remarkable story. In the 1980s a wealthy optometrist became fixated on creating the world’s smartest babies through selective breeding, or as it’s more commonly known, eugenics. Now the children from the largest legal genetic experiment in the U.S. are in their 30’s. As one might expect, they have decidedly mixed feelings about their origins. 

The documentary takes viewers on a journey from the eccentric billionaire Robert Graham’s personal philosophy behind the clinic to first-person accounts of clinic operations with a colorful cast of former employees in sequences reminiscent of Tiger King. Some of the most intriguing interviews, however, are with the adult children of the genetic experiment. They grapple with the knowledge of where they came from and whether their lives measure up to the grand expectations that they were born into. 

Genius Factory is a fascinating watch that mostly does an adequate job explaining complex subjects like the dark history of genetic science, the racist personal beliefs of many of the clinic’s supporters, and how the experiment weighs into the “nature vs. nurture” debate. That being said, I question the decision to include commentary from an uncompromising supporter of eugenics here. For decades, the public debate on this issue has been closed. I am not sure it is the right choice to provide a tv credit to an unapologetic eugenicist in 2021. Overall, however, the documentary does a good job shining a light on the darker aspects of this science.       

It is telling that the first frame of Genius Factory is the legendary quote from Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” As a lifelong fan of Jurassic Park, I found the introduction to be an absolute delight. Genius Factory spends the next 75 minutes detailing how much thought actually went into creating a sperm bank for Nobel Prize winners and how many people thought on balance that it seemed like a good idea.

Streaming on discovery+ May 20, 2021

Directed by Daryl Stoneage (Donkey Love, Pizzicato Five, Shlomo Arigato)

Amazon Prime series: Twisted and dark ‘Tell Me Your Secrets’ Season 1 is available today!

TELL ME YOUR SECRETS

An intense, morally complex thriller revolving around a trio of characters, each with a mysterious and troubling past: Emma (Rabe) is a young woman who once looked into the eyes of a dangerous killer, John (Linklater) is a former serial predator desperate to find redemption, and Mary (Brenneman) is a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter, Theresa (Baker). As each of them is pushed to the edge, the truth about their pasts and motives grows ever murkier, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator.

Emma Hall is a new woman, or at least she hopes to be. Recently released from prison, she is the former girlfriend of a notorious serial rapist and murderer. With a new identity and the help of a mysterious man, she attempts to start over in a small Louisiana town where no one knows who she is or what she’s done, including Emma. All we know is that she claims to have memory gaps when it comes to her boyfriend’s crimes. Mary lost her daughter 7 years ago and is convinced Emma holds the key to her disappearance. When reformed rapist John is denied a volunteer position at her foundation, Mary emotionally blackmails into tracking Emma down. The audience is in for one hell of a mystery.

With multiple timelines, you aren’t sure what to believe. Tell Me Your Secrets is loaded and dizzying. The end of episode one had me catching my breath. I need to know what happened to Theresa and how Emma is connected. I can tell as a Mother, this story intrigues me. As a true crime fan, I’m invested. As a critic, I am impressed at the storytelling style. If this is just the introduction to this series, I’m hooked.

The cast is top-notch. Amy Breneman‘s woman in the edge performance is terrifying. Hamish Linklater‘s anxiety-driven reformed act gives me pause. I’m dying to see more from him already. Lily Rabe‘s perfect balancing act of darkness and trauma makes Tell Me Your Secrets as captivating as it is. If you’re a fan of The Killing or True Detective, this could be your new binge.

All 10 episodes of Season 1 of TELL ME YOUR SECRETS are now available on Prime Video

Review: ‘The Owners’ is a twisted home invasion.

SYNOPSIS:  A group of friends think they found the perfect easy score – an empty house with a safe full of cash. But when the elderly couple that lives there comes home early the tables are suddenly turned. As a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues the would-be thieves are left to fight to save themselves from a nightmare they could never have imagined.

The film has a simple enough setup but the script goes off the rails in the darkest way possible. There is a thread of manipulation that runs deep with Sylvester McCoy‘s dialogue. It’s not even hidden but it is enthralling to watch. As a Doctor Who and The Hobbit fan, this was so far out of the box for my experience with his persona it made my skin crawl. Can someone be too good at being bad? Maisie Williams holds her own against this maniacal couple and the group of misogynistic thugs in her sphere. The violence in the film is extremely high and she bares the brunt of much of it. Handling it like a pro, we are rooting for her survival from the very beginning. Writer-director Julius Berg (along with co-writer Matthieu Gompel) turns up the weird and evil with a subplot that is downright heinous. You’ll be sweating and yelling at the screen as you watch what happens to every single character. Another interesting subplot is centered around dementia. It goes hand in hand with manipulation but at times, you have to respect the way in which it ties in. It’s just so sick you cannot look away. The practical fx are gag-worthy but completely appropriate. I can easily admit that my anxiety was through the roof while viewing. Rita Tushingham‘s performance, in particular, gave me flashbacks to The People Under The Stairs and more recently, Villians.  Under all the madness is both one of the saddest love stories I’ve ever seen and one of the most ghoulish. The Owners is totally unexpected. The ending is like a punch in the face. There is so much happening in this film that you’ll be stuck in this whirlwind of violence and mayhem just as I was. This one will take a bit to shake.

RLJE Films will release the thriller THE OWNERS in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on September 4, 2020.

THE OWNERS  stars  Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones,” The New Mutants),  Sylvester McCoy  (The Hobbit franchise, “Doctor Who”),  Jake Curran  (Spotless”, Stardust),  Ian Kenny  (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Sing Street),  Andrew Ellis  (Teen Spirit, “This Is England”),and Rita Tushingham  (“The Pale Horse,” Vera). The film is directed by Julius Berg (“The Forest,” “Mata  Hari”) who co-wrote the film with  Matthieu Gompel (The Dream Kids).

Review: ‘Zombie For Sale’ is a genre-bending riot. Now playing on the Arrow Video Channel!

 

Synopsis:  When the illegal human experiments of Korea’s biggest pharmaceutical company go wrong, one of their “undead” test subjects escapes and ends up in a shabby gas station owned by the Park family – a band of misfits spanning three generations who hustle passersby to make ends meet. When the Park family uncovers their undead visitor, he bites the head of their household, who instead of transforming into an undead ghoul becomes revitalized and full of life! The family then hatch a plan to exploit this unexpected fountain of youth, allowing locals to pay to be bitten too… until things go wrong.

Boasting moments of Shaun of the Dead-like physical comedy, this film is beyond hilarious. Outstanding editing and cinematography add to the overall greatness. The filmmakers did not cut corners in storyboarding. The quick takes are all part of the film’s success. I’ve never found a zombie film more charming. A score that is reminiscent of anything composed by Danny Elfman for a Tim Burton movie, Zombie For Sale has more elements of genre fun than you thought you’d need in a single film.

Our zombie friend has a higher than usual self-awareness, as his ability to understand love, fear, and pain feature prominently in the storyline. He is being used for a “get rich quick” scheme and your empathy is with him. I’ve never wanted to put a zombie in my pocket before, and yet here we are. This absurdity makes it all the funnier. When our clueless family looks up a clip from Train to Busan, I literally guffawed. Each member has a distinctly different personality, besides being con artists. It’s safe to say that our two female leads wield the most power in this screenplay. Outside of the typical “final girl” scenarios, this was refreshing as hell. This is a true ensemble cast. You will not know what’s coming next. It’s safe to call this a genre-bending film. It is a zombie apocalypse redemption rom-com. These performances are laugh out loud funny from start to finish. Zombie For Sale is colorful and zany and it’s one of my favorite zombie films of the year.

The Arrow Video Channel is available on Apple TV in the UK and US, as well as on Amazon in the UK.

ABOUT THE ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL

The ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL gives cult movie fans the opportunity to watch a wide selection of movies that the ARROW VIDEO brand has been famous for – personally curated by members of the Arrow team. From horror to sci-fi, thrillers to westerns, the ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL is home to cutting edge cult and undiscovered gems such as Takashi Miike’s “Audition,” Wes Craven’s seminal masterpiece “The Hills Have Eyes,” George A. Romero’s contagion classic “The Crazies,” Edwin Brown’s slice-and-dice staple “The Prey” and so much more. In the coming months, the ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL will be adding more cult classics from East Asia such as Shinya Tsukamoto’s “Tetsuo: The Iron Man” and “Bullet Ballet” and a collection of the Japanese classic “Gamera” movies.  In addition to crowd-pleasing cult movies on the service, the ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL will continue to give you an exclusive platform to brand new genre as part of a new global strategy.

The ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL also hosts a growing collection of documentaries, interviews and never-before-seen content from the Arrow Video archives, as well as newly produced material. These documentaries will breathe new life on the ARROW VIDEO CHANNEL, giving movie fans an immersive look into the creation of many cult movie classics such as “Donnie Darko” and “Hellraiser.” The service will be updated regularly with new content, new curation focus and never-before-seen content, all hand-picked by the Arrow Video team.

 

 

Review: ‘Sometimes Always Never’ is as charming as its leading man, Bill Nighy.


Alan (Bill Nighy) is a stylish tailor with moves as sharp as his suits. He has spent years searching tirelessly for his missing son Michael who stormed out over a game of Scrabble. With a body to identify and his family torn apart, Alan must repair the relationship with his youngest son Peter (Sam Riley) and solve the mystery of an online player who he thinks could be Michael, so he can finally move on and reunite his family.

Bill Nighy is his nonchalant, charming self as an eccentric, and brilliant Scrabble obsessed tailor. This gem of a film shows how family rubs off on you even when you don’t want them to. Sometimes Always Never is a film about communication. The cast’s chemistry is ideal. That perfect push and pull you need in a complex and loaded family dynamic. The beautiful and deliberate visual moments add to the quirky nature and balance out the underlying sadness. The cinematography is simply breathtaking. The final act will feel like an emotional homecoming. The writing is spectacular.

Sometimes Always Never is not a flashy film. It’s about multigenerational relationships. It’s about living in the present. You can watch the film in virtual cinemas Friday June 12th and on On Demand  July 10th.

Full list of virtual cinemas HERE!

Directed by: Carl Hunter
Written by: Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cast: Bill Nighy, Sam Riley, Alice Lowe, Jenny Agutter, Tim McInnerny

Review: ‘Dear…’ Apple Tv+ new series is coming this Friday!

Dear…

One person’s story can change the world. From Emmy-winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler, this ten-part docuseries profiles game-changing icons and the people whose lives they’ve inspired.

 

Dear… is a brand new docuseries featuring letters to some of the most influential people of our time. These fan letters affect the reader as profoundly as the author. ‘DEAR…’ explores the histories of our subjects, what inspired them to be artistic, brave, and to step into the unknown. Like each letter illustrated, the series is one of a kind.

Episode 2:

Lin-Manuel Miranda understood that if you don’t tell your story, someone will do it for you in a way that might not be as authentic. He talks about creating In The Heights and literally changing the face and sound of musical theatre. He learned how to say, “No”, and how to wait for the right opportunity. Finally, Latinos were able to see themselves onstage. His fans’ letters speak to the ability to celebrate their heritage. Wait until you see how and where he shares the first 16 bars from Hamilton. Through this show and his subsequent speech at the Tony Awards, he gave renew voice to the LGBTQA+ community. Love is love is love is love is love.

Episode 6:

Jane Goodall is a huge figure for someone so small in real life. What she has done for research and extinction awareness is a gift to the Earth. In her Dear… episode, her letters tell the stories of other people and their journey to protect the planet and its creatures. Jane’s love of animals and Tarzan inspired her to study Africa. Footage of Goodall in 1960 in Tanzania in search of chimpanzees is gorgeous. Thus began her life’s work. Her fans span generations, creating foundations, becoming conservation activists and journalists, mentors, and environmentally progressive teens. Her message through Roots and Shoots is about encouraging each child to be part of the solution and have the courage to raise awareness to those who don’t understand the effect humans have on climate.

Episode 7:

Big Bird, yes our giant 8-foot tall Sesame Street herald, has his very own episode of Dear… Big Bird is technically only 6 years old, but he’s been around since the incarnation of Jim Henson and PBS’ children’s series in 1969. Children follow the social-emotional growth of someone just like them. In 1982, the actor who played Mr. Hooper passed away, and Sesame Street used it as an opportunity to teach young kids about death. Whenever major events happen in the world, Sesame Street deals with them head-on using Big Bird as their universal child. He shows the same vulnerability that a viewer would. His letters are from the adults that grew up with him. With 2 toddlers of my own, we watch Big Bird learn new lessons every day. He teaches them how to be a good friend, how it’s ok to make mistakes, and how to be accepting of those who are different from us. Now that Sesame Street has Julia, a character with autism, my connection with Big Bird is stronger than ever. I am a Mom with a child on the spectrum. He has taught us that being yourself is the best way to be, that would celebrate how special and unique each of us truly is. In a way, this review is my very own letter saying Thank You for continuing to teach us all.

DEAR… also showcases the lives and letters of Spike Lee, Aly Raisman, Misty Copeland, Oprah Winfrey, Yara Shahidi, Jane Goodall, Stevie Wonder, and Gloria Steinem. The beautiful juxtaposition of the authors’ letters dramatized while reading them is stunning. You’ll have chills. The show is hopeful and real. It’s incredibly well done. It’s a series we need right now, in this moment of history. DEAR… can be seen beginning June 5th in its entirety on Apple TV+.

Free Virtual screenings of ‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice’ June 4th-10th from BrightFocus Foundation!

The life and career of singer Linda Ronstadt is traced from her childhood in Tucson through her decades-long career and to her retirement in 2011 due to Parkinson’s disease.

If I’m being honest, when asked to review this film, I wasn’t able to name a single Linda Ronstadt song. Growing up, The Beach Boys and Carole King were on constant rotation in Mom’s station wagon tapedeck.  How then, 40 years later, was I recognizing so many hits from a woman whom I assumed was a country singer when I heard her name? Clearly I was mistaken. This film was a reeducation, and boy am I glad for it. In watching Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice I came to realize I have always been a fan.

Linda Ronstadt’s extraordinary rise to fame is almost like a fairytale. Her incomparable voice quickly rose her from the LA club scene to a record deal. She broke genres and records along the way. Her intellect and wit were evident in the way she promoted herself and other female artists. She was fearless in calling out the toxic masculinity that was rock up until that point. Her vocal range was unmatched by almost any other artist. When a producer told her not to make a certain album, she went ahead and did it anyway… and usually won awards for it. Linda Ronstadt is someone to be respected and amazed by. You can tell, simply by the number of industry stars that participated in sit down interviews (Cameron Crowe, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, to name a few) what an impact she made in her long and successful career. Without even knowing it, I’ve been a Linda Ronstadt fan through Blue Bayou, Don’t Know Much, A Different Drum, Rescue Me, Desperado, When Will I Be Loved, You’re No Good, It’s So Easy To Fall In Love, and many many more. She is someone I can look up to as a performer and as a woman. Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice is a stunning lesson in music history. You will find yourself singing along and living in the music just as Linda does.

Lucky for audiences, LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE At-Home Movie Night with BrightFocus can
be watched for free at brightfocus.org/movie, or via Facebook Live and viewed on any computer, tablet, or phone from June 4-10. BrightFocus Foundation, a nonprofit organization funding
scientific research and promoting public awareness to end diseases of mind and sight. The at-home movie night will feature an introduction from producer James Keach, and interviews with key scientists discussing their current research.

“I believe in the power and promise of science to end disease and save lives, and this is why I am glad to showcase both the transcendent beauty of Linda’s voice in this film as well as
the bold, groundbreaking research of BrightFocus,” Keach said, noting that Ronstadt’s iconic career was cut short by a neurodegenerative disease.

Stacy Haller, BrightFocus Foundation President and CEO, added, “The scientists supported by BrightFocus are relentless in their drive to slow and end diseases that rob us of our memory and
our sight. We could not have found a better film to both bring back so many great memories and remind us how now, more than ever, the need for innovative science is abundantly clear.”
In addition to James Keach’s introduction prior to the presentation of the film, four BrightFocus- funded scientists will briefly introduce their work. They include: Sarah Doyle, PhD, Assistant
Professor in Immunology, Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin; Makoto Ishii, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Neurology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University;
Amir H. Kashani, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, the University of Southern California and Roski Eye Institute; and Yvonne Ou, MD, Associate Professor, Ophthalmology,
University of California, San Francisco. They are among over 200 scientists around the world whose ongoing research is supported by BrightFocus.

FREE VIRTUAL SCREENINGS beginning Thursday, June 4 at 7:00 PM EST to benefit the BrightFocus Foundation. More information at brightfocus.org/movie

Review: Playing upon the superstitious nature of sailors, ‘SEA FEVER’ pits science against unfounded fear and pride. 

SYNOPSIS: Siobhán’s a marine biology student who prefers spending her days alone in a lab. She has to endure a week on a ragged fishing trawler, where she’s miserably at odds with the close-knit crew. But out in the deep Atlantic, an unfathomable life form ensnares the boat. When members of the crew succumb to a strange infection, Siobhán must overcome her alienation and anxiety to win the crew’s trust, before everyone is lost.

Fishing line is one of the most important items when fishing. For anglers, having the best quality line undeniably plays a major role in catching a fish. Understanding the different types of fishing line and having the knowledge to use the right lines in the right situation, could significantly improve an anglers’ fishing success. Click here if you want to get more about the walleye fishing line.

Imagine if your line breaks while fishing causing you to lose the fish. Professional anglers who depend on their income from tournaments pay careful attention to their fishing line. Most of them change their lines every day just to make sure they land a fish that could give thousands of dollars at the end of the tournament.

First you need to determine what type of fish you will be trying to catch. It is easier for you to land a fish if you know this beforehand. Catching different types of fish depend on the weight capacity and type of line you will be using. Every time your line is under heavy pressure it usually generates a lot of heat due to friction. Opt for a line that is able to stand extreme heat. Every line product comes with a “max pound test”. It is the weight the line can tolerate before breaking. Therefore, when you do deep water fishing using a 10 lb. line, chances are it will break as most deep water fish are more than 10 pounds. Additionally, the line has to endure the shock factor, which is when the fish makes a solid pull in order to get away.

The open ocean intimidates the hell out of me since my biggest fear is drowning. Am I afraid of walking under ladders and breaking mirrors? Guilty. Have I grown up to believe in fairy tales and old wives’ tales? Absolutely. Does my very own sister work in the maritime industry? You’re catching on here. Sea Fever exists to torment me.

Hermione Corfield plays Siobhán, a Ph.D. student placed on a fishing boat for her studies. What she lacks in interpersonal skills, she makes up for in brains and intuition. Battling the folklore of the sailors on board, she is faced with a creature of unknown origins that has an agenda of its own. The cast has instant chemistry and the setting of a confined and creaking ship makes for a skin-crawling experience on its own. Adding a “sea monster” element and all that comes with it makes for both a tragic and truly terrifying viewing experience. You will live in the claustrophobia of the scenario. The sound editing and cinematography combined with a cast doing complete justice to writer/director Neasa Hardiman‘s script is the perfect storm for scary.

Gunpowder & Sky, via their sci-fi label DUST, will release SEA FEVER  on Digital April 10, 2020. 

SEA FEVER stars Hermione Corfield (Star Wars: The Last JediMission Impossible: Rogue Nation), Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman 1984, Gladiator), and Dougray Scott (Batwoman, Mission Impossible 2), and is the feature debut from BAFTA-winning director/writer Neasa Hardiman (Happy Valley, Jessica Jones).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Dosed Makes the Case for Psychedelics in Addiction Treatment

As we have found ourselves in a national crisis over the opioid addiction over the last few years, there have been many exposés on the harrowing journeys people go through as they navigate addiction and try to recover. Obviously, this has been a losing battle for way too many people, especially as the drug landscape changes with substances like fentanyl being more widely introduced. In order to provide a tailor-made approach to addiction treatment, we perform a thorough assessment of each patient upon entering our 30-day Orange County drug rehab center. This is done in order to assess their medical needs, possible co-occurring mental disorders, the severity of their addiction, family dynamics, and other pertinent information that can help our practitioners to personalize treatment to the patient’s needs.  Once the symptoms of withdrawal dissipate and the body returns to normal function, which usually takes around 5 to 7 days, then therapy can begin. The patient will participate in various therapeutic programs such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, and holistic treatment methods. These programs take place in either a group or a one-on-one format. The best way to determine what insurance cover for residential rehab you might have, contact your health insurance provider and ask them what your copays and other potential costs are, how they decide what to cover, and the types of rx addiction treatment services your specific plan covers, such as inpatient, outpatient, and detox programs. Alternatively, get Pulse Vascular vascular surgeons in New Jersey, NJ can help you to determine what you are covered for especially when learning about the best-known methods of treating addiction and Vascular pulse, according to the latest research, is through a whole-patient approach to treatment that involves tailor-made treatment plans, behavioral therapy, the use of medication where needed, and strategies to prevent relapse.

Dosed brings us the story of Adrianne (only her first name is revealed), a heroin addict living in Vancouver, Canada. She has been struggling with heroin addiction for a long time – she mentions that she’s been an addict for 20 years, but I’m never really sure about that time frame. She uses daily and calls herself a trashcan addict because she’ll use anything she can get her hands on. Her friend, director Tyler Chandler, walks us through her story using cbd to loose all anxiety caused by the withdrawal syndrome. If you are suffering from anxiety due to this or any other reason, CBD might be the solution for you, read more at Observer.com.

As someone who is at the end of her rope, Adrianne decides to try psilocybin as a way to stave off her opioid cravings and possibly set her on the road to full recovery. Chandler captures her “trip” on film and it looks like it has some promise. The problem is psychedelics, like all medicinal treatments, need to be supervised by a professional. As a prescribed methadone patient in addition to using street drugs, her situation is more dire than most.

This leads them to a team of people using iboga, a hallucinogen that comes from a root of plant that is grown in Gabon, Africa, and has been used in rituals there for hundreds of years. Iboga can be deadly if used improperly and not under proper supervision, so Adrianne has to submit to their rules and practices in order to take that journey.

This film is a really up close and very personal look at addiction. Chandler and Adrianne have known each other for years and you can see that relationship play out throughout the film. This snapshot is clearly not the norm of what an addict goes through to get clean. Adrianne has privilege where most do not – she has two parents who are engaged in helping her get clean, she clearly has the money not only to buy street drugs every day (there is a scene that shows her stash of empty heroin packets that number in the hundreds or even thousands) but also to go to the iboga treatment center for multiple weeks which is quite posh. While we get to see some of the horrors of what an addict goes through to get clean, Chandler shies away from showing the really hard stuff like the withdrawals and the psychological reckoning that comes with understanding why one is an addict. He dances around these, lightly touching on them, but there is no visceral depiction that might land harder. So in this sense, the viewer doesn’t get crucial access to Adrianne‘s story which is needed to fill out the whole picture.

However, the film does present a compelling case for the use of psychedelics in the treatment of addiction. It states that psychedelics are 10 times more effective in weaning people off of opioids than traditional pharmaceutical measures. As the planet struggles to deal with the opioid crisis, all measures should be on the table to combat it. The problem is that most countries across the globe have banned the use of psilocybin and iboga, so the full potential of its healing power has yet to really be explored. It’s something worth considering quite heavily after watching Adrianne‘s quest for sobriety.

This film was supposed to open in theaters today, but due to the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shuttering of theaters across the country. However, this film is now available to be viewed online through Vimeo at the following link starting at 7 pm.

In addition, he filmmakers have pledged to give 10% of each purchase, matched by Facebook, for a total of 20% towards coronavirus disaster relief. While this isn’t the easiest film to watch during a time when so many of us are feeling unsure about the global situation right now, it has a message that is worth hearing. As one problem grips the world today, it’s important to not forget that there are other issues that are costing people their lives as well.

Here’s the trailer:

I hope you are all staying safe, being smart about social distancing and being compassionate to your neighbors. Much love to you all from us here at Reel News Daily!

Review: ‘International Falls’ explores the fine line between comedy and tragedy.

A woman stuck in a small, snowbound border town has dreams of doing comedy when she meets a washed-up, burned-out comedian with dreams of doing anything else.

International Falls is funny from the very first scene. The jokes are witty and rapid-fire. But you can feel a sense of sadness lingering over the comedy. Rachael Harris and Rob Huebel experience feelings of remorse and betrayal, all while making jokes. This script is a nuanced look into depression, ambition, and longing. It’s about choices, both right and wrong. The cool, sometimes awkward, sometimes heartwarming chemistry is awesome to see. I don’t know how much if any, of the dialogue was improvised but Harris and Huebel were perfect casting choices. The location adds to the plot in a massive way. The snow-covered and isolated, smalltown feel, impacts not only the characters and audience. Whether directly or indirectly, the viewer feels as trapped by International Falls as our two leads. There are essentially three main sets, the hotel (predominantly the room), the quaint downtown exteriors, and the stage. The later is intercut throughout the film with Tim’s stand up routines. The combination of Amber McGinnis’ directorial debut and writer Thomas Ward’s screenplay makes for an insightful, laugh-out-loud, dramedy.  There is so much more than meets the eye with this film. Its authenticity will stick with you.

INTERNATIONAL FALLS stars Rachel Harris (Lucifer, Suits), Rob Huebel (Children’s Hospital, Transparent), and Kevin Nealon (Man with a Plan, Weeds)

The film has been an official selection at 22 film festivals across the country and has won multiple awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at 5 different festivals. The film festivals giving the film their highest honor, include the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the Naples International Film Festival, the New York No Limits Film Series, the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Tallgrass International Film Festival in Wichita.

The award-winning film opens Friday, March 20 in Austin,
Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Houston,
Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Seattle

 

Review: ‘Standing Up, Falling Down’ a Bona Fide Winner

It seems strange that Ben Schwartz (of Jean-Ralphio Saperstein from Parks & Recreation fame) had two films that opened on back-to-back weekends and they couldn’t be more different. The first, the much maligned Sonic the Hedgehog opened HUGE and took home the box office crown the past two weekends. The other, Standing Up, Falling Down, opened to much less fanfare but is the far more interesting of the two.

The film gives us the story of Scott Rollins (Schwartz), a down on his luck comedian living in LA who gives up on his dream of making it big the comedy world and comes home to Long Island to reset his life. Of course, like many who set off in the way of Horatio Alger and head west, Scott hangs his head in shame as the prodigal son returns home broken. He’s greeted half-heartedly by his father (Kevin Dunn) and enthusiastically by his mother (Debra Monk) who is happy to have him home. Scott settles into his childhood room that appears no different than when he lived there as a child. Of course, the girl he left behind brokenhearted, Becky (Eloise Mumford), has since married and looms large in the whole scenario. Adrift and unsure of what to do with himself, he meets up with his friend Murph (Leonard Ouzts) at a bar and sees what his life would have been like if he played it like most do – wife, kids, house and all that comes with it. While in the bathroom, he runs into Marty (Billy Crystal), an alcoholic dermatologist who pisses in the sink then tells Scott he’s got a skin issue and he should come by his office to have it checked out.

After meeting up again at a wake, the two form a quick bond and open up to one another about the various things they’ve screwed up in their lives. Marty acts as a guide of sorts, helping Scott navigate the shit situation he’s steered himself into. Likewise, connecting with Scott helps Marty work through his own shit although it happens a little more circuitously.

What unfolds is not all that surprising, but it is a ride worth taking. I found myself incredibly invested in both characters. I know that if I had made a few different decisions in my life, I could easily have been Scott, aimlessly wandering hoping to latch onto that one thing that will make me whole. I’m sure we’ve all had those thoughts.

What really drives this film is the performances of both Schwartz and Crystal. Both have larger than life personalities that can be overwhelming (in a good way, of course). While I lament that there was no running over by a Lexus, Schwartz especially surprised me with his standout performance – subdued but charming and funny with spot on timing and delivery. I hope to see much more of this type of role for Schwartz. Crystal is a legend and he didn’t disappoint. Always able to balance humor and drama, he gives a performance that stands up with his best. Both actors were so relatable and they played perfectly off of one another that kudos are necessary to whomever cast them together.

This is a very satisfying film experience and well crafted by director Matt Ratner with a solid script written by Peter Hoare. Grace Gummer, Caitlin McGee, Nate Corddry and David Castañeda round out the great cast.

I would highly suggest catching this one if you can. It is still in theaters and available through various streaming sources.

Review: Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez Is Another Netflix Doc Win

It’s no secret that Netflix has been on fire it when it comes to original content these past few years. It’s said that Netflix spent over $15 billion on original content in 2019 and this year for the first time, Netflix-produced films garnered more Oscar nominations (24) than any other studio including Disney which owns nearly everything media-related in the world (take that, Mouse!). As the world’s favorite media streaming service, Netflix is hitting its stride at a time when more and more competition is trying to take a bite out of its market share.

One of the best parts of Netflix’s business model is that because they have millions of users paying a monthly fee to use their service, they have a constant stream of revenue coming in that allows them to take chances on their original content. Because of that, we are able to get content like Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Netflix has produced some of the most highly acclaimed true crime series of the last few years in the critically acclaimed Making a Murderer, Evil Genius and their documentary about Amanda Knox. Killer Inside fits nicely alongside these series/films.

Following the demise of once heralded New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez, this series tries to put together how a rising football star and role model for the Latino community could be a cold blooded killer off the field. In 2013, Hernandez was arrested initially for the murder of his fiancee’s sister’s boyfriend Odin Lloyd. Over the 3+ hour three-part series, director Geno McDermott unpacks the confounding tale of how this all happened as best as possible. McDermott and the editing team do a masterful job of tracking back and forth in Hernandez’s timeline incorporating interviews with friends, former teammates, trial footage and jailhouse phone call audio from the various people with whom Hernandez spoke while in prison. For a story that twists and turns as much as this one does, they really do a masterful job grounding the viewer and not overloading us with too much or too little information.

Many of the details of this story are very familiar, not just to football fans but to the public at large. This case was a huge deal. It was played out in public and while it wasn’t OJ Simpson-like in scale, it was still a case in the public eye for multiple years. So giving new information or drilling down on points that weren’t already well known was McDermott‘s real challenge here. He did a great job moving both forward and backward in the timeline in particular to incorporate the bombshell news that Hernandez was implicated, later indicted and tried for two additional murders.

I do appreciate that this film tried its best to tackle the why – what caused a high-profile athlete playing for the best franchise in the sport who had yet to hit his peak only being 23 years old to bafflingly murder someone from his own inner circle…and in such a stupid manner that he was so easily caught? The film visits and revisits the claims that Hernandez was gay or bisexual throughout the film with a corroborating interview with his high school quarterback, Dennis Sansoucie, that they were lovers in high school. That shame of who he really was and that should it come out it would ruin him was posited as a possible motive. McDermott interestingly knits the story of former Patriot offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan who came out as gay after leaving the NFL throughout the series. His tale demonstrates the weight of what being gay in the macho culture of the NFL is like and what that can do to one’s psyche. It was an interesting take and sadly a perspective that is far too uncommon.

Near the end of the film, it’s revealed that Hernandez definitely had CTE, the degenerative disorder from repeated blows to head/concussions. This, too, was listed as a possible reason. The doctor who examined his brain said it was the worst case she’d ever seen for someone his age. His family life is probed thoroughly and shows that cracks the developed after the death of his father pushed him into hanging out with the wrong crowd at the wrong time in his life. All of these things combined may have been the cause of what pushed him to do the unthinkable for someone who was legitimately on the top of his own world. It’s something that will likely never be known as the true motive died with Aaron Hernandez. The series never comes off as preachy, pushing the viewer in any specific direction as to how this all happened and why.

This is a well-made series and it has a particularly poignant end with his last recorded phone call with his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins and his then 4-year old daughter, a sad end to a life that should have been different. I will give infinite credit to McDermott for not keeping Odin Lloyd, his family and likewise Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the two victims of a murder for which Hernandez was ultimately acquitted, in the background. They deserved at least that.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez premieres today on Netflix.

Here’s the trailer:

Fantasia International Film Festival 2019 review: “Culture Shock’ takes fake news to task with genre realness.

CULTURE SHOCK

The White House and their white nationalist propaganda make for great resistance in art these days. Hulu’s Blumhouse Into the Dark series is now streaming Culture Shock to its subscribers. Using real-life scenarios as a jumping-off point, this film takes illegal immigration beyond the hell we’re currently seeing at our border and brings it into true sci-fi territory. Our leading lady wakes up in a Valley Of the Dolls nightmare with its sweater vests and pastel coordinated everything and begins to lose time and all sense of rea Something about this “American Dream” is way off. Once she cracks the code, nothing can stop her from escaping.

Performances are eerie and amazing. Genre legend and timelord extraordinaire, Barbara Crampton plays a motherly figure looking after Marisol and her newborn baby. She sets the tone for the remainder of the film with her saccharine-sweet smile and creepy overbearing politeness. She is outstanding. Martha Higareda is the real wow factor. You are rooting for her the entire way and hope she gets everything she seeks. Her IDGAF survival attitude is pure magic. The script is edgy and brings a major creep factor that gets under your skin. The enhanced audio editing is a fantastic tool that heightens the inevitably squirming you’ll do while you watch. The story is one that will resonate with so many people living their own version of what is looking more and more like the American nightmare. This is a stunning debut feature for director Gigi Saul Guerrero and I know the industry, as well as Fantasia International Film Festival fans, can be excited for whatever comes next.

CULTURE SHOCK

Here’s how to watch the 20 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

It’s hard to believe there are have been 20 movies since Iron Man started it all in 2008. Crazy, right? Why not revise your favorites? All are available to rent or buy, but here’s where they can also be found with subscriptions:

amazon Prime & hulu & EPIX

  • Iron Man 2 (2010)

FX (FXNOW app with a subscription from your service provider)

Warning: commercials

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)

Syfy (Syfy app with a subscription from your service provider)

Warning: commercials

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)

STARZ

  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Netflix

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnorok (2017)
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

The rest are Rent or Buy only – find pretty much anywhere you want to rent

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)

Prefer to see them in order? Of release date, that is. There is debate on the actual chronological order.

  • Iron Man (2008) Rent/Buy only
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008) Rent/Buy only
  • Iron Man 2 (2010) Prime Video, hulu, EPIX
  • Thor (2011) Rent/Buy only
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Rent/Buy only
  • The Avengers (2012) Rent/Buy only
  • Iron Man 3 (2013) FXNOW (commercials)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) Rent/Buy only
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) Rent/Buy only
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Rent/Buy only
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) SyFy (commercials)
  • Ant-Man (2015) SyFy (commercials)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016) Rent/Buy only
  • Doctor Strange (2016) Rent/Buy only
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Netflix
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) STARZ
  • Thor: Ragnorok (2017) Netflix
  • Black Panther (2018) Netflix
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Netflix
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) Netflix

8 movies from 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Available on Netflix, hulu, HBO or Showtime

Just 1 year later, there are so many movies that are now available to stream from last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. There’s something for everyone in here whether it be the young women who dreamed up Frankenstein or a desperate man stopping at nothing to save his child.

All About Nina (2018)
Nina Geld’s passion and talent have made her a rising star in the comedy scene, but she’s an emotional mess offstage. When a new professional opportunity coincides with a romantic one, she is forced to reckon with the intersection of her life and her art
[Streaming: Netflix] [Rent or Buy]


Cargo (2018)
In the aftermath of a global pandemic, Andy (Martin Freeman) is focused on keeping his wife and their infant daughter alive as they travel across the Australian Outback. A terrible accident, however, forces him to set off on foot: A zombie bite has given Andy a mere 48 hours before he, too, is undead. Andy struggles to both find a refuge for his child and stave off the disease as the clock runs out on his humanity. On his journey, Andy crosses paths with an indigenous youngster, Thoomi (Simone Landers), who brings him into her Aboriginal community and offers a much-needed bit of hope: Her people may have a cure for the sickness.

Filmmakers Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke defy genre fans’ zombie-based expectations with their co-directing debut. Cargo pulls no punches in its intensity, yet the duo’s thoughtful film offers a deep, emotional meditation on intimate issues, like a parent’s love, as well as larger themes, like environmental protection and cultural strife. Injecting fresh life into zombie cinema’s often cold bloodstream, Cargo is tailor-made for sophisticated horror fans.–Matt Barone

[Streaming: Netflix] Review by: Melissa Hanson


Duck Butter (2018)
When Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) meet at a club, they hit it off instantly, connecting over their disdain for the dishonesty they have experienced in their respective romantic relationships. High on their fast chemistry, the two women concoct a romantic experiment: They plan to spend the next 24 hours together, having sex on the hour. Above all, they commit to perfect honesty with each other, a theoretical remedy to the deceit they believe to be an element of modern relationships. But their relationship in a vacuum doesn’t go as planned, and soon the weight of their commitment begins to close in, threatening the ideals of the daylong experiment and their chances for a romantic future tomorrow.

The latest film from Miguel Arteta, the director behind Beatriz at Dinner and The Good Girl, Duck Butter is a blistering look at intimacy in a pressure cooker. Co-written by Shawkat and executive produced by the Duplass Brothers, the film offers a searing interrogation of modern romance, with all its dizzying highs and heartbreaking betrayals, all packed into an intense 24 hours.—Cara Cusumano

[Streaming: Netflix] [Rent or Buy] TFF Award: Best Actress, Alia Shawkat


In a Relationship (2018)
Long-term couple Owen and Hallie are breaking up—or maybe not?—and just as their relationship reaches a turning point, Matt and Willa embark on a romance of their own. A funny and deeply felt chronicle of one summer in the lives of two couples in Los Angeles.
[Streaming: hulu, hoopla] [Rent or Buy]


Mapplethorpe (2018)
In the late 1960s, art-school dropout Robert Mapplethorpe moves into the Chelsea Hotel with dreams of stardom. He quickly becomes the enfant terrible of the photography world as the downtown counterculture of 1970s New York reaches its zenith.
[Streaming: HBO, kanopy] [Rent or Buy] TFF Award: Narrative Second Place


Mary Shelley (2018)
Raised by her kindly bookseller father and tormented by a villainous stepmother, young Mary Wollstonecraft (Elle Fanning) longs for a life bigger than her sheltered upbringing. As she embarks on a whirlwind romance with the charismatic but mercurial poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth), Mary’s dreams of a sophisticated life among the intellectual elite seem to be within her grasp at last—but this fantasy quickly dissipates when she realizes the harsh reality of her new husband’s moody and dissolute ways. That is, until one stormy night, when a friendly challenge among a rained-in cadre of Romantic writers leads her to invent one of the most iconic horror stories of all time, before she’s even 20 years old.

Saudi female filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda) returns to Tribeca with this lush portrait of the author of one of Gothic literature’s most influential stories. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s enduring work, has remained a seminal story of creation and destruction, but al-Mansour’s film goes deeper, to depict the fraught tale of a teenage girl’s shattered romantic dreams that brought a monster to life. —Liza Domnitz

[Streaming: Showtime] [Rent or Buy]


O.G. (2018)
An inmate entering the final weeks of a twenty-plus-year sentence must navigate between old loyalties and a new protégé, while he also grapples with the looming uncertainty of his return to life outside bars.
[Streaming: HBO] TFF Award: Best Actor, Jeffrey Wright


The Party’s Just Beginning (2018)
Lucy is a sharp-witted, foul-mouthed, heavy-drinking twenty-something who is still reeling from a recent loss. This surreal coming-of-age tale is a love letter to Gillan’s hometown in the Scottish Highlands.

It’s dark, it’s tragic. It’s fantastic.
[Streaming: hulu] [Rent or Buy]


IMDb launches a Freedive, a FREE ad-supported movie/tv streaming service

There are a lot of different ways to watch movies for free with ads, and IMDb just jumped into the game with Freedive. Looks like it also has an “Originals” section too.

Free with an IMDb or amazon account (it owns IMDB).

Apparently, you can also take advantage of the X-ray option for trivia like in Prime Video. You can also add movies to your watchlist to add later.

It’s currently only available via your browser or through a Fire TV device.

Sample of titles available

h/t Digital Trends