‘ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH’ (2024) delves into love, lust, and dark Irish lore

XYZ logoALL YOU NEED IS DEATH

All You need Is Death poster

In ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH, an ambitious couple discovers the all-consuming origin of an ancient folk song. Anna and Aleks search for a particular melody that might end in a big payday for particular collectors. They will learn that power is intoxicating, but curses come with rules.

All You Need Is Death still 2The script builds a vibrating anticipation. The audience has little information. Filmmaker Paul Duane slowly reveals our protagonists’ what, but the why remains a mystery. Based on dark Irish lore passed down through the maternal lineage and some ancient cursed story, the song drips with agony, even if the audience cannot initially understand a single word. All parties are consumed by its power the moment it is heard.

All You Need Is Death 2024Only one character appears to coherently recall the film’s secretive canon, but only to a point. Rita’s son reveals the unspoken, generational seriousness of their circumstances. The drastic measures he takes to protect the legend are shocking. He must find Anna and her cohorts.

These ancient songs act like spells or incantations. Themes of love, obsession, yearning, and control blur with each passing scene. Eoin McDonagh‘s intriguing editing includes flashes from the song’s origin, spliced with moments of Anna showing the interconnectedness of the women charged with the secret’s protection.

All You Need Is Death still- Olwen Fouere photo by Ishmael ClaxtonQuick visual and dialogue genre homages pop up from time to time. Horror fans will find a sly smirk spread across their lips while intently trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Cast members Simone Collins, Charlie Maher, Catherine Wiggins, and Nigel O’Neill are captivating. One performance in particular, while short-lived, is mesmerizing. Olwen Fouéré plays songstress Rita Concannon. Her presence is unmatched by anyone else in the film. It’s a chilling turn.

The makeup FX are wonderful. Both opening and closing credits lend to a disquieting feeling. The script has massive expansion potential. You cannot begin to predict what comes next. ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH boasts a disturbing finale. Paul Duane delivers an unsettling story that burrows into your brain and will leave your mouth agape in horror. 

The nightmarish Irish folktale arrives on VOD and in select U.S. cinemas on April 11th

 

ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH stars Olwen Fouéré (Mandy, Sally Hardesty from 2022’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Charlie Maher (Blue Lights), Simone Collins (The Last Duel), and Gary Whelan (The Contract). The film had its World Premiere at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, followed by an Irish Premiere at Cork International Film Festival.

Not Rated
Color
91 Minutes
English Language



 About XYZ Films 
XYZ Films is an independent studio whose mission is to empower visionary storytellers from every corner of the planet. XYZ was founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, and Aram Tertzakian and has expanded in recent years into documentary, talent management, and distribution. Some of the company’s classic titles include THE RAID franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, and Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller MANDY.

 

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‘ASPHALT CITY’ (2024) Death and Ethics.

ASPHALT CITY

ASPHALT CITY Poster

Based on Shannon Burke‘s novel Black Flies and directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, ASPHALT CITY follows newbie Ollie Cross as he navigates the unrelenting NYC night shift under the guise of a veteran paramedic.

Immersive handheld camera work and quick editing place the audience on Ollie’s shoes from the first frame. The sound mixing is stellar. There is a constant din of noise, whether it’s the score or the sounds of the city. The repeated angel wings motif is beautifully clever.

ASPHALT CITY_STILL 10Michael Pitt plays co-worker, and piece of shit, Lafontaine. His dwindling morality acts as a mirror for Ollie. Pitt is vile and spectacular.

Sean Penn delivers a lived-in performance as mentor Gene Rutkovsky. He makes every role seem effortless, and this is no exception. His chemistry Tye Sheridan straddles fatherly and realistic confidant.

ASPHALT CITY_Sheridan gives Ollie a perfect balance of anxiety, rage, and a hero complex. We watch his sanity slowly crumble under the weight of the world’s evil. Sheridan is phenomenal as his priorities shift and nothing goes as planned. He proves himself as a leading man once again.

The screenplay leans into the human atrocities, the nuance of the job, and the complexities of the city’s eclectic population. ASPHALT CITY is a tense and deeply affecting drama rife with grief and grit.

EXCLUSIVELY IN THEATERS MARCH 29

Asphalt City

Asphalt City follows Ollie Cross (Tye Sheridan), a young paramedic assigned to the NYC night shift with an uncompromising and seasoned partner Gene Rutkovsky (Sean Penn). The dark nights reveal a city in crisis; Rutkovsky guides Cross, as each 911 call is often dangerous and uncertain, putting their lives on the line every day to help others. Cross soon discovers firsthand the chaos and awe of a job that careens from harrowing to heartfelt, testing his relationship with Rutkovsky and the ethical ambiguity that can be the difference between life and death.

 

CAST

Sean Penn “Gene Rutkovsky”

Tye Sheridan  “Ollie Cross”

Gbenga Akinnagbe “Verdis”

Michael Carmen Pitt “Lafontaine”

Katherine Waterston “Nancy”

Mike Tyson “Chief Burroughs”

Raquel Nave “Clara”

Kali Reis “Nia”

 

CREW

Director:                         Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Screenwriters:                Ryan King and Ben Mac Brown

Based on:                       the novel Black Flies by Shannon Burke

Producers:                      Warren Goz, Eric Gold, Christopher Kopp, Lucan Toh, Sean Penn, John Ira Palmer,

John Wildermuth, Tye Sheridan, Tina Wang

Executive Producers:      James Masciello, Matthew Sidari, Mitchell Zhang, Luke Rodgers, Jean-Stéphane

Sauvaire, Jamie Buckner, Shannon Burke, Babak Anvari, Ryan King

Director of Photography: David Ungaro, AFC

Editors:                           Saar Klein & Katie Mcquerrey

Production Designer:       Robert Pyzocha

Costume Designer:        Stacy Jansen

Music:                            Nicholas Becker and Quentin Sirjacq

Casting:                          Lori Eastside

Distributors:                   Roadside Attractions / Vertical

Genre:                            Thriller

Rating:                           R

Running Time:                125 minutes

ASPHALT CITY_STILL 12

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Thrilling ‘SLEEPING DOGS’ (2024) Russell Crowe dives into deception and dementia

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SLEEPING DOGS

Sleeping Dogs Russell Crowe

In SLEEPING DOGS, Russell Crowe plays Roy Freeman, a former detective who has just undergone an experimental treatment for dementia. When an inmate on death row requests a sit-down with him, a series of unanswered questions from the case pull us down a rabbit hole of mystery and lies.

SLEEPING DOGS -Russell CroweUtilizing Alzheimer’s as a creative device in storytelling delivers a nuanced and intriguing film. It places the viewer in Roy’s shoes as clues to his past drop in real-time. Classic noir lighting, score, and clever casefile tape transition visuals add to the flashback-filled narrative.

SLEEPING DOGS - Karen GillanKaren Gillan plays Laura Baines, the obsession of a potential subject in the case. She nails the old-school detective ingenue style of dramatics. Gillan brings a vocal tone and cadence similar to Elizabeth Holmes. It’s jarring but effective.

Crowe is spectacular, fully embodying the internal and external grief of dementia. It is no surprise that he owns this role in all its complexity. While the cast is undoubtedly strong, he brings a much-needed weight with his presence.

SLEEPING DOGS stillDirector Adam Cooper and co-writer Bill Collage do an excellent job adapting the 2017 novel The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici, keeping the viewer guessing. We know something is off, but with each character’s perspective, we constantly question the truth. Boasting an intensely dark ending, SLEEPING DOGS satisfies the bibliophile and cinephile alike.

 

ONLY IN THEATERS: March 22, 2024

DIRECTOR: Adam Cooper
WRITERS: Adam Cooper & Bill Collage (written by), E.O. Chirovici (based on “THE BOOK OF MIRRORS” by)
CAST: Russell Crowe, Karen Gillan, Márton Csókás, Thomas M. Wright, Harry Greenwood, and Tommy Flanagan
SYNOPSIS: An ex-homicide detective (Russell Crowe) with memory loss is forced to solve a brutal murder he can’t recall. But as evidence uncovers secrets tied to his forgotten past, he is led to a chilling truth – sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.
RUN TIME: 110 minutes
RATING: R                               
GENRE: Action, Crime/Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: The Avenue

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‘WICKED LITTLE LETTERS’ (2024) The Best F*cking Film of the Year

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS

Wicked Little Letters (2023) poster

When Edith Swan becomes the target of untoward, profanity-laced letters, the first suspect is her unfiltered neighbor. Chaos ensues when a police officer thinks they’ve arrested the wrong person.

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Timothy Spall plays Edward Swan, the abusive patriarch actively stifling Edith’s development. His use of religion as a moral and spiritual threat is alarming and infuriating. WICKED LITTLE LETTERS is a genuinely outstanding female ensemble. Boasting delightful performances from (a brilliant ) Anjana Vasan, Lolly Adefope, Joanna Scanlan, Eileen Atkins, and Alisha Weir, audiences will flock to the theatre.

Jessie Buckley is flawless as a foul-mouthed immigrant single mother, Rose Gooding. Buckley’s fierce spirit proves perfection for the role. She and Colman share a delicious chemistry, and I beg the industry to pair them together in future projects.

Olivia Colman gives Edith Swan an endearing faux bashfulness, particularly when you understand the trauma behind it. Her comic timing is a thing of the gods. Thriving off the attention of the scandal, Colman is a revelation. The nuance is, as usual, award-worthy.

Wicked Little Letters 2024 Olivia ColmanA massive thank you to screenwriter Jonny Sweet and director Thea Sharrock for gifting audiences with a dazzling story about complex, fearless women. The script is a creative commentary on repression, patriarchal rule, female friendship, and freedom of expression. You’ll be doubled over with laughter at the ceaselessly imaginative insults in the letters. The unadulterated glee in hearing these words feels naughty in a rather freeing and celebratory way. WICKED LITTLE LETTERS is the best fucking film of the year.

OPENING IN LA & NY MARCH 29, 

OPENING NATIONWIDE APRIL 5

A 1920s English seaside town bears witness to a farcical and occasionally sinister scandal in this riotous mystery comedy. Based on a stranger than fiction true story, WICKED LITTLE LETTERS follows two neighbours: deeply conservative local Edith Swan (Olivia Colman) and rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). When Edith and fellow residents begin to receive wicked letters full of unintentionally hilarious profanities, foul-mouthed Rose is charged with the crime. The anonymous letters prompt a national uproar, and a trial ensues. However, as the town’s women — led by Police Officer Gladys Moss (Anjana Vasan) — begin to investigate the crime themselves, they suspect that something is amiss, and Rose may not be the culprit after all.

 

DIRECTED BY Thea Sharrock

WRITTEN BY Jonny Sweet

STARRING

Olivia Colman

Jessie Buckley

Timothy Spall

Anjana Vasan

Wicked Little Letters (2023) Olivia Colman

LOS ANGELES OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC CENTURY CITY 15

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA

AMC THE GROVE 14

10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 2000, Los Angeles, CA

NEW YORK OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE 13

1998 Broadway, New York, NY

CINEMA 123 BY ANGELIKA

1001 Third Ave, New York, NY

REGAL UNION SQUARE

850 Broadway, New York, NY

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION


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‘LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL’ (2024) Ratings from hell.

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Late Night With The Devil

Late Night With The Devil IFC Films Shudder

After the passing of his wife and in danger of losing his live late-night hosting gig, Jack Delroy’s plan for ratings goes horribly wrong. LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL unfolds like an “E True Hollywood” exposé, playing the infamous 1977 studio tape of his talk show Night Owls’ Halloween episode. Jack is about to be famous, whether he likes it or not.

The tension increases with each volatile guest, culminating with the young subject of a controversial book. Jack requests a conversation with the entity possessing her, live on air, and “Mr. Wriggles” is more than happy to comply.

Late Night With The Devil IFC Films Shudder still 1Everything from the lighting, the lens, costumes, set design, the score, hair and makeup, and the jokes nail the era. Along with the live tape, black and white behind-the-scenes footage shows us what the at-home audience missed.

Laura Gordon plays Dr. June Ross-Mitchell, parapsychologist, author, and Lilly’s guardian. Her motherly energy and protective nature pour off the screen. She has magnetic chemistry with the rest of the cast.

Ingrid Torelli gives Lilly a shocking presence. Her overconfident air suggests an otherworldly maturity. It is startling, reminiscent of a young Drew Barrymore after E.T. fame. Torelli breaks the fourth wall by constantly gazing into the camera. It is one hell of a turn.

Late Night with the Devil (2023)David Dastmalchian owns every frame as Jack Delroy. A delicious mix of genuine and fame-hungry, his effortless performance is mesmerizing. He has the audience in the palm of his hand. You cannot take your eyes off of him.

Once Mr. Wriggles made their appearance, my heart was in my throat. I left fingernail impressions in my palm. From that moment on, the film leads up to a climax so unreal, I’ve never yelled “Oh F*CK!” so many times in one sitting. With a captivating balance of dazzling production design, jarring visuals FX, and a phenomenally demented screenplay from directors Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes, LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL is damn near perfect.


In Theaters on March 22, 2024

Written & Directed by 

Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes

Starring 

David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Ingrid Torelli, Fayssal Bazzi, Rhys Auteri 

ABOUT IFC FILMS

IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film, owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. Its most recent releases include BLACKBERRY directed by Matt Johnson, BIOSPHERE with Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown, and the documentary LAKOTA NATION VS THE UNITED STATES directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli and executive produced by Sarah Eagle Heart and Mark Ruffalo. Forthcoming titles include Amy Redford’s WHAT COMES AROUND and the recently announced documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE from Nicole Newnham and Cannes Award-winner POT AU FEU from Trần Anh Hùng. Some of the company’s successes over the years include BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, CARLOS, BAD AXE and CORSAGE, among others.

 

ABOUT SHUDDER

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit www.shudder.com.


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‘EXHUMA’ (2024) Let the dead stay buried.

well go usa logoEXHUMA

Exhuma-Poster-WellGoUSA-1382x2048 An ancient evil affects the firstborn children of a wealthy family with uncontrollable wailing in their dreams. Eager to cash in, a team of macabre experts takes on this new client. As they dig deeper into this unique case, the usually confident group discovers they are in over their heads. In EXHUMA, that’s only the beginning of this horrifying tale.

Exhuma-KHorror-WellGoUSA-1340x754-5Performances are magnificent across the board. This spectacular multi-generational ensemble cast delivers engrossing mystery and terror. The script unfolds in chapters, like a how-to guide dealing with the underworld. Descriptions of rituals and occupational titles come in narration from the team. This creative storytelling immerses the audience in what feels like an inevitable tragedy. Complicating things further are the secrets our wealthy family hides. Genre fans will have a field day with horror canon balanced with the slightest touch of humor and serious gore. It is beyond compelling.

Exhuma Well Go UsaMixing tradition and superstition combined with an ominous score makes the hairs on your arms stick straight up. It’s a multi-sensory watch. EXHUMA deserves your full attention from the very first frame. There is so much meat on the bone. Expanding this world almost certainly feels possible and welcome. At its current runtime of two-plus hours, viewers would eat up more stories from this team. Their chemistry is magic, and a franchise would delight fans. The twists and turns keep coming. EXHUMA is undeniably one of the most intriguing cinematic experiences of the year.


EXHUMA 

Opening in Los Angeles March 15 | In Theaters Across North America March 22

For more reviews of Well Go USA films, click here!

 

All things Horror, we’ve got you covered!


Exhuma-KHorror-WellGoUSA-1340x754-2 Visit the official film page: https://wellgousa.com/films/exhuma

When a renowned shaman (KIM Go-Eun) and her protégé (Lee Do-hyun) are hired by a wealthy, enigmatic family, they begin investigating the cause of a disturbing supernatural illness that affects only the first-born children of each generation. With the help of a knowledgeable mortician (YOO Hai-jin) and the country’s most revered geomancer (CHOI Min-sik), they soon trace the affliction’s origin to a long-hidden family grave located on sacred ground. Sensing an ominous aura surrounding the burial site, the team opts to exhume and relocate the ancestral remains immediately. But as something much darker emerges, they soon discover what befalls those who dare to mess with the wrong grave.

Directed by: Jang Jae-Hyun

Cast: Choi Min-Sik, Kim Go-Eun, Yoo Hai-Jin, and Lee Do-Hyun


Watch more Well Go USA films online: https://bit.ly/WellGoFilmsOnline

ABOUT WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT:

Well Go USA, the studio behind TRIPLE THREAT, TRAIN TO BUSAN, and the IP MAN franchise, brings the best in martial arts, action, genre, and independent films from the U.S. and around the world to North America.

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‘Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion.’ (SXSW 2024) Exploitation and dollar signs.

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Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion

Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion SXSW 2024Fast fashion and exploitation. The popular teen brand Brandy Melville comes under the microscope in a new documentary feature premiering at SXSW 2024 Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion. In the film, former employees discuss how they got hired, the company’s everyday practices, and the fallout of their exposure.

Brandy Melville began in Italy as a t-shirt company. Once it moved to the US, the aesthetic morphed into the California bohemian, long-haired, skinny girl. The company uses genius tangible marketing, specifically Instagram, and teens take pictures of their peers. Their hiring practices sound like a copy and paste of Abercrombie & Fitch. Although, Brandy takes it a step further. The few girls of color could only be found in the stock room or relegated to the register.

Then Stefan began buying the clothes off their employee’s backs to mass produce replicas as their own product, often stealing graphics from other artists globally. The pending lawsuit details include the discovery of a group chat. Former Store Owner and Former VP, whose identities are anonymous and played by actors, speak about the most offensive, anti-Semitic, sexually explicit memes and photos in the thread. Managers would take “Style Photos” on each shift sent via text to Stefan. It is all gross.

The United States and Europe send billions of pieces of fashion to Ghana. The environmental impact is genuinely shocking. We’ve all heard stories about it, but witnessing the mounds of discarded clothing, the chemicals in the water, and the poisoning of our food. The footage of the Ghanaian beaches looks fake. It’s an atrocity.

Brandy Melville and their continued fans do not care. Influencers want free swag, the employees clout, and Stefan wants money. They are the worst of humanity. Most people want to feel like they are making positive choices with their purchasing power. We know fast fashion means unethical practices and The West is just as guilty as Stefan. Brandy Hellville & the Cult of Fast Fashion might make you think twice about purchasing another cheap article of clothing you don’t need.


SCREENING:

Mar 14, 2024 8:45pm – 10:16pm CT Stateside Theatre

Credits

Director:

Eva Orner

Producer:

Jonathan Chinn, Simon Chinn, Eva Orner

Cinematographer:

Nick Higgins

Editor:

Claire Didier

Music:

Cornel Wilczek

Additional Credits:

Line Producer: David Kraemer

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‘SEW TORN’ (SXSW 2024) is a delightfully quirky caper

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SEW TORN

Sew Torn SXSW 2024

A business on the verge of closure. Unresolved grief. An accident. A briefcase full of money. Welcome to SXSW 2024’s quirky caper, SEW TORN.

SEW TORN delivers a slick opening scene and an incredibly creative title sequence. You are locked in from the very first frame. Filmmaker Freddy Macdonald‘s quick-take editing combined with Jacob Tardien’s mischievous score is pure delight. The script is genius and unpredictable, akin to watching a ping-pong match.

John Lynch plays villainous drug-dealing patriarch Hudson Armitage. He is a powerhouse. K Callan is hilarious in a small-town multi-hyphenate role. Calum Worthy is super intriguing as Joshua, a fearful son under his father’s thumb. Worthy brings an unexpected vulnerability that mirrors Barbara.

Caroline Goodall is magnificent as Barbara’s client and entitled bride-to-be Grace. She is a monstrous anchor in the film and deliciously unforgettable. Eve Connolly owns every second of screen time. SEW TORN has minimal dialogue. Connolly pulls a modern-day Chaplin-meets-MacGyver. Fearless and entirely brilliant, Connolly is a star.

SEW TORN tackles destiny, morality, and the consequences of our life choices. SXSW 2024 audiences are fortunate to experience this delicious tale of crime and craftiness. It is undoubtedly one of the best films of the festival.


Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
10:15pm11:50pm
Mar 11, 2024
10:15pm11:50pm
Mar 11, 2024
10:45pm12:20am
Mar 16, 2024
9:30pm11:05pm

Credits

Director:

Freddy Macdonald

Executive Producer:

Ronnie Lott, John Zavitsanos, Michael Zilkha, Baird Craft, Tristan Aufiero, Elena Kourkoumelis, John Dillon Powell, Amy Lin, William Lin, Didi Wong, Gary MacDermid, Oliver Keller

Producer:

Fred Macdonald, Barry Navidi, Sebastian Klinger, Diamantis Zavitsanos, Socratis Zavitsanos

Screenwriter:

Freddy Macdonald, Fred Macdonald

Cinematographer:

Sebastian Klinger

Editor:

Freddy Macdonald

Production Designer:

Viviane Rapp

Sound Designer:

Alexander Stratigenas

Music:

Jacob Tardien

Principal Cast:

Eve Connolly, Calum Worthy, John Lynch, K Callan, Ron Cook, Thomas Douglas, Werner Biermeier, Veronika Herren-Wenger, Caroline Goodall

Additional Credits:

Co-Producers: Timothy Ross, Alexander Stratigenas, Casting : Sharon Howard-Field, Nathan Wiley, Costume Designer: Viviane Rapp, Hair & Makeup Designer: Carol Geiger, First Assistant Director: Govind Sharma, Property Master: Seline Imhasly, Gaffer : Elia Quadri, Production Coordinator : Mick Vuillemier, Hair and Makeup Artist : Ximena Fanchini, First Assistant Camera: Janis Wolf

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‘RESYNATOR’ (SXSW 2024) An engrossing father-daughter reconnection

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RESYNATOR

resynator SXSW 2024Alison Tavel sets off on a global journey to learn more about her estranged father’s mysterious invention and, ultimately, the man himself.

Darkness, mystery, and a slew of unresolved childhood trauma cloud Ali’s journey into who her father was. Her paternal grandmother keeps particular details close to her chest, forcing Ali to explore the stories of everyone else who knew him.

Resynator (2024)Ali’s ability to disassociate makes sense. As a child of divorce when I was five years old, few memories remain. My father, like Ali’s, is still a stranger. She wrestles with differing opinions of who Don was. So many questions arise during her search. What the hell is a Resynator anyway? With all the hype surrounding its invention, why didn’t it blow up? Did depression play a part in Don’s accident?

Those in the industry discovering the Resynator’s abilities for the first time take full advantage of its one-of-a-kind sounds. Watching musicians interact with it in real-time and creating original work is joyous. Don’s Rolodex plays an integral part in Ali’s ability to reach talent from members of Phish, Portishead, Yes, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Goyte, Fred Armisen, and someone who played one of the first demo versions, Peter Gabriel.

Resynator  SXSW (2024) Don Tavel slideDanny Madden’s animation transitions are charming. We experience them alongside archival audio of Don demonstrating the Resynator. Ali utilizes a unique device in narrating the film in the form of a letter to her father, which makes more sense when a box arrives from her aunt. Her most poignant discovery comes in the form of long-lost letters from her father, found in the basement after the passing of her grandmother.

Alison Tavel invites SXSW 2024 audiences on an intimate journey of music, connection, and self-discovery. RESYNATOR is a touching film about the ripple effect of one person’s life.

Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
6:00pm7:36pm
 
Mar 16, 2024
12:00pm1:36pm
 

Credits

Director:

Alison Tavel

Executive Producer:

Grace Potter

Producer:

Kathryn Robson, Jon Lullo, Brendan Walter, Sara Nesson, Barbara McDonough, Christopher Noviello

Cinematographer:

Justin Key, David Yeaman, Max Cutrone, Beth Cloutier

Editor:

Kathryn Robson, Chris Gibson

Music:

Chris Ruggiero

Principal Cast:

Alison Tavel, Grace Potter, Peter Gabriel, Jon Anderson, Fred Armisen, Money Mark, Gotye, Mike Gordon, Brian Kehew, Christian Castagno

Additional Credits:

Animator: Danny Madden

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‘AUDREY’ (SXSW 2024) is dark comic genius

SXSW 2024 color logoAUDREY

Audrey SXSW 2024

Former soap star Ronnie is a delusional narcissist living precariously through her eldest ungrateful daughter. When one of Audrey’s tantrums goes wrong, Ronnie assumes her identity in an exclusive acting class to prove her talent to her family. With Audrey no longer the erratic center of attention, the family realizes the profound effect she has

Josephine Blazier nails the role of Audrey. She is entirely loathsome and vicious. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

Ronnie’s youngest daughter is an afterthought, but actress Hannah Diviney is anything but. When Audrey is in a coma, Norah begins living her best life. Diviney possesses brilliant comic timing, and her chemistry with her castmates is magic.

Ronnie’s emotionally stunted and sexually repressed husband, played by Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, finds inspiration from the oddest place. He rekindles his passion for his wife through the absence of his cruel eldest daughter. Taylor moves from a shell of a man to a stallion. He is a delight.

Jackie van Beek gives Ronnie shameless confidence, owning every second of screen time. Hers is the kind of borderline slapstick comedy that you cannot teach. Jackie van Beek is irresistible, often stealing a scene with little more than a glance. She is perfection. I demand an entire franchise based on AUDREY.

In three distinct acts, the lunacy and lies lead to genuine laugh-out-loud scenes. Lou Sanz‘s script goes in directions impossible to predict. It’s much darker but equally as funny. SXSW 2024 audiences are in for one wacky ride.


Film Screenings

Mar 10, 2024
2:30pm4:07pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:15pm6:52pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
5:45pm7:22pm
 
Mar 15, 2024
2:15pm3:52pm

Credits

Director:

Natalie Bailey

Producer:

Michael Wrenn, Dan Lake, Shannon Wilson-McClinton, Diya Eid

Screenwriter:

Lou Sanz

Cinematographer:

Simon Ozolins ACS

Editor:

Katrina Barker

Production Designer:

Helen O’Loan APDG

Music:

Alex Cameron

Principal Cast:

Jackie Van Beek, Josephine Blazier, Hannah Diviney, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor

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‘HUNTING DAZE’ (SXSW 2024) and its slow simmering rage

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HUNTING DAZE

Hunting Daze SXSW 2024Annick Blanc gives SXSW 2024 audiences something to chew on with HUNTING DAZE, a genre-defying tale of isolation, pack mentality, and self-preservation. Exotic dancer Nina finds herself stuck and calls upon a former client for roadside assistance. Without transport, he brings her back to an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Upon discovering it is a bachelor party, the eclectic group of men agrees to let her stay the weekend if, and only if, she can abide by an “all for one’ mentality.

Beautiful drone shots and an enveloping score draw you in immediately. Slow-motion dynamics and natural lighting have an immersive effect on the audience. The dialogue brilliantly hovers between misogynist and welcoming. Scenarios range from the absurd to fraught with danger. Blanc understands the constant din of fear a woman feels surrounded by exclusively male energy. It’s a volatility forced upon us and a visceral buzzing from head to toe.

Nina experiences ominous visions during the film, allowing Blanc to introduce magical realism into the script. These moments are some of the most extraordinary cinematically, taking us inside Nina’s subconscious.

Nahéma Ricci is a badass as Nina. She is magnetic, holding the audience in the palm of her hand. Blanc gives her one hell of an arc, and Ricci delivers. She is a star.

Each character is fully fleshed out, with their distinct quirks and personalities making for an unpredictable momentum. Blanc leans into the pack mentality quite literally with appearances by wolves. HUNTING DAZE is a spectacular metaphor for patriarchal power. My way or the highway structure assumes a male authority, especially if a woman attempts to rock the boat. This overarching sense of superiority we face from microaggressions to murder, HUNTING DAZE is a film of simmering feminist rage.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
10:00pm11:19pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
7:00pm8:19pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
9:00pm10:19pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
9:30pm10:49pm

 

Credits

Director:

Annick Blanc

Producer:

Maria Gracia Turgeon, Annick Blanc

Screenwriter:

Annick Blanc

Cinematographer:

Vincent Gonneville

Editor:

Amélie Labrèche

Music:

Peter Venne

Principal Cast:

Nahéma Ricci, Bruno Marcil, Frédéric Millaire-Zouvi, Marc Beaupré, Alexandre Landry, Maxime Genois, Noubi Ndiaye

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‘ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE’ (SXSW 2024) The purest love of all

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ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE

Adrianne & the castle SXSW 2024Director Shannon Walsh shares the extraordinary love story between an artist and his larger-than-life wife. SXSW 2024 audiences discover the legacy of Adrianne and Alan St. George. This documentary is a tale of adoration, art, and Adrianne.

Adrianne is a mesmerizing figure. Her vibrant handcrafted wardrobe and elaborate wigs were more than an act. Adrianne embodied creativity and dreams. She was a living, breathing ball of light.

Adrianne & The Castle SXSW 2024 waltzHerein lies the challenge for Alan and Shannon. How do you do justice to such a love story? Experimental musical interludes, Adrianne’s Doll Room, quirky home movies, and the ever-expanding house that grows like a whimsical version of The Winchester House. The mansion is an explosion of color, lavish draping fabrics, sculptures, and murals, all featuring Adrianne and Alan’s likenesses. It is Versailles meets Grimm’s Fairytales, each room mirroring a slice of her exuberant persona. She was and remains Alan’s muse for all things.

Alan owns a mascot company, providing characters from Smokey The Bear, Disney, and The White House to local high schools. It is how he finances the endless construction. After Adrianne passes, Alan is lost. The film is a creative catharsis. Half tribute and half coping mechanism, ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE is a fascinating meditation on grief and a portrait of exemplary soul mates.

Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
9:15pm10:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
11:15am12:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
11:45am1:11pm
 
Director:

Shannon Walsh

Producer:

Ina Fichman

Screenwriter:

Shannon Walsh, Laurel Sprengelmeyer

Cinematographer:

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa

Editor:

Sophie Farkas Bolla

Production Designer:

Nalo Soyini Bruce

Sound Designer:

Luc Bouchard

Music:

Richard Reed Parry

Principal Cast:

Alan St George, Nathan McDonald, Shannon Walsh, SLee

Additional Credits:

Re-recording Mixer: Gavin Fernandes, Additional Vocal Arrangements and Music by: Raquel Acevedo Klein

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‘7 KEYS’ (SXSW 2024) Flirt, fight, & flight.

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7 KEYS

7 Keys SXSW 2024

A chance meeting plunges Lena and Daniel into a whirlwind tour of his previous dwellings since he still has their keys. Writer-director Joy Wilkinson brings SXSW 2024 audiences on a journey through London and the haunting past of two souls seeking connection. Getting caught is the least of their problems.

Lena is sexually bold and fearless. After a housing-insecure childhood, her fascination with Daniel’s homes sparks a game of fantasy and danger. Emma McDonald does a brilliant job of pushing boundaries and listening to her instincts.

Daniel comes off as gentlemanly, if not a touch awkward. On edge during their clandestine tour, the audience knows more than Lena. Billy Postlethwaite gives Daniel a shocking arc. You will be fascinated and appalled in decyphering his true persona. It’s one hell of a turn.

Wilkinson keeps us on our toes as we feel more nervous about the pair getting caught at any moment. Clues dropped along the way make you question the truth. Lena and Daniel both have deep abandonment issues and unresolved trauma that skew our opinions with each story they choose to reveal.

Halfway through, we get a better sense. The plot goes from uncomfortable to unsettling in a flash. The big twist will chill you to the bone and lead to an unexpected final act. 7 KEYS is about power and obsession. It’s tense, creative, and completely unhinged. 7 KEYS is SXSW 2024 gold.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
6:30pm8:03pm
Mar 9, 2024
7:00pm8:33pm
Mar 13, 2024
9:15pm10:48pm
Mar 13, 2024
9:45pm11:18pm
Mar 15, 2024
9:15pm10:48pm
Director:

Joy Wilkinson

Producer:

Cassandra Sigsgaard, Dylan Rees

Screenwriter:

Joy Wilkinson

Cinematographer:

Mary Farbrother

Editor:

Roberta Bononi

Production Designer:

Natasha Jenkins

Sound Designer:

Emma Butt

Music:

Max Perryment

Principal Cast:

Emma McDonald, Billy Postlethwaite, Kaylen Luke, Joey Akubeze, Amit Shah, Jane Goddard

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‘DICKWEED’ (SXSW 2024)- a shocking WTF doc

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DICKWEED

Dickweed SXSW 2024SXSW 2024 audiences are in for a real WTF documentary in Jonathan Ignatius Green‘s DICKWEED. In 2012, a wild kidnapping in the middle of the night led to torture, mystery, and one man’s loss of his, let’s say, manhood. The ensuing wild goose chase and brazen criminal actions challenge all involved. Police had no idea what kind of mastermind they were dealing with.

The film pulls no punches, with Michael launching headfirst into his story. An average day after working at his cannabis shop turns deadly when masked men grab him and a new roommate, drive them out into the desert, and demand to know where he buried a million dollars.

DICKWEED utilizes crime scene photos, dashcam footage, and sit-down interviews with the victims, detectives, and lawyers involved in the case. It sounds like a mockumentary. I had to look up the synopsis twice to confirm I wouldn’t make a fool of myself.

From Newport Beach, the search for suspects becomes a global affair. Revealing more details takes the fun out of this off-the-wall viewing experience. DICKWEED is an episode of 20/20 on steroids. True crime fans will devour this film. Get ready, SXSW 2024, for a shocking global manhunt, seemingly triggered by an innocuous passing comment. Your jaw will drop.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
2:30pm4:00pm
 
Mar 12, 2024
6:45pm8:15pm
 
Mar 12, 2024
7:15pm8:45pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
5:45pm7:15pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
6:15pm7:45pm

 

Credits

Director:

Jonathan Ignatius Green

Executive Producer:

Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel

Producer:

David Ricksecker, Jefferis Gray

Cinematographer:

Skyler Bocciolatt, Ben Joyner

Editor:

Peter Garriott, Connor Davis

Music:

John Jennings Boyd

Principal Cast:

Emily Pokora, Ronald Douglass, Greg Kriek, Rizzy Fuentes, Jerry Gregorio, Mikey Shayan, Kristen Vaganos, Brand Birtwistle, Jamison Sandbloom, John Fantasia

Two people got kidnapped. One man lost his dick. No-one got any money. This heist-gone-horribly-wrong led one Newport Beach detective on an international manhunt for the most twisted criminal he’d ever hunted. In 2012, Michael, a local weed dispensary owner, got home from work and plopped down on the sofa like any other weeknight. Three hours later he was zip-tied and eating dirt as three men tried to beat him into admitting where he’d buried the million dollars. And he would have gladly told them rather than endure what happened next. The only problem was, he hadn’t buried a million dollars, and after they tortured him and left him to die, he still had no idea who these men were.

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

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‘We Can Be Heroes’ (SXSW 2024) where fantasy is reality

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WE CAN BE HEROESWe Can Be Heroes SXSW 2024

Filmmakers Carina Mia Wong and Alex Simmons bring SXSW 2024 audiences a joyous doc about a special camp in the Hudson Valley. WE CAN BE HEROES will conquer your heart.

These kids possess an infectious passion that spills off the screen. They have profound thoughts and feelings. They openly identify their fears, anxieties, heartaches, and powers. Their honesty is inspiring. For as much as they might feel like they do not fit into the popular crowd at home, Wayfinder allows them a chance to blossom and shine. Campers are free to express themselves and feel safe in their gender identity and neurodivergence.

The counselors are brilliant. Anything could happen within a game that encourages explosive imagination. They understand the volatility of swirling emotions and use improvisation and patience to create a fully immersive experience. The campers might not initially realize the individualized care and stealth emotional therapy they get in their final moments at Wayfinder.

The film includes footage from the previous summer, smartly delineated by a change in color. Including glorious overhead shots of battles, we experience the culmination of the week, The Adventure Game. It consists of Three distinct parts. In this summer’s story, six factions of faeries battle to save all the creatures left in their world. It is titled The Last Green. Camper Dexter epically narrates throughout the film. What starts as fun and games ends in collective catharsis.

Everyone is accepting. The film is another reminder that hate is taught and not inherent. WE CAN BE HEROES is pure magic. It is a study of humanity and one of the most relatable films, whether or not you are a part of the LARPing community. WE CAN BE HEROES reassures us that the younger generation will continue to fight. Hope is not lost.


Film Screenings

 
Mar 9, 2024
11:45am1:11pm
 
Mar 10, 2024
2:45pm4:11pm
 
Mar 10, 2024
3:15pm4:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
3:15pm4:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
3:45pm5:11pm
 
Directors:

Carina Mia Wong, Alex Simmons

Executive Producer:

Laurene Powell Jobs, Davis Guggenheim, Lizzie Fox, Casey Meurer, Nicole Stott, Jonathan Silberberg, Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster

Producer:

Jennifer Wood, Krista Manis, Carina Mia Wong, Alex Simmons

Cinematographer:

Peter Alton, Michael Lockridge, Madeleine Peters

Editor:

Alex Simmons, Rebecca Adorno Dávila

Sound Designer:

Catherine Hood, Tim Haber, Annie Medlin, Carl Welden

Music:

Dan Deacon

Principal Cast:

Dexter, Cloud, Abby, Miranda, Kate, Max, Luisa (formerly Alex), Eli, Adelaide, Judson

Additional Credits:

Field Producer: Katy Dierks, Production Coordinator: Tommy McCarthy, Production Assistant: Jesse Mico, Assistant Camera: Tim Haber, Garrett Hanson, Adam Marquez, Alexandra Roberts, Additional Photography: Cassandra Giraldo, Carina Mia Wong, Alex Simmons, Lead Assistant Editor: Lucas Bugbee, Co-Editor: Dan Crow, Music Editor: Chester Gwazda, Finishing Producer (Final Frame): Julia Sub, Finishing Assistant Editor: Claudia Ramirez

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Punk AF ‘Secret Mall Apartment’ (SXSW 2024) Living in art.

SXSW 2024 color logoSECRET MALL APARTMENT

Secret Mall Apartment SXSW 2024

In 2003, eight Rhode Island artists created a secret apartment inside the busy Providence Place Mall and lived there for four years, filming everything along the way. They snuck in furniture, tapped into the mall’s electricity, and even constructed a wall, smuggling in more than two tons of cinderblock. Far more than just a wild prank, the secret apartment became a deeply meaningful place for its inhabitants.


In SECRET MALL APARTMENT, Jeremy Workman brings SXSW 2024 audiences a fun doc filled with hush-hush happenings and punk rock actions. Inside Providence Place Mall, between the years 2003 – 2007, magic happened.

It all started when four artists lost their creative space. Adriana Valdez Young, Andrew Oesch, Jay Zehngebot, and Michael Townsend decided to do something no one had ever thought of. After noticing the odd construction of Providence Place Mall, they took their artistic exploration to an entirely new level, quite literally. Upon discovering unused space in the building, they defied authority and moved into the mall.

The clandestine operation led by Michael, whose footage from an early digital camera comprises most of the film, is nothing short of badass. The never-before-seen footage gives us all the goods, from planning to creation, including the earnest acrobatics of moving furniture purchased at The Salvation Army. With handheld cement blocks, triggered alarms, and pure gumption they created a piece of art and dwelling. The group acknowledges their white privilege in their ability to get away with this stunt.

The film is not simply a story of their mall apartment but the impactful works they created throughout the North East, like making a tape art outline of those lost in NYC on 9/11. This feat took a total of five years. These artists’ cloak-and-dagger work (often fleeting in their existence) taps into humanity at its finest. The irony of The Providence Place Mall’s current state will not be lost on the audience. Most likely, it will give SXSW 2024 a simultaneous headshake and chuckle. SECRET MALL APARTMENT fully embraces the artistic essence of “Damn the Man.”


Director:

Jeremy Workman

Film Screenings

Mar 8, 2024
9:45pm11:16pm
 
Mar 8, 2024
10:15pm11:46pm
 
Mar 10, 2024
10:45pm12:16am
 
Mar 16, 2024
11:00am12:31pm

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

 

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‘CAMP PLEASANT LAKE’ (2024) an ode to genre fans

Best Synthetic Urine Tests to Pass a Drug Test

In the contemporary landscape of drug testing, synthetic urine has become a popular solution for individuals facing scrutiny over their substance use. Whether it’s for employment, legal, or personal reasons, synthetic urine offers a way to pass a drug test with confidence. This article delves into the realm of synthetic urine tests, exploring their efficacy, usage, and the best products available on the market.

Understanding Synthetic Urine
Synthetic urine, also known as fake urine, is a laboratory-made liquid designed to mimic the chemical composition, color, odor, and even temperature of human urine. It’s typically composed of water, urea, creatinine, pH balancers, and other compounds found in natural urine.

Why People Use Synthetic Urine
Employment Drug Tests
One of the most common reasons individuals turn to synthetic urine is to pass pre-employment drug screenings. Many employers require prospective employees to undergo urine tests to ensure a drug-free workplace.

Probation or Legal Reasons
Individuals on probation or facing legal consequences due to drug-related offenses may resort to synthetic urine to comply with court-mandated drug tests and avoid further penalties.

Personal Preference
Some people simply prefer using synthetic urine as a precautionary measure or as a means of maintaining privacy regarding their substance use habits.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Synthetic Urine
When selecting a synthetic urine product, several factors come into play to ensure its effectiveness and reliability.

Reliability
The most crucial aspect of synthetic urine is its ability to produce accurate results consistently. Reliable brands offer formulations that closely resemble natural urine and are less likely to trigger suspicion during testing.

Ingredients
High-quality synthetic urine should contain a balanced blend of ingredients that mimic the chemical composition of real urine, including urea, creatinine, uric acid, and specific gravity.

Temperature Requirements
Maintaining the correct temperature is crucial for passing a urine drug test successfully. Synthetic urine should be heated to body temperature (around 98-100°F or 36-37°C) before submission to prevent detection.

Ease of Use
The synthetic urine kit should come with clear instructions and all the necessary components for easy preparation and submission.

Deskpop Entertainment logoCAMP PLEASANT LAKE

Camp Pleasant Lake poster

In CAMP PLEASANT LAKE, Rick and Darlene Rutherford breathe life into the eerie remnants of an old campsite, unaware of its dark past. Strange occurrences haunt the area, mirroring the tragedies of the old camp, where two decades earlier, a young girl was kidnapped and her parents brutally murdered. Amidst chilling atmospheres and long-forgotten secrets, the couple grapples with a horrifying revelation—they are entwined in the camp’s history. And as the shadows of the past collide with the present, the Rutherfords must confront the haunting histories of a sinister crime.


Camp Pleasant Lake group stillThomas Walton‘s CAMP PLEASANT LAKE centers around a horror camp created based on a 20-year-old legend of a missing child and the brutal murder of her family on their way to the very same camp.

Michael Paré is magnificent playing camp owner Mr Rutherford. Bonnie Aarons plays Esmeralda with a perfectly sinister air. The audience deserved so much more of her. Brainwashed son Lou gets the proper treatment from Mike Ferguson.

Camp Pleasant Lake_Still5Christopher Sky is the former vile camper turned Camp of Terror counselor, Mike. He is a sufficient asshole and you will revel in his inevitable demise. Jonathan Lipnicki is hands down the best part of CAMP PLEASANT LAKE. His unfettered commitment to the role is genuinely awesome.

Camp Pleasant Lake Jonathan LipnickiIt is evident the film is made by genre fans. Practical fx are bloody good, even if the pace and dialogue drag. The kills get better as the plot rolls along. I did wish the variety of attendees had been more eclectic. At $10k each, I was looking for fewer numbers and more development of these characters because the possibilities were endless.
The final scenes are seriously satisfying. Lipnicki earns the chance to reprise his role.

DeskPop Entertainment will release Thomas Walton’s refreshingly indie new horror film CAMP PLEASANT LAKE in select cinemas and on VOD February 27th!
The picture, which stars 90s screen icon Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry MaguireStuart Little) alongside a bevvy of genre film icons, is a loving throwback to the thrilling, violent summer camp slasher films of the 1980s.

 

Written and directed by Thomas Walton, Camp Pleasant Lake stars Lipnicki alongside Bonnie Aarons (The Nun 1 and 2Jakob’s Wife), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster 1 and 2), Michael Paré (Eddie and the CruisersStreets of Fire), Kelly Lynn Reiter, Robert LaSardo (Death Race), Maritza Brikisak, and Greg Tally.

Jared Safier produces the film alongside Walton, with Jeremy Hirsch, Matthew Macur, Damien Douglas, Lenny Vitulli, Jackson Everest, and Michael Mahal acting as its executive producers. Production companies on the picture are Safier Entertainment, PhilaDreams Films, Lux Angeles Studios, Stag Mountain Films, RMR Productions, and Movies By Misfits.


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‘ORDINARY ANGELS’ (2024) soars with sweetness

Ordinary Angels poster

Based on a remarkable true story, ORDINARY ANGELS centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels.


Jon Gunn brings audiences the story of personal redemption and a real-life miracle.

Alan Ritchson as Ed and Emily Mitchell as Michelle in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen FraserNancy Travis is a lovely addition as Ed’s mother. Her down-to-earth attitude solidifies generational Kentuckian views. Travis has fantastic chemistry with each cast member. You might think she was their real-life relative. Skywalker Hughes and Emily Mitchell, as the Schmitt siblings, are darling. Each provides precisely what the other needs in each scene, giving the audience (especially parents) a genuine emotional stronghold. Alan Ritchson gives Ed a prideful authenticity. Ed is kind and quiet but mired in grief. Ritchson creates a safe space to express the nuances of loss and masculinity.

Ordinary Angels Hilary SwankHilary Swank gives Sharon a spitfire vibe. She’s smart, organized, and motivated to make a positive mark on one family’s life. Initially going through the motions as a high-functioning alcoholic, this hairstylist-turned-advocate does her best to save the life of a little girl and her family drowning in debt and personal loss. Swank delivers on Sharon’s renewed sense of purpose. A backstory brimming with unresolved trauma speaks volumes. Swank navigates the underlying complexity like the pro. Franky, she is a tornado of energy that makes ORDINARY ANGELS a sweet and inspiring watch.

Hilary Swank as Sharon and Alan Ritchson as Ed in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen FraserORDINARY ANGELS have genuine ERIN BROCKOVICH energy. The film is a quiet indictment of the healthcare system and insurance industry. Mostly, it’s a Good Samaritan story of our wildest dreams. Stay during the credits for the 1994 news footage, updates on Sharon and The Schmitts, and Dave Matthews‘s beautiful song “Pretty Bird.”


ORDINARY ANGELS will be available in theaters nationwide on February 23, 2024.

 

For more films Based on a True Story, click here!

 

‘VESELKA’ (2024) doc follows a restaurant entering the global stage

VESELKA:
THE RAINBOW ON THE CORNER
AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

VESELKA: THE RAINBOW ON THE CORNER AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

New York City’s beloved Ukrainian restaurant Veselka is best known for its borscht and varenyky, but it has become a beacon of hope for Ukraine. As the second-generation owner Tom Birchard reluctantly retires after 54 years, his son Jason faces the pressures of stepping into his father’s shoes as the war in Ukraine impacts his family and staff.


The first time I ate at Veselka, I’d only lived in New York for six months. A friend of mine, a lifelong New Yorker, walked us in at 1 am. We were sober but sleepy. The palpable energy of the packed wood-paneled room woke us up before a dish was served. I remember being a little awed by the fragile ecosystem – here, Wall Street players were sitting shoulder to shoulder with grinning grandmothers. Warm chatter and the smell of fried onions filled the space. That environment, that first bowl of borscht at Veselka, was one of the many little moments that helped me feel at home in a busy, sometimes uncaring city.

Michael Fiore’s documentary, Veselka: The Rainbow on the corner at the center of the world, takes the viewer into both the history and heart of the beloved Ukrainian restaurant. With the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the restaurant finds itself catapulted onto a transformational crossroads. Already tested by the global pandemic, its owner, Tom Birchard, hands the reins to his son, Jason. Jason finds himself at the helm of a world-famous family business, trying to put his own stamp on the restaurant while understanding its rapidly evolving role in both the local and global Ukrainian community.

VESELKA_Press ShotThe documentary is by turns uplifting and shattering. Most powerfully, it is a stark reminder of the human costs of ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Unbelievably, this week will mark 2 years since Russia’s invasion and escalation of the conflict. While the war may not be at the forefront of the public conscious in 2024 to the same degree as it once was, it remains a constant for the staff and families at Veselka. This is not an overseas battle for them – these are their loved ones and families fighting and dying while the world moves on to the next crisis.

As a leader, Jason Birchard is equal parts toughness and warmth. His determination for his staff and community is inspiring.  Early in the Russian invasion, Veselka hosts Mayor Adams and his delegation to advocate for additional support for Ukraine. Watching this scene gives the viewer the rare experience of seeing an elected official being written off by a constituent in real-time. This superficial political moment stands in stark contrast to Veselka’s kitchen, which is humming with empathy and support.

Veselka: The Rainbow on the corner at the center of the world is many things. A  reminder of a brutal ongoing conflict. A challenge to the audience to remember how far the support of individuals can go in the face of global needs. A testament to the grit and determination behind a family business….And a reminder that you’ve really been craving borscht lately.


In Theaters This Friday 
February 23rd, 2024

Written, Produced, and Directed by Michael Fiore

Narrated by Golden Globe Award-winner David Duchovny (“The X Files”)
Score by Ryan Shore, featuring Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn (“Lethal Weapon”)

Poster designed by Neil Jamieson (TIME “Person of the Year” cover artist – feat. President Zelensky)

Featuring interviews with father-son owners of Veselka Tom and Jason Birchard, additional Veselka staff as well as footage of New York Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul


For more of Sam’s reviews, click here!

‘GOD & COUNTRY’ (2024) explores the twisted reality of Christian Nationalism

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GOD & COUNTRY

God & Country 2024 poster

What the hell happened to Conservative Christians? Growing up Catholic taught me that you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the refugee, and love thy neighbor as yourself. What we’ve come to see is that none of those so-called values matter these days as long as the underlying hatred and cultlike lies fuel a fired-up voter base. GOD & COUNTRY takes us down the rabbit hole of skewed ethics and the genuine danger we found ourselves in at those moments in our country’s history.

God & Country 2024 Rally FlagsOn-the-ground video from January 6th, up close and personal from cell phones, retraumatizes the viewer. The new footage is mind-boggling and will undoubtedly fill you with rage and disgust. The film features sociologists, authors, historians, lawyers, and pastors. We examine the Constitution and the precise articles requiring separation of church and state. We look at evolving statistics on social issues through the years. The interconnectedness of women’s rights, race, and power is undeniable.

God & Country Faith & Freedom ImageViolence as a means of “spiritual defense” comes directly from the pulpit over and over. The film effectively builds towards January 6th by wading through the madness swirling in the years prior. It is utterly bewildering and 100 percent terrifying. This coordinated effort to keep people in a cult is deliberate and well-funded. History repeats itself. Wait until you find out the architect of Evangelical sermons.

God & Country 2024 Washington StillGOD & COUNTRY keenly explores the long history and bastardization of Christianity through White Nationalism. It is a political movement about power. America is a ticking time bomb encouraged by social media, media, and billions of dollars. Stay vigilant and show up at the polls because democracy depends on it.

Oscilloscope Laboratories’ GOD & COUNTRY,  produced by Rob Reiner and directed by Dan Partland (Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump), is opening in select theaters nationwide beginning This Friday, February 16th.

 

For more reviews from Oscilloscope Laboratories, click here!