HBO Original review: Heed the warning and relive the trauma as never before seen footage in Ed Perkins’ stunning doc ‘THE PRINCESS’ flags the danger of history repeating itself.

‘The HBO Original documentary film THE PRINCESS is an intimate and immersive look at the life of Princess Diana, directed by Academy Award® nominee Ed Perkins (“Black Sheep” “Tell Me Who I Am”) and produced by Lightbox, Academy Award®-winning Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire” “Searching for Sugar Man”) and Emmy®-winning Jonathan Chinn (“LA92” HBO’s “Tina”). The film debuts on SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 (8:00-9:50 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death, and will be available to stream on HBO Max. THE PRINCESS had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. HBO Documentary Films presents THE PRINCESS, in association with SKY, produced by Lightbox. Directed by Ed Perkins; produced by Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn; editors, Jinx Godfrey and Daniel Lapira; co-producer, Vanessa Tovell. For HBO: coordinating producer, Anna Klein; executive producers, Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller.


The precise moment I realized what was happening in the opening footage of The Princess, my blood ran cold. The tragedy of Diana, Princess of Wales is something I’ve always held close to my heart. I remember the morning of her death like it was yesterday. My mother entered my bedroom, speechless, holding up the headline on the front page. I had Princess Diana paper dolls as a child. The booklet contained a replica of the crown she wore at her wedding. I mourned her like so many across the globe, understanding her cultural impact even more as my father and I watched her funeral live. I’d never seen him weep before that day. 

The film chronicles Diana’s life in the media from the days before her engagement until her horrific death. There are no talking heads, no overarching narration, simply thousands of hours of archival footage edited together with care and great intention. Studying the body language of Diana, Charles, and the royal family is fascinating. The commentary comes in the form of media voiceovers that are equally adoring and scathing. Feeling as if we know Diana and understanding the revelations that have since come to light, I was seething as I witnessed the treatment of an uncaring husband and the fickle media. 

The score is breathtaking. The editing is an award-worthy triumph. Watching the downward spiral of a young woman thrown to the wolves is daunting. I found myself shaking my head, filled with sadness and anger at those who failed spectacularly to protect her. And therein lies the double-edged sword of this film. Our obsession with a woman so special and fascinating makes us accomplices. The Princess is a cautionary tale as relevant today as it was then. Maybe more so. Harry and Meghan deserve more respect than we ever showed his mother and equal parts adoration for the change they are trying desperately to implement in a family stuck in the dark ages. We, the audience and fellow human beings, must remind ourselves to take a step back and let them live their lives in peace. 

HBO ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY THE PRINCESS 
Debuting SATURDAY on HBO & HBO Max (8:00-9:50 p.m. ET/PT)

Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Incredible But True’ is another ludicrously comical creation from filmmaker Quentin Dupieux.

INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE

Quentin Dupieux brings his unique level of absurdity to audiences once again with Fantasia 2022 film Incredible But True. Alain and Marie’s new home comes with one hell of a caveat; a tunnel in the basement that transports the individual 12 hrs forward in time. But that’s not all it does. This sharp comedy manages to be socially relevant through its silliness. 

The meandering dialogue is hilarious and infuriating. Dupieux has characters constantly waiting to get to the damn point already, and you know what? It works like gangbusters. Performances are outstanding across the board. They feel effortless through the profound theme of chasing vanity. His previous films RubberKeep An Eye Out, and Mandibles are cult classics. Incredible But True is a brilliantly bizarre addition to his signature storytelling style. You’ll want it in your Dupieux catalog. 


To find out more about Incredible but true screening at Fantasia 2022 click here!

Incredible But True sees a husband and wife move into a suburban house of their dreams only to discover that a mysterious secret is hidden in the basement, which may change their lives forever.
The quirky French comedy stars Alain Chabat (The Science of Sleep, Mood Indigo), Léa Drucker (Custody, The Man of My Life), Benoît Magimel (The Piano Teacher, Thieves) and Anaïs Demoustier (Sweet Evil, Alice and the Mayor).

Review: Rebecca Hall stars in ‘Resurrection,’ a terrifying portrait of trauma and control.

RESURRECTION

Written and directed by Andrew Semans, Resurrection is the story of one woman’s decades-long torment. When a man from Maggie’s past appears, her perfectly buttoned-up life turns upside down. Maggie’s hyper-structured existence hides severe unresolved trauma. Resurrection is a sick and twisted story of psychological damage and revenge.

Grace Kaufman is Abbie. As a college student, she possesses a casual abandon to her behavior. Her age-appropriate nonchalance is perfectly balanced with Hall’s ever-evolving intensity. Tim Roth is a master manipulator as David. He’s downright frightening. His backstory as a groomer is beyond upsetting. Roth gives off a slimy aura that makes the viewer’s full body cringe. Rebecca Hall‘s performance is immaculate. Hall’s idiosyncrasies are impeccable. Anyone familiar with PTSD will recognize the guarded physicality, the body at attention in a millisecond, and the sudden, sharp tone change in the voice. Panic attacks are all-consuming, and Hall lives inside them throughout the film. But it is her confessional monologue that will split your soul in two. It’s simultaneously heart-wrenching and matter-of-fact.

The heightened sound editing chills the senses. It’s a palpable stress-inducing choice that accosts the audience. You’ll have to remember to breathe while watching Resurrection. Andrew Semans‘ writing astounds me. He understands the fear and gaslighting so many women live with daily, then takes it to the nth degree. It’s also about telling your story. Resurrection is relentlessly terrifying and grossly relevant. Believe women.


RESURRECTION will be released by IFC Films in theaters on July 29th and on Demand on August 5th.  Shudder will be the exclusive streaming home in November 2022.

Screenwriter and director Andrew Semans’ jaw-dropping sophomore feature, RESURRECTION had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Margaret (Rebecca Hall) leads a successful and orderly life, perfectly balancing the demands of her busy career and single parenthood to her fiercely independent daughter Abbie. Everything is under control. But that careful balance is upended when an unwelcome shadow from her past, David (Tim Roth) returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past. Battling her rising fear, Margaret must confront the monster she’s evaded for two decades who has come to conclude their unfinished business.


 

Fantasia 2022 review: ‘The Breach’ is gooey and gruesome.

The Breach

Just before he leaves for the big city, Chief of Police John Hawkins (Allan Hawco) is asked to consult on a strange case. A body is found in a boat on the Porcupine River with unsettling wounds.


Director Rodrigo Gudiño brings the gross and engrossing to Fantasia 2022 with The Breach. A genre mash-up of sorts that’s as gooey as it is mindboggling. When a body washes up on shore, the small-town Chief of Police follows the clues that lead him to an isolated house in the woods. With his pseudo-girlfriend and her ex in tow, the mystery grows deeper (and weirder) with strange writings, the home in shambles, mutilated bodies, and supernatural happenings. 

The film begins with a bang. Sweeping shots of a seemingly abandoned canoe quietly floating down the river. The title is reminiscent of classic horror films like The Blob. We become familiar with the townspeople pulled into this bizarre case. Suddenly the pace feels like it goes off a cliff. 

Here is where I struggled. In the film’s final third, the screenplay takes three very different concepts and tries to mash them together. It was a real head-scratcher for me, as I was all in with the body horror ala The Fly idea. Everything sort of implodes from there. Ian Weir and Craig Davidson‘s screenplay is based on an audible original of the same name by Nick Cutter. (Cutter is Davidson, Davidson is Cutter) It makes me want to go back to the source material to compare the work. 

The best performance comes from Natalie Brown as Laura. She is a mother mired in grief and desperate for answers from her physicist ex-husband. Her vulnerability, anguish, and badassery should be applauded.

Yes, that kickass music you hear is by executive producer and rick legend, Slash. It’s nothing short of epic. Arguably the best aspect of The Breach is the design team. The main set is a spectacularly dressed mess with peeling wallpaper and inches of dust. Practical FX and makeup are literally gag-worthy. These are the things Fantasia audiences eat for breakfast.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022!


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Moloch’ brings unique folklore horror to viewers.

MOLOCH

A sinister score from Ella Van Der Woude and sweeping cinematography by Emo Weemhoff immediately let us know we’re in for something truly frightening. Perhaps cyclical in nature, unresolved trauma rears its ugly head in the form of a supernatural creature and a celebrated legend. Moloch is a keenly written and beautifully performed horror.

Sallie Harmsen plays Betriek with an unbridled nuance. Existing in a caretaker role for her mother and young daughter, we are privy to childhood trauma that everyone in town seems to know more about than Betriek. Harmsen is raw and determined. She encapsulates a woman mired in distress.

It’s not an exaggeration to say my mouth was agape at the final reveal. So many seemingly minute details in the script came rushing into my brain. Writer-director Nico Van Den Brink and writer Daan Bakker have given Fantasia 2022 audiences a moody, atmospheric folklore horror. Lucky for Shudder fans, Moloch is now available to stream.


38-year-old Betriek lives at the edge of a peat bog in the North of the Netherlands. When she and her family are attacked by a random stranger one night, Betriek sets out to find an explanation. The more she digs, the more she becomes convinced that she is being hunted by something ancient.

Premieres July 21 on Shudder


Click here for more info on Fantasia 2022!


Fantasia 2022 short film reviews: ‘Deiji Meets Girl’ and ‘Summer Ghost’ are whimsical and complex

Deiji Meets Girl

Deiji meets girl

Sixteen-year-old Maisie Higa works at the front desk of her family’s hotel, and she’s bored out of her mind. Then a familiar-looking teenage boy from Tokyo checks in, and Maisie’s summer break gets weird. She is scrappy, emotional, enthusiastic, and dramatic, and I could not get enough of her. Maisie has the perfect foil in the character of Ichiro Suzuki, who is overly nonchalant and annoyed about their whimsical predicaments. The two offer nonstop laughs and smiles as they experience their ever-evolving surroundings. I would eat this up as a feature. It has a lot of similar qualities as the Prime Video series Upload. In its current micro-series form, Deiji Meets Girl is the perfect lighthearted and creative entry for Fantasia 2022 audiences to enjoy. 


Summer Ghost

This stunning 40 minutes film about mental health comes to us in a gorgeously told mystery. When three young people meet in hopes of catching a glimpse of a local legend of a ghost girl, emotions run high as each carries the weight of sadness only known to them. With an ethereal score from Akira Kosemura and nuanced storytelling, Summer Ghost took my breath away, quite literally. It’s one of those films that run away with your attention before you have a moment to notice the runtime. With thoughtful writing from Otsuichi and a gasp-worthy ending, this one will be with me for a long time.


Both films screen as part of the Anime no Bento 2022 program


 

Fantasia 2022 review: The brutality of ‘Megalomaniac’ is burned into my brain.

MEGALOMANIAC

Offspring of the most notorious and elusive serial killer in Belgium’s history, Martha must navigate her brother taking up the family mantle, working a job where she is the victim of sexual abuse, and the fragility of her sanity. Writer-director Karim Ouelhaj gives Fantasia 2022 audiences one of the most brutal and brilliant films of the year.

The sumptuous score from Gary Moonboots and Simon Fransquet is a push and pull between heaven and hell. The production design and camera work will haunt your nightmares. Simultaneously hideous and magnificent, the vast family mansion Felix and Martha reside in has cracking plaster walls, carved mahogany structures, and a plethora of aggressively posed taxidermy creatures. It’s Dracula’s wet dream.

Actress Eline Schumacher leaves her soul on the screen. The slow, deliberate fracturing of the human psyche is breathtaking. It’s a brave, emotionally wrought, and award-worthy performance.

It’s an understatement to say that the imagery in Megalomaniac made my blood run cold. I winced as I witnessed unapologetic violence on women’s bodies. The fear Martha experiences had a visceral effect on me. The film examines the patriarchal power structure in a heartbreaking and infuriating way. Ouelhaj nails it. The term “triggering” is not one I use often, but Megalomaniac encompasses that word from start to finish. The cyclical nature of evil cannot be denied.


To find out more about Fantasia 2022 click here!


Fantasia 2022 review: Zombies, comedy, remakes, Oh My! ‘Coupez!’ brings bloodbath and laughs.

COUPEZ!

*Full disclosure, I have not seen Shinichiro Ueda‘s One Cut of The Dead (Fantasia 2018). This review is solely my take on COUPEZ!*

An eccentric director who activated a curse in order to get the best film possible? Sounds more like an industry documentary than a horror comedy to me. Coupez! turns filmmaking on its head with a structure that keeps on giving. Do not get comfortable because you’re about to enter the world of money, fame, indulgence, and the ridiculous in three distinct acts. 

Coupez! is unafraid to make fun of the collective zombie/ horror genre. At times, it’s like watching Film Twitter arguing with itself. This meta take on the industry will delight to no end. The handheld camera puts the audience into the action in a one-take, real-time unfolding of hilarious chaos. One can only imagine the amount of rehearsal it required to coordinate. The practical FX are cleverly achieved just out of sight. 

These actors give 200% in this splatterfest. The cast’s unwavering commitment sells this film. Romain Duris as Remi is just trying his best to make the movie he created on the page. But, like Hollywood, everyone has their hand/opinion in the proverbial pot. Duris has an upbeat energy that pulls you into his story. In truth, Coupez! is a masterful ensemble film. The double entendre dialogue never misses. It’s kind of like an amped-up version of Shawn of the Dead meets Noises Off. It was a risky move for writer-director Michel Hazanavicius to bring Coupez! to Fantasia 2022, but a massively successful one.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022!


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘The Harbinger’ is a waking nightmare.

THE HARBINGER

Mo is taking every precaution possible in lockdown with her father and brother. When summoned to the city by an old friend, Mo’s loyalty takes precedent over her protesting family. She arrives to find a strung-out Mavis claiming something is controlling her dreams. When Mo then begins to have her dreams invaded by a hooded figure in a plague mask, things go from bad to downright terrifying. Writer-director Andy Mitton, who brought The Witch In The Window to Fantasia in 2018, dives headfirst into his new supernatural horror and extra creepy Fantasia 2022 entry, The Harbinger

The script slickly combines historic iconography from the plague to mirror current events and builds upon the concept of mass hysteria and mental health. Mitton introduces demonology and then mixes in the idea of viral internet posts, an issue directly addressed in Jane Schoenbrun‘s brilliant film, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair. Combined with the rapid spread of misinformation, internet challenges like Momo, and urban legends like Slenderman, the spread of evil becomes exponential. But this is really simplifying the fear in The Harbinger

Gabby Beans gives us every ounce of herself as Mo. She is the heartbeat of this plot. Beans brings a grounded vulnerability, and I cannot imagine any other performer in this role. The film has everything and then some. Jarring imagery, thoughtful camera work, cool-as-hell production design, and meticulously placed jump scares keep your pulse pounding as this story unfolds. On top of the authentic terror we all experienced at the beginning of the covid lockdown, The Harbinger is a masterfully crafted, waking nightmare. 


DIRECTOR

Andy Mitton

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Cassidy Freeman, Clark Freeman

PRODUCER

Jay Dunn, Richard W. King

WRITER

Andy Mitton

CAST

Gabby Beans, Cody Braverman, Emily Davis, Ray Anthony Thomas, Myles Walker

CINEMATOGRAPHER

Ludovica Isidori

COMPOSER

Andy Mitton

EDITOR

Andy Mitton

For all things Fantasia 2022 click here!


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Swallowed’ is any LGBTQ person’s nightmare… and then some.

SWALLOWED

Cooper Koch and Jose Colon play best friends, Benjamin and Dom. In order to send Benjamin off to L.A. with some extra cash, Dom coordinates a drug mule operation that complicates everything. When the packages turn out to be something far more sinister, things get much darker than anyone imagined.

Swallowed is a genre-obliterating film with fantastic performances. Jena Malone adds gritty believability. To no one’s surprise, she manages to bring charm and intensity. Koch and Colon have spectacular chemistry, and you 100 percent buy their relationship. Koch possesses an accessible vulnerability. Colon’s honesty feels grounded. Bravo for their openness to go full frontal nude. We all know how rare that is, and it makes complete sense given the plot. The film also features a solid villainous turn from Mark Patton, a genre legend from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. One line, in particular, is slyly redemptive given his status in the horror canon.

The camera work has visceral intimacy. Writer-director Carter Smith (The Ruins) gives audiences a unique genre entry, with the leads being LGBTQ male characters in scenarios we usually see female characters tackle. Swallowed is part crime thriller, part coming-of-age, and body horror. This film is an LGBTQ scenario of nightmares. Fantasia 2022 audiences, get ready to squirm.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘All Jacked Up and Full Of Worms’ is gagworthy arthouse horror.

ALL JACKED UP AND FULL OF WORMS

Writer-director Alex Phillips brings a special kind of WTF to Fantasia 2022 with micro-budget arthouse horror, All Jacked Up and Full of Worms. In a wicked multiple narrative of some seriously messed up people, we are party to some of the sickest storylines we never signed up for. Roscoe, a motel maintenance man in a creepy, sexually adventurous throuple, a mentally ill man named Benny looking to be a father, a violent addict couple, the former pagan member giving an endless interview, and his sex worker daughter all collide. The throughline of these stories is that the characters ingest worms like drugs. The consequences will make you as queasy as you think. If David Cronenberg and Requiem for a Dream had a baby, you might get All Jacked Up and Full of Worms in the bassinet. The likelihood that you’ll be looking around the theatre to check if everyone else is just as horrified as you are incredibly high. Would I recommend you watch high? I’m not not saying it’s a good idea. Films like this bring audiences to Fantasia in the first place. Am I jacked up to see what Alex Phillips does next? Yup.

All Jacked Up and Full of Worms also stars Eva Fellows, Mike Lopez, Carol Rhyu, and Sammy Arechar. The film was produced by Phillips, Georgia Bernstein, and Ben Gojer.


Click here for more information about Fantasia 2022


Netflix review: Avi Nesher’s sweeping Israeli war drama based on true events, ‘Image of Victory,’ releases tomorrow.

IMAGE OF VICTORY

Synopsis:

 Inspired by true events. 1948: Hassanin, an Egyptian filmmaker, is tasked with documenting a raid on the isolated kibbutz Nitzanim. When the kibbutz learns of the impending army raid, Mira, a young but valiant mother, is forced to reckon with the true cost of war and make an impossible choice.


The two diverging stories give us perspectives on each end of the spectrum of war. One glamorized for the media. The other portrays the suffering and survival tactics of everyday existence in the kibbutz. Image of Victory is as relevant today as it was back in 1948, pitting religion, territorial disputes, and tradition against one another. 

The film overflows with fearless female characters, each unique and bold. Joy Rieger plays Mira with undeniable star quality. She is a woman confident in her skin, owning her sexual power. Like most women in Image of Victory, Mira shirks the patriarchal structure. She is an authentic feminist icon. 

Amir Khoury plays Hassanin with eccentric flair. As the sophisticate among soldiers, he is a “fish out of water.” His narration provides a stark contrast to each group’s reality. In truth, Image of Victory is a brilliant ensemble piece. The pure emotion of these characters will remain long after the credits roll. Knowing the film is based on actual events tears at your heart. 

The look of the film is beautiful. The attention to detail, lighting, costumes, and cinematic framing, right down to the closing credits, all scream period era, sweeping drama. The script has everything from war scenes to relationships in which you’re bound to feel invested. A lingering dread looms over the narrative, keeping the audience on their toes. But, the genuine portrayal of humanity at its most desperate keeps you in awe. Isreal’s most expensive production fits perfectly into Netflix’s awards season slate. Image of Victory is the kind of film they need to reel in cinephiles for the long haul. 


Please tune in to Netflix to watch IMAGE OF VICTORY
on Friday, July 15th!
Directed by Avi Nesher (Past Life, The Other Story)
Produced by Ehud Bleiberg (The Band’s Visit, The Iceman)
Screenplay by Avi Nesher
Inspired by true events and story by Liraz Brosh and Ehud Bleiberg
Starring:
Joy Rieger (Best Actress, Vierges, Tribeca 2018)
Amir Khoury (Fauda)
Ala Dakka (Fauda)

Fantasia International Film Festival is back with its 26th edition to rescue us from reality. Here’s what we’re excited to see! #Fantasia2022

It’s no secret that all the best genre films come through Fantasia Film Festival. 2022’s fest comes just in time to distract us from all the actual horrible things happening in the world.

Welcome to a list of things we’re excited about playing this year. Some are already on our best of the year lists and some we anticipate adding. Check out our picks below.

For all things Fantasia Film Festival 2022 stay tuned to Reel News Daily with some special posts from our friends at Unseen Films


Six films we’ve seen at previous festivals and their reviews can be found below. Highly recommend each of them for a myriad of reasons.

Next Exit
Legions
Sissy


Honeycomb
Hypochondriac
Speak No Evil (One of the year’s most brutal films)



FREAKS OUT (Italy)

– Dir: Gabriele Mainetti

Rome, 1943. A pack of sideshow performers with supernatural powers face off against occupying Nazis in the most unusual superhero film you will ever see. This fantastical and gutsy celebration of the different that walks an electrifying tightrope between blockbuster filmmaking and edgier, more subversive genre work. From the director of THEY CALL ME JEEG. Winner of the Leoncino d’Oro at last fall’s Venice Film Festival. Canadian Premiere. 

Sounding like a genre fan’s wet dream, FreaksOut is a priority watch this year.



Princesse Dragon

Bristle is a little girl raised by dragons. But when her father, Dragon, has to pay the Sorcerog using his second most valuable asset, he offers her Bristle – Throwing her into an infinite sadness and forcing her to flee the family cave. Bristle then embarks on a journey to discover the world of men.

Feminist anime? Give it to me all day, every day.


Polaris

Set in 2144 against the harsh backdrop of a frozen wasteland, Sumi, a human child raised by Mama Polar Bear, narrowly escapes capture from a brutal Morad hunting party and sets out across the vast winter landscape. When Sumi stumbles across Frozen Girl, an unlikely friendship is forged and together they race ahead of the vindictive hunters towards the only guiding light Sumi knows, the Polaris star.

All female-led opening film. Sold.


One Cut of the Dead

(French remake of the cult classic)

After opening this year’s Cannes, FINAL CUT (Coupez!), Michel Hazanavicius’s riotous remake of Shinichirou Ueda’s ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, is coming to North America. Starring Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, and Yoshiko Takehara reprising her beloved role from the original film as a producer, this hilarious ode to the do-or-die spirit of filmmaking is a joy to behold. It is especially noteworthy for the film’s North American journey to be starting at Fantasia, as the festival was among the first to popularize the original Audience Award-winning ONE CUT OF THE DEAD in the West. Poetically, Ueda’s latest, POPRAN, will also be having its North American Premiere at the festival this year. Bet your viewfinder that FINAL CUT is going to bring the house down in cheers. North American Premiere.

Without knowing the original, the buzz around this remake is out of this world. Will it live up to its predecessor? I guess we’ll all find out together.

Huesera

Pregnant with her first child and consumed by terrifying visions, Valeria (Natalia Solián) believes that she may be cursed by a supernatural entity. A brilliant and frightening breakout debut as important as Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK, HUESERA firmly announces Mexico’s Michelle Garza Cervera as one of the leading new voices of the genre. A scorching personal vision that asks complex questions with ferocious honesty, this profound, nightmarish blessing comes to Fantasia hot off its award-winning Tribeca launch and is already one of the most talked-about genre works of the year.  Canadian Premiere. 

A big winner out of Tribeca 22, this is a slick film tackling identity and motherhood in a surprising way. If you’ve ever been pregnant and didn’t love every single second of it, this one will cut extra deep.



Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Also screening as part of Fantasia’s closing night events will be Halina Reijn’s wildly entertaining and gloriously twisted BODIES BODIES BODIES. A party game leads to murder when young and wealthy friends gather at a remote family mansion in this instant classic comedy horror joyride that maintains a taut balance of uneasy tension and wicked humor. Starring Amandla Stenberg (THE HATE U GIVE), Maria Bakalova (BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM), Myha’la Herrold (INDUSTRY), Rachel Sennott (SHIVA BABY) and comedy superstar Pete Davidson. Special Screening.

When people cannot stop talking about a film, you know you have to see it. Coming to theaters August 5th.

 DIRECTOR: Halina Reijn CAST: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, with Lee Pace and Pete Davidson


Piggy

Laura Galán appears in PIGGY by Carlota Pereda

During the sweltering summertime of rural Spain, Sara carries an extra load of teenage agony due to the perpetual bullying from her peers. She’s also an outsider at home—her parents and little brother just don’t understand her—so, feelings internalized, she’s often found buried in her headphones, drowning out her surroundings. One day, Sara’s usual solo dip at the local pool is disrupted by the presence of a mysterious stranger in the water and an exceptionally grueling bout of abuse at the hands of three girls. But, in a strange twist of fate, along the way home Sara witnesses her bloodied tormentors being kidnapped in the back of the stranger’s van.

Another buzzy title, this one focusing on mean girls and morality is a star vehicle for actress Laura Galán.


The Pez Outlaw

Steve Glew spent the 1990s smuggling rare pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe, making millions of dollars. It was all magical until his arch-nemesis, The Pezident decided to destroy him.

Who wouldn’t want to watch a film about rival pez dispenser smugglers is really the question.


Everybody Goes To The Hosptial (short film)


Based on a true story, EVERYBODY GOES TO THE HOSPITAL is a stop motion animated exploration of physical, psychological, and familial trauma, telling the tale of 4-year-old Little Mata (writer/director Tiffany Kimmel’s mother) as she’s taken to the hospital in late 1963 with appendicitis.

This is s personal pick for me, as someone traumatized by hospitals more than once in my life. The first time was when I was diagnosed with appendicitis. Check out a teaser here.


For all things Fantasia 2022 stay tuned to Reel News Daily with some special posts from our friends at Unseen Films.


 

Bentonville Film Festival 2022 reviews: Short films ‘Anniversary’ & ‘The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night’ celebrate sisterhood in all its messy glory.

ANNIVERSARY

Laugh out loud funny short film Anniversary finds two best friends and next-door neighbors getting glam together in preparation for what Carla thinks is a surprise 25th-anniversary dinner with her husband.

This unapologetic and unfiltered look at friendship is hysterical. The film possesses timeless energy. The costumes are bright, and the camera work is notably fun. Actresses Johnnie Mae and Lin Tucci have magical chemistry. Director Lain Kienzle highlights the importance of female bonding. In the end, it’s pure delight.


The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night

Three very different sisters collide during holiday festivities. Seeking the approval of her eldest and feistiest sister, Noor hopes her partner Luz makes a good impression. 

The cinematography and editing are super fun. Instagram-style stories add a modern touch. It is what I do with my siblings during game nights. The cast is spectacular. For a short film, these characters are lush and eclectic. Director Fawzia Mirza and writer-producer Kausar Mohammed absolutely nail the family dynamic. The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night will make you laugh, cringe, and nod your head knowingly. Bentonville Film Festival 2022 audiences will love it.


 

Tribeca 2022 reviews from Unseen Films: ‘Space Oddity’

SPACE ODDITY

One of my favorite films of this year’s Tribeca was a film I wasn’t planning on seeing. It wasn’t until I decided to focus on the films not in the press library that it jumped onto my dance card…. and right into my heart.

The story follows Alex, a young man in a broken family, who is planning on heading to Mars on a one-way mission.  He wants to go to get away from the troubles of the world, but also from the reminders of his brother who died saving his life in a car crash. Unfortunately for him, his plans end up crashing into Daisy, a young woman new to the town. Now that Alex has met Daisy will he give up his plans and stay on earth.

Do you have to ask?

Yea, you know how this will go but it’s so well done you won’t care. I mean you really won’t care because you will be so absolutely in love with everyone on screen. These are wounded people we know. They are us. God bless director Kyra Sedgwick for keeping everyone real and not insisting that everyone gets fixed by the end. Yea there is hope but the damage is still there. As a result, the film resonates deeper.

What a glorious film.

The performances are across the board wonderful Kevin Bacon may have his best role here. Yea it’s nothing special on the face of it but watch all of the shading he gives it. Listen to the emotion in his voice. Alexandra Shipp is magical. She makes Daisy the person we all want to fall in love with.

I love this film. I really do.

It’s a joy.

Highly recommended.


DIRECTOR
Kyra Sedgwick
PRODUCER
Valerie Stadler, Kyra Sedgwick, Meredith Bagby, Richard Arlook, Jack Greenbaum, Mark Maxey, Mickey Schiff
SCREENWRITER
Rebecca Banner
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Alar Kivilo
EDITOR
Stefanie Visser
COMPOSER
Travis Bacon and Scott Hedrick
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paolo Mottola Jr., Joe Z. Crosby, Ibrahim Alhusseini, JL Pomeroy, Daryl Roth, Brent Emery
CAST
Kyle Allen, Alexandra Shipp, Madeline Brewer, Carrie Preston, Simon Helberg, Kevin Bacon, Andrew Polk

Tribeca 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG’ is out now!

HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG (2022)

One of the great films playing Tribeca this is a look at Leonard Cohen through the song Hallelujah. It took him seven years to finish it enough to record it and then it took a long path to discovery and rediscovery along a path that resulted in many versions (he wrote at least 180 verses) and many hits.

The audience I saw this with was crying. Yea it’s about a song, but it’s also about a man’s quest to find his place in the universe. It’s a moving tale of more than any one thing. It’s a film that reveals to us our lives as lived and sung by other people. Everyone saw themselves up there.

I was rocked to my core.

This film spoke to me on a deeply personal and spiritual level and I came out loving the song and it many versions even more. It also made me very sad I could never have sat down and talked to Cohen about life and his journey.

Go see it.

One of 2022’s best



Directed by: Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine Selections: Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and more Featuring: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Glen Hansard, Sharon Robinson, Rufus Wainwright, and many others Synopsis: HALLELUJAH: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is a definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, “Hallelujah.” This feature-length documentary weaves together three creative strands: The songwriter and his times; the song’s dramatic journey from record label rejection to chart-topping hit, and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom “Hallelujah” has become a personal touchstone. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, the film accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust including Cohen’s personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage, and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews.


Review: Intrigue, morality, and fantastic performances make ‘The Forgiven’ a must-watch.

THE FORGIVEN

Based on the Lawrence Osbourne novel, written for the screen, produced, and directed by John Michael McDonagh, The Forgiven centers around privilege and humanity. On their way to an extravagant party in the desert, an argumentive married couple, David and Jo, hit a young man on a dark Morrocan road. Partygoers contemplate the truth as rumors swirl. Things get complicated when the boy’s father arrives. With a cast to die for, The Forgiven is teeming with intrigue and social commentary.

The opening credits are an entity unto themselves. They give the film a thrilling and timeless quality from the very beginning. The cinematography is beautiful, and the costumes are vibrant against the desert backdrop. Watching people so desperately out of touch is a fascinating character study. Arguing with one another is like watching a tennis match. Just shy of a two-hour runtime, there isn’t a single moment to take a breath. These are deliciously complex characters.

Matt Smith plays Richard, a surprisingly down-to-earth, incredibly wealthy host. He’s charming alongside Caleb Landry Jones as his boy toy of the moment. Smith’s chemistry with Jessica Chastain is entertainment for days. His performance is immaculate. I must address the extraordinary turn from Mourad Zaoui. He acts as the mediator of cultures throughout the entire film. He is essential and impressive. Saïd Taghmaoui as Anouar is also quite excellent. He is a safe harbor for Fiennes in many ways.

Ralph Fiennes plays David with a horrendous aura about him. He is loathsome, but his journey surprises. Jessica Chastain seems less vile as Jo, but it’s a facade. Her boredom with her husband bleeds into her disdain for those she deems below her. It’s one hell of a performance. Chastain and Fiennes share an abhorrently dismissive nature that plays like a concerto. Once parted, each reveals their unfiltered self.

The juxtaposition of stories creates relentless tension and a perfect comparison of circumstances. The Forgiven is an exceptional example that ignorance truly is bliss. It is an exquisite character study and a shocking catharsis.


THE FORGIVEN

In Theaters July 1, 2022

DIRECTED & WRITTEN BY:

BASED ON:

STARRING:

 

PRODUCERS:

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:

John Michael McDonagh

Lawrence Osborne’s novel The Forgiven

Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith, Ismael Kanater, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbey Lee with Saïd Taghmaoui and Christopher Abbott

John Michael McDonagh, Elizabeth Eves, Trevor Matthews, Nick Gordon

Norman Merry, Peter Hampden, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross, Jack Heller, Scott Veltri, Kimberly Fox, Donald Povieng, Ollie Madden, Daniel Battsek

CO-PRODUCERS:

EDITORS:

CINEMATOGRAPHER:

Mark Lane, James Harris, Carter Stanton

Elizabeth Eves, Chris Gill

Larry Smith

RUN TIME: 117 minutes
RATING: Not yet rated

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

ACCEPTED

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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


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

91m


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

Nominee Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award


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


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Of Medicine and Miracles’ provides a balanced look at the potential and problems of modern medicine.

OF MEDICINE AND MIRACLES

You cannot help but be moved by Of Medicine and Miracles. This is an in-depth documentary of a thrilling achievement: an attempt to cure cancer by using cutting-edge medical science.  This story is told through the prism of one patient, young Emily Whitehead, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was only 6 years old. When the standard course of treatment fails Emily, her health quickly worsens. Out of options, she is given the chance to enroll in a promising, but risky clinical trial.

The documentary benefits from direct interviews with Emily’s parents. Their emotional re-telling of events is incredibly moving. Their urgency and desperation are palpable. The audience also peers behind the curtain at the vast medical infrastructure supporting Emily’s treatment – the researchers, physicians, nurses, regulators, and the extended care team. The expression “it takes a village” will truly resonate differently for you after viewing this documentary.

You will be inspired, yes, but also frustrated. Of Medicine and Miracles also provides a clear-eyed perspective on the dysfunction plaguing the medical system. While the documentary takes great pains to showcase the innovation at the core of Emily’s treatment, it is equally clear that her life was often in the balance due to incredibly frustrating circumstances. Emily’s local care center does not recommend she seek out a clinical trial – it is only because her family shows the courage to solicit a second opinion from a leading pediatric facility (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) that Emily is even offered a chance at a new treatment. Not everyone has the luxury of such a facility within driving distance. A critical last-minute care decision is shown to be possible only because members of Emily’s care team have read the right medical journal articles. This documentary shows us a miracle, yes, but also demonstrates that this miracle finds the light thanks to a foundation of privilege and luck.

Ross Kauffman’s documentary is an impressively balanced effort. It provides an incredibly intimate look at a family undergoing an incredible challenge, and the way this family is at times equally supported and challenged by our country’s medical structure.  I left it both inspired and enraged.


Available Starting

Tue June 14 – 6:00 PM

At Home

DIRECTOR
Ross Kauffman
PRODUCER
Robin Honan, Nicole Galovski
CINEMATOGRAPHERS
Ross Kauffman, Henry Roosevelt, Naiti Gamez
COMPOSER
Amie Doherty
EDITOR
Hypatia Porter
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Sean Parker, Lessing Stern, Babbie Lester, Pam Williams, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Randall Gebhardt, Christopher Gebhardt, Eric Esrailian, Regina Scully, Jamie Wolf, Rusty Robertson
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS
Gabriela Figueredo, Minoo Allen, Zada Clarke

Bentonville Film Festival 2022 short review: ‘Honey and Clover: A Recipe For Disaster’

HONEY AND CLOVER


SYNOPSIS
Honey and Clover are former child stars from the hit show Rink Inc. where they played crime-fighting sisters whose parents owned a roller-skating rink. Past and future collide threatening to reveal their darkest secrets when the two are thrust back into the spotlight together after years of estrangement. They are forced to accept that the only way they can survive is together. Their timely reconnection teaches them to cope with their new lives while coming to terms with the shocking past that tore them apart in this deeply empathetic and magical portrayal of friendship.


A solid proof of concept short, I found myself wanting more information on both the leads and their manager Max, played spectacularly by actor Ray Abruzzo. I want to know who else this guy represents. Give me an entire BoJack Horseman style section in a series of all his clients. Our leading ladies, Theresa Burkhart Gallagher and Jackie Monahan engaging and complex. The short ramps up about 10 minutes in with a fun action scene mirroring their heyday skills. This was badass. The information we’re missing from their youth and everything in between feels pretty pertinent to the present-day chaos. I was genuinely interested. I’d love to see how Rink Inc. came to fruition, from the girls meeting as teens, cut back and forth their success, and their ultimate fallout. I’m assuming that’s the goal with this short. In its current form, Honey and Clover expertly bate the hook. Get me a pair of skates, I’m ready to roll.

Director:                                 Andrea Maxwell
Writers:                                   Matthew Gallagher, Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Jackie Monahan
Producers:                             Matthew Gallagher, Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Andrea Maxwell,
Jackie Monahan, Diana Zollicoffer
Executive Producers:            Emily De Margheriti, Benjamin Sharpe, Greg Tally
Editor:                                     Andrea Maxwell
Cinematographer:                 Sherri Kauk                          
Music:                                     Allyson Newman
Cast:                                       Theresa Burkhart Gallagher, Jackie Monahan, Ray Abruzzo, Dan Lauria,
David Barrera
TRT:                                        14:36 min
Country:                                 USA


Screening information:
Thursday, June 23 at 3:00PM
Awkward At Any Age (Competition Shorts)
Walmart World Room (105 North Main Street)

Ticketing information:
https://www.goelevent.com/BFF/e/AwkwardAtAnyAgeCompetitionShorts

Short films in our competition lineup telling stories at key moments of personal growth from childhood to adulthood and beyond. This program includes THE WEIGHT OF IT (Directed by Olivia Marie Valdez, Einar Soler Fernandez, Sandra Afonso Rodriguez), LOVE’S BABY SOFT (Directed by Lanie Zipoy), AMERIGIRL (Directed by Samina Saifee), ANNIVERSARY (Directed by Lain Kienzle), SEASICK (Directed by Lindsey Ryan), WEI-LAI (Directed by Robin Wang), HOPEFUL ROMANTIC (Directed by Kate Vinen) and HONEY AND CLOVER: A RECIPE FOR DISASTER (Directed by Andrea Maxwell).