Shudder Original ‘NIGHTWATCH: DEMONS ARE FOREVER’ (2024) A perfect Ole Bornedal sequel 30 years in the making.

Shudder Nightwatch: Demons Are Forever Ole Bornedal

SHUDDER NIGHTWATCH_ DEMONS ARE FOREVER - poster

Thirty years after NIGHTWATCH became a genre staple, writer-director Ole Bornedal delivers a Shudder Original sequel just as menacing and twisted as the original. NIGHTWATCH: DEMONS ARE FOREVER taps into our continued fascination with serial killers, true crime takes, and terror. 

NIGHTWATCH_ DEMONS ARE FOREVER - Still 5The film starts with a bang. Bravo to Casper Kjær Jensen for one hell of a performance. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau returns as Martin. We now know he and Kalinka married and had a daughter named Emma. After Kalinka’s suicide, Martin is distraught. Emma discovers the newspaper clippings about her parents’ traumatic ordeal. Seeking answers, she takes her father’s old job on night watch. 

I highly recommend watching both films back to back. You will immediately notice the perfect visual and dialogue callbacks. Coster-Waldau is not the only cast member to return. Most of the original actors are back. 

NIGHTWATCH_ DEMONS ARE FOREVER - Still 4Kim Bodnia is the same thoughtless jackass settling right back into the role of Jens. The character’s development feels darker and more insensitive than before, but Bodnia’s chemistry with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is still dazzling. 

Speaking of, this second iteration of Martin oozes fear. Coster-Waldau exists almost entirely in his unresolved trauma, soaked in alcohol and pills. When he steps out of his grief, it is contagious. 

NIGHTWATCH_ DEMONS ARE FOREVER - Still 11Ole Bornedal makes the sequel a true family affair. His daughter, Fanny Bornedal, plays Emma. She is a pro. Ole gives her characteristics of Martin and Kalinka. Emma is a bold, bright, and fearless medical forensics student. Fanny commands each frame. She’s a star.

Once again, the soundtrack is meticulously curated. “I Fink U Freeky” by Die Antwoord was my favorite choice. The practical FX are squirmworthy. NIGHTWATCH: DEMONS ARE FOREVER cleverly mirrors the original. Ole Bornedal keeps us guessing with complex storytelling choices. The script is a fresh take, delivering badass female characters to immortalize in the genre library. 

Streaming on Shudder May 17th

Screenwriter and Director: Ole Bornedal

Starring: Fanny Leander Bornedal, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kim Bodnia, Sonja Richter, Ulf Pilgaard, Casper Kjær Jensen, Paprika Steen, Nina Rask, Alex Høgh Andersen, Sonny Lindberg, Niels Anders Thorn, Tina Gylling, Casper Phillipson, Vibeke Hastrup, Christopher Læssø

Producers: Thomas Heinesen, Christel C.D. Karlsen, and Signe Baasch

Executive Producers: Katrine Vogelsang, Henrik Zein, Peter Nadermann, and Doris Schrenner

Language: Danish

Running Time: 113 mins

Synopsis

22-year-old medical student Emma (Fanny Leander Bornedal) has just taken a job as the night watch in the same forensic department where her parents were once almost killed by the famed psychopathic police inspector Wörmer. The events led to her mother’s suicide, and her father Martin (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has turned to tranquilizers to suppress the memories. Determined to investigate what exactly happened to them, Emma tracks down and confronts Wörmer, only to unintentionally reawaken his bloodthirst and ignite a violent revenge on everyone who sealed his destiny years ago.

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 Original Content is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Over the last few years, Shudder has introduced audiences to groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films including Rob Savage’s HOST, Jayro Bustamante’s LA LLORONA, Phil Tippett’s MAD GOD, Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE, Joko Anwar’s SATAN’S SLAVES, Josh Ruben’s SCARE ME, Kyle Edward Ball’s SKINAMARINK, Christian Tafdrup’s SPEAK NO EVIL, Chloe Okuno’s WATCHER, Demián Rugna‘s WHEN EVIL LURKS, and the latest in the V/H/S film anthology franchise, as well as the fan favorite TV series THE BOULET BROTHERS’ DRAGULA, Greg Nicotero’s CREEPSHOW, THE LAST DRIVE-IN WITH JOE BOB BRIGGS.

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‘THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY’ (2024) The good, the bad, and the opportunistic.

well go usa logoTHE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY

The Last Stop In Yuma County poster

When a ragtag group of folks get stranded at a diner waiting for the gas truck to show, a pair of bank robbers complicate things for all involved. Francis Galluppi‘s heart-stopping THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY is one of the year’s most epic rides. 

 Last Stop In Yuma County Still 3Jim Cummings proves once again that his high-strung straight guy routine is gold. His eye for unique projects as an executive producer remains top-notch. His entire look, down to his Archie comic red hair, is perfection for The Knife Salesman. (Yes, that is his actual character’s title).

The Last Stop In Yuma County 1Jocelin Donahue brings authenticity to small-town waitress Charlotte. She is so watchable. Sierra McCormick (We Need To Do Something) is a delight as aspiring bank robber Sybil. She’s another bright spot in this wild ensemble cast. 

I can’t forget horror icon Barbara Crampton as the Sheriff’s secretary Virginia. She elevates every film with her unmatched screen presence. Connor Paolo uses his youthful energy to tap into newbie deputy Gavin’s well-meaning bumbling. He continues to surprise in his indie cred. 

 Last Stop In Yuma County Still 14Faizon Love that star quality. He brings a fully fleshed-out essence to gas station and motel operator Vernon. I request a spinoff feature of Vernon’s life. I bet filmmaker Francis Galluppi could make that happen in a heartbeat. 

Richard Brake is so good at being bad. Every villain he portrays is on another level, and Beau is no exception. Brake is effortlessly terrifying and commanding. Nicolas Logan owns each moment of screen time as Travis, hot-headed know-it-all sidekick to Brake’s Beau. The pair have fantastic chemistry.

Mac Fisken’s cinematography is outstanding. Galluppi’s script is wildly entertaining from the first shot to the last. I watch very few films as a critic without pause or notetaking. THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY easily takes that prize home. It is tremendous, risk-taking storytelling. Bravo. 

THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY
IN THEATERS: May 10, 2024
ON DIGITAL: May 10, 2024

The film is currently 100% on Rotten Tomatoes

DIGITAL PRE-ORDER LINK:

https://tv.apple.com/us/movie/the-last-stop-in-yuma-county/umc.cmc.3azd4vge5rrvoy9bxi3cez22p

Well Go USA will release the western, crime, thriller film THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY in Theaters and On Digital May 10, 2024. The debut feature from writer-director Francis Galluppi had its World Premiere Fantastic Fest before heading to Sitges where it won the best film prize in the Orbita section.

THE LAST STOP IN YUMA COUNTY stars an ensemble cast of Jim Cummings (The Wolf of Snow Hollow), Jocelin Donahue (The House of the Devil), Sierra McCormick (The Vast of Night), Nicholas Logan (I Care a Lot), Michael Abbott Jr. (Killers of the Flower Moon), Connor Paolo (A Creature Was Stirring), Alexandra Essoe (“The Haunting of Bly Manor”), Robin Bartlett (The Fabelmans), Jon Proudstar (Reservation Dogs), Sam Huntington(“Being Human”), Ryan Masson (“Good Girls”), and Barbara Crampton(Suitable Flesh, Re-Animator), with Gene Jones (Killers of the Flower Moon), Faizon Love (Elf) and Richard Brake (Barbarian).

SYNOPSIS: While awaiting the next fuel truck at a middle-of-nowhere Arizona rest stop, a traveling young knife salesman is thrust into a high-stakes hostage situation by the arrival of two similarly stranded bank robbers with no qualms about using cruelty—or cold, hard steel—to protect their bloodstained, ill-begotten fortune.

DISTRIBUTOR: Well Go USA

For more Crime films, click here!


‘BLOOD FOR DUST’ (2024) Intense and timeless crime drama

the_avenue_logoBLOOD FOR DUST

blood for dust posterYears after some shady dealings haunt a group of business associates, Cliff tries to provide for what’s left of his family. As a floundering traveling salesman, his past finally catches up, forcing his hand into a new scheme with an old friend.

BLOOD FOR DUST_Still 4Scoot McNairy gives Cliff a palpable desperation and a fearlessness that captivates. He does not flinch. McNairy effortlessly carries the entire film. Kit Harington is unrecognizable as Ricky. His ultra-toxic masculinity drips off the screen. His physical and vocal work are unreal. His deliciously standoffish chemistry with Scoot McNairy makes the film.

BLOOD FOR DUST_Still 2This crime drama brings fantastic performances and a well-developed script. Cliff’s character has baggage and secrets that fuel his ultimate motivation. The slow-burn thriller pays off in spades with an explosive finale. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. BLOOD FOR DUST challenges your idea of both. An unexpected story of redemption, it is a solid genre entry. Slow clap for the last frame.

In Select Theaters & Digital April 19 

www.bloodfordustmovie.com

Director: Rod Blackhurst

Writer: David Ebeltoft

Cast: Scoot McNairy, Nora Zehetne, Ethan Suplee, Amber Rose Mason, Stephen Dorff, Josh Lucas, Kit Harington

Executive Producers: Arianne Fraser, Delphine Perrier, Henry Winterstern, Martin J. Barab, JJ Caruth, Paul W. Hazen, Matthew Helderman, Luke Taylor, Grady Craig, Tyler Gould, Rod Blackhurst, David Ebeltoft, Justin Oakey, Ford Corbett, Joshua Harris, Anthony Standberry, Angel Campbell, Matthew Alex Goldberg, Kanwaldeep Kalsi, Arthur Farme D’Amoed, David Gendron, Viviana Zarragoitia

Producers: Ryan Winterstern, Bernard Kira, Petr Jákl, Ari Novak, Arun Kumar, Bobby Campbell, Nathan Klingher, Mark Fasano, Noah Lang

Cinematographer: Justin Derry

Production Designer: Rob Ebeltoft

Editor: Justin Oakey

Run Time: 100 minutes

Synopsis

Cliff (Scoot McNairy), a former salesman with a checkered past, is pulled back into a life of crime after losing his job. Desperate to keep his family afloat, lured by his old colleague, Ricky (Kit Harington), into trafficking drugs and guns for a cartel. As Cliff delves deeper, his once straight-laced life turns into a high-stakes game of survival in this gripping thriller hailed as “Breaking Bad meets Fargo” (Variety). Also starring Josh Lucas and Stephen Dorff.

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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

For more crime genre films, click here!

 

‘THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT’ (SXSW 2024) is sci-fi insanity.

SXSW 2024 color logoTHINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT

Things Will Be Different SXSW 2024

Writer-director Michael Felker teams up with indie gods and SXSW sweethearts Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead to bring 2024 audiences the new film THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT.

Suspension of disbelief plays a vital role. The concept of the siblings hiding from police in a time-shifting hideout is a brilliant and bonkers idea, and Joe and Sid accept it without a moment’s hesitation. Surrounded by a Groundhog Day effect, but one that proves deadlier, brother and sister mentally deteriorate, and one small change triggers chaos.

Sid and Joseph throw theories against the wall in a way I can only imagine Felker did when concocting the screenplay. Nothing and everything is a clue, as the fear of a butterfly effect keeps them trapped.

Things Will Be Different SXSW 2024Riley Dandy (CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS) gives Sidney an anxious eagerness driven by the fact that her daughter is in the present. The longer she remains trapped in the house, the more she fears her daughter’s inevitable trauma.

Adam David Thompson (Here Alone, Creep Box) plays Joseph. Thompson does his best to remain even-keeled, but circumstances and ever-evolving complications make that challenging. Dandy and Thompson’s chemistry is a perfect balance of at arm’s length and trust. It is like watching a tennis match between two pros. They eat Felker’s script up.

THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT is a slick sci-fi about regret, redemption, and inevitably. With nods to Big Brother, it earns repeated viewings.


Credits

Director:

Michael Felker

Executive Producer:

David Lawson Jr., Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Producer:

Shane Spiegel, Jacob Rosenthal, Michael Felker

Screenwriter:

Michael Felker

Cinematographer:

Carissa Dorson

Editor:

Michael Felker, Rebeca Marques

Production Designer:

Zachary Thomas

Sound Designer:

Michael Huang

Music:

Jimmy LaValle, Michael A. Muller

Principal Cast:

Adam David Thompson, Riley Dandy, Chloe Skoczen, Justin Benson, Sarah Bolger, Jori Lynn Felker

Additional Credits:

Casting Director: Chrissy Fiorilli-Ellington, Associate Producer: Jourdan Thomson, Associate Producer: James Thomson, Costume Designer: Alissa Wehrli, Key Makeup Artist: Jessica Lynn, Re-Recording Mixer: Michael Huang

SXSW logo

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

‘KNOX GOES AWAY’ (2024) Michael Keaton wows on both sides of the camera

KNOX GOES AWAY

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Michael Keaton plays Knox, an assassin who just received a brutal diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. With only weeks left before he loses his memory entirely and after a botched job is baring down on his unanimity, his estranged son shows up at his doorstep asking for a favor only he can grant.

Knox Goes Away (2024) still 1Knox takes notes in a small notebook, a less invasive version of MOMENTO. Knowing his limited time, he manipulates the evidence of a murder. We are always one step behind him. Screenwriter Gregory Poirier dazzles with this script.

Knox Goes Away (2024) Al PacinoSuzy Nakamura provides levity as Detective Emily Ikari. Joanna Kulig plays Annie, Knox’s Thursday date for the past four years. Marcia Gay Harden gives us a lovely scene as Knox’s ex-wife, Ruby. Al Pacino is a dear friend and associate, Xavier, who plays the point person assisting Knox in his plan to protect his son. He elevates the story with his effortless snark and caring nature.

James Marsden is Miles, Knox’s estranged son. He is spectacular, simmering in rage, grief, and guilt. Marsden deserves more credit in his career for his eclectic choices of roles. Keaton is an icon. He delivers a perfect balance of badassery and vulnerability. His gentleness takes you by surprise. This brilliant choice upends any genre’s expectations.

Knox Goes Away (2024) Michael Keaton still 2With a beautiful noir score, a highly effective sound mix, and slick editing, Keaton proves his legacy on both sides of the camera. The script drops clues but never explicitly lays out Knox’s plans. The audience makes assumptions and theories swirl, making the film emotionally immersive. The entire last act is an intoxicating catharsis. The pensive last shot is breathtaking. KNOX GOES AWAY will sweep you off your feet.

US Release Date: February 16, 2024

Directed by Michael Keaton

Starring Michael Keaton (Spotlight, Beetlejuice), James Marsden (“Westworld,” “Dead To Me”),
Suzy Nakamura (“Avenue 5”, “Snowfall”), John Hoogenakker (“Dopesick,” Teacher), Joanna Kulig (Hanna, Cold War), Ray Mckinnon (“Dopesick,” Chaos Walking) and Lela Loren (“American Gods,” Bruised) with Marcia Gay Harden (“So Help Me Todd,” “The Morning Show”and Al Pacino (House of Gucci, The Irishman)

Academy Award® nominee Michael Keaton directs and stars in this unpredictable thriller as John Knox, a hit man attempting to make amends before his recently discovered dementia takes over. Aided by a trusted friend (Academy Award® winner Al Pacino) with his own shady past, Knox races against the police — and his own rapidly deteriorating mind — to save his estranged son (James Marsden) from a vengeance-fueled mistake and “cash out” before it’s too late. Also starring Oscar® winners Ray McKinnon and Marcia Gay Harden.

For more films in the crime genre, click here!


 

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

SXSW 2024 color logo

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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‘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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Sundance 2024 preview: A film for everyone at the festival’s 40th Edition.

Sundance Film Festival 2024 Color Logo
The Sundance Film Festival has launched the careers of indie film directors, writers, and actors now for 40 years. Back with in-person and online screening opportunities, this year’s iteration boasts new and bold storytelling from every genre. Here are a handful of films we’ll track in 2024.

 

For more information and tickets to Sundance 2024, click here! Be on the lookout for shared coverage with our good friend, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films. To see all of his reviews and what he’s looking forward to this year, head over to his home base.

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
SUJO

S till from the Sundance film SUJO
When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable.

A movie about time and trauma, this beautifully acted and hauntingly written film from the directors of Identifying Features will be sure to captivate audiences. 

This film contains strobe effects.
Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


40th Edition Celebration Screenings And Events

DIG! XX

DIG! XX tracks the tumultuous rise of two talented musicians, Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols, and dissects their star-crossed friendship and bitter rivalry. Through their loves and obsessions, gigs and recordings, arrests and death threats, uppers and downers, and ultimately to their chance at a piece of the profit-driven music business, they stage a self-proclaimed revolution in the music industry.

DIG! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it ultimately won the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. DIG! XX, which will premiere at the upcoming Festival, is not only a digitally enhanced, remixed, and remastered version of DIG!, but also a special 20th anniversary new edit of the film culled from footage shot over seven years, and brought to you by the original sibling team, Ondi and David Timoner.

*Digitally enhanced and featuring new footage


(Premieres)

And So It Begins

Amidst the traditional pomp and circumstance of Filipino elections, a quirky people’s movement rises to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers against the backdrop of increasing autocracy.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Eternal You

Startups are using AI to create avatars that allow relatives to talk with their loved ones after they have died. An exploration of a profound human desire and the consequences of turning the dream of immortality into a product.

“I wanted to see if he was okay,” explains Christi, one of the users of Project December. With this innovative software, users can communicate with a virtual version of the deceased through a chatbot that simulates the dead person’s conversation patterns. Hers was an attempt to check on her first love. Others may simply miss someone, seek permission to move on, or want to rid themselves of guilt.

At this point, I think we’ve all seen the app that turns photos into moving images. The idea feels equally sentimental and disturbing. Eternal You takes this tech further, begging the question, “How far are we willing to go to feel connected to those we’ve lost, and how might that affect our brains?” 

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


World Cinema Documentary Competition

A New Kind of Wilderness

In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society.

Silje Evensmo Jacobsen mixes home movies and a carefully intimate approach to the Payne family, whose isolated existence gets shaken up quite suddenly. This beautiful portrait of connection and resilience in the face of grief will touch your heart.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(NEXT)

REALM OF SATAN

An experiential portrait depicting Satanists in both the every day and in the extraordinary as they fight to preserve their lifestyle: magic, mystery, and misanthropy.

Filmmaker Scott Cummings is no stranger to Sundance, having edited many highly acclaimed festival premieres over the past decade, including Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Monsters and Men, and Wendy.

When I tell you that you aren’t ready for this doc, I mean it in the best way possible. Created to ruffle feathers and dispel right-wing hypocrisy, Scott Cummings titillates with gorgeous framing and a touch of tongue-in-cheek magical realism. 

This film contains graphic sexual content. Audiences must be 18 or older.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(Premieres)

My Old Ass

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in Sundance film MY OLD ASS

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in the Sundance film MY OLD ASS

The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home.

The concept alone should get your butt into a seat, but filmmaker Megan Park casting Aubrey Plaza is chef’s kiss in indie cinema.


(Midnight)

I Saw the TV Glow

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine  in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021 Sundance Film Festival) gave us one of the coolest genre-bending films with a breakout performance from star Anna Cobb. I cannot wait to see how this one twists my sanity and senses. 

This film contains violence and gore.

This film contains strobe effects.


Sundace Film Festival 2024 Black and White logoTo find out more information on all things Sundance 2024, head to https://festival.sundance.org/

 

Review: Murder mystery romp ‘HELEN’S DEAD’ opens to Theaters and On Demand today!

HELEN’S DEAD

Helen’s Dead follows the story of Addie (Dylan Gelula). After a terrible breakup with her boyfriend, Addie goes to confront her best friend about cheating allegations and accidentally steps into a murder scene.


HELEN’S DEAD is an ensemble comedy filled with familiar faces. Several uninvited guests throw Leila’s curated entertainment plans out the window. HELEN’S DEAD turns a whirlwind of lies and a spoiled dinner party into a chaotic murder mystery. 

Tyrese Gibson plays Helen’s vengeful boyfriend on the hunt for his lady and some loot. Gibson is equal parts scary and charming. Beth Dover, whom I feel is simultaneously everywhere and not enough places, plays Girl Boss journalist and Leila’s supposed ticket back into the mainstream. Dover is as great as ever. Annabelle Dexter-Jones is our ambitious Leila, looking for the perfect dinner party to weave a small-town comeback tale for the masses. Her nightmarish perfection-driven micromanaging is everything you’d hope for. Brian Huskey plays Leila’s partner, but more importantly, her therapist. His turtleneck-wearing, effected speech character work is fantastic. 

Emile Hirsh is a manic misogynist and one catalyst in the chaos. Matilda Lutz plays the titular Helen. She is a star. Her presence is magnetic, and you cannot take your eyes off of her. Dylan Gelula, whom I adored in Cooper Raiff‘s Shithouse, gives us high millennial manicness for the gods. Gelula embodies Addie to a tea. Oliver Cooper steals the show with his portrayal of Cameron, a local theatre actor smitten with Helen and roped into an elaborate charade by Leila. Cooper is a joy to watch. If you aren’t smirking at his every syllable, check your pulse. 

While the film goes slightly off the rails an hour in, what remains of HELEN’S DEAD is a revenge plot gone awry and a twisted tale of reconciliation. 



In Theaters & On Demand November 3, 2023

Directed by K. Asher Levin
Written by Amy Brown Carver
Story by K. Asher Levin and Amy Brown Carver

Produced by Levin, Daniel Cummings, Robert Dean, Roy Scott MacFarland & Todd Lundbohm



Fantastic Fest 2023 capsule review: ‘The Other Laurens’ brims with mystery and mayhem

THE OTHER LAURENS

Beginning in Shakespearean fashion, the chaos and bait-and-switch screenplay of Claude Schmitz‘s THE OTHER LAURENS earns your attention. Private investigator, Gabriel gets contacted by his niece to look into the recent death of her father and Gabriel’s estranged twin brother, François.

THE OTHER LAURENS is a whirlwind of mafialike underworld, bikers as protective soldiers, drug trafficking, double dealings, and bombastic characters. The script’s dramatic complexity gets a momentary reprieve from the two local detectives and their witty banter.

Loise Leroy wows in her feature debut as Jade. The emotional turmoil she endures puts Leroy through the wringer, and she handles it like a pro. She is a star. Olivier Rabourdin plays dual roles as Gabriel and François. His ability to shape-shift will captivate you. THE OTHER LAURENS is an epic film, brimming with twists and turns, and is a real stand-out from Fantastic Fest 2023.


Director: Claude Schmitz
Writer: Claude Schmitz and Kostia Testut
Starring: Olivier Rabourdin, Louise Leroy, Kate Moran 
Producers: Jérémy Forni, Benoit Roland
Co-Producers: Valérie Berelmont, David Claikens, Tanguy Dekeyser, Phillipe Logie, Alex Verbaere  

Year: 2023
Runtime: 117 minutes
Language: French, English, Spanish
Country: Belgium, France
Premiere: North American


 

Review: ‘A Haunting in Venice’ is a spooky shot in the arm for Branagh’s Poirot

A Haunting in Venice

It is rare for a film series to improve its footing 3 movies in. But that is precisely what Kenneth Branagh has accomplished with this year’s A Haunting in Venice, his 3rd directing / starring outing as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot (after 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and 2022’s Death on the Nile.) This is a focused and taut film that benefits immensely from both its gorgeous location and more supernatural tone compared to past films. While Agatha Christie obsessives may leave wishing for a more of a standard murder-plot adventure, many will find this a thrilling kick-off for the 2023 Halloween season.

The film directly follows 2022’s Death on the Nile and finds Detective Poirot enjoying retirement within the canals of Venice. His services are still in great demand (as evidenced by the constant line of hopeful clients) but he has lost his faith. When he is approached by his old friend and novelist Ariadne Oliver (Tina Fey, in a thinly veiled nod to author Agatha Christie), we know it can’t be long before the body count begins to climb.

As with the previous 2 films, the cast is stacked top to bottom. Despite the big-name actors, the characters outside Poirot are all thinly drawn. Kelly Reilly smolders as the grieving mother. Tina Fey gets a good laugh line or two as the Agatha Christie stand-in. Michelle Yeoh is the standout as the potential medium Joyce Reynolds, the only character that is really allowed to go toe to toe with Poirot (and even then, only briefly)

While the characters are thin, the atmosphere and cinematography of the film are incredibly lush – they are the real stars of the show. I would have bet you good money this film had a different cinematographer from the last two – the difference in style is night and day. But it is still Haris Zambarloukos at the helm, so all I can say is keep it up! Venice does a lot of the heavy lifting, of course, but there’s more to it than that. The first two films leveraged green-screen extensively, whereas Haunting is grounded and has a sense of place. The tone of the film is much more focused, and almost every scene contains rich imagery. I loved the way the suspense of the potential supernatural was implied in every scene – walls and windows of the palazzo creak and seem alive in a manner reminiscent of old Hollywood. No need for CGI thrills here. How great was the imagery? I could watch this movie with absolutely no dialogue and still enjoy myself immensely.

For many, the joy of a mystery film is in figuring out the solution before the detective. The case at the core of Haunting may not be complicated enough to satisfy all the sleuths in the theater, but the film is good enough they’ll certainly get another chance to see Poirot in action very soon. Here’s hoping the arthouse vibe of the series is here to stay!


The unsettling supernatural thriller based upon the novel “Hallowe’en Party” by Agatha Christie and directed by and starring Oscar® winner Kenneth Branagh as famed detective Hercule Poirot, will open in theaters nationwide on September 15, 2023.

“A Haunting in Venice” is set in eerie, post-World War II Venice on All Hallows’ Eve, “A Haunting in Venice” is a terrifying mystery featuring the return of the celebrated sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Now retired and living in self-imposed exile in the world’s most glamorous city, Poirot reluctantly attends a séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets.

Reuniting the team of filmmakers behind 2017’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and 2022’s “Death on the Nile,” the film is directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Oscar® nominee Michael Green (“Logan”) based upon Agatha Christie’s novel Hallowe’en Party. The producers are Kenneth Branagh, Judy Hofflund, Ridley Scott, and Simon Kinberg, with Louise Killin, James Prichard, and Mark Gordon serving as executive producers. A brilliant acting ensemble portrays a cast of unforgettable characters, including Kenneth Branagh, Kyle Allen (“Rosaline”), Camille Cottin (“Call My Agent”), Jamie Dornan (“Belfast”), Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), Jude Hill (“Belfast”), Ali Khan (“6 Underground”), Emma Laird (“Mayor of Kingstown”), Kelly Reilly (“Yellowstone”), Riccardo Scamarcio (“Caravaggio’s Shadow”), and recent Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).


 

Fantastic Fest 2023 review: Jamie Childs’ action-packed feature debut ‘JACKDAW’ makes you beg for a franchise

JACKDAW

A former motocross champion and army veteran is now caring for his younger brother. Broke, he agrees to do an open water pick up of a mysterious illegal package in the North Sea. A resulting double cross and his brother’s disappearance set him and his old bike on a violent nocturnal odyssey through England’s northern rust belt.


Nonstop action and chases from sea to land, dirt bike to horseback, JACKDAW begins with an intensity that only lets up for moments of character-building and levity. The cinematography is eye-catching. The neon and strobe-soaked lighting choices heighten the already heart-pounding action. Watching it feels akin to an immersive video game or graphic novel.

Leon Harrop is sensational during his little screen time as Jack’s brother, Simon. He is a real pro. As a Whovian, I was delighted to see Jenna Coleman as an absolute badass and Jack’s ex. With a more overtly sexy vibe than Coleman’s Clara days, I loved her almost downplayed performance, as it humanized what could have been a caricature. Joe Blakemore gives Silas a manic energy, just over the top enough to blow you away with his choices.

Thomas Turgoose is the perfect foil for Jackson-Cohen. Playing Craig, he earns lovable sidekick status with a classic jokester attitude. You immediately fall in love with him. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is an unstoppable force. He owns every frame with quiet intensity and effortlessly cool. He continues his leading man status as Jack. You cannot take your eyes off him.

The twists keep coming. Writer-director Jaime Childs implies a lot. The backstory must be juicy if this is how these characters interact with each other. JACKDAW is entertaining as hell, giving us enough meat on the bone to make audiences beg for a prequel and a sequel. More, more, more!



Director: Jamie Childs
Producers: Jamie Childs, Kate Glover, Callum Grant, Sébastien Raybaud
Starring: Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Rory McCann, Jenna Coleman, Vivienne Acheampong



JACKDAW
Fantastic Fest Screening Details

Friday, September 22nd from 5:20 PM to 6:57 PM at Alamo Drafthouse
(Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 S Lamar Blvd)

Wednesday, September 27th from 5:00 PM to 6:37 PM at Alamo Drafthouse
(Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 S Lamar Blvd)


 

TIFF 2023 capsule review: Aptly named neo-noir ‘LIMBO’ puts racism in the forefront.

LIMBO

Aided by car trouble, a detective looks into the 20-year-old disappearance of a local girl named Charlotte. Travis Hurley is a messy addict, but with nowhere to go, he delves deeper into the case, interviewing old witnesses and suspects. What he discovers will frustrate and ultimately shock no one.

Simon Baker gives Travis a gritty aura. He is simply fantastic. The stark black-and-white cinematography throws the brain into chaos. Knowing what the Australian landscape normally looks like, it is a striking choice. Serving as Writer, Director, Producer, DOP, Editor, Colorist, and Composer, filmmaker Ivan Sen depicts the ever-present racism faced by the indigenous population. LIMBO is a neo-noir crime drama that leaves you with a pit in your stomach.

Check out the trailer below:

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘HOME INVASION’ is one of the year’s most upsetting films.

HOME INVASION

Home Invasion stillUtterly fascinating, this documentary horror hybrid effectively puts the fear of God into the audience. The film begins by sharing the history of each incarnation of what we now refer to as the “Ring” security camera, each inspired by a recurring nightmare. Historical recounting gets the creepy treatment with a random subject’s security footage playing in its fisheye lens version behind the storytelling text. There is no formal dialogue. This voyeuristic nightmare is unlike anything we’ve seen before, featuring videos of everything from natural disasters to doorstep theft and animal encounters to delivery people behaving badly and creatively.

The score is bone-chilling, with its piano cords striking. It’s something straight out of hell. But, the film is even scarier than it initially appears when we learn the global and societal impact of advancing technology. Cinematic tropes alone reflect the world’s potential terror. Fantasia 2023 audiences get a taste of a film that would be a perfect Fall statement at MoMA. HOME INVASION is exceedingly disturbing. If anything, it reminds you how quickly the scales of good and evil tip. It will haunt you.


Official selection – Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2023
Berlin International Film Festival 2023
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2023

DIRECTOR

Graeme Arnfield

PRODUCER

Graeme Arnfield

WRITER

Graeme Arnfield

SOUND DESIGNER

Sarah Naylor, Baudoin Oosterlynck

EDITOR

Graeme Arnfield

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘RESTORE POINT’ is life and death against progress and profit.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logoRESTORE POINT

It’s the year 2041, and humanity has reached the point where it can cheat death. Anyone who dies an unnatural death has the right to be brought back to life. All you have to do is to create a backup of your personality – a restore point – at least every forty-eight hours. But there exists a movement of people who try to sabotage this concept. “Agent Em” finds herself drawn into a case that is not as simple as it first seemed and the consequences of which reach to the highest levels of politics.


A wildly original premise and magnificent worldbuilding send Fantasia audiences headfirst into Robert Hloz‘s sci-fi crime thriller RESTORE POINT. It is 2041, and citizens have gained the right to resurrection if they die an unnatural death, as long as they have backed up their personalities and memories within 48 hrs. This information remains in the cloud. Following the murder of one of the lead scientists and his wife, a detective with a vendetta comes on board to discover corruption on every level.

I kept thinking about the franchise potential of this story. RESTORE POINT’s visual epicness from production designer Ondrej Lipensky is stunning. More reminiscent of Total Recall and Minority Report and less punk rock neon than Blade Runner. Aside from the overarching and mind-blowing plot device, it feels like a logically progressing technological surrounding. Costuming is beautifully subtle, punctuated by small angular details, predominantly around the collars and tailoring.

Matej Hádek plays David with an intentional glitchiness. The physical and emotional choices draw you into the mystery. Andrea Mohylová brings humanity that grounds her performance. You can see the gears turning, the struggle between the personal and principles of the case. Mohylová is badass, effortlessly carrying the action. She is extraordinarily watchable. As a duo, they are inarguably compelling.

The film is a commentary on automation and morality, progress, and profitability. It makes you think. It is a carefully crafted tale filled fueled by both greed and the greater good of humanity. RESTORE POINT will wow Fantasia 2023 audiences, forcing them to answer more than one “what if” long after the credit roll.



Blood In The Snow (2021) compelling thriller, ‘PEPPERGRASS’ comes to digital tomorrow. (6/16/23)

PEPPERGRASS

During a pandemic, a pregnant restaurateur tries to rob a priceless truffle from a reclusive veteran.


Peppergrass is a slow-burn thriller that ultimately turns into a survival film. It builds a similar tension that Alone did. Not the horror I was expecting from the 2021 edition of Blood in The Snow, but it is, nonetheless, intriguing as hell. You must have patience during the first third is heavy character-building. While our two protagonists botch their unusual robbery, the camera continues its handheld intimacy. Forced into the dark woods, Eula attempts to make it to the car in one piece. This goal proves a more complicated task, as the landscape is unkind to a pregnant person.

Chantelle Han gives it her all as Eula. As the plot roles out, in a predominantly real-time fashion, the audience watches her physically and emotionally tap out at points. But it is when she barrels through the cold, darkness, and imminent threat that makes her a total badass. Han is the driving force of Peppergrass.

The score, at times, is this curious mix of ominous whimsy and borderline grating organ tones. It begs your attention. Peppergrass is nothing like I expected. It places you inside the action because there is literally nowhere else to go. The danger and isolation are palpable. It’s a solid film.


Coming to digital June 16 (US/Canada)

Tribeca Festival 2023 Curtain raiser: Films we are putting on our must-see lists before the festival begins

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2023 brings thrills, mystery, comedy, fantasy, you name it, there is something for everyone. This year’s lineup features Joe Lynch‘s latest, Suitable Flesh, Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s I.S.S., and David Duchovny‘s Bucky F*cking Dent. Let’s get into a few of the films we are dying to get our eyeballs on this year.

 

THE LISTENER – North American Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 
Directed by: Steve Buscemi
Written by: Alessandro Camon
Produced by: Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Lauren Hantz, and Tessa Thompson
Executive Producers: John Hantz, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, and Suzanne Warren
Co-Producers: Billy Mulligan, Kat Barnette, and Joyce Pierpoline
Associate Producer: Brian Miele
Starring: Tessa Thompson


An understated drama about a night in the life of a mental health helpline volunteer, The Listener is a stirring testament to the power of empathy.

Tessa Thompson continues her Tribeca greatness in a role that could easily translate from film to stage. This is a character study.


MAGGIE MOORE(S) – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 

In Theaters & On Demand June 16th

Directed by John Slattery
Written by Paul Bernbaum
Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Garcia Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, and Ross Kohn
Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, and Mary Holland

When two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.

The cast alone should get you through the door. This bizarre tale, based on real-life events, is a wacky we-know whodunit, but it doesn’t lessen the impact.



THE MIRACLE CLUB – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category (Sony Pictures Classics)



Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Vera, Call the Midwife)

Written by Jimmy Smallhorne, Timothy Prager, and Joshua D. Maurer

Produced by Joshua D. Mauer, Alixandre Witlin, Chris Curling, Larry Bass, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson and Oisín O’Neill


Three close friends who have never left the outskirts of Dublin (much less Ireland) get the journey of a lifetime — a visit to Lourdes, the picturesque French town and place of miracles.

An absolute charmer about healing old wounds and forgiveness set in the gorgeous French countryside. Laura Linney and Dame Maggie Smith? That’s an instant yes.

Check out the trailer below:


SOMEWHERE QUIET– US Narrative Competition

Director/Writer: Olivia West Lloyd

Producers: Emma Hannaway, Taylor Ava Shung, and Eamon Downey

Cast: Jennifer Kim, Kentucker Audley, Marin Ireland, Michéal Neeson

Running Time: 98 minutes

In the ominous and tense Somewhere Quiet, a woman readjusts to normalcy after surviving a traumatic kidnapping — but her grounded sense of reality soon starts to deteriorate when she travels with her husband to his wealthy family’s isolated compound.

This solid thriller will catch you off guard, making you second-guess your sanity along the way.


OUR SON– Spotlight Narrative

Director/Co-Writer: Bill Oliver

Co-Writer: Peter Nickowitz 

Producers: Fernando Loureiro and Eric Binns

Key Cast: Luke Evans, Billy Porter

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Nicky (Luke Evans), a book publisher devoted to his work, lives with his husband Gabriel (Billy Porter), a former actor and stay-at-home dad, and their eight year-old son, Owen. Gabriel loves Owen more than anything; Nicky loves Gabriel more than anything. Despite appearances, Gabriel has been dissatisfied with their marriage for some time and files for divorce, leading to a custody battle that forces both of them to confront the changing reality of their love for each other and for their son.

This beautifully complex story of the growing pains of changing love.


I.S.S. – Spotlight Narrative

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Writer: Nick Shafir

Producers: Pete Shilaimon and Mickey Liddell

Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Maria Mashkova, Costa Ronin

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a worldwide conflict occurs on Earth. Reeling from this, the astronauts receive orders from the ground: take control of the station by any means necessary.

A stunning look at loyalty. This intense sci-fi thriller captivates you with Ariana DeBose holding you in the palm of her hand.


SUITABLE FLESH –  Midnight (World Premiere)

Director: Joe Lynch
 
Screenwriter: Dennis Paoli
 
Producers: Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Inderpal Singh, Joe Wicker
 
Cast: Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Barbara Crampton, Johnathon Schaech
 
Running Time: 100 Minutes
 

After murdering her young patient, a once-esteemed psychiatrist helplessly watches her life spiral into a nightmarish maelstrom of supernatural hysteria and gruesome deaths, all linked to a seemingly unstoppable ancient curse.

Let Joe Lynch direct all the Lovecraftian weirdness. Honestly, as a genre fan, you had me at Barbara Crampton.


BAD THINGS – US Narrative Competition 

DIRECTOR: Stewart Thorndike
 
PRODUCER: Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz
 
SCREENWRITER: Stewart Thorndike
 
 
CAST: Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald
 
A weekend getaway for a few friends at a snowy resort becomes a psychological tailspin and bloody nightmare. Long-deceased guests and the space itself come to life in this haunting thriller.
 

There is always something to be said for a film that gets snapped up by Shudder before its premiere. The platform’s ability to spot great genre storytelling goes head-to-head with the major studios. Gayle Rankin‘s ability to live in whatever role she takes on is astounding. I have no doubt that she’ll kill it. *wink, wink*

**COMING TO SHUDDER (US, UK, IRELAND, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND) 
AND AMC+ (US, CA, ANZ) ON AUGUST 18TH, 2023**


BUCKY F*CKING DENT – Spotlight Narrative

DIRECTOR: David Duchovny
 
PRODUCER: Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Tiffany Kuzon, David Duchovny
 
SCREENWRITER: David Duchovny
 
CAST: David Duchovny, Logan Marshall-Green, Stephanie Beatriz, Jason Beghe, Evan Handler, Pamela Adlon, Daphne Rubin-Vega
 
Follows Ted who moves in with his father Marty when he develops a fatal illness. To keep him happy and alive, Ted enlists Marty’s grief counselor Mariana and friends to fake a Red Sox winning streak.
 
As a born and bred Red Sox fan, Bucky Dent felt like the modern-day equivalent of “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” long before that reference was a pop-culture reference. I grew up sitting against The Green Monster. You can clock my age in successive photographs. Based on his novel, David Duchovny brings this father-son story to the big screens at Tribeca. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m pretty sure that for true fans, this one is destined to be a home run. 
   OF NIGHT AND LIGHT: THE STORY OF IBOGA AND IBOGAINE – Spotlight Documentary

DIRECTOR:Lucy Walker
PRODUCER:Julian Cautherley, Lyn Davis Lear, Laurie Benenson, Lucy Walker
CINEMATOGRAPHER:Sebastian Denis, Lorenzo Hagerman, Aaron Phillips
EDITOR:Parker Laramie

Of Night and Light: The Story of Iboga and Ibogaine tells the astounding unknown story of what might be the scientific discovery of our generation. Back in 1962, a teenage psychonaut in New York City named Howard Lotsof experimented with an obscure psychedelic from the root bark of a West African shrub and recognized its unique therapeutic potential. Together with his African-American wife Norma, a pair of outsider NYU film students, they dedicated their lives to convincing the scientific community and government agencies to research it, certain that it would be of great medicinal benefit, despite it sounding too good to be true – like the textbook definition of snake oil – and being written off as con artists.

Sixty years later, their dream is now materializing as clinics spawned from their original test sites have treated more than 100,000 people with opiate use disorder and now over 1,000 US Special Forces veterans, who have experienced dramatic relief from a spectrum of problems including traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, ptsd, addictions, and physical disabilities through the use of ibogaine. Now jaw-dropping new research, about to be published, is revealing that ibogaine is the most powerful therapeutic ever observed for the human central nervous system.

Psychedelics have a complicated past, but their present-day use is more prevalent than most people know. I can’t wait to dig into the history of this life-changing medicine because that’s what it is. I have family members in the medical industry who use them, and audiences will have family members with PTSD, so this one has the potential to be more personal than anyone expected.


THE FUTURE– International Narrative Competition (World Premiere)

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Noam Kaplan
STARRING Dar Zuzovsky, Samar Qupty, Reymonde Amsellem
PRODUCED BY Yoav Roeh, Arit Zamir
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY Shark de Mayo
EDITED BY Effi Cohen Vertes
MUSIC BY David Klemes

At 42, Dr. Bloch (Reymonde Amsellem), a profiler, wants a child. A future. Her only way is to find a surrogate mother. At the same time, her groundbreaking algorithm designed to identify individuals planning to carry out terror attacks fails and a young Palestinian woman (Samar Qupty) assassinates the Israeli minister of Space and Tourism. In order to ‘fix the bugs’ in her algorithm, Nurit faces the assassin in person. The sessions between these two brilliant women raise questions about their past, while the sessions between Bloch and the potential surrogate (Dar Zuzovsky) challenge Bloch’s decision about her future.

This near-future femme-centric drama from Noam Kaplan gives brilliant women the chance to challenge one another at every turn.  A futuristic collision within the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, THE FUTURE has more nuance than you are prepared for.


TO MY FATHER – Shorts (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sean Schiavolin
PRODUCER: John Papola, Troy Kotsur, Justin Bergeron
SCREENWRITER: Sean Schiavolin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brody Carmichael 
EDITOR: Josh Meyers, Sean Schiavolin
COMPOSER: Hanan Townshend
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Jessi Bennett
CAST: Troy Kotsur

 

To My Father depicts Deaf actor Troy Kotsur’s journey to winning an Oscar and his father’s inspiring influence on him, despite a tragic accident.

Grab the tissues and be prepared for the beauty presented by Sean Schiavolin. If you haven’t been living under a rock then you are familiar with the extraordinary Troy Kotsur. This twenty-minute short pierces your heart, once again, as we learn more about the deaf actor’s inspiration. Do Not Miss It.


CHASING CHASING AMY – Viewpoints (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sav Rodgers
PRODUCER: Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew C. Mills, Sav Rodgers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Winters, Bradley Garrison
CAST: Kevin Smith, Guinevere Turner, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, Sav Rodgers, Andrew Ahn, Kevin Willmott, Trish Bendix, Princess Weekes, Regina “Riley” Rodgers

 

12-year-old Sav Rodgers watched the film Chasing Amy, and his life was forever changed. Developing a kinship — and maybe a slight obsession — with it as he grew into his queerness, he decides to fund and direct a documentary that examines its role in LGBTQ+ film culture. He makes significant progress, even garnering the support and collaboration of its director, Kevin Smith. However, as the production of the documentary continues, Rodgers realizes that the legacy of the film and his relationship with it might be changing. So where does that leave him?

Chasing Amy was a sexual awakening for more of us than we might like to admit. It felt like a narrative shock to the system in the most welcome way for audiences obsessed with Clerks and Mallrats. We were open-minded Kevin Smith nerds and we were ready to listen. This timely look at LGBTQAI+ issues is sure to spark conversation.


For all things Tribeca Festival, click here!

Keep your eyes peeled for shared coverage from us, Unseen Films, and AWFJ.org!


 

The Finale of ID’s 3-night special ‘THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE’ is as shocking as ever. Do not miss this unbelievable story.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE offers extraordinary access and exclusive insight into a mystery ripped straight from the headlines: Who is Natalia Barnett? Initially assumed to be a 6-year-old Ukrainian orphan with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, a rare bone growth disorder that can result in skeletal abnormalities as well as issues with hearing and vision, Natalia was adopted by Kristine and Michael Barnett in 2010. However, the happy family dynamic soured when allegations against Natalia were brought by the Barnetts who alleged Natalia was an adult masquerading as a child with intent to harm their family. In 2013, Natalia was discovered living on her own which ignited an investigation that led to Michael and Kristine’s arrest and a firestorm of questions.


To read Night One coverage, click here!

To read about Night Two, click here!

Michael Barnett and Kristine Barnett mugshots

In Episode 5, Barnett v. Barnett, the gloves are off between husband and wife as a case of neglect builds against Kristine with the assistance of Michael. He weaves a tale of abuse at the hands of Kristine. Intercut are pretrial interviews with Natalia. She contracts herself within minutes. Jacob shares ways his mother manipulated him to get back at Natalia. You understand the sickness of requesting a child on the spectrum to perform such heinous acts. The biggest victim in this wild case is undeniably Jacob Barnett.

Episode 6, the final chapter in this ID docuseries, picks up where Episode 5 left off; Michael’s trial. The legal language and coaching are both revealing and incredibly uncomfortable. Grab your popcorn because the volatility of this case hits new heights.

In its entirety, THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE is an emotional rollercoaster. This story is far from over.

 

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE will premiere across three consecutive nights on ID beginning Monday, May 29, airing nightly from 9-11pm ET/PT.

Night Two of ‘THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE’ shakes up the narrative in the 3-night special airing on ID

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE offers extraordinary access and exclusive insight into a mystery ripped straight from the headlines: Who is Natalia Barnett? Initially assumed to be a 6-year-old Ukrainian orphan with spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, a rare bone growth disorder that can result in skeletal abnormalities as well as issues with hearing and vision, Natalia was adopted by Kristine and Michael Barnett in 2010. However, the happy family dynamic soured when allegations against Natalia were brought by the Barnetts who alleged Natalia was an adult masquerading as a child with intent to harm their family. In 2013, Natalia was discovered living on her own which ignited an investigation that led to Michael and Kristine’s arrest and a firestorm of questions.


To read Night One coverage, click here!

NIGHT TWO:

In Episode 3, theories clash, and the proverbial shit hits the fan. Kristine gets Natalia an apartment after legally re-aging her, and a tale of two villains emerges. Natalia’s new neighbors share their experiences with her and the Barnetts. It is an alarming collection of interactions.

Episode 4 highlights Michael Barnett‘s evolution on camera spans years. His earliest interviews from 2019 display a well-spoken man recalling a shocking family nightmare. In the latest interviews from 2022, we see a completely different man whose story changes. He is a man slowly unraveling. It is challenging to decipher if the tears are crocodile or not. Jacob hints at a broader understanding of fault. It puts some of Kristine’s footage of Natalia into question and puts Jacob in a precarious situation, emotionally and legally.

Stay tuned for Night Three’s coverage tomorrow!

 

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE will premiere across three consecutive nights on ID beginning Monday, May 29, airing nightly from 9-11pm ET/PT.