‘Sally, Get The Potatoes’ (2024) Danicah Waldo short dazzles at The Big Apple Film Festival

SALLY, GET THE POTATOES

Sally, Get The Potatoes

Filmmaker Danicah Waldo brings drama and sweetness to The Big Apple Film Festival with her short film SALLY, GET THE POTATOES. Our titular little lady is the youngest of a well-off household. The precocious redhead, just looking for someone to play with her, gets tasked with procuring the potatoes for her overwhelmed chef mother. 

Sally, Get The Potatoes tubSomething is happening within the family. Every member has a secret, leaving Sally with no one but her beloved housekeeper to care for her needs. Once Magdelaina, the heart of the household, gets dragged into the chaos, Sally intrusively discovers the extent of the mess.

Sally, Get The PotatoesKynlee Heiman is a star as Sally. The camera loves her sweet face and her wily personality. She is relentlessly charming. As the mother of a seven-year-old daughter, Heiman captures the spirit of play, the longing for connection, and the IDGAF determination of a girl. 

Sally, Get The Potatoes pantryThe camera work from Mike Lobello and Paul W. Sauline is brilliant. The audience experiences the goings-on from a child’s eye level. Beautifully lit close-ups of Sally convey the emotional rollercoaster. SALLY, GET THE POTATOES delves into familial dynamics through the eyes of a child and proves socioeconomic standing never lessens relationship complexity. The film is an incredible treatment for a feature. I want to see more of each character, but particularly Sally.

Sally, Get the Potatoes premieres at The Big Apple Film Festival, Wednesday 5/22
 

 

DANICAH WALDO – BIO

Danicah Waldo - Headshot

Danicah Waldo is a director, writer and producer based out of New York City. After spending her childhood performing on the stage and screen, she ultimately fell in love with the work behind the camera. Danicah got her 10,000 hours directing and producing narrative short films starring kids for the Applause New York YouTube channel, which now sits at 1.5 million subscribers and 1 billion views.

In 2021 she joined LIT Videobooks, where they make documentary versions of best-selling nonfiction books. She now holds the title of Director of Production, which includes overseeing all production operations while directing the live-action elements of the videobooks.

She started Yellow Chair Films to produce her debut short film, Sally, Get the Potatoes, set to premiere in early 2024.

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‘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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‘HUMANE’ (2024) is unhinged, vicious fun.

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HUMANE

Official Poster - HUMANEDIRECTED BY CAITLIN CRONENBERG
WRITTEN & PRODUCED BY MICHAEL SPARAGA
STARRING JAY BARUCHEL, EMILY HAMPSHIRE, PETER GALLAGHER

HUMANE - Still 11In Caitlin Cronenberg‘s HUMANE, the only way for Earth’s population to survive under environmental collapse is to have people “enlist” or volunteer for scheduled and compensated euthanasia. When the program hits too close to home for one family, secrets come to light, and motives change everything. 

Peter Gallagher is the York family patriarch, Charles. While he is a supportive and gentle soul, owning his absenteeism in parenting, his flaws are the catalyst for the entire plot. 

HUMANE - Still 9Alanna Bale is an aspiring actress and the youngest family member, Ashley. Her selfishness and loose lips cause nothing but chaos. Sebastian Chacon plays Noah York, adopted son, recovering alcoholic, and piano prodigy. Chacon is sensational, bringing a humanity that stands out among the ensemble cast.

Enrico Colantoni gives a haunting performance as Bob, the government’s executioner. His morbid comedy gifts the audience with much-needed breaks in tension. 

HUMANE - Still 3Emily Hampshire, whose film cred has exploded since the Schitt’s Creek finale, is the eldest York daughter, Rachel. She is abrasive, unfiltered, and fearless. Hampshire owns every moment of screen time. 

Jay Baruchel plays Jared, a government spokesperson for this extreme population mitigation and the eldest York son. He is a flashy know-it-all whose racist tendencies allow him to excuse the program and target certain family members. 

HUMANE - Still 1The set is stunning, a stone mansion with deep jewel-toned walls and carved mahogany. The use of solar-lined umbrellas in the brief periods exposed to the sun and the implementation of solar film on the windows make a massive impact. The characters each comment on the ingredients their stepmother has procured, suggesting the food chain has affected every socioeconomic corner. It is all very carefully curated, and undeniably brilliant. 

Michael Sparaga‘s script tackles racism, elitism, conspiracy theories, real-world parallels, and self-preservation. The characters are loathsome. Will you feel wrong rooting for villains? Absolutely, Yes, and absolutely, No. One final scene is the cherry on top of this unhinged sundae. HUMANE is deliciously complex and viscous fun. 

IFC Films and Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, are proud to present HUMANE, a chilling dystopian satire from Caitlin Cronenberg, making her highly anticipated feature directorial debut. The film will open exclusively in theaters, including the Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan and Alamo Drafthouse Downtown LA, on Friday, April 26th and will stream on Shudder starting July 26th.

 

SYNOPSIS – HUMANE takes place over a single day, mere months after a global ecological collapse has forced world leaders to take extreme measures to reduce the earth’s population. In a wealthy enclave, a recently retired newsman has invited his grown children to dinner to announce his intentions to enlist in the nation’s new euthanasia program. But when the father’s plan goes horribly awry, tensions flare and chaos erupts among his children.


ABOUT THE FILMMAKER
Caitlin Cronenberg

Director Caitlin Cronenberg grew up on the sets of Canada’s most iconic filmmaker to become a supremely gifted visual storyteller in her own right. As an in-demand celebrity portraitist, Caitlin’s work has been featured in top global publications including Vogue Italia, Marie Claire, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, The New York Times, The Washington Post, W Magazine and Variety. A proud Torontonian, she shot the cover and album art for Drake’s four-time platinum, Grammy nominated record Views. Caitlin’s move into the directing chair started with music videos and short films including The Endings (2018) based on her best-selling, celebrity charged photo book of the same name, and The Death of David Cronenberg (2021). Humane marks Caitlin’s feature directorial debut and will be released in theaters and digitally courtesy of IFC Films and Shudder.


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‘PRATFALL’ (2024) Complex and quintessentially human walk and talk in NYC teems with trauma and connection.

freestyle-digital-media-logoPRATFALL

PRATFALL poster

A troubled insomniac encounters an enigmatic French tourist in Central Park. The two set off on a sleepless New York adventure as the city casts a shadow over them.

PRATFALL 1Filmmaker Alex Andre captures an unusual connection between two strangers. PRATFALL walks a highwire of intimacy, trust, and confession. It’s a powerfully human story through the lens of two culturally diverse individuals. 

Chloé Groussard gives Joelle a tangible vulnerability. She is honest, wide-eyed, and receives Burge’s energy at every turn. 

Joshua Burge (BUZZARD) should be a household name. His ability to slip into the skin of every character he plays is astounding. The manic energy delivered in Eli wreaks of an authentic New Yorker who’s been there too long without the proper mental health care. He is abrasive to most strangers and yet embraces Joelle’s company fullfold. His chemistry with Groussard is the stuff of the gods. It’s challenging to decipher which lines of dialogue are organic or written by Andre. A compliment to all

PRATFALL 2Filmed predominantly on the Upper West Side (trust a local gal to recognize every street corner in the opening scene), moving its way east, then south through midtown and back, the hand-held cinematography lends to the intimacy and claustrophobia of Eli and Joelle’s inner turmoil. The classical score lulls you during the long follow shots. The upbeat soundtrack is a fantastic foil. 

The script feels like an eclectic mix of overheard conversations and romanticizing the city. The pace is uneven, but that does not lessen the most rewarding scenes, seeped in unresolved wounds and the essence of New York. PRATFALL boasts a tragic finale that somehow manages to be poetic perfection. It is a complex and quintessentially human walk and talk in NYC, teeming with trauma and connection.

Week-long theatrical release begins April 26 at Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles,
the same day as Freestyle Digital Media releases the film on
all major VOD platforms in North America (pre-order)

Credits

Director/Writer/Cinematographer/Editor/Producer – Alex Andre

Co-Producer – Jordyn Barber

107 minutes, USA, 2023

 

Follow:

PRATFALL Instagram: @pratfallmovie

Alex Andre Instagram: @thatalexandre

Joshua Burge Instagram: @joshuatheburge

Chloé Groussard Instagram: @craph

 

About Freestyle Digital Media

The digital distribution unit of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group, Freestyle Digital Media, is a premiere multi-platform distributor with direct partnerships across all major cable, satellite, digital and streaming platforms. Capitalizing on a robust infrastructure, proven track record, and a veteran sales team, Freestyle Digital Media is a true home for independent films. Recent releases include THE ROAD DOG starring comedian Doug Stanhope, SURVIVE starring HBO’s GAME OF THRONES star Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins, the music documentary profiling blues guitar legends Jimmie Vaughan & Stevie Ray Vaughan, BROTHERS IN BLUES, DEAR ZOE starring Sadie Sink from the hit Netflix series STRANGER THINGS, Jessica Capshaw and Theo Rossi. Other Freestyle Digital Media titles include BEST SUMMER EVER the teen musical featuring a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities, produced by Jamie Lee Curtis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson, THE WEDDING YEAR starring Sarah Hyland and Anna Camp, THE LAST PHOTOGRAPH starring Danny Houston, UNTOGETHER starring Jamie Dornan, Jemima Kirke, Ben Mendelsohn, Alice Eve and Billy Crystal, the action-comedy BETTER START RUNNING starring Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons and Maria Bello, THE BACHELORS starring Academy Award-winner J.K. Simmons, Julie Delpy and Odeya Rush and the award-winning documentary HONDROS produced by Jamie Lee Curtis and Jake Gyllenhaal.

For more information, visit:

www.allenmedia.tv

www.freestyledigitalmedia.tv

Director Bio:

Alex Andre is an award-winning Director, Cinematographer, Writer & Producer based in Los Angeles. He is recognized for SADA (2022), which won 12 awards and received Official Selection in over 20 festivals worldwide. His feature film debut is PRATFALL starring Joshua Burge and Chloé Groussard. Andre also has producing credits on Alison Bagnall’s FUNNY BUNNY (2015) and Erin Li’s KEPLER X47 (2013). Andre was raised in the South of France and the English countryside before moving to Los Angeles. He cites Alan Clarke, Nicholas Roeg and The Dardennes as early cinematic influences.

Star Bios:

Joshua Burge, a Michigan native, has appeared in THE REVENANT opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN opposite Greta Gerwig, and BURDEN opposite Garrett Hedlund, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. RELAXER, Joshua’s third collaboration with filmmaker Joel Potrykus, premiered to great reviews at SXSW. This collaboration follows APE (2012) and BUZZARD (2014), the latter of which also made its world premiere at SXSW and was named one of Indiewire’s top films of the year.

Chloé Groussard is a French actress, born in Bretagne. She took her first theater classes at the age of 10 in her hometown. After graduating from a business master degree, she decided to turn her passion into her everyday life. Chloé intensified her acting training in Paris and New York and she started performing both on stage and on screen – in France, Italy and the United States. After giving her the role of Valérie in his short film Sada, Alex Andre chose her to embody Joelle alongside American actor Joshua Burge in his first feature film, Pratfall, marking also the feature debut of Chloé – for which she won the award of best actress at the Manchester Film Festival. Chloé is also part of the upcoming Netflix series of Stefano Sollima, Il Mostro, and she’s now represented by French prestigious agency, Time Art.


For more Joshua Burge films, click here!

‘THE COFFEE TABLE’ (2024) is the year’s most disturbing horror film.

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THE COFFEE TABLE

The Coffee Table 2024 posterThe Coffee Table 2024 poster

THE COFFEE TABLE follows Jesus and Maria, a couple going through a difficult time in their relationship. Nevertheless, they have just become parents. To shape their new life, they decide to buy a new coffee table. A decision that will change their existence.


A film about a coffee table and not at all about a coffee table, this meditation on communication through the lens of horror is epic. THE COFFEE TABLE is the year’s most traumatizing film.

The Coffee Table still 2The notion of invisible labor rears its ugly head around 15 minutes in, but it’s what happens 4 minutes later that is so horrific you won’t believe what you’re eyes are telling your brain. THE COFFEE TABLE pulls no punches. Its first brutal images are so disturbing you won’t know what to do next. With Maria dutifully shopping for her idiot husband, the audience can only wait with bated breath for her reaction and what Jesús plans to do next. Admittedly, his behavior will break you.

Estafanía de los Santos delivers a tour de force performance as Maria. Her unconditional love for their son, incredibly intense opinions, and full-bellied laugh create a mesmerizing turn.

The Coffee Table still 1David Pareja gives Jesús a shockingly calm demeanor when forced to speak with the other cast members. It will, no doubt, upset the viewer tenfold. The lies flow out, and poor Maria continues to berate him without knowing a damn thing. His subsequent management of trauma drives the entire film.

The score by Bambikina is a demented manipulation of lullaby tones and funeral dirge. The practical FX and makeup are so effective. You wish they weren’t. THE COFFEE TABLE quite literally drips with irony and dread. Every minute that passes, the dialogue digs into your psyche in the most intrusive way. It’s brilliant and unspeakably fraught writing. You are not ready.


THE COFFEE TABLE will begin a limited theatrical run beginning in Los Angeles at Laemmle Glendale on April 19, with additional markets to follow including New York, Austin, and Chicago. The film will arrive on DVD and VOD on May 14.

 

THE COFFEE TABLE
Original title: La mesita del comedor

Directed by Caye Casas
Written by: Cristina Borobia, Caye Casas

Starring: David Pareja, Estefanía de los Santos, Josep Riera, Claudia Riera, Eduardo Antuña

Produced by: Norbert Llaràs
Production Company: Alhena Production
Co-Production Company: Apocalipsis Producciones, La Charito Films
Cinematography by: Alberto Morago
Edited by: Caye Casas
Music by: Bambikina

Spain I 2022 I Horror, Comedy I 90 minutes

The film held a robust festival life, including a World Premiere at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival where it won Best Film in the ‘Rebels with a Cause’ section, a North American premiere at Fantastic Fest, and additional screenings at Fantaspoa – International Fantastic Film Festival, Macabro – Festival Internacional de Cine de la Ciudad de México, and Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, where it received the White Raven award.

For more horror film reviews, click here!

‘The Long Game’ (2024) is timely and inspiring

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MUCHO MAS MEDIA SETS APRIL 12TH RELEASE FOR DENNIS QUAID AND JAY HERNANDEZ-LED SXSW AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER 

THE LONG GAME

A 1955 group of Mexican-American caddies forms the first-of-its-kind high school golf team in South Texas. Based on the true story and book, Mustang Miracle by Humberto G. Garcia, THE LONG GAME is an inspiring and timely story of perseverance and heart.

The Long Game still 2THE LONG GAME puts racism at the forefront of this sports story. There’s a push and pull between their Mexican-Ametican identity and belonging. Peña encourages the boys to fit in by acclimating to white culture. Even when the boys sneak across the border, the Mexican locals give them a hard time. Joe also battles the unresolved fear of his hyper-masculine father. His own biases stunt his emotional growth. The idea of acceptance, both self and socially, is the key to the narrative.

These boys navigate a culture stuck in the past with other teams and their adults actively sabotaging their progress. The team’s work ethic and respect for the grounds is a thoughtful addition that shows the glaring differences in manners and privilege.

the long Game - Cheech marinThis ensemble cast is a hole-in-one. Cheech Marin delivers a funny, heartwarming performance as course groundskeeper and inside man Pollo. He is a wonderful addition. Dennis Quaid plays Frank Mitchell, Peña’s war buddy and the only white man in town willing to act as the face and assistant coach of the team. Quaid railroads fear by normalizing every moment. There is nothing “white savior” about his performance. He is charming.

Jay Hernandez in The Long GameJay Hernandez gives a complex performance as conflicted JB. His trauma often overtakes his good intentions, but his arc catalyzes change. Hernandez effortlessly holds your attention. Countering JB’s outlook, Julian Works captivates as Joe. As he gains due confidence, Works gives the role an honest vulnerability. He has fierce chemistry with Hernandez.

The Long Game still 1The upbeat, nostalgic soundtrack elevates the family-friendly feel. Super 8 footage, beautifully shot and edited milestone montages, has the same effect. THE LONG GAME remains relevant in a world where many opinions of race haven’t changed since the story’s origin. This cheer-worthy film educates and inspires. It is the real deal.

Julio Quintana’s sports drama The Long Game, starring Jay Hernandez and Dennis Quaid,
in theaters nationwide on April 12th.

 

The film had its world premiere at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival, where it won the Narrative Spotlight Audience Award and received rave reviews from critics praising its top-notch performances and calling it a crowd-pleasing and uplifting film based on a true story. This marks director Quintana and Quaid’s reunion after the success of their first film, Netflix’s true-story sports drama Blue Miracle.



The Long Game, inspired by the book “Mustang Miracle” written by Humberto G. Garcia, follows the true story of five young Mexican American caddies in 1955 who created their own golf course in the middle of the South Texas brush country. Despite outdated and inferior equipment and no professional instruction to begin with, they would go on to compete against wealthy, all-white teams and win the 1957 Texas State High School Golf Championship.

For more sports films, click here!

‘ASPHALT CITY’ (2024) Death and Ethics.

ASPHALT CITY

ASPHALT CITY Poster

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXCLUSIVELY IN THEATERS MARCH 29

Asphalt City

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

 

CAST

Sean Penn “Gene Rutkovsky”

Tye Sheridan  “Ollie Cross”

Gbenga Akinnagbe “Verdis”

Michael Carmen Pitt “Lafontaine”

Katherine Waterston “Nancy”

Mike Tyson “Chief Burroughs”

Raquel Nave “Clara”

Kali Reis “Nia”

 

CREW

Director:                         Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Screenwriters:                Ryan King and Ben Mac Brown

Based on:                       the novel Black Flies by Shannon Burke

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

John Wildermuth, Tye Sheridan, Tina Wang

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

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

Director of Photography: David Ungaro, AFC

Editors:                           Saar Klein & Katie Mcquerrey

Production Designer:       Robert Pyzocha

Costume Designer:        Stacy Jansen

Music:                            Nicholas Becker and Quentin Sirjacq

Casting:                          Lori Eastside

Distributors:                   Roadside Attractions / Vertical

Genre:                            Thriller

Rating:                           R

Running Time:                125 minutes

ASPHALT CITY_STILL 12

For more Thiller reviews, click here!

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!

 

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

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS

Wicked Little Letters (2023) poster

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

wicked-little-letters-3

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

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

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

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

OPENING IN LA & NY MARCH 29, 

OPENING NATIONWIDE APRIL 5

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

 

DIRECTED BY Thea Sharrock

WRITTEN BY Jonny Sweet

STARRING

Olivia Colman

Jessie Buckley

Timothy Spall

Anjana Vasan

Wicked Little Letters (2023) Olivia Colman

LOS ANGELES OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC CENTURY CITY 15

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA

AMC THE GROVE 14

10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 2000, Los Angeles, CA

NEW YORK OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE 13

1998 Broadway, New York, NY

CINEMA 123 BY ANGELIKA

1001 Third Ave, New York, NY

REGAL UNION SQUARE

850 Broadway, New York, NY

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION


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‘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!


 

Kickass ‘BACKSPOT’ (SXSW 2024) goes hard

SXSW 2024 color logo

BACKSPOT

backspot SXSW 2024

Competitive cheer is no joke. The athleticism and dedication involved are higher than most people understand. In my day, alongside the big bows and toothy smiles were broken arms, knocked-out teeth, and concussions. They go hand in hand. D. W. Waterson‘s SXSW 2024 film BACKSPOT dives head first into the world of tumbling, trophies, and tenacity through a mental health lens.

Riley works her ass off for a spot on a professional cheer squad. In her efforts to be the best, she pushes personal relationships and her sanity to their limits.

The script beautifully balances the hyper-competitiveness with moments of teenage joy but leans heavily into the reality of the sport. The intense rehearsals, the backbiting, and the called-out misogyny all present equally. BACKSPOT unapologetically exposes the importance of mental health in sports. It’s a thin line between winning and breaking, passion and obsession.

Evan Rachel Wood plays coach to the more elite team. Playing Eileen McNamara, she is no-nonsense, hardass. You are 100% buying what she’s selling. Devery Jacobs gives audiences a whip-smart, compassionate, and nuanced performance as Riley. She’s a self-aware young woman battling the complexities of her inherited anxiety and perfectionism. Riley goes to the extremes, whether in practice or escapism. Jacobs captures the internal tug-of-war of emotions.

Waterson’s editing is fantastic. It undeniably enhances the film. BACKSPOT is a great companion watch for the Isabelle Fuhrman headliner, THE NOVICE, and while that film focuses on college rowing, the ruthless principals are the same. Waterson’s directorial debut delivers a strong new voice and clear vision in storytelling.


D.W. Waterson

D.W. Waterson (Filmmaker)
D.W. Waterson (they/them) is a Toronto-based, award-winning, non-binary/queer filmmaker and world-touring electronic music artist. D.W. is the creative force behind the 6 million-viewed, 40+ time award-winning digital series THAT’S MY DJ (Seasons 1-3). They have been DJing and throwing parties in the Toronto underground for ten years, and have opened for artists such as Peaches and Idris Elba.
 
Waterson’s work has garnered a Canadian Screen Award Nomination, five Best Director awards as well as Noteable’s 2017 Director of the Year award. Named a Resident at the 2022 TIFF Filmmaker Lab, D.W.’s debut feature film BACKSPOT had its world premiere at TIFF 2023. Alongside directing and producing, D.W. also created original electronic tracks to accompany the film.

Kick-Ass, Hard-Hitting, Queer Cheerleading Drama In Theaters Nationwide May 2024
 
Executive Produced by Elliot Page
Starring Devery Jacobs and Evan Rachel Wood

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!

SXSW logo

‘BLEEDING LOVE’ (2024) a beautiful journey through cyclical addiction

Bleeding Love 2024 poster

Director Emma Westenberg takes an estranged father-daughter duo on an impromptu road trip to reconciliation in BLEEDING LOVE.
Ewan McGregor and Clare McGregor

Clare MacGregor (who also contributed to the story alongside screenwriter Ruby Caster) is spectacular. Her unfiltered and vulnerable aura immediately reels you in. Her resentment is palpable and entirely earned. Clare owns the character’s beautifully written arc, capturing the yearning to connect. Ewan MacGregor is a man on a mission. He is gentle, patient, and kind in his quest to break cyclical addiction. Coming to terms with his past mistakes, his earnest attempts at redemption are messy, brave, and relatable. He is fantastic. Clare and Ewan have magic chemistry on screen. Read More →

Review: ‘LAST PARTY’ (2024) shines in its camera work.

LAST PARTY

In Nicolas Dozol‘s LAST PARTY, one final hoorah to celebrate high school graduation takes a weird turn when four of its attendees experience subtle hallucinations.

Last Party (2024)Cleverly choreographed camera work by Aurel Ganz makes us think the film is one long take. Just as impressive is the actual shot list. 28, to be exact. It is one hell of a visual feat. The flip side of these takes is the narrative feels draggy even at 110 minutes. The sci-fi element does not seem necessary to the plot. Ultimately, it goes nowhere.

Last Party (2024) final scenePerformance is solid from our four main leads, each one bombarded by misogyny, judgment, and outright hateful behavior. LAST PARTY might be more successful as a series. There is much needed in character development, although the breadcrumbs are there. It feels more like a treatment for a larger project than a stand-alone piece.


“Last Party” the feature film debut of Swiss and French filmmaker Nicolas Dozol will make its US debut at Laemmle Monica Film Center from February 9 -16th in Santa Monica.  The film is being distributed by LA-based Synergetic and is the first feature film produced by the young Swiss company Lights Rush.

 

A mystery coming-of-age story, part horror, part fantasy, part thriller, the film takes place during a high school graduation party where four teenagers in the midst of an existential crisis are confronted with their angst. When they suddenly find themselves locked up, they wonder if it might be their last night ever. The film is choreographed by 28 long takes, giving the illusion of a single real shot and was shot in just five days.

“Last Party”, a New Breed Entertainment production, is directed by Nicolas Dozol, written by Leah Ladoux, Paul Tomasini, Chloe Vittenet and Dozol, and produced by Mathilde Errand and Dozol.  The film stars breakout newcomers Lucie Cecchi, Remi Gerard, Uma Condolo and Teddy Hardy.  Cinematography is by Aurel Ganz.


For more French film reviews on RND, click here!

Now in theaters, ‘SCRAMBLED’ (2024) earns a glowing review

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SCRAMBLED

 

Scrambled (2024) poster

34-year-old single Etsy seller Nellie is getting pressure from all angles to get her shit together, find a life partner, and have a baby before “it’s too late.” Post-breakup and opinion bombardment, she decides to freeze her eggs and revisit previous conquests for connection or clarification. SCRAMBLED is an honest exploration of self and patriarchal structures.

Leah McKendrick in Scrambled. Photo courtesy of LionsgateAuthentically hilarious, audiences get to know Nellie through a series of sexual romps, engagement parties, weddings, baby showers, and pregnancy panic stories. The inundation of opinions and horror stories sounds familiar to me. I got pregnant at 35 and 36, so, naturally, I was deemed a “geriatric.” The combination of rage and fear was no joke. Leah McKendrick nails the ups and downs of that stage of life. It’s an existential crisis that you only truly understand if you’ve experienced it firsthand.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

The witty banter between Jesse and Nellie is laugh-out-loud funny. Clancy Brown (The Mortuary Collection) plays Nelly’s Boomer Dad with snappy comebacks and loveably curmudgeon vibes. He is spectacular. Ego Nwodim plays Sheila with a genuine best friend chemistry. One of the most poignant scenes springs from Nellie and Sheila’s relationship. Nellie finds herself an unwitting participant in a mourning group, leading her to share the most prolific monologue. It is insightful, loving, heartfelt, and candid.

Leah McKendrick as Nellie Robinson in Scrambled. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lionsgate

McKendrick deserves all the accolades as she has skillfully crafted an intimate narrative with equal parts comedy and care. SCRAMBLED is an outstanding film and a surprisingly deep dive into the female psyche.


SYNOPSIS:

Quintessential eternal bridesmaid Nellie Robinson (Leah McKendrick) constantly finds herself between weddings, baby showers, and bad dates. When she begins to feel like the clock is ticking and is faced with bleak romantic prospects, Nellie decides to freeze her eggs — setting her on an empowering journey to a brave new world where she ultimately discovers “the one” she’s looking for might be herself.


RELEASE DATE:                               February 2, 2024 (In Theaters)

RUNNING TIME:                               100 minutes

RATING:                                             R for sexual content, nudity, language throughout
and some drug use

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY:     Leah McKendrick

PRODUCED BY:                                Gillian Bohrer, Jonathan Levine, Brett Haley, Amanda Mortimer

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY:   Julia Swain

PRODUCTION DESIGNER:             Charlie Textor

EDITED BY:                                       Sandra Torres Granovsky

COSTUME DESIGNER:                    Kerry Hennessy

MUSIC SUPERVISOR:                      Ricki Askin

MUSIC BY:                                        Brittany Allen

CASTING BY:                                    Lisa Zagoria

CAST:                                                  Leah McKendrick, Ego Nwodim, Andrew Santino,
Adam 
Rodriguez, Laura Cerón, and Clancy Brown



FOLLOW #SCRAMBLEDMOVIE ONLINE

SOCIAL MEDIA:
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@Lionsgate #ScrambledMovie

Sundance 2024: ‘SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE’ is perfect

Sundance 2024 logo

SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE

Say Hi After You Die Sundance 2024

Sundance 2024 short film SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE is a laugh-out-loud look at grief, mental health, and forever friendship. Following the unexpected passing of her best friend, Gloria finds herself talking to a porta-potty. It’s easy to see why the film won the Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction. It is that wonderful. 

Writers Ruby Caster (who hilariously portrays Ruby in the film, and Kate Jean Hollowell, who also stars and directs the film, nail the Gen Z/ Millennial cusp banter and fashion. They are a fierce team of creatives.
Say_Hi_After_You_Die-Kate Jean HollowellGeorge Basil plays Dave, the construction foreman, with a life-affirming kindness. One of his lines perfectly sums up the film’s heart, hitting you square in the chest, “We’re just friends walking each other home.” Hollowell is outstanding as Gloria. Her comic timing is the stuff of the gods, but she also delivers authentic depth. She is a star.

SAY HI AFTER YOU DIE has a smirk-inducing musical sequence. The choreography from Kat Burns is inarguably spectacular. For a 17-minute film, Sundance audiences will laugh, dance, and tear up. This is one of the year’s best.

Sundance Screening Times
Screening as part of Short Film Program 4

World Premiere – January 21st, 12:15PM MST (Prospector Square Theatre)
Public Screening #2 – January 22nd, 5:30PM MST (Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway SLC)
Public Screening #3 – January 25th, 12:00PM MST (Redstone Cinemas)
Public Screening #4 – January 27th, 4:00PM MST (Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway SLC)
Public Screening #5 – January 28th, 1:30PM MST (Holiday Village Cinemas)

Kate Jean HollowellKate Jean Hollowell is a multi-hyphenate director, comedian and musician, who honed her humor, storytelling and visual style by making her own music videos, showcased at SXSW in 2022 and 2023, as well as her short film Are They Smiling?, which premiered at the 2020 Portland Film Festival and won several awards. Taking on narrative, Kate has managed to find a unique voice that balances humor and heart through all her work. Finding ways to insert unexpected musical numbers in everything she does is a trademark all her own.


Director: Kate Jean Hollowell
Screenwriters: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster
Cast: Kate Jean Hollowell, Ruby Caster, George Basil
Producer: Miranda Kahn
Executive Producers: Mindy Goldberg, Jacki Calliero, Melissa Culligan
Production Designer: Jenna Tooley
Choreography: Kathryn Burns
Cinematography: Jordan Black
Costume Design: Jordy Scheinberg
Edited by: Talia Pasqua
VFX Artist: Alex Thomas

Year: 2023
Category: Short
Country: US
Language: English
TRT: 17 min

Sundance 2024’s full lineup can be found here!

 

Don’t forget to check out all our Sundance coverage throughout the years

Sundance Color logo 2023

Slamdance 2024 review: Yes, the hilarious pilot episode of ‘RESTORAGE’ fixes everything.

slamdance 2024

RESTORAGE
Episodes-TV Web Pilot- Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Restorage at Slamdance 2024


SYNOPSIS: RESTORAGE is about a fractured group of siblings each
receiving a portion of their inheritance. Robert receives the business
legacy, Lisa is given the family estate and a priceless family heirloom, and
Chase, receives an old storage unit filled with junk. Chase and Robert
quarrel and he inadvertently breaks the vase causing a greater rift in the
family. Chase goes to the storage unit and discovers that it can repair
anything that has been broken that has been placed inside. Chase takes his
siblings to the storage unit in an attempt to fix the broken vase but
everything goes mysteriously sideways


Slamdance 2024 episodic pilot RESTORAGE is a knockout. It’s laugh-out-loud funny with a brilliant cast. Even the ancillary cast members deliver memorable and equally comedic performances. Jacob Daniels plays Robert with the self-righteous overachiever vibe to a tea. Olivia Clari Nice gives Lisa a motherly energy that grounds the trio. 

Connor Boyd in Restorage

Connor Boyd in Restorage

Outcast brother Chad lives in squalor. Everything in his trailer home is broken and filthy. He is the black sheep of the family. Connor Boyd is so compelling, with the confidence of Zach Galifianakis and the energy of Jack Black. He is a goddamn star.

Once we know the sci-fi plot, the mind races with theories. Screenwriters E’an Verdugo and Caleb Davis drop enough clues in the dialogue to infer deep injury between the siblings. You will be begging for more the moment the screen goes black! RESTORAGE is a damn treat that deserves a green light asap. I’m looking at you, Hulu, Netflix, and Prime! 


  • Director:
    E’an Verdugo
  • Screenwriter:
    Caleb Davis, E’an Verdugo
  • Producer:
    Caleb Davis, Alana Rood
  • Cast:
    Connor Boyd, Olivia Clari Nice, Jacob Daniels, Joan Deschamps, Stephen Miller, Francis Juarez
  • Year:
    2023
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
    USA
  • Genre:
    Drama, Comedy, Sci Fi
  • Subtitle Language:
    English

 

For more information on Slamdance 2024, click here!
 
To read more of our Slamdance coverage on Reel News Daily and over at Unseen Films!

 

Slamdance 2024 shorts: ‘LEGEND OF EL CUCUY’ & ‘DOSH’

slamdance 2024

Legend of El Cucuy legend of el cucuy short film

SYNOPSIS: Legend of El Cucuy is a cautionary tale. Laura and her
husband Carlos are permissive parents, and their choice to raise their
daughter Isabel without discipline has resulted in a very rude,
disobedient child. Carlos is having doubts about their behavioral
strategy, but Laura is determined to make different choices from their
parents. Against his better judgment, Carlos tells Laura about El
Cucuy’s origins, and that same night, El Cucuy pays the family a visit.

Filmmaker Cynthia Garcia Williams brings her short horror film Legend of El Cucuy to Slamdance 2024. This boogie-man-style folklore film boasts fantastic Special FX makeup. As a former teacher, Isabel’s mother and her permissive parenting style made me seethe, and our little leading lady is a terror. I recall El Cucuy referenced in films before, but I’ve never heard the history behind it. Essentially, it is an allegory for shitty parenting. While I wasn’t completely sold on the performances, I think the film is a solid pitch for a feature.

14 minutes) English/Spanish


DOSH

dosh - slamdance 2024

When her son’s life is put at risk at a family pre-wedding ritual, a hard-of-hearing mother must decide how to seek help for her husband in order to keep her family safe.

Filmmaker Radha Mehta, who shares screenplay credit with Noorah Al-Eidi, brings us the story of Karishma, a hard-of-hearing mother trapped in a traditional Indian marriage with a man who refuses to admit he has a mental illness. Cinematographer Isue Shin captures the balance between the lush colors of an Indian wedding ritual and the darkness of Karishma’s emotional state. Renu Razdan captivates as our leading lady. The camera loves her. Razdan owns every frame, moving from sadness, protection, grief, and joy like a star. This little drama about attaining peace is a cathartic sigh of relief.

Director: Radha Mehta
Story: Radha Mehta
Screenplay: Noorah Al-Eidi & Radha Mehta
Producer: Gabriel Gutierrez
Cinematographer: Isue Shin
Production Designer: Sandra Rodriguez
Editor: Joe Murphy



Slamdance 2024 will take place in person from January 19-25 and virtually from January 22-28.
 
For more Slamdance coverage, click here!

 

Slamdance 2024 review: ‘INHERTITANCE’ is a heartbreaking portrait of cyclical poverty and addiction.

slamdance 2024

INHERITANCE

INHERITANCE_Poster

Slamdance 2024 doc INHERITANCE is an unfiltered look at one Appalachian family’s struggle with generational addiction. The rippling effects of drugs directly connect to cyclical poverty. They are a part of the culture. We see children who look as young as ten years old smoke cigarettes with the nonchalance of chewing gum. Young girls get pregnant at a rate that becoming a great-grandmother is normal if you survive the world of opioids. Filmmakers Matt Moyer and Amy Toensing hang their hats on 12-year-old Curtis, a hopeful, bright, and spunky in hopes of making a better life through all the inevitable chaos.

Inheritance familyWe witness the tragic evolution of Curtis’ extended family through intimate sit-downs with family members, sharing their darkest secrets without a moment of hesitation. Their goal is equal parts redemption and cathartic confession. Some family members try harder than others, though the dark thoughts never leave. Religion lands somewhere between true belief and crutch. Mostly, the latter.

Seeing his parents’ toxic relationship play out as they chase their next score is brutal. Curtis knows nothing good comes from their behavior. What makes it worse is Curtis is a joyous and pure soul. He grins and bares the trauma that swirls around him. You want to reach through the screen and rescue him as he recounts his numerous stays in foster care. As the years roll on, you see the cynicism creeping into his personality.

INHERITANCE_CurtisThoughtful closeups and the hauntingly beautiful score create heartwrenching transitions. Moyer and Toensing try to offer moments of childhood levity featuring Curtis and his siblings playing with poppers, water guns, and video games, but lurking in the background is the reality of parents severely impaired by drugs. Inheritance breaks your heart. A six-year journey down a rabbit hole of repeated histories. Is Curtis the best bet to break the cycle? One can only hope.

Inheritance participants


INHERITANCE Trailer:

 
INHERITANCE explores the underlying causes of the opioid epidemic in America through the life of one boy and five generations of his extended family over 11 years. Curtis, a bright and hopeful boy, grows up from age 12 to 18 surrounded by love and struggle while every adult in his family – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins — battles addiction. Curtis’ America is an America where people and communities are struggling with an epidemic of substance abuse, joblessness, and a deteriorating sense of belonging.

 

Official Film Website: https://www.inheritancethefilm.com/ (the website trailer contains explicit language)

IG: @inheritance_thefilm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61554404316999 


 

CREDITS

 

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY

MATT MOYER and AMY TOENSING

 

EDITED BY

CURTIS WHITEAR

 

WRITTEN BY

CURTIS WHITEAR and MATT MOYER and AMY TOENSING

 

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY 

MATT MOYER

 

MUSIC by

KYLE SCOTT WILSON

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

MORGAN PEHME and DANIEL DiMAURO

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

SAM CULLMAN

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

ERIK and LESLIE HEYER

 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

DAVE A. LIU

 

CO–EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

FREDRIK STANTON

 

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

KAYLA BREEN

 

AUDIO POST PRODUCTION

HEART PUNCH STUDIOS

 

SOUND DESIGN / RE-RECORDING MIX BY

GREG McCLEARY

 

COLOR BY

CHRISTOPHER YOUNG

 

POST PRODUCTION FINISHING BY

SEE WHY COLOR

 

PRODUCTION COMPANIES

MILLROCK PRODUCTIONS        

CALLIOPE PICTURES

In association with 

LIUCRATIVE MEDIA

 
  • Year:
    2024
  • Runtime:
    85 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
    United States
  • Premiere:
    World Premiere
  • Genre:
    Documentary
  • Subtitle Language:
    English

Slamdance 2024 will take place in-person from January 19-25 and virtually from January 22-28.

You can read our previous Slamdance coverage here! Stay tuned to Reel News Daily for more reviews this week, and don’t forget to check out our coverage over at Unseen Films for more!

Sundance 2024 review: ‘SUJO’ explores childhood trauma and cyclical violence

Sundance 2024 logo

SUJO

Juan Jesús Varela in SUJO

Juan Jesús Varela in SUJO

Ominous, heartbreaking, and beautifully shot, the Sundance 2024 film SUJO, from Fernanda Valadez and Astrid Rondero (Identifying Features), examines cyclical violence and trauma through the lives of the family left behind by a murdered cartel member.

Nemesia hides her nephew Sujo with the help of Rosalia and her two young sons, Jeremy and Jai. During early childhood, the five exist in abject poverty in the middle of nowhere, entertaining themselves as best as they can, knowing someday the isolation may be too much. As the boys grow, curiosity puts them into increasingly more precarious situations, proving the danger of their familial sins lingers forever.

Young Kevin Aguilar, as four-year-old Sujo, is beguiling. The camera loves him. Juan Jesús Varela plays teenaged Sujo, left to carry the emotional burdens of his father’s past. Varela’s performance is magnificent, as are his onscreen cousins, Jairo Hernandez and Alexis Varela. Their chemistry is magic.

Yadira Pérez gives Nemesia an authentically grounded aura. Her practical and watchful approach to raising Sujo gives him an emotional stronghold. Nemesia literally translates as “Vengeance.” This small detail is as brilliant as her vital otherworldly abilities. Karla Garrido brings an entirely different level of motherly kindness playing Rosalia. She is a beautiful foil for Pérez.

The film comes from an almost entirely female creative team whose blood, sweat, and tears pour off the screen. SUJO is infused with empathy, fear, and care. The screenplay is a skillfully crafted tale that pulls you into Sujo’s center of gravity. As a Mother, witnessing the integration of protective instincts speaks volumes. The score is haunting. At times, the dialogue mirrors Sujo’s journey. It is undeniably impactful. Throughout the film, women look out for Sujo’s best interests. In a way, the film is an ode to invisible labor.


For more information on SUJO screenings fn Sundance 2024, click here!

Credits

  • DIRECTOR(S)

    ASTRID RONDERO

    FERNANDA VALADEZ

  • SCREENWRITERS

    ASTRID RONDERO

    FERNANDA VALADEZ

  • PRODUCERS

    FERNANDA VALADEZ

    ASTRID RONDERO

    DIANA ARCEGA

    JEWERL KEATS ROSS

    VIRGINIE DEVESA

    JEAN-BAPTISTE BAILLY-MAITRE

  • CINEMATOGRAPHER

    XIMENA AMANN

  • PRODUCTION DESIGNER

    BELÉN ESTRADA

  • EDITORS

    ASTRID RONDERO

    FERNANDA VALADEZ

    SUSAN KORDA

  • PRINCIPAL CAST

    JUAN JESÚS VARELA

    YADIRA PÉREZ

    ALEXIS VARELA

    SANDRA LORENZANO

    JAIRO HERNÁNDEZ

    KEVIN AGUILAR

  • YEAR

    2024

  • CATEGORY

    FEATURE

  • COUNTRY

    MEXICO/UNITED STATES/FRANCE

  • LANGUAGE

    SPANISH

  • RUN TIME

    126 MIN


     

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/