Review: THE VISITOR’s core mythology overcomes challenging script.

Have you ever heard that joke about the old man facing the end of days? He’s given multiple escalating opportunities to escape (in the version I’ve heard, potential rescuers come by first with a car, then a boat, then a helicopter) Through it all, the old man stays steadfast in his belief that God will save him. When he inevitably perishes, he confronts God and demands to know why his faith wasn’t rewarded. God laughs and says, “You idiot! I tried to send you a car, a boat, and a helicopter!”

Justin P. Lange‘s The Visitor is an immensely enjoyable horror film populated by a protagonist who has certainly never heard this joke. Things pretty quickly go amiss when Robert (Finn Jones) relocates from London to his wife’s small town. While settling into her childhood home, Robert finds a mysterious portrait in her attic. It is of a man referred to only as “The Visitor”, and he bears a striking resemblance to Robert.

While Maia (Jessica McNamee) laughs this off as a coincidence, this and other factors about town set Robert on edge. Jones does a good job of telegraphing Robert’s slowly deepening dread, but he’s fighting a losing battle against the film’s script. Things are obviously amiss in this town. Everyone is way too friendly, and certainly too grateful that Robert and Maia have moved back to town. I thought of Jordan Peele’s superb Get Out, where the protagonist similarly squirms against the discomfort of his circumstances. In that film, the audience was made to question their instinctual doubts and allegiances. Here, the red flags are far less subtle.

There is still much to like in The Visitor. The core performances are uniformly strong. Jones and McNamee have nice unforced chemistry, and I wished the film had given us more time with them. It is effectively paced (86 minutes!) and contains several genuinely frightful and inventive scares. I especially loved the way the film leveraged the biblical plagues without feeling the need for too much supporting exposition.

While I found some of The Visitor’s narrative beats obvious, I also found the core mythology of The Visitor somewhat irresistible. It could offer franchise potential. If someone is willing to paint another portrait, I’d be willing to take another look.


Paramount Home Entertainment will release the psychological horror/thriller filmTHE VISITOR on Digital and On Demand on October 7, 2022 and it will stream on EPIX in December 2022. The film is part of the Blumhouse Television and EPIX deal to produce eight original films together. Building on Blumhouse Television’s success with the Welcome to the Blumhouse movies slate for Amazon and Into the Dark anthology series for Hulu, the deal is the first-of-its-kind for EPIX, which is adding films to its growing slate of premium original content.

THE VISITOR stars Finn Jones (“Game of Thrones”), Jessica McNamee (Mortal Kombat), Dane Rhodes (Where the Crawdads Sing) and Donna Biscoe (“Saints & Sinners”). The film was written by Adam Mason (Songbird) & Simon Boyes (Songbird) and directed by Justin P. Lange (The Seventh Day). The film was Executive Produced by Bradley Pilz, Greg Gilreath, Adam Hendricks, Jeremy Gold, Chris McCumber, David Grove Churchill Viste and Jason Blum.


Review: ‘MK Ultra’ is a Dark Moody Dreamscape  


Mind control. CIA operatives. Clandestine government operations. MK Ultra has it all in this slow-burning thriller written and directed by former intelligence officer Joseph Sorrentino. The film artfully explores a real CIA program that ran illegal human experiments on American citizens on the fringes of 1960s society. Hoping to discover a way to weaken individuals during interrogations, the CIA administered a range of drugs like LSD, hoping to find a way to secure confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture. Are these MK Ultra experiences cutting-edge science? Or needless unethical torture? Where is the line? Who gets to make the call? 

 Highly stylized and set in a moody mid-century dreamscape, the filmmakers tell an intriguing story that raises questions of medical ethics, informed consent, and the responsibility of a government to its citizens. Notably, the film weaves fascinating facts about the program into the darkly compelling narrative through a series of voiceover explainers that may have felt choppy or disjointed with a less skilled hand. Here, the background and context of the program within US history are spliced in seamlessly through beautiful cinematography and creative accents that keep the film from coming off as merely a documentary. Impactful performance across the board– and by Jen Richards in particular– raise the stakes to a startling crescendo in its final act.

Cinedigm To Release The Mind-Bending Thriller,
MK ULTRA
In Theaters & On Demand October 7

 Starring Anson Mount, Jaime Ray Newman, Jason Patric, Jen Richards
Alon Aboutboul and David Jensen
Written and Directed by Ex-Intelligence Officer Joseph Sorrentino


Based on the infamous CIA drug experiments from the early 1960s, this psychological thriller follows a brilliant psychiatrist (Anson Mount) who unknowingly becomes entangled with a dangerous government entity fixated on mind control.

Under Project MK Ultra, the CIA ran an illegal human experimentation program intended to develop procedures and identify drugs such as LSD that could be used in interrogations to weaken individuals and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture.


October Programming on MUBI – thrills and chills for everyone.

October Programming on MUBI

Includes exclusive streaming premiere of Martine Syms’ art-school satire The African Desperate, Julie Ha and Eugene Yi’s rousing documentary Free Chol Soo Lee, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Lynchian horror, Earwig

Plus a month-long Halloween programming with George A. Romero, Michio Yamamato’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy, and more!

EXCLUSIVELY ON MUBI

Tuesday, October 4

Invisible Demons, directed by Rahul Jain

[Viewfinders] A visually immersive exploration of the global threat of climate change, Invisible Demons (Cannes ‘21) is the stunning sophomore film from filmmaker Rahul Jain. Told through striking images and eye-opening accounts from everyday citizens, Jain delivers a visceral journey through the stories of just a few of Delhi’s 30 million inhabitants fighting to survive, as he offers a deeply experiential and new perspective on the clear and present climate reality. A MUBI Release.

 

Friday, October 7

Free Chol Soo Lee, directed by Julie Ha and Eugene Yi

[Viewfinder] A highlight of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Free Chol Soo Lee finds award-winning journalists Julie Ha and Eugene Yi excavating the largely unknown yet essential history of the case of Chol Soo Lee, a 20-year-old Korean immigrant who, in the 1970s, was racially profiled and convicted of a Chinatown gang murder in San Francisco. A stirring testament to the power of local journalists and the collective political action, this breathtaking true story ignited an unprecedented push for social action that would unite Asian Americans and inspire a new generation of activists, and serves as an urgent reminder that his legacy is more relevant than ever. A MUBI Release. 

Wednesday, October 12

Rosa Rosae. A Spanish Civil War Elegy, directed by Carlos Saura

[Brief Encounters] Legendary Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura (Cria Cuervos) recovers and manipulates more than thirty images, drawings and photographs to recreate the Spanish Civil War in his new animated short Rosa Rosae: A Spanish Civil War Elegy (2021). The montage of images set to the music of singer-songwriter José Antonio Labordeta pays tribute to those childhoods stolen by the Spanish Civil War, reflecting the horrors of universal warfare and resonating with the urgent topic of conflict in today’s world. A MUBI Release. 

 

Saturday, October 15

Earwig, directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic

[MUBI Spotlight] Loosely adapted from Brian Catling’s novella of the same name, Lucile Hadžihalilović (EvolutionInnocence) conjures a surrealist Lynchian nightmare in her first English-language feature Earwig – a macabre tale of a young girl with melting teeth and her cadaverous caretaker who molds and refits her dentures each day. Sumptuously-produced and fitted with a hypnotic soundtrack by Augustin Viard (in collaboration with Nicolas Becker & Warren Ellis), Hadžihalilović’s latest beguilingly hermetic world captures the same elusive and hallucinatory fixations on isolation and the horrors of adolescence as her previous work.

 

Friday, October 21

The African Desperate, directed by Martine Syms

[Debuts] The electrifying feature debut from renowned artist Martine Syms, The African Desperate (2022) brings her razor-sharp satire and vivid aesthetic invention to a riotous coming-of-age comedy. Tracking one very long day for Palace Bryant (an expertly deadpan Diamond Stingily), a newly minted MFA grad whose final 24 hours in art school become a real trip, the result is a shocking original vision that becomes a hazy, hilarious, and hallucinatory night-long odyssey, stumbling from academic critiques to backseat hookups while revealing Martine as a major new voice in American independent filmmaking. A MUBI release. 

 

Wednesday, October 26

Spectre: Sanity, Madness and The Family, directed by Jean-Baptiste de Laubier

[Debuts] The debut feature from music producer and longtime Céline Sciamma collaborator Jean-Baptiste de Laubier (Para One), Spectre: Sanity, Madness and the Family (2021), is an intimate docudrama inspired by De Laubier’s own family history. Following the youngest son of a large family whose childhood was dominated by intense spiritual fervor, who receives a mysterious package from his sister that leads to the awakening of long dormant memories, this kaleidoscopic work mixes real and fictional archival footage with a mesmerizing electro soundtrack to reveal the power of buried personal histories. A MUBI Release. 

Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors

This Halloween, MUBI presents Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors, a new series covering the vast range of genre cinema, from classic films to recent arthouse sensations and everything in between. From gothic frights in James Whale’s essential classic The Old Dark House, to the matriarchal anxiety of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s and Austrian sensation Goodnight Mommy, and the haunting technological paranoia of Japanese master Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s cult classic, Pulse, these gems provide an opportunity to come together and celebrate the autumnal ritual of coming together to enjoy the many thrills that the cinema can offer us.

Goodnight Mommy (Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala, 2014) – October 1

Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001) – October 5

When a Stranger Calls (Fred Walton, 1979) – October 13

The Old Dark House (James Whale, 1932) – October 23

Deep Red (Dario Argento, 1975) – October 31

George A. Romero: Double of the Dead

Legendary horror master George A. Romero returns to MUBI with a gruesome double feature with a generous amount of blood, guts, and sociopolitical allegory to satisfy any zombie movie cravings. From the final two chapters of Romero’s epic five-decade long Dead series: the “found-footage” shot Diary of the Dead (2007) is riddled with media anxieties as a group of film students document their way through a zombie apocalypse, while Survival of the Dead (2009) chronicles two families warring over whether the dead and the living can coexist. 

Diary of the Dead (2007) – October 5 

Survival of the Dead (2009) – October 30

From the Land of Fire and Ice: An Icelandic Double Bill

This October, as the days grow shorter and the air grows colder, MUBI presents a double feature celebrating some of the very best of contemporary Icelandic cinema, which has recently experienced a resurgence of sorts in the international festival circuit. In Rams (Prix Un Certain Regard, Cannes ‘15), Grímur Hákonarson crafts a hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of two warring brothers whose lifelong animosity explodes when confronted with a new disease on their farm, while in Hlynur Palmason’s critically acclaimed A White, White Day, an off duty sheriff begins to suspect a local neighbor of having an affair with his recently deceased wife which spirals into obsession in this singular story of grief, revenge and unconditional love.

Rams (Grímur Háknarson, 2015) – October 9

A White, White Day (Hlynur Palmason, 2019) – October 10

Fears and Fangs in Japan: Michio Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy

To celebrate the Halloween spirit, this October MUBI presents Michio Yamanto’s aptly titled Bloodthirsty Trilogy. Presented here are three tails sure to delight, with The Vampire Doll, which follows a woman and her boyfriend in search of her missing brother in a creepy mansion with a dark history, Lake of Dracula, which finds a young woman’s adolescent nightmares revealing a hellish prophecy, and Evil of Dracula, which sees Yamamato relocating his vampiric frights into an all girls school. Inspired by the British and American gothic horror films of the 1960s, this series represents Toho’s answer to Hammer Studios, with an emphasis on atmospheric thrills and chills that help bridge the gap between gothic classics and Japanese genre cinema.

 

The Vampire Doll (1970) – October 11

The Lake of Dracula (1971) – October 20

Evil of Dracula (1974) – October 27

Artist Focus: Morgan Quaintance

British experimental artist, critic, and writer Morgan Quaintance explores cinema as collective memory. Through his texturally rich short films, Quaintance focuses on hidden or forgotten history through the reconstruction of archival materials, moving image, photographs, written text and disconnected sounds. This month MUBI presents a double bill of his most recent work: Surviving You, Always (2020), contrasting the proposed metaphysical highs of psychedelic drugs versus the harsh actualities of concrete metropolitan life in 1990s London, and A Human Certainty (2021), playfully following the neurotic ramblings of a death-obsessed romantic in the throes of post-breakup blues.

 

A Human Certainty (2021) – October 24

Surviving You, Always (2020) – October 25

Glitch Zone: Films by Martine Syms

To celebrate the release of The African Desperate, Martine Syms’ acclaimed feature debut, this month MUBI spotlights two essential shorts from one of the most exciting new voices in filmmaking. Part of her ongoing series She MadBitch Zone takes us to an empowerment program for teenage girls founded by supermodel and business mogul Tyra Banks, while Soliloquy finds the artist delivering a scathing anti-capitalist manifesto that touches on questions the possibility of change in a society dominated by social media.

She Mad: Bitch Zone (2020) – October 17

Soliloquy (2021) – October 19 

The African Desperate (2022) – October 21

I Don’t Like You Either: A Pialat Retrospective

This month, MUBI continues its ongoing retrospective of misunderstood French master Maurice Pialat with Van Gogh, his bruising and deeply felt portrait of the esteemed Dutch painter. Pialat’s work is marked by a sense of realism that locates them somewhere between his compatriot, Jean Renoir, and the working-class naturalism of Ken Loach, which lends a sense of authenticity to this singular portrait of an artist that emphasizes the everyday labor of the craftsman over the final work. 

Van Gogh (1991) – October 2

Now streaming

Loulou (1980) – September 10 

The Mouth Agape (1974) – September 21

Under the Sun of Satan (1987) – September 27

 Complete list of films premiering on MUBI this month:

October 1 – Goodnight Mommy, directed by Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz | Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors

October 2 – Van Gogh, directed by Maurice Pialat | I Don’t Like You Either: A Maurice Pialat Retrospective

October 3 – The Great Buster: A Celebration, directed by Peter Bogdanovich | Portrait of the Artist

October 4 – Invisible Demons, directed by Rahul Jain | Viewfinders

October 5 – Pulse, directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa | Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors

October 6 – Diary of the Dead, directed by George A. Romero | George A. Romero: Double of the Dead

October 7 – Free Chol Soo Lee, directed by Eugene Yi, Julie Ha | Viewfinder

October 8 – Tucker & Dale vs Evil, directed by Eli Craig

October 9 – Rams, directed by Grímur Hákonarson | From the Land of Fire and Ice: An Icelandic Double Bill

October 10 – A White, White Day, directed by Hlynur Palmason | From the Land of Fire and Ice: An Icelandic Double Bill

October 11 – The Vampire Doll, directed by Michio Yamamoto | Fears and Fangs in Japan: Michio Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy

October 12 – Rosa Rosae. A Spanish Civil War Elegy, directed by Carlos Saura | Brief Encounters

October 13 – When a Stranger Calls, directed by Fred Walton | Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors

October 14 – Center Stage, directed by Stanley Kwan

October 15 – Earwig, directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic | MUBI Spotlight

October 17 – She Mad: Bitch Zone, directed by Martine Syms | Martine Syms: Short Films

October 18 – The Gold-Laden Sheep & the Sacred Mountain, directed by Ridham Janve

October 19 – Soliloquy, directed by Martine Syms | Martine Syms: Short Films

October 20 – Lake of Dracula, directed by Michio Yamamoto | Fears and Fangs in Japan: Michio Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy

October 21 – The African Desperate, directed by Martine Syms | Debuts

October 23 – The Old Dark House, directed by James Whale | Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors

October 24 – A Human Certainty, directed by Morgan Quaintance | Artist Focus: Morgan Quaintance

October 25 – Surviving You, Always, directed by Morgan Quaintance | Artist Focus: Morgan Quaintance

October 26 – Spectre: Sanity, Madness and The Family, directed by Jean-Baptiste de Laubier | Debuts

October 27 – Evil of Dracula, directed by Michio Yamamoto | Fears and Fangs in Japan: Michio Yamamoto’s Bloodthirsty Trilogy

October 28 – The Commune, directed by Thomas Vinterberg

October 29 – Dear Diary, directed by Nanni Moretti

October 30 – Survival of the Dead, directed by George A. Romero | George A. Romero: Double of the Dead

October 31 – Deep Red, directed by Dario Argento | Thrills, Chills and Exquisite Horrors


MUBI is a streaming service, a film distributor and a production company. But mostly, MUBI is a place to discover beautiful, interesting, incredible cinema. A new hand-picked film arrives on MUBI every single day. Cinema from all over the globe, from all kinds of directors. From brand new work by emerging filmmakers, to modern masterpieces from today’s greatest icons. All carefully chosen by MUBI’s curators. MUBI also produces and distributes ambitious new films, which members can watch exclusively on the platform. MUBI is the biggest community of film lovers, available across 190 countries, with more than 10 million members around the world. Subscription plans are $10.99 a month or $83.88 for 12 months. MUBI is available on the web, Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, LG and Samsung Smart TVs, as well as on mobile devices including iPad, iPhone and Android.

mubi.com


 

Review: ‘PIGGY’ tests morality with bloody brilliant performances and writing.

PIGGY


Morally ambiguous and brilliant, PIGGY has been making the festival rounds this year to much acclaim. Writer-director Carlota Pereda uses the backdrop of teenage bullying and dials it up to the nth degree with murder, mayhem, and lies.

The script is relentlessly chilling. Because the audience has more information than anyone else, it feels as though the characters are sitting ducks. We are right alongside Sara as she witnesses her tormentors thrown into the back of a serial killer’s van. She says nothing, both out of fear and perhaps relief. Those that have ever been on the receiving end of horrible words and despicable actions will undoubtedly wince throughout the film.

PIGGY also speaks to the weight of parental support. We find Sara’s mother to be a nagging, uncaring shrew, while her father pays attention to her with genuine love. Her woes are exacerbated by her parents owning the local butcher shop, leading vile peers to dub her “Piggy.” One of the girls, Claudia, has a deeper connection to Sara based on her delay tactics in teasing and a matching bracelet with Sara.

The stakes in the film get higher and higher as the police, the chatty locals, and Sara’s conscience drives her to the breaking point. But that’s not all that weighs on Sara’s mind. PIGGY keeps you on your toes, constantly challenging your morality. Lead actress Laura Galán gives a star-making performance. You can see the wheels turning in each deliberate beat. Raw and thoroughly vulnerable, it is one hell of a turn. PIGGY had my heart in my throat from start to finish. Audiences are in for some hard questions and emotional torture.


Release Dates: 
October 7, 2022 (Exclusively in Alamo Drafthouse Theaters)
October 14, 2022 (Theatrical/VOD)

Directed by Carlota Pereda
Cast: Laura Galán, Richard Holmes, Carmen Machi, Irene Ferreiro, Camille Aguilar, Claudia Salas, Pilar Castro
Runtime: 90 mins
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Distributor: Magnet Releasing


Review: IFC film ‘VESPER’ is an exquisite sci-fi tale of morality and mortality.

VESPER

Alone in a cruel near-future world, 13-year-old Vesper experiments with what’s left of her surroundings to nourish her and her paralyzed father. Abandoned by her mother, Vesper keeps Darius’ body alive with her bio-hacking skills and uploads his full consciousness into a small droid. While she and others suffer immensely, the wealthy exist in private, enclosed spaces called “Citadels.” They produce seeds that the remaining poor vie for to survive in the harsh environment. After someone sabotages their generator, she reaches out to her Uncle, the leader of a group that cultivates children’s blood for seed trade. When Vesper discovers a young woman from the nearby Citadel passed out in the woods, she imagines a way out. VESPER is a gorgeous film about control and climate change wrapped in a glorious sci-fi narrative.

Richard Brake‘s performance is predominantly a voiceover. The enveloping tone of his vocals is perfection. But, the expression in his eyes speaks volumes. Eddie Marsan as Uncle Jonas is spectacularly vile. As his “survival at all costs” attitude becomes increasingly disturbing, Marsan nails the villain role.

Rosy McEwan plays Camellia with a complex mix of yearning and practicality. She is a slick foil for Vesper. McEwan’s grace and control are all the more stunning when given the opportunity to break. Our titular role comes to life with the sensational performance of Raffiella Chapman. Her raw vulnerability jumps off the screen. There is no denying she is a star. Her ability to carry this film from beginning to end is a wonder.

Captivating production design from Ramūnas Rastaukas and Raimondas Dicius lures you into a bleak but visually curious existence. The costumes are unlike anything I’ve seen before. Dan Levy‘s score is ethereal and hypnotic. The script by Brian Clark and directors Bruno Samper and Kristina Buozyte is endlessly intriguing. There is never a dull moment in Vesper’s nearly 2-hour run. Each scene provides an opportunity to expand the canon of this story. The metaphor of Vesper’s creations and her place in the world is beautiful. I could easily see this developed into an entire franchise. Overflowing with nuance, it is a mesmerizing sci-fi film that grabs you by the conscience. A stark and endlessly creative warning about Earth’s near-future mortality, Vesper is easily one of the best films of the year.


 

US Release Date: September 30, 2022

Starring: Eddie Marsan, Raffiella Chapman, Rosy McEwen

Director: Bruno Samper

Fantastic Fest 2022 review: ‘THE ANTARES PARADOX’ pits family and faith against the universe.

THE ANTARES PARADOX

Fantastic Fest 2022 feature from Luis Tinoco, The Antares Paradox, brings together science, space, and knowledge enthusiasts. The plot revolves around Alexandra as she works the late shift at a radio telescope lab. With looming familial obligations, an absent co-worker, and the storm of the year swirling around outside, a strong signal begins transmitting to her antenna. With only two hours to confirm 20 years of research, Alex must race against the clock, the weather, other scientists who eschew her work, and her conscience.

Leading lady Andrea Trepat captures your attention from the very beginning. She has the task of carrying this film on her shoulders, as other actors appear only via video call or voice. She nails it. Anyone with a loved one who works unconventional hours understands the emotional complexity of ambition. It often comes at a great sacrifice of relationships. It is the risk we take in search of an unknown reward. In The Antares Paradox, Alex dreams of proving there is life beyond our universe. Her father understood this, even if no one else ever did.

Writer-director Luis Tinoco worked extensively with José Luis Crespo (Quantum Fracture), a YouTuber and science communicator with millions of followers. The script, while technical, is laid out concisely and understandably for all audiences. The entire film takes place in one location. The film’s sumptuous score from Arnau Bataller is perfect.

Between family, faith, and space, Tinoco’s script challenges our morality and keeps us intrigued with wonder. It is a gorgeous entry that will leave audiences spellbound.


  • Year:
    2022
  • Runtime:
    96 minutes
  • Language:
    Spanish
  • Country:
    Spain
  • Premiere:
    World
  • Director:
    Luis Tinoco Pineda
 
 
 

Fantastic Fest 2022 review: ‘MISSING (Sagasu /さがす)’ is one of the year’s best genre films.

MISSING

This wild multiple narrative film tells the story of Kaede, her father’s disappearance, and the serial killer she’s determined to hunt down. MISSING is one story told from three different angles.

Performances from the entire cast are spectacular. There is not a loose thread in the bunch. Here is where things get tricky. To tell you more about the plot defeats the purpose. You need to go into with as little information as possible. The complexity of MISSING is relentless. Do not get comfortable with what you think you know. Writer-director Shinzô Katayama and co-writers Kazuhisa Kodera and Ryô Takada bring twist after twist. I stopped counting at a certain point. The final scene is a mindblowing metaphor for everything we witness in two hours. Wow doesn’t even begin to cover it. Fantastic Fest 2022 audiences are in for one of the year’s best features.


Dark Star and Bloody Disgusting plan a US theatrical release for MISSING on November 4, 2022, an On Demand release on November 18, 2022, and the Blu Ray release for the film to follow on December 6, 2022.

(US Premiere, 124 min)

Directed by: Shinzô Katayama

Starring: Aoi Ito, Hiroya Shimizu, Misato Morita, Jirô Satô 

Japan, 2021 (In Japanese with English Subtitles)

 

FF 2022 OFFICIAL SCREENINGS

All screenings are at The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, South Lamar, Austin.

Location: 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

 

Thu, Sep 22nd, 8:30 PM @ Theater 2

Thu, Sep 22nd, 8:30 PM @ Theater 3

Wed, Sep 28th, 11:00 AM @ Theater 5

Wed, Sep 28th, 11:00 AM @ Theater 6

FF 2022 PAGE:

https://2022.fantasticfest.com/films/62fbbf1dd0f21300854b372b


After working as an assistant director for Japanese films, including Nobuhiro Yamashita’s works, filmmaker ShinzôKatayama crossed paths with Bong Joon-Ho while shooting “TOKYO!” (2008) and served as his assistant director on “Mother” (2009). In 2019, his debut feature, “Siblings of the Cape” was selected by numerous domestic and international film festivals. He now is one of the most promising, emerging directors in Japan, and his second feature, MISSING (“Sagasu /さがす”) will be his commercial film debut.


 

Based on a true story about CIA mind-control experiments, see the trailer for ‘MK ULTRA,’ coming to theaters and On Demand October 7th.

MK ULTRA

Based on the infamous CIA drug experiments from the early 1960s, this psychological thriller follows a brilliant psychiatrist (Anson Mount) who unknowingly becomes entangled with a dangerous government entity fixated on mind control.

Under Project MK Ultra, the CIA ran an illegal human experimentation program intended to develop procedures and identify drugs such as LSD that could be used in interrogations to weaken individuals and force confessions through brainwashing and psychological torture.

Starring Anson Mount, Jaime Ray Newman, Jason Patric, Jen Richards
Alon Aboutboul and David Jensen

Written and Directed by Ex-Intelligence Officer Joseph Sorrentino

Cinedigm To Release The Mind-Bending Thriller,
MK ULTRA
In Theaters & On Demand October 7 


Film lovers unite! TIFF 2022 is upon us. Here’s what we’re excited to see. #TIFF22

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 has arrived! This year there is a little bit (or a lot) for everyone, from In Conversation With Taylor Swift and a screening of All Too Well: The Short Film on 35mm, Viola Davis in The Woman King, to the Midnight Madness world premiere of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. TIFF never disappoints and this year, in its 47th edition, the stars come out to entertain the masses. With so many options, here are a few titles we’re keeping our eyes on.


CHARCOAL (PLATFORM SECTION–WORLD PREMIERE)

Brazil, 2022. In a remote area in São Paulo’s countryside, a rural family who lives beside a charcoal factory accepts a proposal to host a mysterious foreigner. The home soon becomes a hideout as the so-called guest happens to be a highly wanted drug lord. The mother, her husband and child will have to learn how to share the same roof with this stranger, while keeping up appearances of an unchanged peasant routine.

Writer-director Carolina Markowicz has had many of her short films play the festival. This will be her feature debut and I cannot wait to experience her storytelling in long form.


BONES OF CROWS (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)

 

Unfolding over 100 years, BONES OF CROWS is a feature film told through the eyes of Cree Matriarch Aline Spears as she survives a childhood in Canada’s residential school system to continue her family’s generational fight in the face of systemic starvation, racism, and sexual abuse.

We’re all aware by now of the horror stories of the children forced to live in Canada’s residential schools. So much so that the Pope apologized for the abuse the children endured after innumerable graves were discovered on the former grounds. Bones of Crows is a vastly important story.

*This program contains scenes that may distress some viewers, especially those who have experienced harm, abuse, violence, and/or intergenerational trauma due to colonial practices.

Support is available 24 hours a day for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools and for those who may be triggered by content dealing with residential schools, child abuse, emotional trauma, and racism. The national Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available at 1-866-925-4419.


BROTHER (Special Presentations, World Premiere)
Propelled by the pulsing beats of Toronto’s early hip hop scene, BROTHER is the story of Francis (Aaron Pierre) and Michael (Lamar Johnson), sons of Caribbean immigrants maturing into young men. Director Clement Virgo expertly tackles themes of masculinity, identity and family as a mystery unfolds during the sweltering summer of 1991, and escalating tensions set off a series of events that change the course of the brothers’ lives forever.

Writer-director Clement Virgo brings TIFF audiences a tale more relevant today than ever. A study in grief, Brother is bound to impact viewers is a visceral manner.


DALÍLAND (Gala Presentation, World Premiere, **Closing Night**)
Mary Harron’s DALÍLAND is both a coming of age story and a searing, funny and sympathetic portrait of crisis in the late life of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Experienced through the eyes of young gallery assistant James Linton (Christopher Briney) as he is invited into a glamorous new world, audiences will uncover the true Dalí (Sir Ben Kingsley) – the complex, flawed, and deeply human man behind the brilliant paintings, wild theatrics, and iconic mustache and explore his especially tempestuous relationship with Gala (Barbara Sukowa), his wife and muse.\

Sir Ben Kingsley releases Dali from an enigmatic caricature and humanizes the genius, his life, and his work.


THE PEOPLE’S JOKER (Midnight Madness, World Premiere)
After years numbing herself with irony and an inhalant called Smylex, an unfunny aspiring clown grapples with gender identity, first love, and old foes all while founding an illegal comedy theater in Gotham City. It’s a queer coming-of-age Joker Origin story. Completely unlicensed by DC and Warner Brothers. Starring and directed by Vera Drew (“Beef House,” “Who Is America”) and featuring the work of 200 independent artists on three separate continents, all made during a global pandemic!

A queer coming-of-age satire and multi-media extravaganza, this mashup of fandoms I never knew I needed.


MY SAILOR, MY LOVE (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE is a heart-warming drama on timeless love and forgiveness. Howard (James Cosmo) is a retired sailor and widower, his daughter Grace (Catherine Walker) hires a caregiver Annie (Bríd Brennan). Reclusive and stubborn, Howard rejects Annie’s company, but eventually opens his heart and gives final love a chance.

A raw and compelling family drama, My Sailor, My Love is teeming with complexity and outstanding performances.


THE WOMAN KING  (World Premiere — Gala Presentations)

Synopsis: The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…

Listen, if you tell me that Viola Davis is starring in a film, my butt is in a seat. Based on a true story? Well, that’s solidly in Davis’ wheelhouse, but really what isn’t? This is one highly anticipated film already.


ALLELUJAH (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

This glorious reunion of Oscar winner Judi Dench and director Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal) is a spirited homage to the idiosyncrasies of old age and the noble fortitude of health-care workers everywhere. Adapted by Heidi Thomas from Alan Bennett’s stage play, Allelujah assembles a stunning ensemble of veteran British actors, including Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley, and Derek Jacobi.

There is every chance this will be an absolute crowd pleaser. The premise alone has me making up scenarios in my head of pure shenanigans. With a hell of a cast, Allelujah cannot go wrong.


FIXATION (Contemporary World Cinema)

Maddie Hasson (Malignant) plays a young woman committed to an unorthodox institution by a pair of enigmatic doctors (Genesis Rodriguez and Stephen McHattie).

Another feature debut from a female filmmaker, Mercedes Bryce Morgan brings to life an ambitious physiological thriller that will mesmerize with wild production design. I don’t think any of us are ready for such treatment. (pun intended)


LIVING (CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA)

In this exquisitely realized remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru, director Oliver Hermanus teams with Nobel- and Booker Prize–winning author Kazuo Ishiguro to renew a classic. LIVING is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful – into one he can say has been lived to the full

The magnificent Bill Nighy helms this film about humanity and mortality. With Mothering Sunday vets, cinematographer Jamie Ramsay and production designer Helen Scott, Living will undoubtedly be a feast for the eyes.

THE LOST KING (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

Synopsis: In the archaeological find of a century, the remains of King Richard III — presumed scattered over 500 years ago — were discovered beneath a parking lot in Leicester in 2012. The search had been conceived and motivated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose passion and unrelenting research were met with skepticism. THE LOST KING is the inspiring true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and who took on Britain’s most eminent historians, forcing them to rethink the legacy of one of the most controversial kings in England’s history. A tale of discovery, obsession, and stolen glory (both then and now), THE LOST KING is a magical adventure illuminated by one woman’s growing sense of purpose.

My husband and I are history nerds. We’ve seen the documentary of this very story and it was nothing short of fascinating. For those who may not know the vile things said about King Richard III, it’s rather shocking. Sally Hawkins is the perfect choice to capture Philippa Langley‘s determined journey to uncover the truth.

MOVING ON (GALA PRESENTATIONS)

Synopsis: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this fusion of audacious comedy and bracing drama about estranged pals who are reunited when a beloved mutual friend dies, leaving her widower the target of a revenge plan.

Perhaps some of the most notable chemistry we’ve seen between two women in years bounds off the screen when Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda work together. These two powerhouse ladies bring heart and humor to a story much more complex than at first sight. TIFF audiences are bound to cheer for Moving On.


ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE (Discovery)

Based on the book by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, two teenage Mexican-American loners in 1987 El Paso explore a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery.

Another female director’s feature debut (in case anyone is counting and cheering along with me), Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is more than a queer coming-of-age story. You’d never guess Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales were first-time leads. Lin-Manuel Miranda joins a powerhouse team of producers after narrating Sáenz‘s audiobook in 2013 and then reading writer-director Aitch Alberto’s screenplay. He knows a little something about quality writing, so his seal of approval is huge.


TIFF 2022 runs from September 8th to the 18th.

For more information on the fest, visit tiff.net


Review: Opening in Japanese cinemas today, writer-director Yoshiki Takahashi’s ‘RAGEAHOLIC’ mixes searing social commentary and vengeful storytelling.

RAGEAHOLIC

Visually sumptuous, from the popping color schemes to the sharp cinematography, Rageaholic is a feast for the eyes. With a screenplay that begs your attention between redemption and revenge.

Rageaholic has a distinct three-act storytelling structure. Act one finds Detective Fukama in a drug and alcohol-assisted haze of aggression. When his behavior makes for negative PR for the force and the local community of Fujimi, he is shipped off to the United States for some unique rehabilitation.

Act two reinstates Fukama as a semi-detective into a state-monitored Fujimi. Acclimating to this new environment proves to be a challenge. The visual shift is noticeable as the neon lights are replaced by signs and banners reminding everyone that Big Brother is watching. The community watch is drunk with power.

Act three; those driven from society now reside in squalid tent cities but thrive in their kinship. Confronted with how he ultimately fits into the grander scheme of control, Fukama must find the balance between good and evil to set things right. The depraved violence that ensues feels right. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wincing and a lot of cheering.

Performances are impressive, and the score ranges from jarring to amusing. Each tonal shift reinvigorates the audience’s interest in the story. There is no time to become complacent. American audiences will immediately draw parallels to capitalism and surveillance issues. A film about abuse, power, and retribution, I have never seen anything quite like Rageaholic. The finale is straight-up bananas.


 

The drama/action film RAGEAHOLIC opens today (August 26th) in Japanese cinemas.

RAGEAHOLIC is written and directed by Yoshiki Takahashi, and based on a story by Yuki Kobayashi (DEATH ROW FAMILY). The picture stars Yohta Kawase (SHIN GODZILLA), Aya Saiki, Ryuju Kobayashi, and Eita Okuno. It is produced by Interfilm.


 

Review: Will ‘CAMPING TRIP’ leave you asking for s’more? (I had to.)

*Resisting the urge to title this review “camping is in tents.”*


Two couples escape the monotony of lockdown by journeying into the woods for a camping trip. When they inadvertently become entangled in a crime, secrets come to light, and things get more intense. What’s a little money and murder between friends?

Performances are fine. I wish I sensed more believable chemistry between our four protagonists. Michael D’ Amico and Jonathan Vanderzon fare better as our villains. Their presence elicited a genuinely visceral reaction.

Camping Trip would benefit from a 15 to 20-minute cut. While the climax is satisfying, by no means did it need that much slow-motion editing. What follows is a confusing shift in relationships that feels forced. Like much of their response to finding a body and a bag filled with money, their decisions are laughable, if not infuriating. If nothing else, it gives the audience a reason to keep watching and wondering how this bungling crew parts ways.

The camera work in the final ten minutes is quite literally dizzying. It also allows the audience to use their imaginations, rather than relying on mediocre fight choreography and the continued use of watered-down practical fx blood. Polly’s particular skill makes for a slick final moment. I had hoped it was featured more in the story. Michel DeMars’ score in this scene, in particular, is perfect. In the end, Camping Trip has an intriguing plot, even if the exposition lacks polish.


FAR FROM COVID FAR FROM SAFE

 

Debuting on Digital On Demand August 16

 

Fuica Film Pictures and 8Cube are delighted to share the new trailer and poster for their upcoming horror, Camping Trip. The sinister thriller will be available on Digital Download from 16th August.

Camping Trip stars Leo Zola (Leonardo Fuica), Caitlin Cameron, Hannah Forest Briand, and Alex Gravenstein and is directed by Leonardo and Demian Fuica, who both make their English language feature-length directorial debuts.


 

Review: Tyler Michael James’ taut thriller ‘LOW LIFE’ never lets you get comfortable. Not for one second.

LOW LIFE

Written by Hunter Milano and Noah Rotter and directed by Tyler Michael James, Low Life finds YouTube personality Benny Jansen, who goes by the name “Creep Dunk,” in hot water when one of his subjects shows up at his house. Everyone is about to experience a nightmare.

Lucas Neff, whom I loved in Fear, Inc, plays Jason, the target of Benny’s sting. His effortless performance had my palms sweating. Neff’s emotional highs and lows elicit a visceral reaction. Jake Dvorsky is Sam, and co-writer Hunter Milano plays Ryan. Both are Benny’s buddies and unwitting co-conspirators. Do not write either of these performances off as sidekicks because each gives a nuanced and enthralling performance.

Benny’s deep-seated unresolved trauma motivates his revenge under the guise of heroism. Wes Dunlap‘s performance is mesmerizing. He displays alpha confidence accompanied by simmering hurt and fear. When things go haywire, Dunlap leaves it all on the screen. It’s one hell of a turn.

A ping pong match of intensity, Low Life benefits from rapid and thoughtful editing. But it’s the script that continues to shock. At every turn, I had my head in my hands. My heart was constantly racing, waiting for the other shoe to drop. How Milano and Rotter craft a script that ramps up the severity of the situation blew me away. Twist after twist, Low Life is one of the year’s best screenplays.

Tyler Michael James’ taut cat-and-mouse thriller
LOW LIFE lands on North American VOD on August 25th from XYZ Films.

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


 

Review: Based on a harrowing true story, ‘Breaking’ showcases John Boyega in an award-worthy performance.

BREAKING

*A version of this review originally appeared on AWFJ.org. To see more of their coverage of Breaking click here!*


Director Abi Damaris Corbin brings to life the true story of Brian Brown-Easley. John Boyega plays the real-life ex-Marine who, in a last-ditch effort to get the money the VA owes him, threatens to blow up a Wells Fargo with two female managers inside with him. Breaking is an intense thriller that keeps your heart in your throat from beginning to end. It is one of the most extraordinary stories of principle I’ve ever seen.

Performances across the board are magnificent. The women in the film elevate the complexities. Connie Britton is Lisa Larson, a news producer with whom Easley speaks in great detail. Like all of her roles, she is a solid addition to the cast. Olivia Washington plays Cassandra Easley, Brian’s ex-wife. A woman in an unthinkable crisis attempting to protect their daughter, Kiah, Washington is fantastic.

Selenis Leyva plays bank teller Rosa Diaz. She is the audience. Her fear is palpable. Coming from her role on Orange is the New Black, Leyva swaps prison sass for an entirely different brand of vulnerability. Nicole Beharie is a grounding force in Breaking. Her calm strength reminds you to take a breath between scenes. Her arc is breathtaking.

In one of his final roles, Michael Kenneth Williams plays Sargent Eli Bernard, the police negotiator. Williams’ relatable nature is of utmost importance. His chemistry with Boyega is imperative.

John Boyega presents the audience with a masterclass of human desperation. Each beat screams off the screen, even in his silence. This man has clear signs of PTSD, but his sincerity and circumstance have you rooting for him. The emotional nuance blew me away as Boyega is simultaneously patient and commanding. This performance deserves every award possible. You cannot ignore it.

Abi Damaris Corbin and cowriter Kwame Kwei-Armah understood the stakes in telling this story with urgency and respect. The social commentary about this country’s despicable treatment of our veterans could not be louder. Breaking is a story of one man’s dignity, but it is also an undeniable megaphone for tens of thousands of men and women being placed on the back burner every day. The system is disgraceful. Shockingly, these incidents aren’t more frequent.

Equally as relevant is that this story did not need to play out this way. Beharie’s character speaks directly to this issue, asking Easley how long she has to keep her son away from the news stories. Suspects of color are never treated the same way as white individuals. Breaking is yet another glaring example of racism. The final minutes of the film will rattle your soul.


In Theaters August 26th, 2022

 

Review: ‘Get Away If You Can’ provides a sea-side meditation on gender and love.

GET AWAY IF YOU CAN


Hopeful that an open-ocean sail might relight the spark of their passion, a troubled married couple (played by filmmakers Terrence Martin and Dominique Braun) hits a breaking point when one’s refusal to explore a foreboding deserted island sends them on a deep internal journey that will require drastic decisions in order to survive.


With a title like Get Away if You Can, I sat down expecting a 90-minute sea-set thriller with the potential for a high body count. Instead, I was treated to a thoughtful meditation on love, purpose, and gender.

Co-directors (and real-life spouses) Dominique Braun and Terrence Martin star as a married couple on a solo sailing trip. The journey is long, and the destination is unknown, but Martin’s TJ is in a hurry to get them there. When he resists his wife’s request to take a few days to explore a deserted island, things quickly spiral out of control.

The filming locations are stunning – the filmmakers deftly navigate the cramped interiors and deck of the sailing yacht, giving a sense of scale and place at all times. The island drawing Domi’s (Dominique Braun) attention might be part of the “islands of despair”, but it is truly gorgeous. As in, I can understand having a fight with your spouse over an island like this. If despair looks like this, sign me up. Scenes away from the boat and island are purposeful, and further our associations with the two leads. Through flashbacks and phone calls, Domi’s world is shown to be lush, green, and free. TJ’s flashbacks, on the other hand, are grounded in steel, machinery, and work. The settings smartly reinforce the opposing dynamics pulling at the two lovers.

Since much of the film’s plot finds TJ and Domi in conflict, we don’t get to see much direct chemistry between the two leads. Braun’s Domi has a heavy load to carry, and we feel her appetites and frustrations. Martin’s TJ is given less to work with, expressing his frustrations by guzzling red wine and gorging himself on saltines. Ed Harris gives a compelling supporting turn as Alan, the father of Martin’s character. Alan is a stern man from a military background. But, more than this, he seems to embody toxic masculinity itself. Harris’ restrained physical performance speaks volumes – this is a man who can make chewing a piece of steak simultaneously hilarious, intimidating, and hostile. Harris’ energy lurks even in scenes where is physically absent.

I found the film’s climax to be brave and thoughtful. You may not agree with the choices the characters make, but you can understand the journey that has brought them to that moment. Despite some choppy waves, there’s ultimately a lot to like about this boat trip.


IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON DIGITAL
Friday, August 19 

Los Angeles, CA // Laemmle Monica
Colorado Springs, CO // Icon 14
Middletown, DE // Westown Movies
Rogers, MN // Emagine Rogers 18
Chicago, IL // Cinema 14 Chatham
Birmingham, MI // Emagine Palladium 15

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Terrence Martin and Dominique Braun
STARRING: Terrence Martin, Dominique Braun, Ed Harris, Riley Smith, Martina Gusman 
EXECUTIVE PROUCED BY: Andrew Davies Gans, Cary Wayne Moore
PRODUCED BY: Terrence Martin and Dominique Braun
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY: Lucio Bonelli, Michael Lockridge, Guillermo Nieto
EDITING BY: Russell Lichter, Andrés Quaranta


 

Popcorn Frights 2022 review: Calls for help fall by the wayside in Christine Nyland and Terence Krey’s ‘Distress Signals’

DISTRESS SIGNALS

**World Premiere**

Synopsis: When a fall down a steep rock face separates her from her friends, Caroline finds herself stranded. Now, alone and with a dislocated shoulder, she must make her way out of the woods — and contend with how she got there. Distress Signals is the second feature film from Terence Krey and Christine Nyland, the team behind 2021 Shudder Original An Unquiet Grave

What would you do to survive all alone in the woods? Do you have enough common knowledge to rescue yourself? A visceral watch, Distress Signals takes Popcorn Frights 2022 audiences on an undoubtedly intriguing journey. The title alone plays double duty in this surprisingly nuanced film focused on survival. Distress Signals is a complete genre shift from Terence Krey and Christine Nyland‘s previous film festival hit, now streaming in Shudder, An Unquiet Grave. Equally complex, Distress Signals relies on Nyland’s ability to reel the audience into a plausible scenario. Essentially carrying this film alone is astounding. Even the most minute idiosyncrasies scream off the screen. The lack of dialogue forces you to focus on Nyland, which isn’t a challenge considering her attention to detail.

Daniel Fox‘s cinematography (particularly the nighttime scenes) combined with a triumphant score by Shaun Hettinger is something to behold. Filmmakers used the elements to their storytelling advantage. The light, the terrain, the flora, and the weather become characters in the plot. Don’t get too comfortable. The final act will flip the script into one intensely harrowing narrative.


Popcorn Frights 2022 Online Screening Info
– Available online from Thursday, August 18th – Sunday, August 21st

 

Writer/Directors: Terence Krey, Christine Nyland
Starring: Christine Nyland, Jonathon Strauss, Stephanie Hains
Runtime: 80 min


 

Review: ‘The Immaculate Room’ is a thoughtful and dark locked-room story.

The Immaculate Room is a sleek and thoughtful feature, a great example of doing more with less. Due to COVID restrictions these past few years, there has been a distinctive uplift in what I would call “locked-room” movies – films with relatively few characters who remain in a single setting for the entire run-time. Many other plots have faltered or crumbled under this weight. The Immaculate Room leans into these restrictions by making themes of isolation, alienation, and the human psyche central to the film’s plot.

Kate Bosworth and Emilie Hirsch star as Kate and Mike, a couple competing in a psychological experiment. If they can last 50 days isolated within a blank white room, they win 5 million dollars. If either one of them leaves the room, the prize instantly drops to 1 million. If they both leave, they get nothing. No possessions are allowed into the room, and there is nearly zero contact with the outside world (other than the disembodied voice of the room itself, which chimes in to remind them of the rules) Food (if you can call it that) is dispensed via a slot in the wall. The whole thing looks a little like IKEA’s marketing department designed a prison.

Both leads deliver strong performances. Hirsch’s Mike is an artist. While he wants the prize money, his easygoing demeanor hints at a more privileged background. Hirsch gives a grounded performance – his career has taken some strange turns since his bravura turn in 2007’s Into the Wild. Here he again proves he will excel when given roles where he can use physicality to convey emotion. Bosworth’s Kate is more guarded and driven – she recites mantras to herself every morning in the bathroom mirror. I loved the versatility of Bosworth’s performance – keep an eye on the techniques Kate employs to motivate and keep Mike focused on the prize throughout the film.

Writer-director Mukunda Michael Dewil’s script deserves a lot of credit for the success of the film. The simplicity of the challenge alone is not very exciting, and the audience is braced for twists and turns. They come at the right intervals and build slowly from the familiar to the inevitably more disturbing. The rules set for the room are simultaneously simple and incredibly clever. Each participant has access to two “treats” they can access at any time. The catch? A treat deducts 100k from the prize fund. A “treat” for Mike might be pretty different from Kate’s. Some are innocent, and some are dangerous.

The film’s conclusion lands awkwardly and feels a bit divorced from the rest of the plot. I’m not sure I fully believed the resolution. The concept of the film naturally lends itself to bigger questions (how far would you go for money, how well do you know yourself, etc.) I appreciated that Dewil doesn’t allow the film to become a black and white morality tale. If any of us was stuck in a room for this long, I’m sure we’d all have our off-days.


In Theaters & On Demand August 19th

 

*Best Feature & Best Actor Award – Mammoth Film Festival*
*Best Feature Award – London Independent Film Awards*


Review: Heart-stopping thriller ‘FALL’ opens in theaters this Friday. Hold on tight.

FALL

What could possibly go wrong attempting to traverse a rusty 2000-foot tower in the middle of nowhere? Only everything. In Scott Mann‘s FALL, Becky is a year out from watching her husband plummet from a climbing mishap before her very eyes. Mired in grief, best friend and climbing partner Hunter convinces her to do the unthinkable to heal. The two plan on climbing the 4th tallest structure in the US while Hunter films it for her budding YouTube channel. One loose screw at a time, and the entire plan goes to hell. FALL will take your breath away. 

The seemingly simple premise becomes one of the most intense and harrowing films I’ve ever seen. I didn’t have a fear of heights before Fall. I sure as hell do now. Every second of this film is a goddamn horror. If there was a moment’s lull, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. (No pun intended.) My heart was in my throat. I was sweating uncontrollably. I went weak in the knees over and over again. FALL is a nonstop cinematic panic attack.

The screenplay by Mann and Jonathan Frank does an impeccable job of wrapping the action in grief, unresolved trauma, forgiveness, and authenticity. The relationship between Becky and Hunter feels like a level playing field until secrets cause additional emotional conflict. It’s a carefully crafted script, many of its moments foreshadowed in the earlier dialogue. Virginia Gardner, who was spectacular in Starfish, plays Hunter with fearless energy. She’s the perfect foil for Grace Caroline Currey. As Becky, she sits in an entirely different headspace. Gardner and Currey’s chemistry is key to the film’s believability. 

The sometimes sparse, menacing score by Tim Despic combined with Alex Joseph and David Barber‘s sharply executed sound editing ramps up the inevitable impending doom we came to experience. The cinematography by MacGregor is a wonder. The juxtaposition of tight close-ups and wide landscape shots fills you with fear, placing you inside the bodies of Becky and Hunter. I cannot stress this enough, FALL deserves a viewing on the widest and tallest screen possible, but even on a laptop, the terror is paralyzing. FALL will take your breath away. Hold on tight.


Lionsgate’s FALL will open on 1200+ screens across the country on Friday, August 12.

This includes all key regional cities including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, Houston, Austin, Boston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit, Seattle, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Orlando, Tampa, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and more.

Find a theater near you: https://fandan.co/3cYz8zu

OFFICIAL SITE:  http://www.lionsgate.com/movies/fall

FOLLOW FALL ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
https://www.instagram.com/fallmovie/
https://twitter.com/fallmovie
Hashtag: #FallMovie


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

RESURRECTION

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

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

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


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

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


 

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

SWALLOWED

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

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

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


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022


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

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

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

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


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

Next Exit
Legions
Sissy


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



FREAKS OUT (Italy)

– Dir: Gabriele Mainetti

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

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



Princesse Dragon

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

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


Polaris

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

All female-led opening film. Sold.


One Cut of the Dead

(French remake of the cult classic)

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

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

Huesera

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

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



Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

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

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

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


Piggy

Laura Galán appears in PIGGY by Carlota Pereda

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

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


The Pez Outlaw

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

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


Everybody Goes To The Hosptial (short film)


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

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


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