Review: Breakout “baguette western” ‘WISTERIA’ making its World Premiere at Brooklyn Film Festival this weekend!

WISTERIA

Synopsis

In this “Baguette Western“ set in Evansville, WY, Jacob, a lonely farmer, sees his life brutally changed after committing the irreparable: the murder of a Native. In a hostile environment where law and order are set by the cold-hearted Marshall Henry, Jacob struggles to redeem himself. Then arrives Wisteria, a Blackfoot wounded woman. A chance for him to finally find peace again.

Wisteria is a revisited drama/romance western. The first ever shot entirely in France.


Shot entirely in the countryside of France, WISTERIA‘s beautiful opening sequences by DP Raphaël Bourdin, combined with Dan Fogelberg‘s theme song, immediately draw you into Samuel J. Attias‘ feature debut. 

The film has a grand overarching nostalgia with its often playful flute and horn-heavy score. There’s poetry to the small moments. It reminds me of classic Disney films from the 50s and 70s in the best ways possible. Jacob’s empathy grows as his grief subsides, and his humanity becomes their saving grace. Pushing past societal norms and grasping at true happiness is as relatable a storyline as they come. Place that in a narrative that honors Native people, and you’ve got something a little extra special.

Jasen Wade is gentle and loving as Jacob. His strong physical presence and thoughtful nature create an intriguing narrative straight away. Jacob’s redemption story begins early on, and experiencing his journey is so satisfying. Violetta Deblieck gives Wisteria a lovely disposition. Her ability to emote without dialogue perfectly matches Wade’s openness. They prove to be a quietly fierce onscreen duo.

I have to mention the sharply choreographed final ten minutes. In under an hour, WISTERIA is a gorgeous and organic love story. It wears its heart on its sleeve with a wholesome nature you can it help but embrace. Samuel J. Attias has a clear vision and an undeniably charming style. It is easy to predict big things on the horizon. 


WISTERIA SCREENING INFORMATION
Saturday, June 10 at 6:00PM
World Premiere
Windmill Studios


Cast: Jasen Wade, Michael Flynn, Violeta Deblieck

Crew: Producer: Laurence Le Rolland. Director/Writter: Samuel Jacob Attias; Direction of Photography: Raphaël Bourdin; Poster Artist: Steven Chorney; Sound mixer: Lucas Rollin; Color Grader: Antoine Ravache; Set Photographer: Ilan Azoulay


DIRECTOR’S NOTE:
Wisteria is a love letter to the Western genre, and my chance to make the first Western film shot entirely in France. Growing up, I was captivated by the movie magic and classic storytelling found in Westerns, and I wanted to capture that same magic on screen.

Through the characters of Jacob and Wisteria, I wanted to explore the universality of love and the power it has to transcend cultural boundaries. Their story serves as a celebration of love in all its forms. I also wanted to pay tribute to the Golden Age of cinema, and to the power of visual storytelling. By using silence and striking camera movements. I aimed to create a film that speaks to audiences without leaning on extensive dialogue. Wisteria is a film made with passion and I hope it inspires audiences to revel in the power of love and the magic of old-school cinema.


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

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

 

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


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

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


MAGGIE MOORE(S) – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 

In Theaters & On Demand June 16th

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

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

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



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



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

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

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


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

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

Check out the trailer below:


SOMEWHERE QUIET– US Narrative Competition

Director/Writer: Olivia West Lloyd

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

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

Running Time: 98 minutes

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

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


OUR SON– Spotlight Narrative

Director/Co-Writer: Bill Oliver

Co-Writer: Peter Nickowitz 

Producers: Fernando Loureiro and Eric Binns

Key Cast: Luke Evans, Billy Porter

Running Time: 104 Minutes

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

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


I.S.S. – Spotlight Narrative

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Writer: Nick Shafir

Producers: Pete Shilaimon and Mickey Liddell

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

Running Time: 95 Minutes

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

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


SUITABLE FLESH –  Midnight (World Premiere)

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

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

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


BAD THINGS – US Narrative Competition 

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

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

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


BUCKY F*CKING DENT – Spotlight Narrative

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

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

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

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

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


THE FUTURE– International Narrative Competition (World Premiere)

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

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

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


TO MY FATHER – Shorts (World Premiere)

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

 

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

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


CHASING CHASING AMY – Viewpoints (World Premiere)

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

 

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

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


For all things Tribeca Festival, click here!

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


 

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

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE

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


To read Night One coverage, click here!

To read about Night Two, click here!

Michael Barnett and Kristine Barnett mugshots

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

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

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

 

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

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

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE

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


To read Night One coverage, click here!

NIGHT TWO:

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

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

Stay tuned for Night Three’s coverage tomorrow!

 

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

Did this shocking real-life story inspire a horror franchise sequel? Or, it it the other way around? ‘THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE’ is an explosive 3-night special airs on ID

THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATALIA GRACE

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


Courtesy of ID

Friends, family, and neighbors of The Barnetts share their memories of the day little Natalia came home with the Barnetts and the chaos that soon commenced. The Barnett family patriarch Michael opens the docuseries by explaining that life was damn near perfect when they adopted a 6-year-old Ukranian girl with dwarfism in 2011. Natalia was the missing piece to their idyllic life until the red flags began to wave. According to Michael, things get out of hand only a few months into welcoming Natalia home. Eldest son Jacob Barnett speaks to his fear and confusion at age 11 when his adopted sister hoards knives and slowly tortures him and his siblings daily. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

Episode 1 sets up Natalia as a mastermind and sociopath. To say it is unnerving is an understatement. Episode 2 features intriguing audio from phone calls with several Indiana State Mental Hospital staff. Enter legal expert Beth Karas and new details from witnesses that dispute many of Michael Barnett’s storytelling. Now, the audience finds themselves in a tailspin.

Stay tuned for Night Two’s coverage tomorrow!

 

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

The MAX original three-part docuseries: ‘HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL’ displays the terrifying consequences of a manipulating mastermind.


Synopsis: In 2005, the sleepy community of Mineola, Texas, is thrown into turmoil when local children reveal shocking stories about a pedophile sex ring that took place at a local swingers club. As arrests are made, life sentences handed down, and lives ruined, it soon becomes apparent that there is a lot more to the story than meets the eye. Now, the startling long-term repercussions of the scandal are revealed. With more twists and turns than a Hollywood thriller, HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL is a startling and scarcely believable telling of a crime story that really is stranger than fiction.


Based on Michael Hall‘s articles from 2004, Mineola, Texas, HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL is a shocking tale of deceit and power. It’s time for some good old fashion pearl-clutching before tearing them off in a rage.

Episode 1:
Did three foster children admit their biological families had them in a child sex ring? Foster mother Margie Cantrall tells us a reprehensible story. Police and the media pick up on these allegations, and with Margie in the interrogation room, three kids testify to sexual abuse. Mineola, Texas, became an epicenter for the repeated miscarriage of justice.

Episode 2:
“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” This Hamlet quote captures how this case turns upside down. Rumors, corruption, and pleading the 5th come from an unlikely source. In the third trial of this sex ring, things become clear there is something foul about the lack of witnesses. Journalists dive deep into Margie Cantrall’s past foster kids, and a surprise witness comes forward.

Episode 3:
Prosecutors and judges show their cards, and the motive for this scheme comes to light. We finally hear from Carly and Hunter as adults. They recall a childhood from hell. Revisiting the unseen interviews from Gabby, Hunter, and Carly blows this charade wide open.

This must-see and completely enthralling docuseries will have you wanting more. More justice, that is. 

The Max Original three-part docuseries HOW TO CREATE A SEX SCANDAL, directed by Julian P. Hobbs and executive produced by Elli Hakami (co-directors “House of Hammer”) debuts TUESDAY, MAY 23 on Max.

About Max: Max is WarnerBrosDiscovery’s direct-to-consumer offering with 10,000 hours of curated premium content. Max offers powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from WarnerMedia’s rich library including HBO, Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. #WarnerBrosDiscovery #streamonmax
 
SUBSCRIBE TO MAX http://bit.ly/HBOMaxYouTube
 
GET MAX https://itsh.bo/ways-to-get

 

Review: ‘MOTION DETECTED’ has a solid concept but a glitchy execution.

MOTION DETECTED

Eva narrowly escaped being murdered during a recent terrifying home invasion in Mexico City. She and her husband decide to relocate to Los Angeles where she can recuperate. But when her husband has to travel for business, she’s left alone in an unfamiliar place and suffering from paranoia. She’s consoled by the smart home security system, but the technology is difficult to master and she starts to wonder if it will actually keep her safe or take over her life.


MOTION DETECTED relies entirely on Natasha Esca‘s performance as Eva. Her descent into madness goes from 75 to 200 very quickly. A moment with wine is, perhaps, a touch over the top. Esca shines brightest when speaking Spanish. It’s her most natural delivery.

I understand the need for lighting, but the nighttime bedroom scenes appear overlit. That aside, the set is gorgeous. This LA mansion has all the architectural features to swoon over. Using what appear to be Ring video clips to create palpable fear is a slick device, and the subplot of trauma heightens the stakes.

The film struggles with picking a storytelling lane. Eva’s PTSD and (*spoiler alert*) the haunted alarm system conflict more than they mesh. The idea that Diablo might manifest your greatest fears to lure you in needs a better narrative anchor in the film’s opening scene. Overall, the notion of tech knowing too much about us at every moment is a solid starting point. We can all relate to using some version of an AI assistant. The meat is on the bone in MOTION DETECTED, but it is a tad undercooked, in my opinion.

Motion Detected world premiered at the 2022 Dances With Films Festival and debuted on Cable VOD and Digital HD, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Comcast and Verizon, May 19, 2023.


Review: Joaquín del Paso’s vicious film ‘A HOLE IN THE FENCE’ is a tale of fearmongering and the stunning contagion of hate.

A HOLE IN THE FENCE

Synopsis: At a secluded exclusive summer camp in the Mexican countryside, under the watchful eyes of their adult guardians, boys from a prestigious private school receive physical, moral, and religious training to turn them into tomorrow’s elite. The discovery of a hole in the fence sets in motion a chain of disturbing events as the boys devolve into a Lord of the Flies-like mob mentality that creates and spreads hysteria in this profoundly disturbing coming-of-age drama that unravels like a horror movie while drawing on actual events. Features an original score by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (Stranger Things).


Save one or two, a group predominantly of elitist little shits wage war against the weaker for power. To no one’s surprise, these kids could not care less about following the religious aspects of the camp’s intentions, instead actively torturing the child with the darkest skin. Perhaps the saddest part is how the hatred spreads so quickly.

Outside the inner workings of the boys, there is a grander racism playing out beyond the chain link fence of the camp. A hole brings fear that an outsider has infiltrated the grounds. Slowly, we discover the nefarious intentions of the staff, the indoctrination of following orders, and never questioning authority.

The film plays out in two distinct acts. Once in the woods, the fractures widen, and smaller groups become exceedingly hostile. This Lord Of The Flies meets The Village script is exhilarating. My nerves almost could not take it. Performances are extraordinary. The film speaks to a growing global evil in Christofascism, sexual abuse in the church, and the destruction of otherness. A HOLE IN THE FENCE displays toxic masculinity at its core. It is a sick test and focuses on the myth of manhood. It is a microcosm, and we should all be afraid.

Joaquín del Paso’s Venice Film Festival Selection Opens May 26 at the Laemmle Theaters in L.A., More Dates To Come

 

Original title: El hoyo en la cerca
Starring: Valeria Lamm Williams, Yubah Ortega, Luciano Kurti, Eric Walker, Santiago Barajas, Enrique Lascurain, Jacek Poniedzialek, Raul Vasconcelos
Directed by: Joaquin del Paso
Written by: Joaquin del Paso, Lucy Pawlak
Produced by: Fernanda de la Peza, Joaquin del Paso
Specs: 2021 / 102 Minutes / In Spanish w/English Subtitles / DCP / 1.66:1

www.alteredinnocence.net/holeinthefence


 

Netflix documentary review: ‘VICTIM/SUSPECT’ exposes rape culture from the inside out.

presents

VICTIM/SUSPECT

On her first solo investigation, journalist Rae de Leon travels nationwide to uncover a shocking pattern: Young women tell the police they’ve been sexually assaulted, but instead of finding justice, they’re charged with the crime of making a false report, arrested, and even imprisoned by the system they believed would protect them.


Nancy Schwartzman follows investigative journalist Rachel De Leon after reading about a news report that struck her as odd, leading her to dive into numerous cases where rape victims suddenly found themselves arrested for false reporting. In Netflix’s VICTIM/SUSPECT, experts, lawyers, and survivors weigh in on this sickening trend.

Interrogation videos are startling, to put it nicely. The difference in tone and language between the accused and accusers will infuriate you. Victims appear in shock; most of them are taught to respect authority. The victim blaming and shaming will make your blood boil. This systematic problem is the personification of rape culture. Detective Carl Hershman, an incredible former SVU officer, helps us understand the why and how. The force needs more people like him.

Rachel reminds me of journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey from the explosive NYT articles accusing Harvey Weinstein. Their pounding-the-pavement style of door-knocking, interview requests, and meeting victims on their terms changed the face of the #MeToo movement for the better. Rae’s similar tenacity proves invaluable. She is doing the work, despite pushback and roadblocks from police. It is undeniably vital work. I hope she realizes the impact she has on survivors like myself. 
The psychological damage is unfathomable. Trust me when I say there are more sexual assault survivors than you are comfortable comprehending. VICTIM/SUSPECT uses police officers’ own words against them. The blatant lies and heinous tactics to have these victims recant will blow you away. Your head will spin when you discover their training includes using “ruse” in questioning. The lack of actual investigation is staggering. Journalists like De Leon are quite literally saving lives. Nancy Schwartzman and Netflix are doing an essential service to victims with VICTIM/SUSPECT. It can only lead to justice.


New Doc VICTIM/SUSPECT | On Netflix May 23 | From Director Nancy Schwartzman


Review: Still sly like a fox, Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote’s ‘THE WRATH OF BECKY’ is the “f*ck yeah” of sequels.

presents

THE WRATH OF BECKY

Lulu Wilson is back for more blood-soaked revenge in THE WRATH OF BECKY. Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote bring audiences a much-deserved sequel to BECKY where we find our titular leading lady four years later. Now 16 and an absolute Sarah Connor badass, Becky lives with an enigmatic caretaker while she makes money as a waitress. When three over-the-top nazi misogynists retraumatize her and steal her dog, Becky finds a new reason to wreak havoc. Think Tank Girl meets John Wick, and you’ll have some idea of the brilliance of THE WRATH OF BECKY.

The script is equally as brutal as the first film. You have to respect it. WRATH takes us a step further into the depths of Nazi incels. The timely nature of the plot is brilliant and terrifying. Having Becky break the fourth wall is beyond satisfying. The mystery from the original begs for an extended storyline and a larger franchise.

Sean William Scott takes a page from his performance in BLOODLINE to play Daryl, the leader of a militant rightwing group called The Noblemen. His quiet assertiveness is undeniably unsettling. It’s a frighteningly compelling turn.

Lulu Wilson is magnificent. You can not take your eyes off her. She is aware of every minute gesture and idiosyncrasy of Becky. Her iconic knit fox hat gets an upgrade, and I was not disappointed. Wilson’s sardonic delivery is chef’s kiss. The fact that she is strictly anti-gun makes for some spectacularly creative kills. Wilson handles them like a maniacal little pro.

Becky represents every woman who is sick of your shit. This feminist horror icon, because that is precisely what she is to me, lets me live out my daily fantasies of earned rage. THE WRATH OF BECKY is a “fuck yeah” of a film. I implore Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote to keep this franchise alive and kicking (ass).

Quiver Distribution will release the action/thriller/horror film 

THE WRATH OF BECKY exclusively in theaters on May 26, 2023.  

PBS airing Bobbi Jo Hart’s doc ‘FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK’ tonight!

PBS

presents

FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK

*This review was originally featured on AWFJ.org*



Sexism, racism, and rock & roll, Fanny: The Right To Rock is the story of how two Filipina American sisters started Fanny, the legendary rock group you may have never heard of until now. Jean and June Millington used to gather a crowd in their California backyard. After they decided to put together a band comprised of extraordinarily fearless and talented female musicians, the road to Fanny began.

After getting signed, Fanny moved into a house to live and, more importantly, make music. The rock history that went in and out of their “Fanny Hill” home in L. A. is astonishing; Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, and Little Feat, to name a few. The freedom to express your sexuality, bed hop, do drugs, and make damn good music ruled that house. Unconscious healing that occurred through the safety inside Fanny Hill comes through the voices of all that crossed the threshold.

Experiencing Fanny’s songs for the first time, I immediately recognized the impact made on so many other artists. So how is Fanny not in my musical catalog? Jean, June, Alice, Brie, Patti, Cam, and Nickey were trailblazers who worked three times as hard as men and cranked out thought-provoking lyrics ahead of the times. Fanny was a feminist rock group with sharp wit and zero fear. The documentary utilizes sit-down interviews, studio sessions past and present, and live performances on stage and on television. The archival photography from Linda Wolf is extraordinary.

Fanny broke up due to a deadly combination of things; misogyny, societal times, no one big bop to make money, and having a studio that pushed them to their limits. As members came and went throughout the years, the sound morphed but always retained that iconic grit.

In 1975, they said goodbye to their rock days to pursue motherhood and personal musical pursuits. In 1999, David Bowie (whom June briefly dated) made a statement mentioning the band by name. This capsule appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, thus sparking the ladies and their former producers to write a brand new album, Fanny Walked The Earth.

Bobbi Jo Hart’s doc comes at the perfect time in the band’s history and ours. It shines a light on their industry impact, from the importance of their Filipina culture to their mold-breaking lyrics and energy. Watching Fanny proves that great rock and roll lives forever. Get ready for their new single When We Need Her to be the anthem we need right now.


FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK premieres on PBS on May 22, with streaming on PBS.org and the PBS app.

 

FILM DETAILS:

Title: Fanny: The Right to Rock

Directors: Bobbi Jo Hart

Release Date: May 27, 2022

Running Time: 96 minutes

Language: English

Screenwriter: Bobbi Jo Hart, Documentary

Distribution Company: Film Movement


 

Trailer Drop: Sean O’Reilly’s animated fantasy ‘HEROES OF THE GOLDEN MASK’ is coming this June.

Patton Oswalt (“Veronica Mars”, The Secret Life of Pets 2), Ron Perlman ( Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Hellboy), and, in his final performance, the late Christopher Plummer star in Heroes of the Golden Mask, coming to this June from Gravitas Ventures.

Inspired by the ancient bronze masks of Sanxingdui discovered on the archaeological site of Guanghan in the Sichuan Province in the late ‘80s, director Sean O’Reilly’s adventure-packed animated treat centers on Charlie, a wise-cracking, homeless, American orphan who is magically transported to the ancient Chinese kingdom of Sanxingdui, where a colorful team of superheroes need his help to defend the city from a brutal conqueror. Charlie joins the heroes, and secretly schemes to steal the priceless golden masks that grant them their powers.

Heroes of the Golden Masks will premiere on digital June 9 from Gravitas Ventures.

 

Produced by CG Bros Entertainment, Arcana Studios, and Golden Image Cultural Communication Inc, Heroes of the Golden Masks also features the voices of Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon : Sword of Destiny), Byron Mann (Skyscraper), Osric Chau (2012), Kiefer O’Reilly (“The Mighty Ducks : Game Changers”), and director Reilly.


NEWS- FANTASIA ANNOUNCES A BLISTERING FIRST WAVE OF TITLES FOR ITS 27th EDITION

FIRST WAVE OF TITLES FOR ITS 27th EDITION


A spotlight on South Korean cinema, a Canadian trailblazer Award for underground legend Larry Kent and World Premieres of new works from Larry Fessenden, Xavier Gens, Jenn Wexler, Jared Moshe, The Adams Family, and Victor Ginzburg + International Premieres of Tsutomu Hanabusa’s blockbusters TOKYO REVENGERS 2 – PART 1 & 2 headline the first wave of titles announced for Fantasia’s 27th edition!

Thursday May 11, 2023 // Montreal, Quebec — The Fantasia International Film Festival will be celebrating its 27th edition with a whiplashing program of screenings, workshops, and launch events running from July 20 through August 9, 2023, taking place at the Concordia Hall Cinema, with additional screens at the Cinémathèque québécoise and Cinéma du Musée.

The festival’s full lineup will be announced in early July. In the meantime, Fantasia is excited to reveal a selected first wave of titles and happenings.


BRIGHT SPOTLIGHTS ON SOUTH KOREAN CINEMA ILLUMINATE FANTASIA’s 27th EDITION

Since the selection of Kang Je-gyu’s GINGKO BED at Fantasia’s 1998 edition, the festival has become one of the premiere destinations for South Korean cinema. Over the years, Fantasia’s audience has had the opportunity to discover several essential Korean auteurs: Bong Joon-ho (BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE), Park Chan-wook (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE), Kim Ji-woon (THE QUIET FAMILY), Hwang Dong-hyuk (MISS GRANNY), and Yeon Sang-ho (THE KING OF PIGS) among many others. These filmmakers are now mainstays of the international film scene, lighting up the big screen and streaming platforms alike.
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Celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and the Republic of Korea, the Fantasia International Film Festival –in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center Canada and the Cinémathèque québécoise– is proud to showcase this unique national cinema. The festival will emphasize the vitality of current works and the versatility of South Korean creators, who work in a multitude of genres ranging from action to arthouse, breathtaking thrillers to outlandish musical comedies. The festival will also present a retrospective highlighting several significant works that led to the revival of Korean cinema in the 2000s, an effervescence that hasn’t stopped since.

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Fantasia will host the North American premiere of NEW NORMAL by Jung Bum-shik (GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM), a cynical and timely one-man horror anthology. The festival will also host the Canadian premieres of An Tae-jin’s period acupuncturist thriller THE NIGHT OWL; the violent and boisterous THE ROUNDUP: NO WAY OUT by Lee Sang-yong, featuring Don Lee once again; the 4K restoration of Jeong Jae-un’s coming-of-age TAKE CARE OF MY CAT (2001) and a screening of the unmissable THE PRESIDENT’S LAST BANG (2005) by master Im Sang-soo. More titles will be announced soon.

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In recognition of the spotlight, this year’s poster art was created by Montreal visual artist Donald Caron as an interpretation of the mythical nine-tailed fox, a fantastical creature that appears in the folktales of East Asia and legends of Korea. 

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FEAR RUNS LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP

LOVELY, DARK AND DEEP is the hotly anticipated directorial debut of Teresa Sutherland, screenwriter of THE WIND and a writer on MIDNIGHT MASS. Laced with stunning visuals, this ominously beautiful, deeply frightening nightmare is anchored by a captivating lead performance from BARBARIAN’s Georgina Campbell. Campbell plays a park ranger in an isolated forest outpost, the site of multiple mysterious disappearances, and she is plagued by visions blending the past and present with something even more sinister. This transfixing film oozes an immersive, fever-dream atmosphere. Also starring Nick Blood, Wai Ching Ho, and Edgar Morais. World Premiere. 

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A SUPPRESSED AND SPECTACULAR REINVENTION OF VAMPIRE LORE: EMPIRE V

A disaffected student (Pavel Tabakov) follows an invitation to join “the elite” and finds himself forcibly transformed into a vampire, joining a supernatural ruling class who exercise an anonymous dictatorship over humans. Celebrated Russian-American director Victor Ginzburg (GENERATION P) demonstrates a striking visual imagination, perfectly complementing a story that reinvents nearly every aspect of vampire lore in clever and fantastical ways. This is the MATRIX of vampire cinema. Years in the making, EMPIRE V is both next-level blockbuster storytelling and megabudget anti-Oligarch satire, electrified with breathtaking visuals from the great Aleksei Rodionov (COME AND SEE). Co-starring Miron Fedorov, AKA rap star Oxxxymiron, whose anti-War benefit concerts led the Russian justice ministry to condemn him as a “foreign agent.” EMPIRE V itself has been banned by Russia’s Ministry of Culture, ensuring that the citizens of its home country may never see the film. World Premiere. 

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THE TOKYO REVENGERS SAGA REVEALS HIGHER STAKES AND LOADS OF EMOTIONS

Tekemichi gets another blast from the past when his beloved Mio perishes again before his eyes in a freak accident… Or was it? Tekemichi must go back in time to save her, and find out how his involvement with the Tokyo Maji Gang ruined his real life once more. Nothing can prepare you for the amount of action, suspense and emotion TOKYO REVENGERS 2 – PART 1 and TOKYO REVENGERS 2 – PART 2 bring to the big screen! Director Tsutomu Hanabusa surpasses himself with two riveting new chapters in this beloved saga, whose legions of fans break Japan’s box office at every occasion. Come see this acclaimed manga-turned-anime in its ultimate incarnation as a star-studded live-action juggernaut. International Premiere. 

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A HEARTBREAKING, TIME-BENDING MASTERPIECE OF SPECULATIVE SCIENCE-FICTION: APORIA

Since losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi, FOR ALL MANKIND) in a drunk-driving incident, Sophie (Judy Greer, HALLOWEEN) has struggled to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter (Faithe Herman, THIS IS US). When her husband’s best friend (Payman Maadi, A SEPARATION), a former physicist, reveals he and Mal had been building a time-bending machine that could restore her former life, Sophie will be faced with an impossible choice.This riveting character-driven sci-fi work from award-winning writer/director Jared Moshe (THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN), imaginatively grapples with the ripple effects of morally fraught choices made in the name of love and raises timely questions about ethics in technological innovation.  World Premiere. 

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THE ADAMS FAMILY TAKE YOU WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS

Darkest prayers will be answered, in sawdust and sacrilege, when Fantasia goes WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS. This astonishing new feature from cult favourites The Adams Family (Toby Poster, John Adams, Zelda Adams), follows a family of traveling sideshow performers as they traverse Depression-era America on a bloody search for eternal life. As in THE DEEPER YOU DIG and HELLBENDER, both Fantasia World Premieres, the gifted filmmaking family’s latest creation continues their inspired explorations of familial power dynamics through the prism of horror. Haunting, poetic, sometimes funny, frequently freakish, and told with conviction through a deeply personal lens. World Premiere. 

 

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© Thanaporn Arkmanon

XAVIER GENS BRINGS SHATTERING FISTFULS OF MAYHEM!

Xavier Gens (FRONTIER(S), GANGS OF LONDON) is back! Sam, (Nassim Lyes) a professional boxer recently released from prison, breaks probation, flees to a faraway island in Thailand, and starts a family there. But when he’s blackmailed by a fierce local Godfather (Olivier Gourmet) into becoming a drug smuggler, things go straight to hell.. and then some! A blood-soaked revenge roller coaster, MAYHEM! starts slow and seething before exploding off the screen with tendon-snapping tension and unbelievably ferocious fight choreography of the sort that’s seldom seen in modern film. Also starring Loryn Nounay, Vithaya Pansringarm, Mehdi Hadim and Kenneth Won. World Premiere. 

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LET IT ALL OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO TALK TO PLUSHIES ARE KIND.

When sophomore student Nanamori joins the Plushies Club, he is encouraged to share his feelings with stuffed animals. You could call it an introvert’s paradise, or better yet, a safe space. And while for some it’s a natural fit, for others it’s an insular distraction. Adapted from a novella by rising literary star Ao Omae and directed by up-and-comer Yurina Kaneko (Fantasia 2019 selection 21ST CENTURY GIRL), PEOPLE WHO TALK TO PLUSHIES ARE KIND enchants with a gently provocative exploration of sexuality, gender, kindness and tolerance in Japanese society. A thought-provoking update on the youth film, for when the world feels like entirely too much. North American Premiere. Camera Lucida section.

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LYCANTHROPIAN CHILLS FROM FROM LARRY FESSENDEN: BLACKOUT

At last, acclaimed horror auteur Larry Fessenden has fulfilled his long-held desire to make a werewolf film, rounding out the triptych begun with his vampire drama HABIT (1997) and FRANKENSTEIN variation DEPRAVED (2019). Fessenden, as always, makes BLACKOUT a very human story as well as a gripping horror show while weaving in his traditional focus on socio-political themes, from his long-held ecological concerns to very modern issues of suspicion and paranoia. Starring Alex Hurt, Addison Timlin, Marshall Bell, James LeGros, Barbara Crampton and Joe Swanberg. World Premiere. 

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FROM SOUTH KOREA, COMES MOTHER LAND AN ARCTIC STOP-MOTION ADVENTURE

When the health of Krisha’s mother takes a turn for the worse, the village shaman offers her wisdom: follow the North Star to the Ancient Forest and find its guardian and master, the great red bear of legend. The first South Korean stop-motion feature film in almost half a century, director Park Jae-beom’s animated adventure MOTHER LAND is an exquisitely crafted snowbound fantasy with a potent emotional warmth at its core. It explores the lives and lore of the nomadic, indigenous reindeer herders of the sparse and unforgiving Siberian tundra. North American Premiere. Axis Section

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FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS AND BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

A chef with gambling problems (Nick Stahl) flees to the Latin American villa of an old friend who appears to be living an extraordinary life. Envy soon turns to greed and then to something more unsettling for the chef when he assumes his friend’s life. A Hitchockian, edge-of-your-seat descent into moral compromise with generous servings of dark humour, shock and surprise, WHAT YOU WISH FOR is the gripping sophomore feature of writer/director Nicholas Tomnay (THE PERFECT HOST). Grounded by a career best performance from Stahl, the film co-stars Tamsin Topolski, Randy Vasquez and Penelope Mitchell. From the producers of THE FLORIDA PROJECT. World Premiere. 

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A GUT-WRENCHING REFLECTION ON MODERN SLAVERY TAKES PLACE IN RICHELIEU

When Stéphane (Marc-André Grondin, RAVENOUS, C.R.A.Z.Y.) hires Ariane (Ariane Castellanos) to act as an interpreter for his Guatemalan workers, he expects nothing more than a messenger. But after witnessing the horrifying abuse the men are subjected to, Ariane will be pushed to choose between their lives and her own. A stunning debut feature from Québécois director Pier-Philippe Chevigny, RICHELIEU delivers a raw and emotional portrait of a system in which we are all  complicit unless we are willing to bear the cost of standing up for justice. Canadian Premiere. 

SUPERNATURAL POWERS AND SCHOOL GIRLS WITH SECRETS KICK OFF THE 2023 SEPTENTRION SHADOWS SECTION LINEUP! 

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A NOSTALGIC, SUPERNATURAL ROAD TRIP LEADS TO DAUGHTER OF THE SUN

Take a supernatural journey with Sonny, a man with Tourette Syndrome, and his daughter Hildie as they forge their path across the country. They hide a powerful secret but join a community of friendly nomadic strangers whose kindness conceals a darker intention. The World Premiere of DAUGHTER OF THE SUN is Sonny’s next chapter and a continuation of director/actor Ryan Ward’s award-winning SON OF THE SUNSHINE. This deeply personal journey reflects aspects of Ward’s life with cosmic imagery, stunning cinematography shot in Ward’s home province of Manitoba, and stellar performances from teens Nyah Perkin and Lennox Leacock. World Premiere

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JENN WEXLER DARES YOU TO BLEED FOR THE SACRIFICE GAME!

Jenn Wexler’s THE RANGER, a high-octane punk rock banger, exploded onto the genre landscape in 2018, and now she’s back with her sophomore feature THE SACRIFICE GAME. Filled with gore and lore, indie filmmaker Wexler penned this gripping and stylish ‘70s-set chiller involving school girls, power-mad killers and occult prophecy with partner Sean Redlitz. Shot in Quebec, this breakneck horror film stars Mena Massoud (EVOLVING VEGAN and ALADDIN), Olivia Scott Welch (LUCKY HANK, FEAR STREET Trilogy), Gus Kenworthy (AMERICAN HORROR STORY), Georgia Acken, Madison Baines and features the return of THE RANGERS’ Chloë Levine. You won’t want to miss a second of THE SACRIFICE GAME! World Premiere co-presented with Les Fantastique Week-ends.

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A CANADIAN TRAILBLAZER AWARD FOR LARRY KENT

Fantasia is proud to be giving our 2023 Canadian Trailblazer Award to our country’s legendary first underground filmmaker, Larry Kent, with World Premieres of Canadian International Pictures’’s new 4K restorations of his landmark Vancouver Trilogy and additional screenings and events. 

Cited by David Cronenberg as “a heroic figure,” Larry Kent made films “so ahead of their time” (to quote Atom Egoyan) that they eventually fell out of official circulation. 

Situated somewhere between the vivid indie dramas of John Cassavetes and the lurid melodramas of Doris Wishman, Kent’s films brought new vitality to Canadian cinema — and time has only added to their potency. 

Even as his 90th birthday approaches, he continues to make singular and gutsy independent features: his most recent works, EXLEY (2011) and SHE WHO MUST BURN (2015)  both World-Premiered at Fantasia, the latter winning Spectacular Optical’s 2015 Barry Convex Award for Best Canadian Feature at the festival. 

Whether audiences have caught up with Kent’s boldly uncompromising vision or not, CIP  is working on an ambitious restoration initiative that aims to resurrect his most seminal films, starting with The Vancouver Trilogy: THE BITTER ASH (1963), SWEET SUBSTITUTE (1964), and WHEN TOMORROW DIES (1965), each of which will be unveiled at Fantasia this summer.

The original camera negatives for all three films have been newly scanned in 4K and restored by CIP, giving these enduring works of underground Canadian cinema a chance to be discovered (and re-discovered) by adventurous cinephiles. 

In addition, Fantasia will also be presenting a rare 35mm print of YESTERDAY (1981) and a special screening of SHE WHO MUST BURN (2015). 

Join us in celebrating the career of one of Canadian Film’s most courageous originals!

Presented in association with Canadian International Pictures and the Cinémathèque québécoise.


News- Coming to Digital June 6th, with select theatrical screenings: Sex sells in new documentary ‘ALL MAN: The International Male Story’ how one “It” catalog introduced lifestyle branding for men.

All Man:
The International Male Story

The following is our original Tribeca Film Festival 2022 coverage:

The impact of men’s fashion takes center stage in Tribeca 2022 doc ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY. One innovative catalog gave men the freedom to be themselves. Its global and cultural influence spans generations like no other men’s fashion publication. In building International Male, Gene Burkard’s emphasis wasn’t on sex, even if the catalog featured chiseled men in high fashion. He and his creative team broke the mold of selling menswear while pushing a lifestyle brand. In the same way men ogle Victoria’s Secret, International Male became a household object to covet for innumerable reasons. 

Matt Bomer‘s narration adds a brilliant touch of nostalgia in a way that is hard to describe until you experience it for yourself. The film uses archival footage and photography, sit-down interviews, and creative transitional animation. The catalog was bright, smart, and sexy, and gave men something to aspire to be. It challenged the idea of masculinity with its European-inspired fashion and copy, written by Gene. He was meticulous in his work ethic, taking customer feedback and recognizing that 75% of their shoppers were women. Watching the images from the catalogs made me want to order (almost) every single article of clothing for my husband. Gene clearly understood the broad appeal. If International Male existed today, I’d be begging them to take my money. 

Everything shifted for International Male once the AIDS epidemic touched the employees and the world. Gene sold the catalog, and the new creative directors were more hesitant to hire queer staff, in fact, firing a huge percentage of them. In the 90s, the positive changes came in the form of more models of color. But with the loss of gay buyers and department stores filled with men’s retail, International Male was no longer a cash cow. But it’s easy to see how the catalog catapulted our current influencers in pop culture with the freedom to express themselves on a gender spectrum now celebrated across the globe. So, thank you, International Male. You made a difference while allowing us to drool.

ON DIGITAL June 6, 2023
Select Theatrical Screenings to be announced

Written and Produced by Peter Jones
Directed and Produced by Bryan Darling & Jesse Finley Reed
83 minutes / Not Rated / English / 2022 / Documentary


ABOUT THE FILM
ALL MAN: The International Male Story journeys across three decades of the catalog’s unlikely but lasting impact on fashion, masculinity, and sexuality in America. Gene Burkard, a once-closeted Midwesterner and GI, found freedom in San Diego, where he transformed men’s fashion into something cosmopolitan, carefree, and trend-setting. International Male reached gay and straight customers alike as it redefined images of masculinity in popular culture, generating revenue and circulation in the millions.

This character-driven documentary crafts a portrait of a band of outsiders who changed the way men would look – at themselves, at each other, and how the world would look at them. This is their story – a modern day fairy tale about a dream that really did come true.


 

Review: Lily James stars in breezy romcom ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

How do you find lasting love in today’s world? For documentary-maker and dating app addict Zoe (Lily James), swiping right has only delivered an endless stream of Mr. Wrongs, to her eccentric mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For Zoe’s childhood friend and neighbor Kaz (Shazad Latif), the answer is to follow his parents’ example and opt for an arranged (or “assisted”) marriage to a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan. As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger, chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a profoundly different approach to finding love.


If you want an updated Jane Austen-esque feature, look no further than WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? As close to the perfect viewing as one can get for Mother’s Day weekend, this authentic script tackles the here and now of dating and familial expectations with heart and laughs, and hidden passion. For film lovers, Zoe’s career is extra compelling. For lovers of reality dating shows, WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? is a fabulous combination of all the reasons why the rom-com never dies. 

Emma Thompson is Zoe’s eccentric mother whose firey energy is a lovely addition to the fully fleshed-out cast. Speaking of mother figures, Shabana Azmi plays Kaz’s mother with a loving sense of protection and tradition. You believe that these two families grew up next to one another. The comfort of their rhythm feels genuine. I would watch a spin-off of these two women raising the children in the early days. They are that compelling, even with their limited screen time.

Shazad Latif, as Kaz, has a quiet confidence that draws you in from the beginning. He possesses something special that makes the audience feel safe around him. Anyone would be lucky to have Kaz as a member of their family. Lily James plays Zoe with ambition, smarts, and girl-next-door sass. This character’s depth, flaws, and strengths equally embraced make the film thoroughly relatable. Dating is complicated, especially now. James embodies the modern-day woman and brings an elegance to Zoe that captures the audience immediately. Latif and James have a chemistry that feels earned.

The script cleverly weaves in James’ modern-day fairytale storytelling and When Harry Met Sally sit-down interviews. The costumes are bold and beautiful with lush set dressing to match. It is an undeniably heartwarming meeting of cultures in its honesty and humor. If you are not crying by the end, check your pulse.

WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? will be available in Theaters on May 5, 2023.

 

About Shout! Studios

Shout! Studios is the filmed entertainment production and distribution arm of Shout! Factory, specializing in all aspects of distribution, including theatrical, VOD, digital, DVD/Blu-ray, and broadcast. Shout! Studios works with creators at the forefront of pop culture, driving creative expression and diversity in independent storytelling. Shout! Studios finances, produces, acquires, and distributes an eclectic slate of movies, award-winning animated features, specialty films and series from rising and established talent, filmmakers, and producers. 

Shout’s upcoming releases include romantic-comedy What’s Love Got to Do with It? directed by Shekhar Kapur, written and produced by Jemima Khan, and starring Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi, and Oscar®-winner Emma Thompson, action-comedy Showdown At The Grand, starring Oscar®-winner Terrence Howard and Dolph Lundgren, and neo-Western thriller Head Count starring Aaron Jaukobenko, Melanie Zanetti, and Ryan Kwanten. Recent releases include epic fantasy adventure The Magic Flute, executive produced by Roland Emmerich and starring Jack Wolfe and Oscar®-winner F. Murray Abraham, the sci-fi comedy-drama Linoleum, starring Jim Gaffigan and Rhea Seehorn, Oliver Stone’s JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, documentary feature Refuge from levelFilm, Katie Couric Media and Artemis Rising, the critically acclaimed Shout! Studios original Western Old Henry, starring Tim Blake Nelson, comedy-drama Language Lessons, directed by Natalie Morales and starring Morales and Mark Duplass, comedy-drama Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Standing Up, Falling Down, starring Ben Schwartz and Billy Crystal.


 

True-crime documentary review: ‘BEYOND HUMAN NATURE’ is a twisted whodunit.

BEYOND HUMAN NATURE

November 1992. It’s a bone-chilling evening in Green Bay, Wisconsin, as paper mill worker Tom Monfils is discovered at the bottom of a pulp vat with a 40-pound weight tied around his neck. Immediately, Monfils’ death is presumed a homicide. Local law enforcement quickly generates a list of suspects among his co-workers. At the top of the list is Keith Kutska, a man who Monfils had recently butted heads with in a very public way. Scrappy detective Randy Winkler spearheads a blistering investigation, but questions linger about his methods. Three years later, the Monfils Six are handed down life sentences before a split courtroom, evoking both sighs of relief and cries of despair. 30 years later, many members of this divided community – including Monfils’ brother – remain convinced of their innocence. So the question persists: Are the Monfils Six a pack of bloodthirsty killers, or did six innocent family men fall prey to a wrongful conviction?


Michael Neelsen‘s newest documentary, BEYOND HUMAN NATURE, tells the story of the heinous death of Tom Monfils and how it leads to chaos in a small town paper mill. This homicide investigation will upend people’s lives for decades. It is one hell of a mystery.

The structure consists of reenactments, sit-down interviews with witnesses and the accused, alongside minute-by-minute corroborating video and photographic evidence. The score feels like a throwback to Unsolved Mysteries. BEYOND HUMAN NATURE is right up the alley of true-crime obsessives. It has that classic editing style that remains timeless.

What sets it apart is the case itself. The deliberate and malicious acts by the Green Bay Police Department set off a whirlwind of betrayal and death. Serious questions remain all these years later. If you think you know how this story ends, think again. The twists and turns are endless.

BEYOND HUMAN NATURE highlights the public pressure to solve a case. It tackles the emotional trauma of the wrongly accused and the ensuing chaos affecting the families involved. It is undeniably intriguing storytelling. This case will forever stick in the far regions of my brain.


Available Digitally May 2, 2023

Directed by: Michael Neelsen

Written by: Michael Neelsen and Joe Pudas 

Featuring interviews with: Mike Piaskowski, Randy Winkler, Cal Monfils, John Zakowski, Steve Kaplan, Francine Enright, Steve Stein, Amanda Williams, Earl Kellner, Denis Gullickson, Brian Kerhin, and Ann Klemm

*Official Selection – 2023 Green Bay Film Festival*

*Official Selection – 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival*

*Official Selection – 2023 Wisconsin Film Festival*

When a man is murdered by drowning in a paper pulp vat, a small mill town clamors for justice, and his brother comes face to face with the slippery nature of objective truth. Michael Neelsen’s documentary Beyond Human Nature chronicles the grisly Tom Monfils homicide investigation of 1992 through the eyes of the people who lived it.


 

Review: Nicholas Meyers and Tyler Chandler’s ‘DOSED: The Trip Of A Lifetime’ is a meditative journey with mushrooms as medicine.

DOSED


This film, the second by Nicholas Meyers and Tyler Chandler, tells the story of a loving mother of four, Laurie Brooks, who receives a grim diagnosis: terminal cancer. Given only a year to live, she becomes one of the first patients to be granted the legal right to the medical use of psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) for end-of-life treatment. As they documented her journey, they were able to secure interviews with top scientists, doctors, and clinicians in the field of psychedelic research, including Dr. Gabor Maté, Paul Stamets, Dennis McKenna, Dr. Robert Sealy, and Sharan Sidhu, among others. The resulting film, DOSED: The Trip of a Lifetime, contains powerful information with the potential to repair families and save lives.


The magic medicine of mushrooms. Filmmakers Nicholas Meyers and Tyler Chandler follow the 53-year-old married mother of four, Laurie Brooks, through grief and acceptance after a dire cancer diagnosis. Pushing past fear and diving head first into the earth’s soil for a possible therapy, DOSED: The Trip of a Lifetime gives audiences a fresh look at the mind and body and a new outlook on life, death, and healing.

Although outlawed in 1970, mushrooms had been in innumerable treatments beginning in the 20s. In 2000 Johns Hopkins received approval to continue research. Psychological readiness is intrinsic in granting patient approval. The study of psilocybin is just as important as cannabis studies, a subject DOSED also delves into at length. Meyers, Chandler, and Brooks allow us into raw trips. Laurie describes the images and sensations and, more importantly, the emotional after-effects of psilocybin. We hear from researchers and therapists about the positive effects of “magic mushrooms,” When we receive a fatal diagnosis, the psychological impact is immeasurable.

Meyers and Chandler fully acknowledge the limitations of solely profiling Laurie but hope that her story will open up the dialogue for the curious and the medical field to come together in a mutually beneficial journey. DOSED is an intimate and deeply affecting film about the possibilities in the relationship between nature and healing. Laurie Brooks’ story is one filled with inspiration. We walk away acknowledging one vital thing; that fully experiencing every moment is the key to living.


IN THEATERS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA AND SELECT INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
BEGINNING APRIL 21


There’s something in the air. No. Seriously. ‘KILLER KITES’ trailer causes mayhem and an early release!

KILLER KITES

Now available due to high demand!!


Directed by: Alan Dale, Austin Frosch

Starring: Manon Pages, Austin Naulty, Carter Simoneaux

Distributor : Film Hub


When Abby’s grandma dies, the only thing she inherits a stupid kite – after giving it to her brother; he is mysteriously killed and the kite disappears. While searching for the truth, she is tangled in a strange supernatural plot, where this killer kite continues to kill! Now, Abby must string together a way to stop the kite before it blows us all away. Kites may not be the scariest monster ever, but they’re up there.

Could KILLER KITES be the new Midnight Madness screening? Anything is possible. Check out the trailer below. 

AVAILABLE NOW TO HIGH DEMAND


 

A Shudder Original review: Thomas Marchese’s ‘FROM BLACK’ is a Faustian look beyond the veil

FROM BLACK

Cora is a recovering drug addict who lost her son due to her negligence five years prior. The film opens with a shocking crime scene and a traumatized, bloodied, and rambling Cora in the sheriff’s office. How did we get here? Cora spins a tale of otherworldly proportions filled with grief, regret, and chance. How far would you go to see your loved one again?

Writer-director Thomas Marchese and co-writer Jessub Flower dive into the subgenre without apology. When grief counselor Abel offers Cora the opportunity to see Noah again, her response is an immediate “Yes.” Anyone that sits in sadness understands the answer. Spellbook, chalk drawings, and salt circles in tow, Abel guides Cora on a step-by-step journey of possible redemption. The audience is smart enough to know there are stills attached. That never lessens the intensity of the plot.

Anna Camp plays Cora. She is unrecognizable in this role. Audiences usually recognize her perky personality and blonde hair. Raven-haired and emotionally battered, Cora brims with complexity. Camp allows herself to dive deep into grief and regret. It is an out-of-the-box performance for her, and she is magnificent. I’d love to see her in more dark roles. She can handle them.

The addiction and trauma allegories are particularly evident in Cora’s final moments. While I had the overall plot pegged early on, the finale surprised me. Duncan Cole’s intense cinematography, combined with Luigi Janssen’s ominous score, grabs you by the throat from the beginning. The editing is a triumph that keeps you poised on the edge of your seat. A Faustian look beyond the veil, FROM BLACK is a grief-fueled nightmare. It will satisfy every level.


FROM BLACK is now streaming exclusively on SHUDDER

First Official Trailer & Poster Release for John Slattery’s ‘MAGGIE MOORE(S)’ starring Jon Hamm & Tina Fey.

Presents

The Official Trailer & Poster Release for

MAGGIE MOORE(S)

Directed by John Slattery

Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, and Mary Holland


*World Premiere – Tribeca Festival 2023*
When two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.


IN THEATERS AND ON DEMAND JUNE 16

Written by Paul Bernbaum
Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Garcia Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, and Ross Kohn

RT: 99 Minutes