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

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THE COFFEE TABLE

The Coffee Table 2024 posterThe Coffee Table 2024 poster

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

 

THE COFFEE TABLE
Original title: La mesita del comedor

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

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

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

Spain I 2022 I Horror, Comedy I 90 minutes

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

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

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

THE LONG GAME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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



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

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‘STING’ (2024) Killer campy creature-feature

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Sting poster

12-year-old Charlotte captures a pet spider in her rundown apartment building. When her pet’s appetite increases, she is not so cute anymore. STING is creature-feature heaven.

STING-Still5-1340x754Jermaine Fowler gives an unforgettable performance as Frank, the exterminator. All eyes are on him in every scene he shows up in. Noni Hazlehurst is loveable as Charlotte’s dementia-ridden grandmother.

Penelope Mitchell (What You Wish For) is solid playing the newly postpartum mother of Charlotte and baby Liam, Heather. PS- Keep your ears sharp for Kate Walsh‘s voice.

STING-Still4-1340x754Ryan Corr gives Ethan a palpable charm in his mounting frustration. Charlotte’s stepfather, the building handyman by day and graphic artist by night, the epic snowstorm outside, the needy residents inside, and a giant ass, alien spider severely harsh his mellow.

Alyla Browne is magnetic as Charlotte, an adolescent badass, budding graphic novelist, and into the macabre. A mix of fearless with a side of abandonment issues, she owns every second of screen time.

I adore the nod to Charlotte’s Web in our little ingenue’s moniker. Please give me a scenario where she teams up with Lulu Wilson (BECKY franchise), and that is an entirely new genre franchise laid out in front of you.

STING-Still1-1340x754The film boasts a sometimes curious childlike score, an absurdly upbeat soundtrack, smart-looking opening credits, and an unmissable homage to Alien and Terminator. Our titular character is a creative wonder. Sting is something you have to see to appreciate. It is magnificent. Thank you, WĒTĀ Workshops.

Writer-director Kiah Roache-Turner (The Wyrmwood films) delivers tons of gorey fun with gross transitions and gagworthy practical FX. STING is a cleverly updated stab at a classic horror trope. You will devour it.

Opens Wide in North American Theaters on April 12th

After raising an unnervingly talented spider in secret, 12-year-old Charlotte must face the facts about her pet—and fight for her family’s survival—when the once-charming creature rapidly transforms into a giant, flesh-eating monster.

Directed by: Kiah Roache-Turner

Cast: 
Ryan Corr
Alyla Browne
Penelope Mitchell
Robyn Nevin
Noni Hazelhurst
Silvia Colloca
Danny Kim
Jermaine Fowler

#StingMovie

STING has been rated R (for violent content, bloody images and language).

 

‘ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH’ (2024) delves into love, lust, and dark Irish lore

XYZ logoALL YOU NEED IS DEATH

All You need Is Death poster

In ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH, an ambitious couple discovers the all-consuming origin of an ancient folk song. Anna and Aleks search for a particular melody that might end in a big payday for particular collectors. They will learn that power is intoxicating, but curses come with rules.

All You Need Is Death still 2The script builds a vibrating anticipation. The audience has little information. Filmmaker Paul Duane slowly reveals our protagonists’ what, but the why remains a mystery. Based on dark Irish lore passed down through the maternal lineage and some ancient cursed story, the song drips with agony, even if the audience cannot initially understand a single word. All parties are consumed by its power the moment it is heard.

All You Need Is Death 2024Only one character appears to coherently recall the film’s secretive canon, but only to a point. Rita’s son reveals the unspoken, generational seriousness of their circumstances. The drastic measures he takes to protect the legend are shocking. He must find Anna and her cohorts.

These ancient songs act like spells or incantations. Themes of love, obsession, yearning, and control blur with each passing scene. Eoin McDonagh‘s intriguing editing includes flashes from the song’s origin, spliced with moments of Anna showing the interconnectedness of the women charged with the secret’s protection.

All You Need Is Death still- Olwen Fouere photo by Ishmael ClaxtonQuick visual and dialogue genre homages pop up from time to time. Horror fans will find a sly smirk spread across their lips while intently trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Cast members Simone Collins, Charlie Maher, Catherine Wiggins, and Nigel O’Neill are captivating. One performance in particular, while short-lived, is mesmerizing. Olwen Fouéré plays songstress Rita Concannon. Her presence is unmatched by anyone else in the film. It’s a chilling turn.

The makeup FX are wonderful. Both opening and closing credits lend to a disquieting feeling. The script has massive expansion potential. You cannot begin to predict what comes next. ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH boasts a disturbing finale. Paul Duane delivers an unsettling story that burrows into your brain and will leave your mouth agape in horror. 

The nightmarish Irish folktale arrives on VOD and in select U.S. cinemas on April 11th

 

ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH stars Olwen Fouéré (Mandy, Sally Hardesty from 2022’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Charlie Maher (Blue Lights), Simone Collins (The Last Duel), and Gary Whelan (The Contract). The film had its World Premiere at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, followed by an Irish Premiere at Cork International Film Festival.

Not Rated
Color
91 Minutes
English Language



 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.

 

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‘YANNICK’ (2024) Meta theatre lunacy

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YANNICK

The absurdity of filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (Smoking Causes Coughing) is back in his latest film, YANNICK. During a live performance of a play, a dissatisfied audience member stops the actors, demanding a better story. The actors do not take his criticism well, leading the man to take more drastic measures.

With real-life increases in incidences of unruly theatergoers, Dupieux taps into the lack of civility and the culture of complaint. You see it all over the Internet because anyone can upload to YouTube or TikTok these days “expressing” their faux outrage. From conspiracy theories to rage-baiting clickbait, we have gone mad. YANNICK also directly addresses how quickly words lead to the threat of physical violence.

Yannick still 1Dupieux is a master of providing comedy within social commentary. As Yannick becomes more agitated, he reveals how out of touch he is with general society while simultaneously hurling offensive barbs at his captives. Equal parts hilarious and terrifying, all I could imagine as an actor and theatre patron was how I might escape such a scenario.

Longtime collaborator Raphaël Quenard gives our titular character a fully fleshed-out nuance that startles. His surprisingly levelheaded approach and matter-of-fact delivery create an entirely unsettling fear. All of this is evident within the first twenty minutes of the film. Quenard delivers one hell of a turn. He is fantastic.

Yannick cast still 2The honest laughs come when Dupieux leans fully into the meta satire in new dialogue written by Yannick. Filled with redundancies and mistakes, the audience in the theatre and at home belly laugh at the actors’ forced commitment.

The cast nails the table-read style of acting. It’s such a specific cadence. Fellow performers will eat it up. YANNICK is classic Dupieux. His dialogue drips with sarcasm, saying the quiet part out loud. That is what makes his films deliciously unpredictable.

YANNICK captures the essence of live theatre and life itself. Dupieux continues to thrill with his coordinated chaos. These days, everyone’s a critic.

YANNICK PREMIERES EXCLUSIVELY ON MUBI, APRIL 5

DJ-turned-filmmaker Quentin Dupieux (Smoking Causes CoughingDeerskin) returns with the Locarno-prize-winning comedy YANNICK, an absurdist tale navigating the relationship between artists and audiences. 

On a rare night off, car park guard Yannick attends a production of the play “Le Cocu.” Dissatisfied by the performance, he hijacks the show and demands to be made the playwright in order to get his valuable time back. Despite the ridicule, he is determined to prove even a car park guard can create good entertainment.

Shot in secret in just 6 days, Dupieux serves up his signature slice of satire in this quick-fire meta-comedy reflecting on his own relationship with audiences and critics. 

 

Director’s Biography

Born in Paris in 1974, Quentin Dupieux discovered cinema and bought his first synthesizer at the age of 18. Under the name Mr Oizo, he released his track Flat Beat and albums such as Analog Worms Attack, Moustache (Half a Scissor), and Lambs Anger.

In 2007, Dupieux directed, shot, edited, and composed the music for his first feature film, Steak. He went on to direct the absurdist horror film Rubber (2010) and the comedy Wrong, followed by Wrong Cops (2012), Reality (2014), Keep an Eye Out (2018) with Benoît Poelvoorde and Grégoire Ludig, Deerskin (2019) with Jean Dujardin and Adèle Haenel, Mandibles (2020), with Grégoire Ludig and David Marsais, Incredible but true, selected at Berlinale 2022, and Smoking Makes Coughing, presented in the Midnight Screening section at Cannes Film Festival 2022.

Yannick, his latest feature film stars Raphaël Quenard, Pio Marmaï, Blanche Gardin, and Sébastien Chassagne; and was produced by Hugo Sélignac (Chi-Fou-Mi) and Thomas and Mathieu Verhaegue (Atelier de Production).


MUBI is a global streaming service, production company and film distributor dedicated to elevating great cinema. MUBI creates, curates, acquires and champions visionary films, bringing them to audiences all over the world.

MUBI is a place to discover ambitious films by visionary filmmakers. From iconic directors to emerging auteurs. All carefully chosen by MUBI’s curators. With MUBI GO, members in select countries can get a free ticket every week to see the best new films in cinemas. And Notebook explores all sides of cinema culture — both in print and online.

Founded in 2007 by Efe Cakarel, MUBI is the biggest community of film lovers, anywhere. Available across 190 countries, with more than 16 million members around the world. MUBI acquired renowned sales agent and production company The Match Factory and Match Factory Productions in January 2022, and a majority stake in leading Benelux film distributor Cinéart in February 2024.

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Shudder’s ‘BAGHEAD’ (2024) Chilling legacy and lore.

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BAGHEAD

Baghead poster

Based on a short film written by Lorcan Reilly, director Alberto Corredor expands the world of a creature called BAGHEAD. The Shudder exclusive follows Iris, a young woman who discovers she now owns a rundown pub previously run by her estranged father. Putting her name on the deed comes with a caveat: the care of a woman in the basement.

The plot of BAGHEAD is undeniably intriguing. As an ancient tortured entity, part trapped phantom, and part macabre vessel for lost souls, Baghead deals with deep unresolved trauma. Fueled by vengeance, she feeds on grief.

Baghead -  Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo/ShudderThe first official appearance of our titular character is startling. Anne Müller‘s is dazzling. Her jarring physical performance makes BAGHEAD relentlessly unsettling.

Peter Mullan is Iris’s estranged father, Owen. He mesmerizes, guiding Iris from beyond the grave via an instructional videotape. Jeremy Irvine is Nate, a wealthy man desperately seeking to speak with his recently deceased wife. He is perfectly dastardly.

Ruby Barker plays Katie, Iris’s moral support and former group home best mate. Her protective aura serves as a solid foil for Iris’s impulsive nature.

Jeremy Irvine as Neil, Ruby Barker as Katie, Freya Allan as Iris Lark - Baghead -  Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo/ShudderFreya Allan plays Iris with equal parts frailty and fearlessness. You cannot take your eyes off her. Someone, please write a film featuring her as a young version of Juliette Lewis because the resemblance is uncanny. Take my money now.

There is so much lore in Christina Pamies and Bruce McGuire‘s screenplay. All I can think of is miniseries and franchise potential. Echoes of The Shining are undeniable. Marc Bitz creates stunning production design, Cale Finot delivers breathtaking cinematography, and Suvi-Erva Äikäs‘ score burrows beneath your skin. BAGHEAD is right up Shudder subscriber’s alley. I’m already demanding a sequel.

SUPERNATURAL HORROR BAGHEAD, STARRING FREYA ALLAN (THE WITCHER) MAKES EXCLUSIVE DEBUT ON SHUDDER APRIL 5



The Film, Produced By STUDIOCANAL and The Picture Company, is Directed By Alberto Corredor and Also Stars Ruby Barker, Peter Mullan, Jeremy Irvine and Ned Dennehy



The supernatural horror BAGHEAD, from director Alberto Corredor, will make its exclusive debut Friday, April 5 on Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Produced by STUDIOCANAL and The Picture Company, BAGHEAD is a full-length feature adaptation of Corredor’s indie short of the same name and will debut as part of the streamer’s “Halfway to Halloween” annual, monthlong horror-thon lineup. The film will also be available to stream on AMC+.


Following the death of her estranged father (Peter Mullan), Iris (Freya Allan) learns she has inherited a run-down, centuries-old pub. She travels to Berlin to identify her father’s body and meet with The Solicitor (Ned Dennehy) to discuss the estate. Little does she know, when the deed is signed, she will become inextricably tied to an unspeakable entity that resides in the pub’s basement–Baghead–a shape-shifting creature that can transform into the dead. Two thousand in cash for two minutes with the creature is all it takes for desperate loved ones to ease their grief. Neil (Jeremy Irvine), who has lost his wife, is Iris’ first customer. Like her father, Iris is tempted to exploit the creature’s powers and help desperate people for a price. But she soon discovers breaking the two-minute rule can have terrifying consequences. Together with her best friend Katie (Ruby Barker), Iris must battle to keep control of Baghead and figure out how to destroy her, before she destroys them.


BAGHEAD was produced by STUDIOCANAL and The Picture Company’s Alex Heineman and Andrew Rona through their long-term deal with the European giant. Roy Lee and Jake Wagner are Executive Producers along with Alberto and Lorcan Reilly.



About Shudder

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



About AMC+

AMC+ is the company’s premium streaming bundle featuring an extensive lineup of popular and critically acclaimed original programming from AMC, BBC America, IFC, and SundanceTV and full access to targeted streaming services Shudder, Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited, which feature content such as A Discovery of Witches, Creepshow, and Boyhood. The service features a continually refreshed library of commercial-free content, with iconic series from the AMC Networks portfolio including Mad Men, Halt & Catch Fire, Hell on Wheels, Turn: Washington’s Spies, Rectify, Portlandia, Orphan Black and series from The Walking Dead Universe, among many others. The service also offers a growing slate of original and exclusive series including Gangs of London, Dark Winds, and the first two series in a new Anne Rice universe, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire and Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witches. With new movies released every Friday, AMC+ is the newest destination for exclusive film premieres direct from theaters all year long. AMC+ is available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain and is available in the U.S. through AMCPlus.com, the AMC+ app, and a number of digital and cable partners.



About STUDIOCANAL (a CANAL+ Company)

STUDIOCANAL, a 100% affiliate of CANAL+ Group held by Vivendi, is Europe’s leader in production, distribution and international sales of feature films and series, operating in all nine major European markets – France, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Spain, Denmark and Benelux – as well as in Australia and New Zealand. It finances and produces around 30 films per year, distributes around 80 films per year. It owns the largest library in Europe and one of the most prestigious libraries in the world, boasting more than 8 000 titles from 60 countries, spanning 100 years of film history. 20 million euros has been invested into the restoration of 750 classic films over the past 5 years. In addition, STUDIOCANAL also produces almost 20 series each year and operates at an international level by globally distributing its scripted productions and CANAL+ Originals (2,000 hours of current and library content in distribution). All productions take place directly through STUDIOCANAL entities or with its award-winning network of 14 production companies in Europe and in the United States (STUDIOCANAL Series, LAILAPS FILMS, RED PRODUCTION COMPANY, URBAN MYTH FILMS, BAMBÚ PRODUCCIONES, STUDIOCANAL ORIGINAL, 2e BUREAU, SUNNYMARCH TV, SAM Productions, DINGIE, KINO SWIAT, BIRDIE PICTURES, STRONG FILM & TELEVISION, THE PICTURE COMPANY).


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‘ASPHALT CITY’ (2024) Death and Ethics.

ASPHALT CITY

ASPHALT CITY Poster

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXCLUSIVELY IN THEATERS MARCH 29

Asphalt City

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

 

CAST

Sean Penn “Gene Rutkovsky”

Tye Sheridan  “Ollie Cross”

Gbenga Akinnagbe “Verdis”

Michael Carmen Pitt “Lafontaine”

Katherine Waterston “Nancy”

Mike Tyson “Chief Burroughs”

Raquel Nave “Clara”

Kali Reis “Nia”

 

CREW

Director:                         Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire

Screenwriters:                Ryan King and Ben Mac Brown

Based on:                       the novel Black Flies by Shannon Burke

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

John Wildermuth, Tye Sheridan, Tina Wang

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

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

Director of Photography: David Ungaro, AFC

Editors:                           Saar Klein & Katie Mcquerrey

Production Designer:       Robert Pyzocha

Costume Designer:        Stacy Jansen

Music:                            Nicholas Becker and Quentin Sirjacq

Casting:                          Lori Eastside

Distributors:                   Roadside Attractions / Vertical

Genre:                            Thriller

Rating:                           R

Running Time:                125 minutes

ASPHALT CITY_STILL 12

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Thrilling ‘SLEEPING DOGS’ (2024) Russell Crowe dives into deception and dementia

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SLEEPING DOGS

Sleeping Dogs Russell Crowe

In SLEEPING DOGS, Russell Crowe plays Roy Freeman, a former detective who has just undergone an experimental treatment for dementia. When an inmate on death row requests a sit-down with him, a series of unanswered questions from the case pull us down a rabbit hole of mystery and lies.

SLEEPING DOGS -Russell CroweUtilizing Alzheimer’s as a creative device in storytelling delivers a nuanced and intriguing film. It places the viewer in Roy’s shoes as clues to his past drop in real-time. Classic noir lighting, score, and clever casefile tape transition visuals add to the flashback-filled narrative.

SLEEPING DOGS - Karen GillanKaren Gillan plays Laura Baines, the obsession of a potential subject in the case. She nails the old-school detective ingenue style of dramatics. Gillan brings a vocal tone and cadence similar to Elizabeth Holmes. It’s jarring but effective.

Crowe is spectacular, fully embodying the internal and external grief of dementia. It is no surprise that he owns this role in all its complexity. While the cast is undoubtedly strong, he brings a much-needed weight with his presence.

SLEEPING DOGS stillDirector Adam Cooper and co-writer Bill Collage do an excellent job adapting the 2017 novel The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici, keeping the viewer guessing. We know something is off, but with each character’s perspective, we constantly question the truth. Boasting an intensely dark ending, SLEEPING DOGS satisfies the bibliophile and cinephile alike.

 

ONLY IN THEATERS: March 22, 2024

DIRECTOR: Adam Cooper
WRITERS: Adam Cooper & Bill Collage (written by), E.O. Chirovici (based on “THE BOOK OF MIRRORS” by)
CAST: Russell Crowe, Karen Gillan, Márton Csókás, Thomas M. Wright, Harry Greenwood, and Tommy Flanagan
SYNOPSIS: An ex-homicide detective (Russell Crowe) with memory loss is forced to solve a brutal murder he can’t recall. But as evidence uncovers secrets tied to his forgotten past, he is led to a chilling truth – sometimes, it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.
RUN TIME: 110 minutes
RATING: R                               
GENRE: Action, Crime/Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: The Avenue

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

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WICKED LITTLE LETTERS

Wicked Little Letters (2023) poster

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

wicked-little-letters-3

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

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

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

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

OPENING IN LA & NY MARCH 29, 

OPENING NATIONWIDE APRIL 5

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

 

DIRECTED BY Thea Sharrock

WRITTEN BY Jonny Sweet

STARRING

Olivia Colman

Jessie Buckley

Timothy Spall

Anjana Vasan

Wicked Little Letters (2023) Olivia Colman

LOS ANGELES OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC CENTURY CITY 15

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA

AMC THE GROVE 14

10250 Santa Monica Blvd, 2000, Los Angeles, CA

NEW YORK OPENING DAY THEATERS

AMC LINCOLN SQUARE 13

1998 Broadway, New York, NY

CINEMA 123 BY ANGELIKA

1001 Third Ave, New York, NY

REGAL UNION SQUARE

850 Broadway, New York, NY

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION


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‘LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL’ (2024) Ratings from hell.

IFC Films logo

Late Night With The Devil

Late Night With The Devil IFC Films Shudder

After the passing of his wife and in danger of losing his live late-night hosting gig, Jack Delroy’s plan for ratings goes horribly wrong. LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL unfolds like an “E True Hollywood” exposé, playing the infamous 1977 studio tape of his talk show Night Owls’ Halloween episode. Jack is about to be famous, whether he likes it or not.

The tension increases with each volatile guest, culminating with the young subject of a controversial book. Jack requests a conversation with the entity possessing her, live on air, and “Mr. Wriggles” is more than happy to comply.

Late Night With The Devil IFC Films Shudder still 1Everything from the lighting, the lens, costumes, set design, the score, hair and makeup, and the jokes nail the era. Along with the live tape, black and white behind-the-scenes footage shows us what the at-home audience missed.

Laura Gordon plays Dr. June Ross-Mitchell, parapsychologist, author, and Lilly’s guardian. Her motherly energy and protective nature pour off the screen. She has magnetic chemistry with the rest of the cast.

Ingrid Torelli gives Lilly a shocking presence. Her overconfident air suggests an otherworldly maturity. It is startling, reminiscent of a young Drew Barrymore after E.T. fame. Torelli breaks the fourth wall by constantly gazing into the camera. It is one hell of a turn.

Late Night with the Devil (2023)David Dastmalchian owns every frame as Jack Delroy. A delicious mix of genuine and fame-hungry, his effortless performance is mesmerizing. He has the audience in the palm of his hand. You cannot take your eyes off of him.

Once Mr. Wriggles made their appearance, my heart was in my throat. I left fingernail impressions in my palm. From that moment on, the film leads up to a climax so unreal, I’ve never yelled “Oh F*CK!” so many times in one sitting. With a captivating balance of dazzling production design, jarring visuals FX, and a phenomenally demented screenplay from directors Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes, LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL is damn near perfect.


In Theaters on March 22, 2024

Written & Directed by 

Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes

Starring 

David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss, Ingrid Torelli, Fayssal Bazzi, Rhys Auteri 

ABOUT IFC FILMS

IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film, owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc. Its most recent releases include BLACKBERRY directed by Matt Johnson, BIOSPHERE with Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown, and the documentary LAKOTA NATION VS THE UNITED STATES directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli and executive produced by Sarah Eagle Heart and Mark Ruffalo. Forthcoming titles include Amy Redford’s WHAT COMES AROUND and the recently announced documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE from Nicole Newnham and Cannes Award-winner POT AU FEU from Trần Anh Hùng. Some of the company’s successes over the years include BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, CARLOS, BAD AXE and CORSAGE, among others.

 

ABOUT SHUDDER

AMC Networks’ Shudder is a premium streaming video service, super-serving members with the best selection in genre entertainment, covering horror, thrillers and the supernatural. Shudder’s expanding library of film, TV series, and originals is available on most streaming devices in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For a 7-day, risk-free trial, visit www.shudder.com.


For more IFC and Shudder reviews, click here!

‘EXHUMA’ (2024) Let the dead stay buried.

well go usa logoEXHUMA

Exhuma-Poster-WellGoUSA-1382x2048 An ancient evil affects the firstborn children of a wealthy family with uncontrollable wailing in their dreams. Eager to cash in, a team of macabre experts takes on this new client. As they dig deeper into this unique case, the usually confident group discovers they are in over their heads. In EXHUMA, that’s only the beginning of this horrifying tale.

Exhuma-KHorror-WellGoUSA-1340x754-5Performances are magnificent across the board. This spectacular multi-generational ensemble cast delivers engrossing mystery and terror. The script unfolds in chapters, like a how-to guide dealing with the underworld. Descriptions of rituals and occupational titles come in narration from the team. This creative storytelling immerses the audience in what feels like an inevitable tragedy. Complicating things further are the secrets our wealthy family hides. Genre fans will have a field day with horror canon balanced with the slightest touch of humor and serious gore. It is beyond compelling.

Exhuma Well Go UsaMixing tradition and superstition combined with an ominous score makes the hairs on your arms stick straight up. It’s a multi-sensory watch. EXHUMA deserves your full attention from the very first frame. There is so much meat on the bone. Expanding this world almost certainly feels possible and welcome. At its current runtime of two-plus hours, viewers would eat up more stories from this team. Their chemistry is magic, and a franchise would delight fans. The twists and turns keep coming. EXHUMA is undeniably one of the most intriguing cinematic experiences of the year.


EXHUMA 

Opening in Los Angeles March 15 | In Theaters Across North America March 22

For more reviews of Well Go USA films, click here!

 

All things Horror, we’ve got you covered!


Exhuma-KHorror-WellGoUSA-1340x754-2 Visit the official film page: https://wellgousa.com/films/exhuma

When a renowned shaman (KIM Go-Eun) and her protégé (Lee Do-hyun) are hired by a wealthy, enigmatic family, they begin investigating the cause of a disturbing supernatural illness that affects only the first-born children of each generation. With the help of a knowledgeable mortician (YOO Hai-jin) and the country’s most revered geomancer (CHOI Min-sik), they soon trace the affliction’s origin to a long-hidden family grave located on sacred ground. Sensing an ominous aura surrounding the burial site, the team opts to exhume and relocate the ancestral remains immediately. But as something much darker emerges, they soon discover what befalls those who dare to mess with the wrong grave.

Directed by: Jang Jae-Hyun

Cast: Choi Min-Sik, Kim Go-Eun, Yoo Hai-Jin, and Lee Do-Hyun


Watch more Well Go USA films online: https://bit.ly/WellGoFilmsOnline

ABOUT WELL GO USA ENTERTAINMENT:

Well Go USA, the studio behind TRIPLE THREAT, TRAIN TO BUSAN, and the IP MAN franchise, brings the best in martial arts, action, genre, and independent films from the U.S. and around the world to North America.

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

KNOX GOES AWAY

Knox_Goes_Away_Poster_2MB

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

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

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

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

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

US Release Date: February 16, 2024

Directed by Michael Keaton

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

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

For more films in the crime genre, click here!


 

‘HUNTING DAZE’ (SXSW 2024) and its slow simmering rage

SXSW 2024 color logo

HUNTING DAZE

Hunting Daze SXSW 2024Annick Blanc gives SXSW 2024 audiences something to chew on with HUNTING DAZE, a genre-defying tale of isolation, pack mentality, and self-preservation. Exotic dancer Nina finds herself stuck and calls upon a former client for roadside assistance. Without transport, he brings her back to an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Upon discovering it is a bachelor party, the eclectic group of men agrees to let her stay the weekend if, and only if, she can abide by an “all for one’ mentality.

Beautiful drone shots and an enveloping score draw you in immediately. Slow-motion dynamics and natural lighting have an immersive effect on the audience. The dialogue brilliantly hovers between misogynist and welcoming. Scenarios range from the absurd to fraught with danger. Blanc understands the constant din of fear a woman feels surrounded by exclusively male energy. It’s a volatility forced upon us and a visceral buzzing from head to toe.

Nina experiences ominous visions during the film, allowing Blanc to introduce magical realism into the script. These moments are some of the most extraordinary cinematically, taking us inside Nina’s subconscious.

Nahéma Ricci is a badass as Nina. She is magnetic, holding the audience in the palm of her hand. Blanc gives her one hell of an arc, and Ricci delivers. She is a star.

Each character is fully fleshed out, with their distinct quirks and personalities making for an unpredictable momentum. Blanc leans into the pack mentality quite literally with appearances by wolves. HUNTING DAZE is a spectacular metaphor for patriarchal power. My way or the highway structure assumes a male authority, especially if a woman attempts to rock the boat. This overarching sense of superiority we face from microaggressions to murder, HUNTING DAZE is a film of simmering feminist rage.


Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
10:00pm11:19pm
 
Mar 11, 2024
7:00pm8:19pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
9:00pm10:19pm
 
Mar 14, 2024
9:30pm10:49pm

 

Credits

Director:

Annick Blanc

Producer:

Maria Gracia Turgeon, Annick Blanc

Screenwriter:

Annick Blanc

Cinematographer:

Vincent Gonneville

Editor:

Amélie Labrèche

Music:

Peter Venne

Principal Cast:

Nahéma Ricci, Bruno Marcil, Frédéric Millaire-Zouvi, Marc Beaupré, Alexandre Landry, Maxime Genois, Noubi Ndiaye

SXSW logo

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!


 

‘ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE’ (SXSW 2024) The purest love of all

SXSW 2024 color logo

ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE

Adrianne & the castle SXSW 2024Director Shannon Walsh shares the extraordinary love story between an artist and his larger-than-life wife. SXSW 2024 audiences discover the legacy of Adrianne and Alan St. George. This documentary is a tale of adoration, art, and Adrianne.

Adrianne is a mesmerizing figure. Her vibrant handcrafted wardrobe and elaborate wigs were more than an act. Adrianne embodied creativity and dreams. She was a living, breathing ball of light.

Adrianne & The Castle SXSW 2024 waltzHerein lies the challenge for Alan and Shannon. How do you do justice to such a love story? Experimental musical interludes, Adrianne’s Doll Room, quirky home movies, and the ever-expanding house that grows like a whimsical version of The Winchester House. The mansion is an explosion of color, lavish draping fabrics, sculptures, and murals, all featuring Adrianne and Alan’s likenesses. It is Versailles meets Grimm’s Fairytales, each room mirroring a slice of her exuberant persona. She was and remains Alan’s muse for all things.

Alan owns a mascot company, providing characters from Smokey The Bear, Disney, and The White House to local high schools. It is how he finances the endless construction. After Adrianne passes, Alan is lost. The film is a creative catharsis. Half tribute and half coping mechanism, ADRIANNE & THE CASTLE is a fascinating meditation on grief and a portrait of exemplary soul mates.

Film Screenings

Mar 9, 2024
9:15pm10:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
11:15am12:41pm
 
Mar 13, 2024
11:45am1:11pm
 
Director:

Shannon Walsh

Producer:

Ina Fichman

Screenwriter:

Shannon Walsh, Laurel Sprengelmeyer

Cinematographer:

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa

Editor:

Sophie Farkas Bolla

Production Designer:

Nalo Soyini Bruce

Sound Designer:

Luc Bouchard

Music:

Richard Reed Parry

Principal Cast:

Alan St George, Nathan McDonald, Shannon Walsh, SLee

Additional Credits:

Re-recording Mixer: Gavin Fernandes, Additional Vocal Arrangements and Music by: Raquel Acevedo Klein

SXSW logo

For all things SXSW 2024, click here!


 

‘CREEP BOX’ (2024) is massively disturbing

CREEP BOX

CREEP BOX Poster

If you’re a paranormal enthusiast, you’ve heard of the average ghost tour. If you’re a little more intense, you download the Ghost Radar app and casually track color-coded spirits wandering in your vicinity. But, if you’re serious about the other side, book a psychic guided tour on the Queen Mary for your first wedding anniversary, paying extra for the EVP Spirit Box seance, like I did. 5 stars. Highly recommend. Patrick Biesemans’ CREEP BOX pits science and grief against each other in a disturbing and psychologically unsettling manner.

CREEP BOXDr. Franklin Caul has created a simulated consciousness with the dead. The DOJ wants it, but Caul has ulterior motives. The tech uses data from the deceased to have conversations or seek answers. In the mix is a swirl of overlapping thoughts and confusion that get under your skin. You cannot help but listen to them, and they are chilling. Caul observes that when suicide is the cause of death, the deterioration of self slows.

Adam David Thompson (Here Alone) plays the voice of Adam. His interpretation of an unseen character gets under your skin. He is nothing short of magnificent. Geoffrey Cantor carries CREEP BOX will ease. As Caul delves into the mind of a particular simulation, closing in on a personal agenda, Cantor’s humanity seeps through the academic shell. Geoffrey Cantor’s stoic nature perfectly matches Caul’s turmoil. He settles into unresolved trauma. It’s a fantastic performance.

CREEP BOX stillWhat might sound crazy is that this tech already exists. Customers can pay several different companies worldwide to build an AI version of their past loved ones. A recent Sundance documentary, ETERNAL YOU, is entirely about these services and their potential effects, good and bad. CREEP BOX takes these concepts down the rabbit hole, gladly stepping into the darkness and staying there.

In CREEP BOX and ETERNAL YOU, things change once the entity you communicate with appears sentient. Questions of ethics and the potential emotional damage of these interactions hang like a black cloud above the viewer. It’s a film that will undoubtedly mesmerize anyone who has suffered from grief. It instills wonder, curiosity, and pure terror. CREEP BOX will haunt you whether you like it or not.


Creep Box next screens at April’s Philip K. Dick Film Festival, which takes place at The Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

‘CAMP PLEASANT LAKE’ (2024) an ode to genre fans

Best Synthetic Urine Tests to Pass a Drug Test

In the contemporary landscape of drug testing, synthetic urine has become a popular solution for individuals facing scrutiny over their substance use. Whether it’s for employment, legal, or personal reasons, synthetic urine offers a way to pass a drug test with confidence. This article delves into the realm of synthetic urine tests, exploring their efficacy, usage, and the best products available on the market.

Understanding Synthetic Urine
Synthetic urine, also known as fake urine, is a laboratory-made liquid designed to mimic the chemical composition, color, odor, and even temperature of human urine. It’s typically composed of water, urea, creatinine, pH balancers, and other compounds found in natural urine.

Why People Use Synthetic Urine
Employment Drug Tests
One of the most common reasons individuals turn to synthetic urine is to pass pre-employment drug screenings. Many employers require prospective employees to undergo urine tests to ensure a drug-free workplace.

Probation or Legal Reasons
Individuals on probation or facing legal consequences due to drug-related offenses may resort to synthetic urine to comply with court-mandated drug tests and avoid further penalties.

Personal Preference
Some people simply prefer using synthetic urine as a precautionary measure or as a means of maintaining privacy regarding their substance use habits.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Synthetic Urine
When selecting a synthetic urine product, several factors come into play to ensure its effectiveness and reliability.

Reliability
The most crucial aspect of synthetic urine is its ability to produce accurate results consistently. Reliable brands offer formulations that closely resemble natural urine and are less likely to trigger suspicion during testing.

Ingredients
High-quality synthetic urine should contain a balanced blend of ingredients that mimic the chemical composition of real urine, including urea, creatinine, uric acid, and specific gravity.

Temperature Requirements
Maintaining the correct temperature is crucial for passing a urine drug test successfully. Synthetic urine should be heated to body temperature (around 98-100°F or 36-37°C) before submission to prevent detection.

Ease of Use
The synthetic urine kit should come with clear instructions and all the necessary components for easy preparation and submission.

Deskpop Entertainment logoCAMP PLEASANT LAKE

Camp Pleasant Lake poster

In CAMP PLEASANT LAKE, Rick and Darlene Rutherford breathe life into the eerie remnants of an old campsite, unaware of its dark past. Strange occurrences haunt the area, mirroring the tragedies of the old camp, where two decades earlier, a young girl was kidnapped and her parents brutally murdered. Amidst chilling atmospheres and long-forgotten secrets, the couple grapples with a horrifying revelation—they are entwined in the camp’s history. And as the shadows of the past collide with the present, the Rutherfords must confront the haunting histories of a sinister crime.


Camp Pleasant Lake group stillThomas Walton‘s CAMP PLEASANT LAKE centers around a horror camp created based on a 20-year-old legend of a missing child and the brutal murder of her family on their way to the very same camp.

Michael Paré is magnificent playing camp owner Mr Rutherford. Bonnie Aarons plays Esmeralda with a perfectly sinister air. The audience deserved so much more of her. Brainwashed son Lou gets the proper treatment from Mike Ferguson.

Camp Pleasant Lake_Still5Christopher Sky is the former vile camper turned Camp of Terror counselor, Mike. He is a sufficient asshole and you will revel in his inevitable demise. Jonathan Lipnicki is hands down the best part of CAMP PLEASANT LAKE. His unfettered commitment to the role is genuinely awesome.

Camp Pleasant Lake Jonathan LipnickiIt is evident the film is made by genre fans. Practical fx are bloody good, even if the pace and dialogue drag. The kills get better as the plot rolls along. I did wish the variety of attendees had been more eclectic. At $10k each, I was looking for fewer numbers and more development of these characters because the possibilities were endless.
The final scenes are seriously satisfying. Lipnicki earns the chance to reprise his role.

DeskPop Entertainment will release Thomas Walton’s refreshingly indie new horror film CAMP PLEASANT LAKE in select cinemas and on VOD February 27th!
The picture, which stars 90s screen icon Jonathan Lipnicki (Jerry MaguireStuart Little) alongside a bevvy of genre film icons, is a loving throwback to the thrilling, violent summer camp slasher films of the 1980s.

 

Written and directed by Thomas Walton, Camp Pleasant Lake stars Lipnicki alongside Bonnie Aarons (The Nun 1 and 2Jakob’s Wife), Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster 1 and 2), Michael Paré (Eddie and the CruisersStreets of Fire), Kelly Lynn Reiter, Robert LaSardo (Death Race), Maritza Brikisak, and Greg Tally.

Jared Safier produces the film alongside Walton, with Jeremy Hirsch, Matthew Macur, Damien Douglas, Lenny Vitulli, Jackson Everest, and Michael Mahal acting as its executive producers. Production companies on the picture are Safier Entertainment, PhilaDreams Films, Lux Angeles Studios, Stag Mountain Films, RMR Productions, and Movies By Misfits.


For more Horror film reviews, Click Here!

‘ORDINARY ANGELS’ (2024) soars with sweetness

Ordinary Angels poster

Based on a remarkable true story, ORDINARY ANGELS centers on Sharon (Hilary Swank), a fierce but struggling hairdresser in small-town Kentucky who discovers a renewed sense of purpose when she meets Ed (Alan Ritchson), a widower working hard to make ends meet for his two daughters. With his youngest daughter waiting for a liver transplant, Sharon sets her mind to helping the family and will move mountains to do it. What unfolds is the inspiring tale of faith, everyday miracles, and ordinary angels.


Jon Gunn brings audiences the story of personal redemption and a real-life miracle.

Alan Ritchson as Ed and Emily Mitchell as Michelle in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen FraserNancy Travis is a lovely addition as Ed’s mother. Her down-to-earth attitude solidifies generational Kentuckian views. Travis has fantastic chemistry with each cast member. You might think she was their real-life relative. Skywalker Hughes and Emily Mitchell, as the Schmitt siblings, are darling. Each provides precisely what the other needs in each scene, giving the audience (especially parents) a genuine emotional stronghold. Alan Ritchson gives Ed a prideful authenticity. Ed is kind and quiet but mired in grief. Ritchson creates a safe space to express the nuances of loss and masculinity.

Ordinary Angels Hilary SwankHilary Swank gives Sharon a spitfire vibe. She’s smart, organized, and motivated to make a positive mark on one family’s life. Initially going through the motions as a high-functioning alcoholic, this hairstylist-turned-advocate does her best to save the life of a little girl and her family drowning in debt and personal loss. Swank delivers on Sharon’s renewed sense of purpose. A backstory brimming with unresolved trauma speaks volumes. Swank navigates the underlying complexity like the pro. Franky, she is a tornado of energy that makes ORDINARY ANGELS a sweet and inspiring watch.

Hilary Swank as Sharon and Alan Ritchson as Ed in Ordinary Angels. Photo Credit: Allen FraserORDINARY ANGELS have genuine ERIN BROCKOVICH energy. The film is a quiet indictment of the healthcare system and insurance industry. Mostly, it’s a Good Samaritan story of our wildest dreams. Stay during the credits for the 1994 news footage, updates on Sharon and The Schmitts, and Dave Matthews‘s beautiful song “Pretty Bird.”


ORDINARY ANGELS will be available in theaters nationwide on February 23, 2024.

 

For more films Based on a True Story, click here!

 

‘VESELKA’ (2024) doc follows a restaurant entering the global stage

VESELKA:
THE RAINBOW ON THE CORNER
AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

VESELKA: THE RAINBOW ON THE CORNER AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

New York City’s beloved Ukrainian restaurant Veselka is best known for its borscht and varenyky, but it has become a beacon of hope for Ukraine. As the second-generation owner Tom Birchard reluctantly retires after 54 years, his son Jason faces the pressures of stepping into his father’s shoes as the war in Ukraine impacts his family and staff.


The first time I ate at Veselka, I’d only lived in New York for six months. A friend of mine, a lifelong New Yorker, walked us in at 1 am. We were sober but sleepy. The palpable energy of the packed wood-paneled room woke us up before a dish was served. I remember being a little awed by the fragile ecosystem – here, Wall Street players were sitting shoulder to shoulder with grinning grandmothers. Warm chatter and the smell of fried onions filled the space. That environment, that first bowl of borscht at Veselka, was one of the many little moments that helped me feel at home in a busy, sometimes uncaring city.

Michael Fiore’s documentary, Veselka: The Rainbow on the corner at the center of the world, takes the viewer into both the history and heart of the beloved Ukrainian restaurant. With the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the restaurant finds itself catapulted onto a transformational crossroads. Already tested by the global pandemic, its owner, Tom Birchard, hands the reins to his son, Jason. Jason finds himself at the helm of a world-famous family business, trying to put his own stamp on the restaurant while understanding its rapidly evolving role in both the local and global Ukrainian community.

VESELKA_Press ShotThe documentary is by turns uplifting and shattering. Most powerfully, it is a stark reminder of the human costs of ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. Unbelievably, this week will mark 2 years since Russia’s invasion and escalation of the conflict. While the war may not be at the forefront of the public conscious in 2024 to the same degree as it once was, it remains a constant for the staff and families at Veselka. This is not an overseas battle for them – these are their loved ones and families fighting and dying while the world moves on to the next crisis.

As a leader, Jason Birchard is equal parts toughness and warmth. His determination for his staff and community is inspiring.  Early in the Russian invasion, Veselka hosts Mayor Adams and his delegation to advocate for additional support for Ukraine. Watching this scene gives the viewer the rare experience of seeing an elected official being written off by a constituent in real-time. This superficial political moment stands in stark contrast to Veselka’s kitchen, which is humming with empathy and support.

Veselka: The Rainbow on the corner at the center of the world is many things. A  reminder of a brutal ongoing conflict. A challenge to the audience to remember how far the support of individuals can go in the face of global needs. A testament to the grit and determination behind a family business….And a reminder that you’ve really been craving borscht lately.


In Theaters This Friday 
February 23rd, 2024

Written, Produced, and Directed by Michael Fiore

Narrated by Golden Globe Award-winner David Duchovny (“The X Files”)
Score by Ryan Shore, featuring Grammy Award-winning saxophonist David Sanborn (“Lethal Weapon”)

Poster designed by Neil Jamieson (TIME “Person of the Year” cover artist – feat. President Zelensky)

Featuring interviews with father-son owners of Veselka Tom and Jason Birchard, additional Veselka staff as well as footage of New York Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul


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Matt Vesely’s intense ‘MONOLITH’ (2024) takes podcast storytelling to another realm.

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Monolith 2024 poster

One suspect article takes down a once respected journalist. Holed up in her wealthy parent’s estate while they are on holiday, our leading lady tries to revamp her image by creating a conspiracy theory podcast. While wading through emails, she spots one that is particularly eye-catching. Following up on the information, she continues down a path of potential otherworldly objects influencing people around the globe. But truth and lies are closer aligned than you might want to believe. Matt Vesely‘s SXSW 2023 sci-fi feature MONOLITH pulls you into oblivion.

Lily Sullivan in Monolith The film takes place in a single location where The Interviewer records her podcast. The secluded and expansive modern mid-century estate allows her to wander, but most of the action happens at a desk or in front of the wall of windows that contain her discoveries. Our journalist creates an episode of her first phone calls. Editing the calls at her will, the audience questions her culpability. This small moment puts your morality compasses in a tailspin. It is a slick move from writer Lucy Campbell. Podcasts are my nightly ritual, cleaning motivation, and my travel companion. Since SERIAL, the industry has exploded. In MONOLITH, the story goes viral. People begin contacting her directly with their stories, always warning her to stop.

Lily Sullivan in MonolithAt some point, the danger reaches the front door of our journalist’s secluded location when she receives a package related to the mysterious story. The darkness attached to the object feels slightly Faustian and not of this planet. No one remembers how they received their object, but each reaches a point in questioning where they feel compelled to hang up out of fear.

Lily Sullivan plays The Interviewer. Her emotional arc is mesmerizing, acting as a therapist to her callers, a manipulator for personal gain, and a target of the unknown. As the only onscreen actor in the film, her ability to carry such an intense and mysterious film is quite a feat. Sullivan owns the audience.

Matt Vesely's MonolithIs this a case of mass hysteria? In many ways, the plot mirrors today’s conspiracy groups like QAnon. Our leading lady goes down the rabbit hole, and the audience follows. MONOLITH boasts a jaw-dropping final ten minutes. This is one hell of a sci-fi thriller. It is a must-see.

IN THEATERS AND ON DIGITAL: February 16, 2024 

 

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‘GOD & COUNTRY’ (2024) explores the twisted reality of Christian Nationalism

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GOD & COUNTRY

God & Country 2024 poster

What the hell happened to Conservative Christians? Growing up Catholic taught me that you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the refugee, and love thy neighbor as yourself. What we’ve come to see is that none of those so-called values matter these days as long as the underlying hatred and cultlike lies fuel a fired-up voter base. GOD & COUNTRY takes us down the rabbit hole of skewed ethics and the genuine danger we found ourselves in at those moments in our country’s history.

God & Country 2024 Rally FlagsOn-the-ground video from January 6th, up close and personal from cell phones, retraumatizes the viewer. The new footage is mind-boggling and will undoubtedly fill you with rage and disgust. The film features sociologists, authors, historians, lawyers, and pastors. We examine the Constitution and the precise articles requiring separation of church and state. We look at evolving statistics on social issues through the years. The interconnectedness of women’s rights, race, and power is undeniable.

God & Country Faith & Freedom ImageViolence as a means of “spiritual defense” comes directly from the pulpit over and over. The film effectively builds towards January 6th by wading through the madness swirling in the years prior. It is utterly bewildering and 100 percent terrifying. This coordinated effort to keep people in a cult is deliberate and well-funded. History repeats itself. Wait until you find out the architect of Evangelical sermons.

God & Country 2024 Washington StillGOD & COUNTRY keenly explores the long history and bastardization of Christianity through White Nationalism. It is a political movement about power. America is a ticking time bomb encouraged by social media, media, and billions of dollars. Stay vigilant and show up at the polls because democracy depends on it.

Oscilloscope Laboratories’ GOD & COUNTRY,  produced by Rob Reiner and directed by Dan Partland (Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump), is opening in select theaters nationwide beginning This Friday, February 16th.

 

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