Review: ‘Score: A Film Music Documentary’

Score: A Film Music Documentary is an extraordinary look into the work of some of Hollywood’s most iconic film composers. These artists create a sound simply from an emotion described by the films’ directors, and do so within pressing time constraints. Composers who created music from films such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, Psycho, James Bond, Social Network, and Mad Max: Fury Road; regardless of the pressure, they have created some of the most memorable scores ever to be heard.

Film composers are, in a way, the director’s therapist. They spend time with the directors, listening to their thoughts and insecurities regarding their film; then take this time to understand and create a sound based off of what was described to them. They must be open to criticism and failure in their line of work. A composer can work days on a piece only for the director to scrap the entire score in seconds, forcing them to start over.

It’s an unfathomable art to create a feeling through sound comming from instruments now available at, and that’s what makes composers so valuable in the world of film. Composers are creatively adaptable, which is such a rare talent that many movie goers probably don’t normally recognize. I not only recommend this documentary for avid movie watchers but I also recommend going back and watching some of the films discussed within ScoreGoing back and watching a film composed from John Williams or Han Zimmer simply made me appreciate how important these scores are to these iconic films; the films just wouldn’t be the same without them.

4.5/5 Stars

Score will be released in theaters June 16th, 2017. 

Score: A Film Music Documentary features:

Hans Zimmer

James Cameron

Danny Elfman

John Williams

Quincy Jones

Trent Reznor

Howard Shore

Rachel Portman

Thomas Newman

Randy Newman

Leonard Maltin

James Horner

Garry Marshall

Director: Matt Schrader

Review: Don’t get trapped in ‘The Snare’

C.A. Cooper’s first feature length film debut, The Snare, is the story of Alice (Eaoifa Forward) who heads out to a vacant vacation complex for a drunken weekend, with her friend Lizzy (Rachel Warren) and her boyfriend Carl (Dan Paton). Despite the fact that they were knowingly trespassing, they didn’t expect the hell that they would soon be trapped in. This is the story of those who have fallen into a trap, and I want to make sure you don’t follow in their foot steps.

This is a film that had great ideas however, they were poorly executed. There were scenes within the film that were great, and scenes that were terrible, and in all honestly just needed to be cleaned up. The film didn’t appear to have a huge budget and it showed in different places through out, for example there was plastic patio furniture in the kitchen, and it didn’t make sense considering the overall quality of the apartment. There are many independent horror films out there with small budgets that are still great due to their creativity; The Snare just didn’t quite reach that mark. For someone who loves the horror genre, this film at times can feel rather frustrating, because you see the shell of an unnerving film, however the meat within it just wasn’t good.

[Spoilers Ahead]

The film clearly had a deeper meaning behind what was occurring within Alice’s mind. We see that her father in the beginning of the story has no boundaries like a father normally would around his own daughter, which purposefully makes the audience uneasy. We are then introduce to Lizzy, who is supposedly her friend, and Lizzy’s boyfriend Carl, who shows clear parallels to Alice’s father’s perversions. Alice seems like a quiet and together girl, and her friend Lizzy does not share those same characteristics; in a lot of ways their friendship doesn’t make that much sense, such as Lizzy stealing keys to a vacation apartment that isn’t hers and Alice just kind of goes along with it. Once they realize they are stuck on one of the upper floors of the building with no practical escape, the story became slightly more interesting. When we begin to see what’s occurring in Alice’s mind, there wasn’t a natural build of suspense, but instead the film relied heavily on the jump scares, which is kind of a disappointment. The best moments of the film happen closer to the end, but even the ending it’s self didn’t finish very strong.

The film overall was underwhelming. The acting did hugely improve as the film went on, however I believe it really could of been better if select parts of the story had been done differently. The overall theme that I think C.A. Cooper was aiming for, was interesting; I did like the dark parallels between Alice’s home life and their entrapment within the apartment, as well as the eerie music. For some the good may out weigh the bad, however it is not a horror film that I would recommend.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Uncork’d Entertainment’s British horror flick, The Snare will be release in theaters and VOD on January 6th, 2017.

Review: Unveiling an international empire in the astounding documentary “Tickled”


Catfish meets Compliance in David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s jaw-dropping documentary Tickled. David Farrier is a New Zealand journalist who stumbled upon what seemed like just an unusual sport of men’s competitive tickling but instead triggered an incredibly, threatening backlash as he decided to dig deeper for more information on this funny entertainment piece.

After Farrier discovered the world of men’s competitive endurance tickling he felt compelled to interview Jane O’Brien Media who hosted the tickling videos. After reaching out, Farrier and Reeve started receiving defensive responses from the company stating that the videos are of an “exclusively heterosexual athletic endurance activity”. Amazed by some of the responses Farrier felt even more compelled to dig deeper into his research. After the two journalists began receiving legal threats, they knew there was so much more to this story; together they unveiled an empire.

I highly recommend this documentary. Not only is this an oddly enticing film, but on top of it all, it has amazing cinematography. It is just incredible how far these two journalists went to understand the world of Jane O’Brian’s competitive tickling only to discover so much more. It is one of the best films that I have seen all year, and for those of you who get reeled in by the trailer, I am certain that you will enjoy it as well. Check out Tickled on VOD, iTunes and Amazon Video on November 1st, 2016. 

4.5 / 5 Stars 

Review: Wechsler’s Mind-Boggling Thriller ‘Altered Minds’


Imagine a loving guardian; someone who cares for you as your soul protector. This person has supported you and your dreams for as long as you can remember. Then one day a memory surfaces into an eye-opening nightmare. A memory of a time when you were no longer protected. A time when you became altered. Michael Wechsler’s film Altered Minds shows how fragile the human psyche can be when it’s betrayed. So broken that it may never piece itself back together.

altered-minds-judd-hirsch-nathaniel-shellner-02-300dpi SMALLTommy Shellner (Ryan O’ Nan) is one of four children who return home to celebrate their father’s last birthday before he passes away from lung cancer.  Their father, Dr. Nathaniel Shellner (Judd Hirsch), is a retired psychologist of the CIA, who specialized in working with soldiers suffering from PTSD, and wants to be remembered for his patriotic achievements. With the knowledge that their father is approaching his final days, the children and their mother do what they can to make their night a pleasant one, however that is not Tommy’s main concern. Tommy, his sister Julie (Jaime Ray Newman), and their brother Harry (C.S Lee) were adopted into the family when they were kids while their other brother Leonard (Joseph Lyle Taylor) was their mother (Caroline Lagerfelt) and father’s biological son. For a while now, Tommy has felt that his father has been hiding something from his children, and after multiple sessions of therapy he has now reached the conclusion that his father had experimented on him and his adopted siblings when they were young. Over the course of the night, voices get raised and minds get rattled, while Tommy and his siblings trying to piece together what seems like a repressed memory of torture.

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Despite the overall production of the film being mostly contained within the Shellner’s home, Michael Wechsler did what he could with the intriguing plot and compelling performances by the cast, especially from C.S. Lee. Overall, the film was substantial, it didn’t leave me in awe, however it also did not leave me disappointed. Altered Minds will be available DVD on June 14th.

3 out of 5 Stars

Don’t forget to enter into the Altered Minds DVD giveaway! 

Jordan’s Review: Accepting “The Invitation”


Forget everything you know about the past films of director (Karyn Kusama) and writers (Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi). These filmmakers have created a new style and beginning for themselves in the genre of suspense that will sincerely put audiences on the edge of their seat; The Invitation is their new beginning. 


After two years since the tragic event that split them apart, nine friends come together to reunited at a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills. Despite their uncomfortable history, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), decided to attend this reunion hosted by his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), and her new husband David (Michiel Huisman). A lot has changed in two years, and in an awkward attempt to mingle as normal, certain changes start to become more and more apparent. After hearing more about Eden’s travels to Mexico and her life changing program, Will begins to feel like this invitation has a hidden agenda. While being haunted by a tragedy of the past and his ex’s strange behavior, Will and the audiences’ paranoia worsens as the night progresses.THE-INVITATION_Argument

Your unfathomable thirst for information in order to piece together this cringeworthy night is what makes the writing so great. Director Karyn Kusama said “I like movies that reward our patience and curiosity.” While paying tribute to traditional suspense films, The Invitation constantly washes us over with self doubt, and makes us question whether we should feel uneasy or are we just paranoid?  Are we the crazy ones or are they? I guess you have to see and find out for yourself.  The Invitation will be released and available on VOD on April 8th.

4 out of 5 stars

Review: ‘Yalom’s Cure’ fights darkness and seeks illumination

Yalom's Cure-poster

Irvin D. Yalom, is an inspiring, 80-year-old psychotherapist who believes the best cure for many of our everyday concerns are the relationships we have throughout our lives. Irvin studied the many ways of psychoanalysis and came to the conclusion that love is a powerful tool and necessity when it comes to finding happiness. Yalom’s Cure, directed and written by Sabine Gisiger, brings a beautifully constructed film of Irvin’s teachings, written works and practice, all  interwoven into his own therapeutic journey through life.

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The film is calming, moving and beautiful. For a man who puts so much of his personal life out in the open, all for the benefit to others is a selfless thing. This film is therapeutic within itself, by helping audiences realize some of the things we once saw as problems may not be as bad as they seem, and instead opens our eyes to where true life happiness really lies.The US Premiere for Yalom’s Cure is on March 11th at the Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles.

4/5 Stars

Official Selection Festival Del Film Locarno 2014

See the trailer below!

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Review: The raw nature of ‘Glassland’ will leave you broken hearted


America has fortunately be given another profoundly great Irish Film. After the overwhelming feelings of isolation we felt with the Irish film, Room (2015); our emotions take another beating when witnessing the physical and mental consequences of alcoholism in Gerard Barrett’s Glassland. The film had an incredible cast who really blew me away with their performances. Alcoholism is not a joke, and this film will show audiences just how heartbreaking it really is.


John (Jack Reynor) and his mother Jean (Toni Collette) reside in a low-income suburb in Dublin, Ireland. With no help from his mother, John works all night driving a taxi to help provide for his family, all while his mother falls victim to her disease. She believes a better life is found at the bottom of a bottle, even while knowing the impact her choices have on her family. Their story shows the sacrifices that have to be made from both John and Jean in order to create some hope for their future.


Barrett’s shots throughout the film were powerful. The change in technique and the difference in the camera’s movements really set the tone for each scene. There are times where the camera is motionless in a single room, making the audience feel as trapped as Jack feels in the scene. Later, Barrett changes over to a shaky camera technique, giving the audience more of an unsettled feeling. The film overall is simple, and despite not having a very complex story, it is raw and beautifully demonstrated. This film shows us the heartbreaking truth that many people in this world deal with everyday;  without the amazing performances from the cast and well executed cinematography, this meaningful film might of fallen through the cracks. Check out Glassland in theaters on February 12th.


3/5 Stars

Review: ‘Body’ Pays Tribute to Psychological Thrillers

body-posterBody is the story of three friends who spend their entire Christmas Eve night deciding if they should call the police or cover up an accidental murder. This film toys with your morals leaving you wondering how you would handle this situation. Brought to us from Oscilloscope Laboratories, comes a film of a simple story, with a disturbing symbolic nature. When you watch these girls make life changing decisions, it will truly make your skin crawl.

Body was exactly what it needed to me, and nothing more. It was a small splice of the thriller genre that is an homage to other psychological thrillers. Even though Body is not as extreme or disturbing as those it pays tribute to, it successfully unveiled the shocking characterization of three girls in only 75 minutes. The less you know about it going in the better your experience will be. Overall, for those who like morally testing thrillers, I recommend going to see Body in theaters on Friday, December 11th. 

3 out 5 stars


Dan Berk and Robert Olsen


Helen Rogers

Alexandra Turshen

Lauren Molina

Larry Fessenden



Review: ‘The Letters’ Teaching Us The True Meaning Of Charity

Now approaching the holiday season we start thinking of charity, family, and love. Some donate food and some volunteer at shelters and hospitals. This time of year makes us feel the need to give to those who are less fortunate. However, Mother Teresa gave more than her charity a month or two out of the year, she served the poorest of the poor for the last 50 years of her life. Audiences get to see this inspiring journey through those years in William Riead’s Biopic The Letters.

The story begins in 2003 with Father Benjamin Draggh (Rutger Hauer) investigating events during and after Mother Teresa’s life (Juliet Stevenson), that could give the Vatican the evidence they need to award her with Beatification. During his investigation he met with her spiritual adviser, Father Celeste Van Exem (Max Von Sydow) who presented him with letters written between the two of them during the last 40 years of her life; some of the letters showed signs of her faith wavering during her time in India. With these letters he tells her story beginning in the year 1946, during her time as teacher at the Loreto Convent in Dareeling, India. She loved to teach however when she looked outside the convent she saw people starving and and dying in the streets. Regardless of race or religion she believed that God had placed her on this earth with the purpose to serve those who are less fortunate. This film is the story of how she changed the lives of those around her with her life and her love.

Juliet Stevenson gave a phenomenal performance. She made me sympathize greatly with her character, and did fairly well with her accent and mannerisms. As for the rest of the cast, their performances were quite underwhelming. The best part of the film was the story. It’s hard to not feel inspired when watching the life accomplishments of a strong, selfless woman. That being said, there was a lot that the film was lacking in. The film is predicable. We  know she was a selfless woman, however knowing that the film is called “The Letters” one may believe that we would see a different side to this story. Her spiritual adviser mentions that these letters contain signs  that she is loosing faith in God multiple times during the film, yet in the visual reenactments during the film the audience never see’s any signs of her faith wavering. Which leaves us wondering “why mention it”? The film was a bit slow and could have been laid out in a more appealing way, however this does not mean you should not see it. If you believe technical and cinematic aspects of films come second to an inspiring story, then I would suggest giving this film a watch. The life of Mother Teresa is enlightening and may affect the way you see the life you have. You can see The Letters in theaters on December 4th.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Review: ‘What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy’, A Look Inside A Truly Thought-Provoking Narrative

What Our Fathers Did poster

Imagine your father, the man you see him as, the loving memories you shared with him. Now imagine that same man when someone tells you that he had taken part in one of the worst genocides in history. Would it change your view of him? Would you hate him? Would you still love him? Niklas Frank and Horst Von Wächter had to ask themselves these questions about their fathers, and through a harsh walk into the past they both ended up with different answers. What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy is the thought-provoking documentary of these two men and their closer look into their fathers’ pasts. From the screenwriting and narrative of international lawyer Philippe Sands, comes a complicated and emotional look into the lives of two men who grew up with a broken sense of normality.

Philippe Sands had family that was greatly affected during the Holocaust, and due to this deep family connection he wanted to make this participatory-style documentary to gain a closer look at the views of the children on the other side of the war. In 2012 he met Niklas Frank and Horst Von Wächter. Niklas and Horst had grown up as friends, who had both been brought up in Nazi families. However despite their similarities in households, their views of their fathers varied greatly. Niklas knew that his father loved Hitler more than his family. His upbringing involved little to no love from his parents and was mainly raised by a nanny, which resulted in him not having any deep connections with his father. From the beginning he knew that his father was a monster and was at peace knowing that he was tried and punished for his sins. Horst was different. His father found refuge and was never tried for his crimes, which in Horst’s eyes meant that there was no proof claiming that he really did any of those ungodly things during the war. He had good memories of his father, and believed that his father was not responsible for these crimes and if anything the system was to blame. His view points nettled both Niklas and Philippe, who both struggled to understand how Horst could not see the monster his father truly was.

What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy is a phenomenal documentary. With that said, the film has a heavy story, and can be hard to watch at times. In the beginning of the film, Philippe Sands did a relatively decent job talking openly with the subjects without constantly criticizing them for what happened to his own family, however as the film moved on, his stance and manner in asking questions changed. The film carries such a powerful message, if you have a deep connection or interest with this part of our world’s history, then I highly recommend seeing this film. What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy has a limited release on November 6th. 

4 out of 5 Stars. 

Directed by DAVID EVANS





Review: Experience a Mother’s Worst Nightmare in ‘The Diabolical’

This Friday comes a smart and unique horror story of a single mother’s own hellish reality. Thanks to XLrator Media and the directing of Alistair Lengrand, their film The Diabolical will keep you guessing all the way up to the final act. For those of you who are struggling in finding a decent horror film, this one may be worth the watch.

It all began with Madison (Ali Larter) sitting alone on her laptop; her two children, Jacob (Max Rose) and Haley (Chloe Perrin) asleep upstairs. The lights begin to flicker and the pictures on the wall begin to shake. “Not again,” she says. Suddenly a flash of light appears in the doorway where a bloody grotesque being comes crawling out towards her. She backs up and repeats to herself “It’s not real. It’s not real.” Another flash of light appears and the creature is gone. Madison then collects herself, sits back down in her seat and continues on with her night. This opening scene is a big reason why this film is different from your typical horror flick. The story begins with the paranormal phenomena as a pre-existing condition in the characters lives, which actually brings a really interesting side to Madison, Jacob and Haley’s characterization over the course of the film. The film continues on with the small family not only struggling with paranormal disturbances, but also Jacob’s violent behaviour in school and potential foreclosure on their house. After realizing that no one can help her situation, the strong and independent mother takes these problems into her own hands.

Ali Larter gave a solid performance as a protective mother of two. Her co-actors, Chloe Perrin, Max Rose, and Arjun Gupta, who played her son’s science tutor, Nikolai, all had equally as impressive performances. The Diabolical isn’t the greatest horror film of the year, however it is definitely different enough and interesting enough to check out. If you find yourself interested in science fictional side of horror you can find The Diabolical in theaters, VOD and iTunes on October 16th. 

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Review: ‘A Christmas Horror Story’

We are approaching the best time of the year, however this year, Christmas has come a little early. For those of you who enjoy the hilarity of over dramatized gore and horror, look no further, we have found the perfect holiday classic that would make a killer drinking game. This October audiences will be given the pleasure of celebrating the upcoming holiday cheer with a frightening twist in A Christmas Horror Story. Read More →

NEW Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer Tributing Katniss and Prim’s Sisterhood

The new trailer and poster for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 has been released earlier today and so far the comments on it have been mixed. This is Lionsgate’s final installment for the Hunger Games movie franchise, where we will finally get to see Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) take on the Capitol. In this new trailer we see glimpses in the past of Katniss and Prim’s (Willow Shields) relationship, and just how important that relationship was for this revolution. Many Hunger Games fans can see this trailer as a tribute to how important Prim was to the over arching story, however many others see this as a horrible fan made trailer. Despite the marketing choices that have been made for promoting the film, there is no doubt that the hype for Mockingjay Part 2 has not died.

Check out the trailer and poster below.

Mockingjay Part 2 will be in theaters and IMAX on November 20th.

Jordan’s Review: Why you shouldn’t ‘Pay the Ghost’.

For those of you who are excited for this October’s spooky festivities, you may be better off turning your attention away from Nicolas Cage’s new horror flick, Pay the Ghost. Alongside the lackluster Academy Award Winner is The Walking Dead actress, Sarah Wayne Callies, who out of the two of them, gave a more believable performance. The film was brought to us by critically acclaimed German director, Uli Edel, who’s 2008 film, The Baadere Meinhof Complex, was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Yet despite all the award winners and nominees, the film lacked immensely in its scare factor.

After a weak and not-so-scary opener, the story moves into modern-day New York City, where we see the lives of Mike (Cage) and Kristen Cole (Callies) with their son Charlie (Jack Fulton). The plot quickly shows signs of a supernatural presence outside Charlie’s bedroom window, which of course is immediately disregarded by his mother and father. It wasn’t until Halloween night that Charlie started seeing the ghost more closely. While he and his father were attending a Halloween Festival on their block, Charlie turned to his father and told him to “pay the ghost,” which as most parents would, Mike assume he was talking about all the costumes and decorations. Then only a few moments later, Charlie disappeared.

Pay the Ghost, never brought anything new to the realm of horror. If anything it felt as though it copied from other films, such as James Wan’s Insidious. The film felt lazy considering the amount of plot holes, which occasionally made the film funny rather than frightening. Overall, Pay the Ghost might appeal to some, however for the real horror film connoisseurs, this film might not be the scare you are looking for this Halloween season.

2 out of 5 stars

Review: Shedding Light on ‘Chloe and Theo’

Chloe and Theo posterIt all began with a dream. A dream that the world would receive a fatal kiss from the sun and the ice in the north would retreat. Director and screenwriter, Ezna Sands exhibits the concerns for our environmental well-being in his heartfelt cli-fi (climate change fiction), Chloe and Theo.

Theo (Theo Ikummaq), an Arctic Inuit man, was told about this dream from his elders, and if the “south” did not change their ways, destruction will overcome the earth. He was then sent to New York City to shed light on the world’s end, and he is immediately overwhelmed by the environment. The sun was blocked out by the skyscrapers, people constantly on the move; there was not a single moment of silence. This is where he meets Chloe (Dakota Johnson), a young runaway, and Bruce Lee devotee. “Together they will change the world.”

Dakota Johnson and first time actor Theo Ikummaq did a fantastic job with their roles as Chloe and Theo. The film brings a different side to storytelling, with both characters playing a sort of narrative role. Theo telling the story as it was occurring, and Chloe telling the story as though it already had happened. Mira Sorvino as Monica and Andre De Shields as Mr. Sweet, played crucial characters to Chloe and Theo’s story by showing how hard it is to get something globally recognized. Mr. Sweet, a man who Chloe is close friends with on the streets, opens Chloe and Theo’s eyes to the difficulty of getting people with power to listen. Although the sound mixing could have used more work, the shots and occasional use of animation were beautifully implemented throughout.

Overall, Chloe and Theo is a simple film, with a powerful message. Through a story of unlikely friendships, it brings light to our climate changes and their impact on our world. You can watch Chloe and Theo in select theaters and on VOD September 4th.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars.