Review: From scholarships to scandal, Dan Chen’s ‘ACCEPTED’ is explosive.

ACCEPTED

Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams.


TM Landry was a beacon of hope for the underserved community of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. In Dan Chen‘s ACCEPTED, the incoming senior class of 2019 gears up for the admissions process, chasing that elusive stat; 30% of Landry students who receive acceptance to an Ivy League school. But, that’s not all this documentary catches during the school year. An explosive New York Times expose sends shockwaves through the student body. ACCEPTED delves deep into the subsequent chaos. 

 There is a Montessori feeling to the day. Children of all ages break out in small groups in a nondescript warehouse/office building, tackling complex arithmetic and socially relevant discussion. Founder Mike Landry‘s enthusiasm and passion are infectious. He’s the ultimate hype man for his students. He takes calls from them after hours, assisting them with homework. As a former teacher, I am captivated by his fiery pep talks. 

When emotions run high and the stress piles on, our kids start to push back against Mike’s methods. They realize something is incredibly wrong. When media becomes more important than being in the classroom, everything backfires. Going into Accepted knowing nothing, you’d think he was the high school Messiah. Mike Landry is no Wizard. He is the man behind the curtain. 

Adia is an avid animal lover whose spirit almost collapses under Mike Landry. But, her spirit outshines the negativity, and she’s a soul that will undoubtedly achieve greatness. Isaac’s dream school is Stanford. His levelheaded approach to life and learning is something we should all aspire to be. Alicia is the new girl, admittedly baffled by the school’s structure when she arrived halfway through Junior year. When you hear her college essay, you’ll gasp in awe of her eloquence. Cathy would be the first member of her family to attend college. With two disabled older sisters and a widowed mother, a car accident payout allowed her to prepay for two years at Landry. Cathy is a powerful young woman, flipping the script on her narrative. For her, truth and integrity reign supreme. 

The deteriorating mental health of these kids is palpable. Their bravery cost them their potential future. Fear and shame should not be the motivating factor to succeed. You cannot help but walk from the film filled with anger and questions about the socioeconomics of higher education. ACCEPTED is an unexpected emotional rollercoaster. 

 

GREENWICH ENTERTAINMENT is releasing the timely documentary Accepted, from director Dan Chen in theaters and VOD on July 1st!


DIRECTOR:
Dan Chen
PRODUCERS:
Jason Y. Lee
Dan Chen
Jesse Einstein
Mark Monroe
GENRE:
Documentary
RUNTIME:

91m


FESTIVALS & AWARDS:
Tribeca Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Sidewalk Film Festival 2021
Winner Audience Choice Award Best Black Lens Film
Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection
Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival 2021
Official Selection
Cleveland International Film Festival 2022

Nominee Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award


  Original New York Times article as referenced in the film linked HERE.


Review: Out on Digital tomorrow, ‘LUX ÆTERNA’ is pure Gaspar Noé chaos.

LUX ÆTERNA

LUX ÆTERNA takes place backstage of a French film production, often utilizing split-screens to follow two characters at once. Charlotte Gainsbourg, acting as herself, plays the film’s — and the film-within-a-film’s — leading role of an actress taking on the role of a witch burned at the stake while French actress Beatrice Dalle, playing a version of herself as well, takes on the on-screen role of director. The film progresses with mounting tension as the set descends into aggressive chaos— both in style, form, and plot. Actress and model Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon), Karl Glusman (Love), Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull (Climax), Félix Maritaud (Sauvage / Wild, Knife + Heart), and Clara Deshayes also appear as interpretations of themselves.


Narcissism, gaslighting, sexism, celebrity, the industry as a whole, everything is on the line in this 50 minutes of coordinated chaos. Toxicity and ass-kissing intermingled with personal drama, as each actor in LUX ÆTERNA plays a version of themselves. As the tension mounts, who and how will each player respond when “art” is on the line?

The lighting, which comes with a trigger warning before the film begins, is undeniably jarring. Combined with the incessant ringing of an alarm, it’s a visceral invasion. In tandem with the distress of Charlotte on screen, the viewer slowly finds themselves on sensory overload. 

Charlotte Gainsbourg can do no wrong in my book. She possesses a vulnerability that is unsurpassed. The amount of trust she has in Gaspar Noé astounds me with each additional project. Gainsbourg understood the assignment.

In true Gaspar Noé fashion, LUX ÆTERNA  pushes the boundaries of color, sound, and content. Few filmmakers have a style that screams their name, and Noé has cultivated that skill. In a short runtime, LUX ÆTERNA  has a lot to say. Welcome to one of the most unexpected and raw moments of exploitation.


Following a successful theatrical run across the United States from May into early June that put the film in the top 10 indies at the box office, Yellow Veil Pictures will release Gaspar Noe’s LUX ÆTERNA on digital platforms including Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and more this Friday, June 10th in North America, followed by a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray available summer 2022. LUX ÆTERNA is currently available for digital pre-order on Vimeo on Demand.


Review: ‘THE POLICEMAN’S LINEAGE’ sends ‘Parasite’ stars deep-undercover.

THE POLICEMAN’S LINEAGE

SYNOPSIS: Parasite’s Woo-sik Choi stars as Choi Min-Jae, a rookie police officer and a man of principle, who teams up with Park Gang-Yoon, the chief of an investigation team that has an unrivaled arrest record but includes corrupt methods. Together, the two very different policemen dive deep into a massive case that shakes the police force upside down.


The Policeman’s Lineage is a straightforward cop thriller that manages to keep its head above water despite a reliance on some overused genre themes. To be fair, there have been so many variations of the undercover cop film that innovation is practically impossible.  Director Kyu-mann Lee wisely leans into two key strengths: fresh-faced lead Choi Woo-shik (flush from the success and recognition of the brilliant Parasite), and the theme of paternal mentorship that drives the film’s best moments.

Choi Woo-shik stars as Choi Min Jae, a young, 3rd generation cop with strong morals. He is shown early on to prioritize what he believes to be right above all else, which does not endear him to his fellow officers. Facing bleak career prospects, he is given the opportunity to go (you guessed it) undercover to investigate a special unit touting a top arrest record. Sounds like a great promotion, right? Well, the Internal Affairs chief planning the operation (a steely, understated Park Hee-soon) believes the unit has crossed over the line in its pursuit of justice. It isn’t hard to be suspicious of the unit’s chief, Detective Park (Cho Jin-woong.) Park drives around in a shiny Mercedes, wears designer clothes, and flashes the cash at high-stakes poker tables. Must have a great financial planner!

Choi agrees to go undercover partly out of principle, and partly in exchange for information about his deceased father, who died years ago under mysterious circumstances while working with Detective Park. Detective Park’s team is surprisingly keen to welcome Choi into the fold despite his reputation as a straight-laced, scrupulous officer.

What follows is a mash-up of Point Break meets Platoon, as Choi’s resolve wobbles under the dueling influences of his two opposing supervisors.  Will he stick to his morals and Internal Affairs, or will he grow to sympathize and understand Detective Park’s take-no-prisoners approach to justice? All 3 leads bring compelling performances to the table. Choi Woo-shik is the film’s center of gravity, and he does admirable work digesting all of the necessary plot exposition on behalf of the audience. He continues to be a talent to watch.  Cho Jin-woong has the toughest job of the 3, shouldered with making Detective Park believably warm while simultaneously steely and terrifying. He mostly manages, but countless scenes of him gifting Choi clothes or taking the rookie for a ride on his big boat make it harder to buy in when he has to switch gears over to “bad cop”. I wish there had been more scenes between Detective Park and Internal Affairs.

The film drags a bit at nearly 2 hours in length – especially in the final 20 minutes, where too many twists are introduced too late. Ultimately, The Policeman’s Lineage represents an appropriate addition to the cop thriller genre, even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheel.


The Policeman’s Lineage will be on digital, VOD and cable* June 7, 2022 from Echelon Studios.


CAST: Woo-sik Choi (Parasite), Cho Jin-woong (The Handmaiden), Park Myeong-hoon (Parasite), and Hee-soon Park (Apple TV+’s Dr. Brain)

CREDIT: The Policeman’s Lineage is directed by Kyu-mann Lee (Wide Awake), produced by Han-seung Lee (The Tower), and executed produced by Hyun-joo Jung (The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil). The production team includes production designer Chae Kyoung-sun (Squid Game), editor Nam Na-young (Squid Game) costume designer Kyeong-mi Kim (Okja), composer Young-gyu Jang (Train to Busan), and makeup artists Hyo-kyun Hwang & Tae-Yong Kwak (Parasite)


The Policeman’s Lineage will be available on:

*Cable and Digital Transactional Video On Demand including:

Comcast

Charter-Spectrum

Directv

iTunes

Cox Cable

Dish Network

Sling TV

Google Play

Verizon Fios

Fandango / VUDU

InDemand

Vubiquity

Rogers

Vimeo on Demand


 

Review: Drag superstar Bebe Zahara Benet gets real in Emily Branham’s documentary ‘Being Bebe’

BEING BEBE

BEING BEBE intimately charts 15 years of drag performer Marshall Ngwa (aka BeBe Zahara Benet): An immigrant to America from homophobic Cameroon, first champion on now-iconic LGBTQ+ reality show phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race. Grounded by Marshall’s present-day narration, the film features vérité, interviews and performances illustrating his journey to Queer Black Excellence.


A cultural icon in the world of female illusion, BeBe Zahara Benet rose to international fame as the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But Marshal Kudi Ngwa‘s career was years in the making before the reality series. Director Emily Branham uses archival footage mixed with sit-down interviews during COVID. How does a star slowed down by a global pandemic remain relevant without a live audience’s love and energy? Being BeBe is a heartfelt and honest look at the artist pushing boundaries without pause.

The film addresses the criminality of queerness in Cameroon. Branham respectfully blurs the faces of the participants not only for their physical safety but to give them the freedom to express themselves fully on camera. These young men explain the constant fear of being discovered by family or friends. The isolation takes a toll. The slip of a gesture could mean putting their existence at risk. BeBe has become a role model for those in Cameroon. She uses her platform to support the queer community and give a face to black excellence.

Marshall has a personable and glorious nature. You long to be in his presence as he radiates kindness, humor, grace, and an intensely inspiring work ethic. The film is an unfiltered look at the industry’s ups and downs. That unpredictability causes Marshall to push his ego aside, emotional breakthroughs, and unapologetic admissions. Being BeBe is infectious. If you weren’t a fan before, get ready for newfound respect and adoration for BeBe Zahara Benet because, honey, she continues giving us Face, Face, Face, no matter what.


BEING BEBE // Festival Teaser from Emily Branham on Vimeo.

BEING BEBE, roars into Pride Month on June 7th on major Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) platforms via digital distributor Giant Pictures
(Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu – Pre-Order at https://geni.us/BeingBeBe).
The film will also make its Broadcast Premiere on Fuse on June 21st.


Review: ‘Paulie Go!’ is a genre-bending, fish-out-of-water story.

After being rejected letter from the AI robotics program he’s worked his entire life towards, Paulie won’t take no for an answer. He steals his uncle’s van and drives to Minnesota in an attempt to track down one Professor Chuck Shikenjansk and change his mind. 

As Cheryl, Tracie Thoms is a joy, possessing aspects of Paulie and Avery’s personalities. Her character brings Paulie Go! to another level of storytelling. Madison Wolfe plays Avery with an effortless cool. She’s slick and savvy. Without even knowing it, she’s a role model. Ethan Dizon as Paulie is so much fun to watch. He’s a master of awkward social-emotional interaction and a victim of extreme overconfidence. Dizon’s energy is infectious. He and Wolfe have perfect chemistry. 

Director Andrew Nackman brings audiences a fish out of water road (or boat) movie that is relatable and family-friendly. In truth, it’s a genre-defying delight. That small-town Minnesota energy lends itself to genuine and funny dialogue. Paulie Go! is a film about two teens who have more in common than they realize. Jake Greene‘s script ( story also by Nackman and David J. Lee) subverts all expectations as it overflows with nuance. Paulie Go! deals with adolescence, loss, and self-discovery. Watch it with the entire family. 


Available to Rent or Own on Digital Platforms May 24, 2022


Directed by ANDREW NACKMAN

Written by JAKE GREENE

Produced by LAUREN TAIT HOGARTH, LAURA IVEY & JAKE GREENE

Starring ETHAN DIZON, MADISON WOLFE, DAVID THEUNE, BERNARD WHITE & TRACIE THOMS


Review: ‘BALONEY’- Joshua Guerci’s documentary about San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe is magnetic, intimate, and hilarious.

Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular Gay All-Male Burlesque show over 18 months as the group rehearses for New Year’s Eve 2020. Told through the eyes of the group’s co-founders, as well as the larger ensemble, the film contemplates the struggles that come with being a performing artist in San Francisco, the most expensive city in North America. Through a mix of interviews, rehearsal footage, and filmed performances, Baloney captures the group’s unique combination of humor, confession, and sex positivity in ways that directly reflect the private fantasies of people who come to the show. It’s also a story of the people who choose to perform in Baloney who, like their audience, find themselves in a world that constantly silences kinky, queer, and gender non-conforming people. Finally, it spotlights that real failure in life is often not doing that thing you know you need to do or being the person you know you need to be. Even if that thing is daring to be an artist!


Equal parts sincerity, sexuality, and soul – Baloney takes a deep look behind the scenes of San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe. Joshua Guerci’s documentary follows this scrappy team as they plan, practice, and perform. Led by co-creators and real-life partners Michael Phillis and Rory Davis, the troop crafts performances that delight their audiences while offering insights across the wide spectrum that is the gay and queer male experience.

I marveled at the editing of this documentary (75 minutes!) Guerci’s team seamlessly transitions from practice to performance in a way that energizes the audience while still giving a deep appreciation for the vision and artists involved.

This documentary leaves you asking a lot of questions. Some are likely to be practical and hilarious (like, how do you wash beans out of your hair, or, did you maybe miss all the queer innuendos in Star Trek?) But others are more serious. I left Baloney with one question at the forefront of my mind: what does it mean to really suffer for your art?

Nearly every member of Baloney has a substantial day job. Everyone talks about their passion for the arts and the power of this burlesque troupe and wishes that they could make Baloney their sole focus, if only they could afford it. Now, plenty of people want to quit their day jobs and take off for Broadway or the hills of Hollywood. The context here is important. Baloney’s performance venues are shown to be sold-out, sure, but always humble in size and scale. They even have a great song poking fun at themselves on this. The energy and community of the shows seem to draw the performers back, just as much as it does for the audience members. 

The performers making up the troupe are magnetic. Guerci’s candid style further breaks down walls and makes the interviews feel intimate and informal. He speaks with them as they prepare breakfast or while they lounge together in bed. I particularly loved Andrew Slade, who leverages his past education in animation and video game design to hilarious burlesque effect.

Michael and Rory, who on paper have captured that elusive dream-job as day-job balance, are still shown to wobble. They are, at once, a producer, casting expert, director, and performer. They even provide rehearsal space out of their San Francisco apartment. There is a tragic irony that San Francisco proudly celebrates its queer and artistic legacy while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for those communities to endure and thrive within its borders.

Watch Baloney, and you’ll see some flat-out great burlesque numbers. But there’s much more here that will keep you thinking long after the final curtain call.


Baloney (2021) – Official Trailer from Joshua Guerci on Vimeo.

Baloney debuts June 7 across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand.


Los Angeles, CA – 13th Gen and Gravitas Ventures are proud to present Baloney, Joshua Guerci’s no-holds-barred documentary chronicling 18 months in the life of Baloney, a mostly male, mostly naked, very erotic San Francisco burlesque troupe. The clothing-optional documentary made its world premiere at Frameline and went on to inspire audiences at Outfest Los Angeles, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs, Winnipeg Reel Pride Film Festival, TLVFest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. At RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles, the film is nominated for Best Documentary.


 

Review: Inconsistencies aside, ‘ESCAPE THE FIELD’ is a solid horror maze of madness.

ESCAPE THE FIELD

The fear is inescapable in Emerson Moore’s horror-thriller about six strangers who suddenly awaken in a remote, endless cornfield. Stripped of their possessions, they are left with only six items: a gun with a single bullet, matches, a lantern, a knife, a compass, and a flask of water. As mysterious sirens blare in the distance and traps appear at every turn, the group realizes it’s been plunged into a cat-and-mouse game with an unseen evil, and survival depends upon solving a diabolical — and deadly — puzzle.


With reminiscent aspects of the cult favorite The CubeEscape the Field is an intriguing foray into the escape room genre. A cornfield is our game board, making for an entirely different dynamic in a scenario we’ve seen for years. An eclectic group of people comprises this cast. Writer-director  Emerson Moore, alongside screenwriter Joshua Dobkin and Sean Wathen, take a different approach, mixing ideas from past films to brand new and exciting elements. There’s a lot to chew on in Escape The Field. 

Shane West plays Ryan with intimidation and alpha male toxicity. West ups the anty with emotional unpredictability elevated by a clever script device. Theo Rossi plays Tyler. If you haven’t been paying attention to indie cinema or mainstream television series, Rossi has become a familiar face and a damn fine actor. Escape the Field is no exception. Rossi has this undeniably accessible aura about him. Jordan Claire Robbins plays Sam, a doctor whose skills are pertinent to the group’s survival. Robbins’ neighborly energy brings trustworthiness and ease to the viewers. You’re rooting for her. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Tahirah Sharif. Her presence drastically improves Escape The Field every second she’s onscreen. 

The solutions to the puzzles evolve from difficult to unchallenging and back again. This inconsistency is forgivable from someone who is an avid winner of ‘Escape The Room’ experiences. (*Nerd alert)  Escape The Field has all the raw elements of a spectacular franchise. I’d watch a prequel and a sequel, as long as the next film’s evolution takes notes from its incarnation. Make sure you stick around after the credits begin to roll. You don’t want to miss one final moment of goodness. 


U.S. Release Date: In Select Theaters, On Digital and On Demand on May 6, 2022.


Cities:                                    New York (Cinema Village), Los Angeles (Lumiere Cinema), and key cities nationwide.           

Cast:                                      Jordan Claire Robbins, Theo Rossi, Tahirah Sharif, Julian Feder, Elena Juatco, and Shane West

Directed by:                           Emerson Moore         

Written by:                             Emerson Moore and Joshua Dobkin & Sean Wathen

Produced by:                        Andrew Davies Gans, Michael Philip, Jason Moring and Emerson Moore

Genre:                                    Thriller            

Rating:                                   R

Running Time:                      88 minutes


Review: Despite fantastic performances, ‘The Ravine’ takes a turn for the worse.

presents

In THE RAVINE, when an unspeakable crime rocks a peaceful community, family and friends are left to wonder if they overlooked the murderer among them or if there might be more to the story. Inspired by true events, this haunting thriller stars Eric Dane, Teri Polo, Peter Facinelli, and Leslie Uggams.


Based on a true story, The Ravine skillfully creates a tense atmosphere. The film opens to ominous phone messages, tight-knit relationships, and one pulse-pounding vignette. It’s a familiar panic for someone who has lost a friend in the prime of their life; the unanswered phone tag, the swirl of shock, and unadulterated, unfiltered emotion. Performances are heartbreaking from the children to the adults. They are raw and riveting. All these positive aspects cannot save the film from a failed ending.

Director Keoni Waxman writes the script based on Robert and Kelly Pascuzzi‘s novel of the same name. Its structure utilizes flashbacks and present-day fallout. Through police work, past regressions, and the unexpected introduction of a gifted and religious psychic, The Ravine takes a turn in genre and never fully recovers. The script leans on religious redemption in the end, but the audience does not expect the hard right turn in the narrative. As a choice in storytelling, regardless of how close these depictions are to true events, it doesn’t match with the repetitive scenes of violence. The final 20+ minutes of the moment-by-moment explanation felt rushed and overwhelming. For a film that begins like an episode of True DetectiveThe Ravine ends in a preachy manner. It soured the entire experience. 


Cinedigm will release THE RAVINE in theaters and on Demand and Digital on May 6, 2022.


 
The film stars Eric Dane (“Euphoria”), Teri Polo (Meet the Parents), Peter Facinelli (The Vanished), Byron Mann (The Big Short), Leslie Uggams (Deadpool), and Kyle Lowder (“Days of Our Live”).

THE RAVINE was written and directed by Keoni Waxman (The Hard Way). It was co-written with Kelly Pascuzzi and Robert Pascuzzi whose book “THE RAVINE” is the basis for the film.


Review: Family-friendly folklore ‘Jesse and The Elf Boy’ is available now.

A teenager becomes a renowned hairstylist with the help of an unexpected friend – a forest elf.

Inspired by Scottish legend, this feel-good comedy follows the antics of the solitary forest elf Ghillie Dhu who becomes friends with a girl lost in the woods. When she is unexpectedly whisked away by her mother, a forlorn Ghillie sets out on a quest to find his lost companion. Years later, in the city, Ghillie meets Jessie Macrae, a plucky teenager determined to win favor with her high-flying mother by becoming a renowned hairstylist. When Jessie discovers that Ghillie has a gift for hairstyling, they strike up a unique partnership which causes chaos for the manager of the chic hair salon and catapults Jessie to fame. Thanks to Ghillie, Jessie’s dreams are within reach, but will this meeting of two worlds be enough to overcome the deep hurts of broken relationships through the generations?


A spirited, family-friendly film with notes of Peter Pan whimsy, Jesse and the Elf Boy brings laughter and unexpected depth. The script is a sweet story of friendship, loyalty, family dynamics, and a bit of magic. 

While perhaps a tad random, with the premise that Jesse is a hairstylist, the film has a similar vibe to Edward Scissorhands with a touch of Rumplestiltskin. Performances illicit genuinely laugh-out-loud moments. The script teems with kooky, larger-than-life characters that will make audiences, young and old, giggle. The score from David Shaw is lovely. The standout costume belongs to Ghillie Dhu. It perfectly evokes a childlike wonder, if not a bit noisy for the sound editing. Whittle dons it with an ease that makes it believable.  

Julia Brown is phenomenally charming as Jesse. Her chemistry with Whittle makes for an easy watch. Speaking of our other titular character, Huck Whittle plays Ghillie with a darling innocence. Reminiscent of Jeremy Sumpter in Peter Pan (2003), Whittle is a star.

Getting to the main plot of a mother-daughter reconnection is a bit convoluted, as there are a handful of subplots. But, if you let that go, you’ll be completely charmed. The final reveal makes any inconsistencies worth the watch. 


https://fellowshipfilm.com/


21 eclectic films featuring a rabbit… ya know, for Easter.

Could we put together a cuddly list of family-friendly Easter films? Probably. But where’s the fun in that? Here is a list of films where a rabbit is featured in one way or another. Most are straightforward. A few, well, I guess you’ll have to watch them and figure out why they’re there. Happy Easter, and happy hunting for those pesky wabbits.


Space Jam

Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), an evil alien theme park owner, needs a new attraction at Moron Mountain. When his gang, the Nerdlucks, heads to Earth to kidnap Bugs Bunny (Billy West) and the Looney Tunes, Bugs challenges them to a basketball game to determine their fate. The aliens agree, but they steal the powers of NBA basketball players, including Larry Bird (Larry Bird) and Charles Barkley (Charles Barkley) — so Bugs gets some help from superstar Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan).


Fantastic Mr. Fox

After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids the farms of their human neighbors, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Giving in to his animal instincts endangers not only his marriage but also the lives of his family and their animal friends. When the farmers force Mr. Fox and company deep underground, he has to resort to his natural craftiness to rise above the opposition.


The Matrix

Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can answer his question — What is the Matrix? Neo is contacted by Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss), a beautiful stranger who leads him into an underworld where he meets Morpheus. They fight a brutal battle for their lives against a cadre of viciously intelligent secret agents. It is a truth that could cost Neo something more precious than his life.


Us

Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a child. Haunted by a traumatic experience from the past, Adelaide grows increasingly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Her worst fears soon become a reality when four masked strangers descend upon the house, forcing the Wilsons into a fight for survival. When the masks come off, the family is horrified to learn that each attacker takes the appearance of one of them.


Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit and his three sisters — Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail — enjoy spending their days in Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden. When one of McGregor’s relatives suddenly moves in, he’s less than thrilled to discover a family of rabbits in his new home. A battle of wills soon breaks out as the new owner hatches scheme after scheme to get rid of Peter — a resourceful rabbit who proves to be a worthy and wily opponent.


WATERSHIP DOWN

When a young rabbit named Fiver (Richard Briers) has a prophetic vision that the end of his warren is near, he persuades seven other rabbits to leave with him in search of a new home. Several obstacles impede their progress, including predators, a rat-filled cemetery, and a speeding river. Upon arriving at their final destination, a hill dubbed Watership Down, the rabbits find that their journey is still far from over. Realistically drawn, this British animated film carries an emotional weight.


Donnie Darko

During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days. When Donnie returns home, he finds that a jet engine has crashed into his bedroom. Is Donnie living in a parallel universe, is he suffering from mental illness – or will the world really end?


Miss Potter

Based on the life of early 20th-century author Beatrix Potter, creator of Peter Rabbit. As a young woman Potter rails against her parents’ wishes for her to marry and settle down. Instead, she continues to write about and draw the animals she has adored since childhood. Her early attempts to find a publisher for her children’s stories are unsuccessful, but an offer from a small firm will turn her into a literary phenomenon.


Night of the Lepus (1972)

Arizona rancher Cole Hillman (Rory Calhoun), dealing with massive rabbit overpopulation on his land, calls on a local college president, Elgin Clark (DeForest Kelley), to help him. In order to humanely resolve the matter, Elgin brings in researchers Roy (Stuart Whitman) and Gerry Bennett (Janet Leigh), who inject the rabbits with chemicals. However, they fail to anticipate the consequences of their actions. A breed of giant mutant rabbits emerges and starts killing every human in sight.


Harvey

Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is a wealthy drunk who starts having visions of a giant rabbit named Harvey. Elwood lives with his sister Veta (Josephine Hull) and her daughter (Victoria Horne), and Veta worries that Elwood has gone insane. In the process of trying to have him committed, Veta admits that she occasionally sees Harvey herself. The director of the mental home, Dr. Chumley (Cecil Kellaway), tries to reconcile his duty to help Elwood with his own growing experiences with Harvey.


Zootopia

From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.


Fatal Attraction

For Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), life is good. He is on the rise at his New York law firm, is happily married to his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and has a loving daughter. But, after a casual fling with a sultry book editor named Alex (Glenn Close), everything changes. Jilted by Dan, Alex becomes unstable, her behavior escalating from aggressive pursuit to obsessive stalking. Dan realizes that his main problem is not hiding his affair, but rather saving himself and his family.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired by cartoon producer R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to investigate an adultery scandal involving Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner), the sultry wife of Maroon’s biggest star, Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer). But when Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), Jessica’s alleged paramour and the owner of Toontown, is found murdered, the villainous Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) vows to catch and destroy Roger.


Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

The plucky characters from a series of animated shorts, Wallace (Peter Sallis) and his dog, Gromit, make their feature debut here. After starting a pest control business, the duo soon lands a job from the alluring Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) to stop a giant rabbit from destroying the town‘s crops. Both Wallace and the stuffy Victor (Ralph Fiennes) vie for the lady’s affections. If Wallace wants to please his pretty client, and best Victor, he needs to capture that pesky bunny.

The Favourite

In the early 18th century, England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne occupies the throne, and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing, and Abigail sees a chance to return to her aristocratic roots.


Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s beloved fantasy tale is brought to life in this Disney animated classic. When Alice (Kathryn Beaumont), a restless young British girl, falls down a rabbit hole, she enters a magical world. There she encounters an odd assortment of characters, including the grinning Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway) and the goofy Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn). When Alice ends up in the court of the tyrannical Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton), she must stay on the ruler’s good side — or risk losing her head.


Jojo Rabbit

Jojo is a lonely German boy who discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler — Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.


Caveat

A desperate drifter suffering from partial memory loss agrees to look after his landlord’s psychologically troubled niece in an isolated island mansion.


HOP

Beneath Easter Island, in a giant factory that manufactures the world’s Easter candy, the popular rabbit is preparing to pass the mantle to his son, E.B. (Russell Brand). But E.B. has no interest in the job and would rather be a drummer. He runs away to Los Angeles, where an unemployed slacker named Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) accidentally runs into him. Feigning injury, E.B. tricks Fred into giving him shelter, but an oversized chick is planning a coup back on Easter Island.


Monty Python and The Holy Grail

A comedic send-up of the grim circumstances of the Middle Ages as told through the story of King Arthur and framed by a modern-day murder investigation. When the mythical king of the Britons leads his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail, they face a wide array of horrors, including a persistent Black Knight, a three-headed giant, a cadre of shrubbery-challenged knights, the perilous Castle Anthrax, a killer rabbit, a house of virgins, and a handful of rude Frenchmen.


A Christmas A Story

(Don’t argue with me, this film 100% falls under this odd list. In fact, it’s the second film with a hideous bunny suit.)

Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.


HOPPY EASTER


Review: Mayim Bialik’s directorial debut ‘As They Made Us’ is relatable in its drama.

AS THEY MADE US

As They Made Us follows Abigail (Agron), a divorced mother of two, who is struggling to find sanity in her dysfunctional family as she attempts to cultivate new love. Her father, Eugene (Hoffman), has a degenerative condition that he and his wife, Barbara (Bergen), refuse to accept. Her brother Nathan (Helberg) has been estranged from the family for decades. A self-appointed fixer, Abigail attempts to mend her complicated family before it’s too late.


Mayim Bialik‘s feature debut packs an emotional punch. As They Made Us feels like a fresh wound for anyone with childhood trauma. Brilliantly structured with flashbacks and present-day chaos, Bialik weaves a portrait of a family existing in turmoil. 

Simon Helberg plays the son who escaped the weight of negativity. Estranged from the family, he leaves Abigail (Agron) behind to take the brunt of the aggression. Helberg plays a vastly different role from Bialik’s costar on The Big Bang Theory, and her script allows Helberg to show his range. Dustin Hoffman is patriarch Eugene. Navigating his cognitive decline, Hoffman plays dual roles in a way. At times, happy go lucky and defiant, others violent and loud. His journey is the most outwardly complex. Candace Bergen is the epitome of Jewish mother cliches, with a real mean streak. She lands somewhere in between abrasive and meddling. Still managing to be charming, Bergen brings heightened energy to the film. 

Dianna Agron is the default child, the emotional packhorse. Taking on caregiver roles that ought to belong to Bergen’s Barbara, Agron must shift between daughter, nurse, and wife roles to ease Eugene’s suffering. These are all at her own cost as she carries these scars. Agron is the star of this film. Even with Hoffman and Bergen, she steals the show. Her exhaustion is palpable. 

The family’s Jewish faith is a significant plot point. It becomes a large part of Abigail’s coping mechanisms, parenting, and healing. The character reminds me a lot of my Mother. Replace Judaism with Catholicism, and I’ve witnessed this same story play out a generation before. As They Made Us speaks volumes in roughly 90 minutes. Tackling forgiveness, acceptance, and mortality, Bialik’s voice as a filmmaker is pretty striking for her first time out. I am eager to see what comes next.



OPENS APRIL 8, 2022
IN THEATERS AND DIGITAL / VOD


Writer & Director: Mayim Bialik

Cast: Dianna Agron and Simon Helberg, with Candice Bergen, Dustin Hoffman, Justin Chu Cary, Charlie Weber, and Julian Gant

Producers:  Jordan Beckerman, Ash Christian, Anne Clements, Michael Day, Jordan Yale Levine, Mark Maxey

Runtime Time: 96 minutes

Rated: R for language


 

Capsule review: Inspired by actual events, ‘NITRAM’ is a gripping tale of inevitable violence.

NITRAM

SYNOPSIS: Nitram (Caleb Landry Jones) lives with his mother (Judy Davis) and father (Anthony LaPaglia) in suburban Australia in the Mid 1990s. He lives a life of isolation and frustration at never being able to fit in. That is until he unexpectedly finds a close friend in a reclusive heiress, Helen (Essie Davis). However, when that relationship meets a tragic end, and Nitram’s loneliness and anger grow, he begins a slow descent that leads to disaster.


Witness the downward spiral of an already unwell young man as he slowly travels down the rabbit hole of complete darkness. When Nitram finally connects with a reclusive heiress named Helen, his world appears brighter. Helen provides the comfort and emotional shelter his parents could not. When the sadness becomes too much, his anger and anxiety manifest in violence and unfathomable tragedy. Inspired by actual events, NITRAM tells the story of one man’s undoing, changing Australia’s history forever. 

Caleb Landry Jones embodies the mentally fragile Nitram with his entire being. It’s no wonder he won Best Actor when the film premiered at Cannes last year. Jones’ uncanny ability to live in the skin of his character is something you don’t see often. He’s on another level, whether that be his voiceover work in Finch or his haunting performance in Antiviral. Alongside stellar performances from Judy Davis and Anthony LaPaglia as Nitram’s emotionally exhausted parents and a breathtaking turn from Essie DavisNITRAM is an eerie chronicling of inevitable implosion.


IFC Films will release the thriller/drama NITRAM in Theaters, on Digital Rental and AMC+ on March 30, 2022.

Directed by Justin Kurzel (TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, SNOWTOWN MURDERS, MACBETH) and written by Shaun Grant (TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG, BERLIN SYNDROME), NITRAM stars Caleb Landry Jones (THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI, GET OUT, HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT), Essie Davis (THE BABADOOK, TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG), Oscar Nominee Judy Davis (HUSBANDS AND WIVES, BARTON FINK, NAKED LUNCH), and Anthony LaPaglia (EMPIRE RECORDS, WITHOUT A TRACE).


 

Review: Chris Pine helmed action thriller ‘The Contractor’ has franchise potential.

THE CONTRACTOR

SYNOPSIS: Chris Pine stars in the action-packed thriller as Special Forces Sergeant James Harper, who is involuntarily discharged from the Army and cut-off from his pension. In debt, out of options and desperate to provide for his family, Harper contracts with a private underground military force. When the very first assignment goes awry, the elite soldier finds himself hunted and on the run, caught in a dangerous conspiracy and fighting to stay alive long enough to get home and uncover the true motives of those who betrayed him. Also starring Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Foster, Gillian Jacobs and Eddie Marsan.


If you’re a fan of hit franchise films like The Bourne Identity and TakenTarik Saleh’s new film The Contractor is right in your wheelhouse. J. P. Davis’ script gives us a top-tier espionage and black ops storyline, creating an emotionally taut thriller with Chris Pine as our hero.

Keifer Sutherland does his effortless badass thing, and you’ll be on your toes every second he’s on screen. Ben Foster, who I attended Interlochen Arts Camp with when we were young, is a star yet again. Ben has that “it” factor. I knew it the second I met him. As Mike, Pines’ former Sargent and best friend, he’s charming and funny. He, too, handles the physical aspects of the film like an expert. You cannot help but focus on Foster when he appears onscreen. His presence is undeniable. 

Chris Pine gives James Harper all the qualities we need. Harper is a fully fleshed-out, flawed human being. He’s layered and complex, and Pine gives him life. The action sequences are just as hard-hitting as the emotional ones. It should come as no surprise, given Pine’s natural ability to pull you into any role. I’d love to see The Contractor become its own franchise. Pine has the chops. 

The film’s plot comes at an auspicious time in history. To give any more detail would be spoiling it for the audience. The fight choreography is enthralling. The twists and turns and emotional impact glue you to your seat. The Contractor is a solid action thriller with the heart to back it up. You can catch the film in theaters, Digital, and On-Demand on April 1st.

IN THEATERS, ON DIGITAL AND ON DEMAND: April 1, 2022
DIRECTOR: Tarik Saleh
WRITER: J.P. Davis
CAST: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gillian Jacobs, Eddie Marsan, JD Pardo, Florian Munteanu and Kiefer Sutherland
RUN TIME: 103 minutes
RATING: R for violence and language
GENRE: Action, Thriller

DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Pictures


BUFF 2022 capsule review: Creature feature ‘HATCHING’ takes growing pains in a horrifying direction.

HATCHING


Tinja exists in a world where her mother expects perfection. Subconsciously, she seeks to replace her lack of affection. When she stumbles upon a strange abandoned egg, she decides she will nurture it. When things go awry, Mother has created a monster.

There’s no denying Hatching is a metaphor for puberty. Physical and emotional changes in Tinja are tied directly to the creature. As terror, anxiety, and jealousy intensify, so does Hatching’s horror. Our leading lady, Siiri Solalinna, is nothing short of extraordinary. She’s vulnerable, grounded, and fearless. It’s an astounding performance.

The creature design is reminiscent of something that might come out of the Wētā Workshop from Jim Henson‘s team. Its evolution is fascinating. It manages to be shockingly grotesque and yet adorable. If you’re a fan of Labyrinth or The Dark Crystal, you’ll especially appreciate the aesthetic. Hatching is a unique and terrifying journey. It’s one of the most emotionally brutal scripts of the year. BUFF 2022 fans are in for one hell of a film. 


IFC Midnight releases HATCHING in theaters April 29th and on VOD everywhere you rent movies May 17th.

Starring: Siiri Solalinna, Sophia Heikkilä, Jani Volanen, Reino Nordin

Directed By: Hanna Bergholm

Synopsis: 12-year-old Tinja is desperate to please her mother, a woman obsessed with presenting the image of a perfect family. One night, Tinja finds a strange egg. What hatches is beyond belief.


To find out more about BUFF22, click here!


Review: English language version of animated charmer ‘POUPELLE OF CHIMNEY TOWN’ is coming to VOD, Digital, Blu-ray, & DVD in May.

POUPELLE OF CHIMNEY TOWN

Poupelle of Chimney Town is the story of young Lubicchi living among the thick smoke from the chimneys of his isolated town, yearning to see the “stars” — to know the truth — his father always told him about. One Halloween night he meets Poupelle, a man-made of garbage, and together they look to the sky as their adventure begins. Spectacularly beautiful, filled with inspiring performances and splendid music and sound effects, and produced at Tokyo’s famed STUDIO4ºC, Poupelle of Chimney Town brings laughter, tears, and joy.


Perfect for audiences that like their cartoons dramatic and dark, Poupelle of Chimney Town uses polished Japanese animation to tell a complex story of friendship, acceptance, environmentalism, and– the folly of authoritarian states? 

 While many American audiences are familiar with gripping emotional narratives in animation thanks to Pixar’s penchant for powerful tearjerkers, this film elicits a similar pathos but doesn’t pair that with anything cute or cuddly. Instead, the main character is a lonely, friendless child that befriends a foul-smelling creature literally made of trash. Together, the pair adventure around a smog-blanketed city on a mission to open the hearts and minds of Chimney Town and defy the dystopian mind police roving the neighborhoods and assassinating free thinkers. 

To be honest, I found these all to be heavy concepts for a kids’ movie! My most generous comparison is to the subgenre of dark cartoons from the 1980s like “The Secret of Nimh” or “All Dogs Go to Heaven” which– full disclosure– gave me nightmares for most of my childhood. Like those films, “Poupelle of Chimney Town” has many moments of lighthearted fun, comedic dialogue, friendship, and ultimately a ragtag group of kids fighting to do what’s right. The action sequences borrow visuals from beloved video games with nostalgic effects and are loads of fun in particular. Overall, more sophisticated kids and adults will probably find it all charming; I may be a wimp.


The rights in the U.S. and Canada are controlled by Eleven Arts which has appointed Shout! Factory to handle distribution. The film’s home entertainment release will kick off with a premium VOD outing on May 3, 2022,

Digital download availability from May 17,

and  Blu-ray and DVD combination from May 31.


The English-language voice cast of Tony Hale (“Being the Ricardos,” “Veep”), Antonio Raul Corbo (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”), Stephen Root (“Finding Nemo,” “King of the Hill”), Misty Lee (“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,” “Ultimate Spider-Man”), and Hasan Minhaj (“The Daily Show,” “The Morning Show”).


Review: Mickey Keating’s ‘OFFSEASON’ is selling scary from start to finish.

OFFSEASON

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, Marie quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.


What makes this film so unsettling is a brilliant mix of Shawn Duffy‘s heightened sound editing, Shayfer James‘ music selection, and isolated locations. If you’re a genre fan, particularly gaming-wise, OffSeason is like watching Marie walk through a new live-action version of Silent Hill, down to the radio, the flashlight, and the fog. As short bursts of information are leaked to us through flashbacks, Marie is trapped in a nightmare.

Melora Walters as Ava is powerful in her manic behavior. She’s such a presence in any role. This casting was perfect. Richard Brake is brilliant. He’s so nonchalantly terrifying you’re just mesmerized by his performance. Jeremy Gardner is one of the best parts of this film. He’s a savior figure cloaked in mystery. His delivery of dialogue drives the greater mystery forward. He is an integral piece to this gothic puzzle. Jocelin Donahue has anxiety written all over her face. She has this throwback horror look from the hair, to the wardrobe, giving the entire film a timeless feel.

Mac Fisken‘s cinematography is amazing. The long lingering shots, the close-ups, and the static camera work are stunning. Watching the actors run into view and away again is such an effective stylistic choice. Writer-director Mickey Keating‘s creation lives and breathes in the audience’s ability to take the ride. I actually went back and watched the beginning again and there is one very Ari Aster moment. Keating smartly gives you a visual reference but it’s tricky to decipher right off the bat. OffSeason is worth multiple viewings. Make sure to have your volume turned up when you do.


In Select Theaters, On Demand and Digital:
 March 11, 2022


Starring: 
Jocelin Donahue, Joe Swanberg, Richard Brake, Melora Walters, Jeremy Gardner
Directed and Written By:
Mickey Keating
Run Time: 83 minutes | Rating: Not Rated


Review: The one reason to watch ‘Gasoline Alley’… Devon Sawa.

GASOLINE ALLEY


Devon Sawa plays Jimmy Jayne, a tattoo parlor owner with a cop’s instinct in his blood. When he becomes the main suspect in the brutal murder of three sex workers, he does the legwork detectives are ignoring.

Luke Wilson plays detective Freddy Vargas with a vigor and smartass attitude. It rings awkward most of the time, especially set against Sawa’s rebel do-gooder. Knowing Wilson’s abilities, I don’t blame this on him. As for Bruce Willis as Detective Freeman, if he is on-screen all of ten minutes, I’d be surprised. His name still has pull, despite the string of mediocre (and cop-centric) roles over the past few years. In truth, it could have been any actor.

Devon Sawa is a chameleon. Every role in the past few years, and there have been A LOT, Sawa has fully immersed himself. He’s just so good at what he does. Even surrounded by Wilson and Willis, there’s no denying Gasoline Alley is his vehicle. He’s a certified badass. I would love to see him in a Punisher reboot. I know, I know that sounds insane. But he’s got the chops for a franchise of that ilk. 

Emotional revenge propels the script forward. Although, if I’m being honest, I found myself getting bored and distracted when Sawa wasn’t speaking. The film feels convoluted until the final 30 minutes, and then it’s an avalanche of violence. It’s almost videogame cliché. As a whole, Gasoline Alley feels long, but Sawa earns every single frame.


GASOLINE ALLEY

In Theaters, Digital, and On Demand February 25, 2022


Review: ‘KING KNIGHT’ is an unlikely story of self-acceptance.

KING KNIGHT

SYNOPSIS: “Thorn (CRIMINAL MINDS’ Matthew Gray Gubler) and Willow appear to have it all as the revered high priest and priestess of a coven of new-age witches. But a secret from Thorn’s past throws their lives into turmoil and sends them on a trippy, hilarious journey.”


Committed coven leader Thorn is hiding a secret. How will his partner Willow and fellow coven members react when the truth comes to light? King Knight is a film about acceptance and growth against the backdrop of Wiccan comedy. Yes, Wiccan comedy. 

Writer-director Richard Bates, Jr. flips the script on societal norms with a humor reminiscent of Christopher Guest’s films. King Knight has a killer ensemble cast. The eclectic nature of the members will make you grin, with each actor given their time to shine. A highlight performance comes from Barbara Crampton as Thorn’s mother, and it’s simply magic. The horror icon, who seems to appear in one film after another without a break, can do no wrong in my eyes. She is hilarious in her brief but memorable screentime. 

Angela Sarafyan as Willow is delicious. She’s ethereal and grounded. Is she a practicing Wiccan? You could have fooled me. Her energy counters Gubler with the ease we needed. Matthew Gray Gubler as Thorn is fantastic. His dedication to the absurdity of the script draws you into King Knight. He’s suave and funny, and I want more of him on my screen. I would watch him dance any day of the week.

It’s easy to see why this was a Fantasia 2021 selection. The use of tarot cards as transition devices is super slick. Quirky and colorful animation adds another element of cool. Oh, the soundtrack is fire, as the kids say. While it struggles a tad from pacing issues, King Knight is a perfectly weird and fun film.


In Select Theaters, On Demand and Digital:
February 17, 2022
Starring:
Matthew Gray Gubler, Angela Sarafyan, Andy Milonakis, Kate Comer, Johnny Pemberton, Josh Fadem, Nelson Franklin, Emily Chang, Ronnie Gene Blevins, Swati Kapila, Shane Brady, AnnaLynne McCord, Alice Glass, with Barbara Crampton, and Ray Wise
Directed and Written By:
Richard Bates, Jr. 
 
Run Time: 81 minutes | Rating: Not Rated


Review: ‘A PELOTON OF ONE’ – a long road to healing through the ride of a single survivor.

A PELOTON OF ONE

 “A Peloton of One” is a documentary film about surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse, focusing on the next chapter in the Survivors’ story – what happens after victims come forward. The film follows Dave Ohlmuller who conducts a solo bicycle ride from Chicago to New York, meeting a variety of other Survivors and legal advocates along the way.


Trauma, the Catholic Church, politics, mental health, justice, and sexual abuse, A Peloton of One is a film about awareness for victims and the truth. #IRideWithDave Know the hashtag and understand its immense power and message. Dave Ohlmuller‘s emotional and physical journey as a survivor and an advocate is breathtaking and inspiring. 

I attended Catholic parochial school for eight years. My Mother thought it would be a better education. And while that element ended up being a blessing, the stress and fear instilled in me at the age of 6 were not. While I’m not the victim of sexual abuse by the church (that would happen in college by an acquaintance), I fully understand the emotional stronghold that the church has on families. After college, I tangentially worked on a few campaigns. Because of this, have a greater understanding of the protection politicians provide for specific institutions. This pushback is entirely about greed and votes. 

The metaphor of a peloton is perfect. The lack of safety as Dave (mostly) rides alone represents every survivor who felt dismissed, who lived in fear, who kept it inside from childhood to adulthood. His unadulterated honesty and bravery connect people of all ages across the country. A Peloton of One is an important watch. Pay attention to those who are blocking laws. Ask why they stand in the way of justice. Audiences have heard the news, but the A Peloton of One puts faces to stories. It further personalizes the truth and the long road to healing. 


** IN THEATERS FRIDAY FEBRUARY 18 **


FESTIVALS & AWARDS

 

Greenwich International Film Festival

Winner: Audience Award for Best Film

 

Golden Door International Film Festival

Official Selection

 

New Jersey Documentary Film Festival

Official Selection

 

Jersey Shore Film Festival

Official Selection


 

Review: ‘COSMIC DAWN’ is a whirlwind of conspiracy and otherworldly imaginings.

COSMIC DAWN

After witnessing an alien abduction as a child (and subsequently being told she’s crazy for most of her life) Aurora, now a young woman, joins the UFO cult The Cosmic Dawn after discovering a book written by the group’s leader, Elyse. Aurora’s time at the cult’s remote island compound is marked by miraculous revelations, consciousness expanding flowers, and a burgeoning friendship with Tom, the resident cook. When a fellow cult member starts to display increasingly bizarre behavior, Aurora begins to question Elyse’s sanity (and her own) and starts looking for a way out.


Boasting spectacular visuals alongside a riveting script from writer-director Jefferson MoneoCosmic Dawn is one of those films I’ve been hearing about for quite some time. With throwback sci-fi elements, get ready for a wild ride into the world of cults and the cosmos.  

Joshua Burge is always so present in a scene. Cosmic Dawn is another indie gem he can add to his resume, alongside Relaxer and Buzzard. There’s just something cool about his demeanor that captivates me. Emmanuelle Chriqui, as Natalie, is sweet and passionate about her experiences and the group. A true believer, she breathes life into this role.

As Cosmic Dawn guru Elyse, Antonia Zegers perfectly melds leadership and manipulation qualities that keep the viewer on their toes. Her (mostly) zen nature is quite unsettling. Camille Rowe as Aurora is vulnerable yet strong, open but wary. Her anxiety comes through the screen and directly affects the audience.

The editing forces you to pay attention as we jump from past to present, wading through ever-present trauma. The score elicits an eerie and almost visceral reaction. The soundtrack is hippy-dippy, space-aged perfection. The trippy moments in the script will have you second-guessing everything you think you know. As a believer, Cosmic Dawn lands somewhere between colorfully quirky and incredibly intense. It’s going to vibe with genre fans.


Jefferson Moneo’s
COSMIC DAWN
Debuts Theatrically + On Demand February 11th