Tribeca Festival 2021 review: ‘Werewolves Within’ will leave you howling.

Werewolves Within

After a proposed gas pipeline creates divisions within the small town of Beaverfield, and a snowstorm traps its residents together inside the local inn, newly arrived forest ranger FINN (Sam Richardson) and postal worker CECILY (Milana Vayntrub) must try to keep the peace and uncover the truth behind a mysterious creature that has begun terrorizing the community.

If you hate comedy, Werewolves Within is not for you. Also, if you aren’t a fan of whip-smart social commentary wrapped in a genre film about werewolves, stop reading now. Director Josh Ruben brought one of the best films to Tribeca Festival this year. Written by Mishna Wolff, the screenplay plays off the paranoia and politics of small-town USA. The pairing of Milana Vayntrub and Sam Richardson is pure comic genius. Wolff’s dialogue gives this duo a chance to shine and the audience nonstop belly laughs. In fact, this ensemble cast will blow you away. Everyone has their time to shine. Not a single actor is forgettable. This is the kind of witty banter that occurs when there is genuine chemistry between cast members. It’s so successful you’ll question whether there was improvisation on set. That’s a compliment to everyone involved with the film. The mystery aspect of Werewolves Within will keep you guessing until the very end. The practical effects perfectly progress from suggestive to full-on gagworthy. This film is so nuanced it will surprise you. Werewolves Within is the perfect reason to return to the theaters.

**In Theaters on June 25th & On Demand July 2nd**

Josh Ruben (Scare Me, “You’re The Worst”)
Mishna Wolff (I’m Down)
Milana Vayntrub, Sam Richardson,
Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Harvey Guillen, Michael Chernus, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Catherine Curtai, Rebecca Henderson, Glenn Fleshler

12 Tribeca Film Festival movies already picked up

HBO has already snagged two documentaries: The Apollo (Opening Night), about the legendary Harlem theater, and At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal, which is pretty much self-explanatory. Introducing younger audiences to the delightful Dr. Ruth Westheimer will be Ask Dr. Ruth acquired by hulu. At 90 years old, she’s still leaving her mark on the world. IFC Films will release Charlie Says from director, Mary Harron. I’m just glad they waited to make a movie until after his death. Same goes for the Ted Bundy story starring Zac Efron, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which Netflix picked up at Sundance.

After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, Goldie looks to be a promising tale of the pursuit of happiness. The latest Halston documentary seems to be less talking heads than Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, which played at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Dan Krauss won best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013 for The Kill Team and has now made a narrative of the same with Nat Wolff and Alexander Skarsgård from A24.

In the documentary, Leftover Women, the story surrounds the effects of the gender imbalance of the “one child” policy in China. A24’s second release is the summertime drama, Low Tide. The documentary acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, Maiden, tells of an all-female crew in 1989 who competed in a prestigious yacht race. And last but not least, is The Quiet One from Sundance Selects, telling the story of Bill Wyman a founding member of The Rolling Stones that walked away from it all to be his own legend.

  1. The Apollo (HBO)
  2. Ask Dr Ruth (hulu)
  3. At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal (HBO)
  4. Charlie Says (IFC Films)
  5. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Netflix)
  6. Goldie (Vice Media, Fox)
  7. Halston (The Orchard, CNN Films)
  8. The Kill Team (A24)
  9. Leftover Women (MetFilm Sales)
  10. Low Tide (A24)
  11. Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics)
  12. The Quiet One (Sundance Selects)

Review: ‘Queen of the Desert’… More Like, Queen of the Deserted

Queen of the Desert

Theatrical release date: April 7, 2017

VOD (Video On Demand) release date: April 14, 2017

Guest review from Reel Reviews Over Brews

Queen of the Desert starring Nicole Kidman, is the true story behind Gertrude Bell, an English writer and traveler, among many other titles. She explored, mapped, and formed strong relationships with leaders of the Middle East. Her accomplishments lead her to become highly influential to British imperial policy-making. Bell was very trusted and given a tremendous amount of power by the British, for a woman at the time. Reading even a little bit about Gertrude Bell’s life, will open your eyes to just how incredible this woman’s accomplishments are… let alone for a woman in the early 1900’s! With the help from T. E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabia (Robert Pattinson), she gave support to the Hashemite dynasties, in what is known as Jordan and Iraq today.

Sadly, this movie boiled down to Bell (Nicole Kidman) dealing with the heartbreak of the men she fell for, British Officer Henry Cadogan (James Franco) and Lieutenant Colonel Charles “Richard” Doughty-Wylie (Damian Lewis).

Kidman did her best to keep Bell memorable throughout and was the main reason this movie didn’t sink further. Director Werner Herzog did a great job mesmerizing us with the panoramic shots of the desert and all of its beauty, but that was about it. Herzog had poor transitions throughout the movie, which certainly made things more difficult to follow than they could have been. The exploration portion of the movie felt empty as it seemed to just have her wandering around in the sand. The movie should have focused more on what the final 20 minutes were about, rather than the pointless relationships she made with the men she fell for. Gertrude Bell is an influential and powerful role model for women everywhere and deserved a better told story. In the end, we felt deserted from what could have been a great movie…

Reel ROB Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Post Credits Scene: No

We want to thank our friends at Reel News Daily for allowing us to do this guest review for them!

Review: ‘WOLVES’ depicts a young man trapped between boyhood and manhood.


Bart Freundlich’s new film WOLVES

From the famous courts of West 4th Street, to the tenements overlooking the bridges of the lower east side, Wolves paints an original, diverse, and emotional portrait of a boy becoming a man in New York City. 18-year-old, Anthony Keller is a high school basketball star. Now in his senior year he is being recruited by Cornell University, a dream come true.  Called “Saint” by everyone at his school (St. Anthony’s), he does his best to live up to his name.  He is captain of his team, a good student, has a long time girlfriend and some good friends.  But the ease with which he moves through his life is a facade. At home, Anthony struggles with his troubled Father, Lee Keller, (Michael Shannon) and his gambling addiction.  Anthony’s Mother, Jenny, (Carla Gugino) has made it her mission to keep the family afloat but has done so only with great emotional and financial sacrifice.

As Anthony approaches the end of his senior year and the city finals, he is faced with adversity from all sides, and the stakes are high.  He must find his own definition of what it means to be a man, both on and off the court, and in doing so he is confronted with the decision of a lifetime.

There is definitely more than meets the eye to this coming of age, high school basketball story. Newcomer Taylor John Smith plays “Saint”, a kid trying desperately to make everyone around him happy. He is emotionally stretched thin and like many high school students who want/need to achieve their lofty dreams, finally meets his breaking point. WOLVES is filled to the brim with fantastic performances. With a heavy hitting cast alongside Smith, there are more layers to this film, and it all comes down to perspective.

Smith’s lead performance is natural, endearing, and powerful. The abusive aspect of the film coming directly from Michael Shannon (as his father), is tough stuff for any actor. But for Smith to easily go toe to toe with a vet like Shannon, all I can say is, “Bravo.” Speaking of Shannon, he plays a real self-loathing scumbag. Unhappy and resentful professor with a gambling addiction, he not only doles out physical abuse to his son but a heavy handed dose of emotional as well. Shannon gives a performance closer to his early seasons on Boardwalk Empire, short fuse and potentially underlying sociopathic tendencies. Carla Gugino is better than ever as the mother trapped in a marriage of frustration and protection of her son and her own sanity. Grittier than her performance in Match but equally as wonderful. For me, the most noteworthy role is one of the smallest. As a momentary surrogate father figure, former pro-baller and wise truth speaking guru, John Douglas Smith is a master. Some of the most impassioned moments in the script come from the mouth of this character Socrates (aptly named). I could have watched this man wax philosophic for the entire film. He was the grounding force the script so desperately needed, as not to lead it into after-school special territory.

On the whole, you will route for WOLVES and the storyline. You can catch the film in theaters and On Demand, tomorrow March 3rd. Check out the trailer below.

In Theaters & On Demand on March 3rd

RT: 110 Minutes

DVD Review: ‘THE SPOILS BEFORE DYING’ is another hit for Funny Or Die and IFC


Starring Michael Kenneth Williams, Maya Rudolph 
and Kristen Wiig

Available on DVD as of June 7, 2016

The Spoils Before Dying” showcases an all-star cast including, Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years a Slave, RoboCop, “The Wire”), Maya Rudolph (“Saturday Night Live,” Bridesmaids, Big Hero 6), Kristen Wiig (“Saturday Night Live,” Bridesmaids), and Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, Pay It Forward). Produced by Funny Or Die with executive producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Nate Young, Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, “The Spoils Before Dying” was written by Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont (who also directed). “The Spoils Before Dying” is the second book, based on fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh’s (Will Ferrell) first best-selling epic novel The Spoils of Babylon. Season two from the “Spoils” franchise premiered on IFC on July 8, 2015, and includes six half-hour episodes.
maya rudolph and michael KENNETH WILLIAMSThe series centers on Michael Kenneth Williams as Rock Banyon, who becomes the prime suspect in the double murder of his occasional lover Fresno Foxglove (Maya Rudolph) who is found dead with another man. Panicked, Rock splits for Mexico where he reunites with his one-time big band singer Delores DeWinter (Kristen Wiig). With 72 hours to clear his name or fry in the electric chair, Rock and Delores embark on a dangerous quest for the truth that takes them into an abyss of sex, drugs, betrayal, and of course, jazz. While his world crumbles, Rock’s hard-charging manager Alistair St. Barnaby (Haley Joel Osment) pressures him to record a mainstream jazz album.

will ferrell TSBD stillFunny Or Die can pretty much do no wrong in my opinion. Following up on the 2014 The Spoils of Babylon, The Spoils Before Dying is another total win. If you haven’t seen the first season in IFC, imagine a Sin City narrative combined with the Rodriguez/Tarantino Grindhouse schlock and add in the compressed timing of an SNL Digital Short (sort of, each episode is 30 minutes). Tough in our age of binge-watching, you can happily run through the entire series in the time it would take you to watch any other film, half as fun. The mock commercials stuck into the episodes are as completely tongue-in-cheek as the rest of the production. kristen wiig TSBDThe performances are off the rails hilarious. Will Ferrell reprising his role as Eric Jonrosh is pure insanity. His oftentimes linear thinking combined with overindulgence and narcissism is pitch perfect. Michael Kenneth Williams is a breath of fresh air as he takes on his role with (almost) complete seriousness. We all knew Maya Rudolf has a set of pipes on her, but I had no idea that Kristen Wiig can sing. And when I say sing, I really mean SAAAANNNNNGGGG. The songs are unapologetically ridiculous AND maintain gorgeous melodies. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Haley Joel Osment, who steals each scene he appears in with total commitment and one over-the-top accent. With appearances by Tim Robbins, Kate McKinnon, Molly Shannon, Michael Sheen, Chris Parnell, Tim Meadows, to name a few,  you simply cannot go wrong with this series. The Spoils Before Dying is now available in DVD. Check out the trailer below!

Trailer of the Day: The Anti-Romance – ‘Hungry Hearts’ with Adam Driver

Hungry Hearts_4698


New York City newlyweds Jude (Girls’ Adam Driver) and Mina (I Am Love’s Alba Rohrwacher) have a seemingly perfect relationship. But things take an unsettling turn with the birth of their son. Convinced that the baby must be kept free of all contaminants, Mina develops fanatical obsessions with veganism, cleanliness, and purity that may kill the child unless Jude can stop her. With stunning performances from Driver and Rohrwacher, this intense psychological drama suggests that sometimes a parent’s love can be the scariest thing of all.

DIRECTED & WRITTEN BY: Saverio Costanzo
STARRING: Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher

IFC Center Announces QUEER/ART/FILM’S Second Annual Special Summer Season, “BLACK SUMMER NIGHTS”

QAF SUMMER 2015 POSTCARD FRONTEach film in the series arrives at the theme of queer blackness in cinema from a different nexus of history, performance, originality, oppression, victory, adversity and fabulousness. Actor Colman Domingo’s choice is Mahogany (1975 – dir. Berry Gordy), starring Diana Ross as a working class woman from pre-gentrified Chicago who rises to become a top model and fashion designer in Rome. Mr. Domingo writes of Miss Ross’ presence in the film, “with a heavy dose of Fashion Fair makeup, Halston-esque gowns, wigs and lashes, she became the fairy godmother for all little black gay boys to seek the diamonds and rubies in their dreams.”

James Baldwin - The Price of the Ticket by Karen Thorsen 1989)

James Baldwin – The Price of the Ticket by Karen Thorsen 1989)

Writer Jacqueline Woodson’s selection is the classic award-winning documentary James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (1989 – dir. Karen Thorsen), produced in association with the late, great Albert Maysles. The story of the life, works and beliefs of the legendary writer, playwright and Civil Rights leader James Baldwin is told using rarely seen archival footage blended with intimate interviews and rousing public speeches including his extraordinary New York funeral service held in 1987. Among Baldwin’s close friends – and critics – interviewed in the film are Maya Angelou, William Styron and Amiri Baraka. August 2015 will be Baldwin’s 90th birthday, so it is with great pride we present a film that Woodson says “shows us Baldwin’s brilliance and thoughtfulness, his before his time-ness,” and “allows us to meet the man who changed so many lives.”

Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in Friday (1995)

Ice Cube and Chris Tucker in Friday (1995)

Poet Angel Nafis will present Friday (1995 – dir. F. Gary Gray), the hilarious Ice Cube-Chris Tucker comedy that celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. For Nafis, it was the presence of actress Nia Long that most impacted her. She writes, “Praise be to Nia Long! So impossibly fine. Cocoa brown skin, dark cranberry lip, short cropped haircut, fine even in a sweat suit. She was amazing, and very much so what I had never before seen on TV or any magazines anywhere… In movies [black girls] are always bitchy, always broke, always loud, always monstrous, lowdown, spread thin. But Nia’s character got to be sweet, beautiful in her simplicity and familiarity….It was the first time I ever saw a movie and saw someone I could be proud to want to be. And my first time seeing a black woman on TV and not just wanting to emulate her, but almost itchy with the desire to put her face near my face.”

Looking for Langston by Isaac Julien (1989)

Looking for Langston by Isaac Julien (1989)

M. Lamar has selected Isaac Julien’s classic, Teddy Award-winning film Looking for Langston, which broke new ground and launched Julien’s celebrated career. For M. Lamar, the power of this film, along with Julien’s short The Attendant, comes from seeing “black men, black beauty and black homosexuality on screen as it has never been seen before or since.” He continues, “in the wake of Ferguson I would love for us to look at this film and think about how black men are seen in our culture and how this film disrupts that white supremacist view.”

Screenings will take place at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West 3rd St. Adult tickets are $14. Membership packages are available starting at $50.

Monday, May 11th, 8:00pm

LOOKING FOR LANGSTON and other short films by Isaac Julien

Dr. Isaac Julien, UK, 1989

We are thrilled to kick off BLACK SUMMER NIGHTS with this Teddy Award-winning film, which became a cult hit thanks to director Isaac Julien’s sensual and dreamlike portrait of the gay poet Langston Hughes and his affairs during the Harlem Renaissance. For musician and performance artist M. Lamar, whose work regularly explores black history and sexuality, the power of this and other Julien films is seeing, “black men, black beauty and black homosexuality on screen as it has never been seen before or since.” He continues; “in the wake of Ferguson I would love for us to look at this film and think about how black men are seen in our culture and how this film disrupts that white supremacist view.”

Monday, June 8th, 8:00pm


Dir. Berry Gordy, USA, 1975, 109 min

“The men love me, the women love me…Me. Mahogany.”

Black Summer Nights is thrilled to kick off Gay Pride Month with this one-of-a-kind melodrama turned camp classic starring Diana Ross as a working class woman whose meteoric rise from shop-girl to high fashion model to haute couture designer is challenged by her relationships with a dashing politician (Billy Dee Williams) and a malevolent gay photographer (Anthony Perkins). For Tony award-winning actor, singer and playwright Colman Domingo (Selma, Passing Strange), seeing Mahogany at an early age was deeply inspiring. He writes, “With a heavy dose of Fashion Fair makeup, Halston-esque gowns, wigs and lashes, Mahogany became the fairy god mother for all little black gay boys to seek the diamonds and rubies in their dreams.” Prepare to be dazzled by this fabulously fun and yet deeply emotional film!


Monday, July 20th, 8:00pm


Dir. Karen Thorsen, USA, 1989, 87 min

In February, QAF audiences packed the IFC for A Litany for Survival, the documentary about the poet Audre Lorde. This month, we’re thrilled to present another classic film about a landmark black literary figure. The Price of the Ticket brilliantly weaves rarely-seen archival footage from over 100 sources with intimate interviews and eloquent public speeches to form an astounding portrait of the legendary writer and Civil Rights leader James Baldwin. For award-winning Young Adult author Jacqueline Woodson, who dreamed of meeting Baldwin, the film “shows us his brilliance and thoughtfulness, his before-his-time-ness,” and “allows us to meet the man who changed so many lives.” As August marks James Baldwin’s 90th birthday, we are proud to present this valuable and vibrant documentary masterwork in celebration of one of New York’s most significant sons.


Monday, August 17th, 8:00pm


Dir. F. Gary Gray, USA, 1995, 91 min

“Bye, Felicia!”

Friday was hailed as an instant classic the moment it hit theaters in 1995, thanks to a breakout performance by Chris Tucker and its loving send-up of familiar black neighborhood figures. For tonight’s guest, poet Angel Nafis, whose work has been compared to Ntozake Shange and June Jordan, seeing the world around her reflected on screen was a powerful experience, but even more important was the presence of “impossibly fine” actress Nia Long, as a “black girl next door” who wasn’t a stereotype. Nafis found a rare onscreen role model, and felt, “almost itchy with the desire to put her face near my face.” Join us for this special 20th anniversary screening.



PAMELA SNEED is a New York based poet and actress. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Time Out, Bomb, VIBE, and on the cover of New York Magazine. She is author of Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom Than Slavery, published by Henry Holt (1998), KONG & Other Works, published by Vintage Entity Press (2009) and a chapbook Lincoln (2014). She has performed original works for sold out houses at Lincoln Center, P.S. 122, Ex-Teresa in Mexico City, The ICA London, The CCA in Glasgow Scotland, The Green Room in Manchester England, BAM cafe, Central Park Summer Stage and recently Columbia University’s Tribute to James Baldwin, The Whitney Museum and BRIC.

STEPHEN WINTER is an award winning film director, screenwriter, consultant and producer. His films include Chocolate Babies (1996), Young Men Big Dreams: Inside The World of the Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp for NBC/Universal, and his new film Jason and Shirley will premiere in 2015. Some of the films he has worked on are Precious (2008), Paperboy (2010), Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2012), Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation (2004), John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus (2006), Xan Cassavetes’ Kiss of the Damned (2010), John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings (2013) and David France’s Oscar nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague (2012). His short play Be Still, about his sainted mother Aureen returning to Jamaica, was included in 24 by 24: The Best of the 24 Hour Plays Anthology.

13 New Movies Premiering On Demand This February


David Cross is releasing his new movie, HITS, in theaters and available via BitTorrent as a Pay-What-You-Want release. There’s actually a Special Pay-What-You-Want Screening Event at Nitehawk Cinemas in Brooklyn. Sorry, it’s sold out already. The big surprise is the quiet release of The Rewrite, starring (are you ready for this?) Hugh Grant, Marisa TomeiAllison Janney, J.K. Simmons and Chris Elliott. Read More →

Melissa’s Monday Movie: ‘Crystal Fairy’ With Michael Cera & Gaby Hoffman

Crystal Fairy PosterBased on a true story, this really random journey hinges on the complete unlikeability of Michael Cera and the Gaby Hoffman’s outlandish behavior.

On a trip through Chile a boorish American expat named Jamie (Michael Cera) and three Chilean brothers plan to set off in search of the prized San Pedro cactus and its promise of beachy hallucinations. But in the previous night’s drunken stupor Jamie invites a free- spirited fellow American (Gaby Hoffmann) along on their mescaline-driven road trip, and her devil-may-care worldview gives them more of an adventure than any of them had bargained for.

Read More →