Tribeca Festival 2021 reviews: ‘See For Me’ and ‘Shapeless’ feature women battling different inner demons.

SEE FOR ME

When blind former skier Sophie cat-sits in a secluded mansion, three thieves invade for the hidden safe. Sophie’s only defense is army veteran Kelly. Kelly helps Sophie defend herself against the invaders and survive.

See For Me takes the home invasion genre and adds a surprising element; the leading lady’s morality. Rightfully bitter, having lost her sight, Sophie pushes everyone away in hopes of remaining independent. Part of that behavior also includes sticky fingers during her cat-sitting gigs. When trouble arises, Sophie begrudgingly takes her mother’s advice. She downloads an app allowing another person to look through the user’s cell phone camera to assist them in tasks. This comes in handy when Sophie is confronted with home invaders. Although, her best chance of survival comes with a moral caveat.

Skyler Davenport as Sophie is outstanding. Her temperament and ability to put the audience in her shoes make this as successful as it is. Alongside Jessica Parker Kennedy‘s confident performance, the two have unshakeable chemistry, even if they never meet face to face. See For Me is a thoroughly engaging thriller. You’re immediately hooked by the premise. Director Randall Okita invites us into Sophie’s world. With wide-angle shots, we experience immediate terror. Slowly lumbering killers in the same frame, all unbeknownst to Sophie, gives the film energy akin to the Friday The 13th franchise. Plus, two women fighting in tandem in a completely fresh way enhanced the home invasion trope. See For Me has a solid feminist vibe.  A thriller with a side of morality? That’s good stuff.

(**World Premiere**) – Tribeca Online Premieres

Director: Randall Okita
Cast: Laura Vandervoort, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Skyler Davenport, Kim Coates, Pascal Langdale, Joe Pingue, George Tchortov

 


SHAPELESS

Ivy, a struggling singer in New Orleans trapped in the hidden underworld of her eating disorder, must face her addiction – or risk becoming a monster.

A huge aspect of eating disorders is the idea of control. What happens when that obsession changes who you are? Perfectly titled, Shapeless creates a slow-burn dread that consumes the viewer. If you can stomach the content, good for you. I mean this quite literally. Director Samantha Aldana adds a precise feminine touch. Ivy’s physical and emotional self-destruction is incredibly familiar. Seemingly small moments, like secretly borrowing clothes or the careless nature of her personal relationships, reveal a fuller picture.

Kelly Murtagh is outstanding in the role she wrote alongside Bryce Parsons-Twesten. Her exhaustion and frustration are palpable. This certainly comes from Murtagh’s own experiences with an eating disorder.  Admittedly, as a genre fan, the most intriguing aspect of Shapeless is the progressive body horror. I yearned for more. The prosthetic makeup lands somewhere between grotesque and whimsical. It captures the essence of Shapeless at every turn. The final scene is nothing short of heartbreaking, honest, and terrifying. Bravo.

(**World Premiere**) – Midnight

Director: Samantha Aldana
Writers: Kelly Murtagh, Bryce Parsons-Twesten
Cast: Jamie Neumann, Marco Dapper, Kelly Murtagh, Bobby Gilchrist, Erika Ashley, Gralen Bryant Banks, Zardis Nichols

Review: ‘Cold Brook’ is charming directorial debut from William Fitchner.

COLD BROOK is the story of Ted & Hilde, two ordinary guys in a small town who embark on an extraordinary adventure and risk everything for a stranger in need. It’s a story about coming home; something everyone, everywhere has an innate desire to do.

Cold Brooks shines both in its incredible casting and genuine script. This is a story about connecting to loved ones. It’s about reconciling the past with the future. With intriguing paranormal elements, writer-director William Fitchner (also starring at Ted) gives a little indie gem that feels comfortable and homey. Kim Coates stars as Fitchner’s best buddy (and coworker) with lovely ease. You believe these two have been friends for a lifetime. His scenes with Mary Lynn Rajskub are gold. That marriage is an entire story waiting to be written. Harold Perrineau as Gil Le Deux id sincere and mysterious. His delicate approach and wide-eyed sense of wonder are a gorgeous foil for Coates and Fitchner’s working-class do-gooders. Fitchner is charming and nuanced. His emotional journey is extremely well-charted through writing and performance. While this script is not overly-complicated, that does not make it any less complex in character development. That is a real key to this film. The relationship dynamics from work to play to home are what keep you watching and smiling. Cold Brook is nothing short of great family entertainment and I look forward to seeing what might come next from Fitchner’s imagination and hard work.

COLD BROOK will be in theaters and On Demand and Digital on November 8, 2019.

COLD BROOK is the directorial debut of William Fichtner (“Mom,” “Prison Break”) who not only stars in the film but co-wrote it with Cain DeVore (Mitzi & Joe). The film also stars Kim Coates (Goon series, “Sons of Anarchy”) and Harold Perrineau (“Lost,” Romeo + Juliet).