Review: ‘Alone’ plays on inherent fears.

Jules Willcox (Netflix’s Bloodline) stars in ALONE as Jessica, a grief-stricken widow who flees the city in an attempt to cope with the loss of her husband.  When Jessica is kidnapped by a mysterious man and locked in a cabin in the Pacific Northwest, she escapes into the wilderness and is pursued by her captor. The key cast includes Marc Menchaca (Ozark, The Outsider) and Anthony Heald (The Silence Of The Lambs).

In college, I used to drive 8 hrs, regularly, in my car to visit a boyfriend. I was alone. I drove straight through pausing only briefly if I saw families at a busy rest stop. But, I was alone.  John Hyam’s new film is everything I was afraid of happening to me on those long rides.  ALONE is a bonafide nightmare. The genius of this script is its simplicity. The relatively mundane encounters build in the most honest and horrifying way. Jessica does everything right. But, once a serial killer has you in his sites, there is no escape, or so you might think. The pacing is absolutely perfect. The sound editing highlights the isolation that is evident in the natural setting. The soundtrack beating it all into you. All combined you feel like you’re in Jessica’s shoes. ALONE is a stripped-down genre winner.

Jules Willcox is a powerhouse as Jessica. Her vulnerability is so relatable making it easy to root for her survival. This is a power dynamic that shouldn’t exist but women, in particular, are used to dealing with it constantly. With an evergrowing population of “incel’ culture, walking with your keys between your fingers, pretending to be on the phone, parking under a streetlight, are all small steps we take to protect ourselves. Women are often deemed too emotional until we are tested by the unimaginable. ALONE exploits all that ingrained fear and mixes it with grief. Willcox nails this role from every angle. Marc Menchaca does a brilliant job with physicality. He comes off as visually harmless but he is downright scary. Perfectly balancing emotional manipulation with the brute strength of a psychopath, you’ll believe he’s done this before.

This film put me in such an agitated state, I had fingernail marks in my palms. My heart was pounding and I would forget to breathe. The final scene is phenomenally satisfying for innumerable reasons. The final shot is stunning. ALONE is a visceral watch. It is the only accurate way to describe this chilling film.

Magnet Releasing will release ALONE in theaters and on-demand September 18th, 2020.

Directed by John Hyams

Written by Mattias Olsson

Starring Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, and Anthony Heald

Girls On Film Podcast: ‘Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine’ – Liz & Melissa discuss Alex Gibney’s Documentary

Steve Jobs, Woodside CA 1984

This week’s podcast is dedicated to Alex Gibney‘s documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man In the Machine. Liz and I attended a screening, Q&A and reception where Gibney spoke with the press audience. After, Liz and I realized that as a user and non-user of Apple products, we had a great opportunity to discuss the film from both perspectives. Read More →

Jeremy’s Review: Marah Strauch’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ Is a Stunning and Defining Portrait of Base-Jumping Pioneer Carl Boenish

Sunshine Superman posterSome people have no fear and that has always amazed me. I guess I’ve been a fairly cautious fellow in my life so it’s easy to be in awe of someone like Carl Boenish, who threw caution literally to the wind for the bulk of his life. Who is Carl Boenish you ask? Well, he is the father of BASE jumping. What is BASE jumping you ask? Well, it is jumping with the aid of a parachute (or more recently a wing suit) from a fixed structure. When Boenish and his merry band of adrenaline junkies devised the term, it meant Buildings, Antenna towers, Spans and Earth – all of the different types of structures or formations from which one could jump.

Sunshine Superman-1Boenish was special person. He brought a certain energy that really permeated whatever group of people he was around. Once an engineer, he bailed on that profession after doing aerial cinematography for the film The Gypsy Moths directed by John Frankenheimer starring Hollywood heavyweights Gene Hackman, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr (all Oscar nominees or winners) and never looked back. Filming his jumps and creating films from them now took all of the focus in his life. However, he wasn’t satisfied with diving out of planes, so he took to diving from whatever tall structures or formations he could find, from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park to unfinished buildings in downtown Los Angeles (still filming them). Of course, his new passion brought with it troubles, especially those of the legal kind. But Boenish and crew always found a way to get their jumps in, even if they had to do them guerrilla style.

Sunshine Superman-7

Over the first hour of the film, Strauch tells us these background details, all of which lead up to two of the most important moments in Boenish‘s life – his marriage to fellow BASE jumper Jean Boenish and their quest for immortality with their record setting jump from Trollveggen (Troll Wall) in Norway. He and Jean were like two peas in a pod and the sheer amount of archival footage that Strauch weaves into the film confirms this. She was never hesitant to do the crazy things he wanted to and for that, they were a perfect match. So, as part of That’s Incredible!, a television show hosted by David Frost and a young Kathy Lee Gifford, he and Jean jumped from nearly 6,000 and set the world record.

Sunshine Superman-8

But as I said above, Carl was never satisfied and not even 12 hours later, unable to sleep, he took another shot at Trollveggen from a different jump site. Defying the advice that it was too dangerous to jump from, Boenish did it his way and jumped. Unfortunately, he hit the wall during the freefall and didn’t survive and the BASE jumping community lost their leader, and Jean her husband. As stated before, Jean was very much like Carl and only two days after his death, she jumped from the same spot…and survived.

Sunshine Superman-6

This is hands down one of the top three documentaries I’ve seen so far this year. Strauch‘s approach handles the Boenish legacy with honesty and the same energy that Carl exhibited when he was alive. Filled with tons of archival footage and testimonies from his family and friends and much of it from Jean, we are really able to get a sense of who Carl was and why he loved doing what he did best. Strauch also takes a page out of Errol Morris‘ book using many re-enactments of scenes adding another layer to the depth of the film to great effect, placing the viewer in the shoes of Boenish himself. Perhaps the film’s greatest strength, however, is that Boenish‘s legacy is treated with such respect. Through all of the interviews with the many people he worked with and jumped alongside, including his wife, no tears were shed at the loss of his life or in their remembrance of Carl and the amazing amount of joy he was able to bring them all. This wasn’t because they haven’t mourned the loss of someone they respected and loved, but because they knew he died doing exactly what he was put on Earth for and who could begrudge him that? Expertly crafted with precision editing and great music to boot, Sunshine Superman really is an enduring portrait of a man most people American don’t know. To answer that, this is one hell of an introduction.

The film is brought to you by the good folks at Magnolia Pictures and it opens today in New York and Los Angeles but will gradually open wider in the coming weeks. Here is a list of venues and dates where it will play.

So if, in the middle of the summer blockbuster season, you find yourself looking for a film that lacks explosions, car chases and superheroes, look no further than this film. It will leave a lasting impression and hopefully inspire people to do what they love, what they feel they were born to do. Sunshine Superman takes on additional significance with the  deaths of Dean Potter and Graham Hunt last week during a wing suit jump in Yosemite.

Get there, people.

Here’s the trailer:

Reel News Daily’s Top Movies of 2014 on The Reel Big Show!


It’s a full house on The Reel Big Show! Michael leads the group in discussion of their favorite movies of 2014, the night before the Oscar nominations. Below are their lists – with bold for which were nominated. See the list of nominations at

Check out the fun IMDb quiz based on the 36 movies in all the lists!
Read More →

Reel News Daily’s Top Summer Movies of 2014

TopSummerMovies2014At one point the Summer Season was depicted by the film’s released between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, but the time’s have changed and so has Hollywood. Summer tent-pole films are being released earlier and earlier to avoid the cluster of blockbusters being released weekly to capitalize on the lack of competition which of course means more money. So we’ve decided to expand our scope and include April into out Top Summer Movies of 2014…buuuuut we’re also cutting off the last 2 weeks of August…so sue us!

Jeremy‘s List

10. Fort Tilden
9. Obvious Child
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Calvary
6. Life Itself
5. Bluebird
4. Snowpiercer
3. Boyhood
2. Under the Skin
1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Liz‘s List

10. Neighbors
9. Chef
8. Coherence
7. Filth
6. Dom Hemingway
5. Frank
4. About Alex
3. Boyhood
2. Snowpiercer
1. Only Lovers Left Alive

Michael‘s List

10. Edge of Tomorrow
9. Filth
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
7. Nymphomaniac
6. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
5. Guardians of the Galaxy
4. Only Lovers Left Alive
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2. Snowpiercer
1. Boyhood

Melissa‘s List

10. Coherence
9. Godzilla
8. Locke
7. Dom Hemingway
6. Guardians of the Galaxy
5. Filth
4. Frank
3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
2. Only Lovers Left Alive
1. Snowpiercer

Read More →

‘Happy Christmas’ In Theaters July 25th – On Demand June 26th

When Jenny (Anna Kendrick), a hard partying 20-something moves in with Kelly (Melanie Lynskey), a budding novelist, her film director husband (Joe Swanberg) and their two-year-old son after a break up, the family’s idyllic life is shaken. Jenny begins a rocky relationship with their baby sitter-cum-pot dealer (Mark Webber), and she and a friend, Carson (Lena Dunham), bring Kelly to the realization that an evolution in her life, career and relationship is necessary for her happiness. A new comedy from the director of Drinking Buddies.

Written and directed by Joe Swanberg
Starring Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg Read More →

New Clip: ‘White Bird In A Blizzard’ From Magnolia Pictures

white bird in a blizzard

With a grin that reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix‘s younger years, Shiloh Fernandez and Shailene Woodley heat up the screen in this new clip from Mysterious Skin director, Gregg Araki. Clip below. Read More →