Review: ‘Till Death’ kills it with the ball and chain metaphor.


Presents

TILL DEATH

Emma (Megan Fox) is stuck in a stale marriage to Mark and is surprised when he whisks her away to their secluded lake house for a romantic evening on their 10th anniversary. But everything soon changes, and Emma finds herself trapped and isolated in the dead of winter, the target of a plan that gets more sinister at every turn.

Till Death is a creative story about abuse, control, and reclaiming your voice. The film stars Megan Fox as Emma. She has been held emotionally captive by her abusive and powerful husband for 11 years. Their marital turmoil reaches new heights when a weekend getaway develops into physical captivity, with a side of heist and murder. Fox is great. The small moments of both recoil and challenge establish their dynamic, making for an uncomfortable watch. The physicality of this role is only half the battle. You cannot help but watch and yell at the screen alongside her. I think, “Son of a bitch!” came out of my mouth a lot. If I can be picky for a moment, I don’t think Fox’s character is given enough time to transition from submissive to badass, but that doesn’t lessen how enjoyable Till Death ultimately is. She gives a visceral performance.

It’s a harrowing script. The tension is constantly being ratcheted up. I was not expecting such a cat and mouse game when it first began. It’s the ingenuity that grabs you. I was genuinely surprised by Jason Carvey‘s screenplay. It’s undeniably clever, gruesome, infuriating, and fun. Till Death is essentially the worst anniversary scavenger hunt ever. (Which is actually the best compliment.)

Available In Theaters And On Demand July 2

Starring Megan Fox (Jennifer’s Body)
Co-staring Callan Mulvey (Russo Brothers’ upcoming The Gray Man), Eoin Macken (George RR Martin’s Nightflyers), Aml Ameen (HBO’s “I May Destroy You”)
and Jack Roth (Medici)
Directed by S.K. Dale 
Screenplay by Jason Carvey 

Review: ‘Eat Wheaties!’ is deliciously charming.

Eat Wheaties!

Sid Straw (Tony Hale) leads a dull life until he accidentally stalks famous college friend, Elizabeth Banks, on social media. With each failed attempt to prove he knows her, he rediscovers more of himself and the true meaning of friendship.

In the new film  EAT WHEATIES!, Sid Straw is the co-worker, family member, or neighbor that means well but always seems to get on someone’s nerves. His well-intentioned messaging to Elizabeth Banks create a downward spiral in his life that goes from silly to devastating. Blow after blow, Sid knows that his authentic self is good enough. This film is deliciously charming. Social media is a monster that can easily swallow its users whole. Sid Straw is misunderstood. He’s smart, thoughtful, quirky, and technologically behind the times.

Tony Hale knocks it out of the park.  EAT WHEATIES! allows him to hit every emotional high and low. You will fall in love with him. We’ve all known those social media newbies. The signing off on posts with their names, the public messages meant to be private, always makes me giggle. This character just captures your heart as he faces an enormous uphill battle against the media. Hale breathes life into a role that could easily become a caricature of a person. Alongside an amazing cast of familiar faces, Hale is a joy to watch as he navigates the complexities and ripple effects of a social media misstep. EAT WHEATIES! will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and then some. It a delight. PS, Stick around for the credits. Trust me.

Directed by Scott Abramovitch, Screen Media will release EAT WHEATIES! in theaters and on-demand on April 30.

Starring Tony Hale, with Paul Walter Hauser, Danielle Brooks, Lamorne Morris, Robbie Amell, David Walton, Sarah Burns, Elisha Cuthbert, Sarah Chalke, Sarah Goldberg, and Alan Tudyk

Review: ‘STREET GANG: How We Got To Sesame Street’ is a nostalgic hug of legacy and love.

STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET

STREET GANG: HOW WE GOT TO SESAME STREET reintroduces this visionary “gang” of mission-driven artists, writers, and educators that audaciously interpreted radical changes in society and created one of  the most influential and impactful television programs in history.

This eclectic documentary traverses from the inception to the nuance of programming this iconic television show. Everything from the production design to intimate interviews with the actors, from the musical guests to the writers’ room is in this film. It hits on the social, racial, and educational impact of the show. The show’s schedule was one of the most intense I’ve ever heard of. 100 episodes per year filled to the brim with original sketches (both muppet and street scenes), animation, and original songs, Sesame Street has changed the lives of countless families across the globe.

John Stone isn’t a household name in the way that Jim Henson and even Frank Oz are. Stone was the director chosen by television executive Joan Ganz Cooney. His passion and work ethic combined with an extraordinary group of artists made Sesame Street the beloved program we know today. Street Gang doesn’t sugarcoat the naysayers. It does not ignore the internal conflict. It’s an honest look at bringing it to life. The conversations between the curriculum creators and the writers were key to reaching the audience, making learning both fun and engaging.

Some of the most charming bits in the film are the blooper reels. The genius, off-the-cuff moments between cast members staying in muppet character will slay you. One very poignant time in the show’s history was anything but unscripted. The death of Mr. Hooper was a carefully curated scene. It sticks with me still today. In 1990, when Jim Henson passed at the age of 53, the world mourned alongside the cast and crew of Sesame Street. Caroll Spinney as Big Bird singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” at Jim’s funeral is heartbreaking and eternal.

I grew up with this show. As a 40-year-old moth of a 4 and 5-year-old, my children are now growing up with this show. I’m not ashamed to say I sit and watch with them. I’m just as enthralled with Sesame Street as I ever was. Their ability to grow with the times is what keeps them relevant and brilliant. Each scene in Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street held me with its nostalgia as it peeked behind the curtain. It left me with the hope that the show will continue its legacy long after we’re gone.

THE CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY WILL OPEN IN THEATERS ON APRIL 23, 2021, AND ON-DEMAND MAY 7, 2021

Directed by Marilyn Agrelo (Mad Hot Ballroom) and produced by Trevor Crafts (Experimenter 2015) and Ellen Scherer Crafts, the documentary chronicles the improbable origins and expansion of the groundbreaking show that not only changed children’s television programming, but had real-world effects on equality, education, and representation worldwide. The film is inspired by Michael Davis’ New York Times best-selling book of the same name.

About Screen Media Ventures, LLC

Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (Nasdaq: CSSE) company, acquires the rights to high-quality, independent television series and feature films. Screen Media Ventures acquires worldwide rights for distribution through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, video-on-demand, and new digital media platforms. The company acquires AVOD rights for third-party networks and is the main supplier of content for Crackle Plus and other Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment properties. With a library of over 1,500 television series and motion pictures, Screen Media Ventures is one of the largest independent suppliers of high-quality tv series and motion pictures to U.S. and international broadcast markets, cable networks, home video outlets, and new media venues. For more information, visit: www.screenmedia.net

About Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSSE) operates streaming video-on-demand networks (VOD). The company owns Crackle Plus which owns and operates a variety of ad-supported and subscription-based VOD networks including Crackle, Popcornflix, Popcornflix Kids, Truli, Pivotshare, Españolflix, and FrightPix. The company also acquires and distributes video content through its Screen Media subsidiary and produces original long and short-form content through Landmark Studio Group, its Chicken Soup for the Soul Originals division, and APlus.com. Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chicken Soup for the Soul, LLC, which publishes the famous book series and produces super-premium pet food under the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand name.

 About Macrocosm Entertainment

Trevor Crafts and Ellen Scherer Crafts created Macrocosm to bring dynamic engaging content to global audiences by building and showcasing unique worlds. Films include Sundance Film Festival World Premiere Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street (2021), 7 Splinters in Time (2018) Manson Family Vacation (Netflix, SXSW 2015 premier), and Experimenter (Magnolia, Sundance 2015 premier). In publishing, they created Lantern City, one of UPROXX Top Ten Comics of 2015, and The Not-So-Secret Society (2017) the first original children’s graphic novel for KaBOOM! an imprint of BOOM! Studios. For more information visit: www.macrocosm.tv.

Review: ‘The Sonata’ has a script and score to die for.

Synopsis: After being informed of the sudden death of her long lost composer father (Rutger Hauer), a young virtuoso violinist Rose (Freya Tingley) inherits an old mansion in which he used to live. There, she discovers her father’s final work: a mysterious music score marked with strange symbols. With the help of Charles (Simon Abkarian), her agent and manager, she deciphers the symbols and, little by little, starts to unlock secrets concerning her father’s past, setting in motion the mechanisms of a somber plan imagined since the very day she was born. They soon discover that there’s more to the sonata in question than meets the eye which, when played, triggers and unleashes dark and terrifying forces

When first-person horror video game POV camera work ramped up the discomfort and intrigue even before the titles appear, I was fully immersed in The Sonata. What an interesting choice for a film that only utilizes this mechanism once. I had no idea what I was in for next. What I got, what unexpected and wonderful. Music is a character in this film. The score is as powerful an entity as any actor. Bravo to composer Alexis Maingaud. The Sonata has stunning cinematography. The shots are incredibly thoughtful. The lighting is haunting, perhaps even reminiscent of a Guillermo Del Toro film. The sets are simply breathtaking. The script is complex and thoroughly engrossing with Davinci Code-like intricacies. You appreciate that doom seems inevitable but you are genuinely glued to the screen. Performances, across the board, are magnificent, including the late, great Rutger Hauer. The Sonata is a masterpiece of genre filmmaking.

The Sonataprominently features Rutger Hauer in one of his last on-screen roles. Co-written and directed by Andrew Desmond, the film also stars Freya Tingley (Hemlock Grove, The Spinning Man) and Simon Abkarian (Casino Royale), and was co-written by Arthur Morin. The film marks Desmond’s feature directorial debut. Screen Media will release the film in theaters and on demand January 10th.

Review: ‘Corporate Animals’ is an awesome ensemble comedy.

Lucy (Demi Moore) is the delusional CEO of a struggling startup aimed at millennials. In her infinite wisdom, Lucy leads her staff, including her long-suffering assistants Jess (Jessica Williams) and Freddie (Karan Soni), on a team building retreat in the caves of New Mexico led by an overeager guide (Ed Helms). When disaster strikes and the food runs out, mandatory office bonding becomes a lot more… appetizing.

Demi Moore plays a caricature of a “crunchy” CEO who takes her employees on a team-building excursion that goes awry. Trapped in a cave, already eccentric personalities are pushed to their limits. This script uses the “ripped from the headlines” and pop culture tactic to drive its tongue-in-cheek dialogue. It has a very Office feel to its co-worker chemistry dynamic. Demi Moore is authentically hilarious as an entitled phony nightmare. Ed Helms is never not funny. Jessica Williams and Karan Soni make an incredible team, SNL needs to take them both on immediately.  Each and every cast member has funny moment after funny moment. These are fully fleshed out characters which is a compliment to both the cast and the writer, Sam Bain.

Filmed almost entirely in the cave set, you can feel the claustrophobia of the cast. This is a “Lord of the Flies” daydream for anyone who hates their boss. The funniest moments revolve around hallucinations of all kinds. Corporate Animals doesn’t break any new ground but who cares. It’s still an undeniably fun time and a great comedic platform for both veteran and newcomer cast.

Screen Media will release the film in theaters and on demand September 20th.

Review: ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’ is Terry Gilliam’s fantastic passion project.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote 

Toby (Driver), a cynical advertising director, finds himself trapped in the outrageous delusions of an old Spanish shoe-maker (Pryce) who believes himself to be Don Quixote. In the course of their comic and increasingly surreal adventures, Toby is forced to confront the tragic repercussions of a film he made in his idealistic youth – a film that changed the hopes and dreams of a small Spanish village forever. Can Toby make amends and regain his humanity? Can Don Quixote survive his madness and imminent death? Or will love conquer all?

Decades in the making, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally coming to the big screen. It was worth the wait. Adam Driver plays a young director taking on his own passion project under the financial thumb of studio execs, locals, and his own ego. No doubt is the film about as metaphorical as you can get for the wild ups and downs the legendary Terry Gilliam has endured in bringing this film to fruition. Poking fun at itself and the industry at every turn, it must have been truly cathartic for Gilliam to shoot. The visuals and writing are all so satisfying you’ll want to applaud at the twists and turns along the way. Though admittedly, you’ll most likely be just as confused as both Driver and “Don Quixote” himself, Jonathan Pryce. One of the film’s best moments perfectly sums up the controlled chaos that is this epic story. “Try to keep up with the plot.’ To which Adam Driver‘s Toby replies, “There’s a plot?!”

Having watched, there is no way these roles would have been better served by other actors. Pryce walks the perfect line between madness and sadness. His commitment from beat to beat is the glue that keeps the story moving along its absurdist pace. But it is Driver who had me belly laughing every time a “FUCK” was spewed with genuine intention. I’ll have to go back and watch again if only to count the number of “F” words, each precisely placed and completely warranted. It’s sheer perfection. There is no doubt that Toby is Terry… and Don Quixote. The love that is so obviously infused within the film will be evident to anyone familiar with Gilliam and his fantastic passion project. It’s a combination of hilarity and insanity. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and filmmakers like Terry Gilliam are the reasons we go to the movies.

Screen Media will then give the film a theatrical run starting April 19th.

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, Stellan Skarsgard, Olga Kurylenko and Jordi Molla.