Review: Faith and Science Fiction meet in Brock Heasley’s ‘The Shift’



Infinite worlds. Endless choices. One way out.

Synopsis: In this modern-day retelling of Job, Kevin Garner (Kristoffer Polaha) embarks on a journey across worlds and dimensions to reunite with Molly (Elizabeth Tabish), his true love. The narrative unfolds as a dystopian drama and sci-fi thriller, where a mysterious adversary, The Benefactor (Neal McDonough), disrupts Kevin’s reality. Faced with infinite worlds and impossible choices, Kevin must navigate through an alternate reality, resisting The Benefactor’s tempting offer of wealth and power. As survival hangs in the balance, Kevin fights to return to the familiar world he cherishes and the woman he loves.

Clever and subtle handheld camera movements pack a subconscious punch. The script keeps you on your toes from the opening shot. Writer-director Brock Heasley forces the audience to sit up and pay attention as theories swirl in their minds. Your eyes dart across the screen in fear of missing either a performance or the intricate production design.

Neal McDonough plays The Benefactor with a slick, mesmerizing control. I wish we’d seen more of him. Sean Astin plays Kevin’s dystopian colleague and aids in his mission, Gabrielle. Astin brings his inherent charm, comic timing, and uncanny ability to connect with his fellow castmates. He is a joy to watch. Kristoffer Polala gives Kevin a grounded aura. His soothing narration feels like a warm hug. Something about his tone projects strength and calm simultaneously. He navigates the script’s nuance effortlessly. 

THE SHIFT has elements of The Matrix, Total Recall, Sliders, The Hunger Games, The Stand, and Faust. Fans of LOKI will eat this up. The narrative juxtaposition of multiple dimensions with resurrection is immensely clever. Heasley combines trauma, grief, guilt, technology, and faith with dystopian science fiction in an impressive fashion. While it leans heavily into the religious realm, the genre aspect is enough to captivate.


Distributed By: Angel Studios

Release Date: December 1, 2023

Written & Directed by: Brock Heasley

Produced by: Brock Heasley, Ken Carpenter, p.g.a.

Director of Photography: Edd Lukas

Cast: Kristoffer Polaha, Neal McDonough, Sean Astin, Elizabeth Tabish, John Billingsley
Jason Marsden, Paras Patel, Rose Reid, John Walker Ross

Review: Based on a true story, Marvin Samel’s very personal ‘iMordecai’ boasts compelling performances from Judd Hirsch, Carol Kane, and Sean Astin.


80-year-old Holocaust survivor Mordecai Samel is a man who works with his hands. When his son insists on replacing his taped-covered flip phone with an iPhone, his world opens up to new possibilities. Writer-director Marvin Samel brings his life and that of his family to the big screen with iMordecai. We must first learn from the past to better understand our future. This personal film will capture your heart.

Azia Dinea Hale plays Nina, a young phone tech who gives private lessons to Mordecai. Dealing with an unexpected family secret, Nina pushes onward to assure Mordecai that he can take his future into his hands and heal through experience and art. Hale is as sweet and patient as we need her to be.

Carol Kane is Mordecai’s wife, Fela. This witty, opinionated Polish woman is diagnosed with dementia. Mordecai’s secrets exacerbate her anxiety-ridden personality. Kane is a legend and compelling as ever in this role. We witness her moment-to-moment decisions, sometimes with nothing but a look in her eye. She is fantastic.

Sean Astin is Marvin, Mordecai’s son. Marvin’s confident facade begins to crack under the pressure of his cigar business, Fela’s diagnosis, and unresolved feelings with his father. Astin leaves his heart on the screen. Marvin is a complex person doing his best to keep his head above water. Astin takes each beat with thoughtfulness. It is a carefully crafted character study.

Judd Hirsch plays Mordecai with delicious chutzpah. He is proud, excitable, and dealing with deep seeded trauma. His journey is a reclamation of his youth. Hirsch is a treat to watch. Handpicked by Samel, he is funny, headstrong, and perfectly cast.

The film features beautifully animated sequences illustrating Mordecai’s childhood and hilarious flashback reenactments of his shenanigans as an adult. iModecai embraces the faults, chaos, and growing pains of our families. Samel’s script addresses everything, from intergenerational trauma to ageism, parenting, and embracing our truth. It oozes charm. Stick around for the credits to see footage of Samel’s twin daughters, the real-life Mordecai, and his art. iMordecai is a sentimental ode to survivors, culture, and unconditional love.


When Mordecai, a Holocaust survivor, portrayed by Academy Award Nominee Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans, Ordinary People) is given a new iPhone, an unexpected series of events upends his world. A heartwarming Miami-set comedy based on a true story. Co-starring Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Goonies) and Academy Award Nominee Carol Kane (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Hester Street).

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Sean Astin is in the wrong place at the wrong time in ‘The Surface’ available to watch September 1st

The Surface - Sean Astin

I love it when trailers show just enough to hook you and this one certainly does. The score underlines the uneasiness of the character’s plight as the location reveals the isolation. Read More →

Trailer for High School Football Inspiration Story ‘Woodlawn’ with Sean Astin & Jon Voight

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Based on the incredible true story, WOODLAWN hits theaters October 16. For more information, please see additional assets below.


Jeremy’s Review: ‘Video Games: The Movie’ Is an Endearing Documentary on the History and Evolution of Video Games and Their Culture

Video Games-Poster-XLPerhaps I’m dating myself here, but I can easily recall when Pong, the original video game sensation, became a hit, and the Atari 2600 shortly thereafter. And on and on and on. I am a member of the first video game generation and plenty of my life (up to the end college at least) has been consumed by playing, a pastime I have since passed along to my two sons, ages 7 and 9 much to the chagrin of my wife who never played them and fails to see their point. But one can’t deny how pervasive that video games have become in our culture and that’s where a film like writer-director Jeremy Snead‘s fantastic documentary Video Games: The Movie helps show how and why this all came about. Read More →