Friday, September 25, 2020

The Binge (Hulu Original Movie) Interview With Jeremy Garelick and Jordan VanDina (Spoiler Free)

Watch or Pass Interview with director Jeremy Garelick and writer Jordan VanDina, of Hulu's all new original movie The Binge. We discuss the movie's inspiration, making the movie, and working with Vince Vaughn. We also have an EXCLUSIVE reveal of a present that Jeremy gives to Jordan. So give it a watch and if you haven't already seen the film, it is available on Hulu on August 28. Stay tuned to this channel as the spoiler version of the interview will also go up on August 28! Please subscribe to be updated on the latest videos: https://bit.ly/3ajxSle The film stars Skyler Gisondo, Dexter Darden, Eduardo Franco, Vince Vaughn, Grace Van Dien, Tony Cavalero, Zainne Saleh , Marta Piekarz, Esteban Benito, Brittany Garms, Natalie Goldberg, Affion Crockett, Elon Gold, Jessica Kirson, Godfrey and Eileen Galindo. THE BINGE is directed by Jeremy Garelick and written by Jordan VanDina. The film is produced by Jeremy Garelick, Will Phelps, Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Nicole Stojkovich, Ryan Bennett and Michael Schade. Chris Bongirne and Michael Glassman serve as executive producers. THE BINGE is produced by American High and LD Entertainment. Set in a time where all drugs and alcohol are illegal, the only day anyone can participate in the "fun" is on Binge day. Friends Griffin (Gisondo) and Hags (Darden) have been dreaming of their first Binge--which you are allowed to participate in if you are over 18--for years. Hags has been planning to make this an epic night, the best of their lives. He also wants the glory of winning "The Gauntlet," an event that takes place at a wild party involving a grueling series of challenges to test the drug tolerance of all involved. Griffin is also concerned with making sure his future isn't affected by this night, both because of his desire to go to Brown next year, and his desire to ask his longtime crush and friend to prom. The pair are joined by Andrew (Franco) out of necessity, and the trio start on a long adventure of drugs, escapades, and ridiculousness.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

12 Days of Christmas Review: An Unplanned Holiday Adventure

Release date: September 18, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Starring: Annie Newton, Drew Petriello, Katee Shean

Childhood friends Amy (Newton) and Steve (Petriello) come home from their first semester of college for a relaxed winter break, but must navigate turbulent reunions, unspoken romance, and even an unplanned pregnancy.  And as they navigate this, they are also dealing with the changes that have happened since leaving and going to college.  Can their friendship or potentially more survive this nightmare twelve days? 

12 Days of Christmas focuses on two main characters Amy and Steve.  They are longtime friends that have a lot of history and shared experiences, and luckily Newton and Petriello have natural chemistry together.  Their scenes together are a lot of fun to watch and there are some really enjoyable ones early on, such as an improv scene where Amy is trying to help Steve plan for a shopping trip.  And these two throw themselves into their characters with some spirited acting that is very fun to see at times.  However, for a movie that was mostly billed as a comedy, the film was not as funny as I was hoping it would be.  There are definitely some funny parts, such as the aforementioned improv scene, but it felt like 12 Days of Christmas thought it was going to a funnier film than it ended up being.  The actors were doing their best, but the jokes just weren't hitting.  And especially some of the jokes and sequences with the other characters.  

However, the film is part comedy and part drama, and thankfully the dramatic moments are much better than the comedy.  The film gets more emotional and interesting as it goes on, and towards the end there are some powerful scenes that are spearheaded by Annie Newton's fantastic dramatic performance and the pair's natural chemistry.  The writing is so much more enjoyable and interesting in the second half of the movie and it makes me excited to see what else comes from writer / director Michael Boyle.  The dramatic aspects also help to elevate the story towards the end of the film to allow it to play with and knock down some tropes of romantic comedies and Christmas movies.  There were definitely times when I thought I knew where this film was going only to have it throw a curve ball.  And what this allows for is the film to pivot into what it should have been at the start, with an ending that feels fitting given where the movie has evolved to.  

12 Days of Christmas is conceived as a comedy but emerges as a fully formed drama thanks to Annie Newton's performance, solid writing, and some unconventional situations.

Rent it.

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Shortcut Review: A Creature Feature With Stranger Things Vibes

Jack Kane	...	Nolan Andrei Claude	Andrei Claude	...	Chris Zak Sutcliffe	Zak Sutcliffe	...	Reggie Terence Anderson	Terence Anderson	...	Joseph Sophie Jane Oliver	Sophie Jane Oliver	...	Bess David Keyes	David Keyes	...	Pedro Minghella Zander Emlano	Zander Emlano	...	Karl

Release date: September 25, 2020
Running time: 80 minutes
Starring: Jack Kane, Andrei Claude, Zak Sutcliffe

A group of five classmates is trapped inside their school bus after a mysterious creature invades the road.  Stuck with a dangerous creature just outside, they will have to work together to have any hope to survive.  Time runs and every passing minute decreases their survival chances against the constant threats of that unknown entity.

Jack Kane	...	Nolan Andrei Claude	Andrei Claude	...	Chris Zak Sutcliffe	Zak Sutcliffe	...	Reggie Terence Anderson	Terence Anderson	...	Joseph Sophie Jane Oliver	Sophie Jane Oliver	...	Bess David Keyes	David Keyes	...	Pedro Minghella Zander Emlano	Zander Emlano	...	Karl
Shortcut starts off amazingly with some really beautiful cinematography.  The shots are simple, yet have such a great sense of color and style that it basically pops off the screen.    The yellow leaves and countryside contrasted with the red buss was a very nice touch.  It is really a neat trick as the colors are generally muted but come together to form something beautiful.  And this also goes for the simple, understated but highly effective opening.  It uses old style pages and more foliage to really give you a sense of history and nature.  And all of this is complemented by some fantastic music that gets you in the horror mood early on.  Really, everything that this film does before we meet the creature will sink its claws into you and and drag you through this wonderfully done film, all before we see the claws of the creature itself!

The film mostly follows a group of five kids who end up being stuck inside their school bus.  And the kids are very entertaining to watch.  Often the risk of a young cast is that the acting itself can be noticeably off, but these kids feel natural with just the slightest hint of camp.  Their camaraderie is noticeable from the start and there are several funny little scenes to help highlight the connection between them.  I especially liked the dynamics of the groups when they were forced to split up, and seeing how the various kids react to danger and panic.  This movie has drawn comparisons to Stranger Things and it is definitely warranted.  From the type of film, to the style, to the music, and the young cast, this film definitely evokes that series.  

The story overall has a nice pace without getting boring.  Although the premise is that the kids are trapped in a bus, enough happens to move the story along that you never feel like the film, unlike the bus, is stalled.  It feels paced exactly right and the Shortcut is the perfect length for this genre.  And part of this pace lets the movie really highlight the sense of dread and tension.  Especially at the start, you get some heart thumping moments as the kids try to figure out what is going on.  These situations also provide an opportunity to highlight the fantastic sets and wonderful lighting in this film.  And the creature itself is very frightening early on, but can become less frightening as you get more exposure.  This is a normal aspect of creature features, but just know that this might happen.

Shortcut is a thoroughly enjoyable creature feature that gets its claws into you early with its wonderful cinematography, young talented cast, perfectly toned style, and Stranger Things vibes.

Watch it.

Movie horror thriller scary creature feature tension

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Kajillionaire Review: An Unconventional Quirky Con Adventure

Release date: September 25, 2020
Running time: 106 minutes
Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, Gina Rodriguez 

From writer/director Miranda July comes Kajillionaire, which follows con-artists Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins).  The couple have spent 26 years training their only daughter, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), to swindle, scam, and steal at every opportunity.  During a desperate, hastily conceived heist, they charm a stranger (Gina Rodriguez) into joining their next scam, only to have their entire world turned upside down.

The setting of Kajillionaire is definitely unique, and one that is set up perfectly through some really great characters.  The entire grifter family is interesting and fully committed to this unconventional and sometimes annoying role.  They try to scam at every opportunity, and look at any new situation through the lens of taking advantage of people.  When they receive some sort of small boon, they try to turn it around into something else.  And this commitment is accomplished through some stellar acting.  Evan Rachel Wood completely transforms into Old Dolio, changing her speech, mannerisms, gait, and pretty much everything in between.  She is almost unrecognizable as Old Dolio.  Winger and Jenkins do not transform as much as Wood, but they are nonetheless fully committed to their roles and add humor and awkwardness whenever they are scheming.  And the introduction of Rodriguez is a wonderful one, where her slight naivete and willingness to learn from the family is a fun dynamic.

On top of the quirky characters, there is a lot about Kajillionaire that July gets right.  The writing is well done, with some funny and awkward humor.  And the overall style is perfect as well.  The character's mannerisms feel like those of a grifter family that has spent far too much time together.  There is one scene where they are trying to avoid someone that they had grifted already where the entire family walks in such a ridiculous, but uniform way to avoid being seen that you can't help but smile. And the music in the film was really well done.  It added dread when it was needed, and turned dreamlike in other sequences.  But despite all this, there were some aspects of Kajillionaire that I did not love.  The first is that the family is not very sympathetic.  Despite them being fully committed to the role, I just didn't feel much sympathy for this family who were constantly swindling, lying, and cheating to get just a little bit more.  And when bad things happened to them, I just didn't feel that bad about it.  It was tough to feel invested in them due to this.  Additionally, the story is a slow burn, but one that felt slow.  It makes this normal length movie feel like a slog at times, despite everything else that the film got so right.

Kajillionaire is not a con, it is a quirky, funny movie with an unconventional story and leads that completely transform into an awkward grifter family looking for one additional score.

Rent it.

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Verotika Review: An Homage to Vintage Horror

Release date: September 21, 2020
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate

Glenn Danzig's directorial debut, is a horror anthology that compiles stories from Danzig's line of comic books of the same name. Stories which focus on horror content that's often sexual and violent in nature, usually featuring scantily-clad female protagonists.  The film is broken up into three roughly half hour stories that each feature odd tales of horror and the macabre.  The three tales are titled: The Albino Spider of Dajette, Change of Face, Drukija Contessa of Blood.  Each is a very different but they all revolve around some similar plots and styles. 

Verotika feels like an homage to an older style of horror, one that lives and dies by how much you remember and enjoy those older films.  The movies are filled with these references: poor / overpowering colored lighting, corny and exaggerated acting, overdramatic lines, shots that linger for too long, strange camera angles, plenty of gore, some mediocre special effects, and a focus on scantily clad and nude female characters.  Your enjoyment of these tropes and of a different time in horror will directly relate to how much you like this movie.  And as it comes from Glenn Danzig, the film also has some really amazing music.  Danzig did the music for the film and it shows.  It has his same style and vocals, but also has little touches that relate it to the story.  For example, the first movie is set in France and a lot of the music sounds like it is in French. 

This film completely succeeds in being a love letter to vintage horror, with all the good and bad that comes from it.  And unfortunately, for me I felt more of the bad than the good.  The effects were hit or miss with some make up being very well done and other make up looking ridiculous and off.  The few CG scenes were very bad, but again this was tough to tell if this was intentional or not.  And the acting was over the top, again tough to tell if this was intentional or not.  A few times, characters that were supposed to be dead were still taking very small micro breaths.  But this movie also just feels like it was for a different time and should not have been brought forward.  The film has a lot of female characters, which is great, but then casts them as mostly eye candy.  Very few of the female costumes had more than a few scraps of cloth and pretty much all of them were meant to be revealing or taken off.  It felt exploitative and something that I believe the horror genre has moved away from.  And although there are a lot of female characters and a handful of non-white male characters, the film just felt like it lacked diversity.  And the characters that were diverse had little to no dialogue.  Additionally the stories themselves just felt weird.  Some of the build up didn't make sense and often the story just felt like a convenient way to show naked girls.  This is a film that highlights tropes that the horror community have long since moved on from for good reason, and it doesn't feel like there is a need for a film to bring those back.

Verotika is a love letter to vintage horror, with all the good and bad that comes with it.  Unfortunately, in this case the bad far outweighs the good as the film feels exploitative and dated in a way that the horror genre has moved on from long ago. 

Pass on it.

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Verotika is available now to stream on Shudder. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Kieron J. Walsh (Director) Interview for The Racer, starring Louis Talpe, Tara Lee, and Iain Glen

Cast includes: Louis Talpe	Louis Talpe	...	Dominique Chabol Matteo Simoni	Matteo Simoni	...	Lupo 'Tartare' Marino Tara Lee	Tara Lee	...	Dr. Lynn Brennan Iain Glen	Iain Glen	...	'Sonny' McElhone Karel Roden	Karel Roden	...	Viking Timo Wagner	Timo Wagner	...	Stefano Drago Sarah Carroll	Sarah Carroll	...	Stewardess

Kieron J. Walsh, director, co-writer, and executive producer of The Racer joins us for an insightful interview.  The Racer is a new sports drama that takes place during the 1998 Tour de France, when the race was held in Ireland.  It follows Dom, a domestique whose job is to support the main rider.  We discuss Kieron's fascination with the Tour de France, his first experience with it, and even ask about his own performance enhancers (spoilers, it's nothing illegal)!


So give it a watch (review here) and make sure to check out the film, which is available on all major digital distributors. 

The Racer stars Louis Talpe, Matteo Simoni, Tara Lee, Iain Glen

The Racer follows Dom (Talpe), a rider who is racing the Tour de France in a team managed by his long time friend Sonny (Glen).  Being However, Dom is what is known as a domestique, someone who will never win a leg but is there to make sure that the star of the team finishes first.  He takes care of the details and the team, ensures everyone is hydrated during the race, and leads the pack so that the star Tartare (Simoni) can have just that little bit extra to push through to victory.  However, Dom is tired from never winning the race, of being the adult in the room, and from the constant strain on his body.  But a new relationship with Lynn (Lee) and a plethora of personal challenges cause him to rethink his priorities and his life.    

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Iceland is Best Review: A Quirky Cast of Characters Take a Voyage of Discovery and Self Realization

Release date: September 22, 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Judd Nelson, Helena Mattsson, Tom Maden, Kristín Auður Sophusdóttir

Iceland is Best tells the story of Sigga (Sophusdóttir), a 17 year-old girl trying to leave home in Iceland, and make her way to California.  She hopes to leave her home town for the bright, exciting world of Topanga California, where she hopes to be a poet. She begins the journey to the airport, confident in her move to California and accompanied by her three best friends, but along the way she meets people and has experiences that begin to change her perspective. 

Iceland is Best is an indie film through and through.  Sigga and her friends are fun and quirky, with each being different in their own way and contributing to the overall group.  Gunni (Atli Oskar Fjalarsson) is a devoted friend who is the most quirky.  He wears a winter hat the entire time, provides them with transportation, and carries around a canoe he named Topanga in honor of their journey.  Kati (Álfrún Laufeyjardóttir) is a good friend who is sad that Sigga is leaving but trying to be supportive.  And Benni (Mikael Kaaber) is trying to find his own love and confidence, while also trying to be taken seriously.  I loved Sigga's headstrong character, and how convinced she was of her path despite having little experience.  It was enough to make you a dreamer yourself.  And when she meets another wayfarer who seems to have both experience outside of Iceland and poetry, she only becomes more determined in her course.

The writing of Iceland is Best contributes to its overall quirky premise.  The dialogue is stark, blunt, dry, and very funny.  There are some great mixed emotions from Sigga and from those around her.  Her friends are generally supportive, and the older individuals are generally against her leaving.  This leads to some funny and slightly awkward situations where Sigga's will is tested.  And the music of this film is fantastic, with a wonderful soft, electronic style that really contributes to the overall dramatic feel of the film.  However, despite the really great setup for this film, the story goes off the rails after the initially great start.  Once some characters and plot threads are explored, the film goes off on some tangents that detract from the overall simple opening and fun message.  And although the ending does involve some character growth and realizations, it ultimately feels unsatisfying.  However, as the tagline of this film says, sometimes it is the journey that is important and Iceland is Best is definitely a fun journey.

Iceland is Best has a quirky cast of characters, a dry comedic style, and plenty of dreamers in this voyage of discovery and self realization.

Rent it.

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