Monday, April 12, 2021

The Year Earth Changed Review: A Stunning Look At This Past Year

Release date: April 16, 2021
Running time: 49 minutes
Narrator: David Attenborough
Director: Tom Beard
Executive Producers: Mike Gunton and Alice Keens-Soper

Showcasing footage from around the world after an unprecedented year, “The Year Earth Changed” is a timely documentary special that takes a fresh new approach to the global lockdown and the uplifting stories that have come out of it. From hearing birdsong in deserted cities and seeing whales in Glacier Bay, to meeting capybara in suburbs across South America, people worldwide have had the chance to engage with nature like never before. In this documentary special, viewers will witness how the smallest changes in human behavior – reducing cruise ship traffic, closing beaches a few days a year, identifying more harmonious ways for humans and wildlife to coexist – can have a profound impact on nature. The documentary, narrated by David Attenborough, is a love letter to planet Earth, highlighting the ways nature’s resiliency and ability to bounce back can give us hope for the future.

If you are a fan of the Planet Earth series or any of the nature focused spin offs, then you will love this movie.  It is a similar style to those features, with the film moving around to various locales to showcase nature with beautiful cinematography and interesting stories.  However, whereas those previous films usually focused on a type of land or region of the world, The Year Earth Changed focuses on the effect that a worldwide lockdown has had on the Earth and its animal inhabitants.  And the short answer is that it has had a dramatic effect.

The film goes to various regions of the world to see the profound impact that this year has had.  And it is extremely eerie to see some of these changes.  Seeing cities that are normally bustling stand empty, and seeing animals return to areas that they would never go a year ago was fascinating.  I love that this film was made and that is has chronicled this bizarre period in our human history.  The changes to the cities and surrounding natural settings are amazing to see, and to see them in this quality is truly a treat.  

But the film doesn't just chronicle the changes.  It also looks at how some humans are studying and adapting to these changes to try and make lasting impacts on the Earth and the health of its inhabitants.  Seeing the changes in the last year is an amazing sight, but trying to learn from and prolong the natural transformation is an important goal going forward.  This year has shown that even one year of reduced human effect on the planet can have a profound impact; if we can harness those lessons and adapt them to our society, then perhaps we can make lasting positive changes to our planet.

The Year Earth Changed chronicles this strange year and the profound effect that it has had on the planet, with amazing and eerie images of this dramatic natural transformation.

Watch it.

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The Year Earth Changed is available to stream on Apple TV+ starting April 16, 2021.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Interview: Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie: Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt, Jesse Suchmann, and Bobby Carnevale

Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt, the writers and stars, and Jesse Suchmann and Bobby Carnevale, the directors of Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie join for a fun and interesting interview! We find out more about how this and Spring Break Zombie Massacre were made, as well as learn more about Sam and Mattie's friendship. And we also get some hints for what the pair are thinking for the sequel to Spring Break Zombie Massacre! So give it a watch and make sure to check out Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie, digitally and on demand on April 6, 2021! Directed By: Jesse Suchmann, Robert Carnevale Starring: Sam Suchmann, Mattie Zufelt, Peter Farrelly Synopsis: Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie is a feature-length documentary that follows Sam & Mattie, two best friends with Down syndrome, on an epic 10 year journey to storyboard, script, produce, cast, and star in their own dream movie -- "Spring Break Zombie Massacre." Their film, earned national attention from "Today,", Time, "Conan," "PBS News Hour," and many more when it was released in 2016. The project highlights the process to get this film made and then also presents their film to the public in its entirety for the first time.

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Interview: Jesse Noah Klein Writer and Director of Like A House On Fire w/ Sarah Sutherland, Jared Abrahamson

Jesse Noah Klein, the writer and director of Like A House On Fire, discusses the inspiration for his film, assembling this stellar cast, and writing a character-focused drama! We also discuss what it was like filming this and also some of the origins for the ideas in the movie! So give it a watch and make sure to check out Like A House On Fire, digitally and on demand on March 30, 2021! Directed and Written by: Jesse Noah Klein Starring: Sarah Sutherland, Jared Abrahamson, Dominique Provost-Chalkley Synopsis: Dara (Sutherland) returns home to reconnect with her husband Danny (Abrahamson) and her young daughter, whom she left two years earlier. When she arrives, she discovers that a woman who is seven months pregnant has taken her place and that her daughter no longer recognizes her. Like A House On Fire tells the story of a woman's struggle to regain the life she left behind.

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What to Watch This Weekend: House On Fire, Sam & Mattie, Violation, Held, The Power, Know Fear, Barb & Star, Nomadland

For A Realistic, Grounded Drama: Like A House On Fire (Digital)
Like A House On Fire is a lot like life: beautiful, painful, and bittersweet; it has all the components you want in a great drama while still feeling relatable and down to earth.  For more information, check out the review!

For An Uplifting Zombie Documentary: Sam & Mattie Make A Zombie Movie (Digital)
Sam & Mattie Make a Zombie Movie shows an unfiltered, uncompromising look at the creative process for a unique zombie movie, and the beautiful friendships behind it.  For more information, check out the review!

For A Brutal Revenge Film: Violation (Shudder)
Violation is some parts absolutely beautiful and other parts intense, with an accuracy and brutality rarely seen in film.  For more information, check out the review!

For An Indie Horror With A Deeper Meaning: Held (Digital)
Held will capture your attention with its strong, nuanced performances, perfect setting, and engaging story that entertains while exploring important societal norms.  For more information, check out the review!

For An Old School Feeling Indie Horror: Know Fear (Amazon)
Know Fear is just a well done indie horror film, with smart practical effects, enjoyable characters, and an old school feel.   For more information, check out the review!

For An Atmospheric Horror Experience: The Power (Shudder)
The Power's atmospheric setting, perfectly realized characters, and chilling message show how this genre can be used to highlight some very real life horrors.  For more information, check out the review!

For A Colorful Middle Aged Trip: Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar (Redbox)
Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar is the type of laugh-out-loud ridiculousness we need right now, with fantastic characters and a bright style to help jump start your 2021.   For more information, check out the review!

For Those Longing To Go Outside: Nomadland (Hulu)
Nomadland highlights a different, beautiful lifestyle with a very human performance by McDormand, amazing cinematography, and a wonderful sense of community.  For more information, check out the review!

Wheeler Review: Savor the Music and Soul of Stephen Dorff's Transformation

Stephen Dorff	...	Wheeler Kris Kristofferson	Kris Kristofferson	...	Self Audrey Spillman	Audrey Spillman	...	Self Bobby Tomberlin	Bobby Tomberlin	...	Self Bart Herbison	Bart Herbison	...	Self Jim Norman	Jim Norman	...	Self (as Jim Ed Norman) Travis Meadows	Travis Meadows	...	Self Anastasia Munoz	Anastasia Munoz	...	Jill Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Josh Adelstein	Josh Adelstein	...	Bobby T's Friend William Todd Austin	William Todd Austin	...	Toddzilla

Release date: March 30, 2021 (Digital re-release)
Running time: 98 minutes
Director: Ryan Ross
Writers: Stephen Dorff, Ryan Ross
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, Audrey Spillman

Wheeler (Stephen Dorff) is an aspiring musician from Kaufman, Texas who travels to Nashville with the lifelong dream of trying his hand at country music. By embodying the title character under prosthetic make up, actor Stephen Dorff successfully infiltrates Music City and takes his character on an authentic singer/songwriter journey. With the help of key allies on the ground, “Wheeler” converses with real people in real locations, with every musical number performed live. The line between reality and fiction blurs as Wheeler chases his dream in this touching tribute to old school country legends.

David Bates	...	Curb Studio Assistant Engineer Eddie Bayers	Eddie Bayers	...	Self Frances Bell	Frances Bell	...	Self Dena Brown	Dena Brown	...	Bobby's Idle Hour Bartender Sherri Callahan	Sherri Callahan	...	Hermitage Waitress Dorothy Daniel	Dorothy Daniel		 Jennie DiDominzio	Jennie DiDominzio	...	Music City Bar Bartender Ron Harman	Ron Harman	...	Bus Tour Guide Mary Haynes	Mary Haynes	...	NSAI Receptionist Mike Johnson	Mike Johnson	...	Self Jeff King	Jeff King	...	Self Jennifer Lewis	Jennifer Lewis	...	Audrey's Friend Dossett Marchese	Dossett Marchese	...	Mike Speedy Meister	Speedy Meister	...	Self Marsha Miller	Marsha Miller	...	Self (as Dr. Marsha Miller) William Minor	William Minor	...	The Lodge Caretaker Meredith Mosley	Meredith Mosley	...	Self
Wheeler is an interesting project; a documentary style film that has Stephen Dorff completely transforming into an aspiring country music singer.  The film has an overarching story that involves actors and musicians interacting with Wheeler, but the musical performances are Dorff performing live.  It's a strange scenario as it is not simply a documentary style film, but rather a film that has aspects of real performances.  And Dorff is really good as Wheeler.  He does come off as sounding like he's from another time, but he can play multiple instruments and has a great voice.  I really enjoyed hearing his songs and even if you're not a country music fan, you will find plenty to like about his singing.  

And although the film is an odd one, it is different enough that I enjoyed my time with Wheeler.  Although the film follows Wheeler's rise in the music scene, it does have a nice, slow pace.  The film invites you to just enjoy the slow pace and live in the moment.  And I also really liked the Wheeler character, someone who is so joyful and heartfelt about his music that he can't help but rub off on you.  The film felt like a labor of love by all involved.  And Wheeler's experience in Nashville were heartening to see; the local music community embraced him and cheered him on.  It didn't seem competitive despite how difficult that industry is.  It felt like a genuinely supportive climate of music fans.  

However, the documentary style of the film can seem off, especially when there are some people who are not in on the experience.  It was tough to tell where the movie ended and where the performances began, and who was in on the story.  My general thought is that everyone who plays any role in this film is in on it, but is the nice waitress Wheeler meets part of the crew or a random person?  This leads to other questions about the movie.  I loved the supportive atmosphere by the musicians and music executives, but were those simply for the camera?  Nashville came off as a wonderful place to explore music, but I couldn't help but think it was a partial marketing message.  And the slow pace of the film could definitely be a negative as sometimes Wheeler will just go off on tangents; something that would not be too uncommon in a real documentary but it felt a little odd in a movie.  And the film is a fun journey but does seem to end too quickly for my liking.  I wanted to see more of Wheeler's story and hear more of his songs.

Wheeler is an interesting experiment with a transformative performance by Stephen Dorff, letting you follow the wonderful music and savor the views of his alter ego.

Rent it.

Meredith Mosley	...	Self Erika Wollam Nichols	Erika Wollam Nichols	...	Bluebird Host Jimmy Nichols	Jimmy Nichols	...	Self Wayne Pierce	Wayne Pierce	...	Self Harold Ross	Harold Ross	...	Self Ryan Ross	Ryan Ross	...	Bobby Ross Jimmie Lee Sloas	Jimmie Lee Sloas	...	Self Jimmy Stegall	Jimmy Stegall	...	Self Blair Thomas	Blair Thomas	...	Self Marcia Campbell Thomas	Marcia Campbell Thomas	...	Radio DJ Biff Watson	Biff Watson	...	Self Craig White	Craig White	...	Curb Studio Engineer Michael Woodrum	Michael Woodrum	...	Kristofferson Studio Engineer Roxie Randle	Roxie Randle	...	Extra (uncredited)   Directed by  Ryan Ross	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Stephen Dorff	 Ryan Ross
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Wheeler was originally released in 2017, but has been rereleased on Bluray and digital on March 30, 2021.

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Giveaway: Win Tickets To See Voyagers In Theaters And A Prize Pack!

Tye Sheridan	...	Christopher Lily-Rose Depp	Lily-Rose Depp	...	Sela Fionn Whitehead	Fionn Whitehead	...	Zac Chanté Adams	Chanté Adams	...	Phoebe Quintessa Swindell	Quintessa Swindell	...	Julie Archie Madekwe	Archie Madekwe	...	Kai Isaac Hempstead Wright	Isaac Hempstead Wright	...	Edward Viveik Kalra	Viveik Kalra	...	Peter Madison Hu	Madison Hu	...	Anda Archie Renaux	Archie Renaux	...	Alex Wern Lee	Wern Lee	...	Tayo Colin Farrell	Colin Farrell	...	Richard April Grace	April Grace	...	Mission Director Laura Dreyfuss	Laura Dreyfuss	...	IVF Technician Veronica Falcón	Veronica Falcón	...	Marianne Sancar

We have partnered with Lionsgate for an OUT OF THIS WORLD giveaway.  Enter now for your chance to win a pass to see Voyagers in theaters and a Voyagers Prize Pack!  Voyagers is a new science fiction film in theaters now that is a near future Lord of the Flies (check out the review).  With the future of the human race at stake, a group of young men and women, bred for intelligence and obedience, embark on an expedition to colonize a distant planet. But when they uncover disturbing secrets about the mission, they defy their training and begin to explore their most primitive natures. As life on the ship descends into chaos, they’re consumed by fear, lust, and the insatiable hunger for power.  It stars Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Fionn Whitehead, and Lily-Rose Depp!  

The prize packs will include:

Various Promotional Items (tank top, fanny pack, wireless charger)

(1) Atom ticket code to be redeemed for a pair of passes to see VOYAGERS in theaters.

The contest runs from now until April 14, 2021.  Winners will be notified on April 14, 2021 so I can verify the entry and get a mailing address.  

The Atom ticket codes are valid through April 30.

Patrick Bucur	...	Christopher - 4 years old Rufus Bateman	Rufus Bateman	...	Zac - 4 years old Jaquelin Capusan	Jaquelin Capusan	...	Sela - 4 years old Rafi Wilder	Rafi Wilder	...	Christopher - 8 years old (as Raphael Wilder) Antonia Dragoman	Antonia Dragoman	...	Sela - 8 years old Lou Llobell	Lou Llobell	...	Zandie Reda Elazouar	Reda Elazouar	...	Mallick Mariska Ariya	Mariska Ariya	...	Maya Theodor Soptelea	Theodor Soptelea	...	Paul (as Theadore Soptelea) Andrei Cristian Anghel	Andrei Cristian Anghel	...	Andrei (as Andrei Anghel) Vu Hoang Viet	Vu Hoang Viet	...	Vu Saleh Mohamed Daoud	Saleh Mohamed Daoud	...	Moos (as Saleh Mohamed) Pan Jiaqiang	Pan Jiaqiang	...	Pan Nicholas Samuel Sealey	Nicholas Samuel Sealey	...	Sam (as Samuel Sealey) Elena Raducanu	Elena Raducanu	...	Elena Ioana Brumar	Ioana Brumar	...	Mihaela Julienne Kadima	Julienne Kadima	...	Kadima Phan T. Thao	Phan T. Thao	...	Phan Petruta Petrea	Petruta Petrea	...	Petra

News: Trailer For Final Account, A Documentary About The Last Living Generation From The Third Reich

Focus Features will release FINAL ACCOUNT in theaters on May 21, 2021 

FINAL ACCOUNT is an urgent portrait of the last living generation of everyday people to participate in  Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Over a decade in the making, the film raises vital, timely questions about authority, conformity, complicity and perpetration, national identity, and responsibility, as men and women ranging from former SS members to civilians in never-before-seen interviews reckon with – in very different ways – their memories, perceptions and personal appraisals of their own roles in the greatest human crimes in history. 

 Watch the Official Trailer here 

Director: Luke Holland 
Producers: Luke Holland, John Battsek, Riete Oord