Monday, November 30, 2020

Getting To Know You Review: A Decidedly More Adult Story of Love and Life

Natasha Little		 Rupert Penry-Jones	Rupert Penry-Jones		 Rachel Blanchard	Rachel Blanchard	...	Kayla Linda Kash	Linda Kash		 Mark Forward	Mark Forward	...	Kenny Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Dean Armstrong	Dean Armstrong	...	Ted Simpson Shauna Black	Shauna Black	...	Angela Simpson Ace Hicks	Ace Hicks	...	Meg Christopher Jacot	Christopher Jacot	...	Chef Duane Murray	Duane Murray	...	Greg Zach Smadu	Zach Smadu	...	Donny

Release date: November 24, 2020
Running time: 103 minutes
Starring: Natasha Little, Rupert Penry-Jones, Rachel Blanchard 
Written and Directed By: Joan Carr-Wiggin

When his drunken ex-girlfriend won't leave him alone, a man asks a married woman staying at the same hotel to pretend to be his wife. What could go wrong? It's not like two strangers spending a weekend in a small town could possibly fall in love!  Getting To Know You is a delightful love story for grownups starring Natasha Little, Rupert Penry-Jones, and Rachel Blanchard.

Getting To Know You is billed as a comedy, but it shares equally in the comedy and drama throughout.  The film has a funny, awkward start that really sets the stage for this movie.  The whole film has a dry humor that accompanies a ludicrous but very relatable premise.  And although the film forces Abby (Little) and Luke (Penry-Jones) together, the rest of the movie feels like a realistic love story between two very realized people.  And I imagine the credit for this is shared equally between writer and director Joan Carr-Wiggin--for creating a love story that foregoes many of the Hollywood tropes to insert real life and consequences into the equation--and the stars Natasha Little and Rupert Penry-Jones--for bringing these great characters to life.  Starting with the writing, like the humor, it is funny with a wonderful dry wit throughout that had me smiling.  The character's lines are well chosen in this film because, as in the real world, words matter.  And Little and Penry-Jones are fantastic as this unlikely duo; the natural chemistry between the two is instantly recognizable and their growing fascination with each other is done in such a slow and cautious way that it definitely feels like a more realistic and adult story than most films.

Director: Joan Carr-Wiggin Writer: Joan Carr-Wiggin     Borga Dorter	...	line producer Jason Garrett	...	executive producer David Gordian	...	producer Alan Latham	...	producer David Rogers	...	executive producer
And speaking of the story, I absolutely loved it.  It felt so genuine and heartfelt after the setup that I couldn't help but root for these characters.  And the relationship proceeds in such a cautious, genuine nature that it develops in a much more organic way than most romances from Hollywood.  And that is what is so wonderful about this indie film; it foregoes the tropes and lets two adults develop what feels like a genuine connection right before our eyes.  I really loved how much awkward tension there was and how many unspoken things occurred in this film as it made the relationship much more relatable.  This is also helped along by some absolutely charming music throughout.  There is a consistent, simple but memorable theme that plays at times during the film.  And a few other beautiful musical pieces pop in here and there.  And the fact that they are simple pieces is by no means a knock; they are perfect and light, something that delicately sets the tone without overpowering you with emotion.  It really contributes to the overall adult, understated feel of this movie; your emotions don't need to be pushed or manipulated by adding a grand score.  Simple pieces here and there help guide the story and the viewers without forcing it. 

This results in a film that features two wonderful leads creating this story about missed opportunities and the realities of life.  And these lessons are shown in nuanced ways, such as the expectations of youth versus the realities of growing up, and the fact that your desires and goals change as you get older.  It really feels like this film leaves you with a realistic message, one that will mean different things to the audience depending on their own relationships and where they are personally.  

Getting To Know You is a wonderful, understated drama / comedy featuring two fantastic leads with amazing chemistry and a realistic, decidedly more adult story about love and life.

Watch it.

Romance Comedy Drama Missed Connections Regrets Love life

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Getting To Know You is available digitally and on demand November 24, 2020.

For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.

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Dave Not Coming Back Review: A Harrowing and Human Tale of Humanity and Hubris

Mark Andrews	...	Self Deon Dreyer	Deon Dreyer	...	Self (archive footage) Theo Dreyer	Theo Dreyer	...	Self Peter Herbst	Peter Herbst	...	Self Jack Meintjies	Jack Meintjies	...	Self Ann Shaw	Ann Shaw	...	Self David Shaw	David Shaw	...	Self (archive footage) Andre Shirley	Andre Shirley	...	Self Don Shirley	Don Shirley	...	Self (as Don) Verna Van Schaik	Verna Van Schaik	...	Self (as Verna)

Release date: November 10, 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Starring: Mark Andrews, Deon Dreyer, Theo Dreyer 
Written and Directed By: Jonah Malak

Two high level scuba-divers and long-time friends, Don and Dave, broke a world record for depth in the Boesmansgat cave in South Africa. It would take them 15 minutes to reach the bottom, but 12 hours to surface. Having reached the bottom, against all odds, they find a body. They decide to come back and retrieve it. They call the parents, enroll 8 fellow divers, and hire a cameraman to document the dive. The camera will follow them throughout the preparation and the dive, including to the bottom of the cave. Little did they know that on that historic dive, Dave would not be coming back. In this time of over-performance driven by self-promotion and self-filming comes Dave Not Coming Back, a story of loss and mourning where egoism and altruism, hubris and self-control, risk-taking and spirituality all go hand in hand. A cascade of choices and tense paradoxes that lead to a tragedy long foreseen, yet impossible to prevent.

Director: Jonah Malak Writer: Jonah Malak    Produced by  Audrey-Ann Dupuis-Pierre	...	producer Karim B Haroun	...	producer Marwan Haroun	...	executive producer Jonah Malak	...	producer Bob Moore	...	executive producer
Dave Not Coming Back is a fascinating documentary about the difficulty and danger of deep sea diving.  The story is told from documentary footage of the actual dives along with interviews from those that participated in them.  This leads to some tense interviews up front as people tell the story of the dive while tip toeing around the ultimate result that everyone knows occurs due to the title of the film: Dave Not Coming Back.  But it also introduces the audience to this fascinating and dangerous sport, where you can dive 280 meters in 15 minutes, then take 12 hours to resurface as you slowly normalize the pressure in your body.  It also has some amazing footage from these dives, although not as much as I was hoping for.  There are some really interesting locales explored, but because of the nature of these deep cave dives, you can usually only see a narrow bit as the only light that exists in those spaces is from the flashlights.  

And this documentary is special because of the relative obscurity and danger of the sport.  Like a documentary on mountain climbing, the wrong decision in these situations can lead to permanent damage or death.  It is really both fascinating and scary to see how realtivley minor decisions can lead to terrible consequences.  And that is another thing that is special about the documentary: depsite it being focused on the deep sea diving, the movie overall is a very human story.  It deals with hubris and humiliity, sacrifice and self-control, and ultimately it is a story about someone who takes on more than they need to and pays the price.  The story of Dave Not Coming Back is both a beautiful and cautionary tale, of friends and colleagues coming together to make something special happen, and then coming together to try and overcome the terrible obstacles and dangers that happened.  And when you finally do learn what ultimatley happened in that cave, it is humbling to see how very minor choices could lead to such dire consequences.

Dave Not Coming Back is both a cautionary tale and a beautiful human story about a dive that was bigger than all involved, and that led to some dire consequences.

Watch it.

Documentary Diving Cave Consequences Danger Planning South Africa

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Dave Not Coming Back is available digitally and on demand November 10, 2020.

For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.

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Half Brothers Review: A Ridiculous Premise Leads to Plenty of Laughs and Heartfelt Moments

José Zúñiga	...	Evaristo Vincent Spano	Vincent Spano	...	Mr. B Luis Gerardo Méndez	Luis Gerardo Méndez	...	Renato Murguía Shira Scott Astrof	Shira Scott Astrof	...	American Reporter Jwaundace Candece	Jwaundace Candece	...	Doris Hayes Hargrove	Hayes Hargrove	...	Chatty Ride Pair Driver Alma Sisneros	Alma Sisneros	...	Sister Helen Connor Del Rio	Connor Del Rio	...	Asher Murguía Howard Ferguson Jr.	Howard Ferguson Jr.	...	Corrections Officer Frey Beatrice Hernandez	Beatrice Hernandez	...	Sister Marisa Stephen R. Estler	Stephen R. Estler	...	The Foreman Juan Pablo Espinosa	Juan Pablo Espinosa	...	Flavio Murguía Teresa Decher	Teresa Decher	...	Barista Beatrice Efrain Villa	Efrain Villa	...	Edgar Mike A. Salazar	Mike A. Salazar	...	Emilio

Release date: December 4, 2020
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Luis Gerardo Méndez, Connor Del Rio, Juan Pablo Espinosa
Directed By: Luke Greenfield

Renato (Méndez), a successful Mexican aviation executive, is shocked to discover he has an American half brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher (Del Rio). The two very different half brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an immigrant from Mexico to the US.

Jason Benoit	...	producer Eduardo Cisneros	...	producer Arturo del Río	...	line producer: Mexico Luis Gerardo Méndez	...	executive producer Udi Nedivi	...	executive producer Jason Shuman	...	producer                 Directed by  Luke Greenfield	Writing Credits   Ali LeRoi	...	(story by) & Eduardo Cisneros	...	(story by)   Jason Shuman	...	(screenplay) Eduardo Cisneros	...	(screenplay)Directed by  Luke Greenfield	Writing Credits   Ali LeRoi	...	(story by) & Eduardo Cisneros	...	(story by)   Jason Shuman	...	(screenplay) Eduardo Cisneros	...	(screenplay)Directed by  Luke Greenfield	Writing Credits   Ali LeRoi	...	(story by) & Eduardo Cisneros	...	(story by)   Jason Shuman	...	(screenplay) Eduardo Cisneros	...	(screenplay)Directed by  Luke Greenfield	Writing Credits   Ali LeRoi	...	(story by) & Eduardo Cisneros	...	(story by)   Jason Shuman	...	(screenplay) Eduardo Cisneros	...	(screenplay)Directed by  Luke Greenfield	Writing Credits   Ali LeRoi	...	(story by) & Eduardo Cisneros	...	(story by)   Jason Shuman	...	(screenplay) Eduardo Cisneros	...	(screenplay)
Half Brothers has a ridiculous story, but thankfully it is also a sweet one.  It has some bittersweet moments as it details how these two brothers came to be, but ultimately has plenty of sugar to soften your heart.  The story starts with a fun plane motif that dips in and loops around throughout this film, and it is one that ultimately is a nice anchor for the overall movie.  But film also has some great characters to accompany these sweet moments and fun aviation theme.  The stars of the movie are Renato (Méndez) and his half brother Asher (Del Rio), along with their father Flavio (Espinosa).  Méndez was great as the older brother, with the perfect combination of serious personality and humor due to his no filter statements.  Del Rio as Asher was also fantastic, although he was more of an acquired taste.  This is nothing against Del Rio, as he did an amazing job as Asher and exactly what he needed to.  But that character was more grating at the start and slowly grew on you, as family often does.  And Espinosa as the father, Flavio, was another perfect casting choice, with a sweet, loving demeaner.

Half Brothers starts with some loving scenes that instantly get you invested in the characters before adding the crazy part of the premise.  And the premise of the film is one of pure ridiculousness, but one that allows for some wild experiences, laugh out loud situations, and ultimately sweet moments and lessons.  The dynamic between the two brothers, especially at first, is a very funny one that highlights their differences, but also brings in some stereotypes about both America and Mexico that were poignant and funny.  You can tell that they had a lot of fun filming this and throwing light hearted shade on both countries in the process.  And as the brother's relationship changes, and they learn more and more about what their father has been up to, it really becomes a fun movie with two very different, but ultimately complementary main characters.  The pair get into a lot of random trouble, which leads to some very funny scenes.  Some of these seem to just be inserted for random laughs, and they ultimately accomplish that.  And the movie also has a ridiculous, but ultimately satisfying ending.  And throughout this all, there is some truly beautiful music to pull at your heartstrings at the right times.  

Half Brothers has a ridiculous premise, two very likeable stars, and enough laugh out loud and heartfelt moments to make you feel like you're part of this loving, crazy family.

Watch it.

Humor Funny family comedy drama america mexico border wall brothers family familia hermano goat love
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Half Brothers is in theaters and premium video on demand December 4.
For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.  

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Unboxing: Trompie and Upondo & Nkinsela DVDs - South African Retro Afrika Cult Classic Films

Unboxing two films from IndiePix Films Retro Afrika Bioscope label, which looks for classic 70s and 80s South African films, then digitally restores them for releases outside of South Africa. This is the first time either of these films have been available in North America!

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Trompie (1975): The only feature film adapted from Topsy Smith's incredibly popular book series, Trompie is set in 1970's Apartheid South Africa in the picturesque little town of Kwaggaberg, and follows Trompie Torien (Andre Laubscher), the leader ofa neighborhood "gang", and his three mischief-making pals: Blikkies, Rooie, and little Dawie. Together, they're known as the Boksombende, and they're typical 12 year-olds, full of brilliant ideas and escapades, and whenever they find themselves in a pickle, they talk their way out of trouble, repentant or not! 84 minutes, Afrikaans with English subtitles Upondo & Nkinsela (1984): Pondo and Nkinsela are two haphazard, dysfunctional friends who end up going on a series of crazy adventures. From ruining a bride's wedding day to destroying a client's hairdo in a beauty salon, to escaping a ghost, talent agents, and mob bosses, the two friends always seem to come out on top despite the havoc they cause wherever they go, in a feature-length series of 13 vignettes. 72 minutes, Zulu with English subtitles

Friday, November 27, 2020

What to Watch This Weekend: Sweet Parents, Croods, Uncle Frank, Jingle Jangle, Kindness, 2067, Deadpool, Stuber

For A Fulfilling Drama / Comedy - Sweet Parents (Digital)
Sweet Parents will start you off with its sweet comedy, before moving onto a darker, meatier drama that tackles relevant themes and showcases two very talented actors and writers.  For more information, check out the review!

For A Heaping Serving of Family Drama - Uncle Frank (Amazon)
Uncle Frank is a wonderful, period coming of age with an all star cast, fantastic writing, and a painful family story filled with heart, humor, and drama.  For more information, check out our review!

To Keep The Kids Occupied This Long Weekend - The Croods: A New Age (Theaters)
The Croods: A New Age adds some great new characters and plenty of silliness in this prehistoric family animated adventure.  For more information, check out our review!

For Those Getting Into The Holiday Spirit - Jingle Jange: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season can officially begin, and there are few better ways to start it off than with Jingle Jangle, a film that is getting rave reviews for its holiday spirit and uplifting message!

For An Uplifting Drama - The Kindness of Strangers (Amazon)
The Kindness of Strangers has an all star cast and good audience reactions, despite general dislike from critics.  The film has an uplifting message and some syrupy sweet sentiment, so it might be just what you need for this long weekend.

For the Sci-Fi Fan - 2067 (Redbox)
2067 is a breath of fresh air, with a new take on a post-apocalyptic scenario, strong acting from Kodi Smit-McPhee, and a well-paced story that concludes with a satisfying ending.  For more information, check out our review!

For the Irreverent Superhero Fans - Deadpool 2 (Hulu)
The fast talking, nearly invincible, and irreverent ninja is back in a super hero sequel that ups the ante in nearly every way.  Deadpool 2 is even more crazy, funny, and just downright enjoyable. 

For Those Needing a Good Laugh - Stuber (HBO)
Stuber is much better than I expected it to be, and this enjoyable buddy cop-style film is leaving HBO after this weekend!  It is a wild ride from start to finish that has plenty of laughs, ridiculous situations, and interesting commentary on societal norms. For more information, check out our review!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Accidental Wolf Review: A Tense Thriller With Great Acting and a Complicated Story

Kelli O'Hara	...	 Katie11 episodes, 2017  Mike Doyle	Mike Doyle	...	 Brad5 episodes, 2017  Judith Ivey	Judith Ivey	...	 Nancy5 episodes, 2017  Sahr Ngaujah	Sahr Ngaujah	...	 Buja3 episodes, 2017  Cassie Beck	Cassie Beck	...	 Jacqueline2 episodes, 2017  Raúl Castillo	Raúl Castillo	...	 Jason2 episodes, 2017  Magnolia Hammel	Magnolia Hammel	...	 Alana2 episodes, 2017  Mick Hilgers	Mick Hilgers	...	 Mike2 episodes, 2017  Denis O'Hare	Denis O'Hare	...	 Dean2 episodes, 2017  Erin Wilhelmi	Erin Wilhelmi	...	 Ioana2 episodes, 2017  Caroline Yorio	Caroline Yorio	...	 Mary2 episodes, 2017  Kendall Driffin	Kendall Driffin	...	 Self

Release date: November 26, 2020
Running time: Four 24 minute episodes
Starring: Kelli O’Hara, Raúl Castillo, Mike Doyle, Judith Ivey, Sahr Ngaujah, Denis O’Hare and Laurie Metcalf
Created By: Arian Moayed

Katie Bonner lives an unexceptional life. Married to a successful attorney, she cares for their newborn, and quietly exists in her Manhattan penthouse. One night, Katie (played by the Tony Award® winning Kelli O’Hara) receives a call from an unknown number. On the other line, a distressed man fights for his survival as gunshots and explosions echo in the background. In his final moments, the caller pleads for the life of his pregnant and wounded wife, Tala. Deeply affected, Katie embarks on a journey to find her. Before too long, the mystery of the unknown caller and search for Tala threaten to cost Katie everything.

Gregory Franklin	...	producer / executive producer (11 episodes, 2017) Mike Karns	...	co-producer (11 episodes, 2017) Ellen Myers	...	associate producer (11 episodes, 2017) Damon Owlia	...	executive producer / producer (11 episodes, 2017) Jayne Baron Sherman	...	producer / executive producer (11 episodes, 2017) Kirk Solomon	...	associate producer (11 episodes, 2017) Jill Steinberg	...	associate producer (11 episodes, 2017) Ellyn Vander Wyden	...	co-producer / line producer (11 episodes, 2017) Andrew Criss	...	co-producer (1 episode, 2017) Tom Ridgely	...	co-producer (1 episode, 2017) Matt Shane	...	co-producer (1 episode, 2017)
The first season of The Accidental Wolf is a four part series that starts off with a confusing but high energy introduction.  The series does a good job of getting you hooked early on with a harrowing introduction that doesn't give you much information but does give Katie a traumatic start.  The introduction is high tension as you wonder what will happen, and the tension does not stop there.  The entire series lives with an impending sense of tension, as something always seems to be lurking around the corner.  Either an unseen threat, some new piece of information to help her search, or an actual new threat, the series has a great sense of dread throughout.  And it is not just from some shadow organization, her own life starts to suffer from this search that helps to show how much this is affecting her personally.

The Accidental Wolf has really good acting throughout, but it is highlighted by O'Hara who fully embraces the role of Katie Bonner.  She does a great job showing the more mundane aspects of Katie's life, and how the traumatic phone call affects her.  She also helps to increase the sense of tension when things start going wrong for her.  She is joined by some very good co-stars, including her mother (Ivey) and her husband Brad (Doyle) who all do great jobs in this very confusing and scary situation.  And the story of The Accidental Wolf fits with the tense theme of the series.  It develops slowly, trickling little pieces of information throughout.  It also sometimes gives half truths or partial info, as Katie tries to unwind a tangled web.  And although it was well done, I found the story slightly unfulfilling.  Much was left unsaid and the story itself was rather complicated without giving much overall resolution.  I also had trouble getting into Katie's mindset as her own life falls apart in her search for another person.  But it is a well done conspiracy drama, with plenty of tension and exciting thriller moments.  

The Accidental Wolf tells a tense conspiracy story with some great performances as these characters try to unwind a complicated spiders web of truth and lies.

Rent it.

Conspiracy Government Coverup Murder Tension Tense Thriller Spiders Web Spider's Web House Wife Housewife
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What to Watch This Thanksgiving: Feast of the Seven Fishes, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Charlie Brown, The Binge, Cloudy 2, Broil


It's Thanksgiving in America and this will be a different one due to the COVID epidemic.  With many people not traveling or opting for smaller gatherings, here is a list of movies to give you the Thanksgiving family spirit without the non-socially distanced interactions!

A Christmas Feast / Feast of the Seven Fishes (Digital, Amazon Prime, Tubi)
This wonderful holiday movie involves family, drama, and a big feast at the end.  Although it is Christmas related, it is a great choice to scratch that family feasting itch. For more information, check out our review!

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Digital, Amazon Prime)
The quintessential Thanksgiving movie, this classic follows someone trying to get home to the family for Thanksgiving, and all the roadblocks and obstacles that happen along the way.  It is available to stream on Amazon Prime with AMC+, which has a 30-day free trial if you just want to watch this today!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (Apple TV+)
A classic kids Thanksgiving film that you can stream for free on Apple TV+.  This is another classic and one for the kids to enjoy while you are putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving meal.

The Binge (Hulu)
On a night when families eat excessive amounts of food, a movie about excessive indulgences seems fitting.  It also is a very funny film that should raise your spirits on a somewhat lonelier Thanksgiving!  
For more information, check out our review!

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (Netflix)
A movie about giant, alive food seems like a fitting way to celebrate Thanksgiving. It helps that it is a surprisingly good movie for kids and adults to enjoy!  
For more information, check out our review!

Broil (Digital)
A film about a large meal and family issues, with a decidedly darker take on it all, Broil is the perfect Thanksgiving movie for someone looking for a more horror-themed night.  It also has some wonderful performances, great music, and some delicious food.  
For more information, check out our review!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Unboxing: Possessor Uncut 4K UltraHD and Blu-Ray Unboxing, Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott Horror SciFi

Thanks to our friends at Well Go USA, we have a special unboxing video for you of Possessor Uncut!  We unbox the 4K UltraHD version, showing you what you get in this package.  Check out the fantastic packaging, beautiful disc, and the great design of the 4K UltraHD disc pack!

From the visionary mind of writer/director Brandon Cronenberg, POSSESSOR is a sci-fi thriller about elite, corporate assassin Tasya Vos (Riseborough). Using brain-implant technology, Vos takes control of other people’s bodies to execute high profile targets. As she sinks deeper into her latest assignment Vos becomes trapped inside a mind that threatens to obliterate her.

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Rossif Sutherland, Tuppence Middleton, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Written and Directed By: Brandon Cronenberg

This video will show you what you get from the 4K UltraHD and Blu-Ray combo pack.

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Sweet Parents Review: A Sweet and Bitter Comedy Drama That Will Leave You Fulfilled

Leah Rudick	...	Gabby David Bly	David Bly	...	Will Casey Biggs	Casey Biggs	...	Oscar Barbara Weetman	Barbara Weetman	...	Guylaine Chris Roberti	Chris Roberti	...	Josh Sunita Mani	Sunita Mani	...	Claire Willie C. Carpenter	Willie C. Carpenter	...	Gérard Katie Hartman	Katie Hartman	...	Christine Daniel Marin	Daniel Marin	...	Alberto Jacob Mondry	Jacob Mondry	...	Pierce Daniel Pettrow	Daniel Pettrow	...	Neil Amy Jackson Lewis	Amy Jackson Lewis	...	Stefania Evan Kaufman	Evan Kaufman	...	Yakov Rachel Jordan Brown	Rachel Jordan Brown	...	Jordan / 1st Gallery Assistant Jessica Mendez Siqueiros	Jessica Mendez Siqueiros	...	Zelda / 2nd Gallery Assistant (as Jessica Afton)

Release date: November 24, 2020 (Digital)
Running time: 112 minutes
Starring: Leah Rudick, David Bly, Casey Biggs, Barbara Weetman
Directed By: David Bly
Written By: David Bly, Leah Rudick

The relationship between an aspiring sculptor Gabby (Rudick) and a struggling chef Will (Bly) in New York is tested when they become entangled with wealthy older benefactors, or "Sweet Parents", to further their careers.

Directed by  David Bly	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   David Bly	...	(writer) David Bly	 Leah Rudick	...	(writer)   Produced by  Josh Itzkowitz	...	producer Stephanie Marin	...	producer Matthew Smaglik	...	producer
Sweet Parents is a complicated, layered movie that goes through many phases.  Initially, the movie has a fantastic dry sense of humor that is perfectly showcased in the couple's apartment search.  There are some wonderful jokes and unspoken funny parts that really set the stage for this movie.  And early on, the film highlights the two main characters and their troubles.  Writers and stars Leah Rudick and David Bly (who also directed) are transformative as Gabby and Will, two talented but struggling young people in the midst of their required penance in New York hoping to make it in traditionally difficult careers: Gabby as an artist and Will as a chef.  Rudick and Bly know these characters and completely personify the two individuals.  You can tell that there is some personal struggle infused into this film as it effortlesslhy and poignantly comes through in the story.  And hopefully, whatever struggles that Rudick and Bly have already endured in making this movie pay off because Sweet Parents is a wonderful gem.  Like their on screen counterparts, Bly and Rudick are very talented and showcase their talents for all to see.  The writing is clever and tight, with plenty told to the viewer but enough left unspoken that the pair are not spoon feeding their audience.  Like a wonderful meal, everything is presented for the audience to taste and savor throughout the film. 

Sweet Parents is much better than I ever expected it to be, and much more nuanced and complex of a story than I initially thought it would have.  The movie deals in gray areas, and tries to find some of the space between black and white, right and wrong.  But it also highlights something that is a common theme of discussion in our world today: how hard it is for young people to succeed when it often seems that life is has already priced them out and written them off long before.  The film explores the depths that one can go to to succeed; how far you would go to pursue your drams, and at what cost.  And it also highlights a way to redistribute wealth from a generation that valued work and success over love and family.  It is a lesson that only really hits you later in the movie, but it is a powerful one to include in this drama comedy.

And although the movie starts off as a comedy, it definitely shifts into a drama as the themes in the film become more serious and slightly darker.  Like a good meal that starts off with a light appetizer before moving to the heavy course, or a sculptor that chips away large chunks at first to then focus on the details, the movie has a subtle shift that sneaks up on you but has you wholly engrossed when you finally notice it.  And this includes some very awkward scenes in the middle and a relatively abrupt character shift in one of them part way through.  But after all of this you will leave fulfilled after a meal that effortlessly mixes sweet and bitter.

Sweet Parents will start you off with its sweet comedy, before moving onto a darker, meatier drama that tackles relevant themes and showcases two very talented actors and writers. 

Watch it.

Coming of Age Drama Comedy New York Artist Struggle Struggling Chef Sculptor
If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
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Sweet Parents is available digitally and on demand November 24, 2020.

For additional information about the film and to rent / buy it, check it out at the links below.
This site contains affiliate links. //Commerce or this site may be compensated when you click through links on our site.  

Screening: Half Brothers (Starring Luis Gerardo Méndez and Connor Del Rio) Virtual Screening - Wednesday, December 2nd

We have screening passes for the hilarious new road trip / buddy cop-style / family craziness movie Half Brothers from Focus Features. The film stars Luis Gerardo Méndez and Connor Del Reio. It debuts in theaters December 4th, but you can see it EARLY AND FREE by entering for the virtual screening below.


Renato, a successful Mexican aviation executive, is shocked to discover he has an American half brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher. The two very different half brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an immigrant from Mexico to the US.


Half Brothers
Wednesday, December 2nd
7:30 PM EST
Check out the Trailer!

Screening Link:

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Unboxing: Song Without A Name DVD and Raining in the Mountain Blu-Ray

Unboxing two fantastic films sent to me by my friends at Film Movement: the DVD release of Song Without A Name and the Blu-Ray release of Raining in the Mountain. Song Without A Name is a fantastic, powerful film that was recently selected for Peru's submission to the Oscars for best international film. And Raining in the Mountain is a classic that is being offered for the first time on Blu-Ray in North America. Check out the video to see what you get in each of these physical releases! 

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Song Without a Name:
Based on harrowing true events, SONG WITHOUT A NAME tells the story of Georgina, an indigenous Andean woman whose newborn baby is whisked away moments after its birth in a downtown Lima clinic - and never returned. Stonewalled by a byzantine and indifferent legal system, Georgina approaches journalist Pedro Campas, who uncovers a web of fake clinics and abductions - suggesting a rotting corruption deep within Peruvian society. Set in 1988, in a Peru wracked by political violence and turmoil, Melina León’s heart-wrenching first feature renders Georgina's story in gorgeous, shadowy black-and-white cinematography, "styled like the most beautiful of bad dreams" (Variety). SONG WITHOUT A NAME is a "Kafkaesque thriller" (The Hollywood Reporter) that unflinchingly depicts real-life, stranger-than fiction tragedies with poetic beauty.
Director: Melina Leon Starring: Pamela Mendoza, Tommy Párraga, Lucio Rojas

Raining in the Mountain:
During the Ming Dynasty, a Buddhist abbot charged with protecting the sacred scroll of Tripitaka prepares to name his successor. An aristocrat and a general arrive at his secluded mountaintop monastery promising to help in his search, but are in fact scheming to secure the scroll for themselves. As they set about recommending corrupt successors, rival bands of martial artists lie in wait to steal the precious artifact. Soon, the monastery is transformed into an epic battleground for the scroll, with each player caught in a web of betrayal. Called a "remarkably photographed caper heist [featuring] intriguing battles of wits and minds" (Far East Film Festival), RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN is also the peak of legendary director King Hu's (A TOUCH OF ZEN) infusion of Buddhist spiritual principles into the legacy of martial arts cinema.
Director: King Hu
Starring: Feng Hsu, Yueh Sun, Chun Shih, Feng Tien

Porno Review: Plenty of Classic References, Camp, and Style

Release date: November 24, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Starring Robbie Tann, Katelyn Pearce, Evan Daves, Larry Saperstein (High School Musical: The Musical series), Jillian Mueller (The Last O.G.), Glen Stott (The Good Fight)
Directed by Keola Racela (Above the Sea)

A SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE.  When five repressed teen employees at a local movie theatre in a small Christian town discover a mysterious old film hidden in its basement, they unleash an alluring demon that is determined to give them a sex education . . . written in blood. 

Porno has a fun, low budget but classic feel to it.  It actually reminded me of an adult Are You Afraid of the Dark, with some cheesy dialog, themes, and a slightly corny style.  The story of kids in over their heads facing off against adult-themed enemies is a perfect template for that classic series, minus all the sex, gore, and nudity.  But overall the film has a humorous, ridiculous overall look and feel.  And the style of this film is very good, with a movie set in a 90s cineplex with authentic touches throughout.  I loved the classic movies that were being shown, and the movie paraphernalia that was present in the theater.  And there were lots of classic Easter eggs in the movie, of both the horror, classic movie, and pornographic variety.  I noticed a picture from a prominent horror film, plenty of references to 90s movies, and the movie posters for the pornographic films seemed legit, though I couldn't tell if they were real movies or homages to classics.  In any event, you can tell that this film was made by some true cinephiles, and it definitely felt that way.  This was punctuated by occasionally film elements introduced, such as film grain and cuts to 8 mm style shots. 

And the namesake film in this movie, the actual porno, was well done and creepy.  It had an unsettling style that felt like it could have been a 1970s underground movie.  It was also fun to remember a time before the internet made porn available to everyone at the click of a button.  After the kids saw this grotesque film for the first time, one asks if that is what all porn is like, a subtle but very funny line that  reminded me of a time without infinite information, when pornography was a secret, inaccessible thing.  And as you would expect with a horror film titled Porno, there is plenty of gore and nudity.  Sometimes it feels like a little much, and the squeamish will probably have to turn their heads at several times during the movie.  I actually thought it was a bit too much, with some unnecessary scenes and dismemberments (emphasis on the member).  And just like a porno, the story in this movie is nicely paced that builds to an ultimately quick, and slightly unfulfilling ending.  It is an enjoyable journey, and the start of the movie is definitely a highlight, but the movie escalates into an orgy of activity that resolves itself in a confusing manner.  The climax of the film is epic and involved, but it also seems like a conveniently fast one after so much build up.

Porno is an adult Are You Afraid of the Dark, set in a 90s theater with plenty of classic movie references, gore and nudity, and a slow build up to an epic climax.

Rent it.

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Porno is available to stream on Shudder starting November 24, 2020. 

Screening: Sound of Metal (Starring Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke) Virtual Screening - Monday, November 30th

We have screening passes for the new movie Sound of Metal from Amazon Screenings. The film stars Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke. It debuts on Amazon Prime Video on December 4th, but you can see it EARLY AND FREE by entering for the virtual screening below.


During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss. When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world.


Sound of Metal
Monday November 30th
7:00 PM EST
Check out the Trailer!

Screening Link

Monday, November 23, 2020

Corinth Films Unboxing - Habermann, My German Friend, and Where I Belong DVD Unboxing Video

Unboxing a package of German arthouse / independent movies I received from my friends at Corinth Films. I did not know what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised to find Habermann, My German Friend, and Where I Belong, arthouse international dramas that deal with an interesting, controversial time period.   

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Habermann Habermann is a stimulating film that raises awareness of a post World War II event that must never be forgotten – the brutal and horrific expulsion of ethnic Germans from the Sudetenland and other parts of Eastern Europe. A result of the resentment against Germans as Nazi sympathizers that are responsible for the war, millions of Germans that had been peacefully co-existing alongside Czechs were stripped of their land and possessions and forced in mass exodus back to German soil. Most of them were tortured, many were murdered; whether they had anything to do with the Nazis or not. Based on the true story of August Habermann, a wealthy mill owner interested in neither politics nor ideology, the film portrays a brave man in his attempt to hold together his family and community as he is manipulated by malicious forces beyond his comprehension. CAST: Mark Waschke, Hannah Herzsprung, Karel Roden, Ben Becker, Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknecht, Franziska Weisz, Radek Holub, Zuzana Krónerová, Jan Hrusínský My German Friend After the war, Nazis and Jews alike fled to Argentina to escape war crime tribunals and the horrendous persecution of the past, respectively. Each brings with them an intense dislike of the other, trying their best to begin new lives, but the ghosts of the past sometimes never let go. Two families, one Jewish, and one German, live side by side. Sulamit, the pretty and energetic young daughter of a wealthy Jewish Marzipan factory owner, meets the young son, Friedrich, of the German family next door and takes a liking to him. The two become close friends, and Friedrich demonstrates his loyalty to Sulamit early on. As time goes by, Sulamit’s family is struck by tragedy at the same time Argentina is engulfed in a coup d’état as Juan Perón is sent into exile. Sulamit, stricken by grief and confusion, finds solace in the arms of Friedrich, and Friedrich’s family accepts her as one of their own. CAST: Max Riemelt, Celeste Cid, Benjamin Sadler, Noemi Frenkel, Jean-Pierre Noher, Katja Alemann, Carlos Kaspar, Daniel Fanego, Julieta Vetrano, Juan Francisco Rey, Adriana Aizenberg Where I Belong The politics of the Third Reich drove thousands into exile. For many, England was the first safe haven. When the war came to an end the world as they knew it had changed forever. Many of them would not return to their homeland. CAST: Natalie Press, Johannes Krisch, Matthias Habich, Katy Bartrop, Charis-Elisabeth Deighton, Karl Fischer, Priscilla Gray, Gerald Home, Linda Large, Catherine McDonough, Christopher Whitlow

The Croods: A New Age Review: Some Great New Characters, Same Beautiful Animation, and Lots of Silliness

Nicolas Cage	Nicolas Cage	...	Grug (voice) Emma Stone	Emma Stone	...	Eep (voice) Ryan Reynolds	Ryan Reynolds	...	Guy (voice) Catherine Keener	Catherine Keener	...	Ugga (voice) Cloris Leachman	Cloris Leachman	...	Gran (voice) Clark Duke	Clark Duke	...	Thunk (voice) Leslie Mann	Leslie Mann	...	Hope Betterman (voice) Peter Dinklage	Peter Dinklage	...	Phil Betterman (voice) Kelly Marie Tran	Kelly Marie Tran	...	Dawn Betterman (voice) Kailey Crawford	Kailey Crawford	...	Sandy (voice) Chris Sanders	Chris Sanders	...	Belt (voice) (as Christopher Sanders) James Ryan	James Ryan	...	Sash (voice) Gabriel Jack	Gabriel Jack	...	Young Guy (voice) Melissa Disney	Melissa Disney	...	Guy's Mother (voice) Joel Crawford	Joel Crawford	...	Guy's Father (voice)

Release date: November 25, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, 
Catherine Keener, Cloris LeachmanClark DukeLeslie MannPeter DinklageKelly Marie Tran
Directed By: 
Joel Crawford

The prehistoric family the Croods are challenged by a rival family the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved.  In this follow up to the prehistoric family hit, the Croods discover a new member of the pack and try to find a new home.  However, when they find some place that seems like paradise, they learn that maybe this might not be all that it is cracked up to be.

The Croods: A New Age continues the same trend of the first movie with some amazingly beautiful animation.  The film, like the previous one, starts in a desert but eventually moves into a more lush environment that really showcases what this film has to offer.  The New Age also adds some new characters, and they are all good additions.  The original Croods voice cast was surprisingly good with Nic Cage and Emma Stone being the standouts.  This movie adds characters voiced by Ryan Reynolds, Peter Dinklage, Leslie Mann, and Kelly Marie Tran.  I really liked Ryan Reynolds's character, and the other new characters are well voiced, despite me not loving their overall demeaner.  But overall, the voice acting is convincing and entertaining.

Directed by  Joel Crawford	...	(directed by)Writing Credits   Kevin Hageman	...	(screenplay by) & Dan Hageman	...	(screenplay by) and Paul Fisher	...	(screenplay by) & Bob Logan	...	(screenplay by)   Kirk DeMicco	...	(story by) & Chris Sanders	...	(story by)     Produced by  Mark Swift	...	producer (produced by) (p.g.a.)
And the story of the Croods: A New Age has an interesting dynamic between prehistoric times and more modern times.  It is fun to see the Croods contend with modern technology and interact with it.  Some of the changes are funny to see, like how one of the children becomes obsessed with screens.  But what characterizes this story the most is the utter silliness of it all.  The movie has some very random aspects, such as animals that communicate only in punches, strange mash up creatures, and some odd fruits and vegetables. They are all very colorful and should be very entertaining for kids and adults.  

The story of the film has a modern technology versus old ways push and pull, and a lot more family drama than I thought it would have. But don't worry about these somewhat heavy story points, the movie itself is very silly.  There is a really funny 80s / KISS type call out towards the end that is really entertaining.  And the whole film seems to be characterized by a lot of random and ridiculous scenes.  And this silliness is something that made my kids laugh out loud.  Your kids will love it and there is enough in here for adults to enjoy as well.

The Croods: A New Age adds some great new characters and plenty of silliness in this prehistoric family animated adventure.

Rent it.

Family Prehistoric Croods Animated Animation Modern
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The Croods: A New Age is available in theaters on November 25.  
For showtimes, click here.

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Uncle Frank Review: A Coming of Age Film With An All Star Cast and Painful, Heartfelt Story

Paul Bettany	...	Frank Bledsoe Sophia Lillis	Sophia Lillis	...	Beth Bledsoe Peter Macdissi	Peter Macdissi	...	Walid 'Wally' Steve Zahn	Steve Zahn	...	Mike Bledsoe Judy Greer	Judy Greer	...	Kitty Bledsoe Margo Martindale	Margo Martindale	...	Mammaw Bledsoe Stephen Root	Stephen Root	...	Daddy Mac Lois Smith	Lois Smith	...	Aunt Butch Jane McNeill	Jane McNeill	...	Neva Caity Brewer	Caity Brewer	...	Marcia Hannah Black	Hannah Black	...	Janis Bledsoe Michael Banks Repeta	Michael Banks Repeta	...	11-Year-Old Bullet (as Banks Repeta) Isabella Pambianchi	Isabella Pambianchi	...	8-Year-Old Mae Ray Burgess Jenkins	Burgess Jenkins	...	Beau Zach Strum	Zach Strum	...	Tee Dub

Release date: November 25, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale
Director: Alan Ball

In 1973, when Frank Bledsoe (Bettany) and his 18-year-old niece Beth (Lillis) take a road trip from Manhattan to Creekville, South Carolina for the family patriarch's funeral, they're unexpectedly joined by Frank's lover Wally (Macdissi).

Director: Alan Ball Writer: Alan Ball    Produced by  Alan Ball	...	producer Bill Block	...	producer Michael Costigan	...	producer Isaac Ericson	...	executive producer Andrew Golov	...	executive producer Peter Macdissi	...	producer Stephanie Meurer	...	producer Bob Osher	...	executive producer Josh Peters	...	executive producer Christopher Tricarico	...	executive producer Jay Van Hoy	...	producer
Uncle Frank mainly revolves around a small town South Carolina family, despite having detours in New York.  And the family is perfectly set up by the all star cast.  It really draws you into the whole dynamic with the way that everyone interacts.  And the standout of this family is Frank (Bettany), who definitely feels like a different character compared to the rest of the group; he stands out but you are not sure why at the beginning.  He is reserved but charismatic, someone that you want to know more about but who might not let you learn any more.  And his interactions with his niece Beth (Lillis) form a large part of the film.  As Frank and Beth grow closer and more trusting of each other, you gain a deeper understanding of both of their characters.  And the friendship between Frank and Wally (Macdissi) is also wonderful.  It is layered and nuanced, with Wally being the more caring and outgoing of the two and Frank the more cautious and quiet.  But Macdissi is wonderful as Wally, adding so much heart and emotion to this otherwise fairly reserved film.  

As you would expect with a movie about family, there is plenty of heart, love, and drama.  And this movie is first and foremost a drama; it is front and center during the film despite there being snippets of heartfelt and humorous parts.  The movie is broken into a few parts, with an introduction, some time in New York, and a road trip ultimately ending up back in South Carolina.  And through this all you learn more about the characters and their background.  This is helped along by some really fantastic writing.  It is tight and definitive, nothing is wasted in this film.  Each line gives you a new dimension to the characters and their relationships.    

And this movie is an interesting coming of age film, but not like you would expect it to be.  In this film, you have multiple characters coming into their own as they test themselves and their relationships with their family.  The journey is both entertaining and painful to watch, but it is one that will captivate you from the start.  And the cinematography throughout this journey is really wonderful, with plenty of thoughtful, understated shots.  The film is set in some very beautiful areas and the camera makes that clear from the beginning.  And on top of that, the movie has a wonderful soundtrack to effectively amplify the drama.   

Uncle Frank is a wonderful, period coming of age with an all star cast, fantastic writing, and a painful family story filled with heart, humor, and drama. 

Watch it.

Coming of Age South South Carolina New York Family Drama Queer LBGTQ Gay Relationship Humor Comedy Road Trip Love
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Uncle Frank will be released on Amazon Prime Video on November 25, 2020.