Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Jakob's Wife Review: A Small Town Wife Finds Her Fangs

Barbara Crampton	...	Anne Fedder Larry Fessenden	Larry Fessenden	...	Pastor Jakob Fedder Bonnie Aarons	Bonnie Aarons	...	The Master Nyisha Bell	Nyisha Bell	...	Amelia Humphries Sarah Lind	Sarah Lind	...	Carol Fedder Mark Kelly	Mark Kelly	...	Bob Fedder Robert Rusler	Robert Rusler	...	Tom Low Jay DeVon Johnson	Jay DeVon Johnson	...	Sheriff Mike Hess C.M. Punk	C.M. Punk	...	Deputy Colton Omar Salazar	Omar Salazar	...	Oscar Angelie Simone	Angelie Simone	...	Eli (as Angelie Denizard)

Release date: April 16, 2021
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed By: Travis Stevens
Written By: Mark Steensland, Kathy Charles, Travis Stevens
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Nyisha Bell, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Bonnie Aarons, Phil Brooks 

Anne (Crampton) is married to Jakob (Fessenden), a small-town minister and feels like her life and marriage have been shrinking over the past 30 years. After a chance encounter with “The Master,” she discovers a new sense of power and an appetite to live bigger and bolder than before.  As Anne is increasingly torn between her enticing new existence and her life before, the body count grows and Jakob realizes he will have to fight for the wife he took for granted.

Angelie Simone	...	Eli (as Angelie Denizard) Ned Yousef	Ned Yousef	...	Naveed Al Amin Giovannie Cruz	Giovannie Cruz	...	Mariana Al Amin Armani Desirae	Armani Desirae	...	Little Girl Monica L. Henry	Monica L. Henry	...	Dr. Meda Skeeta Jenkins	Skeeta Jenkins	...	Butcher Kathe Newcomb	Kathe Newcomb	...	Mattie Morgan Peter Brown	Morgan Peter Brown	...	Actor
Jakob's Wife is a clever film that has a lot of old school style.  The film clearly takes inspiration from 80s horror films with a text and shot style that evoke classic horror.  And some of the music also evokes this time period with a stylized music to fit the stylized text.  The director said that he wanted to evoke classic horror films when making this and he succeeded.  The film has plenty of over the top gore (such as gratuitous amounts of blood shooting from every bite victim), some corny acting, and some strong characters that further feel like call backs to a different time.   

But although Jakob's Wife has a classic feel to it, it also has plenty of more modern themes.  The story is one of a small-town wife learning to find her own voice and trust her own choices.  And this is brought to life by Barbara Crampton's wonderful performances as Anne.  She goes from a timid, supportive partner to a strong willed, vivacious character.  And in order to do that, she has to make a lot of tough choices as she learns to adapt to her new situation.   And she is perfectly paired with Fessenden as Jakob, who is initially seen as boring but we find out has more going on than we originally thought.  Despite his plain persona, he has more of a rebellious side than he initially lets on.  

Jakob's Wife has a great balance of horror and dark comedy.  A lot of this is due to Anne's dry sense of humor.  But the movie also has a lot of little comedic touches that let you know that this film is not taking itself too seriously. From some small town humor, to the over the top characters, and Anne's reactions to her slow change, the film has a wonderful balance that will keep you entertained and hooked on this story.  And overall the story of the film is perfectly paced.  It develops deliciously slowly as Anne comes to terms with the changes that are happening to her.  And the story also reveals more about the vampire that bit her and its motivations.  It doesn't pile on anything too fast, letting the story move at a good pace and keeping the viewer engaged.  And this lets you watch as Anne transforms into a more confident, determined, and vocal character.  This film has an empowering aspect that is not just from Anne's physical transformation.  Her character transforms emotionally as well.  But I also love that as her character evolves, she still retains some of what grounded her.  She becomes confident and opinionated, but uses it to adapt to her current life and not have a full break from it.  She moves from a follower in the relationship, to a true partner; one with agency and an idea of what she wants in life.  

Jakob's Wife has an old school feel, strong characters, a great balance of dark comedy and horror, and a well-paced story that has plenty to sink your teeth into.

Watch it.

Kim Barnard	...	co-producer Morgan Peter Brown	...	co-producer Barbara Crampton	...	producer Nina Kolokouri	...	executive producer Rick Moore	...	executive producer James Norrie	...	executive producer Bob Portal	...	producer Inderpal Singh	...	producer Travis Stevens	...	producer Joe Wicker	...	co-producer   Directed by  Travis Stevens	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Kathy Charles	 Mark Steensland	 Travis Stevens
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Jakob's Wife is releasing in theaters, digitally, and on demand on April 16, 2021.  For showtimes, click here

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The Banishing Review: A Stylish Haunting In Classic England

Jessica Brown Findlay	Jessica Brown Findlay	...	Marianne Sean Harris	Sean Harris	...	Harry Price John Lynch	John Lynch	...	Malachi John Heffernan	John Heffernan	...	Linus Adam Hugill	Adam Hugill	...	Frank Jason Thorpe	Jason Thorpe	...	Dr. Sutter Anya McKenna-Bruce	Anya McKenna-Bruce	...	Adelaide James Swanton	James Swanton	...	Monk Cokey Falkow	Cokey Falkow	...	Barman Seamus O'Neill	Seamus O'Neill	...	Old Man Amy Trigg	Amy Trigg	...	Agnes Nigel Travis	Nigel Travis	...	Burt Sara Apostolaki	Sara Apostolaki	...	Woman in Rags Danny Shayler	Danny Shayler	...	Monk Jean St. Clair	Jean St. Clair	...	Betsy Matthew Clarke	Matthew Clarke	...	Reverend Stanley Hall Jacqueline Foster	Jacqueline Foster	...	Church goer (uncredited)

Release date: April 15, 2021
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), Sean Harris (Mission: Impossible franchise), John Lynch (The Secret Garden, Black Death), and John Heffernan (Eye in the Sky)
Directed By: Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Triangle).

From acclaimed director Chris Smith comes THE BANISHING, which tells the true story of the most haunted house in England. A young reverend and his wife and daughter move into a manor with a horrifying secret. When a vengeful spirit haunts the little girl and threatens to tear the family apart, the reverend and his wife are forced to confront their beliefs. They must turn to black magic by seeking the help of a famous Occultist or risk losing their daughter.

Maya Amsellem	...	producer David Beton	...	executive producer Laurie Cook	...	producer Ed Fraiman	...	executive producer Sharon Harel	...	producer Neil Jones	...	co-producer Dot Kyle	...	Pre-Production Line Producer Adam Nagel	...	executive producer Jason Newmark	...	producer Kenneth O'Toole	...	associate producer Beata Saboova	...	executive producer
The Banishing transports you to a different time and place.  The setting and attention to detail in this film are amazing.  From the old style house, to the little touches like old electrical buttons and switches, to the wonderful classic cars, you really feel like you are in a classic English countryside.  And the actors do a good job with these roles, selling their characters and helping to contribute to the sense of transportation.  There are not a lot of characters, but they are well cast and interesting.  Most of them have backstories that you slowly learn about and all of them are not what they originally appear.  And the movie does a great job with practical effects so you don't ever need to break your suspension of disbelief.

However, the story of The Banishing takes a long time to develop and feels disjointed at the beginning.  It really jumped around at the start of the film and I didn't get a great sense of the characters and their situation.  And the film takes a long time to get to any sort of scares, despite the initially good tension.  They do come eventually, but the film is a much more subdued haunting movie than I was expecting.  That is not to say the movie is devoid of scares and unsettling images, but these scares are fleeting and over quickly.  And the movie does try to address the issue of the treatment of women, tying it to the overall haunting, but this doesn't really hit on an emotional level.  Part of this might be the lack of historical context in the story.  The film is supposed to be a true story, but the story seems far fetched and there is no indication at the end of the film that any of these characters were real people.  It feels like more of an "inspired by" telling rather than a true story.  And finally, the film's supernatural side is over far too quickly.  The movie starts to pick up and then feels like those scares are over and done right when the film starts to get exciting.  I really liked the opening and felt that this film has all the components of something I would like.  But in the end, it was just a stylish, great setting for a story that did not grab me.  

The Banishing has a great setting, nuanced characters, and a definite sense of style, transporting you to a classic English town to witness this haunted story. 

Rent it.

Directed by  Christopher Smith	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   David Beton	...	(written by) Ray Bogdanovich	...	(written by) Dean Lines	...	(written by)

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The Banishing is available to stream on Shudder starting April 15, 2021. 

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.

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

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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 

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Dementer Review: An Unsettling Rural Horror Story

Brandy Edmiston	Brandy Edmiston	...	Brandy Larry Fessenden	Larry Fessenden	...	Larry Katie Groshong	Katie Groshong	...	Katie Eller Hall	Eller Hall	...	Eller Scott Hodges	Scott Hodges	...	Joey Stephanie Kinkle	Stephanie Kinkle	...	Stephanie

Release date: March 2, 2021
Running time: 107 minutes
Written and Directed By: Chad Crawford Kinkle
Starring: Brandy Edmiston, Katie Groshong, Eller Hall, Stephanie Kinkle

The film follows Katie (Katie Groshong), a young woman who flees a backwoods cult and takes a job at a care center for special needs adults in her determination to do some good with her life. But despite her best intentions, Katie can't escape the signs that "the devils" are coming for Stephanie (Stephanie Kinkle), a woman with Down syndrome she cares for, who keeps getting sicker despite Katie's rituals to ward off evil spirits.

Produced by  Chad Crawford Kinkle	...	producer Ashleigh Snead	...	producerMusic by  Sean Spillane	Cinematography by  Jeff Wedding	Film Editing by  Chad Crawford Kinkle	Production Design by  Kelly Anne Ross	Costume Design by  Maya Marin	Second Unit Director o
Dementer has an intriguing, unsettling start that lets you know that something strange is about to happen.  It goes into some of the rituals that Katie was involved in at the cult and some of the reasons why she had to flee.  But then it goes into Katie's normal life and how she is trying to make a new one for herself.  This constant juxtaposition between her rural cult life and her new life slowly reveal some aspects of her past.  I actually really liked seeing these scenes of Katie working at her new life.  It showed how good she was with people and how much her time with the cult changed her.  

Dementer makes the smart choice of using practical effects to portray the horrors of Katie's cult life and the aftermath.  And overall they are very good, including one lifelike depiction of a carcass.  Occasionally the effects will look a little off, like one scene where blood wells up from past wounds, but overall the effects do not break your sense of immersion.  And Dementer does a good job of getting you into the mind of Katie and her unsettling life.  There are cuts back to her time at the cult that are accompanied by creepy voices, strange music, and flashes of her past life that will give you an unsettling feeling.  In a similar vein to last years The Lodge, the movie uses flashbacks and voices to give you a sense of what the cult was like.   

But although Dementer does a great job setting the atmosphere and keeping you on edge, it often times feels like form over substance.  The unsettling clips often reuse pieces of Katie's life so you start to become all too familiar with these weird occurrences.  There are two main sequences that are reused a number of times.  We sometimes get different angles of these scenes or other cuts, but generally they are the same throughout.  And the film's focus on these two scenes deprive you of a better idea of how Katie was indoctrinated and even what the cult's beliefs are.  There are snippets here and there, but the main brainwashing scene felt contrived and too convenient.  And the beliefs are revealed only in terms of rituals and notes from Katie's book.  I would have liked to know more about what the underlying beliefs were.  And you need this information to understand better why Katie does what she does and why she can't let go of these beliefs.  Strange occurrences happen, but it is often unclear if this is her or some supernatural force, and the movie concludes without really giving you a sense of who was behind all of this.  

But that being said, Dementer's unsettling atmosphere, great practical effects, and creepy sounds will keep you on edge throughout this indie rural horror story.

Rent it.

Directed by  Chad Crawford Kinkle	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Chad Crawford Kinkle
If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
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Dementer is available digitally and on demand on March 2, 2021. 

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

Like A House On Fire Review: A Beautiful and Bittersweet Drama

Sarah Sutherland	...	Dara Jared Abrahamson	Jared Abrahamson	...	Danny Dominique Provost-Chalkley	Dominique Provost-Chalkley	...	Therese Amanda Brugel	Amanda Brugel	...	Audrey Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Michael Buchanan	Michael Buchanan	...	Bruce Kayla Hutton	Kayla Hutton	...	Bernice Ethan Lefebvre-Bray	Ethan Lefebvre-Bray	...	Kid with Whiskers Hubert Lenoir	Hubert Lenoir	...	Jordan

Release date: March 30, 2021
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed and Written by: Jesse Noah Klein
Starring: Sarah Sutherland, Jared Abrahamson, Dominique Provost-Chalkley 

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.

Sheila McCarthy	...	Katherine Yanna McIntosh	Yanna McIntosh	...	Nancy Erin Noble	Erin Noble	...	Ms Shaw Kelly Reich	Kelly Reich	...	Department Store Cashier Michael Riley	Michael Riley	...	Jack Tracy Rowland	Tracy Rowland	...	Cosmetician Sienna Summer Desbiens	Sienna Summer Desbiens	...	Little Girl in Park Margaux Vaillancourt	Margaux Vaillancourt	...	Isabel
Sometimes a movie just comes around that avoids the trap of overdoing drama and just does everything right.  Like A House On Fire is a drama about one woman's return home after an extended absence.  And although she had grown and changed in her time away, she expected the world around her to not.  Her return is bittersweet as she returns to the people and places in her life, but doesn't necessarily slot back in to where she was.  Starting with the cast, Sarah Sutherland does a great job as Dara, in a role that is difficult in its simplicity.  She has to play a character that is dealing with the harsh reality of the world moving on without her.  But she does this with a care and nuance that you don't normally see.  There are not overly dramatic Hollywood moments; just a person trying to regain the life that she willingly left.  And Abrahamson is likewise great as her husband who is dealing with very conflicting emotions.  He still cares for her but has moved on with his life.  He has some truly poignant lines in this film as he grapples with both his old emotions but also his new life and responsibilities.

And what I love most about this film is that it is so understated in what it does.  I can imagine a version of this movie that tries to pile on the drama, the intrigue, the guilt, and the pain to paint a vivid but unrealistic picture of this situation.  Like A House On Fire has plenty of drama and pain, but it does so in a way that is natural and realistic.  It doesn't have to force you to feel these emotions because it does it in a way that is relatable and grounded.  Like A House On Fire has a slow burning story that doesn't try to grab your attention.  There are no tricks or gimmicks here; the film is dramatic and slow and very well done.  

And in the end, I also loved that this film is bittersweet.  Like life, sometimes you don't get a Hollywood ending, and you have to work hard and work slowly to regain what you've lost.  Like A House On Fire depicts this in a beautiful, compact, and realistic way, touching on mental illness, personal growth, and past traumas without going over the top.  And like life, it doesn't necessarily work out perfectly, but it definitely has moments of joy and beauty.

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.

Watch it.

Luke Black	...	associate producer Fanny Drew	...	producer Mark Gingras	...	associate producer Amanda MacDonald	...	associate producer Sarah Mannering	...	producer Alona Metzer	...	associate producer Jeanne-Marie Poulain	...	associate producer William Woods	...	producer    Directed by  Jesse Noah Klein	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Jesse Noah Klein
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Like A House On Fire is available digitally and on demand on March 30, 2021. 

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Nest of Vampires Review: A Campy British Vampire Story

Shawn C. Phillips	...	Mike Malone (voice) Jet Jandreau	Jet Jandreau	...	Simone Chantal (as Jasmin Jandreau) Daria Krauzo	Daria Krauzo	...	Anna Valentine Amelie Leroy	Amelie Leroy	...	Amber Martinez Chris Sanders	Chris Sanders	...	Marshall Mabus Tom Fairfoot	Tom Fairfoot	...	Kit Valentine Jon-Paul Gates	Jon-Paul Gates	...	Mario DeNardo Tom Hendryk	Tom Hendryk	...	Pat Rodgers Timothy Skyler Dunigan	Timothy Skyler Dunigan	...	Dallas Roberts (Image) Kateryna Globa	Kateryna Globa	...	Lucy Willis Lucy Marshall	Lucy Marshall	...	Marsha Valentine Frank Jakeman	Frank Jakeman	...	Edward Peters William Marshall	William Marshall	...	Thomas Roberts Omar Azimi	Omar Azimi	...	Rahim Nazari (Image) Henrietta Szentes	Henrietta Szentes	...	Diane Barabas (as Szentes Henrietta) Hans Hernke	Hans Hernke	...	Samuel Archer

Release date: March 16, 2021
Running time: 83 minutes        
Starring: Jon Paul Gates, Tom Fairfoot, Amelie Leroy, Hans Hernke, Lucy Willis, Tom Hendryk, D'Angeles Campos, Peter Mahoney, Rosanne Priest, and Shawn C. Phillips
Written and Directed By: Chris Sanders

From writer/director Chris Sanders, Nest of Vampires follows an MI5 agent who travels from London to rural England in search of the people who murdered his wife and kidnapped his only daughter. During his investigation, he uncovers a ruthless vampiric cult that is heavily embroiled in human trafficking and Satanic cult worship.

Rizi Timane	...	Mark Jones Lyndsey	Lyndsey	...	Louise Bella Trost	Bella Trost	...	Elizabeth Turner Lance Caver	Lance Caver	...	Bobby Finch Rebecca Jenny Clark	Rebecca Jenny Clark	...	Michelle Jon Vangdal Aamaas	Jon Vangdal Aamaas	...	Brian Moore Kyrillos Saber	Kyrillos Saber	...	Richard Marks Beau D. Boykin	Beau D. Boykin	...	Tom Gunn (Image) Logan A. Hamby	Logan A. Hamby	...	Tobias Benjamin (Image) Elena Tully	Elena Tully	...	(credit only) Ned Capitani	Ned Capitani	...	Luther Rodriguez (Image) Sara Marie Hogg	Sara Marie Hogg	...	Rachael Lorenzo (Image) Peter Mahoney	Peter Mahoney	...	Donald Peterson Navin P. Kumar	Navin P. Kumar	...	Karime Hassan (Image) Scott Cassin	Scott Cassin	...	Steven Kennedy (Image) D'Angeles Campos	D'Angeles Campos	...	Sasha Garcia Julio Mateo	Julio Mateo	...	Michael Zerilli (Image)
Nest of Vampires is a cheesy British horror film that wears its camp on its sleeve.  The film has a serious style but also plenty of enjoyable, overly dramatic acting and action.  I can't tell if the movie is trying to be a serious mystery / action film, or one that embraces the fine line between camp and cringe, but I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt.  The film has a fun, noir pulp to it that makes me think that this is a throwback to classic horror and detective films.  The main character, Tom Fairfoot is a fun character to follow, an overly cocky agent who is fighting the clock to save his daughter.  And Amelie Leroy as a mysterious friend and potential enemy was a fun character to follow.  I also really liked seeing Hans Hernke again, who I enjoyed seeing earlier this year in Todd.  And the story itself has a really fun twist partway through that explained a lot about the characters and the relative levels of skill in each.  

However, despite the enjoyable level of cheese in Nest of Vampires, the film itself does have some noticeable flaws.  The effects are generally pretty bad, though the film does what it can to hide that.  They are generally not relied on much, but when you notice it, you definitely notice it.  The story itself, while being enjoyable and having a few fun twists, also doesn't really come together.  It feels like some threads were trimmed, leaving them dangling at the end.  And although the movie wraps itself up, some of the events just seemed either convenient or poorly planned depending on your perspective.  And overall, the performances were spirited, but some of them did come off as less campy and more unnatural.  And one of the biggest potential issues is that the film changes some aspects of the vampire narrative without really acknowledging it.  There are some dramatic departures from our normal mythology that seem far too convenient.  

Nest of Vampires has a campy, noir style and an ensemble cast of characters that will keep you entertained, but some of the story issues and less than stellar effects will distract you.  

Pass on it.

Directed by  Chris Sanders	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Chris Sanders	...	(screenplay by)
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Nest of Vampires is available digitally and on demand on March 16, 2021.  You can rent or buy it directly here.

Voyagers Review: A Near Future Lord of the Flies

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

Release date: April 9, 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Cast: Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Chanté Adams, Quintessa Swindell, Archie Madekwe, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Viveik Kalra
Written and Directed By: Neil Burger

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. 

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
I really loved the premise of Voyagers; a sci-fi colonization mission that bucks the trend by having the characters procreate while they travel rather than have some cryogenic freeze gone wrong.  It makes for some interesting questions that are presented in this film; how do you counteract boredom and monotony, and how do you stay motivated when you will never live to see the end of the mission?  And the film does an amazing job of setting the stage and building out this sci-fi world.  I love how bland the film made the introduction seem; the crew is meant to avoid any sort of influences and stimuli, so their life feels industrial, manufactured, and disinfected.  The ship has your typical white, space age style which only contributes to this feeling.  And the fact that everyone was trained to do their job and do it well also contributes to the overall feel of a factory rather than a life. 

And in fitting with the theme of creating a new generation, the cast of Voyagers features a lot of up and coming actors.  From the old guard, Colin Farrell is by far my favorite in this film and Voyagers allows him to show his more caring, dramatic side.  He acts as their mentor and surrogate parent, listening to the crew's problems, offering solutions and stern rebukes when needed.  Tye Sheridan shows why he is so well regarded with a performance similar to those he is known for; quiet and interesting with a strength of character that shines through.  And Lily-Rose Depp is another strong character, although she is outwardly more reserved than many of the other leads, at least initially.  And I was pleasantly surprised to see Archie Madekwe, who I loved in Midsommer, have a substantive and decidedly more complicated role.

The story of Voyagers starts off slowly, but as the crew gains more curiosity and experiences life, the gravity of the story increase and the chaos grows.  The film escalates quickly once the crew begins to let themselves go, almost a little too quickly.  Despite the very interesting premise, the film begins to feel like a near future Lord of the Flies, with the chaos, infighting, and unchecked emotion.  I wouldn't be surprised if writer / director Neil Burger counted that book as inspiration for the story of Voyagers.  But the story also has a decent number of twists to keep you interested and also features a nice mix of drama and action as the chaos escalates.  It was never boring and I loved the concepts that were explored.

And as a science fiction film, the effects and setting were perfect.  The ship has a wonderful science fiction aesthetic and the few scenes in space had some really good sound design.  However, when the film highlights the characters giving into their emotions, it has a heavy handed sequence of images that just feels a little too much.  The story also leaves one major mystery unexplained, but maybe they are saving that for a sequel.  And the movie generally has a strong use of sci-fi effects with little noticeable CG, but there is a sequence at the end that is distracting and definitely breaks some immersion.  And finally, there are some scenes involving space that don't accurately represent what would happen out there.  Although these make for some exciting sequences, the lack of accuracy was distracting. 

Voyagers is a near future Lord of the Flies, with a clever premise, an all star cast, and a story fueled by the emotions and hubris of youth. 

Rent it.

Directed by  Neil Burger	...	(directed by)Writing Credits   Neil Burger	...	(written by)   science fiction space mission colonize colony save earth
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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

My True Fairytale Review: A Dramatic and Life Affirming Film

Emma Kennedy	...	Angie Goodwin BJ Mitchell	BJ Mitchell	...	Andre Morgan Lindholm	Morgan Lindholm	...	Sarah Juliana Destefano	Juliana Destefano	...	Selena Hector Hugo	Hector Hugo	...	Luis Mark Daugherty	Mark Daugherty	...	Danni Joanna Cassidy	Joanna Cassidy	...	Sylvia Goodwin Bruce Davison	Bruce Davison	...	Martin Goodwin Darri Ingolfsson	Darri Ingolfsson	...	Dean Goodwin Taylor Cole	Taylor Cole	...	Renee Alyshia Ochse	Alyshia Ochse	...	Elaine Corin Nemec	Corin Nemec	...	Terry Knight Arnold Chun	Arnold Chun	...	John Vincent van Hinte	Vincent van Hinte	...	Police Officer #1 Anthony Richard Pagliaro	Anthony Richard Pagliaro	...	Police Officer #2

Release date: April 9, 2021
Running time: 86 minutes
Written and Directed By:  D.Mitry
Starring: Emma Kennedy, Darri Ingolfsson, Bruce Davison, Joanna Cassidy, Taylor Cole, Corin Nemec, BJ Mitchell, Morgan Lindholm, Mark Daugherty, Juliana Destefano, and Arnold Chun

My True Fairytale follows Angie Goodwin, a 17-year-old who vanishes after a horrific accident in the close-knit town of Gardenland, FL. As the police, her family, and friends search for her, she embarks on her own mysterious journey to “save the world” and fulfill her childhood fantasy of becoming a superhero. Angie discovers that she has incredible abilities and looks for ways to help everyone, as those around her deal with her disappearance. Driven by his own deeply personal story of losing his young daughter to a car accident, writer/director D. Mitry’s debut feature is a mystical and uplifting tragedy about life and the power of love.

Warner Adachi	...	Old Man Jay Jingco	Jay Jingco	...	Jack Leticia Robles	Leticia Robles	...	Sonia Jasmine Hester	Jasmine Hester	...	News Anchor Dominic Pace	Dominic Pace	...	Mark Benett Pace	Benett Pace	...	Bobby Kristin Carey	Kristin Carey	...	Rebecca Owens (scenes deleted) Darren Barnet	Darren Barnet	...	Jay Owens (scenes deleted) Ellen Schoeters	Ellen Schoeters	...	Lilly (scenes deleted)
My True Fairytale has a dramatic opening that will catch you by surprise after it's relatively fun, teenage movie start.  But that drama forms the basis of the film and the major conflict that starts the story on its journey.  The movie has an air of mystery that stays with it through most of the story.  And although you can guess at what is happening, the film doesn't fully reveal itself until the very end.  This story has some mystical elements, some mystery, and some mysticism in it, on top of the expected dramatic moments.

My True Fairytale tugs at your heartstrings and that is intentional.  You can tell that this was a passion project of D.Mitry; one that he poured his heart and soul into.  Mitry's story shows how a young woman can touch so many lives in such a positive way.  But in doing this, the film has a certain overdramatic quality that can feel manufactured, despite the very real emotions underlying the film and the creative process behind it.  It also felt like the movie tried too hard to keep its mystery, to keep the audience guessing.  It assembles an ensemble cast so that you can follow all the different ways that the initial event affected them and how those characters all intertwine after.  But this also makes the story difficult to follow with the inherent, overall mystery inside of it.  

But that being said, there is plenty to like about this film.  The movie definitely tugs at the heartstrings and can put a smile on your face and a tear in your eyes.  The film also has some truly beautiful music.  The score is impressive and grandiose, letting you feel the gravity and emotion this young woman has on her friends and family.  And, in keeping with the general feel of the story, the film has some beautiful cinematography and imagery as well.  And My True Fairytale does grow on you as the mystery starts to unfold.  The film starts off heavy handed, but it does grow on you by the end.  

My True Fairytale will tug at your heartstrings with its beautiful score and story about the effect that one life can have on so many around her.  

Rent it.

Mark Daugherty	...	associate producer Tim Gagliardo	...	producer Miron Gelfand	...	executive producer Svetlana Gelfand	...	executive producer D. Mitry	...	producer Citlalli A. Ruiz	...	producer Ellen Schoeters	...	associate producer Robert J. Spoloric	...	executive producer Vincent van Hinte	...	producer   Directed by  D. Mitry	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   D. Mitry
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My True Fairytale is available digitally and on demand on April 9, 2021. 

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