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Archives for : David Gordon Green

Fantastic Fest Reviews: “Halloween”, “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn” & “Cam”

Halloween (2018)

The opening night film at Fantastic Fest was none other than the highly anticipated sequel, Halloween (2018). Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode to come face-to-face with masked serial killer, Michael Myers, who has haunted her since the traumatic night four decades ago.

The film is inspired by John Carpenter’s classic. But filmmakers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride decided to ignore all the other sequels that followed the original Halloween from 1978, and create a story that changes Laurie’s past. In other words, 40 years later Laurie is a bad ass. Michael Myers is not her brother. And, she’s prepared to take on whatever he throws her way.

Laurie Strode is one hell of a grandma in Halloween (2018). Though her daughter (Judy Greer) still resents her for making her grow up as a survivalist since childhood, her granddaughter, Allyson, (Andi Matichak) adores her. This creates tension anytime the family is all together. It isn’t until Halloween night that Michael Myers returns to wreak havoc, and finally finish the job he started 40 years ago. Only this time he’s up against 3 generations of Strode women.

Halloween (2018) far from a stand out horror flick. We’re basically seeing the same formula just different ways of murder. However, this film is a lot of fun! McBride’s writing shines throughout the film, and it’s the comic relief that provides any sort of originality. But don’t get me wrong, I love this formula and it’s great to see Curtis back in action in a role she handles so naturally. The movie entertains the whole time through and will leave you satisfied.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn

Surprisingly enough, the people that brought us The Greasy Strangler, which I hated; has now made An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn, which I really liked a lot. Jim Hosking is back with a second feature that maintain his same style and his same personal dialect. Only this time, he let go of the nauseating grease murderers and swapped it out for characters we could actually care for.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) stars a Lulu Danger, a recently unemployed woman who is unsatisfied with her marriage to sleazy Shane Danger (Emile Hirsch) and life all together. In an attempt to fix the couples financial troubles, Shane steals from his brother-in-law. Which then makes him the target of the world’s worst hitman (Jermaine Clement). But Lulu sees this as an opportunity, she runs off with the hitman in hopes that he can help her track down her old flame, Beverly Luff Linn (Craig Robinson).

This offbeat comedy takes a minute to warm up to. You might not be sure of the flow it’s taking. But once it gets going, it’s actually quite delightful. The all-star cast does a fantastic job, and this might be my favorite performance by Aubrey Plaza. There’s a very unique and corky chemistry between Plaza and Clement that’s almost endearing.

An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn is the light-hearted deadpan comic relief that I was craving during a marathon of graphic horrors at Fantastic Fest.

Rating: 4/5

 

Cam

After letting Cam marinate for a bit, it quickly became one of my favorite films of the fest. Daniel Goldhaber’s feature debut is smart, sexy, and disturbing.

The film stars Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black and The Handmaid’s Tale) as Alice, a young web cam girl who is on the rise to breaking top 50 rank on a pornographic site.  Alice lives a normal life by day, but at night she is “Lola” and constantly comes up with wild narratives to spice up her online shows. She is anxious to reach the top and beat out the other cam girls in the network. However, she never breaks her 3 rules: No public shows, no fake orgasms, and never telling “her guys” that she loves them.

Just when Alice is moving up in her ranking, she has an unwelcoming surprise when she sees a girl who looks just like her live on her web cam profile. Frantic and paranoid, Alice is on a mission to find out who has taken her identity and stolen her top rank.

Even though 60 percent of Cam consists of a bunch of web cam girls performing erotic acts, the film is incredibly magnetizing. It’s as if you’re in a trance the minute the film begins and you can’t stop watching. The neon lighting, the shocking sequences, and the captivating performance by Brewer is enough to suck you in.

Cam is the movie you didn’t know you wanted to see. It’s a tantalizing thrill-ride with a bone-crushing end that will leave you wanting more.

Rating: 4.5/5

DIFF 2014 Quick Movie Reviews Pt.1

Flutter

Director/Screenwriter: Eric Hueber

Cast: Lindsay Pulsipher, Glenn Morshower, Jesse Plemons, Jonathan Huth Jr.

Rating: 3.5/5

Flutter follows Jo Lynn (Pulsipher) and her struggle to provide for her son, who has severe narrow angle glaucoma.  In an attempt to treat his condition and prevent him from going blind, Jo Lynn starts growing her own marijuana to bake into his brownies.  As time goes on, the trouble of maintaining finances and her son’s “medicine” leads Jo Lynn down a desperate and dangerous path.  The film is full of nail-biting moments, and features a painfully, touching performance by Lindsay Pulsipher that you won’t forget.  Flutter is a gut-wrenching portrayal of how a mother’s love can drive her to do almost anything in order to protect her child.

About Mom and Dad

about mom and dad

Director/ Screenwriter: Rachel Shepherd

Cast: Farah White, Brent Anderson, Katy Rowe, Alisha Revel, Johnny Mars

Rating: 3.5/5

What better way to celebrate your daughter’s upcoming nuptials than feuding with your husband over his recent unfaithful act.  Terri (White) has to deal with more than just her relationship problems, as her children seem to have gotten raveled up with their own matters of infidelity.  For the most part this film is well acted, with strong performances by Farah White and Brent Anderson.  But it’s the brilliantly written script that made me thoroughly enjoy this realistic, hilarious, and at times sad movie.  About Mom and Dad shows how the people we love most can cause our greatest anger and happiness.

I Believe In Unicorns

Director/ Screenwriter: Leah Meyerhoff

Cast: Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Toni Meyerhoff, Amy Seimetz

Rating: 3/5

When there isn’t much going on in your life, and all you do is go to school and take care of your ailing mother; a first romance couldn’t come at a better time.  For Devina (Dryer), bad boy Sterling (Vack) is the perfect birthday present: excitement, sex, and an escape from reality all rolled into one!  However, relationships are never easy and it can be even more difficult when both parties involved may not be on the same page.  Devina sums it up best when asking her newfound lover, “Do you really like me or is it temporary?” I Believe in Unicorns is a compelling coming of age story that takes an uncomfortable look at the desire for an adventurous love.

Joe

Director: David Gordon Green

Screenwriter: Gary Hawkins, based on a novel by Larry Brown

Cast: Nicholas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins

Rating: 5/5

15-year-old Gary (Sheridan) is desperate to find work so that he may be able to take care of his sister and mother who live in squalor.  His abusive, alcoholic father lends no helping had to his family, as he is lazy and only thinks to provide for himself.  Luck briefly turns around when Gary begins working for Joe, an ex-con who has gone straight but is still haunted by his past.  Joe is easily one of the best films of the year.  Nicholas Cage gives one of the best performances of his career and Tye Sheridan steals every scene he is in.  This powerful drama is one everyone must see when it opens in theaters April 11.

Check out the full list of films playing at the Dallas International Film Festival.