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Movie Review: “The Other Lamb” Needs more Meat

Lots of intrigue from the start, only to fall flat in the end. “The Other Lamb” fails to seek it’s full potential.

“The Other Lamb” begins with two young girls eerily sitting by a waterfall. It is clear there is something off with them. When they return home, it is to one man and a bunch of different women; some who may have been conceived out of incest. Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) plays the cult leader who goes by Shepard. He has taken in weak and vulnerable women, brought them into a secluded forest to brainwash and isolate them from the modern world. The film follows, Selah (Raffey Cassidy), a young girl who is questioning the Shepard’s teachings.

The only real storyline is Selah’s slow realization that the women’s treatment is not right and what she discovers about her mother’s death. Director Malgorzata Szumowska and writer C.S. McMullen opt to give more of a visual telling over a compelling narrative. This allows the audience to stay interested in the movie, but not invested in the story or its characters.

Though we gain some sort of background from Selah, it’s not enough to really know how she ended up here in the first place? Who was her mother? What led to her meeting the Shepard? How did any of these women get sucked into this warped reality? These questions and much more are left unanswered. The film even shys away from showing the extent of the Shepard’s cruelty. We’re aware of his sexual and violent acts, but being able to witness just one horrendous action would strike more anger and empathy for these women.

However, not all is lost. The cinematography by Michal Englert successfully utilizes graphic shots of mangled animals to parallel Selah’s growing body and her inner conflicts. The film is beautifully shot and at times leads you to believe something bigger is going to happen here.

The film relies too much on it’s visuals and score (Rafael Leloup & Pawel Mykieytn) to make up for it’s lack of content. The performances are decent, but that actors aren’t given enough meat to chew. Cassidy has her moments, but even the talents of Huisman are under utilized.

The slow-burn intensity of “The Other Lamb” mildly entertains, but ultimately leaves you unsatisfied.

Rating: 2.5/5

“The Other Lamb” is available on VOD and other digital platforms on April 3

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Movie Review: “The Hunt”, “The Invisible Man”, & “Emma”

In this time of Pandemic, diversions help keep us sane. Now, more than ever, we need the cinema. But we need a new cinema, a safe cinema, a Shelter-at-Home cinema; and so streaming comes of age. Watch my review of “The Hunt” and recommendations of two other new films available for home viewing now: “The Invisible Man” and “Emma”. Will anyone trade some popcorn for this fine half-roll of paper towels? Anyone?

“The Hunt”, “The Invisible Man”, & “Emma” are available on Amazon, Apple, YouTube, and other various On Demand platforms at a starting price of $19.99.

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Movie Review: “The Hunt” is a Bloody Catch

In 2018, the hilarious political comedy “The Oath” showed audiences how harsh extremist on either side (Conservative or Liberal) can be. The film was about a politically divided family, trying to make it through Thanksgiving. Things got rough quick, and at times, it got violent. But in the new action/horror film, “The Hunt”, they take the violence and politics to a whole new level; while still trying to prove the same point, just not as effectively.

“The Hunt” caused a lot of controversy before it was ever released. It was originally slated to open in theaters last fall, but was halted due to the film’s premise and mass shootings during that time.

The film opens with a group text thread among liberal friends. They make a joke about taking out their anger on “deplorables” during an upcoming hunt at the Manor. The next scene shows a rich group of people on a plane with people they have drugged and stowed away. Soon 12 of them are all spread out, unconscious, and in a field with gags in their mouths. Once they are all awake, they see a big box with various weapons for them to have a fair fight. We eventually find out, these chosen conservatives are being hunted like animals by liberal elitists.

Before anyone gets heated or offended, this thriller has no real insight into politics. It is too afraid to pick a side. Instead they make both the Republicans and Democrats equally dumb, with the exception of two women (Hilary Swank and Becky Gilpin).

The film features a talented all-star cast including Swank, Gilpin, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley, and Ike Barinholtz. Though everyone adds to the hilarious humor of the film, it’s Swank and Gilpin who steal the show. Gilpin is quietly comical, while impressing with her kickass survival instincts. But it’s her nail-biting showdown with Swank that will have you cringing and cheering. However, the gore is not for the faint of heart. At times, I couldn’t even watch. There’s a bloody, graphic death at every turn.

While the purpose of the film might be lost, the humor and action is easily found. There is a lot of fun to be had with these idiotic characters (on both sides) and the gruesome, sometimes, shocking deaths they experience. It encompasses the same kind of satire and excitement from last year’s “Ready or Not”. Sadly, the premise is not as unique.

Ultimately, “The Hunt” feels like a funny version of “The Purge” films with a role reversal. It’s an entertaining, fast-paced, mindless thriller that provides plenty of laughs and shrieks.

Rating: 3.5/5

“The Hunt” opens in theaters March 13.

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Top 10 Best Films of 2019

10. Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Right off the bat, I’m already intrigued by any film about Charles Manson and the infamous murders. But if you slap on Tarantino’s name and his all-star cast, I’m pretty much sold. “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” is hilarious, surprising and a whole lot of fun.  Not to mention, Brad Pitt is my favorite male supporting performance this year.

9. Honey Boy

“Honey Boy” is a therapy session we have no business sitting in on, but we’re grateful to be there. The film gradually reveals the tragedies and misdeeds that shaped Shia LaBouf. We gain a better and beneficial understanding of the actor, as well as empathy for his father, who ended up being a blessing and a curse in his life. “Honey Boy” is still my favorite original screenplay of the year. It’s intense, powerful, and an all-around great film.

8. Bombshell

Okay, before anyone gets political about this movie, let me remind you that the film is about the lawsuit again Roger Ailes and the other men involved in sexually harassing certain female employees at Fox News. It’s a gripping “ripped from the headlines” story that depicts abuse of power and the struggles women face in the work place. Theron, Robbie, and Kidman shine, while Charles Randolph’s script pulls you in and holds you tight.

7. Knives Out

“Knives Out” showcases Rian Johnson’s remarkable artistry as a writer/director. The film follows a fairly standard murder mystery formula in its initial set up. But as the mystery begins to unfold, there’s enough twists and turns to prove nothing is what it seems. Audiences are left guessing till the very end. Throw in a stellar cast and great social commentary, and you’ve got one of the best whodunit movies.

6. Booksmart

At first glance you may be thinking that this is just a female version of “Superbad”. While there are times that it feels reminiscent of that film, “Booksmart” is its own kind of wonderful. There’s a great message about balancing hard work and a social life, and through Kaitlyn Dever’s and Beanie Feldstein’s chemistry and quick-witted performance, we also learn that if you can go through life with just one good friend then you can count yourself lucky.  Olivia Wilde succeeds in making a hilarious, raunchy teen comedy from a female perspective. It’s a rarity that’s a true pleasure to watch.

5. Little Women

Why make another “Little Women” adaptation? Because we all needed Greta Gerwig’s magical touch on this delightful tale. Gerwig taps into the same honest vulnerability she succeed in through her Oscar nominated film, “Lady Bird”. Because the truth is, she knows how to write complex and emotional characters.”Little Women” is a beautiful and uplifting movie with a message that women’s stories and their endeavors are worth telling.

4. Long Shot

I’ve said this before, but romantic comedies are a dying genre. So when there’s actually a refreshing spin on one with a good story, I have to give it credit. Honestly, I just enjoyed the hell out of “Long Shot”. And believe it or not, Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen make a great couple. The film goes beyond the clichés of a “Pretty Women” storyline. Fred (Rogen) doesn’t get some big makeover to become a socially acceptable partner for Charlotte (Theron). Instead, the film is about being with someone who you’re truly yourself with and loves you for YOU. Whether it be at a raging night club or elegant gala, the two are always goofing around in a flirty/romantic manner that everyone can admire.

3. Avengers: Endgame

This one doesn’t need much of an explanation, because this film was AWESOME! After 10 years and 21 films, Marvel carefully weaved all these characters and storylines together to create one of the best super hero movies of all time. Watching these beloved characters fight together in the battle we’ve anticipated for so long brought me tears of joy and sadness. More than anything, I’m proud of “Avengers: Endgame”.

2. Marriage Story

Yes, this film is about a couple, Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) getting a divorce. But, there’s so much more to this movie. First off, Driver and Johansson give two of the best performances of the year. There is a screaming match between these two that makes me want to give them both the Oscar right now. There’s also so much to learn. You can take “Marriage Story” as a lesson in love. Get to know these characters, understand why they didn’t work as a couple and avoid their mistakes. A major one being lack of communication. And remember, this is a dark comedy.  So, even though there’s dark times, there’s also some laughs and sweet, lighthearted moments.

1. Jojo Rabbit

Director/writer/actor, Taika Waititi, plays an imaginary friend version of Hitler to a young boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis). Jojo is a Nazi fanboy who idolizes Adolf Hitler like a celebrity. But things change for Jojo when he discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) has been hiding a teenage Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. “Jojo Rabbit” is a satire that reminds audiences how comical and ridiculous it is to discriminate against people who are different from you. The film also does a wonderful job at relaying the message that kindness can prevail over evil. Stop the hate and open your hearts. “Jojo Rabbit” is an enlightening story with uplifting and positive values.

The Best of the Rest:

11. The Peanut Butter Falcon

12. The Perfection

13. Late Night

14. The Art of Self-Defense

15. Dolemite is My Name

16. Brittany Runs a Marathon

17. Parasite

18. Fighting with My Family

19. Blinded by the Light

20. Waves

Top 5 Worst Films of 2019

5. Greta – One of the worst Lifetime movies I’ve ever seen.

4. Dumbo –This was just so boring.

3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Lots of people died in this movie, but I can’t remember who any of them were.

2. Lucy in the Sky – The 3 men who made this might as well have blamed everything on Lucy’s period. God awful script.

1. Dora and the Lost City of Gold – No! Just no!

Trevor’s Top 10

Honorable Mention: Parasite
10. Little Women
9. Ready or Not
8. Dolemite is My Name
7. Bombshell
6. The King
5. Marriage Story
4. Jojo Rabbit
3. Long Shot
2. Rocketman
1. Avengers: Endgame

25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards Nominees

“THE IRISHMAN” LEADS FILM NOMINATIONS FOR 25TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

NETFLIX GARNERS 61 TOTAL NOMINATIONS, HBO EARNS 33

GALA EVENT WILL AIR LIVE ON THE CW NETWORK SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2020 FROM THE BARKER HANGAR IN SANTA MONICA

 The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced today the nominees for the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The winners will be revealed at the star-studded Critics’ Choice Awards gala, which will once again be hosted by film, television, and stage star Taye Diggs, and broadcast live on The CW Television Network on Sunday, January 12 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET (delayed PT).

FILM NOMINATIONS FOR THE 25TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

BEST PICTURE

1917

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Parasite

Uncut Gems

BEST ACTOR

Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory

Robert De Niro – The Irishman

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Adam Driver – Marriage Story

Eddie Murphy – Dolemite Is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

BEST ACTRESS

Awkwafina – The Farewell

Cynthia Erivo – Harriet

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Lupita Nyong’o – Us

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Renée Zellweger – Judy

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes

Al Pacino – The Irishman

Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Zhao Shuzhen  – The Farewell

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Julia Butters – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Roman Griffin Davis – Jojo Rabbit

Noah Jupe – Honey Boy

Thomasin McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit

Shahadi Wright Joseph – Us

Archie Yates – Jojo Rabbit

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

Bombshell

The Irishman

Knives Out

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Parasite

BEST DIRECTOR

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

Sam Mendes – 1917

Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Rian Johnson – Knives Out

Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won – Parasite

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Lulu Wang – The Farewell

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes

Todd Phillips & Scott Silver – Joker

Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Steven Zaillian  – The Irishman

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Jarin Blaschke – The Lighthouse

Roger Deakins – 1917

Phedon Papamichael   – Ford v Ferrari

Rodrigo Prieto – The Irishman

Robert Richardson – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Lawrence Sher – Joker

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Mark Friedberg, Kris Moran – Joker

Dennis Gassner, Lee Sandales  – 1917

Jess Gonchor, Claire Kaufman – Little Women

Lee Ha Jun – Parasite

Barbara Ling, Nancy Haigh – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Bob Shaw, Regina Graves – The Irishman

Donal Woods, Gina Cromwell – Downton Abbey

BEST EDITING

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems

Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker – Ford v Ferrari

Yang Jinmo  – Parasite

Fred Raskin – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Thelma Schoonmaker – The Irishman

Lee Smith – 1917

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Ruth E. Carter – Dolemite Is My Name

Julian Day – Rocketman

Jacqueline Durran – Little Women

Arianne Phillips – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Sandy Powell, Christopher Peterson – The Irishman

Anna Robbins – Downton Abbey

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

Bombshell

Dolemite Is My Name

The Irishman

Joker

Judy

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Rocketman

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1917

Ad Astra

The Aeronauts

Avengers: Endgame

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

The Lion King

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Abominable

Frozen II

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

I Lost My Body

Missing Link

Toy Story 4

BEST ACTION MOVIE

1917

Avengers: Endgame

Ford v Ferrari

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

Spider-Man: Far From Home

BEST COMEDY

Booksmart

Dolemite Is My Name

The Farewell

Jojo Rabbit

Knives Out

BEST SCI-FI OR HORROR MOVIE

Ad Astra

Avengers: Endgame

Midsommar

Us

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Atlantics

Les Misérables

Pain and Glory

Parasite

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

BEST SONG

Glasgow (No Place Like Home) – Wild Rose

(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman

I’m Standing With You – Breakthrough

Into the Unknown – Frozen II

Speechless – Aladdin

Spirit – The Lion King

Stand Up – Harriet

BEST SCORE

Michael Abels – Us

Alexandre Desplat   – Little Women

Hildur Guðnadóttir – Joker

Randy Newman – Marriage Story

Thomas Newman  – 1917

Robbie Robertson – The IrishmanN

TELEVISION NOMINATIONS FOR THE 25TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

BEST DRAMA SERIES

The Crown (Netflix)

David Makes Man (OWN)

Game of Thrones (HBO)

The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Pose (FX)

Succession (HBO)

This Is Us (NBC)

Watchmen (HBO)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)

Mike Colter – Evil (CBS)

Paul Giamatti – Billions (Showtime)

Kit Harington – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Freddie Highmore – The Good Doctor (ABC)

Tobias Menzies – The Crown (Netflix)

Billy Porter – Pose (FX)

Jeremy Strong – Succession (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Olivia Colman – The Crown (Netflix)

Jodie Comer – Killing Eve (BBC America)

Nicole Kidman – Big Little Lies (HBO)

Regina King – Watchmen (HBO)

Mj Rodriguez – Pose (FX)

Sarah Snook – Succession (HBO)

Zendaya – Euphoria (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Asante Blackk – This Is Us (NBC)

Billy Crudup – The Morning Show (Apple)

Asia Kate Dillon – Billions (Showtime)

Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)

Delroy Lindo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Tim Blake Nelson – Watchmen (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown (Netflix)

Gwendoline Christie – Game of Thrones (HBO)

Laura Dern – Big Little Lies (HBO)

Audra McDonald – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)

Jean Smart – Watchmen (HBO)

Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies (HBO)

Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SERIES

Barry (HBO)

Fleabag (Amazon)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Mom (CBS)

One Day at a Time (Netflix)

PEN15 (Hulu)

Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ted Danson – The Good Place (NBC)

Walton Goggins – The Unicorn (CBS)

Bill Hader – Barry (HBO)

Eugene Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Paul Rudd – Living with Yourself (Netflix)

Bashir Salahuddin – Sherman’s Showcase (IFC)

Ramy Youssef – Ramy (Hulu)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Christina Applegate – Dead to Me (Netflix)

Alison Brie – GLOW (Netflix)

Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

Kirsten Dunst – On Becoming a God in Central Florida (Showtime)

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep (HBO)

Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag (Amazon)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)

Anthony Carrigan – Barry (HBO)

William Jackson Harper – The Good Place (NBC)

Daniel Levy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Nico Santos – Superstore (NBC)

Andrew Scott – Fleabag (Amazon)

Henry Winkler – Barry (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)

D’Arcy Carden – The Good Place (NBC)

Sian Clifford – Fleabag (Amazon)

Betty Gilpin – GLOW (Netflix)

Rita Moreno – One Day at a Time (Netflix)

Annie Murphy – Schitt’s Creek (Pop)

Molly Shannon – The Other Two (Comedy Central)

BEST LIMITED SERIES

Catch-22 (Hulu)

Chernobyl (HBO)

Fosse/Verdon (FX)

The Loudest Voice (Showtime)

Unbelievable (Netflix)

When They See Us (Netflix)

Years and Years (HBO)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Brexit (HBO)

Deadwood: The Movie (HBO)

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)

Guava Island (Amazon)

Native Son (HBO)

Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Christopher Abbott – Catch-22 (Hulu)

Mahershala Ali – True Detective (HBO)

Russell Crowe – The Loudest Voice (Showtime)

Jared Harris – Chernobyl (HBO)

Jharrel Jerome – When They See Us (Netflix)

Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon (FX)

Noah Wyle – The Red Line (CBS)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Kaitlyn Dever – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Anne Hathaway – Modern Love (Amazon)

Megan Hilty – Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

Joey King – The Act (Hulu)

Jessie Mueller – Patsy & Loretta (Lifetime)

Merritt Wever – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon (FX)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Asante Blackk – When They See Us (Netflix)

George Clooney – Catch-22 (Hulu)

John Leguizamo – When They See Us (Netflix)

Dev Patel – Modern Love (Amazon)

Jesse Plemons – El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix)

Stellan Skarsgård – Chernobyl (HBO)

Russell Tovey – Years and Years (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Patricia Arquette – The Act (Hulu)

Marsha Stephanie Blake – When They See Us (Netflix)

Toni Collette – Unbelievable (Netflix)

Niecy Nash – When They See Us (Netflix)

Margaret Qualley – Fosse/Verdon (FX)

Emma Thompson – Years and Years (HBO)

Emily Watson – Chernobyl (HBO)

BEST ANIMATED SERIES

Big Mouth (Netflix)

BoJack Horseman (Netflix)

The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (Netflix)

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)

The Simpsons (Fox)

Undone (Amazon)

BEST TALK SHOW

Desus & Mero (Showtime)

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (TBS)

The Kelly Clarkson Show (NBC)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS)

Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)

BEST COMEDY SPECIAL 

Amy Schumer: Growing (Netflix)

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright (Netflix)

Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons (ABC)

Ramy Youssef: Feelings (HBO)

Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby (Netflix)

Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (Netflix)

Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (Netflix)

Fantastic Fest Reviews: “The True Adventures of Wolfboy” & “Homewrecker”

Martin Krejci’s “The True Adventures of Wolfboy”

The True Adventures of Wolf Boy

“The Adventures of Wolfboy features an all-star cast including Jaeden Martell, Chris Messina, and Chloe Sevigny. The film is about Paul (Martell), a young boy with Hypertrichosis – a disease that causes him to have hair all over him, making him look like a wolf. Paul is bullied and feels alone in this world, even though he has a supportive and loving father (Messina) who only wants to make Paul happy.

On Paul’s 13th birthday, he receives a mysterious gift from his estranged mother. He sneaks out of the house on a journey to find her, and hopes she has an explanation for his condition. In an attempt to make money, he stops at the local circus. He ends up gaining an enemy in Mr. Silk (John Turturro). While on the run, Paul eventually makes some new friends, including Aristiana (Sophie Giannamore). This adventure quickly turns into a wild ride.

The film is far from original, and it’s a pretty basic story. Luckily, there are one or two surprises in there that make up for its predictability. And even though the premise is familiar, “The True Adventures of Wolfboy” finds a sweet way to portray the message of self-acceptance.

Side note: This film’s soundtrack was the best of the fest!

Rating: 3.5/5

Zach Gayne’s “Homewrecker”

Homewrecker

Lifetime should pick up this movie right way. It is basically made for TV gold.

“Homewrecker” follows Michelle (Alex Essoe), a young woman who has clearly been stalked by a slightly older and unhinged Linda (Precious Chong). After a “chance encounter” at a cafe, Linda persuades Michelle to stop by her house for a business opportunity. What was supposed to be a quick visit, turns into a nightmare.

There are a lot of problems with this movie. The editing is questionable. Mainly the bath bomb transitions that throw off the flow of the film. The script is hardly original or good, and everyone besides the two leads are weak actors. At the same time, there’s a lot to like!

Essoe is a terrific actress; quite possibly too good for this movie. Chong does a fantastic job at playing a deranged stranger whose blank stares are enough to freak anyone out. It’s actually these two who make the film a pleasure. Watching these two go from one extreme to another is a lot of fun. Bouncing from a friendship, to jealousy, to hate, to sympathizing with one another, and the emotions go on.

This is honestly a ridiculous film and an avoidable situation. But somehow, Essoe and Chong make it work. So much so, that I didn’t want their madness to end. If you like the typical Lifetime movie formula, then you’ll enjoy the hell out of “Homewrecker”.

Rating: 3/5

Fantastic Fest Reviews: “First Love”, “The Golden Glove”, & “Butt Boy”

Takashi Miike’s “First Love”

First Love

Leo (Masataka Kubota) is a young boxer who lacks almost any kind of emotion, even when he wins a match. But when he discovers he doesn’t have much time left to live; an unexpected chain of events happens that involve drugs, the Yakuza, corrupt cops, and Monica- a female escort who is need of a hero. It’s a hell of night to say the least.

I’ll admit, this was my first Miike film and I was told this one was tame in comparison to his other movies like “Audition” and “13 Assassins”. However, “tame” isn’t the word I would use to describe this movie. It’s an action packed bone crushing, head cutting, blood fest!

Not only was I entertained by the graphic violence, but the screenplay is hilarious. The film is very self-aware of how comical this chaotic situation has gotten. It’s John Wick meets Guy Ritchie in Japan! I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4/5

Faith Akin’s “The Golden Glove”

The Golden Glove

Oh man this movie was gross! I just have to start by saying, it’s been a while since a film made me physically gag, and I’m still not certain if that’s a good or bad thing. I guess I can say “The Golden Glove” is affective.

“The Golden Glove is about Fritz Honka (Jonas Dassler), the serial killer who murdered four elderly prostitutes in Germany during the 1970’s. Fritz isn’t the most appealing man to look at. He lives like a slob, and his murders are gruesome. There are many reasons why this film will have your stomachs churning. Beginning with the opening scene. Let’s just say it sets the tone perfectly for what you’re about to endure for the next two hours.

The film has already received a lot of backlash for being too vile, and unnecessarily disgusting. Though Honka’s actions are vile, how else would you have a film about this psychotic murder portrayed?

“The Golden Glove” will not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an unforgettable one and done for myself. I can’t say I enjoyed watching this film, but I’m pretty sure my reactions throughout the movie were probably what the filmmaker was going for. So in that sense, I can respect this movie.

Rating: 3/5

Tyler Cornack’s “Butt Boy”

Butt Boy

Yes, the title of the film “Butt Boy” insinuates what you’re probably thinking. This film is about a man, Chip (Tyler Cornack), who goes in for his first prostate examine and discovers he likes it more than he expected. Suddenly a little boy has gone missing, and the connection between the two instances will have you dumbfounded.

I hate to say that I was so disappointed in this film. The premise and the beginning had me sucked in, but the second half of the film went straight to shit (pun intended). The acting is mediocre. And though the plot is unique, it’s far too ridiculous to even enjoy.

With the right mind set, “Butt Boy” could appeal to a particular audience. Remind yourself that this is more of a sci-fi comedy, and maybe you’ll gain some entertainment value.

Rating: 2/5

Movie Review: “It Chapter Two” & “Brittany Runs a Marathon”

“It Chapter Two” is darker, scarier, and longer than the first. “Brittany Runs a Marathon” is a heartfelt dramedy that you sprint to see. Check out my full review of both films in video below.

“It Chapter Two” & “Brittany Runs a Marathon” hit in theaters September 6.

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Movie Review: “Pet Sematary”

 

The horrors keep on coming! The past two months we’ve been treated to two highly anticipated “scary movies”. Pet Sematary that might have been better left dead, but there are still a few scares. Check out my ICTN review of the film, along with Jordan Peele’s box office smash, “Us”.

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Movie Review: “Us” Cuts Deep and Beyond the Superficial Scares

Image result for us movie

Coming off of a critically acclaimed, Oscar nominated directorial debut (Get Out), Jordan Peele had a lot riding on his sophomore feature, Us. But let’s just get the question that’s on your mind out of the way now. Us is not better than Get Out, and don’t go into the movie expecting it will be. If you enter the theater with that mindset from the start, you’re more likely to enjoy this all new twisted, weekend getaway.

Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) and her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) have taken their two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) to their family beach house expecting to unplug and unwind. Still scared from events that happened at the Santa Cruz boardwalk when she was a child, Adelaide is on edge from every strange or coincidental occurrence. And as the day turns to night, Adelaide’s suspicions turn into reality when eerie, uninvited guests show up in their driveway. Here’s the kicker; they look exactly like Adelaide and her family. From then on, these doppelgangers have turned what was supposed to be a relaxing trip into a horrifying nightmare.

It comes as no surprise that the cast does an incredible job. Nyong’o impresses with versatility and standout performance. Duke shows off his comedic chops; and newcomers, Joseph and Alex, give breakout performances that will likely have them, once again, on our movie screens.

Us takes you on an intense, chaotic thrill ride that will keep you physically and emotionally on the edge of your seat till the very end. Compared to his previous movie, Peele cranks up the scares, the gore, and the humor. It’s a combination that absolutely delivers. His visual techniques and writing have the essence of a modern day Hitchcock, but Peele still stays true to his own unique style of film-making. However, after seeing Us, I think we might be looking at the new master of horror.

Just like one of the many themes in Us, with the good comes the bad. Unlike Get OutUs is not a “perfect” movie.  Besides the fact that it may run a tad longer than it should (this is forgivable), there is A LOT to take in at first viewing. Get Out was straightforward and easy to understand, even though it had a complex narrative. To call Us “complex” would be an understatement. I’m still trying to figure out all the hidden meanings behind this one.  There are many layers you will only be able to peel back through multiple viewings. I already plan to watch the movie again this weekend. That being said, there are elements you’ll probably be able to figure out after first watch. One very obvious one is in the title. There’s a reason why Us has the same initials as the United States. Peele might be trying to tell us how he feels about the current status of our country and the way society treats outsiders.

Us cuts deep and leads you down a rabbit hole of theories. What has the world come to?  Do we need a fresh start? Do I have an evil, dark side? Though the questions you might have could be overwhelming, there’s no denying that Us is a witty and wickedly, entertaining horror flick.

I can’t wait to see what Jordan Peele has in store for us next!

Rating: 4.5/5

Us hits theaters March 22!

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