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Interview: Director Vaughn Stein talks “Every Breath You Take”

“Every Breath You Take is a searing psychological thriller about a psychiatrist (Casey Affleck), whose career is thrown into jeopardy when his patient takes her own life. When he invites his patient’s surviving brother (Sam Claflin) into his home to meet his wife (Michelle Monaghan) and daughter, his family life is suddenly torn apart. “

I sat down with director Vaughn Stein to discuss the importance of conveying grief, how he himself handles tragedies, the appeal of psychological thrillers and more. Listen to the full interview below!

“Every Breath You Take” opens in select theaters & premium VOD April 2, 2021.

Director Vaughn Stein
“Every Breath You Take” Interview with Director Vaughn Stein
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Top 10 Best Films of 2020

10. Soul

“Soul” follows, Joe (Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who has lost his passion for music and sense of purpose. But when he is transported into another realm to help someone find their spark, he discovers a new appreciation for life.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for this movie. Whether you have a dream you haven’t accomplished yet, or you feel as though your life hasn’t amounted to anything; take a second to reflect on all the good you already have. Your health, your family, your friends; our life is not as bad as we sometimes make it out to be. And remember to appreciate all the little things, even if it’s as small as a good slice of pizza.

9. Words on Bathroom Walls

“Words on Bathroom Walls” follows Adam(Charlie Plummer), a passionate cook who appears to be a typical teenage boy until an incident in his High School reveals he has schizophrenia. He is expelled, and forced to finish out his senior year at a Catholic High school. It’s there he meets, Maya (Taylor Russell). Their relationship in the film is tender and sweet, but the beauty of “Words on Bathroom Walls” is getting to see perspective on a mental illness that isn’t shown often, especially through a romance. This is something else that deserves representation and understanding. And though the film centers around Adam and Maya, the relationship between Adam and his mom is just as powerful. Her tenacity shows us a mother’s love is unconditional.

8. Let Him Go

After the death of their son, Margaret and George Blackledge (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) have held on to the light in their life, their grandson, Jimmy. But when their daughter-in-law (Kayli Carter) remarries to an abusive man, Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain), he takes both her and Jimmy away to his family’s secluded home in North Dakota.  Margaret and George leave their ranch in Montana, and go on a mission to save what’s left of their family. Some may not find this movie special, but it transported me back to the theaters with how well it was shot and the incredible performances. You can’t help but feel for this couple, and want them to do whatever is necessary to get their grandson back.

7. On the Rocks

Bill Murray plays, Felix, a playboy art dealer who, long ago, walked out on his wife and children for the first of many women. He’s selfish and self-centered, yet you can’t help but love the guy. When he hears his daughter, Laura (Rashida Jones), is concerned about her husband’s many work trips, he assumes the worse and encourages her to look into the matter with him.  This film is such an easy and humorous watch. This is in big part due to the natural chemistry between Murray and Jones. Felix is trying to make up for lost time by taking this unfortunate circumstance as an opportunity to spend quality time with his daughter, who he genuinely cares for. “On the Rocks” highlights a sweet, yet unconventional father/daughter relationship, while also shedding a light on marriages that could use a little refresher.

6. Irresistible

I know politics is a touchy subject, but the beauty of “Irresistible” is that it really doesn’t try to sway you on either side. They focus more about how ridiculous a campaign can get and how much it costs. It’s not about conservatives versus liberals. Instead, the film makes you question the two party system. The all-star cast which includes Steve Carrell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, and MacKenzie Davis all give top-notch, hilarious performances. The banter between Carrell and Byrne alone makes this film such a delight. “Irresistible” is the insightful, laugh-out-loud comedy we needed during this election year. Putting into perspective what is truly important in any leadership role. 

5. The Kid Detective

To all my fellow “Harriet the Spy” lovers, this movie is what I imagine happened to the male version of Harriet. Abe Applebaum (Adam Brody) was a once celebrated kid detective. Even adults used his services. But after he fails to solve the mystery of a kidnapping of a young girl/friend, he is no longer the same quality detective. Fast forward to his 30’s, he’s a washed up drunk, taking any minor case he can get to make end’s meat. That is until he is presented with his first murder case. I know a lot of you probably haven’t heard of this film, but it’s a really fun watch. Brody carries the movie with his wit and charm, but the story is just as engaging. “The Kid Detective” is truly the hidden gem of 2020.

4. Onward

I’m surprised by how high I have this film on my list, but since January I can’t get this movie or the ending out of my head. It’s one I get emotional just thinking about. On the day of Ian Lightfoot’s (Tom Holland) 16th birthday, he and his older brother (Chris Pratt) are given a gift from their late father. Turns out it’s a spell that will bring their dad back to life for 24 hours,  giving Ian a chance to finally meet his father. But the spell doesn’t go exactly as planned. At first glance, this seems like a possibly boring, one disaster after another road trip that will end predictably. It’s safe to say that’s not the case. Although this is a film about a son seeking a relationship with his father, it also recognizes those in our lives who unexpectedly became a father figure and shaped us into the person we are today.

3. Palm Springs

Not since “Groundhog Day” has any film with the similar formula been worth raving about (Except for maybe “Happy Death Day”). That is until “Palm Springs”. It manages to put a refreshing spin on the romantic comedy genre and time loop narrative. Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) are two wedding guests reliving the same day. Samberg and Milioti are a dynamic duo with amazing chemistry. The film is heavier than you might expect. Nyles and Sarah are stuck together without even death as an escape. A romance grows, and soon they are partners in crime making the most of their care-free new existence; even if it comes with a rapid loss of meaning. “Palm Springs” is funny, sweet, and has a surprising little twist. 

2. Uncle Frank

If I could give anyone the Oscar right now, it would be Paul Bettany for his powerful and gut-wrenching performance in this film. I really hope this movie doesn’t go under the radar during award season, because it deserves recognition for its performances alone. Set in 1973, the film follows a teenager named Beth (Sophia Lillis) who leaves her rural Southern home to study at a New York University where her beloved Uncle Frank (Bettany) teaches. While there she discovers Frank is gay, and has been living with his long time partner, Wally (Peter Macdissi) – a secret he’s been keeping from his family for years. After the passing of his father, the three of them take a road trip home to North Carolina, and Frank is forced to face the worries and trauma he’s been running from. This film is my biggest tear-jerker of the year. I’m talking ugly crying. Watching Bettany play a character who has to hide his true self from his family in fear of how they might react is heartbreaking, and sadly, still relevant. “Uncle Frank” is a film everyone should watch.

1. Promising Young Woman

If you’ve heard me talk about this film, it should come as no surprise that it would make the top of my list. The movie has romance, comedy, mystery, revenge, and an all-star cast. “Promising Young Woman” features Carey Mulligan as Cassie, a med-school dropout who seeks revenge on a traumatizing past event. Not since “Hard Candy” have I enjoyed such an enticing revenge story. Mulligan is at her best, showing such complex emotions. She varies from cold-hearted to heartbreaking. This is a cautionary tale that would serve well in high school and college classrooms. Especially geared towards men who don’t seem to understand what consensual sexual activity means. The film goes beyond the actions of the men responsible for the sexual assaults. It also highlights those who turn a blind eye, and even the parties responsible for defending the guilty. “Promising Young Woman” is funny, dark, unforgettable, and for me, it’s the best film of the year.

The Best of the Rest:

11. Black Box

12. Shithouse

13. A Secret Love

14. Yes God Yes

15. The Trial of the Chicago 7

16. The Mauritanian

17. Da 5 Bloods

18. Freaky

19. Another Round

20. The Broken Hearts Gallery

Top 5 Worst Films of 2020

5. The Rhythm Section – I except more from Jude Law and Blake Lively at this point in their careers.

4. Underwater- A Knockoff underwater version of “Alien”. But bad, so bad.

3. The Sunlit Night- Terrible movie with the most forced and awkward sex scene.

2. The Prom – Had no idea James Corden was a bad actor until this film. Honestly, I couldn’t pay attention anything else.

1. The Witches (2020) – I almost forgot this movie happened. I’d like to keep it that way.

Trevor’s Top 10

10. Yes God Yes
9. Sonic the Hedgehog
8. Freaky
7. The Mauritanian
6. Palm Springs
5. The Old Guard
4. The Kid Detective
3. Promising Young Woman
2. Irresistible
1. Uncle Frank

Movie Review: “Possessor: Uncut” & “On the Rocks”

This week I review the Neon’s new sci-fi thriller, “Possessor: Uncut” and Sofia Coppola’s new comedy, “On the Rocks”. Both entertaining films, but one satisfies more than the other. Watch the review below to find out which movie you should see this weekend.

“Possessor: Uncut” is playing in select theaters now.

“On the Rocks” is playing in select theaters now and will be available on Apple-TV October 23.

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Movie Review: “Knives Out” & “Honey Boy”

Check out my reviews of two fall films that just might show up during Oscar season: “Knives Out” and “Honey Boy.” “Knives Out” is a whodunit with even more twists than a Bavarian pretzel and “Honey Boy” is Shia LeBeouf’s compelling revisit of his years as a child/teen star with a problematic father.

“Knives Out” is currently in theaters.

“Honey Boy” hits theaters December 6.

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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

TV Movie Review: “The Grim Sleeper” is a Disturbing Murder Mystery

Once again, Lifetime is reiterating the fact that you should never accept rides from strangers.  Only this time they have taken a frightening and sympathetic route.

The film is based on the true story of a serial killer who went unknown for nearly 20 years killing dozens of women in Los Angeles beginning in the 1980s.   Known as “The Grim Sleeper,” he would shoot or strangle his victims before having sexual contact with them.  He would then take Polaroids of the dead, naked women and store them in his garage as keepsakes.  The film follows LA Weekly reporter, Christine Pelisek (Dreama Walker), as she persistently investigates these unsolved murders.  Things turn slightly more emotional when Christine finds out the families of the victims have no idea that their loved ones were killed by the same psychopathic murderer.  Accusations of racial discrimination surface when it becomes known that the killer is targeting African American women.  The victims’ families and Christine unite to finally push the police into finding “The Grim Sleeper” and put him to rest.

I particularly enjoyed this Lifetime murder mystery more than most for many reasons.  The lead actors all performed remarkably well, especially the star of the film, Dreama Walker.  Her portrayal as the feisty and amusing LA reporter was not only fun to watch, but touching as well.  There was much more to her character besides getting a career changing front page story.  She cared about the victims, and realized they all had someone that loved them.  It was interesting to see a reporter care from the start, instead of halfway through their investigation where they “grow a heart.”  The scene stealer was the man behind the eerie voice of “The Grim Sleeper.”  I prefer not to say who played the role of the terrorizing killer.  I know you can just look it up like I did before watching the film, but I recommend that you go in blindly if you haven’t heard anything about this story before.

Director Stanley T. Brooks did such an incredible job of keeping you locked in and dying to know “who done it,”  that I would hate to spoil that reveal for you now.  I will say that when you finally see “the sleeper” in the end shot, it is one of the most haunting faces that is almost impossible to forget.

There are a lot of elements to this film that will seem familiar to past Lifetime dramas; rape, murder, mystery, strong woman.  But after a repetitive streak of the usual story-line, “The Grim Sleeper” stands out among the rest with actually succeeding in getting the audience to care and look beyond a crazy killer.  We are reminded that every life matters, and if there is anything we can do to prevent actions like these from happening again, we should take them.  An example of that action in this film was notifying the press.  If you make enough “noise” somebody is bound to listen.

The film wasn’t perfect in every aspect.  There are some forced relationships and a few subpar supporting actors, but it doesn’t matter.  “The Grim Sleeper” achieves its goal as an entertaining and intriguing film that sends a valuable message.

“The Grim Sleeper” premieres Saturday, March 15 at 8pm ET/PT.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com

TV Movie Review: David Arquette Gives a Deadly Smile in Lifetime’s Original Film ‘Happy Face Killer’

We should already be weary of accepting rides from strangers.  But when that stranger is an unhinged, truck driving, murderer, we should probably avoid hitch-hiking all together.

David Arquette (Scream) stars in the latest Lifetime drama, “Happy Face Killer.”  The film is based on the true story of Keith Jesperson, a Canadian serial killer who drew smiley faces on his victims.  Jesperson had a troubled childhood. He was abused mentally and physically by his father, and tormented by other children.  At a very young age he began torturing and killing animals.  He married at age 20, and fathered three kids.  It was after his divorce 14 years later that Jesperson began to unravel.  Once he was denied his dream job as a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman, he snapped and began to release his frustration on the helpless women he would pick up.

Lifetime once again takes a twisted and sick true story, and turns it into an amusing guilty pleasure.  This enjoyment is due greatly to Arquette’s unsettling portrayal as the deranged Keith Jesperson.  After some knowledge of his background and a quick set up for the film, the story moves rapidly into his multiple killings.  The audience is shown how Jesperson rapes, beats, and strangles the women to death.  We also see how the authorities dealt with the psychotic killer that taunted them by sending letters signed with a happy face.

The head detective on the case, Melinda Gand, was played adequately by Gloria Reuben (Lincoln ).  Lifetime films in general tend to have a weak supporting cast; made up for by strong leads.  However, in this case, Reuben’s performance lacked emotion and energy, providing only one facial expression throughout the entire film.  Luckily, Arquette’s switch from loving dad to enraged truck driver was delivered well enough to distract audiences from noticing any lack of talent from the other actors.

In comparison to other Lifetime true stories, “Happy Face Killer” does not drag.  This movie will keep you intrigued and dying to know what will set the killer off next.  Set your DVR’s and make sure the kiddos are in bed before watching this exciting and disturbing thriller.

“Happy Face Killer” premieres Saturday, March 1 on Lifetime, at 8pm ET /PT.

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com