Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nightcap 7/31/16: The Golem and a Lou Reed celebration at Lincoln Center, Soundtrack Cologne, Island Songs and the need not to see so much,

If you want to see video of some of the music from the Lincoln Center celebration of Lou Reed go here. For Mr C's videos (Though a warning Disco Mystic is not work safe)


THE GOLEM from 1927 (that's a theater group) played the Lincoln Center Festival this past week. I'm mentioning it because the show has actors performing before a screen and interacting with a film.

It tells the story tells the story of a man ho gets a golem who changes his life and everyone around hims as he uses the golem to do his work and the golem tells him to spend his money on flashy things to be liked.

The staging, as you see above is amazing. The story after a point runs out of steam as the consumerism is bad idea wears thin fast. Additionally the plot stops making sense after a certain point when you realize that the golems are being controlled by spirits who want people to spend- who buy golems to do their work so they have money to spend on the things the voices want us to buy. Its a weird logic loop that makes no sense.

I liked it but after half an hour I was done, it wasn't going anywhere and other than the occasional really cool visual.  I could have skipped it and seen more of the Lou Reed Tribute at Lincoln Center proper.

This dropped in my inbox this week and it looks interesting. If I could get to Germany I definitely would make an effort to cover a conference of cinema music.

Cologne/ Los Angeles, July 26, 2016 – Over the past 13 years Soundtrack_Cologne has become a fixture in the cultural calendar of the Media City of Cologne, which is home to the biggest German TV stations. Each year the conference welcomes guests from around the globe and is now an inspiration for the growing landscape of music festivals and conferences in Europe. As a symbol of recognition for exceptional achievements in the art of film music, Soundtrack_Cologne honors an outstanding individual each year with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Soundtrack_Cologne CEO Michael P. Aust announced today that Cliff Martinez will receive the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award on August 27th, 2016 during the award ceremony of this year’s conference.

Soundtrack_Cologne CEO, Michael Aust and program director Matthias Hornschuh state, “Cliff Martinez's talent is to contribute a very specific atmospheric frequency to movies through sound. Most recently this worked beautifully on Nicolas Winding Refn’s aesthetic masterpiece “The Neon Demon”.

Martinez’s music adds to the visual level and his sound therefore becomes part of the narrative. His next-level electronic film scoring doesn’t make you miss the orchestra, but makes you experience a new and different quality”.

BAFTA Award winning composer Cliff Martinez, and former drummer of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, most recently received the Cannes Soundtrack Award for his work on “Neon Demon”, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, which marks the third collaboration between Martinez and Refn. Another director Martinez frequently collaborates with is Steven Soderbergh on over 10 projects including “Traffic” (for which he was nominated for a Grammy Award), “Sex, Lies and Videotapes”, “Kafka”, “The Limey”, “Solaris”, “Contagion” and the Cinemax series “The Knick”. His upcoming projects include “War Dogs” (directed by Todd Phillips), “The Foreigner” (directed by Martin Campbell), and "Wolverine 3” (directed by James Mangold).

“I am honored to be receiving the Lifetime Achievement from Soundtrack_Cologne”, says Cliff Martinez. “I have heard many wonderful things about the festival and city and look forward to being a part of it this year.”

Soundtrack_Cologne was founded in 2003 and is a film conference from a music perspective. From August 24th to 28th participants get a chance to attend three different themed music days ranging from Film to TV to Video games. Beside Cliff Martinez, Soundtrack_Cologne is proud to welcome composers Gary Yershon (“Mr. Turner”), Ilan Eshkeri (“Young Victoria”) and German composer Jasmin Reuter (“Two Mothers”) for their Film Day. Furthermore for their Television Day, Soundtrack_Cologne is excited to welcome Jeff Russo (“Fargo” TV Series), Reinhold Heil (“Deutschland 83”), Miriam Cutler (“The Hunting Ground”), and Łukasz Targosz („Floating Skyscrapers“). Lastly, for their Game Day: Jessica Curry (“Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture”), Christian Henson (“Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag”) and Christophe Héral (“Rayman Origins”).

SoundTrack_Cologne makes its audience experience how influential, diverse and versatile music and sound help to narrate a film. In some 30 workshops, talks, case studies and panel discussions, a dialogue is established between the various film trades. Experienced and established film composer pass on their knowledge to the next generation, while contests like the European Talent Competition and Peer-Raben Award appeal to the younger generation of composers and sound-designers.

For more information, please visit:
Another Press release posted because I liked the music.

[This is] the latest release from Icelandic composers Atli Örvasson and Ólafur Arnalds. Together they've collaborated on a new work titled 'Akureyi' on the compilation album titled Island Songs - a collection of compositions inspired by 7 different regions of Iceland. Barely 100km south of the arctic circle, the city of Akureyri nestles into Eyjafjörður. Snow capped mountains shelter the city from the harsh winds, where forest and botanical gardens flourish. This is the place composer Atli returned to, after many years in Hollywood writing film scores.

Watch the music video and listen to the piece here:

More on Atli Örvarsson at:
I wasn't going to do a nightcap tonight. I haven't really been doing much of anything this week filmwise. I watched the latest SPACE DOGS film for review for late in August and I caught a couple of James Bond films on cable but that's it. I made reminders for myself to repost about some up coming films but mostly I've stopped watching films because I'm burnt out.

As I said last weekend I got to the point where after watching 100 films for three festivals I threw up my hands and said no more. Monday I finished the films I had queued for Fantasia and then promptly deleted all my notes about what I had left to see from the screening library. I also deleted a stack of press screening invites because I was done.

All week long I've kept telling myself time to watch spaghetti westerns- but I haven't done that yet.

I'm at this point where I need to recharge. I'm looking to contact the Portland film Festival and the New York one is coming mostly I'm looking not to have someone else pick a film.

I realized I need to change what I'm doing - a point which was driven home this afternoon when I happened upon a stack of DVD screeners from the New York Jewish Film Festival. Looking at them I had no idea what any of the films were-when I looked them up I found I loved them all but none of them really stuck.

Obviously the way I'm seeing films is affecting how I remember stuff...
A change is coming, not sure what yet, but something- though I'm guessing I won't be doing the whole of DOC NYC again this year.
Apologies to Randi and those looking for her links- this post was thrown together last minute so I'll have them next week,

In Brief: Kidnap Capital (2015) Fantasia 2016

Felipe Rodriguez's KIDNAP CAPITAL  is a tense little treat. A frightening tale set in Arizona this is a film that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wonder who is going to survive

Plot of the film has bad buys kidnapping illegal immigrants right after they make it to the US. Holding them in a room they tell them if they don't pay 2800 they are to remain. The bad guys then begin to pit them against each other while one plots his escape.

Solid film works for any number of levels not the least of which is that Rodriguez was smart enough not to try and paint the story on too large a canvas. By keeping things in a very few locations the film feels boxed in and we aren't allowed to wander with our thoughts (something a couple other Fantasia films allowed to happen to their detriment.) The cast is also first rate and they manage to sell the pain and suffering

To be honest this briefly ended up on a list of films I was going to not cover at Fantasia because there was too many films and not enough time. In desperation I decided to do away with films that didn't speak to me instantly. I crossed the film off until a letter from the PR people from the film changed my mind- and I'm glad it did because this is a solid little film worth the effort to see it.

One the best surprises at Fantasia.

Battledream Chronicle (2015) Fantasia 2016

Written directed and animated by Alain Bidard, BATTLE DREAM CHRONICLE is a mixed bag. While most certainly a crowning achievement when you consider that Bidard did it all pretty much alone, he film is not going to have a universal audience, with the film probably best for videogame fans who don't mind watching other people play games.

Set in the online world of Farandjun, an online world into which the entire real world has more or less disappeared, thus giving them a kind of immortality, the status quo is under attack, literally, as the cyber being Ifret stages her final attack and takes control of the world.  Ifret then forces the leaders of the world to fight in Battledream to the last person with the winners getting control of the world.

Give the film points for being largely female centric with a wide variety of ethnicity (the heroine is a black woman) and give it more points for often being visually stunning.  However take a number of points away for being rather dull.

I'm sorry this film is the cinematic equivalent to watching a video game, Yes there are characters but they only get fleetingly development with the film giving most of the time to set piece of "game play".  What little character development is not very deep, mostly its just motion with everything designed to get to the next set piece. Worse any exposition seem to come in blocks to fill th pause between battles. By the half way point I was bored and started doodling in my note book waiting for something to happen.

I feel bad not raving about the film because here at last is an animated film that goes beyond what is expected from a film of any sort (I mean how many black women are kick ass action heroes?) and on top of that director Bidard did the film alone, a feat which should be celebrated. Sadly the film is just not very interesting unless you are a gamer so anything special gets washed away by the boredom.

One of the few disappointments at Fantasia.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

À LA RECHERCHE DE L'ULTRA-SEX (aka In Search of Ultra Sex)(2016) Fantasia 2016

Hour long spoof of earth in perils films that was stitched together from numerous hardcore and softcore films is the sort of thing that you're either going to love or hate...

I hated it.

The problem for me is that the joke never worked. More or less a random collection scenes over which the two directors talk over and do all the voices the film never goes anywhere. I'm certain it never was supposed to go anywhere , but at the same time the jokes just lay there since in most cases the people speaking are random people.

TO be honest it is amusing for about five minutes and then you realize that its just two people doing silly voices over random clips and any patience you had evaporates.

I wasted an hour watching this? Really.?

Yea apparently.

I think this is the first film in four years at Fantasia where I honestly had no idea why it was programmed.  If they wanted to run a scifi sex film there are dozens of good ones out there they could have chosen instead.

This is a film to avoid at all costs.

I am not going to review Therapy (2016) Fantasia 2016

THERAPY which premiered the other day at Fantasia is a film I can't review.  It can't in good conscious  give anything that would approximate a rational and reasoned discussion of the film because the film, despite having some really creepy images, it is just too big a mess to take seriously.

The problem is that this found footage fiasco entails behaviors and set ups that don't make sense. I had to stop taking notes concerning the film because I was annotating the problems with the film and not watching it. This is not a supernatural story, the laws of nature, or even its own universe, have to be obeyed- except they are not as another nimrod director thinks he can do whatever the hell he wants in the name of horror and have people fall at his feet.

Yes there is just a little hostility here.

My first note was "POV is bad - it would result in  the person  being seen" during the opening sequence when the killer was watching a trio wander down a street and into an abandoned house. From there there I detailed poor performances and the stupid way that people behaved (I mean a cop shines a light in the face of witness  she is interviewing as if to give enough light to photograph him.) In almost shot after shot things aren't right as I kept going "no rational person would do that".

I was also bothered by the flip between various POVs for no good reason. You can't jump between a persons POV to a camera, to another camera to traditional cinema POV and back again without setting up rules- I mean where are some of the cameras we are jumping to? Why are people holding the cameras that way? More than in any other found footage film I've ever seen was I wondering where did this footage come from and why am I seeing it? These are not stupid questions, It's  basic questions 95% of found footage films never answers and thus wreck the believe-ability of their film. If you take a cameras POV there has to be a reason we are seeing it. If there are multiple ones we need to know that too. None of it makes a lick of sense.

And as for the performances- some are good, but some are just so bad. The sequence at the start were the girl sees the bad guy  is just laughably awful. More than one stalking sequence looked like rehearsal footage. In the sequence that involves the photo at the bottom the killer lumbers in from the left in a manner so silly I was roaring with laughter.

I could go on but whats the point.

If you're incredibly forgiving and don't see the faults you may like the film  but anyone else should just ignore it so it will go away.

One of the worst films I've ever seen at a Fantasia Festival.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Chihayafuru Part 1 and 2 (2016) — Fantasia 2016

Two part almost four hour long adaption of Yuki Suetsugu’s manga series follows Chihaya who loves to play karuta, a card game where cards with poems are eliminated from an arrangement. Now in high school, her best times were back when she was a kid and she played the game with her best friends Taichi and Arata. Forming a club she tries to get the band back together, however Arata is MIA, but there is no time for that since she and her friends are making a run for the national championship

Utterly charming film, and it is one film despite the fact Fantasia screened it as two, is one of the more pleasant surprises of this years festival. By the time I screened the film I was burned out and had sworn that I would simply watch the single film I had greed to review. However an insistent email from good friend Joe Bendel made me reconsider ending my coverage of the festival early. If he was telling me a four hour film was worth the time then it really must be. So I bit the bullet and sat down to watch the film.

And you know what Joe was right. This is a great little film.  This is the sort of film that sucks you in and drags you along thanks to a compelling story and some great characters. Mostly the characters. I say that because the twists and turns of the game complete eluded me. Yes I learned enough to follow what was going on but in all honesty I had no idea what the game was about. On the other hand I completely understood the drive to do something you love with people you hold  in your heart. These were a group of people who I absolutely understood on a human level.

The best thing I can say is this needs to get a US release so I can get a copy and so that I can share it.

This is not just a film to see but one to hunt down.

One of my favorites at Fantasia.

Red Christmas (2016) Fantasia 2016

Certain to become a favorite film on anti-abortion rights groups everywhere RED CHRISTMAS  is an uncomfortable mix of horror and comedy.

The plot of the film has an anti abortionist blowing up a clinic. In the wreckage he finds a still alive fetus in a bucket and takes it home to raise it. 20 years later the child returns to his family on Christmas day and mayhem results.

Uncomfortable in the extreme, partly because of the subject matter and partly because the film is disturbing, this is a little slice of hell.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Part of my problem is that as a rule I don't like slasher films, and ultimately this film is that. It's also a weird sort of torture porn with the almost dead getting revenge. If  films like this are well done or have a point I'm all for them, and RED CHRISTMAS seems to have a point. It is an extremely intelligent film that has some very real interactions between the family members, it has lots of ideas about eugenics, abortion, women's rights and other things floating around in it's brain.

But at the same time it has a sense of humor that undercuts the seriousness. Some of the jokes are goofy, some of the deaths over done and worst of all Cleatus, the aborted child, looks like a joke, wrapped in bandages and black robes. It pushes things too far toward not  being completely serious, or serious enough. I don't know if director Craig Andersen is serious about everything he is doing of not- is he just trying to push buttons or is he trying to say something?

I'm sure there are going to be people who will argue both sides. For me the film is going to take some thought.

Taken on it's on terms it's a more than serviceable psycho on the loose film with a killer with a disturbing origin.  Worth a look for fans or mad killer films.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

ITHACA FANTASTIK releases a poster and teases titles

5th Annual Ithaca Fantastik
Ithaca, NY- Thursday Nov. 9th to 13th 2016

For its 5th anniversary, the Ithaca Int’l Fantastic Film Festival got a new name, a new logo, and a new competition series! For the last five years, our team has worked hard to offer our audience, not only movies—but also art exhibits, concerts and parties. We felt it was time to simplify the excessively long acronym (I.I.F.F.F.), as well as to reflect the diversity of the media we offer. We are returning this fall (from Nov, 9th to 13th) under the new moniker ITHACA FANTASTIK. We hope you dig the change! Read below for an early taste of what we’re cooking up for you this year!

As our audience continues to grow each year, we decided to add a new competition series to our program. Our love of cinema always brings us back to its origin: the composition of movement, then captured on camera, and resulting in an imprint on celluloid. A cinema focused on mise en scene and rhythm, a quest for the pure form of moving pictures which avant-garde French artists like Richter, Clair or Léger were already chasing in the early 1920s. We couldn’t be more excited to introduce the Cinema Pur competition series this fall, which takes its name from the French vanguard film movement. It will showcase six movies from young directors using challenging and innovative ways to tell stories in narrative or documentary filmmaking.

Watch our new festival trailer here!

As genre fans, we wouldn’t be able to pass on putting together a special program to acknowledge the 35th anniversary of three of the most emblematic werewolves films in cinema: Dante’s THE HOWLING, Landis’s AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and Wadleigh’s WOLFEN. You can expect surprises and side events—especially since our festival closes on the full moon of November!

For our 5th Edition, we will dig into your deepest fears with our Retrospective series sponsored by the horror streaming platform SHUDDER! This year’s theme is “The Known Unknowns” which will compile work ranging from Wilde’s mid-60’s visceral masterpiece THE NAKED PREY to Cameron’s action packed sequel ALIENS, and onto Boorman’s ostensive depiction of xenophobia in his 1978 film DELIVERANCE! The full Retrospective line up will be announced in the near future.

Check out our website, Facebook, and Twitter feeds to stay up to date on special events, concerts, and contest announcements in the next few months, as well as the final two Fantastik Fridays of 2016 in September and October.

Stay tuned! You will hear from us really soon!

Realive (2016) Fantasia 2016

Like Marc, the subject of REALIVE, the plot of this film has been brought back from the dead perhaps once too often. Its not a bad film but there isn't much new here.

The plot of the film has Marc brought back from the dead. Decades before he committed suicide when he found out he was dying of cancer. The plan was that he would be brought back in the future and given a new life. In 2084 he is brought back his body regrown and his memories returned to him, but all is not as it should be...

As I said above this isn't a bad films but we've been here before. The film echoes films from FRANKENSTEIN (especially the underrated recent version by Bernard Rose), SECONDS,  THE ISLAND, SLEEPER, and at least a dozen other dystopian films in one way or another. The notions of creating a limitless future, corporate ownership,  the callousness of researchers and what it means to be alive have all been done before. Even the costume and scenic design echo other medical and dystopian science fiction films. There is so little I haven't seen before that while watching the film I pondered what was so special about the subject that made people want to make this film.

I couldn't come up with one.

The one new thing in the story is the paralleling of Marc's present with his past. Probably close to half of the film is flash back and it acts as a kind of commentary on his present situation. The funny thing is the flashback material is actually stronger and more interesting than the mad doctor creates a new body story. Here at least, the the notion of someone dealing with a terminal disease who chooses to plan for a future via extreme means is something  we haven't really seen before, or if we have it's not with the frequency of the rest of the story. That should have been the story but it gets lost because we have to deal with the weaker material of the resurrection.

Worth a look for hardcore science fiction fans or for those interested in intriguing misfires.

Shelly (2016) Fantasia 2016

99 out of a hundred times if some one says they don't watch horror movies and then they decide to make one you are bound to fail. Director Ali Abbasi says he has seen four or five horror films in his life but he claims that the genre is not a valid one since it only exists as a marketing ploy.  Taking an attitude like that is going to make the film you turn out suspect especially since the film is designed to be very much the thing you hate.

Actually Abbasi has done a truly amazing thing and made a horror film that just sort of lays there and kind of bores the audience into submission, especially one that loves horror films.

The plot of the film has Elena, a Romanian woman in need of money, taking a job as a house keeper for a Danish couple living in the country. The well off couple do not have electricity, are vegan and live a "healthy" life style. The couple asks the housekeeper to act as a surrogate mother in exchange for all the money she would need to buy an apartment back home. She agrees but soon sense that something is wrong, that the fetus may not be human.

Abbassi's film is a really strange one. Its a film that seems to be operating it's it's own universe where logic and reason don't exist. Nothing in it really makes a hell of a lot of sense, from the opening moments when Elena arrives to find that there is no electricity or running water and that the life there is one where they live off the land (wouldn't they have told her before she arrived?) to the final 25 WTF minutes which give new meaning to WHAT THE F#&% (the graphic fisting bit). I kept watching the film not because I was enthralled by the plot(the pacing is deadly slow and the plot has been used way too many times to be of interest) rather I kept waiting for the odd bits to pop up, what new out of the next parallel universe twist was going to happen.

What a freaking train wreck.

No that's not fair, a train wreck would imply something like THE ROOM, this is more along the line of a really bad slow motion car accident that you watch happen in disbelief.  I mean you have a great cast,  beautiful photography, but you also have this script which crashes into them and forces them into a ditch. I'm sure this makes sense in the director's head, but since he's the only one in there it's left to the rest of us to try and figure out what he was getting at because none of it is on the screen.

I suspect that for the film to work you have to give yourself over to it and it's weird shifting logic. You have to believe that the characters would do a number of things that don't really make sense at least for the first hour which replays almost every surrogate mother tale you've ever seen (Paging Rosemary). It might have worked had it not been rather cliche (which considering I've seen hundreds of horror films is a no duh) and leadenly paced. The film in trying to give us a sense of place and space slows it all down and we have time to think about the other films that we've seen and the director clearly hasn't.

And then once the baby is born, sorry if that's a spoiler, the last 25 minutes just go weird. I have no idea what the hell happened. I don't know nor do I much care. Things happen and then the film ends I was left scratching my head wondering what the hell was that.

I suspect that this film will get a reputation for it's weirdness and occasional graphic nature, but I can't seriously believe that anyone would actually think this film is high art...unless you've not seen many horror films or think they are a marketing tool.

The funny thing is that I think director Abbassi is using the film as a marketing tool. He's made a horror film not because he cares for the genre or the characters, or the story or, even for film, rather he can do things that will get him noticed so he can make another film. Clearly it's worked because it's gotten him a second film. Whether that film will be good or not has yet to be determined, however  since its clear that Abbassi is so willing to sell out in his one certain shot I will be highly suspicious of any film he makes from here on out since he has motives other than telling a good story or telling a story with any sort of meaning.

The film screens again August 2nd at Fantasia. For more information and tickets go here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ariela looks at INDIGNATION

I loved this film! When I first found out about this film, I was excited to see that it starred Logan Lerman, because I loved him in Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The film takes place in 1951, during the time of the Korean War. The movie starts in Korea during the war where a young man is shot to death. The next scene, we’re in New Jersey at the funeral for the boy who was shot in the war & we find out that there already have been several funerals in the community for boys killed during the war. Marcus (Logan Lerman) chooses to go to college in Ohio. If one goes to college, then they don’t have to go into the draft.

Marcus works for his father in his father’s kosher butcher shop. Both his parents are the stereotypical neurotic Jewish parents. His father is terrified of him getting killed somehow, because many of his peers have been killed. He’s worried he’ll fall into the wrong crowd. He doesn’t trust him when he says he’s going to the movies with his friends, and so both his parents are pretty terrified about him going to school in another state. Marcus can’t wait to leave.

Once in Ohio, Marcus pays attention mostly to his studies, he doesn’t have friends, doesn’t want to join a fraternity, doesn’t get along with his roommates for too long, dreads going to the chapel (for required lectures), doesn’t get along with the dean, but does get interested in the gorgeous Olivia Hutton played by Sarah Gadon.

I don’t want to give too much away, because of how much I enjoyed this movie. The film does have some funny moments, but overall, the movie is very sad and not one that has one of those happy Hollywood endings. I highly recommend it.

INDIGNATION opens Friday


Collage animation using Chinese book covers and the designs inspired by them.

It's an interesting little experimental film that is a nice one off. Its the sort of thing that I fuly expect to show up at the new York Film Festival to show in the Projections sidebar.

An old man sits all day and searches the clouds for signs of what is to be sacrificed- however complications arise...

Good little film kind of just misses being great. At times very lovely there is something about the film that just seemed off to me, perhaps the constant fade outs. Recommended as part of a collection (which it is at Fantasia) but I'm not sure it's something I'd chase down.

The film begins with kind words fro Guillermo Del Toro and George R GUtierrez the director of BOOK OF LIFE.

As the revolution approaches a camera man films life on a boar farm.

Cubism meets surrealism and is infused with the history of Mexico. A marvelous film  on a variety of levels this film is a good story, a history lesson, a loving homage to the early days of cinema, a love letter to the culture of Mexico and just a piece of art.

One of the most extraordinary films at Fantasia, as soon as it was done I wanted to start the film over and watch it again to see all the little details I missed.

Highly recommended.

Beautiful film about a young girl coming of age in the Amazon.

I have no idea what any of it means but it looks great.

Bad Cat (2015) — Fantasia 2016

A word of warning at the start this film is not for kids, one of the first words is motherf&%  However BAD CAT is going to delight adults with a twisted sense of humor.

This  is a vile vulgar foul mouthed and hysterically funny adults only comedy based on a long running comic. This is a wonderfully done smile producing film that is pefect for kicking back and enjoying with or without friends.

The plot of the film has Shero hanging out with his best friends a rat and sea gull trying to get food and booze. While Shero's buds are off trying to get some drinks Black appears and tells Shero that there is a new cat in town he simply must sleep with. The assignation goes horribly wrong and the cat ends up dead as does the cat owner a vengeful cartoonist. This being a cartoon and a world where cats and people talk to each other it isn’t long before the cartoonist is back from the dead hunting a certain cat.

The best thing I can say is I want a copy of this film. Its one of the best animated adult comedies I’ve ever seen. Its beyond South Park without the social commentary. Its pure low brow humor with frequent F Bombs, sex, violence and jokes that are way cleverer than the majority of ones the best American films. Actually despite being full of low brow jokes they are incredible clever and proff that there is nothing like a really good poop joke done with some intelligence. Its so clever and so funny I was roaring with laughter from start to finish.

I do have to wonder why this film looks so good. No doubt produced for a fraction of the budget of a Disney or Pixar film its looks as good if not better. Why is that? What magic has the production house come up with that allowed such a finely crafted film to look as good as it does.

I love this film. A must see for anyone who likes funny films and doesn’t mind the laughs coming from the gutter.

One of the great films at Fantasia.

Lets hope this gets a wide release

Monster Fest 2016 unleashes a trailer

Australia’s premier genre film festival invites you to join their sinister congregation with the high concept trailer made for this year’s festival, which runs from November 22-24 in Melbourne, Australia.

Jointly directed by Monster Pictures co-founder Neil Foley and filmmaker Mark Bakaitis (CULT GIRLS), the trailer was inspired by J. Lee Thompson’s 1966 EYE OF THE DEVIL, a pre-WICKER MAN folk horror starring David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Donald Pleasence, David Hemmings and – in her first role – Sharon Tate.

“EYE OF THE DEVIL celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and our discussions around it became the backbone of this year’s theme of ‘ritual’” says Festival Director Kier-La Janisse, “so it seemed an obvious starting point for the concept trailer. Guillermo del Toro was recently quoted in an article about the Fantasia Film Festival likening genre festivals to a spiritual gathering, and to many of the core Monster Fest fans, it really is a unique environment in which their strange tastes and arcane knowledge are validated and celebrated.”

EYE OF THE DEVIL will form part of a special sidebar on “cult cinema” which will include the Australian premiere of Neil Edwards’ acclaimed documentary SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL: THE TRUE STORY OF THE PROCESS CHURCH OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT, an all-night top secret repertory marathon of films featuring a diverse array of cults from folk horror to Jonestown, and a special lecture presented by Monster’s educational component ‘Monster Academy’ with research fellows Dean Brandum and Andrew Nette that is focused on a 1965 episode of the Australian crime show HOMICIDE that was partially shot at Montsalvat – the famed Australian artist colony which also became the stunning location for the Monster Fest 2016 trailer.

Monster Fest still has one final deadline for submissions approaching on August 12th. Full submission details available at

Stay tuned for additional programming announcements to be revealed in August 2016.

Catherine: Andrea Martin | Philippe: Glenn Maynard | Odile: Lola Ramone | Archer: Nathan Hill | Priest: Neil Foley
Producer: Mark Bakaitis / Neil Foley / Grant Hardie | Director: Mark Bakaitis / Neil Foley | DOP: Trent Schneider | Editor: Mark Bakaitis | Sound Design: Gerard Mack | Visual Effects: Remo Camerota | Camera Assist: Evan Hughes | Sound: Hussein Khoder | Key Grip: Evan Hughes | Costume: Jaz Wickson | Art Dept: Amy Gregory / Nathan Hill | Make Up Artist: Steph Elkington | Location Manager: Grant Hardie | Animal Wrangler: Lily Moloney| Stills Photographer: Kim Taylor | Cultist 1: Jarret Gahan | Cultist 2: Grant Hardie | Cultist 3: Jaz Wickson | Cultist 4: Trent Scheider | Cultist 5: Nathan Hill

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The First Annual WOMEN TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL is August 19-21

If you're in Texas in August you might want to  consider going to Women Texas Film Festival. The festival focuses on the work of women filmmakers and having interviewed festival founder and artistic director Justina Walford the festival should be a blast.

Of interest to readers of Unseen Films is the fact that Alec Kubas-Meyer, an occasional contributor and full time friend has a world premiere short in the Dark Minds collection called NOT TOO YOUNG. (Its a killer short and a review will be coming) While wouldn't suggest traveling to Texas just for a short, I do suggest going to the festival because what Justina has programmed will blow you away.

The Women Texas Film Festival announces
selections for 1st edition of the film festival
(August 19-21)

Rosemary Myers’s Award-Winning GIRL ASLEEP
is Opening Night Selection

Dallas, TX (July 26, 2016) – The Women Texas Film Festival today announced the official selections for the debut of the very first full-fledged film festival in the state of Texas to focus solely on the work of female filmmakers. Screening exclusively at the famous Texas Theatre in Dallas (231 W. Jefferson Blvd.) on August 19-21, WTxFF will open with Rosemary Myers’s award-winning Australian comedy, GIRL ASLEEP, and will include 6 feature-length films and 31 short films screening over the course of an exciting three-day weekend in August.

WTxFF Founder and Artistic Director, Justina Walford, said, “We are thrilled to bring this celebration of female film making to Dallas, which is home to some of the most enthusiastic and discerning film audiences in the entire country. Rosemary Myers’s richly sardonic GIRL ASLEEP bursts with candy colored images of girlhood while confronting some darker realms of our heroine's heart. And it is a vision so truly female, created for our eyes. Add to that, a lineup of films that amuse, surprise, provoke and frighten. and film goers will get a taste of the skill and imagination of some very talented women pulling the strings and at the helm of visual storytelling. We look forward to putting the women responsible for these stories on a pedestal here in the heart of Texas."

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle Film Festival, Myers’s GIRL ASLEEP follows the struggles of Greta, a 14-year-old girl who has just moved to a new town with her family. The experience of trying to make new friends and measure up to the cool girls is a tough and confusing one, but at least she’s found an ally in Elliott, who makes up for his eccentricities with unabashed enthusiasm and loyalty to her. Of course, just when Greta thinks she is getting on solid footing, her parents decide to throw a surprise disco party for her. It all makes her want to run away to the mysterious forest behind the house she has conjured up in her imagination. There, she could be with the mysterious creatures and Huldra, the fearless warrior. That has to be easier than school. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release, GIRL ASLEEP is set for release September 8.

Other features in the eclectic and exciting debut WTxFF lineup include: Irene Taylor Brodsky’s documentary BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN, about the internet-created boogeyman that inspired two 12-year-old girls to attempt murder; Christina Kallas’s comedy, 42 SECONDS OF HAPPINESS, about a group of friends working their way in and out of relationship drama while attending a friend’s same-sex wedding; Celia Rowlson-Hall’s experimental masterpiece, MA, which follows a modern-day Virgin Mary’s pilgrimage over the scorched terrain of the American Southwest; Rachel Talalay’s gritty, ON THE FARM, which dramatizes the true-life story of the search for a serial killer who was responsible for the deaths of 50 prostitutes in Vancouver; and Sharie Vance’s documentary, MIZ MARKELY & ME, about the jazz and folk singer/songwriter Lisa Markely – the presentation of which will include a special performance by Markley on the Texas Theatre stage, following the screening.

The shorts programs were similarly curated to not simply showcase the work and skill of women as directors, producers, writers, composers, or cinematographers. Each block offers thematic viewing experiences that highlight the wealth of variety these women have to offer in terms of storytelling.

The “Youth” shorts program, many of which were directed by local up-and-coming female filmmakers, features films that deal with the conflicts and hurdles ever-present in the lives of young women, be it dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, escaping poverty, getting out of a day at work in order to head out to the beach, navigating the dating world, or being a transvestite in the unforgiving religious culture in Pakistan.

The “Video Mix Tape” shorts program takes audience members on a visual ride that ranges from the high comedy of a brother and sister who can’t stop bickering as they attempt to choose a casket for a loved one, and two couples that must do some fast thinking to outsmart a magical board game that has transported them to the Old West, to the emotional lows and heart-wrenching drama of a little boy determining the fate of a piggy bank he has come to love, and a prostitute that must make a hard choice in order to provide for her autistic son.

Walford is especially pleased with the two late night shorts programs which highlight the work of women within the world of genre filmmaking. Walford said, “I have been a longtime fan of horror and genre films, and with some of the best films in that category recently having been directed by women, I felt it very important to shine a light on the next generation of female filmmakers that will thrill us working within horror, thrillers, sci-fi, etc. to provoke, disturb, and excite audiences.”

“Dark Minds” features a series of films that deal with the horror potential with relationships, whether it be a young woman trying to help an FBI agent rescue her from her longtime abductor, another facing off against some “mean girl” cupcake bakers, a young man who struggles with his desire for women that look like they are adolescents, and a robot that has learned the wrong lessons from “her” owner about how people should treat each other.

“Dark Worlds” offers up stories about a world set after the end of civilization where a woman must rescue her lover, one in which two young brothers question the isolation they have been placed into by their parents following the end of a war, another where a young boy must investigate a series of “video nasties” that may have consumed his father, a woman facing the fear that baby from an unwanted pregnancy may literally devour her life, and three girlfriends that have to transport a celebrity's body from scandalous tryst hotel room to her home without anyone knowing she's dead.

The Women Texas Film Festival will also host panels focusing on the experience of women working in various aspects of film production, virtual reality (VR), and tech, as well as in-depth look at one of the documentary features on the schedule, BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN, Panel titles/topics include: “Gaming and VR, The New Frontier Demonstrated”, “I Made That – Female Producers Tell the What, Why, and How of Producing.” “Discussing BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN with Psychiatrists and Pediatric Counselors”, and “A Director, a Writer, a DP, and an Editor Walk into a Bar”.

Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now, with a special “flash sale” for a VIP Festival Pass for $95 in place until August 1 (Regular cost for VIP passes are $150.), and a special Shorts Programs package available for $25. Tickets are $11. For more information on the Women Texas Film festival go to To purchase VIP passes, the special Shorts Programs package, or tickets to individual screenings go to:

The 2016 Women Texas Film Festival official selections:

Director: Rosemary Myers
Country: Australia, Running Time: 77min
In this vibrant portrayal of Australian adolescence, Greta Driscoll's bubble of obscure loserdom is burst when her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and invite the whole school! Perfectly content being a wallflower, suddenly Greta's flung far from her comfort zone into a distant, parallel place -- a strange world that’s a little frightening and a lot weird, but only there can she find herself. Equal measures Wes Anderson and Lewis Carroll, GIRL ASLEEP is an enchanting journey into the absurd -- and sometimes scary -- depths of the teenage mind.

Screening will be preceded by:
Director: Mira Lippold-Johnson
Country: USA, Running Time: 14min
Eleanor is a 14-year-old girl who loves the letter E. She eats eggs, edamame, and English muffins. She studies economics and ecology. She has three best friends named Emily, Emily, and Emily. And she has a boyfriend named Ed. Everything is perfect until she finds out Ed's name isn't Ed.

Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky
Country: Running Time: 114min
BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN tells the story of the internet’s elusive Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier lured their best friend into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, then set out on an odyssey to meet the tall and faceless man known online as Slenderman. Shot over 18 months with heartbreaking access to the families of the would-be murderers, the film plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime, a Boogeyman and our society’s most impressionable consumers of media. The entrance to the internet can quickly lead us to its dark basement, within just a matter of clicks. How much do we hold children responsible for what they find there?

Director: Christina Kallas
Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
A circle of thirty-something friends reunite for a weekend away to celebrate the same sex wedding of a member of their group. Yet, despite their best efforts to behave themselves, a series of surprise plans, unexpected arrivals and exposed secrets lead to an explosion of drama that, coupled with the flammable combination of hurt feelings, unresolved tensions, and lots of wine cannot be contained.

Screening will be preceded by:
Director: Mark Blitch
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:13min
A bickering brother and sister hit the road to reconnect after drifting apart over the years.
(Producer: Danielle Wheeler)

Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
MA is a striking modern-day vision of Mother Mary's pilgrimage through the eyes of Ma (played by Celia Rowlson-Hall), a woman who must venture across the scorched landscape of the American Southwest to fulfill her destiny.

Screening will be preceded by:
Director: Shayna Connelly
Country: USA, Running Time: 12min
The period between knowing death is near and death’s arrival forms an unbearable state of regret, sadness and anticipation for Samantha. She is powerless to help Anne, who on the eve of her death, has not come to terms with her fate and remains angry and afraid. Waiting expands time to the point that it loses meaning. The world shrinks to encompass only her and her phone, which will ring soon with the news. That night she can no longer bear the stillness and despite the darkness, Samantha tries to put her neglected garden in order.

Director: Sharie Vance
Country: USA, Running Time: 44min
Inspirational for subjects and audience alike, this funny, poignant, and musical film is the story of two late-bloomers, with all the doubt and angst you might imagine, finding encouragement and validation from each other's journey.

Screening will be preceded by:
Director: Kate Gondwe
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:05min
THE PUPPET LADY is a short documentary profiling Lillie Solomon. Solomon is a professional in millinery, puppetry, costuming, theater and number of other works of art. She explains her career and shares her thoughts on the creative mind and the feeling and being of an artist.

Director: Rachel Talalay
Country: Canada, Running Time: 88min
Based on a true story, a powerful study of the dysfunction and disorder in the police and criminal justice systems that allowed a wily psychopath to murder nearly 50 marginalized women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Screening will be preceded by:
Director: Paul D. Hart
Country: USA, Running Time: 12:30min
A female USMC combat vet struggles to navigate her disintegrating life after returning from being wounded in the war in Afghanistan. As her PTSD worsens, her options begin to run out until she is forced into making a life & death decision.
(Producer: Virginia Newcomb, UPM: Hilary Craft


(TRT: 83min)

Director: Kat Albert
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:40min
April is hot mess with daddy issues. Maybe she just needs the right man and the perfect cocktail to get it all right. What connects with people is the depth of these characters and the heartfelt emotions the actors bring to their parts.

Director: Terry Bluez
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:40min
BALL IS LIFE is the story of a young female basketball star on the verge of earning a Division I scholarship under the intense coaching of her overbearing father. But when her hoop dreams are jeopardized by an unplanned pregnancy, she must decide which is more important, Ball or Life?
(Producer: Megan StCin)

Director: Paloma Hernandez
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:50min
A remorseful thief returns stolen goods to their rightful owners unaware of the chaos it will ensue.

Director: Augustine Frizzell
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:50min
Two teens girls scheme their way out of work to spend a day at the beach. Things don't go as planned.

Director: Lizette Barrera
Country: USA, Running Time: 9min
A wayward teen revisits her hometown to reconnect with her cousin.

Director: Rijaa Nadeem
Country: Pakistan, Running Time: 11:15min
Living as an outcast within the conservative religious society of Pakistan, Rafi is a transvestite who earns a living through begging and selling his body. He meets Nadia who grew up in the upper class of society however is forced into prostitution by her indebted father. Even though they are from completely different walks of life, They learn to bond amidst a common difficult situation.

Director: Paxton Farrar
Country: USA, Running Time: 19:58min
Inspired by the night skies of the high desert, a teenage girl struggles to escape poverty and rural isolation to become an astronomer.
(Associate Producer: Katherine Paige, Director of Photography: Maria Rusche)

Director: Paige Snider
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:32min
This comical short follows the sexual misadventures of a young woman as she navigates the dating world and discovers that self acceptance is the key to success.

(TRT: 91min)

Director: Lara Arikan
Country: USA, Running Time: 2:13min
It’s long past midnight when the tired and jumpy waitress decides to go and investigate the ominous noise she hears right outside the roadside coffee shop she’s working at. She discovers that a she is being attacked by a Zombie! The zombie lazily wobbles inside the shop and corners the poor waitress behind the counter. How will she save her self? What will it take?

Director: America Young
Country: USA, Running Time: 13:13min
When a simple game night turns into a Wild West showdown, two couples must work together to escape the most dangerous game of all time.

Director: Brooke Honcharik
Country: USA, Running Time: 15:07min
Jane and Peter have known each other since the 4th grade. Over the past 10 years, they have shared lunches and swapped spit but never exchanged feelings. When the pair decides to secretly spend the night in an antique shop, they determine the future of their relationship by being forced to face their past.

Director: Roberta Marie Munroe
Country: USA, Running Time: 6:57min
Sheryl and Austin, a pair of dysfunctional, but loving, siblings meet up at a funeral home to plan a funeral. Sheryl finds comfort in order and wants a beautiful mahogany casket, with satin as soft as butter and a monogram that would make Martha Stewart proud. Austin, is a free-spirited hipster who spends his time creating You Tube videos of neighborhood animals and believes the ashes should be released into the wind. But when the Funeral Director dares to call into question the siblings’ choices, things get ugly. It is one thing for Austin and Sheryl to take each other down, but neither take kindly to the Funeral Director butting into their affairs. That’s the sibling code.

Director: Lisanne Sartor
Country: USA, Running Time: 16:30min
An unlikely mom is forced to confront her young son's autism after an unexpected encounter with one of her johns.

Director: Leelila Strogov
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:40min
Inspired by a short story from award-winning Israeli author Etgar Keret, SOMEONE GOOD WILL FIND YOU is the story of a boy who learns an unintended lesson when his immigrant father attempts to teach him the value of money by giving him a piggy bank. The story transforms a modern-day Israeli fable into a dramatic story about a Chinese family adapting to Western life in New York City.

Director: Susanne Boeing
Country: Germany, Running Time: 26min
Walter is waiting at the last station of his journey through life. His family and friends all know what is best for him. But in the end they have to understand that his ending belongs only to him.

YOU (by Pearl and the Beard)
Director: Brandon Herman
Country: USA, Running Time: 3:40min
Proposing marriage at a fancy restaurant seems like a good idea, but things can get crazy pretty quickly!

(TRT: 65min)

Director: Izzy Lee
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:03min
"How far would you go to help a friend?" Jackson gets in over his head when Liz asks for a favor in this horror comedy.

Director: Rodolfo Cervant
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:40min
A woman bullied by a clique of bake sale mean girls takes action.
(Producer: Sierra Robinson, Producer and Cinematographer: Nicole Pence)

Director: Lauren Ouellette
Country: USA, Running Time: 10:12min
An isolated teenage girl finds herself torn between reality and delusion when a determined FBI agent tries to free her from her long term abductor.

Director: Alec Kubas-Meyer
Country: USA, Running Time: 12min
A young hebephile, whose only human contact comes from an anonymous online chatroom, struggles with his attraction to early adolescents but is determined not to offend. He turns to an escort service, called "Not Too Young," which gives him the chance to fulfill his desires with a woman who only appears to be underage.
(Cinematographer and Composer: Montana Jaro)

Director: Andrea Wolanin
Country: USA, Running Time: 20:22min
PENTA is the name of a bio-mechanical companion for the discerning connoisseur... In just over twelve hours, the perfect girl will be standing in your home." Based upon an Italian folk tale, Penta questions femininity, humanity and the system of abuse. Our titular heroine is a robot created to do nothing more than be the perfect woman – but what does that mean? As she acclimates to the world around her, her changes startle her owner and spur a chain of grim events.

(TRT: 79min)

Director: Jackie Perez
Country: USA, Running Time: 12:57min
A woman with a perfect life learns she's carrying a baby she didn't expect. With no one to turn to for help, she carries to term and really comes to understand the saying "your life is over when you have kids."

Director: Mindy Bledsoe
Country: USA, Running Time: 10min
Three women have to transport a celebrity's body, without anyone knowing she's dead.

Director: Amanda Milius
Country: USA, Running Time: 25min
The year is 2077, in a post-civilization world, where there are no laws or weapons, Nora and her best friend and lover, Daph, live an idyllic life in a rugged landscape. When a stranger arrives and Daph disappears, Nora has to go to extreme measures to get back what is hers.

Director: Prano Bailey-Bond
Country: UK, Running Time: 15:09min
It’s 1982. 12-year old Doug's Father has mysteriously vanished. With his Mother distraught, Doug takes the case into his own hands, leading him to discover his Dad's secret collection of illicit video nasties. Convinced that these videos will help him find his Dad, Doug embarks on a desperate quest, infiltrating the strange world of video nasties in an attempt to reunite his family through a patchwork of horror.

Director: Diana Rodriguez
Country: USA, Running Time: 15:53min
Two young brothers living with their parents in isolation begin to question their new world after war, corruption and greed nearly decimate the entire human race.

The Women Texas Film Festival (WTxFF) promotes established and emerging female storytellers in film, TV, and VR, celebrating the grit and range of women's voices. WTxFF screens qualified films that have women in at least one key creative role: Writer, Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Composer. The WTxFF also organizes a host of activities for the festival and year-round focused on the craft and artistry of filmmaking, including moderated Q&As with filmmakers, panel discussions, networking events, and a gala night with filmmaker red carpet. For more information about Women Texas Film Festival, visit

We Are The Flesh (2016) Fantasia 2016

You're on you're own with this one boys and girls

A brother and sister enter a warehouse and get hooked up with an abusive ogre living there. The pair fulfills the mad man's fantasies breaking all sorts of taboos along the way.

Graphic sex and violence fill this pretentious meditation on god, the universe and society. Its a film that is intent on poking the audience in the eye and kicking them in the nuts simply because it can. I'm sure that director Emiliano Rocha Minterwill tell you it has some deep meaning, as will its supporters but beyond the blatantly obvious I don't think this film means anything. Its a beautiful disturbing... pretentious turdball.

Don't get me wrong I think Minterwill is a brilliant director, this film wouldn't be as disturbing if he wasn't, but there is nothing beyond it. Its not like a thrill ride, this is a film that wants more but fails to achieve it. Yea your buttons will be pushed. Yea you will be disturbed but  to no end.

Worth a look for those who want to be see an f-ed up film, all other need not apply

In Brief: Aloys (2016) Fantasia 2016

After his father dies Aloys, a private investigator who refuses to connect to the world - he literally stands away from people and only really experiences life through hat he records on his camera-continues ith life as if nothing has happened. When his camera, his sole connection to the world, is stolen he freaks out, however a call from a strange young woman sets him on a quest that sets him on the path to reconnect with the world.

Melancholy, moody and ultimately moving ALOYS is the sort of thing that only movies can do- take us places and show us things that no other medium can. This is a wonderful trip inside the mind of it's main character and thereby a trip inside of ourselves. Its a film that takes us in unexpected directions, upends our thought processes and forces us to connect with it in ways that few films bother to.

I have really don't know what to say, not so much that I don't have anything to say, rather because the film is one that is best experienced blind. I went in with only a vague idea what the film was and then just let it wash over me. As a result I was completely open to the film and it's world.

This is just a super little film and very recommended.

The film play tomorrow at Fantasia and is a must see for anyone who ants a good film that's not your typical choice.. For tickets and more information go here.

Beta Test (2016)

Beta tester for a game company Sentinel begins to have a weird experience when he discovers that the game he is testing is somehow connected to the real world. More to the point the villain of the game is the Sentinel's owner's former friend and head of security- who is on a mission like in the game to save his wife.
One of the years big surprises, BETA TEST is one of those films that comes from a seemingly spotty source that makes you not rush out to see it, it was released a week ago, but turns out to actually be way better than you expect. I'm guessing the fact it is good is the reason the film got  larger than typical theatrical release. The truth is that the mere fact it got any theatrical release says volumes- that it was in theaters across America says more.  Actually the really amazing thing is that numerous friends,many of whom would never touch a film like this have seen it and have been telling me how good it is.

And it is a good.

A rip roaring B thriller of the sort that they don't do well any more BETA TEST is one of those films you want to curl up on the couch with.a bowl of popcorn and some friends. Its full of heady science fiction ideas, political thrills and bone crushing action.

Its the action that is going to stay with you, its bone crushing and nasty in ways that most films never manage. Manu Bennett stars as Creed, the former head of security and while his vocal performnce is mixed- his physical one kicks ass. He has physical presence and he fights like one of the best action heroes.  He's amazing.

While far from perfect BETA TEST is entertaining as all hell and so is very recommended.

Monday, July 25, 2016

In Brief: Superpowerless (2016) Fantasia 2016

Bob was once Captain Truth, a super hero who watched over his city. Then he lost his power and kind of went on the skids. When his ex-partner publishes a tell all Bob is forced to consider what his life is and was.

Small budgeted superhero tale with out the need for superheroics. This is a really good little film that over comes the sense that we've been here before (and if you've read lots of superhero comics you have at some point run across a similar story) with really good characters and a wonderful sense of real life. Strip away the superhero context and you have a bunch of real people.

A sweet little film that Fantasia was right about world premiering. Here's to hoping this small gem has a long life.

Tank 432 (2016) Fantasia 2016

Using the fact that director Ben Wheatley is a co-producer as a selling  point TANK 432 mines the same existential horror as films like Wheatley's A FIELD IN ENGLAND as well as any number of other similar horror films where a group of guys on a mission seem to be stalked by some supernatural force. We've been here before.

Here a group of soldiers transporting  two hooded and red jump-suited prisoners run into trouble. Something or someone is closing on them Reaching a farm they find complications as a jeep they hoped to use to escape is not functional, there are dead bodies and  a girl locked in a container. The group decide to leave the wounded and fleeing into the country. Finding an armored personnel carrier they crawl inside but not before one of the cargo is dead and some of the men are seeing a bioharzard clad figure stalking  them.

Good but nothing special, TANK 432 has some tension but ultimately kind of runs into the same troubles that other films in this subgenre do.  First the stories often require that the characters make choices that don't really make sense- why exactly are they getting into an armored vehicle that appears that it can't move? Secondly for the film to work the film has to keep everyone in the dark until the last possible moment when the revelation suddenly comes- which more often than not isn't as clever as the filmmakers think. Here the revelation is compromised by the promotional material mentioning secret documents which is a kind of dead give away.

A good distraction if you take it on it's own terms, TANK 432 is destined to end up on the pile of  similar military horror films that don't quite work and once seen are never ever seen or mentioned again.

TANK 432 screens again tomorrow at Fantasia, For tickets or more information go here

Pattaya (2016) Fantasia 2016

The title of the film is a Thai city with a thriving beach community. Its full of bars and babes. It is the perfect place for a knucklehead bodybuilder who lost his girl to try and forget her. The problem is the knucklehead has no money to get there. Fortunately for the knucklehead the city also is home to a monastery where dwarves are tried to fight MMA. They are looking for an opponent to challenge their champion. Our hero doesn't know anyone who can fight, but he and his friend know a small person and if they can convince him to go along with the plan they’ll be on easy street.

Incredibly funny and extremely unpolitically correct film is one of the real surprises at this year’s Fantasia. I was expecting a martial arts film with some laughs, I wasn’t expecting a full on assault on my funny bone. I laughed from start to finish, often a jokes that would have the PC police looking to ban the film. Frankly I would love to see this film get a US release but I don’t know if there is a company that would want to battle pinheads who would complain. The film makes fun of everything-every ethnic group, body type and belief gets zinged. It a kind of equal opportunity offender and we are so much better for it.

Watching the film I was struck by a sensation that on some level the film isn’t very good and I shouldn’t like it as much as I do, but then I realized how funny and clever it is and all was mad right. Laughter trumps quality.

I love this film a great deal. Its an absolute must see and I’m going to be trying to find a copy for my collection.

Go see this film- and be happy that the film isn’t in 3D since that final shot would make you ill.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Nightcap 7/24/16- I'm festivaled out, GHOSTBUSTERS needs to be shown to young girls, HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY SALON, TRI and Randi's links

Its been a couple of weeks and then some since the last nightcap, not that most of you probably missed them. The reason its been so long is I've been in full on festival mode with NYAFF, Japan CUTS and Fantasia running one into each other....

And as a result I'm exhausted.

Between the three festivals I've seen over 100 films in the last 4 weeks. Yes, that's normal for me, but normally I get to pick the films- here I just have been taking whatever the next film that is screening. Honesty other than TARZAN I haven't picked a single film that I've seen that wasn't at a festival. Worse most of the films I've been watching on my lap top and not a movie screen-that is not normal for me.

I'm tired. I want to pick my own movies for a bit...and I'm going to. While I have committed to seeing a few more films at Fantasia I'm stepping away. Yes reviews will run until August 5,but once my current set of screeners are done so am I.

Nothing against Fantasia I can't look at my computer screen any more, I want big screens and real people, not being alone in a room watching movie after movie.

Expect the eclectic mix to return August 6
I saw the new GHOSTBUSTERS.

Other than the opening in the haunted mansion, which is beyond bad, I really liked the film. Its funny, clever and wonderful in a lot of ways.

I want to break the heads of the nimrods who have been poo pooing the film without seeing it. I hate that they are trying to take the film down- more so now that I've seen it. This is a film that young girls need to see. Its a film that  says its okay to be different because you still can do great things.

Honestly when I saw the film from the POV of several women I know who grew up as outsiders my heart broke. I couldn't help but be moved by thinking how the film might have helped them cope with the pain of growing up. Here are a bunch of women who are outsiders who find a future in being themselves. If this was released 30 years ago the world would have been different because we would have had a generation of girls who'd grow up and know they were capable of anything.

If you are a young girl or know one do yourself a favor and see the film.

I am not sure I've got it in me to do a full review (see above) but I wanted to put HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY SALON on your radar.  It opens in NYC Friday and will be coming your way soon.

The film is the story of a the titled beauty salon which operates as part of a mental health program outside Philadelphia. The film follows the administrators and patients as they put together a Hair Recovery Show (aka beauty pageant.)

Let me cut to the chase- it will move you in all sorts of ways and is highly highly recommended. This is a wonderful film- and I'm not going to write it up until I can do it justice. Until then know that if you are and around NYC next week you must make an effort to see this film.

For details on the film go here.

Over the past 8 weeks or so I have been inundated with material for a film called TRI. A couple of pieces have come from PR people mostly its come from a theater that did a screening a couple week back. They must have passed my personal email because I've gotten notice about other screenings for the film in other places around the country.

With all this publicity I became curious and needing a break from the films at Fantasia I took a look at a screener I was given.

TRI is the story of a an ultra-sound tech who tries a triathlon at the insistence of one of her patients. The film follows the course of her training and her running in the actual event.

A good but unremarkable film TRI suffers from explaining way too much. The film is a virtual how to with characters stopping to have things explained to them-and thus the audience. It makes it all a kind of commercial for the sport. The explanation takes time away from the drama which is handled in a manner that makes everything seem much too much like a TV movie. I get the feeling tht the filmmakers are tri-athletes first and filmmakers second

The one thing that took away my feelings for the film was the fact that once the race is running the actresses look like they have just bounded into frame from a trailer. They don't show the exhaustion that real athletes have during a race-they have enough spunk to shout encouraging things to each other and ponder great thoughts in an inspirational way. I laughed instead of being moved.

Is the film worth seeing? If the subject interests you it is. Also if you run across it streaming I'd say give it ago. I wouldn't go out of my way to see it even with its unconventional roll out of one off screenings.
And now Randi's links

Some genes turn on after death
The BBC on LABYRINTH (though why no mention of Terry Jones?)
Never released HERCULES footage
Kitchen Table Gran Prix
Uncensored history of Trek
Horror Posters
Heaven's Gate
Cassius Clay on What's My Line
I've got a secret
Christmas gifs
Roadsides Statues 
The Force Awakens in emojis
Ken Loach at Lattitude

Man Underground (2016) Fantasia 2016

Eclectic science fiction comedy drama romance  that changes by turns into something special.

William Koda is an odd duck. A single guy who is trying to let the world know of the government cover-up of aliens, he is also prickly enough that there are not a lot of people who would put up with him. However after his one friend suggests he make a movie of this life, the better to get word out, he meets a waitress who is an actress and he decides to give the movie idea a go and then things begin to happen.

Part comedy, part romance, part science fiction film, part character study MAN UNDERGROUND is not easily classified. One of an increasing number of films that are portraits of jerks forced to change this is one I would actually want to see again. Thank the cast, thank the writers and thank the directors for giving us people we like, even Koda. Saying that is a big deal because more times than not with films like this we never like the person the film is about and we kind of wish bad things would happen to them. That's not the case here,we want it all to be okay.

The film also gets points because what happens isn't what you expect. There are a couple of turns here that made me sit up and go "hello"

I really like this film a great deal. Its a film that has grown in my heart the more I think about it. This is the sort of film that is what independent cinema should be doing, making films that surprise and delight you as they go along and do so in completely unexpected ways.

Speaking as a person who had almost no intention of seeing this film, this film is one you should see and it is highly recommended

The film screens again at Fantasia on August 3rd  so go see it. For tickets go here.

In Brief: Dark Side of the Moon (2015) Fantasia 2016

Hot shot pharmaceutical lawyer takes over a new company and in the process sets in motion his down fall as a suicide, divorce and a trip on drugs that make him violent leave him feeling even more disconnected

Good, gripping but ultimately unremarkable thriller is entertaining but nothing you need to rush out to see.  While there is no doubt that my viewing of the film suffered from seeing it in the middle of the mostly excellent Fantasia, I'm still not sure that I would give the film a major bump up if I had seen it purely on it's own terms. The trouble is that the plot for all the sturm und drang isn't anything we haven't seen before and you pretty much know early on where its going to go even if you may not know how.  It also doesn't help that the thematic elements and deeper meanings aren't that deep.

Disappointments aside this is a good little film and if you run across it definitely worth trying-and you don't even have to be in a forgiving mood.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Psychonauts: The Forgotten Children (2015) — Fantasia 2016

PSYCHONAUTS: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN is not for kids. I say this at the outset not to scare people away, rather to warn parents who see the animals who make up the cast and think this is going to be something for their little ones, no it’s not. The not for kids moniker is made clear when we see an atomic explosion in the opening minutes and watch the cute animals be destroyed by the blast.

A disturbing, deeply troubling, and quite brilliant look at the pain and suffering of growing up PSYCHONAUTS tells the story of a bunch of humans in animal form who are trying to just get by. The island was once devastated by an atomic explosion which decimated society. The survivors rebuilt things and go on. The film primarily focuses on Birdboy, a dark drug addicted figure trying to sort out his inner demons and his legacy as the son of a notorious drug dealer who was hunted down. The film also focuses on Dinky, a mouse who believes in Birdboy’s greatness and tries to help him as best she can even to the extent of giving him happy pills. This is the life and times of these kids and in a way about ourselves as well. It’s the story of how we slip into our own head spaces in order to survive the cruelties of the world.

I have no idea what to say. This film is like having someone step on your throat. It’s a punch in a gut and in a weird way one of the most truthful examinations of growing up I’ve seen. This is a not a remotely nostalgic look at the characters but a warts and all one. The fact we are seeing cute animals going through these twists and turns makes the emotions deeper.

Strangely despite being almost bleak beyond words at time the film is somehow hopeful. For all the pain suffering and death there is hope in the end. I would almost dismiss the ending had the film not woven references to it all through the story.

Based on an award winning and Oscar nominated short and a graphic novel this film is one of the best animated films I’ve seen this year. It’s the cinematic equivalent to a graphic novel with level and textures way beyond most films, never mind animated films. Let’s face it you would never ever see a film this dark, complex or emotional from an American film studio.

This is a must see for anyone wanting tio see a truly great film. One of the best films at this year’s Fantasia and one the best animated films you're likely to ever run across.