Panic Fest 2020 Announces Short Film Showcase Lineup

Kansas City, MO – Named one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Best Genre Fest in the World in 2019 and 2020  – Panic Fest has expanded and announced films for it’s Short Film Showcase.

This year they have expanded from two blocks of films to four blocks. The first will be a Short Film Preview Night Block, which will screen on Thursday, January 23rd at Screenland Armour. The following three blocks will be on January 25th.

Opening weekend will take place January 24th-26th with extended weekday programming January 27th-30th. The Short Film Showcase will be sponsored this year by Shudder and the Best of Fest showcase winner will receive a free year of the subscription service.

PREVIEW NIGHT BLOCK (Jan. 23rd) 75 mins
Allergic Overreaction
Black Mass
Best Friends Forever
She Must Vanish
The Unseen
Merger

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE BLOCK #1 (Jan. 25th) 90 mins
Night of the Shooter
Let Me Play
Hellevate
Night Crawl
See You On the Other Side
Amber
Pepper
Imagine a World
Feeder

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE BLOCK #2 (Jan. 25th) 90 mins
Lane 9
Go Back
Killer Confidence
Haunting of Pottersfield
Swipe
Night Owls
Here There Be Tygers
Hotel
Pathosis

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE BLOCK #3 (Jan. 25th )90 mins
Conspiracy Cruise
Safe States
Momma Don’t Go
Buffalo & Trout
Daughter of Dismay
A Noise That Carries
Mateo
The Burden
The Animator

Official website: https://panicfilmfest.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/panicfilmfest/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/panicfilmfest
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/panicfilmfest/
Film Freeway: https://filmfreeway.com/PanicFest


Film Review: “Little Joe”

LITTLE JOE
Starring: Emily Beecham, Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox, Kit Connor
Directed By: Jessica Hausner
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 105 Minutes
Magnolia Pictures 

Due to the prominence of Little Shop of Horrors‘ famous “Audrey II” in pop culture, it makes sense that I approached Little Joe–the titular blossom in Jessica Hausner’s new feature, named after its lead’s young son–somewhat warily. After all, naming that unnatural plant after its owner’s closest loved one didn’t quite work out for Seymour, did it? Both the plant and the feature Little Joe are not quite the bombastic spectacle as that man-eater, but they offer a few creepy elements of their own. Part sci-fi, part social commentary and with hints of horror, Hausner’s film is visually arresting but its many thematic seedlings never fully take root.  

Alice (Emily Beecham) works in an advanced plant breeding lab, where she has just made a breakthrough in engineering: a plant that is meant to boost its keepers happiness just by breathing in its presence. This antidepressant alternative, which Alice dubs “Little Joe” after her son, sounds promising but Alice’s coworkers remain suspicious. Particularly after the Little Joes causes “his” planted neighbors to wilt. Alice’s only supporter appears to be Chris (Ben Whishaw) who’s anxious for Alice to come out for a drink with him. The first red flag comes in the form of fellow scientist, Bella’s (Kerry Fox) dog running rampant in the lab after encountering the new plant. His owner was already in opposition to Alice’s work and even more so after she becomes adamant that his encounter made the dog “not himself.” Despite this, Alice has a seedling of her own currently potted in the home she sometimes shares with her son (she is divorced), the human Joe. 

As you can imagine, suddenly Joe isn’t exactly himself either. The trouble with the film comes in how it never really commits to how malevolent Little Joe is meant to be. In some of those encountered they do gain a sort of vapid air of cheerfulness. In others, their entire personalities take hard turns. Human Joe suddenly does want to move out to live with his father while the lovelorn Chris gets more aggressive in his overtures to Alice. At times it seems to lean into critiquing what exactly is true happiness–if you’re only happy on a drug, does it count and does it matter? At the same time though, Hausner introduces this angle of the plant wanting to multiply via its human hosts and a whole lot of movie pseudo-science. A sort of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. But it’s an extreme it only really goes to in one tense sequence with Fox’s character trapped in Little Joe’s greenhouse. 

If there’s one thing that’s consistent, it’s Hausner’s overall grip on the film’s visual design.  Production designer’s Katharina Woppermann beautiful pastel palette complements Beecham’s overall aloof demeanor well from her sterile labs to her small home. Little Joe’s flower with its vibrant puffs of blood red pollen is also fittingly ominous. Meanwhile Hausner’s camera never quite stays still, even roving slowly through the quietest of conversations to keep viewers just a little on edge throughout. It’s unfortunate however that the visual team’s work is frequently undermined by a jarring score of loud clashing sounds. Again, the score is telling me horror film, but Hausner isn’t giving me enough to support it.

Overall, like a botanical garden, Little Joe is something I admired in a slow meandering sort of way for its beauty and craftsmanship more than any sort of emotional connection. 

Film Review: “Queen & Slim”

Film review: “Queen & Slim”
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith
Directed by: Melina Matsoukas
Rated: Rated R
Running Time: 132 minutes
Universal Pictures

Ideally, a great work of art will have a deeply emotional and even an intellectual impact on the viewer. It is no different with the genre of cinema. A rare, special example of such a work is the new drama “Queen & Slim.” Erroneously labeled by some as a Bonnie and Clyde-type story, “Queen & Slim” brilliantly explores the fear and outrage felt by many in America over numerous fatal shootings in recent years of black men, often young ones, by white law enforcement officers. While its climax is heavy-handed and the overall portrayal of the police is insultingly generalized, “Queen & Slim” remains a terrific specimen of cinematic art.

The story begins innocently enough in a black-owned restaurant where Ernest “Slim” Hines (Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out,” “Black Panther”) and Angela “Queen” Johnson (Jodie Turner-Smith, “Jett”) are having their first date. Ernest seems almost outclassed by Angela, an experienced attorney who only said yes to him because she was lonelier than normal on this night in Ohio. During the drive back to her place, a white police officer pulls them over because Ernest forgot to use a turn signal on a deserted street. The situation escalates when the officer forces Ernest out of the car and pulls his gun despite the latter’s cooperation. A struggle ensues, resulting in Ernest fatally shooting the officer in self-defense, all of which is caught on the officer’s dashcam.

Considering her knowledge of the law, Angela inexplicably and fatefully convinces Ernest that they should flee the scene. Thus, begins an arduous journey to the Deep South while trying to avoid a nationwide manhunt that produces a large bounty for their heads. They eventually make it to Louisiana where Angela’s Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”), a pimp suffering from PTSD because of his war service, reluctantly helps aid their quest to get to Florida. Once there, their plan is reach Cuba. This is also when the duo realizes how much of a media sensation they have become across the country and how they have become a symbol to those tired of racial injustice. This is touched upon in one powerful scene, but in the film’s totality it is a paltry effort to explore an important aspect of the story by first-time, feature-length director Melina Matsoukas, who is best known for her music videos, short films and the HBO series “Insecure.”

Kaluuya and Turner-Smith are magical on the silver screen together. Their chemistry is smooth as silk and their powerful, emotional performances, brimming with fear, anger, love and bravery, are worthy of Oscar consideration. Woodbine delivers the best acting of his long career with a brief, yet complicated portrayal of a man swimming in pain beneath the surface of his tough exterior. He, too, should be considered for a nomination come Academy Award time.

It is a misnomer to compare Ernest and Angela to Bonnie and Clyde, who seem to still be mistakenly labeled as some sort of folk heroes like the James brothers. Here is a refresher from a trained historian – Bonnie Parker (1910-34) and Clyde Barrow (1909-34) are credited with murdering at least four civilians and nine law enforcement officers as well as numerous armed robberies and kidnappings. They were not Robin Hood-type characters and bare no resemblance to Ernest and Angela, who go out of their way to not harm anyone during their attempt to get out of the country before being potentially gunned down.

Overall, “Queen & Slim” is a thought-provoking story that is relevant to our times and is so emotionally powerful that it will stick with you long after you have left the theater.

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series”

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series on Limited Edition Blu-ray™

Featuring All 12 Seasons along with Exclusive Bonus Content   

If you are looking for the perfect holiday gift this season, look no further than the The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series Limited Edition Blu-ray, which features highly collectible packaging, a digital copy of every episode and all-new, never-before-seen special features. I am a huge fan of this show for over a decade and it is sad to see it end but at least we have this beautiful limited edition Blu-ray set to enjoy over and over again. This is a show that has amazing replay value and I expect to be cracking open this box set often. I can imagine that this will be a popular gift this holiday season and it deserves to be since it is a fine release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series, including all 279 original episodes from 12 seasons of the top-rated sitcom, will also be available for fans to own on DVD ($179.99) and a premium Limited Edition Blu-ray ($249.99 SRP). The complete set will feature nearly 12 hours of extras along with an additional disc including three exclusive and never-before-seen featurettes! The special Limited Edition Blu-ray Boxset comes in a beautiful lay-flat book with a fun pop-up and includes a digital copy.

For years, fans have been delighted watching their favorite physicists Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) navigate the universe and everyday life along with Penny (Kaley Cuoco), and fellow scientists Howard (Simon Helberg), Raj (Kunal Nayyar), Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch), as well as other beloved characters. Now that Sheldon has married neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler, he’ll have to make some serious adjustments to their “Relationship Agreement” in Season 12. Will their equation for marital bliss alter the chemistry between these two beautiful minds? Perhaps Leonard and Penny will provide the data as they experiment with variable in their own marriage.  Meanwhile, Howard and Bernadette explore the principles of parenthood, and Raj considers a traditional arranged marriage. Quantum comedy converges in the twelfth dimension for the final season!

With Blu-Ray’s unsurpassed picture and sound, The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series,  Blu-Ray releases will include 1080p Full HD Video with DTS-HD Master Audio for English 5.1. These Blu-Rays also come with a digital copy of all the episodes.

SPECIAL FEATURES

The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Series

Includes nearly 12 hours of previously released bonus content from Seasons 1 through 12, plus the following exclusive special features:

  • The Big Bang Theory: A Retrospective
  • BBT’s Greatest Hits: 12 Years of Comedy in 24 Minutes
  • All The Stars in the BBT Universe

Holiday Gift Guide 2019: “Batman Beyond: The Complete Series”

BATMAN BEYOND: THE COMPLETE SERIES LIMITED EDITION

SERIES’ FIRST-EVER BLU-RAY PRESENTATION COMING OCTOBER 15, 2019 TO DIGITAL; AND BLU-RAY™ BOX SET OCTOBER 29, 2019

This holiday season Warner Bros. Home Entertainment delivers the most perfect holiday gift for any fan of Batman. For the first time ever “Batman Beyond” is home on Blu-ray in a beautiful limited edition set. Collectibles within the stunning packaging include an exclusive chrome Batman Beyond Funko POP, and four beautifully-designed lenticular art cards produced especially for Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition. This ultimate collectors Blu-ray box set will be individually numbered for a Limited Edition release of 50,000. So if you are lucky enough to snag one of these, it will surely make for a most terrific holiday gift.

BURBANK, CA (July 18, 2019) – Batman Beyond, the landmark animated television series that illuminated the imagination of a new generation of Batman fans with its creation of an altogether new hero, is celebrating its 20th anniversary – and you get the gift! Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has remastered the heralded series for its first-ever presentation on Blu-ray™ in the all-encompassing Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition, arriving on Digital ($49.99 SRP USA, $59.99 SRP Canada) starting October 15, 2019 and in a stunning box set ($99.99 SRP USA, $119.99 SRP Canada) on October 29, 2019. Distribution in Canada will be day-and-date with the USA, Pre-orders are now available.

The extraordinary Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Editionpackage features approximately 1,500 minutes of entertainment spread over four Blu-ray™ discs, plus the two bonus discs of enhanced content. In addition to a newly-remastered Blu-ray presentation of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, there are 15 featurettes on the bonus discs, highlighted by two new inside looks at the beloved television series, led by Nostalgic Tomorrow, a gathering of Batman Beyond production talent and cast led by executive producer Bruce Timm and actors Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle, the voices of Batman and Terry McGinnis, respectively. The bonus discs also spotlight four episodes with audio commentary from Timm and select members of the production team.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Batman Beyond premiered on January 10, 1999 to instant ratings and critical success. The series would run for three seasons, covering 52 total episodes and a full-length animated film, Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker. Nominated for nine Emmy Awards, Batman Beyond would ultimately take home two Emmys – including Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2001 – as well as three Annie Awards.

Of the 52 original Batman Beyond episodes, 41 have been fully-remastered from either their original 35mm film source or the uncommon format “OCND,” the original camera negative digital (a digital scan of original negative). Lines and resolution have been enhanced, and dust and dirt have been removed – however, cell dirt remains to not disturb the original picture. Included in the remastering was the removal of grain, resulting in enhanced colors. The remastering process does cause a slight aspect ratio change (approximately 3% loss of screen image).

Due to time-worn irreparable damage, the remaining 11 episodes were “Smart Rezzed” from standard definition Digibeta video. The process provides for significant enhanced resolution and improvement of the original source material in converting from standard to high definition, though it does sacrifice horizontal lines for clearer image and color representation. While still a marked improvement over the original video, viewers will notice a slight difference between the Remastered and the Up-Rezzed final footage. The 11 affected episodes are: “Eyewitness,” “Final Cut,” “The Last Resort,” “Armory,” “Sneak Peek,” “The Eggbaby,” “Zeta,” “Plague,” “April Moon,” “Sentries of the Lost Cosmos” and “Speak No Evil.”

Film Review: Jojo Rabbit

Starring: Roman Griffin Davis, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Rated: PG 13 
Running Time: 108 minutes
Fox Searchlight Pictures

I don’t know how a movie featuring an imaginary Adolf Hitler managed to be one of the most heartwarming films of the year…but it’s 2019 and every day actual reality gets more ludicrous, so that sounds about right. Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit is a masterful satire that nails its tone with a kind of supernatural precision that most filmmakers can only dream of and a story still more wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) is a small boy who lives with his mother Rosie (Scarlett Johansson) in a village in WWII Germany. His only ambition is to fight for Hitler just like his absent father. Lacking any real warfront nearby and too young to be conscripted, Jojo instead joins up with the local division of the Hitler Youth headed by the one-eyed Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell). It’s a lot like boy scouts if all the participants were extremely racist and whose bonfires consisted of banned books. Jojo plays tough but gains his titular nickname when the older scouts test how murderous Jojo actually is and the kid fails to kill a bunny in front of the everyone.

Jojo is not only disappointed with himself but he’s royally failing Hitler! Specifically the imaginary Fuhrer, played by Waititi himself, who follows Jojo around and goads on Jojo’s tough guy persona. To be clear, Waititi isn’t actually playing Hitler (in fact when asked about ‘researching’ his portrayal, the director says he didn’t because that guy was “a fucking cunt.” Yep.) Instead, he is playing an icon to a child, which is an entirely different prospect. In Taika’s take just about the scariest thing about him is the unnatural blue contacts. He’s a playground bully who spouts back all the vile lies about Jewish people the boy’s troop leaders are trying to drill into him. Jojo’s whole bubble is popped when he finds an actual living Jewish girl named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) in his mother’s attic.

With McKenzie’s arrival, the film begins to become something much more than the riotous comedy that Waititi achieves in laying out Jojo’s life in the scouts. (Although if this film had only given me a burnt out Sam Rockwell demonstrating deadly weapons to a group of small children, I would have still considered it a cinematic gift, but I digress.) No, rather than being fearful, Elsa leans hard into the gross mythos the Nazis are spreading about her people in order to intimidate the young Jojo. It’s one thing to tell a ten year old that Elsa is a demon, entirely another to ask him not to then be terrified when faced with her one on one. Their bond is the heart of the film and McKenzie wields what small power she has over Jojo with ferocity while Jojo steadily moves from fear into fascination and maybe even friendship. Mckenzie’s is a stunning performance that has me more excited to see her in Edgar Wright’s next feature. As for Davis, putting the weight of this movie on the ten year old is thematically fitting but a huge risk. However just like Hunt for The Wilderpeople’s Julian Dennison, Waititi’s casting of Davis proves to be spot on. 

Meanwhile these kids are surrounded by the grown actors putting in some truly beautiful work. Sam Rockwell’s one eyed captain is physically out of commission but maybe that’s not the only reason he’s not on the field. Considering there’s nothing remotely straight about him and second-in-command Finkel (Alfie Allen). Scarlett Johansson is fearless as Rosie who lovingly calls Jojo “Shitler” and whose drinking, smiling facade belies her own defiance. After all, her sheltering Elsa is a huge breech of the law. Still Rosie dances, she bike rides and she declares her dinner table neutral Switzerland. Johansson brings genuine depth and warmth to Rosie in both her bonds with Jojo and Elsa.

Jojo meeting Elsa and beginning to encounter the larger world is where Waititi really hits home. Rosie allows Jojo into the Hitler Youth only insofar as she is a single mother and there’s really no alternative daycare. But when face to face with his supposed enemy, Jojo’s whole worldview is challenged.  Hate cannot flourish without ignorance and it’s the ordinary people in this film whose small acts make the larger world better for all. Taika’s crafted a film that’s not only timely but manages to earn tears both from laughter and sadness.

“Caddyshack” Hits the Links in Omaha

The SHACK is back!

On Friday, November 8th, film historian Bruce Crawford will be presenting the 1980 comedy classic “Caddyshack,” starring Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Cindy Morgan.

The event will be held at the Joslyn Art Museum, 2200 Dodge Street in Omaha, Nebraska.

In attendance at the screening will be actress Cindy Morgan, who played the beautiful and much sought after Lacey Underalls in the film.  Miss Morgan will speak before the screening and reminisce about the making of the film.  Fans can stay after the event for a meet and greet with Miss Morgan and autograph session.

2019 marks the 27th year of Crawford hosting an evening of classic film, along with members of the casts and crews who created them.

This event marks 27 years since Crawford started hosting film legends and the classic films on which they worked. He typically presents two movies each year, spring and autumn.

Tickets for the event (screening and meet and greet) are $24.00 and go on sale Thursday, October 3rd.  They can be purchased at the customer service counters of all Omaha-area Hy Vee food stores.   Proceeds will benefit HELP Adult Services. All tickets are a non-refundable donation.   Fans interested in just attending the screening may be able to obtrain complimentary tickets by calling 402 393 4884

For more information or to obtain tickets over the phone you can call (402) 341-6559  or click HERE.

 

 

Film Review: “Ad Astra”

AD ASTRA
Starring:  Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Ruth Negga
Directed by: James Gray
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  2 hrs 2 mins
20th Century Fox

Roy McBride (Pitt) is an astronaut.  He begins and ends every day with a diagnostic test, one that is given to ensure he has his emotions in check.  Roy is the only person who, despite the situation, can maintain a heart rate of less than 80.  This is put to the test when, during a routine maintenance mission on a space antenna, a tragedy happens, causing Roy to literally fall back to earth.  Despite the obvious adrenaline rush his heart rate remains low.  Which makes him perfect for his next mission…one to save the world.

Overly long (it feels like double the 2 hour run time) but beautifully filmed, “Ad Astra” rockets across the screen powered by one of Brad Pitt’s best performances.  Age has somewhat weathered his good looks, which is a good thing because there has been a fine actor under that face for years.  Roy’s mission is to head to Jupiter to find out what is emanating from the planet that is putting the Earth in danger.  Roy is shocked to learn that the cause may be his father (Jones), who was presumed killed in action during a visit to Jupiter many years ago.

A lot of the film is Pitt, alone with his thoughts, and he holds the story together as best he can.  Supporting players, like Negga, Loren Dean and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Donald Sutherland do well with what screen time they have.  The film is beautifully photographed so credit is due to the production people.  But the pace…Oy!  Pitt mentions in the film that his journey has covered 2 billion miles.  Believe me, it feels like you were along for every last one.

Film Review: “Villains”

VILLAINS
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Jeffrey Donovan & Kyra Sedgwick
Directed By: Dan Berk & Robert Olsen
Rated: R
Running Time: 89 minutes
ALTER

A pair of thieves with dreams of living it up in Florida make a couple of big mistakes during a gas station holdup sending them down a wildly different road in Dan Berk and Robert Olsen’s Villains. First, they swear this is their “last job!”—always a no no where movie characters are concerned—and second, they forget to,  you know,  pump their escape car with any of the station’s gas. Thus they find themselves stalled out on the road and scouring the nearest secluded home for anything to help them in their journey. The home they find just so happens to have a small girl shackled in the basement. Suddenly the mission isn’t just for gas for the car but an all out battle with the unsuspecting homeowners. As I said, it’s a much different path than Florida.

Villains grabs you quickly and easily thanks to the charisma of its two leads, Jules and Mickey (Maika Monroe and Bill Skarsgård, respectively). They’re goofy as all get out—we’re introduced to them fumbling through their robbery in rubber animal masks—but it’s so obvious they’re head over heels in love with each other that you just want to root for them. Of course Monroe (It Follows) and Skarsgard (It & It Chapter Two) are no strangers to the suspenseful or violent elements Villains throws at them eventually, but as these two crazy kids they both show off a genuine knack for comedy. I can’t imagine a better time to see Villains than if you’re in need for some comedic relief after a dose of Pennywise.

Now let’s get back to that girl chained up in the basement. Turns out she belongs to the equally tight couple of Gloria and George (Kyra Sedgwick and Jeffrey Donovan), the homeowners who combat Jules and Mickey’s manic energy with nothing but civil hospitality. The thieves are ready to fight their way out of the house with the chained little girl, but George and Gloria disarm them long enough to chat about what’s going on. Donovan in particular revels in George’s southern salesman draaaaaaaaawl to calm everyone down. The unlikely clash of these couples is strongly supported by candy colored production design and a nifty musical score that keeps the proceedings tonally in sync until very near the end of the film. The resolution of the wildcard chained child isn’t quite as much fun as how we got there, but with a runtime just shy of 90 minutes, it’s hardly an issue.

The fun of this Villains is all down to the perfect casting. The couples are equally unhinged but operating by their own internal logic while being totally devoted to their partners. Mickey and Jules are like excitable puppies in their eagerness to please each other while George keeps up a veneer of civility even though it’s clear that Gloria is way out of touch with reality. Sedgwick too puts in a delightfully bonkers turn as Gloria that includes a striptease for Mickey. Everyone is chewing so much scenery it’s a wonder anyone has room for Gloria’s shepherd’s pie.

Hilariously Twisted Suburban Satire GREENER GRASS Opens Oct. 18th

Opening Oct. 18th, the hilariously twisted suburban satire “GREENER GRASS” opens in NY/LA and On Demand. The film is written and directed by award-winning writing and directing team Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe. Both veteran performers at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, this is Jocelyn and Dawn’s first feature. “Greener Grass,” premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was recently acquired by IFC Midnight. If you are big fan of online casino ca, it might have seemed like a gamble but the trailer and early reviews have been very impressive.

Here are some of the early reviews:

”Weird and wonderful. The best ‘Saturday Night Live’ movie that ‘Saturday Night Live’ never made.The most pleasant surprise of this year’s Sundance.”– Peter Debruge, Variety
“Pretty freaking funny.Franz Kafka meets Serial Mom meets Edward Scissorhands somewhere on the edge of whatever alternative universe The Lobster was set.”– Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
“Comedy gold. A maniacally manicured satire of the upper-middle class suburban lifestyle. It’s fun and fucked up in the best way possible.”- Marisa Mirabel, Birth. Movies. Death.
“DeBoer and Luebbe have comedic instincts sharp enough to cut diamonds — and they’ve given us a jewel. They show that sublime visual beauty caneasily accompany belly laughs.”– Christian Blauvelt, Indiewire
Synopsis
In a day-glo-colored, bizarro version of suburbia where adults wear braces on their already-straight teeth, everyone drives golf carts, and children magically turn into golden retrievers, soccer moms and best friends Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) are locked in a passive aggressive battle-of-the-wills that takes a turn into the sinister when Lisa begins systematically taking over every aspect of Jill’s life—starting with her newborn daughter. Meanwhile, a psycho yoga teacher killer is on the loose, Jill’s husband (Beck Bennett) has developed a curious taste for pool water, and Lisa is pregnant with a soccer ball. That’s just the tip of the gloriously weird iceberg that is the feature debut from writers-directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, a hilariously demented, Stepford Wives-on-acid satire destined to be an instant cult classic.
About the Filmmakers
Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe are an award-winning writing and directing team based in Los Angeles. Both veteran performers at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Jocelyn and Dawn partnered in 2015 and formed Gulp Splash Productions. Their first feature, “Greener Grass,” premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was recently acquired by IFC Midnight. They wrote, directed, and co-star in the film alongside Beck Bennett (“SNL”), Neil Casey (“Ghostbusters”), Mary Holland (“Veep”), and D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”). “Greener Grass” is a dark comedy based on their 2016 SXSW award-winning short film by the same name. Following its premiere at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in France, the “Greener Grass” short received a distribution deal with Canal + in Europe and Africa. Jocelyn and Dawn recently directed two episodes of TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything”. In 2017, they sold a television pilot to IFC. They have written and produced three short films which have appeared in over 70 film festivals worldwide. They won “Best Direction” for their short, “The Arrival” at Funcinema Crítica de Cine in Argentina. “The Arrival” also was named “Best International Short Film” at the Roma International Short Film Festival, “Best Short Film” in the Lounge Comedy Shorts program at the The Napa Valley Film Festival, “Best Comedy” at the Way Down Film Festival in Georgia, and the Audience Award at The Chicago Critics Film Festival.  

I highly respect anything coming out of The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and writing and directing team Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe are going to have a long career in Hollywood. Even though on their first film, I can’t wait to see what’s to come from them next. So on 10/18 if you live in NY or LA areas, I would suggest taking a break from searching for the most trusted casino and support this movie in theaters. If you are not in one of these areas, it is also coming out on demand. So while you are playing the new online casino slot games, you can watch right from the comfort of your own home.

Film Review: “Official Secrets”

Starring: Keira Knightley, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode and Ralph Fiennes
Directed By: Gavin Hood
Rated: R
Running Time: 112 minutes
IFC Films

At just 29 years old, British translator Katharine Gun became the center of UK headlines when she leaked a memo from her job at the Government Communications Headquarters to UK publication, The Observer. The memo detailed a plot between the US and UK to illegally strong arm smaller UN member countries into signing off on the ill-fated war in Iraq. When she admitted to as much, Gun spent nearly a year before being formally charged under the Official Secrets Act of 1989. Meanwhile the US and UK invaded Iraq despite lacking the support of the nations in the memo. The film adaptation of this case as directed by Gavin Hood is a well crafted political thriller driven by a top notch performance from Keira Knightley.

I had concerns going into this film that it would play out like so many Newspaper Movies (as brilliantly parodied by Seth Meyers and Co, in case you missed it) and I wasn’t entirely wrong. The hallmarks of that trope are all still here –Phone Acting, clandestine meetings on benches, the obstinate paper editor–fortunately they’re performed by a charismatic ensemble led by Matt Smith, Matthew Goode and a very shouty Rhys Ifans. As the film goes on it adds additional strong players to the field with the likes of Tamsin Grieg and Ralph Fiennes when the legal drama starts to ramp up.

More importantly though is that all those subplots and their cliches take a back seat to Keira Knightley’s tightly wound performance. As Gun, she is resolute but not without fear. Some of the most thrilling sequences of Hood’s film come as the enormity of Gun’s act bears down on the wide-eyed Knightley and she realizes how much she has at risk by forging ahead. Having an immigrant husband in Gun’s situation as she does, for example, truly raises the stakes when contending with the government. Often Hood makes some smart choices to elevate Gun’s bravery by highlighting that relationship. How easy it would have been for Katherine, as her barista husband suggests repeatedly, to just do her job and leave the consequences to her higher ups.

Gun had so much to lose but recognized an opportunity to avert a disastrous war and chose to act for her people rather than a lying government. Gavin Hood’s film adaptation of her story comes at a time when relations between the press and politics are arguably even more fraught than 2003, making her story well worth hearing. 

Film Review: “Angel of Mine”

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, Luke Evans, Richard Roxburgh
Directed by: Kim Farrant
Rated: R
Running Time: 98 minutes
Lionsgate

Angel of Mine, based on the French 2008 film, L’Empreinte de L’ange, sees Noomi Rapace as a woman convinced that her neighbor’s daughter is actually her own long-dead child. It’s a thriller that drew me in with its strong cast but passes too far over into melodrama before the credits roll to warrant much interest. 

Rapace stars as Lizzie who drums up a tenuous relationship with the parents of one of her son’s friends (played by Yvonne Strahovski and Richard Roxburgh) for her own ulterior motives. Turns out the friend’s little sister Lola looks so much like her dead baby daughter to Lizzie that she is desperate to spend as much time around the child as possible. Lizzie’s obsession extends so far as her ingratiating herself with Lola’s parents by pretending to be interested in buying their newly listed house. This connection is already awkward but the film does not help itself by withholding the circumstances around Lizzie’s grief for so long in the film. Revelations over the loss of Lizzie’s daughter earlier in the film to the couple may have won some understandable sympathy points for allowing Lizzie around but as it is, it strains credulity as to why these parents would allow this random woman to have so many one-on-one interactions with their young child. Lizzie’s obsession with Lola is intriguing at first due to Rapace’s haunted intensity but without knowing much about her past, I found myself spinning off many different possibilities for where this could go and the ultimate resolution had me bored. Perhaps that’s on me for wanting something more outlandish or exciting while the film so wants to be grounded. It felt as though since director Kim Farrant wanted so much for Lizzie to be our sympathetic protagonist that they could not inject her obsession with a child with any sort of genuine menace. 

Still more irritating is that so much of the film’s run time is spent with husbands choosing to downplay their wives’ legitimate concerns. This goes for both Luke Evan’s Mike as Lizzie’s ex, shunning her where she clearly needs mental help in her grief, and infuriatingly Richard Roxburgh’s Bernard who is for some reason A-OK with a woman wanting to spend time with his seven year old while his own wife sees red flags all over. Why would he take Lizzie’s word over hers? How their story lines end up in relation to Lizzie and Lola after all this drama rings hollow–and also doesn’t seem legally feasible. 

I had been drawn in by the big name cast Farrant had assembled, particularly Yvonne Strahovski fresh off of her fantastic “Handmaid’s Tale” work (is there such a thing as ‘maternity battle’ typecasting?) but they’re working in service of a basic script that doesn’t throw anything more exciting at them than a Lifetime TV movie. 

Angel of Mine opens in limited release on August 30th

Behind the Screen: Why Does the “Rise of Skywalker” Trailer Make Me Cry?

I have to admit here that I wasn’t as anxious to see “Star Wars” as many of my friends were.  We were 16 when the film came out and I was more than a year into my love affair with “Jaws.”  Like my friends, I wrote away for, and received from 20th Century Fox, a very nice, full color campaign book.  Four decades later, I still have it.  I liked the film the first time I saw it but, as it got closer to edging out “Jaws” as the most successful film of all time, I began to dislike it.  I wanted to see it again but I didn’t want my $2,50 to be the money that put “Star Wars” on top!   Of course, like the rest of the world, I ended up seeing the film several times that summer.  Like “Jaws” it is an important part of my youth.  Something I could, and still can, share with my friends.  So when they first released the trailer for the upcoming ninth episode – “The Rise of Skywalker” – I watched the live stream so I could be among the first to see it.  And a funny thing happened.  When it was over, I noticed that I was crying.  Not sniffling but CRYING!  Maybe there was something in the air.  So I watched it again.  And I cried again.  I just watched it 10 minutes ago – four months after having first seen it – and guess what?  The tears began to flow.  Was there something wrong with me?  Had I hit some point in my advanced age where I couldn’t control my emotions.  Was this payback for bringing Richard Dreyfuss to tears when I moderated his Q & A?  

The Campaign Book

I’ve gone back and tried to analyze this.  I think what sets me off are the words “THE SAGA COMES TO AN END.”  That and the shot of Lando in the Falcon, which proceeds those words, trigger so many great memories for me.  Like the time we drove to Orlando to see “The Empire Strikes Back” in 70 mm.  We were so stoked when we left the theatre that we circled the shopping center and informed all of those waiting in line over the car’s CB/PA system that  (SPOILER ALERT) “Darth Vader is Luke’s father!”  OK, yes, it was a dick move.  But we were kids.  Sue us.  

I have a lot of great “Star Wars” memories.  Chief among them is being asked to moderate a Q & A a few years ago with a panel that included Gary Kurtz, Alan Dean Foster and Charles Lippincott.  I was honored to be asked to host this event and I brought the campaign book I had received in 1977 with me to get autographed.  When I opened it I was surprised to find a letter inside, telling me about how exciting “Star Wars” was going to be.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that the letter had been signed by Mr. Lippincott.  He basically introduced the film to me and now, 40 years later, I’m helping him and the others introduce it to a new generation.  This memory makes me smile.  So why the waterworks?  

I think it’s the shots of Carrie Fisher that  have an effect on me.  Our Princess was taken from us way too soon.  “No one’s ever really gone,” Mark Hamill tells us in the trailer.  But Carrie Fisher is and that will continue to make me sad.  I commented on a friend’s Facebook post about this the other day and it finally hit me.  This film will officially put an end to my childhood.  I still, and always will, have the memories I’ve shared with friends while we sat in the dark and took on the Empire.  Sadly, many of those friends are no longer with us.  But when I leave the theatre after seeing “The Rise of Skywalker” I’m going to imagine that those friends, like Obi-Wan, Yoda, Qui Gon and Annakin, will be standing in the lobby and smiling as our 42 year journey comes to an end.

Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony’s “S&M²” Coming to Cinemas Worldwide

TRAFALGAR RELEASING TO BRING METALLICA AND SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY: S&M²  TO CINEMAS WORLDWIDE ON OCTOBER 9

CELEBRATING THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1999 PERFORMANCE AND GRAMMY-WINNING S&M ALBUM, METALLICA & SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY REUNITE FOR S&M². 

THE FILM WILL FEATURE THE FIRST LIVE PERFORMANCES OF S&M ARRANGEMENTS IN 20 YEARS PLUS RENDITIONS OF SONGS WRITTEN AND RELEASED SINCE ORIGINAL SHOW.

TICKETS ON SALE FROM AUGUST 7 FROM METALLICA.FILM

Trafalgar Releasing is excited to announce the forthcoming release of Metallica and San Francisco Symphony: S&M² in cinemas worldwide this October 9. Metallica and San Francisco Symphony reunite to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their original S&M (Symphony & Metallica) show with S&M², filmed at San Francisco’s new Chase Center. 

Tickets will be on sale on August 7 from metallica.film. 

The original S&M concerts were performed by Metallica and San Francisco Symphony and conducted by the late Michael Kamen in spring of 1999 at the Berkeley Community Theatre. 2019’s S&M² concert will feature the first live performances of these arrangements in 20 years, plus the first-ever Metallica and San Francisco Symphony renditions of songs written and released since the original concert, with new orchestral charts by Bruce Coughlin. 

Legendary conductor Michael Tilson Thomas completes the first week of his final season as San Francisco Symphony Music Director with a special appearance, conducting a portion of the show. 

Metallica’s first collaboration with San Francisco Symphony was documented by the Grammy-winning live album S&M

Kymberli Frueh, SVP for Programming and Content Acquisitions at Trafalgar Releasing has said: “Trafalgar Releasing is excited to give Metallica fans around the world a chance to celebrate this anniversary concert together in local cinemas in October.

The original collaboration between two San Francisco legends—Metallica and San Francisco Symphony became a true moment in music history two decades ago. Reuniting again to perform S&M² is a salute to the legendary collaboration and creates a special moment for Metallica fans to see this iconic pairing.” 

The event will be screened in cinemas around the world on October 9. More information can be found at metallica.film, where fans can sign up for event alerts including when tickets go on sale.This announcement follows a busy 2019 in music for Trafalgar Releasing with the upcoming release of Roger Waters Us + ThemRush: Cinema StangiatoThe 9th Annual Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Moviescoming to cinemas worldwide for the first time ever and BRING THE SOUL: THE MOVIE, the latest film from K-Pop phenomenon BTS. Recent releases have included Tribeca documentary Between Me and My Mind about Phish front man Trey Anastasio, The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park LondonKhalid Free Spirit and The Music Center presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration.

Nickelodeon Celebrates 20 Years of Spongebob With a 75-hour Dvd Collection of Nautical Nonsense “Spongebob Squarepants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever!”

30-Disc collection with special anniversary poster available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day on July 15, 2019. Available nationwide on August 27, 2019

NEW YORK – July 10, 2019 – Nickelodeon is celebrating twenty years of the worlds’ most recognizable yellow sponge with a special DVD release, SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever! This DVD collection, made up of two box-sets, will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Day on July 15, 2019, followed by a nationwide release on August 27, 2019 wherever DVDs are sold. Each DVD comes with the special-edition 20th anniversary SpongeBob SquarePants poster, which was created specifically for Nickelodeon San Diego Comic-Con and features all 760 characters and creatures that have ever appeared on the show. 

This collection contains SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes & SpongeBob SquarePants: The Next 100 Episodes and features every deep-sea adventure from the first 200 episodes of the series. Get lost in the zany and wonderful world of Bikini Bottom and relive every “F.U.N.” episode from the first nine seasons including classic episodes such as “SpongeBob You’re Fired,” “It Came from Goo Lagoon,” and “Mermaidman Begins.”                         

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Best 200 Episodes Ever! fast facts:
Street Date: June 15, 2019 (Amazon Prime); August 27, 2019 (nationwide)
Catalog: 59207160000 (US); 59207161000 (CAN)
Running Time: 75 hrs 33 min
Audio: Dolby Digital English Stereo
S.R.P.: $76.99

Copyright: MediaMikes.com © 2019 · Powered by: nGeneYes, Inc. · Login

All logos and images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies. All Rights Reserved. Some of the content presented on our sites has been provided by contributors, other unofficial websites or online news sources, and is the sole responsibility of the source from which it was obtained. MediaMikes.com is not liable for inaccuracies, errors, or omissions found herein. For removal of copyrighted images, trademarks, or other issues, Contact Us.