Being a die-hard horror fan, I’m always on the lookout for new, original stories that are ready to unleash new horrors on viewers. That’s what drew me to Franck Khalfoun’s newest film, “Prey” – an abandoned island creature feature that’s strong enough to look past its flaws. The film follows Toby (Logan Miller), a high school senior who is sent to a rehabilitation program after his father (Anthony Jensen) is murdered by carjackers. In this program, Toby is forced to stay on an uninhabited island as his final test in order to “find himself” and work through his issues.
With a fun sense of wit that stems from a strong leading performance from Tsai Chin, writer/director Sasie Sealy crafts a great feature debut with a healthy mix of dark comedy and crime drama. The film follows Grandma Wong (Chin), a mean-spirited, chain-smoking Chinese grandmother who lives within New York City’s Chinatown. After a meeting with a local fortune teller (Wai Ching Ho) who tells Wong that she has good fortune coming her way, she travels to the casino to bet the last amount of money her husband has left her after he passed. While things go well at first as Wong starts to rack up a fortune, she eventually loses it all on a bad bet. Feeling rotten about losing it all, Wong’s luck quickly turns around when a bag full of money lands in her lap. However, this money has a lot of baggage that goes with it that lands Wong in the middle of a gang war that could put her and her family in danger.
Okay, frankly I didn’t really know how to start this review other than saying: This movie’s weird. Not weird in a bad way or anything like that, but Lucile Hadzilhalilovic’s “Evolution” constantly had me scratching my head and looking away with how graphically creepy and oddly confusing it can be. The film’s premise is actually pretty intriguing and relatively simple as we follow Nicolas (Max Brebant), a sickly young boy living in a sea-side town where young boys and women are its only residents. However, when Nicolas discovers the body of a boy in the ocean, he begins to question everything around him. He questions how why they’re actually on the island if his mother is who she claims she is, and why he and the other boys must be hospitalized. This questioning is what makes him dangerous to the women, whose motives aren’t so clear, and what makes him look for a way off of the island.
Anthology films have always been a great outlet for new filmmakers to not only share their own visions but also collaborate with other filmmakers. The horror genre has been mainly home to this kind of storytelling and has seen plenty of filmmakers make their mark through strong and scary short films. However, when I think back through the anthology films that I’ve seen, there aren’t many times where I can think of female directors getting their chance to tell their stories. For the most part, horror has been a male-dominated genre, but, thankfully, there actually is an anthology film out there solely full of female talent that’s worth diving right into.
Generally, when news breaks at a film festival that a film gets a standing ovation, sometimes even between 10 to 20 minutes, it’s pretty clear that it's well-received. If no news really breaks for the film or bad reviews come out, it’s easily labeled as bad. However, as a horror fan, when news breaks that a film makes people sick when they watch it and possibly even need medical attention, there’s that gut feeling you get that this film is special. This was the reaction when writer/director Julia Ducournau’s feature debut, “Raw,” made an appearance at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Personally, I remember hearing about “Raw” and being intrigued by its rave reviews and reaction but have always struggled to pull the trigger and give it a watch.
By Tom Moore DreamWorks’ new film “Abominable” has the animation and voice acting chops to be another hit for the studio but lacks the story details and development to be anything more than just okay. The film follows Yi (voiced by Chloe Bennet), a young girl who is determined to gather enough money in order... Continue Reading →
From sports to comic books, fandom has become a pivotal part of pop culture and for some people it’s an integral part of their daily lives. However, no fandom has transcended through generations more rapidly and with greater force than that of Boy Band fandom. Since The Beatles hit the music scene back in the 60s, fangirls have come from near and far to simply just be in presence of their favorite boy bands and have gone so far as to make them a part of their who they are as a person. Normally, most girls are told that this is a phase in their lives and that when they’re older they’ll look back and think that they were just immature – but is this really true. Well, this is what Australian filmmaker Jessica Leski uncovers in her new documentary “I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story,” and the result is a very engrossing film that expertly covers the positive and negative effects boy band fandom can have and the roles they’ve played in women’s lives for generations.