Sundance Review: “Mayday”

Year: 2021Runtime: 100 minutesWriter/Director: Karen CinorreStars: Grace Van Patten, Mia Goth, Soko, Havana Rose Líu, Theodore Pellerin, Juliette Lewis By Morgan Roberts When we are at a crossroads in life, how do we ever truly escape to be able to examine where we want to go? In “Mayday“ (2021), Ana (Grace Van Patten) is transported to another world where women rule the island and men … Continue reading Sundance Review: “Mayday”

Sundance Review: “Film About a Father Who”

Year: 2020 Runtime: 74 minutes Director: Lynne Sachs Writer: Lynne Sachs By Joan Amenn Part of the lineup of documentaries having to do with family histories at Sundance and also shown at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City in an exhibition of her work, Lynne Sachs’ “Film About a Father Who” (2020) is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Like looking … Continue reading Sundance Review: “Film About a Father Who”

Review: Dear Guest

Year: 2020 Runtime: 11 minutes Director: Megan Freels Johnston Writer: Megan Freels Johnston Actors: Ashley Bell, Noureen DeWulf By Joan Amenn The season of long, dark shadows can’t end now, when we have one last little gem of a scare to enjoy in “Dear Guest” (2020). Director Megan Freels Johnston concocted this quick potion of a disturbing “what if” scenario and although short, it packs … Continue reading Review: Dear Guest

Kajillionaire #LFF2020Review

July’s latest, “Kajillionaire”, sees her carrying straight ahead in her now signature style, and so is not likely to change much for either party. The film tells the story of Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood), a twenty-something woman who lives and works with her parents (Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins) as thieves and con-artists in Los Angeles. Old Dolio has for her whole life only ever been used as a playing piece in her parents’ efforts to become rich – her name came from a homeless man who won the lottery, in a vain attempt to get some of his newfound money from him – and the closest thing to love and affection she’s ever received from her parents is the even share she gets of their con jobs. Continue reading Kajillionaire #LFF2020Review

Review: The Devil to Pay

“The Devil to Pay” has been getting a lot of positive buzz, and deservedly so. It has been described as a thriller and a kind of Southern Gothic horror. While it is true these elements combine to make an engrossing story, the heart of the film is a mother’s love for her son. Lemon (Danielle Deadwyler) and her son Coy, (Ezra Haslam) are living a difficult, backbreaking life in the Appalachians. It is one of the poorest regions of America and also one of the most isolated. Lemon awaits the return of her husband who has left on an errand for a local matriarch of a powerful family who invokes a “creed” to maintain power under the pretense of keeping law and order. Lemon has never paid any mind to how her society shaped her life until she has to take action to protect her son. The love between them is the most believable, touching part of the film and little Ezra Haslam deserves a special shoutout for his portrayal. Continue reading Review: The Devil to Pay

Review: 12 Hour Shift

“12 Hour Shift” is the sophomore feature-length directorial effort from writer/director Brea Grant after the dark comedy road trip film “Best Friends Forever”; and it looks like Grant has aimed for a larger canvas whilst keeping in the dark comedy genre. But with all the constant plate spinning of genres, characters, situations all within a single location (for the most part), does Grant succeed? Continue reading Review: 12 Hour Shift

Retrospective Review: Bring it On

“Awesome, oh wow! Like, totally freak me out! I mean, right on! The Toros sure are number one!” How many times have you sung this to yourself? What about the film’s classic opening number: “I’m sexy, I’m cute, I’m popular to boot”? Peyton Reed’s “Bring It On” celebrates its 20 anniversary this year and the cheerleading teen comedy has achieved a cult following since its release and spawned a further five instalments in the series.

Kirsten Dunst stars as Torrance Shipman, the recently elected captain of the Toros cheerleading squad at the affluent Rancho Carne High School in San Diego, California. The football team sucks but their cheerleading team are five-time national champions and the true athletes of the school. As Torrance prepares her squad to battle for their sixth consecutive trophy, problems arise when she discovers that her predecessor (Lindsay Sloane as Big Red) has been stealing their dynamic routines from the primarily black squad, the East Compton Clovers, for years. Continue reading Retrospective Review: Bring it On