Hopedale Mail

A Debt Owed, a Debt Paid

The Covenant

If you’re in the market for an action-filled, military propaganda-fueled, white knuckle, sphincter-clinching, thrill-ride war movie, then you should probably look elsewhere. While there are firefights and explosions in THE COVENANT, what you’ll mostly find are incredibly intense moments, nuanced and deep human characters, and an up close and personal view of the Hell that millions of Afghan people have experienced for the last 20 years, and still experience today under the control of the ruthless Taliban. Action takes a back seat to an emotional, thought-provoking, and humanistic subject in this grueling picture from Director Guy Ritchie.

Unlikely Friendships Amidst Relentless Warfare

The Beast (Beast of War)

Drive headfirst into the murky and tumultuous waters of 1980s Afghanistan as THE BEAST unchains a dramatic saga where the Soviet military might clash with unwavering Afghan grit. The lens, albeit American, transports audiences to a world where allegiance, ethics, and survival battle in a dangerous back and forth. What comes from the conflict is a narrative as unyielding as the rugged terrains it's set against, offering a vantage point to dissect imperial tendencies from a safe yet emotionally charged distance.

Synthesizing Narratives of Bold Beats

Sisters with Transistors

The unfolding narrative of SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS is like a musical score that transcends mere auditory delight and delves into realms of history, gender, and innovation. Through the lens of director Lisa Rovner, we are granted a backstage pass into the life and times of pioneering women who stormed the gates of the electronic music kingdom, a realm often misperceived as a boys-only club.

Gruesome Secrets Lurk in Hallowed Art Halls

End of Term

Mat Menony's END OF TERM unveils a dreadful tale where the calm and poised hallways of the esteemed Ford Barrington Art School bleed into a realm of haunting dread and eerie revelations. The movie doesn’t just haunt with its horror-thriller tag ‘DEATH IS ART’ but plunges deep into the murky waters of an artist’s psyche entwined with a haunting legacy stretching back half a century. It’s not merely about the ghosts that lurk in the shadows but also the dark lore of Garth Stroman (Ivan Kaye,) a twisted artist of yore, hanging ominously over the aspiring artists as they race towards the day of their dreams—Graduation Day.

Scotland's Shadows Stretch Over Sinister Story

When Darkness Falls

A journey into WHEN DARKNESS FALLS is like an unexpected rain shower on a seemingly sun-filled day. It begins with a gentle sprinkle of suspense, steadily escalating into a storm of terror. Nathan Shepka, the director of this excursion, alongside co-writer Tom Jolliffe, strives to weave a narrative that balances the serene beauty of the Scottish Highlands with the sinister undertones of an unforeseen peril.

Familial Shadows Linger in the Unseen’s Halls

The Unseen

THE UNSEEN brings us into the cold, disciplined embrace of the Olson household, a place where strict patriarch Dan Olson, portrayed with grit by William Mark McCullough, lays a heavy legacy upon the shoulders of his young law graduate son, Tommy Olson (RJ Mitte, Breaking Bad.) Vincent Shade, the director of this cinematic ship, opens a narrative window into a world where eerie occurrences mesh with the mundane corridors of courtroom drama and family dynamics.

A Soirée Spirals Into Emotional Abyss

The Send-Off

Dive into a deep end with a narrative splash in THE SEND-OFF, where the glitter and glamour of Hollywood serve as the backdrop to a heartening tale. Led by the character Dan Richards (Zachary Ray Sherman,) the story steers through a night of unexpected confrontations amidst what initially starts as a friendly gathering at his lavish abode. But, as the evening progresses, exchanges twist into revelations of grim realities. The transition from cheerful to something far darker demonstrates the striking potential of independent filmmaking and its essence of emotive resonance.

A Chilling Narrative of Love and Fear


STORM brings a unique creativity, affirming that 8 minutes can craft an emotional and haunting narrative. As the story unfolds, you are whisked into a peculiarly ominous tale. The grim take on today's relationships encased in an early 2000s horror and thriller ambiance will intrigue viewers. In the stormy heart of this narrative lie our protagonists, Isabelle (Tara Raani) and Malcolm (Justin Tanks,) who are entangled in a reality that's as unsettling as the storm brewing outside their Los Angeles dwelling.

Coaching Duo Courts Controversy and Camaraderie

Warrior Strong

Amidst the bouncing basketballs and screeching sneakers, WARRIOR STRONG tackles a broad range of emotions, ideals, and redemption, resonating well beyond the echo of the game whistle. We step into the sneakers of Bilal Irving, portrayed by Jordan Johnson-Hinds, whose professional basketball voyage veers into a storm, eventually casting him ashore on the familiar grounds of his former high school. The tale unfolds as he assumes the mantle of a coach, steering young hoop dreams amidst the community, camaraderie, and old grievances.

Authentic Performances Enhance Narrative

Gamma Rays (Les Rayons Gamma)

Experience the voyage into the lives of young hearts called GAMMA RAYS, which showcases a graceful blend of humor, drama, and genuine exploration of multicultural realities. With the lively backdrop of modern-day Canada, the film ventures into the complexities of growing up amidst a diverse cultural setting, illuminating the potential beauty and struggle interwoven within such a framework.

Village Skepticism Unleashes Power Dynamics

Mami Wata

In MAMI WATA, a tranquil coastal village named Iyi becomes the serene yet emotionally turbulent land where tradition and modernity cross swords. Under the direction of CJ "Fiery" Obasi, the film gracefully uncovers a narrative filled with spiritual undertones and earthly dilemmas. With black and white cinematography, the film resembles a visual art gallery come to life.

Chasing Shadows in a Grim Metropolis

Limbo (Zhì chi)

Stepping into the darkened streets of Hong Kong as depicted in LIMBO, we are invited into a haunting chase shrouded in the monochrome palette of sin and virtue. The grim tale unfolds fervently, directed with elegance by Soi Cheang. Our protagonists, a world-weary detective Cham Lau (Ka-Tung Lam) and his inexperienced partner, dive headlong into a labyrinth of danger and desperation. This is no ordinary case, as they're on the trail of a remorseless serial killer whose deeds leave the city in fear.

College Antics and Adult Angst Unfold

The Re-Education of Molly Singer

THE RE-EDUCATION OF MOLLY SINGER is something we’ve all seen before, but that doesn’t mean it's terrible. The film carries a whimsical charm, launching audiences into a comedy-infused expedition from courtroom antics to the college campus. Our protagonist, Molly Singer (played with delightful perfection by Britt Robertson), navigates the unsteady waters of professional life, finding herself steering back to the halls of her alma mater. Don’t be mistaken; this movie isn’t the next cinematic masterpiece, but it doesn’t claim to be. It’s a fun and mostly light-hearted comedy meant to entertain.

Dark Comedy Meets Crime in Artistic Showdown

The Kill Room

THE KILL ROOM takes on a bold venture as it dives into the clandestine realms where the illustrious world of art collides with the gritty substrates of criminal undertakings. With the sprawling and often murky world of New York City's art circuit as its backdrop, this narrative endeavors to thread humor amidst the thrilling contours of a criminal storyline. As viewers, we are ushered into a maze where art and crime are not just bedfellows but accomplices in an intriguing narrative dance.

Bertolino Is in It for the Boos


On a brisk New England autumn evening in 1991, David Bertolino opened the gates of his Berlin, Massachusetts farm to hundreds of creatures of the night. Fear fanatics from miles around queued up for the Spooky Hayrides at what would soon be known as Spooky World, the first Halloween theme park. Monsters and zombies waited in the shadows to terrorize their willing and captive prey. The rest is the stuff of legend.

Adams’ Evolution: a Gruesome Narrative Arc

Where the Devil Roams/The Deeper You Dig

In indie horror, there is a deep competition to stand out and do something others haven’t done. The genre is packed with countless imitations, all fighting for their spot in the light. Yet, The Adams family steered their storytelling ship through its murky waters, bringing unsettling and touchingly real tales to the forefront of the festival circuit and beyond. Dive in as we explore two distinct chapters of their dark universe. So, little did I know that last year, when I watched this indie horror film called HELLBENDER, I was in for a much deeper exploration. I had never heard of The Adams Family (the all-in-one production company family) and their lofty goals in the filmmaking world. They star, direct, write, and produce their indie horror films and have made a name for themselves multiple times. HELLBENDER (see my review linked above) was their second prominent feature, and I saw their names pop up again for an upcoming festival for WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMS; needless to say, I was excited; HELLBENDER showed so much of what they had to offer. So I immediately reached out to get a screener for their newest venture; in doing so, I was honored with a screener of THE DEEPER YOU DIG, their 2019 premiere (there were a few titles before, but it seems this was really “the start.”) My double feature review of their first and most current films follows, and my thoughts on the family and where they are headed in the community.

Unmasking Silence of a Prestigious Household

A Silence (Un Silence)

Welcome aboard the intense narrative journey that is A SILENCE. The Schaars, a once revered family living the quiet suburban life, find their world rocked as whispers of a disturbing nature find their way through the hushed corridors of their dignified home. François Schaar, the patriarch and a lawyer by profession, is now the centerpiece of rumors that threaten to fracture the family. As the veil of silence gets pierced by Astrid and their teenage children, Caroline and Raphael, a quest for truth spirals into an arena of legal battles and societal judgment.

Unraveling Creativity in Countdown to Chaos

The Last Movie Ever Made

In the first scene of THE LAST MOVIE EVER MADE, I was instantly reminded of a personal favorite in what I can only assume is an homage to THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. Under the discerning lens of Nathan Blackwell, this saga embarks on a path less traveled. It takes us on a whimsical journey different from the typical apocalyptic stories, ushering the audience into a realm where human aspirations dare challenge the ticking doomsday clock.

Resurrecting Rome’s Old Ghosts


Amidst the somber overtones of ambition and corruption, SUBURRA unfolds a sinister narrative in contemporary Rome, shedding light on a dangerous playing field where political dreams intertwine with criminal machinations in a grim dance of power and betrayal. Through the lens of a daring venture aimed at transforming an ancient harbor into a sanctuary of modern excess, the movie catapults its audience into a vortex of escalating tension that spirals towards a deadly climax over a harrowing week of deceit and anarchy.

Creepy Chronicles: Unveiling SpookyWorld's Veil


October's eerie whispers invoke a hunger for ghostly adventures in many souls. Amidst this spectral ambiance, David Bertolino's historical venture unfolds. He’s not just a creator of sinister spectacles but a dreamer whose ambitious endeavor, SpookyWorld, encapsulated the very essence of Halloween into an enduring, hair-raising spooktacular ride. The ghostly voyage of SpookyWorld is splendidly narrated in the documentary SPOOKTACULAR! under the meticulous directorial eyes of Quinn Monahan, with Tom Savini donning the cap of the supportive executive producer.

America’s Reproductive Discourse: a Cinematic Probe

Plan C

Sometimes, a movie is so important that a rating seems silly; this is one of those cases. This isn’t a topic that should be rated on a one to five-star scale; women’s health is more important than any rating. No shame to anyone who rates it; I just think that the topic of the film is far more critical. PLAN C strikes a chord, elegantly portraying a narrative infused with stern resolve, authentic struggles, and unyielding defiance against systemic encumbrances. The film flings open the curtains to a nerve-wracking discourse on medical abortion in the United States, more so following the unnerving overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Jack’s Journey

Three Quarters

The film THREE QUARTERS embarks on a daring venture, plunging deep into life's adversities and crafting a narrative that resonates personally with its audience. Dave Harlequin and the late Adam York are at the helm of this authentic portrayal, whose chemistry lays a foundation for a narrative filled with emotional storms and tranquil moments.

AI’s Stronghold: a Magnifying Glass!

AIMEE: The Visitor

Dive into the not-too-distant digital era where artificial beings aren't just a figment of our imagination but a reality we’re going to be forced to deal with. Full Moon Entertainment brings a playful twist to the AI realm with AIMEE: THE VISITOR. This isn't your typical flashy CGI, as the film's opening claims “The motion picture you are about to watch features a character using modern AI technology. AImee herself is not portrayed by an actor, nor was she designed using digital special effects. She is, in fact, the very first AI-created femme fatale in film history.” this is AI taking center stage. I won’t lie; this film posed many questions for me, even in terms of covering it. My deciding factor is that AI didn’t write the movie and that Full Moon Features is an independent studio. Still being a weird grey area that I don’t know 100% how I feel about, I decided to watch it and say it was an intriguing experience.

Metropolis Mayhem Calls Upon Canine Comrades

Scooby-Doo! And Krypto, Too!

In the bustling cityscape of Metropolis, something eerie breathes in the shadows, setting the stage for an adventure that melds the whimsical charm of Mystery Inc. with the daunting courage of superheroes. SCOOBY-DOO AND KRYPTO TOO! unfolds as a riddle-wrapped enigma, where our beloved gang steps into a realm brimming with larger-than-life adversities. This whimsical dive into the sinister heart of Metropolis unfolds under the creative vigilance of director Cecilia Aranovich Hamilton and scriptwriter T.K. O’Brien.

Wong's Radiant Cinematic Dance


The magnetic Anna May Wong leaps from obscurity in the US and shines brighter than ever across the pond in PICCADILLY, a genuinely riveting tale. Transported to the heart of the roaring twenties, viewers are given a sneak peek into the lives, the glamour, and the unanticipated twists of the Piccadilly Club. Oh, and when Shosho (Anna May Wong) steps out of the dark corners of her dishwashing duties into the enchanting glow of the stage? Hold on to your seats because it's an unforgettable ride!

Rhythmic Resilience Shines Bright

Finding Her Beat

If the chill of a Minnesota winter makes you think of cozying up indoors, think again. FINDING HER BEAT whisks you off your couch and dives deep into the pulsating world of taiko drumming right from the snow-covered landscapes of this northern state. There’s so much heart inside of those wooden drums!

Beautiful Darkness: a Noir Classic From Orson Welles

Touch of Evil

If you’re looking for a classic Noir film filled with mysterious murder plots, crooked cops, and a thick plot then TOUCH OF EVIL will likely be right up your alley. Stepping back into the 1950s in a grimy and happening U.S./Mexico border town this dark tale follows Mike Vargas, a Mexican cop who has just had his honeymoon derailed when the car of a wealthy businessman explodes right in front of him. During his investigation, Vargas takes the audience on a ride-along as the intense story unravels.

4K Revival, Resilience Amidst Revolution

Farewell My Concubine (Ba wang bie ji)

FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE celebrates three glorious decades with a 4K facelift that enhances its beauty and expands its narrative with an additional 20 minutes (which makes a massive difference for the epic.) For those who haven't had the pleasure yet, this cinematic gem isn't just a nostalgia trip—it boasts a spot on Time magazine's prestigious top 100 films roster. Oh, and did we mention this is the only Chinese film that has won the renowned Palme d’Or trophy?

What Leads to Tragedy?

Condition of Return

This film does show the events of a mass shooting, a deeply troubling issue that sadly confronts us all too frequently in America. It does not shy away from the harsh truths surrounding this devastating event. Be prepared, for there are moments in this film that are profoundly difficult to watch, as it delves into the gravity of its subject matter.

Love and Science: a Unique “Blend”

Designer $hit

When you marry the worlds of groundbreaking medicine and heartfelt narratives, you get DESIGNER $HIT, a delightful cinematic offering from director and subject Saffron Cassaday. This is a front-row seat to the exhilarating world of Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) and the whirlwind of emotions accompanying such a journey. Yep, I couldn’t have imagined typing that sentence before watching this, either.

Jessica Lange, a Journey Through Iconic Years

Film Focus: Jessica Lange (1982 – 1995)

Prepare to hop aboard a “reel” journey (okay, it sounded funnier in my head) highlighting the ebbs and flows of Jessica Lange’s career. Over a span that encapsulates a little more than a decade, we witness the metamorphosis of an artist who combines vulnerability with an undying spirit in every performance. Through each frame, from the brooding streets of FRANCES to the heartbreaking performances in LOSING ISAIAH, Lange steals our attention every time she appears on the screen.

Power Dynamics Explored Unapologetically

Sex, Power, and Money: Films by Beth B

Beth B broke the mold of traditional cinema, making waves in an industry where sticking to convention is all too common. Originating from the iconic “No Wave film movement” in New York during the end of the 20th century, she's sculpted a space for herself that few can parallel. But think again if you're in for a regular movie night. SEX, POWER, AND MONEY: FILMS BY BETH B isn't here to fit the norm but to challenge it. These films will make you think and will, at times, make you uncomfortable.

A Nostalgic Nightmare Awaits

Final Summer

In John Isberg's FINAL SUMMER, past meets present in a dance of dread and delight. Transported to Camp Silverlake in 1991, you'll feel the retro pull of the 80s while the glint of the neon 90s looms large. But there's more here than just a nostalgic tug; lurking shadows threaten to rewrite the tales of summer camp we once knew. Can all of this be blended to form a cohesive scare fest?

Shadows and Technology Collide

Dark Asset

Embark on an escapade with DARK ASSET, helmed by Michael Winnock. Here, the future's tech marvels meet the dusty cobwebs of espionage. Within moments, Byron Mann's portrayal as John, an undercover agent with a past deeper than most, becomes the center of our attention. Alongside, the cold, calculating Dr. Cain, played by Robert Patrick, and the multifaceted Jane, brought to life by Helena Mattsson, set the cinematic stage.

Buirski's Deep Dive Into '60s NYC and More

Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy

When you think of New York's gritty streets during the transformative era of the '60s and '70s, you might envision neon lights, bustling avenues, and perhaps a cowboy? Nancy Buirski delivers just that with DESPERATE SOULS, DARK CITY AND THE LEGEND OF MIDNIGHT COWBOY, serving us a feast of cinematic nostalgia. It's as if she's inviting us to hop into a retro time machine, complete with groovy tunes and vintage film reels, to revisit that bygone era.

Legends in the Making, a Film Lovers Must!

Early Short Films of the French New Wave

If you don’t own a Blu-ray player, now is the time to go out and buy one! Sure, this is also available on DVD, but the stunning 2K restoration is evident in almost every frame of this must-own set on Blu-ray! Delve into the vibrant epoch where French cinema was turned on its head, thanks to the EARLY SHORT FILMS OF THE FRENCH NEW WAVE. Here's a time capsule, a shimmering anthology, ready to whisk you off to an era spanning the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. Imagine a world bursting with innovation, where mavericks like Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Melvin Van Peebles, and more were busy painting the canvas of cinema with new strokes and fresh colors.

Youthful Passion, 80s Edition

Valley Girl

Step into the vibrant world of the 1980s with Martha Coolidge’s VALLEY GIRL. It’s an electrifying journey that resonates with both heartbeats of the past and universal truths of the heart. Deborah Foreman plays the role of Julie Richman, a stylish suburbanite with grace and flair. When she unexpectedly crosses paths with Randy, a “punk” from Hollywood magnificently portrayed by Nicolas Cage, her world gets chaotic and turned upside down.

Supernatural Meets Real World Struggles

Beneath Us All

If you haven’t heard of Harley Wallen, you should remedy that; my guess is within a few years, the entire horror community will know the name. This is the third film I’ve reviewed of his, following ASH AND BONE and THE DEVIL’S LEFT HAND and this was my favorite of the three! BENEATH US ALL is like a mesmerizing dance between historical folktales and the sharp echoes of dark fantasies. With the resurrection of the age-old vampire, Frey (Yan Birch), we’re thrust into a cinematic adventure that spans time and emotion.

Nostalgia's Cinematic Charm

The First Time

Embarking on a journey back to the spirited year of 1969, THE FIRST TIME unravels a youthful misadventure brimming with aged awkwardness that makes the film even more amusing than it was at the time. Our journey begins with three teens; their paths intertwine with the mysterious Anna, encapsulated with grace by Jacqueline Bisset. A missing passport, a misconception, and suddenly, our teenage trio believes Anna is involved in a centuries-old profession. With enthusiasm (and a dash of naiveté), they decide to aid her across the U.S. frontier, only to be met with unexpected lessons on growing up.

Double the Trouble, Double the Action

Double Trouble

In the realm of cinematic enjoyment, the dynamic duo of Peter and David Paul, affectionately known as the Barbarian brothers, have consistently embodied the spirit of entertainment. "Double Trouble," released in 1992, further solidifies their reputation as purveyors of sheer amusement. This offbeat action-comedy stands as an epitome of the B-movie genre, unabashedly embracing its irresistibly "so-bad-it's-good" allure, ensuring an uproarious and captivating viewing experience.

Shadows of Unchecked Authority

El Conde

You know those films you watch, and after the credits roll, you don’t know how you feel about it, yet the longer you think about the film, the more you appreciate it? That’s the case here; after screening the movie, I had difficulty processing the mix of genres, the film's aesthetic, the varied styles of acting, etc., yet after thinking about it for a few days, I fell hard for this movie in the best way possible! From the mind of Pablo Larraín springs a captivating cinematic experience, EL CONDE, where the icy chapters of Chile's past beautifully blend with classic vampire tales. Instead of presenting Augusto Pinochet as a textbook dictator, we find him reincarnated as another type of dark creature, lurking and longing in the corridors of an ancient manor. This isn't just a story; it explores legacy, fame, and an insatiable hunger for power.

Beyond the Shadows of Live-Action

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 4K release

Hang tight, live-action fans, because BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM is once again gliding into the cinematic spotlight, and trust me, it sets the bar high every time! No more lurking or skulking for this animated sensation—it bravely dives right into the heart of Batman's intricate past, meshing it with the mysterious allure of the Phantasm. As we traverse Gotham’s alleyways, what unravels isn't just a battle for territorial dominance but a deep dive into the psyche of a hero grappling with inner dilemmas and challenges. This 4K release is perhaps the pinnacle of the Batverse, stunning yet still respectful to the source material; the transfer is what all animation deserves.

Navigating Familial Tensions on-Screen

The Automatic Hate

When the fast-paced beats of Boston streets meet the serene whispers of the countryside, magic happens. This is the cinematic charm we get in THE AUTOMATIC HATE. Here, under Justin Lerner's keen directorial eye, Joseph Cross’ Davis is shown transitioning from a city dweller to a seeker of family secrets. This story, painted in broad strokes, highlights the ever-compelling tug of our family roots.

The 5th Floor: Enter If You Dare

Elevator Game

Director Rebekah McKendry was behind the 2022 Shudder movie GLORIOUS, one of my most recommended 2022 horror films. Can ELEVATOR GAME, her follow-up, strike gold again? This time, we’re drawn into a web of digital myths and fears. Amid our modern age, it calls us back to the oldest human instinct: curiosity. At its core is Ryan (Gino Anania,) whose determination to uncover the puzzling disappearance of his sister leads him to a group of internet personalities eager to clickbait the next haunting tale.

The Music Will Move You

Elis & Tom

Elis & Tom is a peak in Bosa Nova music history. The Brazilian music album features Elis Regina and Tom Jobim bringing their massive talents together to craft the album. Regina had wanted to record Jobim’s songs with him for years, and in 1974, over a few weeks, the recordings finally happened. Like the recently released Beatles Get Back recording sessions, Elis & Tom was one of those magical moments when artists come together at just the right time to create magic, and fortunately, a 16mm camera was running to preserve those sessions.

An Epic Tale of Lords and Gypsies

The Spanish Dancer

Great intrigue, sweet romance, and exciting sword fights are sights to be witnessed in the 1923 silent classic THE SPANISH DANCER. Set during a turbulent time between France and Spain, this film spins a tale that brings together kings, queens, nobles, and commoners in a thrilling, funny, and heartbreaking manner that plays out like an intense game of chess. It’ll have you in your seat pondering about what could happen next.

A Labyrinth of Tension and Horror


There was a time when I thought I wasn’t a fan of Dario Argento’s films! Come to find out, I just wasn’t a fan of SUSPIRIA (his highest-rated overall movie). I haven’t seen everything he’s done, but of the seven others I’ve seen, I’ve loved them all. Dario Argento has a knack for keeping us on our toes in cinema. And back in 1982, he whipped up TENEBRAE – a delectable mix of mystery, horror, and some good old Italian cinematic flair. Imagine landing in Rome to launch your novel, only to find life imitating art in the most twisted ways. That's the whirlwind journey that Peter Neal, brought to vibrant life by Anthony Franciosa, is on.

Just When He Thought He Was Out

Carlito's Way

From the lips of another beloved Pachino portrayal, Michael Corleone, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” These words could not have rung truer for “retired” gangster Carlito when he gets set free from a thirty-year jail sentence after just serving five. Back on the streets and loaded with nothing but his smarts and a dream of escaping to paradise, Carlito navigates life in the world that he thought he left behind, but in truth, he was left behind by the world.

Ronnie Yu Has a Special Delivery for You

The Postman Fights Back

The Postman Fights Back is a very exciting film to watch because we witness a group of martial arts icons come together in the infancy of their careers. Ronnie Yu is a director many may only know from horror films such as Freddy vs. Jason and Bride of Chucky, but he built his career on Hong Kong martial arts films with The Bride with White Hair being of note. Also, a young Chow Yun-Fat is part of the ensemble cast. Finally, fight direction is handled in this film by Woo-Ping Yuen, yes, the man responsible for the beautiful fights in movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Age-Old Tale Takes Modern Spi

The Last House On The Left (2009)

Here’s a unique opening for one of my reviews! Have you ever considered an ancient Swedish ballad and its potential connections to modern horror? Well, "Töres dotter i Wänge" is just such a tune, and its tale of a father’s relentless quest for justice after his daughter Mari's harrowing incident is our story for the day, from Ingmar Bergman's 1960 film Jungfrukällan (The Virgin Spring) to the 1972 film by the master of horror, which was Wes Craven’s low budget directorial debut The Last House on the Left.

Double Creature Feature Delight

Ghoulies 1 & 2

Embarking on the cinematic journey that GHOULIES and GHOULIES II offer is like hopping aboard a train ride — one moment, you're wandering the echoing halls of haunted mansions, and the next, you're swaying to the rhythmic chaos of a theme park filled with mischievous creatures.

Beyond the Quiet, Brilliance Resides

Little Jar

Halfway through writing this review, I decided that I wouldn’t even give the most minor spoilers regarding the “twist” in this film. If you want to watch this, don’t read more about it than you have to, and just jump in for the experience! LITTLE JAR explores solitude's vast realms and the creative bursts it can inspire in a world where silence can speak louder than words. Ainsley, a character Kelsey Gunn impeccably embodies, is trying to wade through 2020's unexpected challenges. She basks in the break from the daily grind, but soon, life's playful mischief, like glitchy gadgets, paints her surroundings in hues of silence. This film genuinely got to me in the best way possible; I’ve never felt so heard!

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Spirit of Ecstasy (La Vénus d'argent)

Welcome to the vibrant landscape where Jeanne (Pomme), a spirited 24-year-old, grapples with the constraints of a militarized existence. Under her father's vigilant gaze, a devoted law enforcer, Jeanne's dreams aren't draped in riches but bathed in the enthusiasm for independence. A sentiment so vividly rendered when a shop window meets its shattering fate at her hands.

Exposing Shadows: a Deep Dive

Death of a Whistleblower

Deep in the heart of Johannesburg's hustle and bustle, we are introduced to DEATH OF A WHISTLEBLOWER. If you thought this was just about navigating the twists and turns of a bustling African city, think again. Luyanda Masinda is more than just exploring her life; she's navigating a world riddled with secrets after Stanley Galloway's enigmatic end. Galloway's demise isn't just a tragic loss of a fleeting romance; it's the first thread Luyanda pulls, unraveling a murky shroud of deceit. And as lines tend to do, it leads her to cross paths with the mysterious Albert Loots as the plot thickens!

Deceit, Drama, and Deliverance Unfold

The Umbrella Men: Escape from Robben Island

Just when you thought the adventures of the eclectic team of Jerome, Morty, Mila, Keisha, and the unwavering Auntie Val were over, things take another exciting turn. In the serene aftermath of their escapades, a deceptive calm sweeps through. But as we all know, serenity is often the calm before a storm in cinema. Suddenly, the duo of Jerome and Morty are tangled in the historical Robben Island Prison, setting the stage for a thrilling rescue mission. Of course, the girls are up for the challenge without being caught!

Lost in Translation, Found in Bonding

Io sto bene

Welcome, dear readers, to the vibrant streets of Luxembourg, artfully captured in IO STO BENE, where the unexpected occurs most delightfully. Picture this: Antonio, a seasoned Italian expatriate portrayed by Renato Carpentieri, has his paths crossed with Leo, an enthusiastic artist, thanks to Sara Serraiocco's spirited performance. Their worlds clash due to a mundane car accident. Talk about fate and have a quirky sense of humor!

Comedy and Kung Fu: a Golden Harvest Classic

The Prodigal Son

Drop-kicking its way straight out of Hong Kong and onto your TV sets comes this beautiful release of a Golden Harvest classic from director Sammo Hung! Leung Chang, played by Biao Yuen (Once Upon a Time in China, Righting Wrongs), the hapless son of a wealthy family, gains a reputation as a feared fighter only to find out that his father has been paying his competition to lose to keep him safe. It’s not until he unwittingly challenges a real kung fu master, Brother Tai, who is played by Ching-Ying Lam (The Way of the Dragon, Fists of Fury), who has been parading as the leading lady in an opera that he is shamefully beaten. With Chang’s world crashing around him; he follows the flamboyant master and begs him to teach him the ways of his Wing Chun kung fu.

From Haunting Elegance to Adrenaline Rush

Another Day to Live Through

Peter Simmons, a fresh face in the feature film directorial arena, takes us on a profound cinematic escapade, merging the unique essences of British and Finnish storytelling in ANOTHER DAY TO LIVE THROUGH. Imagine a world where each scene unravels like a riddle, beckoning you to solve it. While there are some growing pains in consistency and quality, I was impressed as a whole.

Media Meets Drama: a Review

On the Pulse (Vivants)

ON THE PULSE is here to remind us why we love movies about media. Picture this: Gabrielle (Alice Isaaz,) an eager young journalist, steps into the whirlwind world of top-tier news broadcasting. With the ink still fresh on her notepad and determination in her eyes, she faces off with the no-nonsense editor-in-chief, Vincent (Roschdy Zem.) All of the ingredients for an epic showdown, you see where this is headed!

Adolescence: More Than Growing Pains

For Night Will Come (En attendant la nuit)

This is the year of the vampire, and I don’t know how else to put that. There are four feature films at Venice this year, all about vampires. This is my second of the four, and wow! In the seemingly ordinary canvas of suburbia, Céline Rouzet's FOR NIGHT WILL COME bursts forth with a story that's anything but typical. Let's set the scene: The Feral family is your average next-door neighbor. But wait, their son, Philemon (Mathias Legout Hammond,) isn't your run-of-the-mill teenager. He has layers, folks, and his magnetic connection with Camila (Céleste Brunnquell,) the girl from next door, beckons us into a world where thirst goes beyond late-night fridge raids.

Ruth Gruber, the American Icon You Don’t Know

Ahead of Time

Ruth Gruber became the world’s youngest Ph.D. at age 20, became a journalist at age 24, and finally, she was recruited for a secret mission by the Roosevelt administration during World War II. Her words are poetic, historic, and ahead of her own time. This is a woman who went to Germany and pretended to be a German citizen, relinquishing the protections granted her by being an American, to be among other citizens at a Hitler rally just to try and truly understand who Hitler was and why he was beloved by so many.

Betrayal and Brilliance


Christopher Nolan's 'Following' is nothing short of a cinematic revelation. In this audacious debut feature, Nolan masterfully weaves a tale of obsession, deception, and identity that leaves you breathless from start to finish. With a limited budget, he employs inventive storytelling techniques, such as a non-linear narrative, to create a mind-bending experience that keeps you guessing until the very end.

From Harrowing Beginnings to Poignant Endings

Through the Night (Quitter la nuit)

Delphine Girard takes us on an unforgettable cinematic adventure with THROUGH THE NIGHT. This isn't your typical Friday night flick; it's a full-on emotional ride through the corridors of fate, feeling, and the fabric of human connection. This film is the spiritual successor to Girard’s 2020 Academy Award-nominated short film SISTER, which I remember vividly as one of the most potent shorts I had seen in years of watching the nominated shorts. That, along with the addition of one of my favorite actors/directors, Veerle Baetens (WHEN IT MELTS, THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN) starring in the film, set expectations high and deservedly so!

Seeking Unity, One Signature at a Time

State of the Unity

State of the Unity is a road picture following a husband and wife musical duo known as The Bergamot as they tour across the country playing music and acquiring messages of unity from anyone willing to write their messages in Sharpie on the band’s dying old car. The film is a music-infused time capsule of the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential election. The film isn’t about politics, though; it’s about people, about how we were and are divided, and about hope for a simple message to still have the power to bring us back together.

Unraveling Valkyrie's Hidden Truths


Deep in the Rockies' heart, the vast, breathtaking expanses of Colorado come alive with stories that make you sit up and notice. Valkyrie, the covert operation in these majestic mountains, is at risk. Their prized experiment, Sirona (Ashlynn Hideman), decides she's had enough and hightails it out. In hot pursuit, we've got Allen Cross's (Jeremy Calcote) squad, mercenaries tasked with a seemingly simple job: fetch the escapee. But when it's a matter of conscience versus contract, what's a seasoned mercenary leader like Cross to do?

Timeless Gangster Drama Revived


Set your clocks and step back into the 1970s cinema with a film about the vibrant world of 1930s Marseille, France. Here, we're not just spectators but explorers in a land painted with love triangles, rising ambitions, and murky alleyways where dreams and reality blur. Enter François Capella (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Roch Siffredi (Alain Delon,) two gangsters whose stories of purpose and rivalry topple some of the greatest gangster stories ever.

Tango Twists and Turns Reveal Secrets

Ariel: Back to Buenos Aires

The captivating portrait of a beautiful cityscape is more than just a backdrop in ARIEL: BACK TO BUENOS AIRES; the sights and the sounds of the city are the pulsating heart of a gripping narrative. This film takes you on an emotional whirlwind, diving deep into Argentina's rich history, including the dark side of war and questions about one's individuality and past.

From Intimate Moments to Grand Discourses

Personal and Political: The Films of Natalia Almada

If cinema is the key to our emotions, then Natalia Almada has crafted the master skeleton key with the PERSONAL AND POLITICAL: THE FILMS OF NATALIA ALMADA collection. Like the opening pages of a diary, every film offers a fresh scene, a new emotion, and a chapter of Mexican history brought vividly to life. These films are different from what I typically would have sought out. However, that is one of my favorite aspects of being a film critic: experiencing things you wouldn’t otherwise make you a better person overall. It gives you a window into worlds you would never have seen, and I loved this journey.

Scotland’s Ethereal Beauty Takes Center Stage

Mercy Falls

Prepare yourself for a fresh serving of mystery courtesy of director/co-writer Ryan Hendrick in the form of MERCY FALLS. Picture this: the pristine Scottish Highlands, city folk on a quest led by the persuasive Rhona (a commendable performance by Lauren Lyle), hoping to decode the secrets of a family cabin. But here's the twist! Along comes Carla, brought to life by Nicolette McKeown.

Soulful Search, Beautiful Execution

The Year of the Egg (L'anno dell'uovo)

When the going gets tough, the tough go searching for a little spiritual breather. Enter Adriano and Gemma, your not-so-average duo, seeking an oasis from the modern-day hustle. Their search ends at the Egg Community, led by the enigmatic Guru Rajani. The centerpiece? A magnificent Golden Egg, casting a gentle glow on their meditation sessions and friendly feasts. (yep, seriously)

Finding Friends: the Fiendish Femme Fatale Frankenstein Film


What happens when you mix a mother with OCD, a lazy eye, and a lonely girl? MAY is a bloody and grotesque modern take on a classic gothic monster story with outrageous characters, bleak cinematography, and some gnarly practical gore effects. This super fun early 2000s Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Nominee splatters its way into our hearts just as much as it carves up our heads. When writer/director Lucky McKee set out to retell Mary Shelley’s famous story through a modern lens, he not only created a monster; he created an LGBTQ cult icon!

A Cultural Exposé Turned Saga

God is a Woman

No, not the 2018 hit single from Ariana Grande; this documentary is as essential to the people it talks about as it is to the general preservation of film history. When the glitz of the 1970s dazzled the world, one director from France, Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau, didn't just soak in his Oscar afterglow. No, he embarked on a cinematic adventure to Panama. His focus? The mesmerizing Kuna community. What happened next?

Your Ultimate Film Compass

The Complete Story of Film (An Odyssey and A New Generation)

Have you ever felt the itch to whisk through the timelines of cinematic legends? Then you’ll want to dive into THE COMPLETE STORY OF FILM, directed by Mark Cousins. Seamlessly merging his two prior works, this documentary serves as the ultimate gateway, charting the impressive trajectory of movie-making magic from its humble beginnings to today's cinematic marvels.

Reality's Fragile Boundary

Black Circle (Svart cirkel)

BLACK CIRCLE, directed by Adrián García Bogliano, plunges its audience into a full-on 70s ambiance with supernatural suspense. It presents a chilling reminder that in this world, sometimes, old vinyl records are more than just music carriers; they can be gateways to something far more unsettling.

Fionna's Journey: Fresh yet Familiar

Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake

While there are many options in the vast sea of animation, FIONNA AND CAKE dive headfirst, emerging from the waters with treasures unseen. If you liked ADVENTURE TIME, you may or may not like this; it offers something comforting and familiar but also entirely different. And now, just when we thought the tales had ended, the saga of FIONNA AND CAKE jumped on the screen, promising even more excitement.

Riveting Portrayal of Today's Issues


MARISOL dives deep, striking a chord with the viewers in reflecting on contemporary challenges. Imagine experiencing the life of Marisol Rivera, brought to life by the talented Esmeralda Camargo. The screen practically sizzles with her raw intensity as she channels the plight and hopes of countless undocumented individuals. Remember the name, folks: Esmeralda Camargo is taking the cinematic world by storm, and although this is her first feature film, she has a bright future ahead.

Unchecked Pride in a Crumbling World


If you’ve dove into the world of zombies, you may think you've seen it all. Enter Steven Pierce's HERD, attempting to breathe new life into a horror subgenre that some might say has been done to (un)death. When your lead, Ellen Adair's Jamie Miller, is battling real zombies and the metaphorical skeletons in her closet, you're in for a unique ride.

From the Ocean Waves to Life’s Hurdles

What's My Name Again?

Ready for a vibrant cinematic journey through time? Then let's visit the sun-kissed beaches and neon nights of 1985 Southern California. WHAT’S MY NAME AGAIN? makes it clear that the 80s weren’t just about questionable fashion choices and catchy tunes; they were about self-discovery, deep-rooted secrets, and figuring out where one stands in the grand scheme of things.

Beyond the Mafia Drama


In the bustling labyrinth of New York's streets, GLORIA paints a vivid picture where two unlikely worlds clash: the dangerous domain of the mafia and an inspiring saga of unexpected guardianship. The brilliant Gena Rowlands steps into the shoes of a former showgirl, fatefully becoming the protector of young Phil, a boy trapped in the risky territory of mobsters.

Haunting New Orleans Nightmare

The Devils Left Hand

When you're in New Orleans, expect the unexpected, especially when a seemingly casual housewarming soirée unexpectedly transforms into an arena of ghostly occurrences. All thanks to Miss Vesna, portrayed by Aphrodite Nikolovski. As she steers the séance, the atmosphere shifts, and an uncanny force unfurls, shuffling its identity as though it's choosing outfits from a closet. As trust becomes a rare commodity among guests, one can't help but feel the atmospheric tension.

Branstrom Delivers Indie Horror Charm

Instant Life

Journey with Eric Albert Branstrom into the depths of independent horror with INSTANT LIFE, where a seemingly ordinary criminal plot morphs into something unexpected. In just a short 15-minute span, Branstrom and Christian Herominski transform a simple magic shop heist into a narrative brimming with suspense and surprises.

Art, Advocacy, and Authenticity

The Unabridged Mrs. Vera's Daybook

Immersing viewers into the lively veins of San Francisco, THE UNABRIDGED MRS. VERA'S DAYBOOK unveils a vibrant canvas splashed with colors of passion, activism, and resilience. The tale winds around the harmonious blend of visionary artists David Faulk and Michael Johnstone. Their union, amidst the heart-wrenching backdrop of the AIDS crisis, transforms from a mere partnership into an electrifying charge of hope and creativity in a city subdued by heartache.

Elizabeth Hurley and Shadows of the Past


Enter the cinematic realm of PIPER, where the glow of Elizabeth Hurley's performance illuminates every scene. Under Anthony Waller's meticulous direction, you're not just watching a movie but embarking on an adventure that ventures into the enigmatic depths of old legends. From the get-go, a narrative unfolds that will have you second-guessing every childhood story you've ever heard.

Legacy Vs. Originality in Cinema

New Fist Of Fury (Xin jing wu men)

Stepping into the shoes of a legend isn't a walk in the park, and director Lo Wei felt the gravity of this challenge when Bruce Lee's irreplaceable void loomed large. Imagine being at a carnival, and every ride is already legendary. Where would you set up your new ride? Enter Jackie Chan. Not too long ago, he performed daring stunts as a background stuntperson. But now? He stood on the cusp of a meteoric rise.

Youth's Journey: Euphoria to Desolation


Step into the vivid realms of Isla Vista, California, and be whisked away by the cinematic experience that is DELTOPIA. A tale soaked in sunlit vibes and youthful zest, it's like stepping into those heady post-high school days in Southern California. When every choice feels like the most significant decision of your life, that's the energy DELTOPIA encapsulates.Step into the vivid realms of Isla Vista, California, and be whisked away by the cinematic experience that is DELTOPIA. A tale soaked in sunlit vibes and youthful zest, it's like stepping into those heady post-high school days in Southern California. When every choice feels like the most significant decision of your life, that's the energy DELTOPIA encapsulates.

Awakening Amidst Shadows

Strangers in the House (Les Inconnus dans la Maison)

If you’re curious about unraveling family dynamics under the scrutinizing lens of society, STRANGERS IN THE HOUSE is here to satiate that thirst. Meticulously crafted by the brilliant minds of Henri-Georges Clouzot and Henri Decoin, this cinematic experience deftly combines stirring emotions with drama while offering a magnifying glass to subtle societal judgments. Each frame evokes a sense of nostalgia, echoing the glamour and brilliance of Hollywood's golden age.

Emotions Run, but Where To?


When one steps into BRIGHTWOOD's realm, they're not merely entering a spooky forest. No, they're diving into the human heart and its maddening maze of emotions. Dana Berger and Max Woertendyke lace up their jogging shoes as Jen and Dan lead us on this emotional exploration, each stride echoing their relationship's complexities and next steps.

Unexpected Roles and Relatable “Tails”


Have you ever been to an art museum? You will see rooms full of magnificent works by brilliant artists worldwide, but step outside and venture down to the street level, where you’ll find the actual art, true masterpieces. Welcome to the captivating realm of PIAFFE, where every frame surprises, and the joy of the unexpected is just the tip of the iceberg here.

A Riveting Feminist Commentary

Before, Now & Then

Welcome to the dazzling decade of Indonesia's 1960s, elegantly captured by Kamila Andini in BEFORE, NOW & THEN. It's a vibrant and vivid step back in time where we follow the intriguing story of Nana (Happy Salma,) surrounded by luxury but deeply haunted by memories of a once-lived life. Married to a wealthy plantation magnate, her luxurious life seems enviable. Yet, the chapters of her past, particularly the tragic loss of her former love amidst tumultuous times, continue to cast shadows on her present.

Emotions, Drama, Top-Notch Performances

Three into Two Won't Go

Dive in as we set our sights on a trip that fuses the vibrant energy of the 60s with the sizzle of modern drama. Welcome aboard the car ride of a lifetime in THREE INTO TWO WON’T GO. Here's the lowdown: we're in Middlesex, England, shadowing the footsteps of Steve and Frances Howard, brought to life by the iconic Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom. Now, picture Steve, knee-deep in career chaos, crossing paths with Ella, whom Judy Geeson's portrayal of… well, let's say she doesn’t just act – she becomes Ella with all her zest, spirit, and unpredictability.

Bootytron 9000 Teleports to Golden Era


Dive into Joe Eddy’s latest film, the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is BOOTYOLOGY. Delve into the enigmatic story of ‘The Booty Boys’ and their unexpected departure from the 2006 music scene. Don't be misled by the label “mockumentary” while the story may not be “real,” it's a cleverly crafted narrative that charms fans in a way I wasn’t expecting. When I saw a film called BOOTYOLOGY, I had no clue what I was in for, and I intentionally never try to learn more about a movie than I need to before watching it.

Journey of Self-Rediscovery Illuminated


Nestled in the heart of London, GOLDFISH emerges as a simple cinematic journey and a movement. A movement that captivates the audience with its narrative force, drawing them into the tumultuous world of Anamika, brought to life by the phenomenal Kalki Koechlin. As she confronts the challenging realities of her mother Sadhana's declining mental state, Deepti Naval seamlessly weaves strength and fragility into her portrayal, making every scene a visual delight.

The Story Beyond Haunting Truths

The Black Mass

Dim the lights and get ready to step into the world of yesteryear. THE BLACK MASS transports viewers to 1978 Florida; it’s not just about the disco vibes and groovy tunes. This movie offers more than a brutal and foreboding blast from the past; it promises a compelling and hauntingly familiar storyline. One that you won’t fully understand until the end of the film. When it clicks, it clicks, though!

Spectacular Cinematic Ride Awaits!

A Moment Of Romance (Tin joek yau ching)

Film enthusiasts and casual movie-goers prepare for a spectacular cinematic ride as A MOMENT OF ROMANCE unfolds! Dive headfirst into a world where danger meets passion; every turn, a heart-stopping surprise. Let’s introduce you to Wah, played by the charismatic Andy Lau, a man entangled in a mesh of high-octane crimes and electrifying street races. But what happens when fate deals with an unexpected card? He crosses paths with the vibrant Jo Jo, brought to life by the dazzling Chien-Lien Wu. And as the net of criminal adversaries tightens around them, their bond, initially tense and uncertain, evolves into something profound and touching.

Heartwarming Ode to Friendship

Sour Party

The streets of Los Angeles come alive, buzzing with laughter and spirited hijinks in the cinematic delight that is SOUR PARTY. The viewer is catapulted into the hilariously offbeat world of Gwen (portrayed by the effervescent Samantha Westervelt) and James (a character brought to life by Amanda Drexton). Their initial introduction is as bizarre as it is intriguing—to profit by stealing succulents.

Meta-Horror Mastery Unleashed

That's A Wrap

Marcel Walz’s THAT'S A WRAP is more than a scream; it's a gleeful howl that echoes the vivacity of horror's golden age, seamlessly fused with the vitality of the '90s horror genre, meta to the max! This isn't just another slasher; it's a cinematic treat filled with ominous shadows around every corner, mesmerizing colors, and a dash of humor that'll keep you smiling even when the chills run down your spine.

More Than Standard Scare Fare

Founders Day

FOUNDERS DAY offers an unexpected plot twist you didn't see coming. It’s more than just your usual scare fare; it artfully marries the realms of suspense, political drama/satire, and those classic horror elements we all love. The Bloomquist Brothers have a reputation that precedes them, and they deliver in FOUNDERS DAY! They transport us to Fairfield, a quaint New England town amid a new mayoral election. But, much like a scene transition that changes the movie's pace, the celebratory vibes take a dark turn. Political tensions and some spine-chilling happenings cast a shadow over the festivities.

Beyond War: Standing Tall Amidst Occupiers

The Day and the Hour (Le jour et l'heure)

Brace yourself for a journey through occupied France circa 1944, courtesy of THE DAY AND THE HOUR. Let's dive into the visual chronicles of Thérèse Dutheil, brought to life with finesse by Simone Signoret. Imagine the surprise when Thérèse, in a twist that could rival any plot device, discovers Allied pilots blending in among goats, of all places! They're on a mission to hit the streets of Paris and boy, René Clément steers their story with flair, giving us a front-row seat to wartime emotions, deep-seated dilemmas, and the rollercoaster of human emotions when stakes are sky-high.

Silent Era's Whimsical World

The Doll (Die Puppe,) I Don't Want to Be a Man (Ich möchte kein Mann sein)

Let's stroll into the world of silent film, shall we? Picture the golden age of silent movies. Hold that thought and journey with Ernst Lubitsch, the genius behind many iconic screen treasures. With this dual spectacle, Lubitsch catapults us into a whimsical world with THE DOLL while introducing the thought-provoking layers of I DON’T WANT TO BE A MAN.

Emotions Over Explosions

Is Paris Burning? (Paris brûle-t-il?)

Prepare to embark on a cinematic experience that will upend your weekend watchlist! René Clément, the man behind the lens, sends out an invitation – whisking us off to 1944's Paris with IS PARIS BURNING? It's not just the usual war flick, folks. We're diving headfirst into the emotional chaos of a city under the shadow of the Nazis.

Mesmerizing Dive: Reality Meets the Supernatural

Don't Look Away

Alright, have you ever thought a mannequin, often associated with window shopping, could transform into something that might just give you nightmares? Enter DON'T LOOK AWAY, where Michael Bafaro takes seemingly benign objects and casts them into the spotlight of suspense, ensuring you're on the edge of your seat - maybe even peeking through your fingers! A mix between 1987’s MANNEQUIN and 2014’s IT FOLLOWS; we get a new twist on the horror genre.

Vibrant History, Modern Struggles Intertwined

MOVIE REVIEW Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation

Grab your detective hats, folks, because diving into ASHKAL: THE TUNISIAN INVESTIGATION feels like being in an immersive investigation set against the eerie backdrop of Tunis' once-glorious "The Gardens of Carthage." Remember when your grandparents would tell ghost stories of abandoned places with hushed whispers? Youssef Chebbi brings those to the big screen, adding a dash of enigmatic self-immolations just for kicks.

A Gritty Realness in Every Frame

August Underground

Get ready to experience a cinematic escapade like no other! AUGUST UNDERGROUND is not merely another addition to the horror genre; it's a visual tale that dances on the boundaries of your comfort zone. At the helm is Fred Vogel, who, besides being a jack-of-all-trades in filmmaking, challenges your conventional notion of 'nail-biting suspense.'

Promise in Imperfections


Step into the cinematic sandbox of the film MALCOLM, a film that blends raw indie flair and unique energy. It's akin to when you stumble across a garage band brimming with potential, even if they miss a note or two. There is a good story hidden under all of this, but it’s hard to see, and while there’s passion from the cast and crew, the film is still without many redeeming qualities.

Surrealistic Theater: Dream or Reality?


CAVERNA is a journey into the mystical and adventurous exploration of human emotions, artistry, and self-discovery. Led by the enigmatic Alba (Caterina Fornaciai), we dive deep into the world of creativity at a theater workshop nestled in the scenic outskirts of Florence. Sounds normal enough for now, right? Things take a weird turn, and this “theater workshop” becomes the stage for a surrealistic fantasy that’s hard to explain. To be fair, if “weird for the sake of being weird” is your thing, then you may well love this experience. I could appreciate what they were attempting; unfortunately, it didn’t land for me. That’s precisely why I use the 2.5-star rating when I experience a film that I didn’t love but also didn’t dislike.

Navigating Identity's Intricate Corridors

Filling in the Blanks

FILLING IN THE BLANKS, where director Jon Baime navigates the intricate corridors of human identity. Buckle up; this is a philosophical adventure into self-discovery, family connections, and historical fascination. Baime starts with an ordinary story but swiftly unravels a personal quest that takes us far beyond our expectations. The film embarks on a journey through a maze of emotions, employing an array of family photos, engaging interviews, and historical pieces that breathe life into the narrative. Baime asks the big question: Who are we? Is our identity tied to our genetics, family bonds, or perhaps the names we bear?

Dystopian World Struggles With Disjointed Narrative

Johnny Z

It's a bold endeavor to refresh a genre as well-trodden as zombie horror, and JOHNNY Z leaps into the fray with a martial arts twist. Jonathan Straiton, the director, is no stranger to ambitious undertakings, and his latest project is certainly no exception. JOHNNY Z swings for the fences, attempting to elevate itself beyond the confines of the genre. Sadly, it's an effort that, while spirited, doesn't quite manage to clear the bar.

Toxic Views and Survival: a Critical Look

Hunt Club

HUNT CLUB takes us on a wild journey that turns the familiar action thriller genre on its head. Elizabeth Blake-Thomas directs a narrative that transforms a well-worn survival game into a vibrant examination of gender dynamics and the more concerning aspects of the male psyche.

A Generational Treasure: More Than Sci-Fi

Babylon 5: The Road Home

Prepare to strap in for a galactic voyage that's equal parts heartwarming nostalgia and groundbreaking in its way, as BABYLON 5: THE ROAD HOME takes audiences to unexplored territories of imagination. Offering a fusion of the classic and contemporary, this animated addition to the celebrated space saga brings you a multilayered cosmic adventure that always remembers its roots. I will admit this is more of a film for fans of the series than those new to it, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from checking out the story!