SXSW 2018: Lean on Pete

Based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, film festival favorite Lean on Pete tells the poignant story of of a teenage boy and his strong connection to a horse. Charley Thompson (Charlie Plummer) hasn’t had an easy life living with his father Ray (Travis Fimmel).  Charley’s mom is out of the picture and looking for meaning in his life, he turns to the Portland Downs racetrack where he meets Del Montgomery (Steve Buscemi) and jockey Bonnie (Chloë Sevigny). …

"SXSW 2018: Lean on Pete"

Cinequest: Venus

In focusing on a transgender woman coming out, Venus is a film that also speaks to the themes of feeling included and wanting to be loved. When it comes to films with a transgender character in the leading role, it’s very important that their being trans is not the key thing about their character.  Eisha Marjara doesn’t as much focus on Sid Gill (Debargo Sanyal) transitioning in general in as much as the focus is on…

"Cinequest: Venus"

Cinequest: The Rainbow Experiment (Slamdance 2018)

There’s a lot going on in The Rainbow Experiment and that’s just saying the least of it. Writer-director Christina Kallas follows up 42 Seconds of Happiness (2016) with the New York-set The Rainbow Experiment. There’s a lot going on following a science experiment gone awry at a Manhattan high school and one unlucky student, Matty, will pay the consequences for the rest of their life due to an injury.  It’s Matty Fairchild (Connor Siemer) who…

"Cinequest: The Rainbow Experiment (Slamdance 2018)"

Cinequest: Jack Of All Trades

Jack Of All Trades is a documentary that will bring a wave of nostalgia to those who collected baseball cards while they were growing up. Aside from that, this film is also about a man’s search for his missing father. Co-directed by Stu Stone and Harv Glazer, the question that Stone decides to explore is “whatever happened to baseball cards.”  It’s a very good question to ask.  Some malls used to have card shows all…

"Cinequest: Jack Of All Trades"

Cinequest 2018: High and Outside: A Baseball Noir

High and Outside: A Baseball Noir isn’t the run-of-the-mill baseball movie but a gripping drama depicting the relationship between father and son. Directed by Evald Johnson from a script written by Dan O’Dair, the film also serves as the final role for the late character actor Geoffrey Lewis. The son of baseball great Len Harding (Geoffrey Lewis in his final role), Phil Harding (Phil Donlon) is stll trying to make it to the Majors Leagues. …

"Cinequest 2018: High and Outside: A Baseball Noir"

Cinequest: Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End (Slamdance 2018)

Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End takes a look at the life of a political cartoonist who lives on the edge at a time when it’s so hard to be a political cartoonist. Directed by Pablo Bryant, who also doubles as the documentary’s cinematographer, this film takes a look at a satirical cartoonist known professionally as Mr. Fish, whose work is losing value from a commercial perspective.  It’s not so much the fact that…

"Cinequest: Mr. Fish: Cartooning From The Deep End (Slamdance 2018)"

Cold War kicks off 2018 Midwest Independent Film Festival

Cold War is the sickest rom-com in years as the indie comedy kicks off the 2018 Midwest Independent Film Festival with a wave, or sickness mind you, of laughter. Written by J. Wilder Konschak, who co-directs with Stirling McLaughlin, Cold War stars an impressive array of talent–many of who have a background in improvisation–including Michael Blaiklock, Madeline Walter, Antoine McKay, Gail Rastorfer, Kenneth Yoder, Rammel Chan, Antoine Pierre Whitfield, Sara Sevigny, and Scarlett Harper. Maggie (Walter) and Jonathan (Blaiklock) had just moved in together and…

"Cold War kicks off 2018 Midwest Independent Film Festival"

Sundance 2018: Hal – The Life of Hal Ashby

Premiering at Sundance, Hal is a documentary that–break your heart as it may–offers closer a look at the career of the underrated director, Hal Ashby. In her directorial debut, editor-turned-director  Amy Scott assembled a wide array of interviews, archival footage, and a soundtrack heavy on Cat Stevens over the last five years to give movie fans the long-overdue documentary on Hal Ashby.  The documentary in itself is a reminder that many directors don’t get to…

"Sundance 2018: Hal – The Life of Hal Ashby"

Sundance 2018: The Queen of Fear

An official Sundance selection, The Queen of Fear features a stellar acting performance from actress Valeria Bertuccelli. Bertuccelli, who also wrote the film, co-directs the absurd comedy with Fabiana Tiscornia.  For a film that comes off as an absurd comedy, The Queen of Fear is surprisingly so dark in terms of lighting–whether that’s due to cinematographer Matías Mesa or the co-directors, I don’t know.  As with any foreign film, to truly be able to understand what’s going…

"Sundance 2018: The Queen of Fear"

Sundance 2018: Never Goin’ Back

Because of the Disney/Freeform background of star Maia Mitchell, Never Goin’ Back has that Spring Breakers vibe to it but these two films couldn’t be any more different.  Never Goin’ Back isn’t without drugs or vulgarity and there’s a lot of it throughout the film. A first feature from writer-director Augustine Frizzell, it’s another film in which one can show their support of a female director.  Just as Sean Baker brought light to underrepresented low-income families with…

"Sundance 2018: Never Goin’ Back"