Sunday Matinee: Cuck [Film]

 

Cuck is a gripping fly-on-the wall character study and psychosexual thriller tracking an isolated and lonely young man as he is indoctrinated into the online echo chambers of Alt-Right Ideology and hate. Touching on several topical nerves, Cuck gives a raw, unforgiving glimpse into a dark world that hides in plain site.” – cuckthefilm.com

 

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Strap in, Folks. Because holy mother of hell do we have a film to tell you about. Believe me, as shocked as you may be by the name of this film, I can guarantee you that the content of this masterpiece of a film is going to shake your world even more. It’s actually sort of sad, and definitely frightening, that this film could have easily been a straight up documentary about the times we are living in. Cuck is a film that examines the tough reality that is alive and shockingly thriving in the US, and the world, in this day and age. Zachary Ray Sherman gives a performance that is almost too spot on as a “repressed” white nationalist who feel alienated from factions of his country who strive towards progress. He feels isolated from everything in the world – especially the opposite gender in which he is attracted to, yet wants nothing to do with him. It’s this sort of behavior and thought patterns that have caused some of the insane tragedies, one being a presidential election (Hey O!), that have been far too frequent in the last 20 years, at least. Again, I have to reiterate here, as crazy as you think a film like this will be, I promise you it is more than that. Take your initial reactions, and prepare to have them shattered.

 

 

Controversy and down-right sadness aside, I feel as though it is important to acknowledge that Cuck is also a very well made work of art. Filmmaker Rob Lambert has a very obvious gift, and I am so excited to continue to examine his work in the years to come. And holy shit, Mr. Sherman! Former guest here at TWS, and star/writer/director of yet ANOTHER amazing film to be released in 2019 (Barbie’s Kenny) gives a performance that is hands down one of the best I have ever seen. He is almost unrecognizable from his previous roles on series like Everything Sucks! and the aforementioned Barbie’s Kenny. He clearly put on a ton of weight for this role, proving his dedication to the performance side of storytelling is some of the best in the game today. Seriously Folks, I wasn’t sure how Zach could outdo himself from his previous work, but hot damn he managed to pull it off.

I implore EVERYONE to watch this gem of a film. Cuck is one of the most important films of the last decade, and should be viewed by all.

 

Cuck is available on VOD now wherever you purchase wonderful films. Visit cuckthefilm.com for more details!

 

 

Saturday Special: Animal Among Us [Film]

 

“Fifteen years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed as an animal attack, the camp was condemned, and the killer never found. But something horrific still waits in those woods, ready to kill again.” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks! I am very excited to share with you all, a brand new thriller that I can guarantee you is going to be a big surprise. Please allow me to explain. The film, for all extensive marketing and publicity reasons, is billed as a Bigfoot movie. Which is indeed, a fair description. Sort of. Much like a film like Jaws could, for the sake of fairness, be deemed a “killer shark” movie. But, when you dig deeper beneath the surface of what is happening in the film, you will begin to see that one of the key elements of the film is not actually a scary AF monster hidden somewhere out in the woods, but it is the human condition. It’s about familial loyalty. It’s about surviving in this world with the odds that were place before us, and the sometimes absolutely psychotic lengths we will go to in order to protect what we feel we deserve. The Bigfoot element of Animal Among Us is more of a metaphorical glue that is holding the fabric of these characters together. The element of “things aren’t as they seem”  begins to take even more prevalence whilst watching this extremely well done film than the idea that there is something out there in the woods waiting for you to become its meal. This is a suspense/thriller that has heart. Albeit a dark twisted and frightening heart, but heart none the less.

Or maybe I’m overthinking it? I don’t really believe this, but it’s comforting to know that I can recommend a film that is simply a delight and should be enjoyed by all even if you don’t feel like dissecting a Bigfoot film to be something larger than it really is. That’s fine. There’s something here for everyone!

 

 

No matter how you decide to decipher the meaning behind Animal Among Us, it can not be denied that director John Woodruff has taken a brilliantly written script from Jonathan Murphy and spun cinematic gold in this wonderfully stylized thriller. And you simply cannot sleep on this incredible cast! Everyone was fantastic, but it behooves me to specifically mention the “Bishop trio” of Heather Tom, Christine Donlon, and Larisa Oleynik. The latter being a specific performer who I have thoroughly enjoyed for over a couple of decades now.  Suffice to say that I went from the age of 9 to 13 during Larisa’s run of The Secret Life of Alex Mack. Take from this information what you will, but just know that a quarter of a century later, Oleynik is still a force to be reckoned with, and absolutely crushes it in this truly wonderful film!

 

Animal Among Us is available now on VOD and DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

 

Sunday Matinee: Bloody Marie [Film]

 

“Marie, once successful graphic novelist, lives in the Amsterdam red-light district. She drinks too much and gets into one conflict after another. A horrific incident in the house next door forces her to take action and get her life back on course.” – October Coast PR

 

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While Bloody Marie may be rightfully billed as a psychological thriller of sorts, I have to argue that this is barely scratching the proverbial surface of what is going on in this incredibly stylized film that is rooted in anguish and desperation. The latter could almost be a character of the film in itself. The titular character Marie lives in a state of desperation with the inability to continue doing the one thing that used to bring her joy and maybe somewhat as important – an income. The link between desperation, poverty, and alcoholism has been observed for hundreds of years, and the situations that one can find themselves in when this is the path they decide to venture down can some times turn out very, very badly. The film showcases these matter in an absolutely brilliant fashion. And to watch the self-realization of our heroine(?) come to life is just another reason that Bloody Marie is an absolutely brilliant tale of triumph (somewhat) over self-inflicted adversity.

 

Susanne Wolff gives an absolutely incredible performance as Marie herself. In trying to describe to a friend why I felt she was so incredible in this role, my best explanation would be this: If you could not imagine a single other performer in that role, they did an amazing job. it’s as simple as that. If I walked away from Bloody Marie believing that anybody could have stepped in a taken Wolff’s spot, I would have a different opinion. But that was not the case. Susanne absolutely killed it in the film and added a depth to the character that feels deeply personal and somehow relatable to her own existence. Although maybe not as extreme.

I honestly cannot recommend Bloody Marie enough. It’s one of the best film’s of 2019, and even short-listed as one of the Dutch submissions for the upcoming Academy Awards. I know I am pulling to see it show up in the nominations list. So check it out, Folks!

 

Blood Marie is in select theaters now and available now on VOD, wherever you watch great films.

 

Saturday Special: The Lot [Short Film]

 

Hot damn do we have a truly special Saturday Special for you all today. I’m almost at a loss for words at how damn much I love this new short film from the great Steven Feinartz. It’s called The Lot. And there are a lot (no pun intended) of reasons that this film is a heavy hitter for the TWS fam. To start with, the film’s main star, and co-writer, is none other than one of our dearly beloved TWS family members, David Gborie. Who – side note – actually had his Comedy Central Half Hour debut just a mere hours ago from this writing. So be sure to check that out! And if you want to hear more from David, simply watch Comedy Central day in and day out, and you will hear him as he is the goddamned VOICE OF COMEDY CENTRAL! Can you believe that shit? One of our own speaking for such a legendary broadcast!

The film itself is an absolutely phenomenal tale of a man lost in the mundane, simply seeking out the the simple joys of life whilst dealing with the insane people around him. At it’s core, the film is about a man seeking to find his place in the world and what has led him to the situation he is currently in. Also weed. It’s also about weed. And dammit all if it isn’t one of the most hilarious things I have seen a great while.

And yet another reason this is very TWS friendly short, it also features incredible performances from a few other folks we have been fortunate enough to have featured on the site, one as lately as last week! One of these folks would be the absolutely incredible Matt Braunger, who completely destroys this role with an incredible performance that would most definitely be a highlight role were The Lot to become a full blown sitcom one day, which we can all cross our fingers that this may happen (Comedy Central, where you at?). And the other would be our new friend Steph Tolev, who also absolutely slays her role. You know she’s a hilarious stand up comedian, but you haven’t seen anything like this before. Also, as sort of a great little easter egg, pay attention to a couple of folks portraying store customers in a moving shot. You may just recognize a couple of other folks who have been kind enough to grace our digital pages. Alright, it’s Zak Toscani and Mike Mulloy, but try to act surprised!

I truly cannot say enough great things about this incredible film. It was picked as a Vimeo “Staff Pick” for great reasons. Check it out below, and be sure to share it far and wide in hopes that this incredible short can one day be something even grander. Enjoy!

 

Sunday Matinee: Somewhere in the Middle [Film]

 

“The film eventually examines the joys of being an artist, including the high of one’s work being appreciated, critically acclaimed and, perhaps most importantly, paid for by fans. As a young artist, meeting your idols, from jamming with Bruce Springsteen to ballroom dancing with Antonio Banderas to smoking pot with Willie Nelson, begins to elicit a real “pinch yourself” feeling. Like, “Wow, I’m doing this!” Doubt, fear, excess, anxiety about the future. Somewhere in the Middle takes viewers on a journey through the day-to-day minds of these artists. “My biggest fear is that I’ll never work again.” “I had to come to terms with the fact that I was an alcoholic.” “I’m never satisfied with my work.” “I definitely have regrets about choosing the life of an artist.” – October Coast PR

 

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Holy Hell, Folks! Do we have an absolutely spot on for this website showcase you share with you all today. If there were ever a documentary to exist that represents a large number of the participants of our beloved Trainwreck’d Society, it is most definitely the oh-so-inspiring, Somewhere in the Middle. It is a film that brilliantly describes what it means to be an artist in this day and age. The days of superstardom and fan-crazed success is technically not dead, but there is a whole new element of the business that deserves to be recognized, and it has never been done as well as it has in this very film. It’s an incredible movie that perfectly captures the idea that not everyone working in the world of creating art has to necessarily be “famous” in order to make a living. In fact, in this day and age, simply making a living solely on the metaphorical back of you work is a feat in itself. Even this dream can seem like a million to one shot at times.

And again, what better place for a film to be showcased than our little slice of digital heaven right here? We have been celebrating these folks for over 8 years. Over 500 interviews, hundreds of independently created albums and films, and not to brag upon ourselves, but I’d love to think that we have treated them with the respect they deserve. Sure, we have had the fortunate enough to speak with a handful of folks who have taken home a handful of Emmy’s or an Oscar, not to mention the biggest name in the adult film world. But overall, our methods have been to showcase in the same way that Something in the Middle does even better than we ever could/will: Art is life and no matter how recognized you become for your art, you should to yourself, stay true.

 

 

I will confess that I went into the documentary cold, only appreciating the premise of the film due to the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, it hits pretty close to come for this little site. It was only afterwards that I might have found another factor as to why the film was so good – It’s a freakin’ Nathan Ives film! If you can remember as far back as a year ago, we showcased an absolutely incredible horror film entitled The Basement that was so damn good that it ended up being one of our Top 20 films of 2018. We even had the absolute gem of an actor Jackson Davis return to the site, this year in our Month of Horror. And if you hadn’t figured it out by now, Ives is the mastermind behind both of these projects. Not to mention the criminally underrated 2000 comedy Dish Dogs, that I feel like we need to have put out in the zeitgeist more in 2020. Basically, the fact that this brilliant filmmaker is involved would have been an immediate indication that we had something beautiful happening right before our eyes.

And one last thing to add before we wrap this up and let you head on over to Amazon to see the film for yourself. Just let me add that this film should be required by law to be screened at every single actor’s studio or film school or collegiate art or music department. The clearly recognized highs and lows of the industry are all laid out on the table in a brilliant way. I do not say this as a deterrent to becoming a working artist, but more of an inspiration. Because if they expressed “lows” of the business can that easily deter you from seeking out your passion for creativity, it’s quite possible it was never there in the first place. On the flip side, if you watch Somewhere in the Middle and your only thought is, “Worth it.” Then by all means necessary, pursue onward. And hey, let us know about it!

 

Somewhere in the Middle is available now on Amazon, with other platforms to follow.

 

 

Saturday Special: Mnemophrenia [Film]

 

“The film explores how society is affected by and how it adapts to deal with mnemophrenia, a growing new psychosis and the still advancing technology. We see the story unfold over time, through the eyes of three generations of the same family who are all affected and involved in different ways. The story explores how attitudes to Mnemophrenia would differ from person to person and across generations, going from resistance and fear, through acceptance and eventually even using it to our benefit, pushing humanity towards a new evolutionary step.” – IMDb

 

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Usually we begin these Saturday Specials/Sunday Matinees with a quote of some sort from a press release of some sort, but this amazing film was sent to us directly from the team behind the film who actually managed to give an absolutely perfect and non-spoiler like description in the film in words that I am 100% in agreement with – “[this film has] the indie element, the polarizing technology theme and every reader will find something relatable in the film.” Again, I completely agree. This is a mesmerizing film that holds back nothing in regards to addressing the obsession with technology that is plaguing, yet also rejuvenating, our society as a whole. For every good, there is a bad. For every positive there is a negative waiting rear its ugly head in a bloody outrageous way. Mnemophrenia is a film that attempts to look at this idea at incredibly in depth and complicated angles. It is a biting look at what humans are becoming as a species as we become more and more reliant on technology to not only sustain our existence, but to guide us through said existence negating real experiences. At what point are we going to realize that we are manufacturing ourselves so much around the world wide web that even our memories are going to be questionable one day?

Do we really even know who we are anymore? It used to be that the anonymity of the internet was a compelling factor. Now we don’t entirely hide who we are, but we still attempt to reign with a mask of unearned superiority because we can not be physically harmed (in the moment) for the comments we make on the internet that are broadcasted to the entire world. So when does it go to far? Virtual Reality is a concept I have known about since my youth. And as technology advances, virtual reality becomes evermore popular. It is destined to become an absolute. It is destined to take over the the human psyche. And that is what a film like Mnemophrenia is trying to tell us. If we continue to become to attached to these things that are supposed to be pure entertainment, and we incorporate this madness into our everyday lives, we are destined to completely ruin ourselves and human existence as we know it. At least that is my take on things.

 

 

But, no matter how god damn scary the subject matter, it is suffice to say that director and co-writer Eirini Konstantinidou has created an absolute masterpiece of a film that deserves to be loved by all. I am always impressed by the idea of a film have a wild concept that could technically carry the whole concept through with very little effort, yet still manages to be very well produced, stylized, and just a damn good film overall. And as far as performances go, the wonderful Robert Milton Wallace straight up acted his ass off with a performance of a lifetime. Robert took the idea of being a rational yet supportive person and made it extremely believable within a highly unbelievable context. Well done, Sir.

However you can, Folks, see this film! It is bound to blow your minds! Enjoy!

 

Sunday Bloody Sunday Matinee: The Blair Witch Project (20th Anniversary) [Film]

 

Welcome to Day 15 of Trainwreck’d Society’s Annual Month of Horror Showcase! We have a fully loaded month of all things horror for you fine folks! October is our favorite month for this very reason, and we are so excited to share 31 full days of film showcases and interviews with some of the finest folks from the world of horror, just as we have been doing for the last 6 years. What started as a simple 5 day showcase, has now blossomed into a full blown month long event. You’re going to love this! Enjoy!

“Soon after its release, The Blair Witch Project became a worldwide sensation and a film school conversation piece, now relegated to the same exclusive space as Psycho, The Exorcist, The Omen, The Shining, Halloween, etc. It was reported by USA Today to be the first film to go “viral” As for being a movie biz phenomenon, the film broke records– while its budget was a scant $60,000, TBWP actually grossed a staggering $250MM worldwide, making it one of the most successful independent films of all time.” – Tell All Your Friends PR

 

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Folks, it pains me to realize that The Blair Witch Project is now celebrating its 20th year of existence. It’s something that is REALLY aging me. The experience I had when this film came out was so damn peculiar. I will be the first to admit that I was successfully duped by the marketing campaign that led the world to believe that this “found footage” was absolutely real. I did, and anybody who says they didn’t buy is full of shit. I honestly can’t remember when or how I learned that it actually wasn’t real. It was that damn convincing.

The Blair Witch is the proverbial grandfather of found footage horror, and as TAYF told us in the intro, it deserves to be considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. It almost pains me that an experience like this film coming out can not happen again. Sometimes I do feel nostalgic for those pre-Internet runs everything times to feel those emotions again. But, then I remember what one of the the film’s directors, Daniel Myrick, actually said 3 years ago on this very site when I proclaimed it wasn’t possible for The Blair Witch to happen again. He had this to say:

“I think anything is possible. Blair Witch came along when everyone was getting pretty set in their ways in the horror genre, so it shook things up in a big way. No reason why it couldn’t happen again. And yes, it was (and is surreal) being that Blair was always a ‘small’ movie, by design. We never expected it to become so huge.” (Trainwreck’d Society, October 31st, 2016)

So maybe I’m wrong? I wouldn’t mind being wrong in this scenario. But the main point her his that The Blair Witch is a wonderfully made horror film and one of the greatest of all time.  It was a damn fine film then, and 20 years later it most definitely holds up. Even as popular horror started to move more into an emphasis on gore and jump scares, this film has held its ground as more than just a phenomenon of the moment. For our younger readers out there who haven’t gotten around to this classic, I heavily implore that you do so right away!

And one final point I feel needs to be made: WE KNEW THE ENDING!! The entire time, we knew what was going to happen, and it still shocked the hell out of us! Really think about that, and tell me it’s not an incredible film.

So here’s to another 20 years of appreciating one of the finest horror films of all time!