Sunday Matinee: States [Film]

 

“A transient road film featuring an array of young drifters wandering throughout the U.S. with varying degrees of purpose, or lack-thereof , “States” is a multifaceted meditation on freedom – via Twain, Kerouac, Altman, Linklater… – and an outsider’s love letter to America and the searchers of its endless highways.” – October Coast PR

 

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To start out here, States is an absolute breath of fresh air. For everyone out there who complains about there not being enough original art out there in the world of filmmaking, this is for you. And while it’s sad to say, you just have to look for it. There are still plenty of original filmmakers and writers out there creating some of the best work imaginable. And this film is a prime example of this work. This amazing somewhat-linear but moving between several different stories is a beautiful exploration into the land of which I came, which is seen better by some folks from Canada. I truly loved this film. Each storyline is unique in its own right, but is still filled with the right amount of depth and character development that you truthfully just can’t find as much anymore.

 

 

Zach Gayne has done something absolutely brilliant here with this mesmerizing film. The dude wrote, shot, and directed the whole damn thing. This is always a fun thing to see in the indie world. Going “Rob Rodriguez” as some would call it. And by some, I mean just me. I’m probably the only one who says this. Either way, States is fucking full forced film of creative expression to be reckoned with. And while I am absolutely amazed with all the performances within this film, it behooves me to shout out Jeremey O. Harris. Holy shit did this dude bring is absolute A game. Just a pure fucking delight, and I will be watching his career from here on out. Also, this is your chance to watch the brilliance of Alex Essoe, who is going to be the one of the biggest stars we have ever seen. I’m talking Scarlet Johansson level fame. I’m so excited to that anyone who decides to read this and check out this incredible film can use our site as a reference to the statement of “I knew Essoe when….”

As much as kid, I have to reiterate, States is absolutely brilliant. It’s one of the best films of 2019, and one of the best in the last decade. We need more works of art like this. And I know there will be more. But for now, let us enjoy this absolutely brilliant take on the American way of life, for all that is god and awful about it.

 

Be on the lookout for States coming to VOD soon.

 

 

 

Saturday Special: The House of Violent Desire [Film]

 

“Awoken by screams in the night, young Evelyn Whipley is found drenched in blood and mysteriously bound to the bed – A Gothic Horror set in the 1940s, a psychosexual thriller disguised as traditional Ghost Story.” – Dark Temple Motion Pictures

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Well, the folks at Dark Temple Motion Pictures are at it again! You may remember some time back we covered a film entitled Cannibal Farm, which really blew my mind. Mostly because it was WAY better than I truly expected. And now Charlie Steed and team may have released their finest work to date with The House of Violent Desire. We have some veteran DTMP actors in the mix, as well as some incredible new faces as well. When it comes to indie horror, this is IT, Folks! I spend ALOT of time watching indie horror. I mean, ALOT. And sometimes, the lack of budget can be seen crystal clear through the production. But other times, especially with Steed at the wheel, you know can find magic. From the amazing performances found throughout the film, to the excellent shooting of Michael Lloyd, you can very well become lost in a film like this. I know I sure the hell did!

 

The thing that made The House of Violent Desire so incredibly interesting to me is the act of storytelling, within the actual storytelling itself. Listening to Barrington De La Rouche recap previous events in this film would probably be near the top of my list of wonderful moments in the world of horror. His inflection and delivery is that of a man of the theater. I don’t know if this is true, but I certainly believe it to be possible. And it was especially desirable when Esme Sears received her chance to do the same. Her character was originally seeming to be a bit meek and scared, giving you the assumption that something dark is buried deep within her soul. And then it is revealed, but it’s not until closer to the end when she gets to shine like a goddamned crazy diamond.

And of course this gives a lot of credit to the writing of the film itself. When you get that absolutely wonderful combination of a brilliantly written script, and the right performers to deliver the dialogue, it’s fucking game over. And that’s exactly what you can expect in The House of Violent Desire. So Folks, you owe it to yourself to give this film a watch. And after you love what you see (because you will) check out the rest of the catalogue of Steeds and Dark Temple Motion Pictures. They are one of the few collections of talent who are doing it absolutely right. And hands down, this is the best work I have seen from them thus far. You HAVE to do it!

 

The House of Violent Desire is available now in the US on streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime. 

 

Sunday Matinee: Badass Beauty Queen [Film]

 

“Badass Beauty Queen is incredibly inspirational and a call to action for anyone who has ever felt that they want to make a difference in this world. The film features never-before-seen footage of Lin’s struggle to bring global attention to the issues of religious freedom and organ harvesting in her native China. The highly acclaimed documentary follows Anastasia Lin as she stands up for her beliefs on the world’s stage. This eye-opening glimpse into the story that made headlines across the world, when Lin was denied from competing in the Miss World pageant in China.” – October Coast PR

 

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Prepare to be inspired, Folks. That is something I have to say right out the gate about Bad Ass Beauty Queen. Because, the title really does say it all. Anastasia Lin is all of these things, and so much more. There is just so damn much evil in the world, and it is a beautiful thing to know that there are some great forces of nature out there looking to do the right thing, for the sake of simply doing the right thing. And Lin did just this. There are moments in just this film that had me personally exclaiming, “Yeah, I would have just quit.” But thankfully she did not, and her actions have very likely put some wild shit that is happening in China and other countries, on the table for conversation, if nothing else. Now prepare to be pretty bummed out….

 

 

And this is what the real conversation should be here. Why is it that Miss Canada has to be the one to shake some sense into people? Yes, I understand that the concept of representing a nation in this campaign is to be an inspiration. Sure. I’ll bite. But, in the end, she is a twenty-something young woman who is using a worldwide platform to bring up the fact that PEOPLE ARE SMUGGLING FUCKING ORGANS FROM INVOLUNTARY HUMANS!! Seriously, Folks, this is some next level, 90’s action movie type shit that should only be science fiction. But, it is not. And this is just one of the causes that Lin has been speaking out against. We all know that human violations in China are plentiful, but we do nothing about it. In this modern North American age, it’s as though we are dependent on these human rights violations in order to advance ourselves in the slightest, and to ensure that we keep the pockets line of fat cats like Bill Gates, who “adorably” cannot tell you how much a box of pizza rolls cost. It’s not adorable. It’s terrifying.

It is the government’s job to keep these people in check, and they aren’t doing it. They won’t do it. It’s time to accept that. Everything that a company like Apple makes is made in labor/death camps in China. We know this. As I type these words out at this moment I wonder if there are blood stains in the internal parts of this laptop from a 6 year old who knocked their finger on hour 13 of a 16 hour shift. All the while we are told that things would be “so much more expensive” if these people were treated right, or companies didn’t outsource their labor. Which is true. But it is also bullshit. This is simply a reality that we have created where CEOs, including the British companies behind the Miss World pageant who were sheep and blindsided Anastasia Lin, refuse to accept less profit. And they are commended for hoarding their wealth. It’s sick, and honestly, there is no end in site.

I hate to end this on such a bummer, but it’s the truth Folks, and I honestly don’t have a solution. I am not a politician, and I am not in the business of policy change. But those who are, will not do shit about it. But thankfully we have people in this world like Anastasia Lin who are at least attempting to make the world a better place, by whatever means they may have available to them. I never would have thought a beauty pageant sash could be a weapon of choice, but what the hell, right? Rock on Anastasia!

 

Bad Ass Beauty Queen is available now on DVD and VOD wherever you watch great films.

 

Saturday Special: The Velocipastor [Film]

 

“After a devastating family tragedy, a priest travels to China to find deeper spirituality, but instead is endowed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first, he is horrified by his newfound superpower, but a local prostitute convinces him to use his newfound gift to fight evil – and ninjas.” – October Coast PR

 

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You know what Folks, I am a person who does enjoy a good bit of art & culture from time to time. I have been to Italy a handful of times and drank lush wine, and looked up at the Sistine Chapel in the way that Robin Williams described it in Good Will Hunting. I have enjoyed fine intellectual conversations in the vain of a Mitch Albom novel. I’ve read Kafka, and understood it. But, I’m also the guy who once tried to drink 80 ounces of an energy drink in 2 minutes and only missed it by a mere 18 ounces. Also multiple counts of public urination. What I’m saying is that life, not unlike art, is subjective! Brilliance doesn’t always have to come from the serious side of life and/or art. There are times you just want to see a motherfucking human become a dinosaur and tear shit up. Also ninjas. And prostitutes. And more ninjas.

A wonderful television writer once spoke about this humble little site as being something that “doesn’t wish to sedate you”. And Folks, I’d like to think that is true. And it is also what I believe the absolute brilliance of The Velocipastor is not wishing to do as well. It’s just a damn good time, that’s what it is. It is a fun film that will have you asking the age-old question that has been passed around since the dawn of time: “Who comes up with this shit?”

 

 

This is a film that does not lie to you. Right from the very beginning, it makes it’s presence and purpose very clear right from the beginning. And god dammit if it didn’t make me extremely happy. Our dear friend and contributor to this site, Christopher Eaves, has always said that he appreciates a film that doesn’t try to be something that it isn’t. Of course, he says this about the Fast & the Furious franchise which is absolute rubbish, but you can see his point. The Velocipastor is not The Godfather Part IV. Hell it’s not even The Godfather Part III (also complete rubbish.) But it is an entertaining mad house of events collected on film that is meant to be enjoyed. The world is in utter turmoil right now, and the human population may not exist by the end of our kid’s lifetime. So, how about we have some fucking fun, huh?

Do yourself a favor and check out this wonderful film with at least 16 proverbial grains of salt, and try not to take yourself so serious. There is always time to enjoy the world of arthouse cinema and expressionist asphyxiation centered around one’s purpose in this finite existence and blah, blah, blah. Every once in a while, just have some FUN! Enjoy a low budget, purposefully corny, and grindhouse like fun for once. I always think about Sydney Pollack’s line in the film Husbands and Wives, when he was talking about his new girlfriend during his separation with Judy Davis, in which he describes a film his new girlfriend rented that was “dopey” and “stupid”, as well as something that his very serious all the damn time  wife would have never let in the house. And the pure joy on his face in that scene is incredible! Of course the girlfriend was an idiot and he got back with Davis in the end, but you see the point, right? Live a little!

And yes Folks, I just managed to squeeze in a reference to a pretentious Woody Allen picture in a review about a film that is about a man of the cloth (“claw” as the tagline would say, which is brilliant) who is able to turn into a dinosaur when he is angry and is convinced by a prostitute to act like Batman with his new found ability. Also ninjas.

Art, Folks. Art.

 

The Brendan Steere directed classic-in-the-making will premiere on DVD and Digital August 13th on such platforms as iTunes, Comcast, Spectrum, Dish, Vudu, Amazon, Fandango and Sling. A Blu-ray release will follow September 17.

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Stoke [Film]

“Struggling with the sudden death of her fiancé, Los Angeles litigator Jane makes a spontaneous trip to Hawaii Island to visit an active volcano. Upon arrival, she enlists the help of two locals pretending to run an adventure tour company, and the trio embark on a cross-island road trip as weird and wild as Hawaii itself.” – P & Z Films

 

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One thing I wasn’t expecting to learn quite a bit about when I started this site, and starting watching brilliant indie films so regularly….was the islands of Hawaii. Regular readers may remember our coverage of the brilliant film Kuleana last year where first became obsessed with the non-tourist side of the islands. And then there was our interview with former Hawaii native funny man Zak Toscani. Now we have something completely different, yet just as insightful in the film Stoke. I seriously LOVED this film. The idea of turning tourism into an emotional journey that you are soon not to forget is absolute genius. And I will be the first to admit it, I had no idea that the setting of the film even existed. Of course, I am now intrigued and HAVE to go. I guess I will one day be a part of the problem. But I digress.

Stoke delivers incredible surprises, witty dialogue mixed with a grab bag of comedic excellence, all within a tale that focuses on the pain of loss and the hardships of a reality that can be dark and disturbing, even in the sunniest of lands. And as a Pacific Northwest kid who once lived in the glorious southern region of Spain, I can attest to the fact that the mix of moodiness and excitement in Stoke is very human, and very well done.

 

 

 

The writing/directing team of Zoe Eisenberg & Phillips Payson are absolute force to be reckoned with Folks. They are not only a brilliant Hawaii based team of creative souls, they are simply a brilliant team that is going to continue to rock the world of independent cinema and beyond. Stoke is incredible, as I said before. And they have a project they created a few years ago entitled Throuple, that I can not speak to, but hopefully I soon will, as it also sounds incredible inspiring and brilliant. Seeing this film, knowing of the other, and knowing that the capabilities of this team is a true inspiration, and I am so excited to see what the future holds for them. Oh and, spoiler alert(?), you may be hearing more from Zoe on this very site, very soon (okay, Friday, you’ll hear from her on Friday. Okay? Cool.)

Performance wise, holy shit. Caitlin Holcombe is absolutely brilliant. And Kauhane Lopes & Randall Galius Jr. make for an incredible duo that I would definitely love to see more of in the future. Seriously, it feels strange to know that this was Kauhane’s first film role because he absolutely nailed it. And of course veteran actress Kimee Balmilero came in and absolutely KILLED as one of the few characters who seems to have her shit together.

Folks, if you have enjoyed any recommendation we have given you here, you should know that we would not lie to you all. I personally might, but not through this site! I kid, I kid. But seriously Folks, as soon as you can, check out Stoke! You seriously will not regret it!

 

Stoke will be available on streaming platforms on August 6th.

 

 

Saturday Special: Wicked Witches [Film]

 

“After being thrown out of his home by his wife for being promiscuous, Mark finds himself back at Dumpling Farm, a place of youthful memories and parties, but things aren’t quite right. His old buddy Ian, who has never left the place, is possessed by a group demonic, flesh eating Witches. Using Ian and his farm, these beautiful Witches honey trap Mark and his friends to consume their souls.” – October Coast PR

 

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Oh sweet readers, the time is coming up sooner than you think! The love for the world of horror is about to strike the world sooner than you think! It’s been a minute since we covered a horror film on here, as it’s nice to give a cool slow burn working towards our Month of Horror. We shall be trickling in a few here and there in preparation for what is marked to be one of the best Horror seasons in our history! And we are kicking things off with damn good one with the brilliant British slasher Wicked Witches! Filmed in the proverbial backyard of Trainwreck’d Society HQ (Cambridgeshire) this is a film that hits all the marks damn near perfectly when it comes to being a terrific horror film. Wicked Witches is a film that has that perfect build up of suspense mixed with the the perfect concoction of blood and mayhem that leads to a wonderful ending. If you love horror Folks, as I am certain you all do, this is a brilliant indie horror film to get yourself ready for the scary ass season!

 

 

 

Performance wise, the film is definitely not lacking in talent. While all the performances were spot and commendable, I feel compelled to single out the film’s antagonist, Ian, performed brilliantly by Justin Marosa. I was unaware of Justin’s work prior to this film, but you can bet your bottom god damned dollar that I will be paying attention from here on out. He seriously scared the living dogshit out of me just about every moment he was on screen.

Again Folks, Wicked Witches is a wonderfully written and beautifully shot indie horror film that is on par with any major studio release you could possibly compare it to. I sincerely can not recommend it enough.

 

 

Wicked Witches will be in select theaters and on DVD & VOD on August 9th.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Luz [Film]

 

Luz is a story about identity, a lack of one, or maybe even denying one’s own. For the most part this is told by forces (archetypal characters, institutions, or personifications of moral arguments) influencing and manipulating our titular character Luz. I structured the narrative as a panic attack, of repressed memories and confusion. It is purposely open to interpretation by the viewer. Luz is a sensuous thriller that plays with the sensory perception of the audience. Initially, I wanted to write a simple story that could only be told audio-visually. How we ended up telling it cinematically, nested within diegetic flashbacks, got a little more complicated. For example, we use an additional layer of sound that adds a past reality to a present one. Given that we are observing a moment relived under hypnosis, the credibility of both realities is questioned at all times. The viewer who attempts to answer this question of credibility has to, with sharpened senses, fully engage in image and sound.” –  Luz Filmmaker, Tilman Singer

 

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Oh Folks, do we have something delightful to share with you all today! And it is such a damn fine film, that the description used above, from the filmmaker Tilman Singer, is pretty much the most accurate description of the film possible. It is basically much smarter than anything I could possibly say about it. I was just going to describe it as a new age Lynchian-like drama filled with spectacular visuals that are not to be missed. I believe I am still right in this description, but again, not nearly as smart.

 

 

Luz is my first experience with the work of Tilman Singer, as I imagine it will be for most viewers. But, much like other new viewers, I am certain it will not be the last. The need for truly innovative figures like Singer is vastly underrated and in dire need. We just don’t see shit like this anymore, and we really need to if I’m being perfectly honest. As of this writing, the number one movie in the country right now is what could very well be considered the most vastly overrated Quentin Tarantino project to date. But, what does that really mean? It really means that mainstream culture needs even the most mediocre project from the most well known original artist to make a splash amongst the reboots and remakes. But, that’s a whole other discussion and argument.

All that I am really trying to say is that there are cinematic masterminds out there to be found, and making some of the best work imaginable to this date. And Tilman Singer, as a writer and director, is most definitely one of them. There are also stars like Luana Velis, who plays the films titular character, who deserve to be seen more often. For a truly gripping and psychotic adventure into the vast possibilities of what the mind can conjure up and divulge to the world, look no further than this truly terrifying and visual stimulating thriller.

 

Luz premiered in both LA and New York earlier this month, and will soon have a multi-city release to follow. So check out the trailer below, and stay tuned!