Sunday Matinee: William [Film]

 

“Star academics, Doctors Julian Reed and Barbara Sullivan, fall in love with each other and with the idea of cloning a Neanderthal from ancient DNA. Against the express directive of University administrators they follow through on this audacious idea. The result is William: the first Neanderthal to walk the earth for some 35,000 years. William tries his best to fit into the world around him. But his distinctive physical features and his unique way of thinking–his “otherness”–set him apart and provoke fear. William’s story is powerful and unique, but his struggle to find love and assert his own identity in a hostile world is universal–and timeless.” – Big Time PR

 

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William is a tale that is old as time, no pun intended. Or is it? It doesn’t really matter, I suppose. The fact is, that this is a film that expresses the turmoil of the human condition that we all know and face within our lives. It just takes a very literal idea, and puts a brilliant metaphorical twist on the subject of what it means to be human. Which, in fact, becomes symbolic in a way as we are dealing with a character who does not believe in anything that can be perceived as metaphorical or a simile in any way. This is the paradox of the entire predicament that is concurrent throughout the film. William is a very well done examination into not only what it means to be human, but the struggle within ourselves to truly understand who we are. The idea that said struggle can occur because you derive from a species of human that has been extinct for a 35,000 years is obviously a very specific form of tragedy, but it is similar to a plethora of other bits of confusion that exist within the human mind. Overall, this is a film that will eventually leave you with more questions than answers, which I personally never see as a bad thing in this type of context.

The film’s writer and director, Tim Disney, has been quoted saying, “We Sapiens are not as special as we like to think.” Which I truly believe is absolutely spot on, and his work in bringing the character of William (brilliantly portrayed by Will Brittain) to a modern setting proves it beyond a reasonable doubt. William is a Neanderthal. But, he is also human. He carries the same sort of emotional baggage that even us Sapiens most likely consider to be our own invention. Again, I truly believe that in speaking metaphorically about the differences and similarities of Neanderthals and Sapiens is a very enlightening way to begin to realize that none of it really matters. Whether it was 35 minutes ago, or 35,000 years ago…none of us truly know WHY we are here. There are plenty of well thought out scientific studies, as well as less thought zealot like beliefs, that attempt to tell us HOW we arrived here. But, there isn’t a soul existing on this planet, and most likely any other, that can tell us why the human condition exists. The brain is an organ that named itself. Think about that for a moment.

 

 

Now, this isn’t a sociological blog, so I don’t plan to dive too deep into the previously mentioned subject matters. It is suffice to say, I truly loved this film. I loved the imagery of my beloved Pacific Northwest, I loved everything that it stands for from a societal stand point, and I truly felt that everything from the cinematography to the brilliant wordplay and performances of everyone involved was handled quite perfectly, even down to an ending that, at first, felt a bit rushed and clunky, but after giving it some real thought, turns out to be the exact way it all needed to go.

William Brittain is absolutely stunning as the titular character. His matter of fact speak does not come off in a manner that we are accustomed to knowing of when it comes to Neanderthals. Brittain gives an emotional depth to a stereotype in a way that I have never seen before. And Susan Park was an absolutely delightful surprise. I truly wasn’t expecting her character to be much more than an object in which the film was using to pull more emotional depth out of the character of William. While this does turn out to be true, it was a mistake to disregard the brilliant writing of Tim Disney, and the incredible acting chops of Susan Park. Legends like Maria Dizza & Waleed Zuatier churn out some amazing performances that should not surprise any one in the least, as well.

I truly believe that William is a must see film. And I also believe that this is exactly the type of film that should be viewed with an complete open mind, and plenty of follow up conversation amongst those close to you. Ask the real questions: What does it mean to be human, really? How far removed are we actually from such a species as Neanderthals? Should Encino Man be remade into a high school drama ala Riverdale? All jokes aside, I truly cannot recommend this brilliant film enough. See it as soon as you can!

 

William is in theaters now at the Village East Cinema in New York City and Laemmle Monica Film Center in Los Angeles. 

 

Check out the trailer for William via YouTube on the FilmStop Trailers page:

 

Saturday Special: Soldier of War [Film]

 

“Deep in the forest, two boys discover the entrance to a secret military bunker hidden since World War II and inadvertently awaken an undead soldier, who embarks on a grotesque, ritualistic killing spree. A police investigation begins, but one by one the police and other locals are murdered. Only a World War II veteran holds the secret to stop the killings, but will anybody believe him?” – Uncork’d Entertainment

 

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Folks, as you all know, we love a good scar around here. Our love for the world of horror is deeply engrained within the site. But alas, we are not simply a horror only related website. In fact, sometimes we delve into some pretty heavy shit, possibly trying to make a laugh out of certain subjects from time to time. I state this only because I feel as though all of these aspects our little site are seemingly similar the story that is Soldier of War. This film is a true thrill ride of an experience with plenty of gore and frightening imagery, but also has a not-to preachy but worth acknowledging dramatic center that one could reasonably draw the comparison of zombie soldiers to POWs long since forgotten in the world. But, it’s also a lot of fun! With some incredible imagery, and a story that seems to be only slightly off from a realistic timeline, this is just a film to be watched for the pure enjoyment of cinema viewing itself.

 

Legendary Emmy Award nominated actor John Rhys-Davies turns out yet another fabulous performance as the man that “all these damn people should have listened to!” who we always love to root for within a film because it makes us feel smarter, and even more, good about ourselves and smarter than we truly are. Which is another brilliant part of cinema viewing that Soldier of War manages to bring out so perfectly. The visuals of Soldier of War are absolutely stunning and worth the length of the film itself. You’re really going to have some fun with this one, Folks!  There is just so much to enjoy, and I can not recommend it to you all enough. Strap in for a few good scares and just a damn good time!

 

Soldier of War is available now on VOD and DVD wherever you stream or buy quality cinema.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: The Long Shadow [Film]

 

“Director Frances Causey and Producer Sally Holst, both privileged daughters of the South, were haunted by their families’ slave-owning pasts. They grew up in a time when white superiority was rarely questioned, and challenging this norm was often met with deadly consequences. Rejectingthe oft-told romanticized version of early U.S. history, they embarked on a journey of hidden truths and the untold stories of how America – driven by the South’s powerful political influence – steadily, deliberately and with great stealth,  established white privilege in our institutions, laws, culture and economy. From New Orleans to Virginia, Mississippi and Canada, they traveled the roads of oppression, suppression, and even hope to reveal the direct link from early slavery, Jim Crow and strong-arm Southern politics to the current racial strife and division we face today.” Big Time PR

 

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Hello Folks! I have a wonderful film to share with you all today, and it is one that I feel as though the world truly needs to see. Just this morning, I logged into the dumpster fire of a website that is Twitter.com, and learned that a hashtag that is trending today is #MyWhitePrivilege. And, as to be expected in the modern American climate, a whole lot of outrage has occurred. It was pure coincidence that I had this film scheduled to be showcased on this day almost a month ago, and then I woke up to see this thing trending.

The idea behind White Privilege is one that so many don’t seem to understand. But, with a simple viewing of a film like The Long Shadow, I feel as though it could be perfectly explained. Our nation was one founded on complete injustice because it was the easiest route to go. It wasn’t correct, it was disgusting, but it is the solid truth behind the matter. It’s just as the quote on the poster says: “When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression”. And while I am hesitant to provide any sort of accolade to director Frances Causey and producer Sally Holst for putting this amazing film together in fear of presenting another version of a “white savior” that is also a very problematic scenario that is often times presented in the world of cinema, I do have to say that I feel as though their project didn’t convey that fearful idealism of “but, we’re the good whites” that could have very easily been conveyed. Instead, they created an open and honest work of art that can create a real discussion about the terrors that occurred in an extremely close proximity to the world they live in. In fact, it was the world they lived in. In fact, we need more people like Causey and Holst. Those who recognize their privilege, and make it a way of life for themselves to acknowledge the complete and utter bullshit that has been brought upon an entire race of people who never chose to come to this country. We forced them here, and we have continued to shit on them ever since.

And while the film justifiably speaks mostly of the the sufferings that occurred in the southern region of the United States of America, I feel as though it is important to point out that the rest of the country is not also to blame. Even the far west states in which i was raised are not immune to the criticism of being blatantly racist and complacent in some really shitty behavior. It may be behavior that is showcased later in the film because of the timeline, but it is shitty behavior nonetheless. I grew up a shitty lumber town in the Pacific Northwest, just north of one of the most liberal cities in the country (Portlandia) and I still knew a sense of hatred that was undeniably ridiculous. I won’t spend too much time on this, but I just felt that this was a point that needed to be made. If you are watching this film from the Bay Area, don’t think you are exhumed from being a part of the problem.

Also, before anyone has anything to say about the fact that this film may closely resemble a certain documentary that is also very compelling and happens to be available on Netflix, please shut that shit down right now. I for one am very happy that this idea is being brought up on multiple occasions. This is a real life massacre of humanity that needs to be discussed as often as possible. When I was a kid, I spent my own money buying 6 different documentaries about Tupac Shakur that all pretty much said the same thing. And not to knock Tupac, but I honestly wish that there were as many documentaries about the fact that black oppression did not end when slavery did that can be readily named off in my white privileged head than there are Tupac docs. That being said, The Long Shadow is truly unique in the way that it presents itself, and is an all around well-produced and stylized documentary that every one should see. This is a film that needs to be shown in schools. Bee it Elementary, Middle School, College, and beyond, this is a brilliant demonstration of humanity at its finest that should be taught to the world.

 

 

The Long Shadow is available now on VOD.

 

 

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/285020724″>THE LONG SHADOW short trailer</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user5572442″>Jed Riffe</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Saturday Special: Division 19 [Film]

 

“In the future, prisons have been turned into online portals where paying subscribers get to vote on what felons eat, watch, wear and who they fight. Panopticon TV is so successful it is about to be rolled out to a whole new town. When the world’s most downloaded felon escapes, the authorities set a trap to reel him in. The bait is his little brother who has so far managed to avoid detection.” – Uncork’d Entertainment

 

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Division 19 is a highly stylized film that takes place in yet another Orwellian or Harry Turtledove live setting, but of course has it’s own twist when considering the most recent political and human climate in which we are currently living in. The idea within the story that the an experiment in control is first conducted on the enslaved of a nation, before releasing the idea onto the common public is a commonplace, yet god damned frightening, idea that we have seen time and time before. But I dare say that Division 19 hits this idea in a truly unique fashion with a smattering of suspense and is overall an incredibly smart thriller and is brilliant production that stands out in its own right. The film touches less than delicately on the idea that we are constantly de-valuing human life as a whole, so much so that true chaos is becoming more and more likely to be a real problem that we all have to admit to being destructive and demoralizing. The idea that we may pay money to control a human life who is trapped in a jail cell seems so far fetched on the surface. But, really think about it. The concept may not be as foreign as you would once think. While the situations are literal within the film, the actual message behind what is happening within Division 19 is highly figurative, and truly original. I can not recommend this film to you all enough, especially if you are dystopia nut who is looking for the next best visual representation of what could happen if we continue down the path we are on.

 

 

Division 19 was derived from the brilliant mind of Suzie Halewood, who absolutely nailed it visually, and wrote and even more impressive story to know and love. And the cast of the film is absolutely top notch, which happens to include our friend of TWS, Will Rothhaar, as well as legendary screen actor Clarke Peters of The Wire and Treme acclaim. Other notable figures within the cast has to be the always incredible Alison Doody. The list goes on and on. Toby Hemingway, Mandy‘s Linus Roache, just so many greats to be seen. Overall, it is an incredible story that is as visually stimulating as it is just an overall enthralling concept. And with a wide selection of wonderful performances to enjoy, there really is just so damn much to love here.

 

Division 19 will be in theaters on April 5th at the following theaters, as well as on VOD:

– LA: Laemmle Music Hall
– Chicago: AMC South Barrington 24
– Atlanta: AMC Southlake Pavilion 24
– Dallas: AMC Grapevine Mills 30
– Houston: AMC Gulf Pointe 30
– Cleveland: Tower City Cinemas
– San Francisco: AMC Deer Valley Stadium 16
– Philadelphia: PFS Roxy Theater
– Phoenix: AMC Arizona Center 24
– Detroit: AMC Fairlane 21

 

Check out the trailer for Division 19 right here:

 

Sunday Matinee: Princess of the Row [Film]

 

“Bouncing around the sometimes-abusive foster care system, a creative 12-year-old girl, Alicia Willis (Tayler Buck), ditches school to visit her military veteran father, Sgt. Beaumont “Bo” Willis (Edi Gathegi). After a battle-induced brain injury during his service in Iraq, Bo is now homeless and living on LA’s skid row suffering from severe PTSD. The injury renders him unable to recognize his own daughter most of the time, but to Alicia it doesn’t matter, because she remembers him as the father he used to be: a caring man with a love of storytelling.

Inheriting her father’s creativity, Alicia loves to write and spends most of her time writing fantasy tales of a Princess on a quest. But when Alicia’s social worker Magdalene (Ana Ortiz), places her in a perfect home with an award-winning writer, John Austin (Martin Sheen), she learns they live 10 hours away. Fearful of never seeing her father again, Alicia escapes the city with her father, on a mission to find a better life where they can be together in peace.” – Millennial PR

 

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If you are a living human with a pulse that is active, you will know just from the description of a film like this, that if it is done correctly, it is going to be a true work of art by the greatest design. And lucky to us living humans, it was done absolutely perfectly. Seriously Folks, this is not only one of the finest films I have seen in 2019, it is a gem of a film that is one of the best I have seen in a very long time.

The idea that we are seeing an abundance of homelessness being the result of hundreds of thousand of people fighting in two wars at the same time, and being a country that wasn’t ready to handle the trauma that they would feel as a result is absolutely sickening and terrifying. But, films like Princess of the Row are a prime example of a work of art that seeks to bring the discussion to the table. To humanize those who have suffered so much in this manner is truly beautiful and should definitely get the conversation started. Why are we spending so much money to go to war, yet are not prepared to support the troops on the homefront as well? It’s a question that has been asked so many times, yet nobody has a real answer to. The VA is out there, and I personally know people who are committing their lives to helping out our vets, and I truly commend them. But, it obviously isn’t enough. It’s god damn ridiculous, and it’s sickening. And while I truly love Princess of the Row as a film, I truly wish that it wasn’t so possibly true to life. I wish we could watch a film like this and see it in an Orwellian light and had to ask ourselves, “What would it be like if we really treated our veterans this way?”. Unfortunately, we don’t need to ask such a question, because it is currently the truth, and this story could have been truly ripped from real life experiences.

 

 

 

When it comes to performances, Tayler Buck is the clear standout in the matter. She runs the show here as not only the titular character, but as the ringleader of emotions that run throughout the film. Even with the likes of legendary performers like Martin Sheen and Edi Gathegi, who are absolutely brilliant by the way, this young woman steals the show thanks to not only her talents, but for the fact that she was a wonderfully written part done masterfully by director Max Carlson and writer A Shawn Austin.

So, when you find the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to check out this gem of a film that addresses some very serious issues in a responsible and artistic manner. It truly isn’t just the best film of 2019 thus far, it’s easily one of the best films of the last 20 years. I wouldn’t lie to you, Folks!

 

Princess of the Row is in select theaters now, and currently on the festival circuit. You can check out the film on Wednesday, April 3 at 8:00PM – TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Hollywood, as part of the Beverly Hills Film Festival.

 

Saturday Special: Pet Graveyard [Film]

 

A struggling student nurse assists her brother and his friends in a graveyard in a dangerous experiment called “brinking” — a ritual where it is said you can explore a region between life and death, enabling you the chance to speak to those who have passed on. However, when they return to life, a sinister force is after the group, wanting to take them back to the dark side and keep them dead.” – October Coast PR

 

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Alright Folks, I know you may feel a bit put off by a film with a title like Pet Graveyard. Yes it is similar to another very famous film and the reboot that is currently making the festival rounds. But trust me Folks, any comparison would be ill-informed and insanely incorrect. This film is so much better than it truly deserved to be. It has an incredible concept, a wonderful story to tell, and has a look that is absolutely brilliant that was made on a restricted budget to say the least. Acclaimed B-Horror producer Rebecca J. Matthews has moved into the director’s chair and has created something truly original and extremely impressive in bringing screenwriter Suzy Spade’s wonderful story to the world.

I would again like to reiterate that this film stands on its own two proverbial feet as a singular piece of art. This is a magnificent horror-thriller for exactly what it is, and nothing more. Any comparison to any other film is unnecessary, and I sincerely wish that the comparisons weren’t so easy to make. But, I get it. Making a film is really, really fucking hard. Something has to draw the audiences. But not unlike so many folks we have spoken with who have worked on “sequel by name only” projects (i.e. The Marine 4, Jarhead 3, etc.), the work is solid. It is well-written, has solid performances, and is simply just a damn fine film. And if it takes attaching the title’s likeness to something that is already known to get this beautiful work out into the world, so be it. I would much rather have a film like Pet Graveyard in existence, even if I don’t care much for the film’s title. I wouldn’t like to you Folks and I definitely am not now when I say that this film is special and should be enjoyed by all. So, please keep at least a slight bit of an open mind, and check out this amazing work of horror. You will definitely not be disappointed!

 

Pet Graveyard will be available on DVD & VOD on April 2nd, 2019.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: The Cannibal Club [Film]

 

“Otavio and Gilda are a very wealthy couple of the Brazilian elite who have the habit of eating their employees. Otavio owns a private security company and is a notable member of The Cannibal Club. When Gilda accidentally discovers a secret from Borges, a powerful congressman and the Club’s leader, her and her husband’s lives are in grave danger.  ” – October Coast PR

 

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I have to kick this thing off by stating that this film was much more amazing than it really needed to be. And I say this as a major compliment. The premise is one that is usually dealt with as something be treated as dark, yet silly. But, The Cannibal Club is a film the dives into the world of elitism and self-indicted superiority by using very graphic material to elicit the idea that the rich and powerful are seemingly only around to destroy the poor. And in this case, they plan to eat them as well. Make no mistake about it, everything from the setting of the film being in more prominent areas of Brazil that are intermingled with the poverty stricken areas, to the brilliant performances from the likes of Tavinho Teixeira and Ana Luis Rios, this is an absolutely brilliant demonstration of what it means to be just too damn powerful. This idea is extremely exaggerated in a brilliant bit of dialogue regarding first and third world countries, in which we are witness to the “better to reign in hell” mentality that these characters seemed to have.

 

 

What struck me the most about this very powerful and insane film, was the idea of the conflict of the film being so very mild on the surface, yet was still stoked a reasonable fire when you considered the characters at hand. I’m not going to spoil the big “secret” that Gilda discovers in the plot, but it is suffice to say that it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal when you consider that this man is LITERALLY EATING HUMAN GODDAMN BEINGS!!!! And this, I feel, is what truly adds to the beautiful conflict that this film presents. Satirical is an obvious way to describe the film, but please don’t lead to believe that there is really anything zany and ridiculous within this film. This is a very serious take that speaks gruesome volumes about the disparity of wealth in this world. Maybe I am projecting my own thoughts into he plot of the film, but isn’t that what I am supposed to be doing here?

Overall, The Cannibal Club is a brilliantly made film and is an absolutely must see for anyone who can handle a good measure of insanity whilst understanding that sometimes the true terrors of the world are all around us. It is wonderful that we have filmmakers like Guto Parente out there in this world to describe such terrors to us in a visual manner. Watch this movie, Everyone! It’s a an absolute treasure, and one of my favorite films of 2019. Enjoy!

 

The Cannibal Club is available in select theaters and on VOD right NOW!