Saturday Special: A Perfect Host [Film]

 

“Four friends rent an isolated lake house for a weekend getaway. While the dramas of the friends’ relationships unfold, they are continually interrupted by the home’s owner: a health-obsessed bodybuilder named Tad. Throughout the group’s short stay, Tad’s seemingly affable gestures take an eerie and sinister twist, turning their dream vacation into a nightmare. Mystery entangles this tale that questions the blind acceptance of modern-day practices.” – October Coast PR

 

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Happy Saturday, Folks! Today we are showcasing a suspense thriller for the ages. A Perfect Host is an intriguing film littered with suspense and ultimate pay off that is simply not to be missed. With some twists and turns, I will decree here and now that whatever you are expecting to experience whilst watching this modern gem of a horror film, you will definitely receive more than expected. Filmmaker Chad Werner hit the proverbial nail on the head in terms of keeping the suspense tight, while keeping the attitude a bit light and somewhat comedic at times. He’s an obvious mastermind of his craft and I am very excited to see what the future holds for him.

 

Brady Burelson Johnson is absolutely incredible in is portrayal of the film’s protagonist, Tad. Just superb. And might I had that the name Tad says so much about the character he is playing. I sincerely cannot think of a better name for this somewhat charming psychopath. KoKo Marshall is also a stand out performer in this wonderfully casted film that I recommend to anyone obsessed with great horror and suspense projects. A Perfect Host is simply brilliant. Check it out!

 

A Perfect Host is available now on DVD and VOD.

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Quezon’s Game [Film]

 

“As WWII loomed and the 1930s drew to a close, desperate Jewish refugees seeking to flee German/Austrian ghettos and the escalating atrocities of the Nazi regime found little help from countries around the world. More than 10,000 miles away, over weekend poker games at the Malacanañg Palace, prominent Jewish businessman, two-for-a-nickel cigar maker Alex Frieder, implored his friend “Manny,” Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon, to assist him in establishing asylum for refugees in the tropical, island country. Also helping devise the dramatic rescue plan was American diplomat Paul V. McNutt, who labored to overcome oppressive U.S. objections to the plan, imperiling his own political career and presidential aspirations. Willing to risk it all, it was a moral obligation the Filipino leader was determined to fulfill … despite astronomical obstacles, the Philippines struggling, U.S.-reliant economy and his own gravely failing health due to a relapse of tuberculosis.

 

Instrumental as well was an ambitious, young U.S. Army Colonel, future president Dwight D. Eisenhower, then chief aide to General Douglas MacArthur, serving in the Philippines, a U.S. territory at a time when Filipinos (even diplomats and officials), like African-Americans, were required to use “Colored” bathrooms at the White House. Although Quezon’s intent to rescue 10,000 Jews was abruptly curtailed by the Dec. 8, 1941 invasion and three-year occupation of his country by the Japanese, he, his wife, Aurora, and daughter, Baby, succeeded against all odds to welcome more than 1,200 refugees, initially housing them on his own family’s property, Marikina estate. Yet in his final days in 1944, as president in U.S. exile, he regretfully turned to Aurora and asked, “Could I have done more?” – Greenleaf & Associates PR

 

 

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Oh Folks, do we have a great Sunday Matinee for you all today. First off, my sincerest apologies for the very long descriptive quote right up top. As many regular readers would know, this is usually a very brief overview of what the film is basically about. And while this one isn’t nearly as “brief” as they normally are, please understand that Quezon’s Game is a film that is littered with so much complexity and anxiety-driven content that I felt it was necessary to go long. This is a powerful film, Everyone. I know that words like “powerful” and “moving” seem to get thrown around very willy nilly like these days, but in the case of this masterpiece of cinema, these are pretty accurate descriptors, and I will stand by them.

 

I will be the first to admit something that I’m sure many other people would think simply in reading the description of this film….I HAD NO IDEA! It’s almost damn near shameful how much I did not know about the events that occur in this film, or the involvement of the Philippines in World War II. But after seeing Quezon’s Game, I simply cannot stop talking about it! I would hope that this would speak volumes to the work that filmmaker Matthew E. Rosen and writers Janice Y. Perez and Dean Rosen have put into showcasing the bravery and courage, let alone other the desire to simply do the right thing, that this incredible cast of historical characters managed to a show during such a frightful time.

 

 

We mentioned last week that we may have found the first great film of 2020 with the likes of Adrianna Maggs’s Goalie, but I am now here to say that it took less than a week to find yet another wonderful film of this year, with it only being January! Seriously Folks, I can’t imagine a world where we are not talking about Quezon’s Game a year from now when we are wrapping up our favorite cinematic pleasures of the year. It just doesn’t seem possible.

 

Quezon’s Game recently saw a wide release in theaters across the U.S. and Canada this last Friday, and are currently showing NOW! More theaters will be showing the film this coming Friday as well. See more details below:

 

 

List of U.S. + Canadian Markets

For theater locations, visit: https://www.quezonsgame.com/screening

 

United States

Opening Jan. 24, 2020

Hawaii

Honolulu

 

Illinois

Chicago

 

New Jersey

Bergenfield, Elizabeth

 

Nevada

Las Vegas, Reno

 

New York

Brooklyn, New York City

California

Berkeley, Elk Grove, Los Angeles, Roseville, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco

Virginia

Alexandria, Norfolk, Virginia Beach

United States

Opening Jan. 31, 2020

 

Alaska

Anchorage

 

Arizona

Mesa, Chandler, Phoenix

Colorado

Denver

Florida

Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami

Georgia

Atlanta

  

Maryland

Baltimore, Gaithersburg

Massachusetts

Boston, Danvers, Framingham

Michigan

Detroit

Minnesota

Inver Grove Heights, Minneapolis

Missouri

West Olive

Mississippi

Jackson, Southfield

Ohio

Cleveland

Oklahoma

Tulsa

Oregon

Portland

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Texas

Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Houston, Plano, San Antonio

Utah

Salt Lake City

 

                                                                             Washington                                                                                          

Olympia, Seattle

 

Washington D.C.

Metro

Canada

Opening Jan. 24, 2020

Alberta

Calgary, Edmonton

British Columbia

Vancouver, Surrey

Manitoba

Winnipeg

 

Ontario

Mississauga, Scarborough, Toronto

Quebec

Montreal

Canada

Opening Jan. 31, 2020

 

Alberta

Grande Prairie, Red Deer

British Columbia

Kelowna, New Westminster, Victoria

Ontario

Kitchener-London, Ottawa, Vaughan

 

Saskatchewan

Regina, Saskatoon

 

Yukon

Whitehorse

 

 

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<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/377850707“>QUEZON’S GAME OFFICIAL INTERNATIONAL RELEASE TRAILER</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/quezonsgamefilm“>Quezon’s Game Film</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com“>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Saturday Special: Kill Ben Lyk [Film]

 

“Three people have been murdered in London, all by the name of Ben Lyk. Scotland yard decides to gather together all the other Ben Lyks located in London until they can figure out who’s after them and why. One of the Ben Lyks is a young Youtuber, he thinks this attention on his name could finally be his shot at becoming an internet celebrity. What would you do if your namesake had been killed ? Is Ben Lyk the most dangerous name since Sarah Connor?” – October Coast PR

 

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Folks, I have something for you all today that I think you are truly going to enjoy. We are featuring a film that is, well, to keep it simple….so damn much fun. Much like in the vein of a previous film we showcased earlier this year (Reality Queen), this is a film that takes a somewhat satirical look at a very real problem, makes it sort of terrifying, but most humorous. The film is Kill Ben Lyk, and think it is fantastic. I’ve been known to have a slight amount of disdain for the world of the YouTube elite out there, so many I am simply in love with the idea of watching someone portraying one of these figures getting hunted down and possibly murdered. Or is that too dark? Either way, the concept of the film is simple in nature, but it’s truly amplified in a wonderful way when a lovely dose of narcissism is peppered into the scenario. In fact, it’s what really made me enjoy this film.

Another descriptor I might throw out there to describe what occurs in this wonderful film is…WILD. And it starts almost directly from the beginning. In fact, I mean the VERY beginning. I seriously found myself laughing out loud in the first two minutes….just before two lives are taken. Yes, it’s that sort of dark humor that we honestly could use more of in this world today.

 

 

Director and co-writer Erwan Marinopoulos has also created something very unique with the likes of Kill Ben Lyk. For those who may not watch a thousand movies a year, the seamless transition that the film makes from hide and seek thrill ride into a who done it type mystery may not be very obvious. And I suppose that is what would make it seamless, and again, so much fun! The cast feels like an effortless ensemble, and huge kudos to Simone Ashley who is so great in this film, and has single-handedly made me want to check out the Netflix Orginal series Sex Education which she appears in. Which should be no surprise when I think about how a wonderful performer can take on a wonderfully written and complex character and make it all their own.

So, do it up Folks! If you looking for a fun hour and half of cinematic joy, Kill Ben Lyk will not let you down. I simply cannot recommend it enough.

 

Kill Ben Lyk is in select theaters now, and will have a VOD release coming early this year.

 

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Sunday Matinee: Goalie [Film]

 

“The life of a professional hockey player was not always a glamorous one. For legendary goaltender Terry Sawchuk, each save means one more gash to his unmasked face and one more drink to numb the pain. Even with a wife and seven children at home, he is haunted by the void left from his childhood which he tried to fill with cheering crowds. Sawchuk traveled across the country racking up 103 shutouts and 400 stitches to his face, proving that this is a man who lives, breathes, and dies a goalie.” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks! While we have absolutely adored the films we have already covered this year thus far, I am here to say that I believe we have found our first EPIC drama of the year thus far in the form of this hockey lover’s wet dream of a film known as Goalie. Yes, when it comes to the world of hockey, I would presume to imagine that die-hard fans will probably be all too familiar with the career and life of Terry Sawchuck. I mean, what a damn story this guy had. But, I am also here to say that as somebody who doesn’t really follow hockey (like, at all) Goalie is a film that is indeed about hockey, but is actually about so much more than the game. While it is the central theme of the film, the act of sliding a puck over ice, possibly directly into a person’s mouth, is for another life force within the story of Terry Sawchuk himself, or at the very least, another character in his story. His dedication to the game seamed to stem back to a his time spent as a misguided youth who rarely saw sensitivity as a positive attribute, although he seemed to have plenty of it in his heart, yet his alcohol abuse that was used to numb his physical pain would sadly bleed over into his emotional wounds as well. Which is a pain that cannot be iced or heated away over time. This is the major takeaway from the film as a whole.

While it’s easy to consider the sport of hockey to be just another game to play, it is important to realize that at times there is a level of commitment to a self-destructive lifestyle that is simply unexplainable. This is why the story of a man who receives 400 stitches to the face over one career is so exhilarating and wildly unbelievable. But here it is Folks, for those interested in the human condition to a fault, Goalie is the film for you. Again, you don’t need to be a follower of the sport to enjoy this masterpiece.

 

 

Writer and director Adriana Maggs, as well as her sister, co-writer Jane Maggs, have crafted a story about a life that many have most likely never heard of before. Or, one that some are all too familiar with. Either way, Adriana and her band of talented cohorts have created something absolutely beautiful with Goalie. So much of why this film is so wonderful is obviously because of the writing. But as we have shared in the past, without the right people to deliver the lines, the storytelling just won’t work. And hot damn if they didn’t hit the nail (puck?) directly on the head in having Mark O’Brien portray Sawchuk himself. The intensity and passion that I could only imagine the real life Terry having is prominent and incredible through Mark. And of course, having one of the greatest screen actors of our time, Kevin Pollak, portraying the legendary Jack Adams is just another given that you are in for something truly special. But, let’s not forget about the one who truly stole the show for me, the one person with just enough sense to see the truth around them, but too love-stricken to completely avoid a terrible situation, which would be Georgina Reilly’s incredible portrayal of Sawchuk’s often disregarded companion, Pat Morey. To say that Georgina’s performance was anything less than brilliant would be a damned war crime in cinema. She’s that great. All the writing, performances, cinematography, all of it…it’s all a delight and I have no qualms in calling Goalie the first great film of 2020.

 

Goalie will be in select theaters on January 31st, and available on DVD and VOD on February 25th from Dark Star Pictures.

 

Saturday Special: A Rough Draft [Film]

 

A Rough Draft is set in and around the concept of open world video gaming, following a man without an identity nor memories who plays middle-man to corresponding worlds. Kirill’s identity has been eliminated. Erased from the memories of everyone around him, Kirill will be forced to serve as the gatekeeper of a portal that connects parallel worlds.” – October Coast PR

 

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If you couldn’t guess from the description above, A Rough Draft is a fantasy film that is far more than just a visually stunning production, it is a very interesting concept derived around the possibilities of multi-dimensional existences. What if there was more? What if a series of seemingly fated mistakes were simply just the precursor to a world that is far greater than our own? It’s a hell of a concept if you really stop to think about it. If theorists are to believe that the universe is infinite and there is a possibility of our own selves living in alternate realities, would it really be a stretch to imagine that somewhere there is a portal connecting one universe to another, if only for the sake of understanding what NOT to do?

Should this be the case, this is a film that beautifully highlights the wrong in the world, and showcases what could happen if we were freed from the endless mistakes that human kind continuously puts on display. While this concept could obviously cause a bit of dread, it’s also strangely hopeful in a way if you really try to wrap your mind around it. The world is already crazy enough, but think about the one that existence in more of a tranquil, free from war and suffering, state of being. We’ll likely never see it, but as the late great Ernest Hemingway once wrote through the eyes of one of his greatest characters ever brought to page, Brett Ashley, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

 

 

Now, going back to the film itself rather than just its concept, what a damn ride! A Rough Draft is a visually stunning portrayal from the mind of filmmaker Sergey Mokritskiy. It’s some of the best independent visual storytelling I have ever seen. Huge props have to be given to the likes of cinematographer Aleksandr Tananov and production designer Jurij Grigorovic, who with this film alone, may be some of the best and possibly underappreciated visual storytellers in the game right now. The film’s star Nikita Volkov also shines bright in his lead role, but if forced to choose a favorite performance, my proverbial hat must be tipped to the amazing Severija Janusauskaite, who was as awe-inspiring as she was frightening at times. The good folks behind the Russian based production company, New People Film, obviously have an eye for talent. They have been in the game for a while now, and now that they have managed to team up with our dear friends at High Octane Pictures, I’m sure we can anticipate even more wonderful works of art in the future. And we are so damn grateful for that!

 

A Rough Draft is available now wherever you buy great films.

 

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Sunday Matinee: Reality Queen! [Film]

 

 

“In the tradition of Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, and inspired by today’s obsession with reality TV and social media stars, writer-director Steven Jay Bernheim’s clever mockumentary fixes on a Paris Hilton-esque heiress named “London” who is struggling to regain fame after being pushed out of the limelight by three Kardashian-type sisters named “The Kims.” London’s life is a self-indulgent maelstrom of product endorsements, talent managers, pet psychics, private jets, fashion shows, yachts, and a celebrity posse. Despite her wackiness, she ultimately makes it back to the top of the heap. This parody of America’s infatuation with fame raises the question: are these celebs-for-no-reason marketing geniuses, or are they just the accidental beneficiaries of the American public’s stupidity?” – October Coast PR

 

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For our first Sunday Matinee of 2020, I think we have found a real satirical gem that truly represents one of the most horrifying aspects of modern American living today. Yep, reality. Well, more appropriately, “reality”. Being a person of a certain age, I’ve managed to watch this thing known as reality television simply take over the planet. And it’s truly horrifying. At first it just seemed to be a silly thing that might appease a few people for a few years. But it never quit. And even has television began to overtake the world of film as the writer’s best medium of the time, reality television is still a very real thing that is not going away. When did this happen? When did it this form of “entertainment” truly solidify itself into the American zeitgeist? Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a satirical film coming to your eyes soon that has the answers we seek. It’s Reality Queen!. And while it is a hysterical and a well made piece of satirical comedy, it’s also insanely truthful and a terrifying insight into a tragedy that isn’t going away any time soon.

Reality Queen! is first and foremost, god damned hilarious! Filled with brilliant performances, it is a masterwork of satire and a delightful poke at the fabulous lives that we should despise but for some reason are truly attracted to because the majority of us will never reach the ungodly amount of wealth that seemingly undeserving people have obtained, for no good reason. For those of us who are cynical of these lifestyles and the television programs that enable this madness, this film is a brilliant stab at the privileged nonsense we despise. For those who don’t see the reason to worry about the disgusting nature of this trash, this is probably not for you. Or maybe you will just think it is real? It is a very well done film, and so insanely accurate that it could really simply slide itself into the A&E cable line up and nobody would bat an eye, and people would demand more.

 

 

Reality Queen! boasts incredible co-stars and celebrity cameos from the likes of Denise Richards, who gives my favorite performance since appearing in Malcom Ingram’s Tail Lights Fade. Other appearances include the legendary boxer/part time cannibal Mike Tyson, the brilliant comedian & actor Charles Fleischer, and one of the last appearances from the beloved and dearly missed John Witherspoon, who I still can’t believe has left this earth so recently. But while all of these performances really added to the film in a grand way, it is definitely the film’s lead role that deserves the most attention, just as her character would like. Julia Faye West simply knocks it completely out of the proverbial park with her performances as London. When it comes to a satirical look at the life of the rich and “fabulous”, I have honestly never seen a better depiction than what she brings to Reality Queen! I honestly cannot think of one bit of criticism that a person could realistically give to this performance. It’s as close to a perfectly crafted character for this particular project as required. Sure, it’s not exactly Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, but one could argue that, on different plains, it is equally important. I’ll certainly stand by it.

 

Reality Queen! is available on DVD and Digital as well as in select theaters across the U.S. NOW!

 

Saturday Special: Agent Jade Black [Film]

 

“Rescued from the international sex trade as a young girl and trained as a secret government assassin, Jade Black must go after a rouge former agent with the same background who has developed a biological weapon and plans to unleash it on the world, starting with the wealthy and powerful men behind the very same human trafficking operation they were both rescued from years earlier.” – October Coast PR

 

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There seems to be a resurgence of sorts from the world of high powered action films in 2020, and I will definitely say I am not mad at it. And it seems to be leaking into the world of independent cinema, as Agent Jade Black is not the only film of its caliber that I have checked out in the sort time this year has been going. But, it was certainly the first, and I truly cannot say a bad word about it. The film is actually brought to the world from some of the creators of a 2018 film that was WAY better than it even should have been called The Jurassic Game, which landed in our Top 20 Films of 2018. And Agent Jade Black takes that same level of intensity and moves it into the world of secret agents and unlikely heroes that you would have to be without a pulse to not enjoy. It’s a fun piece of cinema.  Plain and simple, and I recommend it to all!

Now, I’m going to stop beating around the proverbial bush and get to why I really loved Agent Jade Black…..

 

 

KATIE BURGESS IS BACK!!! Folks, I have had no qualms or concerns about telling you all that I see this incredible actress as the future of cinema. And the fact that Agent Jade Black is a full blown vehicle to showcase Katie’s incredible talent is alone a reason why I would watch this film repeatedly. Burgess is young and full of life and has the potential to be one of the biggest stars in the world has known. I first noticed her in a film where she stood out amongst her acting peers, and simply crushed it, even if I didn’t entirely care for the film itself. And then Burgess lured me in to the aforementioned The Jurassic Games, and here we are again! And it’s safe to say we are seeing Katie absolutely light up the screen once again in this action drama that is not to be missed. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again so it is on record: Katie Burgess could be the future of Hollywood. Her potential seems limitless, and I am so excited to see her move into the mainstream world, and possibly pick up some roles that showcase just how talented she truly is. The first time I saw the trailer for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, one of my first thoughts was, “This film needs Burgess.” Imagine the incredible combination of Katie Burgess in a Gerwig modern classic? Here’s to the hope that this, or something similar, will one day rear it’s beautiful head.

Alight, I guess I can stop sucking up to Hollywood’s next biggest star to again let you all know that Agent Jade Black is a fantastic film, and you should all check it out as soon as possible. Terry Spears directs an absolutely wonderful collective of performers and stunt workers. And while we have known Katie to be able to shine in a film even if it’s not the best written piece of material, I dare say that this time around her talent is guided by a wonderful and entertaining story that is well produced, clean, and just so damn much fun. Check it out!

 

Agent Jade Black is available on VOD and DVD wherever you buy or stream great films.