Sunday Matinee: The Great Day [Film]

Synopsis:

“Nidhi Jha, 15, from Benares, India dreams of becoming one of thousands to pass the Super 30 exam, which will enable her to have free preparatory education and fulfill her dreams of attending engineering school. Deegii Batjargal, 11, from Ulan-Batar, Mongolia practices her contortionist-training daily, in the hopes of being accepted by an elite circus school in Singapore. Tom Ssekabira, 19, from rural Uganda, works hard in Queen Elizabeth National Park to become a ranger, with hopes of graduating to protect local endangered chimpanzee groups from poachers. Albert Ensasi Gonzalez Monteagudo, 11, from Cuba is determined to chase his dream of attending Havana Sport Academy and becoming and Olympic boxer.

These intimate true stories show the dreams of youth and the power of education to help a new international generation of children from poor backgrounds change their lives through hard work and perseverance.”

Oh damn, people. Do we have one for the old heart strings today. This incredible film is a very special one that I would definitely recommend for anyone who needs to be reminded about just how precious our lives truly are. And if you’re anything like me, you may realize that whatever ambition you have, most likely pails in comparison to what these 4 kids are striving to become. It is absolutely incredible to watch these young people work towards something they dream of. And what is even more compelling, is that some of them aren’t searching for anything that spectacular. They just want to make it! They just want to make it out of their current situation and be great. Their ambition is admirable to say the least. Especially when I can’t seem to peel myself away from a few episodes of Z Nation or playing Fallout 4 to try to write something.

The Great Day is a film that is as inspiring as it is beautiful. Filmmaker Pascal Plisson brings us an extremely fascinating true tale to the big screen that is truly not to be missed. I simply cannot recommend this gem of a film enough. In an attempt to not cause too many spoilers, I just have to say that the ending of the film is going to make you smile. And what more could you want from a film?

 

Find The Great Day on VOD Nationwide on Tuesday, October 10 on all major platforms including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft, Vudu, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Vimeo, and various other cable operators.


Advertisements

Sunday Matinee: Second Nature [Film]

I just have to kick things off here by clearly stating that this a film that absolutely does everything CORRECTLY! And unfortunately, for me to truly demonstrate this point, there will be spoilers. There will be spoilers. There will be spoilers. Have I effectively gotten through to you? There will be spoilers. Okay, let’s begin.

I was initially drawn to this film based solely on presence of the two top billed performers. Collette Wolf has always been amazing in my mind ever since I first saw her amazing interactions with Patton Oswalt in Observe and Report almost a decade ago. It was comedic genius, and I have been dying to see her able to take on a leading role. And obviously, she crushes it to be purely minimalist about it. And then there is Sam Huntington, who I feel as though I have grown up with over the last 20 years. In fact, His first three films were all released when I was between the ages of 12 and 16. And all three of them came out at exactly the right age that I could relate to them the most. For those of you who are not up to speed, this films (in order) were Jungle 2 Jungle, Detroit Rock City, and Not Another Teen Movie. Three solid, yet very different, films that were all bettered by Sam’s involvement.

So yes, with two brilliant lead stars in this film, I definitely knew it wasn’t going to be horrible. The premise is also very noteworthy. The direct and some-what campy visualization of what it would look like if roles were reversed is brilliant concept, no matter how we land with said visualization. In this case it is a magic mirror. Sure. Why the hell no? It is a great way to go right to the story, which is what is most important.

Now, as of yet, I may not have really spoiled anything for you fine readers. But here it comes. Are you ready…..okay, here we go……THIS IS NOT A ROMCOM!!! I can not tell you just how wonderful this is to me. I seriously thought it was coming for quite a ways through the film. I had this terrible suspicion that while writer/director Michael Cross was giving us a lovely little film about women’s empowerment, he was surely going to have to cave in and make these two lead roles fall in love with each other and live happily ever after, thus negating the empowerment element that was so prominent. But it doesn’t happen!! It seriously wasn’t even an issue, I was actually left feeling pretty dumb for not believing it could be done. This just isn’t something that happens people!

Now look, I have nothing against a good romantic comedy, if that is what it is supposed to be about. But a film like Second Nature wasn’t about romance, it is a hilarious film that addresses seriously real issues through comedy. And Cross made the absolutely perfect decision to not let the film turn in that direction. This very fact alone makes me truly admire the film, and makes me want to tell all of my more open minded friend.

So, with that point in mind, there is still even more to love about this project. The storyline is on point, and the writing is absolutely genius. And will could gush of the dreamboats that are Collette and Sam, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention a few others that really blew me away. People, please be on the look out for Riley Shanahan. He was absolutely fantastic in this film, and has one of the most brilliant “embarrassing in your underwear” scenes I have ever seen. Honestly, I would love to get the behind the scenes take on what it was like to shoot that scene. I was literally howling with laughter at this beautiful bit of awkwardness. And I can’t forget about Carollani Sandberg, who is somebody I will definitely be on the look out for in the future, as she gave the finest emulation of what the film’s “role reversal” would truly be like.

So get out there and see Second Nature, folks! It is a gem of a film with a very important message!

Theatrically, the film is scheduled to open in theaters on September 8 (beginning with Ark Lodge Cinemas, Seattle). It will also play at the Catalina Film Festival (Sep 27-October 1) and Ellensburg Film Festival (October 6-8).

Second Nature will also be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Blu-ray and DVD on September 19.

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Hell Ride [Film]

“Veteran AIP genre star Larry Bishop (son of famed Rat Packer Joey Bishop) directs and stars in this gritty revenge tale concerning a biker gang that rallies to avenge the violent murder of a fellow gang member. An homage to such classic biker films as Chrome and Hot Leather and Angel Unchained, Hell Ride was conceived when director Bishop was invited to Quentin Tarantino’s home to view a print of The Savage Seven. Upon realizing that there hadn’t been a true biker film in years, the pair quickly contacted Bob Weinstein and conspired to produce a lean and mean two-wheeled revenge flick that would more than make up for lost time.” – Rotten Tomatoes

Today’s Sunday Matinee is for a film that both new and old readers are sure to appreciate. It is easily one of the finest genre pieces of the last twenty years, especially if that genre you adore is classic biker films. This is just about as god damned good as it gets. The film’s director, writer, producer, and lead star is known other than genre legend Larry Bishop, who we were fortunate enough to get some words from last July. The film also features one of favorite interviewees (can’t believe it has almost been 4 years!) of all time, the wonderful actress, Laura Cayoutte, who was also an associate producer on the film and is somebody I have personally dubbed as the Queen of NOLA. And as you may expect if you are recognized an uncommon theme here at the Sunday Matinee series, we will soon be featuring yet ANOTHER wonderful member of the Hell Ride team. Only not this week, but in coming weeks. SPOILER ALERT: She is an amazing actress from the film, and she is pictured below next to a smiling Michael Madsen. And we are so excited to share it with you! With that, your homework is the watch Hell Ride, if you have failed miserably to do so already. Which is absolutely unacceptable.

 

Hell Ride also features legendary performances from two brilliant actors that have sadly left us. I am obviously speaking of the great David Carradine and Dennis Hopper. Both of which gave dynamite performances in roles that were written so beautifully, almost any one could have done them. But when you have legends like Carradine and Hopper involved, you are going go get brilliance. There are few guarantees in life, but exceptional performances form the likes of these cats is one you could always count on. And while we are speaking of legends, one that is still with us and was wonderful in this film is definitely the great Michael Madsen, who is always phenomenal. In fact, I would say Madsen gave one of his best performances of all time, aligned with his work on Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Donnie Brasco.

 

And I will be damned if this isn’t just an amazing film to look at. It is a brilliantly written and directed film obviously, because Larry Bishop is genius to say the least. But it would be absolutely senseless not to note that cinematographer Scott Kevan did an absolutely brilliant job!

Seriously folks, there is absolutely nothing to hate about this film. Critics tended to be assholes about the film with some serious biased assumptions and unfair judgements. But, this is a film you are either going to enjoy a great amount, or you just aren’t going to understand or care about. Which is fine. Different art forms appeal to different people. I’m just saying that if Hell Ride is a film that appeals to you, you are a person who would probably appeal to me. Because it is an all around wonderful film with a lovely cast and beautiful premise that the world should enjoy. Even if your just looking for a bit of nostalgia in your life, you are going to absolutely adore this brilliant piece of cinema!

Check out this trailer for the film courtesy of The Weinstein Company:

Sunday Matinee: E.W.A. [Short]

“The film, evoking Peter Greenways’ aesthetics, follows the daily life of Eva (played by Ukrainian model Aliyah Galyatadnova), a seventeen year old girl who suffers from a condition of constant nose bleeds, and the difficulties as well as benefits it presents her with in this confusing stage of her life.”

Being young can feel like a truly futile and painful existence at times. Most of know this, and hopefully most of us have moved on into the more adult like futile and extremely painful existence. Being a young person who doesn’t feel like they have been cut from the same cloth as “normal” people, can truly be a metaphorical constant nosebleed.

And that is exactly what New York-based director Gigi Ben Artzi has excellent portrayed in his second 16mm short film that is E.W.A. This is a film that evokes oh so common feelings of strength amongst the irregular humans of the world, especially during their youth. Aliyah Galyatadnova’s consistent nosebleeds are obviously just a physical manifestation of what too many people are feeling internally.

Aliyah’s brilliant performance is without a doubt the finest part of E.W.A., closely followed by the beautiful cinematography through a 16mm filter. And I would love to be on record by stating that if this film isn’t the best live action short film of the year, it is certainly one of the most important live action short films of 2017. I find this easy to pronounce.

And aren’t fine readers so damned lucky, that you can check out the entire film right here, right now. That is right! You don’t even have to move yourself off of Trainwreck’d Society to watch E.W.A. Check it out below, and I am certain you are going to be wanting to check out previous works from director Gigi Ben Arts. If not, well, you’re probably missing the point!

With that, please enjoy E.W.A. right here:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/231684610″>E.W.A</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user38284978″>Gigi Ben Artzi</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Sunday Matinee: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 [Film]

“Picking up several years after the events of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Lieutenant Lefty Enright (Dennis Hopper) is on the trail of Leatherface (Bill Johnson) and the rest of the Sawyer family for killing his niece and nephew years earlier. He has tracked them to a small town in Texas, where they have come across the path of a local DJ, known as Stretch (Caroline Williams). She accidentally records them killing two college boys that called into her station and turns the tape over to Lefty. He encourages her to play it in on the air, but this attracts the attention of Leatherface and his brother Chop Top (Bill Moseley), who come to pay their respects. Stretch convinces Leatherface to spare her life, but they kidnap her coworker (Lou Perryman) after badly beating him. She follows them to their home, an abandoned carnival above ground and a cavernous, maze-like horror-show below ground. Lefty shows up with a few chainsaws to save Stretch’s skin and get revenge.” – Diabolique Magazine

 

So, I was planning to skip over this week’s Sunday Matinee, due to time restraints and other commitments, as well as the fact that I have not watched anything new in the last couple of weeks and wasn’t sure what to write about. And then I heard some of the saddest news of 2017. It has been a truly shitty year for the world of horror, all on the cusp of our forthcoming Month of Horror here at Trainwreck’d Society. In less than a 12 month period, we lost two of the biggest pioneers of the industry. Earlier this year, George A. Romero, the man who originally gave us the fear of the undead returning passed away. And most recently, amongst the chaos and excitement of some sort of multi-million dollar punching match, we lost the man who brought us the most terrifying film of all time to be centered around cannibalism and inhumane torture in the heart of “middle of nowhere land”. Yes, the great Tobe Hooper has left us today and our hearts are being ripped apart by metaphorical chainsaws.

While Hooper’s film Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a seminal classic in the world of horror and film in general, I have always held a soft spot for the film’s sequel that was released a baker’s dozen years later, simply entitled Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. I have always been a huge fan of the more camp like atmosphere in the world of horror. Especially when it is done correctly. And never before, and since, has the melding of camp and suspense been done so eloquently and beautifully as it was in this amazing sequel. There is just so much to love about this story.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 features some of the greatest performances the world of horror has ever known. Legendary scream queen and dramatic actress Caroline Williams is an amazing strong female lead with a gut-wrenching scream, and the return of Jim Siedow from the original film is a brilliant touch for all the die hard fans out there. But, the most impressive combination of terrifying characters is easily the appearance of one of the most frightening characters in so many different forms of horror, the great Bill Mosely, and the strange chance to actually root for legendary and dearly departed Dennis Hopper.

I simply cannot say enough great things about this damn movie. Of course, it is never going got be critically accepted as a classic compared to the series’s origin film, but die hard fans of horror know that this film is a classic, and I believe that is what Mr. Hooper would have really wanted. Rarely does a horror film hold all of the delightful elements that are possible. There is shock, terror, gore, comedy, and outlandishness, all boxed together perfectly in a truly entertaining hour and half. And in my opinion, this is what makes Texas Chainsaw Massacre not only a brilliant horror film, but a cinematic masterpiece in general. It is also another brilliant testament to the genius of the great Tobe Hooper that will be severely missed.

And with that I just want to say goodnight to father of Leatherface, the bringer of the Poltergeist, and one of the greatest writers and filmmakers of this generation and any one before.

R.I.P. Tobe Hooper

Sunday Matinee: After Love [Film]

 

“From the director of Our Children, comes the stark story of Boris (Cédric Kahn) and Marie (Bérénice Bejo), a couple who have decided to separate after 15 years together. They have two girls that they adore. However, cash-strapped Boris is still living in the family home. When all is said and done, neither of the two is willing to give up.Now this apartment is a war zone and their situation a nightmare. Joachim Lafosse captures with great magnitude, the painfully intimate, harrowingly fascinating drama about the emotional and financial complexities of a separation and the complexity of the end of a long love story.” – Rotten Tomatoes

 

I feel the need to kick this thing off by stating first and foremost, this is the best film I have watched this year. It is just about everything I am looking for a in a film, with every bit of ground covered to make it an absolutely beautiful cinematic experience. It is a story that idealistacly  simple, yet emotionally complex. It is a tale as old as time, but with a bit of a twist. It is the battle between realistic possibilities and sometimes irrational power of the ego. It is Freudian at its most dramatic points, but absolutely sweet and loving during its more whimsical periods. It has just about everything you will need if you are a fan of cinema that goes truly deep.

One of the greatest elements of After Love is definitely the level of depth that director Jorchim Lafosse and cinematographer Jean-Francois-Hengens go to throw together a visual representation of just how damned awkward this situation could be! Imagine yourself in this scenarios, and then try to imagine how you would attempt to physically interact with the children you adore, and the person you are currently falling out of love with. I can say with reasonable certainty, the quick pace cuts and clever pans of the camera in a film like this would be closely comparable to the human eye in this dire situation.

And lest we not forget, the cast of After Love is absolutely phenomenal. I have a rule that I live by when watching a film: If I can visualize somebody else taking on the exact same role of the film, then the actor was not right for the role. They have to OWN it. And I am here to say, that the film’s top 3 billed characters definitely OWNED their roles, and I would struggle to envision anybody else taking on these roles. Cédric Kahn plays the role of the vulnerable powerhouse of a man absolutely perfect, while Bérénice Bejo will bring you in and out of realistic conceptualization as you watch her struggle with her feelings towards a man who she may despise, but has to remain strong and save face for the sake of her children, and all the while confusing herself even more by possibly re-establishing a connection with said man that she despises. The complexity of her character is very deep, and she pulls it off poignantly! And then there is Marthe Kelly who, let’s be honest, simply did what we all expected her to do. Kelly is an actress who has proven for decades that she is one of the finest actresses of this or any time. She was MADE to take on this role. She is a woman who loves her daughter so much, and wants to be emotionally available. But, she can not stand to see her daughter suffer so much, and sees the answer directly in front of her, but can’t get the child she loves to pull the proverbial trigger on the entire situation.

Overall, After Love is just one of those damn fine movies we just don’t see enough of anymore. It is shot beautifully, and features some of the finest acting you will ever witness. There is no glitz and glamour and not a single car explosion. It is just a truly gritty and heart-felt story that can be both relatable and disturbing. It is a masterpiece of modern cinema, and needs to be taken in by all!

 

After Love had it’s New York premiere earlier this month, and California viewers will have their chance this coming Friday, September 1st at Loemmle’s Royal Theatre, as well as the 4 Star Cinema in San Francisco on August 25th, with further U.S. dates to follow.

Sunday Matinee: Heckler [Film]

 

***Please be advised, this “review” of a truly great film, will very quickly turn into the ramblings of a bitter old blogger, and turns into a very long rant. Heckler is in there quite a bit, but be sure that if you scroll past it all, get to the links at the bottom to be able to support Heckler!***

There are several reasons I chose to showcase this Jamie Kennedy-produced documentary for you fine readers on this lovely Sunday. First of all, it’s a damn fine and informative flick. Secondly, a key player in the making of the film may be making a reappearance later this week! And finally, while I hope most of our readers are not the heckling type, as I truly believe you are all just wonderful people, who know how to sit down and shut the fuck up at a comedy show. Except for the laughing. Definitely do the laughing. But, besides that, seriously…keep your damn mouth shut!

We have been showcasing a lot of folks from the world of stand-up comedy lately (ironically, NONE of them appeared in this film!) and have come to notice that the problem with hecklers and critics in this part of entertainment is a persistent problem that doesn’t seem likely to be stopping any time soon. Just further proof that the human race is filled with too many terrible mouth breathing shitheads. That’s right, I’m critiquing..but, not critiquing art. Critiquing a society that never seems to learn. And that is also what the 2007 Michael Addis directed documentary Heckler has managed to convey ever so brilliantly! But here’s the thing..this film was released 10 years ago! Does anyone else remember 2007? The era of Myspace, around the dawn of Facebook, and before we could have fathomed series news being given to us, by our nation’s Commander in Chief for that matter, in the form of something called a “tweet”. In 2007, if somebody told you that they just “tweeted”, you’d probably lead this to a sexual reference of some sort of bout with mental illness. But alas, it is a commonality of today we all practice. So what the hell does this have to do with Heckler? Well it should be obvious, that this is a brilliantly made documentary that discusses the ideas of heckling and biased critical analysis, but occurs in a Pre-Tweet Society.

And I’ll tell you folks, it really looked frustrating in 2007, I couldn’t imagine what a redux of a showcase of these ridiculous problems would look like if made today. Granted, the idea of some drunk asshole standing up at a comedy club and yelling nonsense is a trait as old as time, and will not be fading away any time soon. But, to see Heckler in a time when tweeting and blogging have become actual legitimate things somehow, I’d probably finish off the whole thing in tears. And I’m a blogger!

But despite the amount of change that has occurred in the last decade, Heckler is still a damn fine and relevant documentary that encompasses the spirit of what it is like to be involved in stand up comedy (and other professions), and have to deal with so much ignorance and downright stupidity from people whom which they simply want to entertain. In essence, the film really seems to want to find out what exactly it is that makes people feel compelled to act like such savage creatures either in the audience of a comedy show, or even behind the guise of a publication in which they are being paid real money to shit all over someone else’s art. And while I feel the film does some wonderful analysis to try and help explain what goes through a heckler’s mind, I feel like the film’s strongest point that it is able to convey is a simple one…people fucking suck. Some of them anyway. Most of them. Damn near all. But, I am rambling.

While I came into watching Heckler mainly to learn about the stand up comedy element of it all specifically, I actually found myself most intrigued by the discussion of asinine critics who make a living shitting on everything. I am most fascinated because by all technicalities, some might call these scum-sucking pieces of shit, my “peers”. And I will be god damned if I allow that to happen. I have been “reviewing” and “critiquing” music, film, art, etc. for the last 10 years.  And I am proud to say that I have not done one single negative review, or made discouraging comments about a single interview subject. Why? Are you asking me why? Well first of all, that is a stupid question. It should really be reversed! Why WOULD you want to be negative? Just as Arsenio Hall, Roseanne, and many others point out.just because you don’t enjoy something, doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad. It’s just not for you. “You’re not going to impress everyone”, said the often despised (for strange reasons, I never understood) Carrot Top. And they are all right!

And does the fact that I have never written a negative review mean that I have not received some great piles of digital shit through my inboxes? No. I have sat through hours of god awful Brooklynite EMD nonsense that someone wanted to call music. I’ve watched hours of just insanely bad acted, poorly written, and infuriating cinema..that somebody wanted me to talk about. I’ve been offered and refused interview opportunities, some with very “high profiles” that could probably help boost the site views a bit, because it was with people I am absolutely no interest in and/or couldn’t think of a single nice thing to say about them. So why have I never said a word about them in any sort of publication? Because it obviously just wasn’t meant for ME! I didn’t like, but again, that’s just me. Who the fuck am I to shit on someone else’s dream when they are simply attempting to create. If they are not presenting something entirely negative and obscenely racist, homophobic, sexists, etc. and the only they thing it is offended is my eyes and ears with its shitty taste..why the fuck should I even open my mouth to say anything about it at all.

Alright, that is going to end my rant on the subject matter. Seriously folks, the simple idea that a film can bring this sort of emotion out of me should act as a good sign that it has done its job. If you have the ability to watch this film, and still continue to be able to attend any sort of live event are not able to simply keep your god damn mouth shut, then you have something physically and mentally wrong with you, and just simply stay in your home and prevent the world from being infected by whatever is wrong with you.

That’s it folks! See Heckler! It’s phenomenal! Visit jamie kennedy.com to check it out!

Check out this trailer for Heckler courtesy of High Fliers Films: