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.

 

Sunday Matinee: The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan [Film]

 

“A young journalism student decides to return to her hometown to investigate a brutal murder that took place 30 years prior. Without much hope of finding any real answers, she interviews a series of local characters, all of whom leave their own bewildering take on the legendary Mulcahy Murders in her student film. As the facts unravel, she begins to realize that this cold case murder, may not be so cold after all. Along with the help of the handsome deputy police officer, Patrick Rooke, she begins to uncover the horrifying truth of what really happened that night thirty years ago. As she gets closer to discovering the truth, she edges even closer to her own demise. Will her blind ambition overtake her desire to survive?” – October Coast PR

 

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Based on the love we have shown a film like The Blair Witch Project, having interviewed both of the film’s creators, it will probably not surprised regular TWS readers to know that we LOVE found footage films. Of course, in this day and age of the internet, we may not be as surprised by them, but when done right, they can still be extremely entertaining and shock you to your core. And Folks, I am here to say that The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan does just that! It’s a wonderful crafted suspense thriller that leaves you guessing right until the very end, even if you feel as though the outcome is obvious, based around the genre of the film. This is the sign of a wonderful script being brought to the world by a team of extremely talented individuals, which includes the incredible team that both wrote, directed, shot, and starred in the film, Anna Stromberg and Burt Grinstead. And Folks, I have to say that we have a real Cacciola/Epstein situation on our hands with this wonderful pair. For newcomer’s to the site, this is a compliment. For regular readers, you already know what I mean. The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan is an absolute delight, and can not come recommended highly enough.

 

 

It comes with some level of guilt or shame that I admit that this is my first experience watching the work of Anna Stromberg, who plays the titular character of Leah Sullivan. But, I can assure you that it will not be the last. And I guess we all have to learn about a brilliant talent at some point, right? I was immediately captivated by Stromberg in this film and had a great feeling going right into that I was bound to have a pleasant experience. The entire cast was also great, including the film’s co-writer & director Grinstead who was, to use an old-timey description, charming as fuck. But, it in the end, Stromberg carries the film with a smattering of charisma and extreme talent that is not to be missed.

Whether you would consider yourself a fan of the found footage genre or not, The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan is a film that you are sure to love from start to finish. The suspense builds, there is even a few laughs to be had. Seriously Folks, this has EVERYTHING, and you should definitely check it out! Enjoy!

The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan premiered on December 11th. Further dates for winter theatrical releases & VOD release will be announced soon.

 

Saturday Special: Red Handed [Film]

 

“When their father is murdered, three brothers descend upon an Oregon mountain river to spread his ashes. After they arrive, one of their children goes missing. One of the brothers was himself abducted 30 years ago when they visited this same river, but he has blocked the incident out of his mind. Only by unlocking the mysteries inside his subconscious, will they be able find the child and return him to safety.” – October Coast PR

 

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Hello Folks! With the holiday season upon us, we here at Trainwreck’d Society thought it would be a wonderful time to attempt to get you all to scare the shit out of yourselves one last weekend before we get all mushy and thankful to be around those we love. And what better way to do that than with a good old fashion child abduction story involving supernatural and occult like reasons? For this admittedly very specific purpose, you can not go wrong with Red Handed. But I will admit, as a film in general, this is a true delight!

Based around a script written by Frank Peluso, also the film’s director, Red Handed is a suspense thriller that hangs on to that “what the hell is happening?” vibe for 90 minutes before relieving you of such anxiety. Which is exactly what a good psychological thriller should attempt to pull off, one would assume. And I am here to proclaim that this film packs it all in a brilliant fashion. Red Handed is one of those films that lets you believe that you understand what is happening throughout its entirety, and then when the conclusion is gifted to you, there is no way you could have foreseen it from the beginning. Wonderfully written, a visible delight, this a thrill ride that is not to be missed. Plus, as we have stated on this very site before, any time you throw children into the mix of any kind of horror element, the scares are going to be even more intense that you could have imagined.

 

 

As far as performances go, there will be no surprise that powerhouse actors like Michael Madsen and Michael Biehn give incredible performances. But the main cast of Red Handed is a pretty stacked group as well. Christian Madsen gives an absolutely career-defining performances, especially in the very real and visceral moments of screen time he shares with his father. But when it comes to the world of suspense and horror, we must always tip our proverbial hats the the women of this world. Kenzi Dalton and Hunter Daily give the performances on both sides of the film’s internal warfare, and are the first two to come to mind, although there wasn’t a bad performances to be seen in this film if I am truly being honest.

Wonderfully told, visually stimulating, and brilliantly acted, what more could you ask for from a suspense thriller that takes the idea of child abduction and cranks that shit up to 11 and will truly leave you in awe? Go see it Folks! Prepare to be scared by something other than your racist uncle who “just can’t help himself”, even on Christmas Eve. Enjoy!

 

Red Handed is available now on digital and DVD from High Octane Pictures NOW!

 

Sunday Matinee: Pick It Up! Ska in the 90’s [Film]

 

“A “love letter” to third-wave ska, the film delves deep into how the genre of ska evolved from its original Jamaican form, through British “two-tone” in the 80s, into an entirely new global sensation in the 90’s, when it became wildly popular for an all too brief moment in music history; From the early years of bands like No Doubt, Fishbone, The Toasters, Let’s Go Bowling and Skankin’ Pickle, to the massive radio success of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, and Save Ferris.” – Earshot Media

 

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Rarely do I get press release passing through my inbox that makes me stop and think: “Well, this was tailor made for me”. Well Folks, I am here to say with absolute pride that it has most definitely happened! Our dear friend Taylor Morden’s incredible documentary, Pick It Up! – Ska in the 90’s, has FINALLY arrived! And as I said before, I relate to the stories told within this film so damn much that it truly does feel tailor made (or Taylor made, if you will…..I’ll see myself out).

Of course, being a man of a certain age, I was very into what is known as Third Wave Ska. One of my fondest memories of being a teenager during this time period was watching Reel Big Fish absolutely slay an audience at a live show in Spokane, Washington, just over 20 years ago. I’ve seen a lot of live music since that day, but the joy and happiness that Aaron Barrett brought to that theater that night still ranks pretty high on my list of absolutely perfect moments. 14 year old Ron was skanking away like he was never going to die. If only we could have bottled the positivity that this music provided at this time in history, we may have been able to save the polar bears from extinction.

 

 

And beyond my own bias opinion about the genre of music being showcased, Pick It Up! Is simply a brilliantly executed documentary. It dives deep into the history, fame, and longevity (yes, it still knocks all over the glove, despite what you may think) of this beloved genre of music. And it has EVERYONE you need to have explain what this time was like within its 100 minutes of footage. With narration by Tim Armstrong from Rancid, and featuring guests from bands like No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, The Aquabats, The Hepcats (who we reviewed mere months ago!), Goldfinger, and just SO many more! You’ll hear about the trials and triumphs of one of the most positive art forms the world as ever known in this incredible documentary.

So Folks, let yourself live a little! The world is going to shit at such an ever so steady pace. So take a moment to chill out, and feel good, if not just for a 100 minutes. We may only have 120 of them left, so let’s enjoy as much of it as we can. Watch Pick It Up! – Ska in the 90’s, and think back to a time when all was seemingly well. Enjoy!

 

Pick It Up! – Ska in the 90’s is available now on Blu-Ray & DVD, as well as Amazon Prime. For more information about the film, visit skamovie.com

 

Also stay tuned for these upcoming screenings:

Ska Parade 30th Anniversary Tour (1/18-2/1)

JAN 18 Twilight Cafe and Bar- Portland, OR

JAN 19 924 Gilman- Berkeley, CA

JAN 20 Holy Diver- Sa2cramento, CA

JAN 21 Thee Parkside- San Francisco, CA

JAN 22 Fulton 55- Fresno, CA

JAN 23 The Siren- Morro Bay, CA

JAN 24 Chain Reaction- Anaheim, CA

JAN 25 Pub Rock Live- Scottsdale, AZ

JAN 30 The Bluebird Theater- Denver, CO

FEB 1 Backstage Bar & Billiards- Las Vegas, NV

 

 

Saturday Special: Robbery [Film]

 

“Set in a lawless,  nameless county, Robbery is a crime drama that follows Richie, a down-on-his-luck screw up who longs to be free of the demons of his past. When his career criminal father, Frank, receives a dementia diagnosis, Richie realizes that in order to pay off a dangerous gambling debt, he must exploit Frank’s illegal expertise before the disease can claim his mind.” – October Coast PR

 

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I have to kick this thing off my briefly mentioned one quick thing: Indiecan Entertainment is BEAST when it comes to great films of 2019. Two of their films, including this one we are discussing today will be (SPOILER ALERT) making prominent appearances on our end of year list for 2019. I promise you that. Okay, now that we got that out of the way….

Robbery is an intense emotional thrill ride with spectacular performances set against a brilliantly written and perfectly put together story. Seriously folks, the whirlwind of emotions for basically “bad” characters that you are sure to feel is absolutely unprecedented, but entirely undeniable. Art Hindle and Jeremy Ferdman give absolutely dynamite performances and have a wonderful on-screen chemistry that really brings the whole thing together quite nicely. And of course, the always wonderful Ser-Lys McArthur brings her incredible acting sensibilities to the screen as well, really rounding out the solid top trio of actors in this gem of a film brought to you by the wonderful Corey Stanton. For a young man’s first full length film to be put out in the world, you simply wouldn’t be able to tell! He has the skills and eye of a seasoned vet it seems, and I am so excited to see what he has in store for us in the years to come!

So Folks, give yourself an afternoon of excitement, grief, and right back around to pleasure with this incredible film, Robbery. Enjoy!

 

Robbery is available On Demand NOW!

 

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Sunday Matinee: Cuck [Film]

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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