Sunday Matinee: Such A Funny Life [Film]

“Such a Funny Life” is about the Guiterrez family who moves to New York from “nowhere”. Our main character, David grew up in a challenging household with an abusive and plotting father Ralph, and mentally challenged mother Mariah. David is a complete pariah in school and in the street but he is destined to be a comic and entertainer. Through his childhood we follow him as he loses his sister Gabriella, to a tragic death, and then in his teens he falls in love with a complicated and troubled girl named Mariah. He befriends Tito, the responsible kid turned club owner and Rob, the neighborhood leader who turns into the biggest drug dealer in Brooklyn. We see the evolution of David as he juggles painful circumstances with dire decisions while still honing his ambition to be a successful comic, entertainer and actor. An inevitable story of secrets, loss, and betrayal to reach the top and later forces David to Los Angeles to start a new life where he achieves success in all aspects, albeit with a unknown price on his head and a trail of fire that threatens his family, friends and loved ones that goes deeper than any one of his comedy acts or movie roles.” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

Oh Boy, are we in for an emotional journey with this one, Folks. Such a Funny Life is just that, a fucking journey. A journey through the mind of the abused, the lost, and determined. And it is all combined into one character with so much strength and pain it becomes practically nerve-racking and downright upsetting! Writer and director Oliver Mann has a story here that his simply a delightful rabbit hole of horrible circumstances and the desire to get out of a life in which David Guiterrez, the film’s protagonist, almost had no control over. It is a gripping tale that is unfortunately as old as time, but seen through a whole new lens. And THEN you tag on the appearance of stand-up comedy as a means for dealing with such pains? Well Mr. Mann, it felt as though you were speaking directly to me!

 

 

I truly did enjoy Such A Funny Life. Gonzalo Trigueros gives an amazing performance in a beautifully shot, delightful story that had so much promise, and completely lived up to the hype I was given around this brilliant film. And I won’t say exactly what kind of ending the film has as that would be a real jerk move, but suffice it to say that it was exactly how I wanted it to turn out. Again, Oliver Mann seemed to dig into my brain and decided to craft something I would specifically go ape shit for, and I know I won’t be the only one. It has everything you would expect from a truly disturbing film about truly disturbing subject matter. And if that is the emotional rollercoaster you want to pay for, well look on further than this great work of art.

 

Such A Funny Life will be screening in NYC on September 17th, 2019, with additional screenings in NYC as well as Miami and Los Angeles, throughout October, 2019.

 

 

 

 

Saturday Special: Empathy Inc. [Film]

 

“Hotshot venture capitalist Joel has a multimillion-dollar deal go up in smoke, and he and his actress wife Jessica are forced to move in with her parents and start from scratch. At the lowest and most desperate moment in his life, Joel meets old friend Nicolaus and his business partner Lester, who are seeking investors in a new technology known as XVR—Xtreme Virtual Reality—from their company Empathy, Inc., which is said to offer the most realistic and moving experiences for users by placing them in the lives of the less fortunate. Joel gets the startup its funds but soon discovers that the tech’s creators have far more sinister uses in store for their creation and that the reality it provides its customers isn’t virtual.” – October Coast PR

 

******

 

Holy Shit, Everyone! I hate to be so brash so quickly, but I am very very excited to talk about this film. Empathy Inc. is a film that completely surpassed initial expectations by a LONG SHOT! [Editor’s note: After writing that last sentence, I noticed that it was actually similar to a quote on the poster from filmthreat.com. I honestly hadn’t seen that prior, which should be a testament to how true it is!]  It is an incredibly moving and powerful film that you must see. With its visually stimulating black & white cinematography, and a story line that simply doesn’t let up and keeps you guessing right up until the end, when the only question you have left is: “What the hell did I just watch?” And I tell you Folks, you will have watched one of the best films of 2019. It’s smart and just straight up a whole lot of fun to take in.

 

 

And as we like to do around here, we have to talk about the performances. It would be nearly impossible to refrain from spoiling very key elements and plot points of the film to really say what I want to say here, but suffice it to say that Empathy Inc. really brought out the range of actors like Kathy Searle, Zack Robidas, and Jay Klaitz. I really can’t throw anything else out there, but know that they are phenomenal! Filmmaker Yedidya Gorsetman and writer Mark Leidner have created the psychological thriller to surpass other psychological thrillers. I seriously couldn’t stop thinking about this film for days after being entranced by it so greatly. It’s an absolutely brilliant film that I need you all to see. Get on it, Folks!

 

Empathy Inc. is in select theaters now and will be available on VOD on September 24th, 2019.

 

Sunday Matinee: Danger God [Film]

 

“Professional stuntman Gary Kent has made a hard-earned name for himself in over 50 years of falling, burning, jumping, fighting and breaking himself for some of the most cherished independent and B-movies of the 20th Century. This is his story, from the anything goes days of the drive-in era, including his run in with Charles Manson and his infamous family, to his personal battles and triumphs with health, alcoholism and love. Features interviews with Monte Hellman, Duane Eddy, Richard Rush, Marc Singer and more.” – Wild Eye Releasing

 

******

 

When I think about the world of stunt performers, I will admit that I am not that well-versed on the subject. Which would usually be a good thing I perhaps, as they are meant to appear to be a whole different actor. In fact, prior to seeing Danger God, the only stunt performer I would probably ever be able to put a face to a name would be the great Zoë Bell, but that is just coming at it as a huge Tarantino fan. But now, thanks to this incredible documentary, I know the name Gary Kent, and honestly, I feel like a better person all around. Gary Kent is a man who has no reason to be alive, if I am being perfectly honest with you. The shit that this man has endured for the sake of his art (yes, it is art. No debates allowed) is absolutely mesmerizing. His skill and love for the world of film is absolutely uncanny. And lest we forget, he’s also a damn good actor! And writer! Director! All of it!

 

 

Yes, from 60’s westerns & psychedelic films, the 70’s exploitation, right up to present day working in our beloved world of B-horror and beyond, Danger God takes us on a journey through one man’s life that is not only heart-warming and saddening at the same time, it is also very well-crafted. Director and producer Joe O’Connell has created something very special for us, and we should all be very thankful. And Gary Kent is one of the last man’s man from old Hollywood still kicking around. Long gone are the days where a performer could scare the shit out of Charles Manson and make him fix his golf cart (this is not an analogy, it ACTUALLY happened, watch this film!). Again, this is a very special film, and I honestly didn’t want it to end. I may never get to know Gary in real life, but thankfully, I will always have Danger God.

Danger God is available now on VOD, and will be available on DVD on September 17th, 2019.

 

Sunday Matinee: Stuck [Film]

 

“Taking place over one fateful day on a New York City subway, a group of strangers from different walks of life are unexpectedly brought together in an uplifting celebration of life and kindness through music.” – newswire.com

 

******

I will be the first to tell you Folks, I am NOT a musical guy. It’s just never really been my forte, but I do understand why they are beloved in a way that is very different from other genres of film. That being said, I absolutely LOVED this film. And not in an “except for the music part” sort of way. No, this certainly added to the experience of watching this absolute masterpiece of a film. I simply cannot get enough of a simple setting of a film being completed amplified and taking you on an emotional adventure. I call it “Breakfast Clubbing”. I think that could catch on, right? Anyway, with Stuck, you get some incredible character development, accompanied by amazing performances, and a brilliant story penned by writer/director Michael Berry. Yet, the majority of the film takes place in a simple Subway train. It’s truly incredible how much talent is involved with this film!

 

 

And in way of performances, it was pretty much a given that Giancarlo Esposito was going to absolutely blow minds with his role, because that’s what he does! He has always been an absolute crusher. I’ve always said the sign of a brilliant performer is if you cannot even fathom another person in that role, they did their job superbly. And Esposito did just that with Stuck, and with everything he has ever appeared on. What I will admit is that I wasn’t sure about, or at least had never experienced, how one of my childhood crushes from the music world, Ashanti, was going to do in the world of acting. And Folks, I am now kicking my own ass for even doubting for a second that she couldn’t do it. I bought in hard on her role as the brooding and intelligent character Eve. I did however find it ironic that in a film with so many musical numbers, the Grammy winning, multi-platinum R&B singer…..doesn’t sing? It doesn’t take a single thing away from the film, but damn would it have added to it, don’t you think?

Overall, Stuck is an absolute delight of a film and a testament to what can happen when we stop recognizing each other by our differences, and recognizing why we are alike. Check it out Folks! You wil not regret it!

Stuck is available now on VOD and will be available on DVD on September 17th, 2019.

 


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/351284330″>Stuck_TRAILER_PG13_MPAA Approved</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/visionfilmsinc”>Vision Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Saturday Special: Seeds [Film]

 

“After a night of debauchery spirals out of control, Marcus retreats to his family home along the New England coast. Solitude is disturbed when his brother asks Marcus to look after his estranged nephew and niece. As days pass, solace escapes him; he feels baited by a dark force. Is he losing his mind or has something terrible burrowed deep within him? Incubating. Waiting until the climate is right. Haunted by his deepest fears, Marcus struggles not to succumb as he fights to protect Lily, his beloved niece from a monster that lies in wait.” – Uncork’d Entertainment

 

******

Strap in Folks, because we have a real WEIRD one for you today. Seeds, while billed as a “horror” film, is frightening as it declares itself to be, but not in a traditional way. Right from the beginning, it gets really strange. It’s almost infuriating how hard it is to describe what takes place in this film without too many spoilers. Suffice it to say, Filmmaker Owen Long has a bit of a Lynchian inspired way about him. I mean this to say, and do not finish this sentence if you don’t want a slight spoiler….the physical manifestation of our darkest fears and deepest desires comes to play, and it is absolutely shocking. It is so hard to feel one way or another about the character Marcus Milton, and I feel as though that is what Long and co-writer Steven Weisman. And if they weren’t, well, that is my interpretation I guess. And I gotta say Folks, I dug it. A lot.

 

 

Ozark’s Trevor Long gives an amazing performance as the film’s lead, but Andrea Chen is definitely no slouch in the film and holds up her key role in what appears to be an effortless fashion. I will admit that despite having over a decade in the game, I was unaware of Chen’s talents, but you can bet your proverbial bottom dollar that if I see her name attached to anything, I’m watching that! Of course, as we always say, a brilliant performance is wasted without a good story to tell, and a good story with a shitty performance is wasted. But when the two powers combine. Magic! And that is what Seeds is to me. Magic captured ever so brilliantly (physically by cinematographer Eun-ah Lee, actually) on screen that has a re-watchability to it and I highly recommend that you do! Watch Seeds, watch it again, and tell all of your friends!

 

Seeds will be in select theaters on September 13th 2019, and on VOD on September 24th , 2019.

 

Sunday Matinee: The Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe [Film]

 

“From Randall Lobb and Robert McCallum, THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL : The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe chronicles the beginnings and blockbuster-success of ‘80s toy sensation He-Man in an exhaustive, captivating 95 minute documentary that melts back the plastic on Eternia’s best-kept secrets!’

In the early 1980s He-Man arrived on the scene and hit the world with a punch as powerful as the character himself. Designed in the wake of Conan the barbarian and under the shadow of Star Wars, He-Man‘s surprising popularity spawned a multi billion dollar empire that included toys, comic books, cartoons, live-action movies and a literal sister spinoff show – She-Ra – and continues to appeal to a ravenous fan-base today. Watch as artists, creators and collaborators dig deep, tell tales and share the surprising developments of an unlikely, unparalleled pop culture success in this Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Do you have the power?” – October Coast PR

 

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So this is a film that hits seriously close to home. As a 90’s kid who grew up on 80’s syndicated television, I was well-versed on many thing related to He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. But, I have to be honest, and I had NO idea how the whole concept came to life. I had no idea that this was one of those strange instances where it was the toy that inspired the TV show, rather than vice versa as per usual. But I certainly know a lot now after exploring the beautifully crafted documentary The Power of Grayskull. This is an absolutely brilliant doc with so much more heart and warmth than you would probably believe at first glance. As entertaining as it is informative, The Power of Grayskull is perhaps one of the best documentaries of the year.

 

 

Seriously Folks, filmmakers Randall Lobb & Robert McCallum really get into it all with this film. I was especially keen on the back story of the making of the live action film, with some wonderful antidotes from Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella themselves. It was a fascinating peak into something that has been a part of my life before I can even remember. I can actually say that for the entire Masters of the Universe world. Is it all a bit corny? Sure. But it damn well should be! It brought millions of kids joy and hours upon hours of play time. We used to do such a thing! In those dark pre-internet days, we played. And if you ask any old hack in their late 30’s or early 40’s, there is a damn good chance that they had a He-Man or She-Ra figure. Probably both. And again, the film is so well made that it will leave you wanting more. I cannot recommend this film strongly enough. Go get on it, Folks!

The Power of Grayskull will be available on DVD and Digital on September 3rd, 2019.

 

 

 

Saturday Special: 3 Lives [Film]

 

“Emma wakes up to find herself trapped in an abandoned bunker. She soon realizes that there are two other victims trapped with her, Ben and Jamie, who she knows from her days in high school. Now Ben and Jamie are Emma’s only means of escape from their savage captors, three ex-soldiers. Faced with the choice to stay in the bunker or to escape her kidnappers with the help of her former rapist and his old friend, Emma chooses the latter. Ruthlessly the ex-soldiers chase the group through the wilderness. While Emma tries to find out why Ben, Jamie, and herself have been kidnapped in the first place. Slowly matters start to spin out of control, facades start to crack and Emma has to learn who her real enemy is.” – High Octane Pictures

 

******

 

I am truly a sucker for a good thriller. As much as I appreciate the world of horror for horror’s sake, there is just something so wonderful about experiencing a film and not knowing who to trust and what to truly believe. A well done thriller with a smattering of plot twists and developments can be one of the best film-watching experiences you can have. And 3 Lives is especially that. It is a well-rounded thrill-ride that will keep you guessing right to the very end. Like literally, the last few minutes. It is quite an adventure to watch three people who are, for reasons I won’t mention, not exactly fond of each other, being chased through the woods for unknown reasons. Thus creating a plot twist at what feels like every damn 10 minutes. It’s simply great writing, Folks. I truly could gush over what the amazing artist Juliane Block has given the world.

 

 

Actress Mhairi Calvey is at her absolute best in 3 Lives, that I can say with zero hesitation. She has a lead role worthy set of skills that are put to the test in this mind-bending thriller, and she absolutely killed it! The aforementioned Juliane Block and co-writer Wolf-Peter Arand crafted something very special with this film, and I would honestly love to see more like it! And with that, this is actually the type of film that will easily drive you to want to know more of the filmmaker’s work, and if you are an uninformed viewer, you simply cannot go wrong with Juliane Block. 3 Lives may be her best film yet, but in the long run of things, it is just another prime example of what Block is capable of and what she will continue to do. Watch 3 Lives, Folks! Tell a Friend!

 

3 Lives is available now VOD.