Sunday Matinee: Wade in the Water [Film]

 

“Sure, our man never gives his name. He works from home. His neighbours are all idiots. He doesn’t really “do” friends. But all that changes when a mis-delivered package arrives in his post office box bearing a horrifying secret –one that will set him on a collision course with a predator, the man’s disillusioned daughter, and his own dark past.” – October Coast PR

 

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Folks, one of the biggest dilemmas I face as part time person of the media is the idea of declaration. It’s not a terrible problem to have, but it does warrant at least a little bit of recognition, and fuck it, this is my space so I will say what I want. So, when I felt as though I had found the best film of 2019 thus far last June, it turns out I needed to wait around a month to find its competition. And god damn it all if I didn’t find it in Wade in the Water. I’m not entirely certain that I am comfortable in making another declaration, recanting on my previous declaration, but I am confident to say that Wade in the Water is one of my favorite films of the last decade (possibly the last two?), and I can not recommend it highly enough to EVERYONE.

Wade in the Water is a delightful indie film centered around very realistic and very relatable characters who are put into a proverbial struggle that each and every one of us has to watch and wonder, “What would I do?” It’s such a hard question to try to answer, but with a film like this, we are fortunate enough to see all the hypotheticals laid out before us in this incredibly crafted story that is sure to warm the heart and awaken the mind.

 

 

 

Writer and Filmmaker team Chris Retts and Mark Wilson have managed to capture absolute magic with this film and I am so excited for you all to check it out. Also, tour de damn force performances from the likes of Tom E. Nicholson and Danika Golombek simply cannot be ignored. There is actually one specific moment (captured in the photo above) that is an absolute highlight and must be addressed and commended. Look, Tom is a big guy. It’s not a secret. “Our Man” is of a particular body type, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, what struck me as so damn wonderful to the scenes leading up to this particular scene was the lack of acknowledgement of this fact leading up to it. Why, you might ask? BECAUSE IT DIDN”T FUCKING MATTER!!! Yes, the dilemma that was being expressed and showcased before us was not incumbent upon what a character looked like. And I honestly thought this was wonderful. In fact, only in a moment of absolute weakness and anger does the subject even become acknowledged, and it was simply as a means to hurt “Our Man” in a situation where Tilly, Danika’s character, was feeling attacked her damn self. This, Folks, is just damn good writing and you absolutely HAVE to see if for yourself!

 

Seriously Folks, as soon as you possibly can, please watch Wade in the Water. It is a film that is sure to teach you more about yourself than you ever thought you knew. If you are not floored with emotion after watching this wonderfully made film, please seek medical attention, as you couldn’t possibly have a heart or soul. It’s seriously that damn good!

 

 

 

Saturday Special: Fak Yaass! [TV Series]

 

“Showing the clash between old tradition and the new age, millennial Nico, played by, struggles with the idea of returning home, where he’s always felt judged and unworthy. With the help of his friends, Anton and Torri, Nico’s heart begins to let his family in and his family starts to accept him for who he is, until a secret family scheme may ruin that forever.” – Bulldog Productions 

 

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Folks, if you are a human being, of any gender/race/sexual orientation, who is seeking acceptance in what can seem to be a dark and cruel world at times, do I have a series for you! Fak Yaass is an absolutely wonderful display of what can happen if people where more apt to put aside their differences and maybe listen to one another every once in a while. Especially amongst family, which is supposed to be the most important element in our lives. I know it seems like a real pipe dream, but I truly believe it can happen. And I honestly believe that a series like this can be the perfect example of what we SHOULD be doing to close the divide that exists so drastically.

 

 

Beyond the powerful message behind Faak Yaass, I think it is important to note that this is just plain damn good television! In just the two episodes I was privy to, I experienced some of the best writing and performances I have had the pleasure of witnessing. And Vasilios Filippakos gives an absolutely mesmerizing performance as Nico, the man looking to fill the void that is left by his family, but also has to come to the realization that maybe he has to figure them out as well. It is a truly perplexed and incredibly told story that I simply cannot recommend highly enough.

In addition, I can not exclaim enough how incredible the supporting cast, especially Shadrack Jackman and Leanne Noelle Smith, is and what a damn highlight they are to this already incredible story. In roles that could have been easily used strictly for shock value, these two specific characters bring a whole new element of art and taste to a delightfully awkward situation displayed before us.

Seriously Folks, if you haven’t checked out Fak Yaass by now, do yourself a favor and check out the best debut series of 2019, and stay tuned for more to come!

 

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Catch Faak Yaass! on OUTtv right now!

 

Saturday Special: Dream House [Short Film]

 

“A delayed coming-of-age drama set in Connecticut, DREAM HOUSE follows Mark, who after being hospitalized for attempted suicide, returns home to live with his elderly mother Ginnie in their deteriorating estate. Struggling with his sexuality and an overbearing mother, Mark tries to fill his voids with continuous housework, alcohol, and trips to the local gay bar. Ginnie then hires handyman Ted, who befriends Mark and offers him the possibility of a new life.” – Millennial PR

 

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Hello Folks! Today we have a very exciting Saturday Special to share with you all. It’s a short film, but it packs a lot of emotional punch. Dream House is EXACTLY the type of film that needs to be made more often in this day and age. It is a journey through so many different reactions to one characters current state of being, jam packed into 30 minutes. And yet, it works so well. Beautifully shot, extremely well written, and with some amazing performances, this is an absolute gem of a film that is not to be missed. The overwhelming sense of compassion for what some may see has simply a bundle of sticks built to bring shelter, but to others is a wafting sense of nostalgia for simpler times, is what really drew me into the film, when focused on the condition of the actual titular house, of course. And the film does a wonderful job and depicting how an exact event can be nostalgic for some, and absolutely fucking dreadful for others. Especially for a person struggling with their own identity and sexuality.

 

 

Writer and producer David Lally has written a terrific script that plays so well when put in the hands of director Jeff Bemiss. And newcomer to the screen, Ryan Farley, really knocks it out of the damn park with an absolutely wonderful performance as Mark, a character that can sadly be very relatable in a lot of ways. Overall, Dream House is very tight production and all involved should be commended for their great efforts. I simply cannot recommend this wonderful short film enough.

 

Dream House is available now on Amazon Prime.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Matinee: Crown and Anchor [Film]

 

“Crown and Anchor follows James Downey, who is living a disciplined and straight edge lifestyle as a result of growing up with an abusive alcoholic father. His estranged cousin Danny is drowning his own trauma with drugs and booze. When their lives are forced to intersect once more, they each begin to unravel as the past returns with violent and tragic consequences.” – October Coast PR

 

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The first word that comes to mind when I reflect on viewing Crown and Anchor…is emotional. Because that is definitely what it is. It is an emotional drama about the bonds of family, the tyranny that lies within so many of our pasts, and how it all can culminate into absolute mental madness. It is a film that reminds us that sometimes you have to deal with the past, and pushing it away and trying to hid the damage done will not have the results you would hope for. The emotional baggage is simply far too heavy. And for James and Danny, the baggage ways a TON. Maybe the weight of an “anchor” one would say. See what I did there. All kidding aside folks, Crown and Anchor is a fantastic film both visually and as a perfectly told story. There is so much to love about this, especially if the crime drama world is one you love to play around in regularly.

 

 

 

Writer/Director Andrew Rowe has an incredible story to share with you all. The script was actually co-written by the films main stars Michael Rowe and Matt Wells, whose performances are so spot on, which makes sense as they most likely wrote the parts themselves. This doesn’t always equal success, but when you have a squad this talented within the creative process, you’re going to get a film as superb as Crown and Anchor. And fucking superb it is! And it behooves to not to forget to mention the spectacular performance given by Natalie Brown, the strongest character of them all, stuck in between the madness of two cousins, both of which she has a confusing relationships with throughout her lifetime. I appreciated her character quite a bit for the simple fact that she isn’t entirely the most sane person, definitely the most sane in the film most likely, but she has flaws and mistakes that may not be as obvious as our main characters, but they do exist. And this adds a delightful human element to the story.  And horror icon Robert Joy steps in from time to time to deliver some incredible dialogue that may be some of the most memorable of the film.

Overall, Crown and Anchor is an absolutely delightful cinematic experience, and should be enjoyed by all. And in a couple of days, you can! And should. Check it out Everyone!

 

 

Crown and Anchor will be available on DVD and Digital on July 2nd!

 

Saturday Special: Blindsided [Film]

 

“Sloan Carter is a young girl who has recently been blinded. Her father leaves for the weekend and her two best friends, returning home from University, keep her company. A protege of her father’s, passing through town, also spends the night. The peaceful weekend is interrupted by a shadowy threat and the safe country getaway turns into a fight for survival.” – October Coast PR

 

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Oh do I love a good old fashion thriller that doesn’t seek to sedate you, but to simply entertain and keep you on edge for a little while. That is exactly what Blindsided will do for you. It has all the stereotypical elements that we all know and love from thrillers, but with a nice little edge sharpened ever so gently around it all. There is a specific reason I say this, but alas, it would be a major “spoiler” and we all know how we shouldn’t do that. But trust me Folks, you will know it when you undoubtedly check out this wonderful film.

The cast of Blindsided is obviously a very superb one indeed, including the lead Bea Santos. But, as it tends to happen, it’s the writing of the film that makes their performances so spectacular. In the case of this film specifically, it is the dialogue between characters in the not so tense situations that is absolutely phenomenal. While it’s probably strange to make the comparison, as they are wildly different films, I couldn’t help but compare Erik Knudsen’s character Toby to that of a Randall Graves in the indie classic film Clerks. Kevin Smith always stated that he originally intended to play Randall, that’s why he had all the good lines. I don’t believe that was likely to be the case for filmmaker Johnny Mitchell in this case, but inevitably he created a wonderful bit of comedic relief with the character of Toby, and it plays out so great! And while Santos and Knudsen are my own personal highlights, it would be remiss of me to not quickly mention that Carlin Burchell who’s, albeit brief, performance was frightening as HELL! I was previously unaware of Burchell’s talent, but I damn sure am now and will be looking out for her work in the future.

Go see Blindsided, Folks. It’s a hell of a film that is sure to entertain, especially for those of you who can’t get enough of psychological thrillers. This is a damn fine one of those, and one of my favorite horror films of 2019 thus far. You’re going to like what you see.

 

Be sure to check out Blindsided on DVD and Digital August 13, 2019.

 

Sunday Matinee: Always Amazing [Film]

 

When I was but a young boy growing up in the 90’s, I only had four favorite comedians. And it has only come to my mind in recent years who exactly the main four were. I enjoyed sitcoms and films featuring folks like Sinbad and Tim Allen, but I really didn’t know enough about stand up comedy to know that this is where they came from, thus they are not in my first four. Who were those first four? Well, I will cut the shit and tell you, as I can only imagine if you are reading this at all, you probably know who I am going to dramatically end with, and then throw in a few sentences about other comedians who made me happy as a youth, of which you won’t care, but I will continue to talk about because this is my site and I will do whatever the fuck I want to do. Fight me. I’m sorry. I probably wouldn’t fight. Anyway those comedians were: George Carlin, Andrew Dice Clay, Jeff Foxworthy, and….yeah, you guessed it, The Amazing Johnathan. The first two were simply the products of a 9 year old boy living in the New Mexico desert who was told not to listen to certain CD’s in his Dad’s CD collection, so of course he had to listen to certain CDs in his Dad’s CD collection and would eventually learn about the 7 words you can’t say on TV as well as the idea that Old Mother Hubbard was really just wanting some some serious dog dicking. Foxworthy was a product of my mother being somewhat of a “redneck”, but not really, and his stuff being clean enough to play on road trips with me in the car. And c’mon, I was probably like 10 when he really broke.

The latter though, was more of a product of my own bemusement, and actually came around the early pre-teen years for me. The Amazing Johnathan was an almost spastic psychopath that I feel was put on a loop for so many years on the new founded network that seemed to only come on at my Dad’s house because he had cable in the city known as Comedy Central. Back in the day, when CC still cared about stand up comedy (they’re coming back to it, I know) you could not miss this incredible “magician”. His antics were as animated as they were clever, and I couldn’t get enough of the guy.

Cut to almost two decades later: Carlin remained in my wheelhouse probably because I began to adore the films of Kevin Smith; Dice somehow managed to reach legendary status, a feat that only time will understand; Foxworthy stayed the course and managed to only be the 3rd weakest member of his crew falling short of a dude with a fake name and damn good line of beer bread you seem to only find in the midwest; and The Amazing Johnathan…..I feel like I NEVER heard from him again.

And then one rainy day in 2019, I’m listening to an episode of Doug Loves Movies, and I hear the always wonderful Steve Byrne talking about a documentary he has made about somebody named The Amazing Johnathan, and it’s free on YouTube. So I thought, “Well, I better check this shit out before they decide to charge for it!”. And as soon as I saw that face, that bandana, and that bewilderment, I was immediately sent back in time to a much simpler era of my life. There he was, the one who got away. Now, this is not to say that The Amazing Johnathan wasn’t out there performing and doing amazing (as one would assume, right?) things out there in the world while I was losing and then regaining interest in the world of comedy. No, he was out there killing it in pre-internet, pre-400 streaming services, world of Vegas and beyond and just somehow completely missing my radar. But thanks to the wonderful Steve Byrne and the insane people at All Things Comedy, we have an amazing documentary available for free (so, so, stupid, we’ll get into that) on YouTube entitled Always Amazing. And I’m here to tell you, Folks: it’s absolutely brilliant.

 

 

Always Amazing is, first and foremost, an absolutely brilliantly made documentary. It tells the tale of a true to life screw up who used his wild personality to achieve acclaim and fortune by forming an identity that was completely wrapped around the power of being zany. The Amazing Johnathan clearly had an animated soul, and the comedic sensibilities that combined the appeal of Gallagher with the psychosis of Charles Manson. And it worked! For so many damn years, it worked beautifully. What do you do when you realize you may not be the best “magician” in the world? Well, you first realize that you are also an incredibly funny person, and you make the two work together! I believe that is truly what this film is all about at its core. But beyond this fact, this is also the tale of a man who befriends a young boy and they have a healthy relationship as friends over the years. Now, I know that last line seems a bit strange and out of left field, but save it people. There are jokes to be made, and as we learn throughout the film may be right in Johnathan’s proverbial wheelhouse, but what is truly on display here is a pure bond that is so touching and insanely heartfelt. Nothing more.

The film is also the documentation of a man who lived a life, as the kids would say: hard AF. In the 90’s you were never really an “alcoholic” or a “drug addict”, as long as you were a performer. If you created art in any kind of way, you were an artist, not a drunk. We didn’t seem to combine the two. Tupac Shakur was a straight up pothead and alcoholic, and died at 25 years old. But, he was idolized because of the art he created. Hunter S. Thompson was an absolute madman and was lucky that he was such a wildly bad shot with a pistol that he never killed anyone before killing himself. But, the ART! This is what signified The Amazing Johnathan as a true talent. He was always fucked up. But, guess what? 14 year old Ronnie Trembath didn’t know that watching his Comedy Central specials. I didn’t know the pain behind the eyes. How would I have guessed that 20 years later I would be watching a film about this man on this new “internet” thing and realizing, “oh, he was just fucked up all the time!”. But alas, here we are. And thanks to the likes of folks like Steve Byrne, we are now learning what exactly are the consequences of a life lived so hard and based around the means of enthralling audiences.

I am completely aware that we are in a weird renaissance for comedy. Over the last 5 years or so, I have returned to loving the format, and actually got my ass out to some shows lately. Documentaries about road dog comics and television personalities are becoming rampant as the bubble continues to blow up. The infiltration of comedians into podcasting and YouTube has really made this whole set up flourish. Think about it: podcasts are simply talk radio. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO TALK RADIO! It’s truly fascinating. So with that thought in mind, I am truly not that surprised to see that The Amazing Johnathan is having his moment back in the sun, all in his time of dying.

 

So, Folks, please see the below link to check out Always Amazing. And if you can find some way to give money to Steve Byrne, All Things Comedy, the film’s crew, whoever it is, please consider doing so as, again, this incredibly well made documentary about an incredible human being is FREE! Enjoy!

 

 

Saturday Special: Clinton Road [Film]

 

“In the film, scripted by Derek Ross Mackay, a widowed fire fighter seeks closure after his wife goes missing on an actual haunted road in rural New Jersey but must unlock the roads secret if he wants to get out alive.” – October Coast PR

 

Let me kick things off by saying this: New Jersey is scary as fuck. I’ve never actually been there, but from what I have heard over the years, possibly just from people who live in Philly, there is a lot of weird shit happening in the Garden State. Growing up as a huge Kevin Smith and Zach Braff fan, I think I assumed it was all just fun, slacker-oriented horseplay happening up there. And now, I see Clinton Road? What the hell is happening?

More on the subject at hand, Clinton Road is an absolute masterpiece in horror cinema. This film has an emotional depth that is comparable to any mainstream horror sensation you are likely to know by name. This film truly has it all. Whether it’s jump scares from creepy ass kids, to oral sex GIVEN to a female at an inopportune time, all of the elements are covered. There is even a great deal of mysticism, and a brilliant amount of Ice-T telling a dumbass group of white kids to not go fucking around in the woods, all the while knowing that they are going to do just that.

 

 

Renowned actor Richard Grieco has dabbled in the off-camera world for many years, mostly has a producer, including the wonderful film The Green Fairy directed by our old friend Dan Frank, as well as another old friend of our’s, Rolfe Kanefsky, Art of the Dead, which also features another dear friend, the great Sarah French. Alright, that’s enough name-dropping for now. But, Grieco has now taken it a step further in the world of horror in which he has already immersed himself within ever so nicely, to sitting in the director’s chair. And I will be damned if Clinton Road isn’t a prime example of a legendary figure who truly GETS the horror genre. He does a bang up job with this film that I know you all are bound to enjoy.

And thanks to a wonderful script, an incredible young cast, and some non-Ice-T cameos from the likes of Vincent Pastore, Fredro Starr of Onyx fame, and Eric Roberts, who is absolutely hilarious by the way, Grieco had a wonderful gathering of great things to work alongside with bonafide writer/director (and Leonardo DiCaprio’s former bodyguard, according to IMDb) Steve Stanulis. Seriously Folks, Clinton Road is not be missed! Check it out as soon as you can, if not sooner!

 

Clinton Road is in select theaters now and will be available on DVD and VOD soon!