Desolation review

A mysterious man with reflective glasses stalks a trio of isolated campers in Desolation, the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Sam Patton. When Abby (Jaimi Paige) loses her husband to sickness, she takes her 13-year-old son Sam (Toby Nichols) and her best friend Jenn (Alyshia Ochse) on a multi-day hiking trip to spread her husband’s ashes at the top of a mountain. But during the trip, the group slowly realizes they’re being followed by a silent man with a beard, hood, and sunglasses. Our protagonists are worried, and it turns out their fears are justified: The Hiker (Claude Duhamel) is a killer, and they’re all alone in the woods with him.
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Never Here review

Miranda (Mireille Enos) is an installation artist interested in exploring the concept of identity. One of her exhibits is based on the time she found a man’s phone, went through it to learn the places he normally visited, and then trekked to those places to surreptitiously take photos of him, which she put on display in a gallery. But when she poses as the key witness in a police investigation of a random assault that occurred just outside her apartment window, Miranda is struck with inspiration for her latest idea, a twisted, voyeuristic documentation of the man she believes committed the crime.

It’s fitting that Miranda’s last name is “Fall,” since the character slowly descends into her own delusional interpretation of the world over the course of Camille Thoman’s unsettling directorial debut, Never Here. Read More »

The Bachelors review

The majority of movies at film festivals don’t release trailers beforehand, so we often choose which films to see based on the filmmakers involved, the cast, and a brief description. Approaching a movie fresh is a hugely different experience than seeing one that’s strategically unveiled three trailers and a barrage of TV spots, and because so much about them is unknown, I find myself watching festival films with a different level of anticipation. Not only am I hoping the film turns out to be good (as I do with every movie I see), but in the back of my mind, I’m secretly hoping to see something revelatory. Something that moves me in a way that a huge studio project might not be able to. Something with an awards-worthy performance, or perhaps something that heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in the world of independent film.

Most of the time, festival films don’t live up to those expectations. Sometimes, you just get a movie that’s fine, a middle-of-the-road piece of work that neither moves you nor insults your intelligence. Something competently made with respectable actors and a handful of pleasant moments, but you won’t ever give it a second thought. That may sound harsh or dismissive, but think about it: if you watch a lot of movies, doesn’t that accurately describe a large percentage of them? Such is the case with The Bachelors, Kurt Voelker’s exploration of grief, loneliness, and despair through the eyes of two men who have lost the most important woman in their lives. Read More »

Midnighters trailer

This year’s Los Angeles Film Festival has kicked off in Culver City and they’re hosting the world premiere of Midnighters, a thriller from long-time TV director Julius Ramsay. He’s been at the helm of Alias, Battlestar Galactica, and 23 episodes of The Walking Dead, but he’s making his feature debut with this suspenseful story about a couple that accidentally kills someone and a cover-up that only makes things worse. Check out the first Midnighters trailer below.
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Brigsby Bear Trailer

After debuting at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the first trailer for the quirky indie comedy Brigsby Bear has arrived, and it’s perfectly weird. Just like the movie.

Just in case the marketing campaign somehow manages to keep certain details about the narrative under wraps, we’ll leave certain story points below the trailer, since they don’t reveal any key pieces of information just yet. So if you want to go into this movie completely blind, don’t read anything below the Brigsby Bear trailer embed. You’ve been warned! Read More »

The Hero review

The Hero centers on an aging movie star who’s best remembered for his performance in a beloved western forty years earlier. It’s a vehicle written specifically for actor Sam Elliott, who, of course, has his own storied history in that genre and has embraced that vibe as a key part of his acting persona, even in films as divergent as Ghost Rider and The Big Lebowski. While The Hero doesn’t offer any particularly insightful observations about what it means to get older in Hollywood, it’s still a pleasure to watch Elliott – a perennial ensemble player since his made-for-TV movie heyday of the ’80s and ’90s – do terrific work as the clear lead of a film that lasers in on his sensibilities as a performer.

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Landline trailer

Director Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child was such a pleasant surprise for a lot of people back in 2014 that news she was reuniting with star Jenny Slate for a new movie called Landline was greeted with cheers. Amazon Studios picked up the film and has debuted the first trailer for the dramedy, which is set in 1995 and focuses on a dysfunctional family with parents played by John Turturro and Edie Falco. But even with a cast made up of industry vets, it sounds like the film’s largely unknown youngest cast member may be the one who steals the movie.
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Clerks actress

Sad news for fans of writer/director Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse: actress Lisa Spoonauer, who appeared in Smith’s 1994 breakout debut film Clerks, has died at the age of 44. Read touching tributes from her Clerks co-star Brian O’Halloran and from Smith himself below.
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Brigsby Bear Clip - Mark Hamill

The first teaser poster for Brigsby Bear arrived yesterday, introducing us to Kyle Mooney as James Pope and his favorite TV show star, the titular space-trekking bear who taught him math and life lessons all throughout his formative years. Of course, all of this happened while living he was living in a bunker, secluded from the irradiated Earth above ground.

Now we get to see a Brigsby Bear clip, which features Kyle Mooney having a chat with the man who he believes to be his father, played by Mark Hamill. They’re sitting in a dome with a scenic view that keeps them safe from the poisoned environment outside of their sealed home. It’s a fairly normal chat that an insecure kid might have with their father about the world around us, but it’s made all the more strange when you see what the world looks like outside the dome. Read More »

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Brigsby Bear

One of the standout movies from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival was an indie comedy called Brigsby Bear. The film is led by Saturday Night Live cast member Kyle Mooney, who stars as a twentysomething young man named James Pope who has spent his life growing up in a bunker, raised by his parents and watching a kids TV show known as Brigsby Bear, the only form of entertainment available to him.

However, James has his life thrown into upheaval when authorities raid the bunker and he learns that his parents are actually two strangers who kidnapped him as a baby. Struggling to adapt to the real world that he’s been isolated from his whole life, he takes solace in tapes of the TV show that he’s collected over the years, and it just might be the best way for him to cope with his stolen life. That might sound pretty serious, but this is undoubtedly a comedy, albeit one with a touching emotional core that’s all about the power of storytelling.

Now the first teaser poster has arrived, give us a new look at Kyle Mooney and his beloved childhood TV pal, Brigsby Bear. If you like 1980s style portraits that used to be taken at the mall, you’ll love this poster. Read More »