Early in Natasha Kermani’s surreal and sharply sardonic horror movie Lucky (which I saw at this year’s online-only Fantasia Film Festival), Brea Grant’s sovereign May awakens in the night to find a man outside her window, staring back at her. Petrified, May hisses at her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh) to wake up, telling him there’s a man outside, to which he casually replies, “Honey, that’s the man”. Bewildered, May demands to know what he’s talking about. “The man who comes every night and tries to kill us”. Beside herself, May stares mouth agape at her partner, who coolly rises from the bed, grabs a golf club, and heads for the bedroom door. “May come on, get up, we have to fight for our lives now”. 

To her surprise, Ted was right. In a Twilight Zone-esque turn of events, the same masked man arrives every night at her door like a traveling salesman, peddling pretty blades and squabbles in the kitchen, disappearing just as quickly as he appeared, seemingly invincible. This déjà vu repeats often enough that May grows weary, unable to break her loop. She stabs and kicks and punches and shoves, but no matter how much blood she spills, the man reappears every night, ready to tussle. An apparition in the gloom, quiet like a fight.

It may come across like a peculiar plot device, or a melodramatic metaphor about the indifferent stars above. Yet, this is not the only recent film to portray a young person caught within the confines of a time loop. It was only a few months back in July when Max Barbakow released his film Palm Springs on Hulu. Beguiling, heady and hilarious, the romantic comedy starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti as two single people stuck at the same wedding forever doubles as an eerie reminder of the repeating dystopia we find ourselves in while quarantined at home in the middle of a pandemic.

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2020 Fantasia Film Festival Reviews Slaxx

Usually, the genre-heavy Fantasia International Film Festival is held annually in Montreal, but with things the way they are this year (terrible), the festival has gone virtual. This year, Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato are covering Fantasia for /Film, firing off dispatches featuring capsule reviews of the titles we’ve watched from the safety of our own homes, all while dreaming of poutine.

In this edition: killer jeans, pioneer horror, blood, and more.

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lucky movie

The writer of The Lovely Bones and Still Alice, which were adapted into acclaimed films with the latter earning star Julianne Moore an Oscar, is getting another novel adapted to the big screen. But this time, it’s personal. Alice Sebold‘s memoir Lucky, which chronicles her sexual assault as an 18-year-old college freshman, is being adapted into a feature film by Karen Moncrieff, a director of Netflix’s young-adult series 13 Reasons Why.

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Looks like Colin Hanks and Dexter may have a few things to talk about when the actor joins the hit series this season. A new trailer has been released for Gil Cates, Jr.‘s indie comedy Lucky, which stars Hanks as a seemingly ordinary guy who’s secretly a serial killer. When he wins the lottery, he finds all of his dreams coming true — he even snags the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, his win also draws the attention of a detective (Jeffrey Tambor) who’s trying to solve a string of murders. Ari Graynor and Ann-Margret also star. Watch the trailer after he jump.

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Movie Trailer: Jeffrey Blitz’s Lucky

Lucky

One of the films I was really excited to see this past year at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival was a documentary titled Lucky. Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, the filmmaker behind one of my favorite documentaries Spellbound, as well as the great but under-seen indie film Rocket Science (which won him the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award in 2007 and featured a career-launching performance by Anna Kendrick, who later was nominated for an Oscar for Up in the Air).If you haven’t seen either of the movies, you should add both of them to your netflix queue right now. Lucky is a documentary film which “crisscrosses the country following winners as they navigate their newfound riches, and hopefuls who have a ‘dollar and a dream.'”

I’ve always found the story of working class people who hit it rich and somehow lose everything interesting,but this film lacked the narrative that made Spellbound great. The film is interesting, and might be better enjoyed on television (you can watch my video blog review here). Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Sundance Video Blog: Jeffrey Blitz’s Lucky

Lucky

On Monday, I attended a press screening of Lucky, a documentary film about a bunch of lottery winners “as they navigate their newly found riches and a couple of extremely determined hopefuls.” Here is the official plot synopsis:

“The winners’ lives are undoubtedly changed forever but not necessarily in the ways we may expect. Life becomes complicated as attorneys, hired security guards, jealous friends, scheming family members, and desperate pleas for help from strangers pepper their new existence.”

I’ve always found the story of working class people who hit it rich and somehow lose everything interesting. I was mainly interested in this film because it was directed by Jeffrey Blitz, who helmed one of my favorite documentaries Spellbound, and also directed the feature film Rocket Science, which won him the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award in 2007. Both films are solid, with Rocket Science being a must watch (Up in the Air‘s Anna Kendrick provides an amazing performance).

Did Lucky live up to expectations? Watch the video blog review after the jump, featuring David Chen, Frosty from Collider, and myself.

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Sundance Film Festival

Since I’m in Park City, a day before the 2010 Sundance Film Festival officially begins, I thought I’d do a round-up of the films I’m most looking forward to this year at the festival. Attending Sundance, you have to put a list together of the movies you want to see the most. Sometimes you’re lucky and you pick something that becomes the buzz of the fest — Super Size Me, Little Miss Sunshine, Rocket Science, or (500) Days of Summer. And sometimes your choices are just dead wrong, for example, last year The Informers was on the top of my must see list. But by the end of the fest, the film was my most hated movie of the year.

So these predictions are in now way definitive. They are very subjective, films that caught my interest. I usually stick to more narrative films (over documentaries) and often see more English language films. I have my little sub genres which I always feel drawn to, for instance, I usually love coming of age stories. And if they are set in the 1970’s or 1980’s, all the better. Minimalistic one-room thrillers also interest me.

This year doesn’t have many obvious breakout choices, but had a lot of solid looking films. If you’ve been actively reading the site over the last month, then you’ve probably checked out a bunch of the Sundance photo and trailer previews and you might recognize a bunch of these films. The following 18 selections are also in no particular order. Lets take a look at my choices for this year’s festival (and it might be fun to revisit this list at the conclusion of the festival, to see how right or wrong I was).

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