12 November, 2016

"Tower" Review (***½)

"Tower" mixes animation with archival footage.

"Tower" follows the tragic story of the 1966 University of Texas at Austin sniper shooting. This documentary brilliantly juxtaposes live action film, radio archives, and animations to parallel the narration of both survivors and witnesses to the event.

One thing I had difficulty remembering was how unheard of school shootings were at the time. It's almost an unsettling blast from the past into just a relevant presence, but one important aspect of this film is that it does not 'glorify' the killer. "Tower" truly focuses on the heroes and survivors, while honoring the victims.

"Arrival" Review (****½)

Amy Adams stars in "Arrival."

Denis Villeneuve, one of our most consistent filmmakers, has crafted one of the best sci-fi movies of the decade with "Arrival." A slow-burn, intellectual approach keeps the story front and center—and what a story it is.

Amy Adams plays Louise Banks, a linguist whose skillset becomes invaluable when mysterious spacecrafts land around the world—twelve different ones to be exact. Hovering quietly above random locations across the globe, humanity has to make the next move. Do we attack? What do they want? Why are there twelve? These questions are only the beginning of the mystery that falls into the hands of Louise and her physicist partner Ian (Jeremy Renner).

22 October, 2016

"Attack of the Killer Donuts" Review - Rome International Film Festival (***)

Justin Ray and C. Thomas Howell star in "Attack of the Killer Donuts."

Grab a beer and few friends because "Attack of the Killer Donuts" is all kinds of bizarre fun. This low-budget horror/comedy has all of the trappings of a late night, nothing-else-to-watch good time and what it lacks in actual scares it makes up for in more than a couple of laugh-out-loud scenes.

"Cruiser" Review - Rome International Film Festival (**)

Lori Beth Sikes and Shuler Hensley star in "Cruiser."

The found-footage horror film "Cruiser" explores a lot in its 80 mins—human suffering, predestination, evil and the perverse power of God.

Sam Hensley Jr. wrote the film that stars his Tony Award-winning brother Shuler. The film starts as most any horror film, with an average guy living an average day. Rookie Officer Chip Tate's cop car has just been outfitted with several cameras and he begins what appears to be a regular day on day on the job. Every day is typical, until it becomes the day you die.

21 October, 2016

Pablo Larraín's "Jackie" to Open Up Savannah Film Festival

Natalie Portman stars in "Jackie."

Pablo Larraín's highly-buzzed Jackie Kennedy Onassis biopic, "Jackie," is slated to open the 19th annual Savannah Film Festival on Saturday, October 20, 2016.

"Jackie" recently had its world premiere at TIFF, where it was bought by Fox Searchlight. The arthouse distributor is set to provide the film with a robust awards campaign, with Natalie Portman's lead performance sure to receive the most attention.

10 October, 2016

Security in "Insecure:" Issa Rae Set for World Domination

BronzeLens Artistic Director Deidre McDonald
and "Insecure" creator and star Issa Rae.
On Friday, August 26, a crowd gathered in Atlanta's Georgia Pacific Auditorium for the Bronze Lens Film Festival’s First Glance Friday, awaiting the much anticipated HBO series "Insecure" from star-on-the-rise Issa Rae.

The show opens with iconic LA spots and the extremely appropriate "Alright" by Kendrick Lamar. As the show played, it was quite evident that Issa Rae and "Insecure" will be 'Alright.' The show was funny, but it was more than just a series of one-liner laughs.

"Insecure" is really real. The show centers around the 'aggressively-passive' Issa and her best friend Molly, who are navigating their late 20s in Los Angeles. Faced with the issues of the unmarried, educated black female, Issa and Molly entertain with their quick wit and unbridled truth. "As a black woman, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to get married."

The Problem with—and Promise of—Donald Glover's "Atlanta"

Editor's note: It is my privilege today to introduce you to Christina Nicole, our newest Reel Georgia team member. I'd safely describe Christina as a junkie—a film festival junkie—and a finely tuned barometer of what's good. She's got excellent taste, a fantastic demeanor and a clarion way with words. -CM

"Atlanta" is not a comedy, but it is still good.
I have to shoot straight from the hip with this review. I didn’t like "Atlanta" the way I wanted I to. To quote "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit," “It was cool for what it was, but it wasn’t all that.”

I am a Donald Glover fan. I like Childish Gambino, too, but I didn’t like the show. "Atlanta" is subtle. It is almost too subtle. You have to pay attention to catch all the political and topical references. I appreciated the intellect displayed in the writing, but the show as a whole fell short for me.

07 October, 2016

"My Blind Brother" Review (***½)

Jenny Slate, Adam Scott and Nick Kroll in "My Blind Brother."

Adam Scott, Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate star in this brutally honest comedy about disability. "My Blind Brother" dives head first into the subject and puts a fresh spin on the ‘slacker comedy.'

Adam Scott plays Robbie. He’s a star athlete and a local icon whose blindness only pushes him to do better. His brother Bill, on the other hand, is not quite as motivated. We get everything we need to know from our two leads in the opening scene, where we see Robbie—rocking sun glasses and a tracksuit—running along side his sweat-drenched little brother, Bill. The two are strapped together as Bill guides Robbie to the finish line. The surrounding crowd goes wild as they celebrate Robbie and completely ignore Bill as he collapses in an effort to catch his breath.

02 October, 2016

"The Light Between Oceans" Review (***)

Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander star in "The Light Between Oceans."

Derek Cianfrance has brought us two of the most heartbreaking films in recent memory with “Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” The writer/director’s previous works have proven him to be an auteur with an eye for realism and a nag for telling sprawling stories about complicated people in complicated situations. And while his latest, “The Light Between Oceans,” seems to be right in his wheelhouse, the film is never quite able to be much more than a gorgeous oil painting filled with award-worthy performances.

26 August, 2016

"Cheerleader" Review (****)

Catherine Blades stars in Irving Franco's "Cheerleader."

The title “Cheerleader,” without knowing much about the film beforehand, might encourage misplaced ideas or associations about New York writer-director Irving Franco’s small and beautifully deliberate debut feature. That word alone makes me think of films like “Bring It On” or “The Replacements,” or any movie of similar vanity and flippancy. “Cheerleader,” however, is another thing entirely. It's a film that moves in small waves. It's a film that moves almost in slow motion. It quietly works its way into your emotional subconscious—in the way that you might walk from the shallow end of a pool to its deeper, thicker parts, without realizing it, until you feel yourself being hugged by the water.