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.

21 Films to See at the 2016 Sidewalk Film Festival

Sidewalk Film Festival turns 18-years-old and I am pleased as punch to be attending for my fourth year. This is easily one of the best festivals in the world, from the picture-perfect program to the intensely smooth operations that are stretched across 12 venues throughout Downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

I gush every year, and I'll continue to gush this year—do not miss this festival.

I've highlighted 21 films you should catch this weekend. I know, 21 is a high number, but don't blame me—blame the programming team led by Rachel Morgan and the filmmakers that hear great things every year and submit good works to this wonderful showcase.

Four films are marked as Can't Miss—"Cheerleader," "The Arbalest," "Contemporary Color" and "Fraud"—and once you see them, you'll know why. Check out the full list after the jump!

12 August, 2016

"Sausage Party" Review (***½)

Editor's note: Christopher Escobar is probably the busiest man in Georgia. In addition to his duties as Executive Director of the Atlanta Film Society, Executive Director of the Plaza Theatre Foundation, Filmmaker/Owner of Escobar Pictures and Vice President of Georgia Production Partnership—plus his roles as a father and husband—he is also making his film review debut here at Reel Georgia. We are lucky to have him on board to share his thoughts with us. -CM 

"Sausage Party" provides a thematic foil to the animated offerings of Pixar.

Until now, I haven't been—by any stretch—a film reviewer or someone who considers my opinion about films all that important. But I know that a lot of people are curious about "Sausage Party" and are on the fence about seeing it. To cut to the chase—yes, it's worth seeing if you can handle really crude humor. Should you see it in the theaters? I'll let you decide.

As for the film's chief strengths, there are some really funny puns, moments and character relationships. I laughed pretty hard quite a few times. There is a great cast and everyone does a fantastic job with their role.