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‘Get Out’: Run boy run!

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, suspense, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jordan Peele

Studio: Blumhouse Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

We know director Jordan Peele, famous for the Key and Peele comedy duo among other things, has successfully directed other movies, but those were Comedies. So when word came out he was doing a Horror film, plenty of us fans of the genre were nervous about what it could mean. Turns out, we had absolutely nothing to worry about – Peele’s vision of a relevant to black folks Horror movie has all the self-aware snark and clever storytelling of Tales from the Hood, and I personally adored that movie. Yes, we know race will certainly be a large part of the story here, the trailer made that quite clear. But racial motivations are only half the story, while the other half is creepy as hell, and that’s what makes it a Horror movie.

Spoilers are never just black and white!

We meet Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a stoic young black man who happens to be a fairly good photographer, with prints of his work all over his nicely furnished if tiny apartment, and his bubbly white girl girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Chris has a friend, Rod (Lil Rel Howery), who works for the airport TSA and is the standard co-pilot type friend in any buddy-cop movie, and their conversations over the phone are the few bright spots in a dark suspenseful movie. Chris lost his mother at a very young age and is also attempting to quit smoking, all things we learn at a rapid clip once the decision has been made to grudgingly attend Rose’s families gathering at the Armitage estate out in the middle of nowheresville.

On the way there, a mighty strange encounter with a deer that I swear was thrown at their car rather than being simply struck down by it, has Chris and Rose on edge. Meeting the self-proclaimed most non-racist Dad (Bradley Whitford) around, who would’ve by his own admission gotten Obama on a third term if he could’ve, doesn’t much help. Nor does being unnerved by psychiatrist Moms (Catherine Keener) unsettling talk of hypnosis, quitting smoking, and the sound of that damned spoon hitting the china, over and over and over. Add in the psychotic ginger of a brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) and we’ve already got a full cracker jack house.

A nighttime visit with Mom after an unsettling dream and an aborted attempt at a snuck cigarette doesn’t help Chris one bit, unless we consider his ability to be tossed down the rabbit hole by an elderly white woman fairly easily to be a good thing.

Then of course after some very weak protestations of Rose’s part, it turns out this is the weekend of the entire Armitage clan get-together, some of them rather removed, but somehow all connected in some secret way. The older white folks show up and wittingly or not, manage to repeatedly insult Chris as being the only black person there that isn’t a servant. The maidservant and the gardener, they’re both black, but they act very oddly towards Chris, especially when he starts asking questions.

Chris wanders the grounds and dutifully talks with the guests, always stoic and at least polite, as the crazy white folk continue to demean his person and Rose is of little help. We met the blind art curator, Jim Hudson (Stephen Root), who claims to know of and love Chris’ picture work, and the two of them seem to have the only really-real conversation out of anyone visiting from the Armitage clan. Chris declines to talk to really anyone else, and continually being unnerved by it all, disappears to go be with Rose. Which is good, because Dad has declared its time for the Armitage family games, beginning with bingo!

That’s no version of bingo I’ve ever played, at any rate. A mostly-silent auction is being held, and as we’ve already gathered from the trailer, Chris is the most likely prize. But why? The big grand assumption here is that these crazy elderly white folks with far too much money and time on their hands are going to participate in the greatest game, the cleverest hunt there is – that of man. But how on earth are these so-much-older white peoples planning on doing that? How is a blind man supposed to hunt anything? Turns out, the Armitage clan actually has something much worse in mind for Chris.

I won’t give the ending away, or even the real reason for the Armitage clan auctioning off Chris, but I will leave it with an interesting thought exercise to ponder. The fact that all these people, Chris and those chosen before him, were black, seems to be clear racism, yes, but in a kind of dastardly complimentary way. Like thoroughbred horses, these fine chosen black peoples have the right physical and occasionally psychological properties, that the Armitage clan is willing to pay a handsome sum of money for.

While yes, the movie is mildly predictable to me, admittedly I watch a lot of Horror movies, so that’s kind of to be expected. Peele has somehow mastered the fine tightrope line between racial tension and everybody-fears-something humanity, and manages to keep that creepy vibe throughout the film. Kaluuya delivers a masterful performance as Chris, and those acting around him, black or white or whatever else, give their roles that extra pinch of believability that makes it convincing that it all could actually happen, even tomorrow.

Run along with Chris to see Get Out, in theaters now!

Netflix presents ‘Frontier’: The fur trade really is murder

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, Historical, Romance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

A quick recap of time and location: when we are seems to be approximately the late 1700’s, and where seems to jump around, but focus mostly on Fort James in Canada. The Fort is the main route for the massive fur trade going on ‘round these parts, and that trade is the focus of our story. In this time period especially, the fur trade is the biggest moneymaker of the Hudson’s Bay Company, an English conglomerate that basically holds a monopoly on the fur trade, at least at the moment. This is where our story begins, with anyone and everyone trying to break the HBC’s hold on the fur trade here in Canada.

Known outlaw Declan Harp, the half-Irish half-Indian rogue that is so growlingly played by Jason Momoa, is right in the middle of all this mummery. When he was orphaned young, the current ruler of Fort James, Lord Benton (Alun Armstrong), took him in and trained him to be a soldier. Apparently at some point Declan decided to go feeling his oats and got himself a little native wife and child, which didn’t sit well with Lord Benton. That’s hook one for Declan Harp. Hook two involves his knowledge and interaction with several of the other fur traders vying for business about and around the Fort, such as the Brown brothers, the Carruthers widow, and the HBC to contend with. Periphery friendship with Grace Emberly (Zoe Boyle), who runs the tavern in the Fort, keeps him abreast of gossip, and reminds of old romance time spent with her. And then finally the one major thing Declan has going, that no-one else can match and thus makes him a very desirable target, is Harp’s good relationship with the Cree Indians, who are the literal bones of the entire fur trade operation.

Captain Chesterfield (Evan Jonigkeit) is the main knee-breaker under Lord Benton at the Fort, and while he seems to like the idea Grace Emberly comes up with, to oust Benton and make Chesterfield governor, he occasionally erupts into unexpected violence that carries often disastrous consequences. But that’s nothing compared to Lord Benton himself, who dresses like a gentleman but has the heart and tongue of a viper. He calmly orders, and occasionally carries out himself, beatings and good old fashioned executions, too. Lord Benton, more than just about anything, wants Declan Harp found and brought back to him, alive. Basically so Benton can do the torturing honors himself, which, yes, he does, when Harp is finally brought in.

Elsewhere, the fur traders are all clashing with each-other, jockeying for position and hunting Declan Harp. The Brown brothers especially seem inclined towards utter stupidity, and nearly every move they make, from kidnapping to alliances, is just another screwup that ends in yet more death. The Carruthers widow, Elizabeth (Katie McGrath), shows up and tries to do some wheeling and dealing of her own after the death of her husband, but sadly her character seems rather unlikely for the time and atmosphere the show is trying to emulate. Grace Emberly as the plotting tavern-owner is a much more believable role. Irish thief Michael Smyth (Landon Liboiron), through a series of misadventures in London, gets himself and his little girlfriend Clenna Dolan (Lyla Porter-Follows) arrested and deported, all the way to Lord Benton at the Fort. Benton decides to try and send Smyth out as a hunting dog to flush the pheasant Harp, banking on their supposed Irish blood connection. Harp himself is out with the Lake Walker Nation, the Cree Indians who actually keep the fur trade going, trying to keep the peace between the supposed savages and their far-more-savage European counterparts, this giant snarling half-breed irony surrounded by enemies, allies, and far too many unsafe loved ones.

So how does the show stack up? Frontier Season One is pretty darned short, coming in at only six episodes. However, the show was renewed for a Season Two before the actual premiere on Netflix, so that’s something. Filmed actually in Canada to lend as much realism as possible, the show boasts a very fine cast, lovingly sewn absolutely gorgeous fur coats and costumes, and a story that very rarely slows down from its rather breathless pace. Not overly complicated but certainly not condescending either, the story is easy to comprehend and quick to become sheer fun (with the possible exception of the end of the torture scene). It’s always great to see Jason Momoa run around and throw sharp weapons and growl at people, which he seems to do no matter role he’s in, so that’s cool.

Make your own foray into the fur trade with Frontier, on Netflix now!

‘The Librarians’ Season 3 Finale: To magic, or not to magic, that is the question

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Welcome back to the Library! So sorry we can’t stay and chat, but here, let our immortal caretaker Jenkins (John Larroquette) serve you tea, don’t mind the flying swords or self-updating magical books, we’re sure Flynn Carson (Noah Wyle) will be back any minute to tell us of his latest adventures!

While it’s true Flynn Carson in the original ‘Librarian’ movies began the mythos the show is based on, I’m glad there was more focus on the other Librarians in this season of the beloved adventuring show. The start of the season sees the latest Big-Bad against our Librarians, an evil ancient Egyptian God named Apep, spreading his darkness insidiously out into the world. And to add more ink to the mix, the government-led supernatural hunters collectively known as DOSA, or Department of Statistical Anomalies, are hot on the trail of the Librarians too!

We find Flynn and Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) as they always were, having the occasional date that usually turns into a Librarian case, tip-toing around commitment with out ever really getting there, and fighting demons and evil Gods and all sorts of nasties along the way. Cassandra (Lindy Booth) had her own trials and tribulations this season, when the question of whether or not her brain tumor is what gives her her mental gifts came to a head. With the help of the best medical technology and doctors out there (why they didn’t use magic, I’m still not sure), plus some aid from a vampire-run night spa, Cassie hops back to her sprightly self in one nervous episode, but with a twist – her gift, minus the tumor, just multiplied a ton and tossed in telepathy and auto-hypnosis-like talents too. Stone (Christian Kane) went from a sworn statement against the use of magic, to being forced to use it to save his fellow Librarians, to being branded with magic whether he likes it or not, when he went looking for solace and training in Shangri-La with the Monkey King. (The Monkey King was played by Ernie Reyes Jr., which is extra cool, btw.) And of course Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim) is as he always is, master thief and technology-handler, second to none, especially in his own mind. Though the episode where Ezekiel Jones fell in love, and lost her, and gained a love potion of sorts from it, did kind of make him question what might be missing in his charmed life.

Season three saw the return of Charlene (Jane Curtin), the original Guardian of the Library, who’s been running and hiding this whole time Flynn’s been looking for her. After a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing, Charlene makes her required sacrifice and takes her place in the Library mirror alternate dimension with Judson, content that her missions and care of the Library have been turned over to the best the Library has to offer.

So here we are at the season three finale, where both major storylines have come to a massive head! DOSA is here to take over the Library, headed by Baird’s former military boss Cynthia Rockwell (Vanessa Williams), and hey guess what, they already have Apep’s sarcophagus, and think they have Apep himself under lock and key too. Baird, spurred on by some deep inner plan we just know she has to be following, tosses on a DOSA jacket and lets the military guys come in to the Library to remove everything and take it to the facility they’ve been specially building, to be the same amazing size and containment as the Library itself. But see, here’s the thing – Rockwell and the rest of the military guys don’t put any belief in magic, which means their version of containment deals with physical bars and restraints and proven science; no glyphs or wards or even a sprinkle of faerie dust contaminates this new lockdown facility.

Much of the episode deals with the apparent defection of Colonel Baird over to the Rockwell military side, but if you watch The Librarians as faithfully as I do, there are clear clues that there is a majorly deep plan laid that will explain all this nonsense, most likely in the last few minutes of the episode. And without spoilers, I can simply say that’s more or less exactly what happens – Baird, and Flynn of course, hatched an incredibly daring but necessary plan, and managed to pull it off with very little in the way of loss of life, or important artifact damage to the Library itself, either. Their plan might have been far-fetched and a little predictable inside the show dynamic, but the adorkable characters and the zingy fun attitude prevalent in the show make it so we just don’t care – we love The Librarians!

Season three had many terrific moments worth note – Sean Astin guested as the poor magician who so sorely wanted to win the heart of Felicia Day’s Charlotte; the episode featuring a high-school-equivalent-reunion with a bunch of Frost Giants was a personal favorite of mine; Flynn found a missing Librarian down the rabbit hole guarding the Eye of Ra; and yes, the episode with the vampire-run night spa retreat was beautiful and loving, lead vampire Estrella (Clara Lago) did an excellent job.

Only a day or two after the season finale aired, TNT confirmed a season four for our always amazing Librarians, so rejoice in that, fans!

Catch all the episodes of Season Three of The Librarians on the TNT website!

Netflix presents ‘The OA’: Can you see her wings?

Posted in drama, horror, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Spoilers winging in, ye hath be warned!

It is virtually impossible to talk about this show without all kinds of spoilers, simply because the show is so layered and complex and occasionally, downright weird, that to say anything is to spoil something else. With that apology in mind, onward we go into starlit madness!

So Prairie (Brit Marling), and I still say that’s a strange thing to name your adopted child, used to be blind. She had been blind we’ll say about half her life, and what happened to her before, when she was quite young and could still see, is very odd, but we’ll get to that in a bit. When we meet up with her, Prairie is fleeing like all the hounds of Hell are after her, enough to make her go spit-spot off a bridge in broad daylight in front of a lot of witnesses.

She comes to in the arms of her sobbing mother, brilliantly portrayed by Alice Krige, being beamed down upon by her father, Scott Wilson, who also turned in a heart-wrenching performance in this show, as he so often does. The fact that the Doctor who tried to pre-warn the folks that their daughter wasn’t answering to the name “Prairie” anymore doesn’t register on her parents radar at all, and indeed, as Prairie is taken home through a gaggle of Press, her folks are incredibly restrained, highly permissive, and even gentle with their beloved daughter. Because almost immediately upon coming home, Prairie continues to act seriously bizarrely.

Steve (Patrick Gibson) is some asshole high-school jock-type, I think maybe it’s rugby, and he has very poor impulse control, along with a good deal of violence and anger issues stored up. What does he have to do with anything? Nothing, except well … apparently Prairie needs him. Steve the asshole specifically, along with a few chosen others, to come meet with her and her alone, in the same abandoned house where she first met most of them. That freaky scene where Prairie flat dominates Steves’ dog is just another in a long line of WTH left to audience interpretation moments The OA throws at us. Rounding out the group, because there has to be at least five for it to work, is the beleaguered schoolteacher Betty, and the other students that had happened to be there for the dog scene. Random doesn’t seem to enter into The OA, be aware of that.

Okay so now, finally, it’s story time! We get to sit down with Prairie, or perhaps The OA as she now calls herself, and hear what the hell happened to her in those missing seven years. Right? Except that’s not where we begin at all. Instead is some baffling journey about a small Russian girl who had suffered potentially precognitive visions, her love of her father and what happened between them, and oh yeah, her meeting this, wait for it, spiritual guide she calls Khatun. Near as I can tell, it’s actually Khatun that blinds the little girl, amidst the kaleidoscoping lights, so she literally wouldn’t have to see what was coming. She suffers separation from her beloved father, adoption by her new folks, and in general being a tortured soul of a blind person. Prairie rarely quails at anything, sighted or not, and that bravery takes her all the way to New York to find her father, where instead she is found by one Doctor Hap Percy, mesmerizingly played by Jason Isaacs.

Here we need to take a breather for a moment, because everything has been leading up to this point, the meeting between Prairie and Hap, and everything that befalls her afterward seems to have been preparing her for that. I guess? Well. Check for signs in the braille, and we’ll continue on.

So Prairie suffered what is commonly known as an NDE, a Near-Death Experience, and somehow Hap can tell all that just by listening to her play her violin. After talking with Hap for awhile and enduring him going on about his own fascination with NDEs, Prairie actually agrees to go to his place, way out in the middle of who-knows-where-ville, to further explore this whole NDE thing. At least, that’s what Prairie assumed would happen. And well, kinda sorta not really maybe that is what happened, just nowhere near the way Prairie expected.

Hap, it turns out, has a knack for finding other NDE survivors, and collects them in this underground lair habitat he apparently built, for further study and experimentation. What kind of experimentation, you ask? Hold your breath spiritualists, because as we go on we learn that Hap is taking these poor captive people, Prairie too, and killing them under strictly controlled conditions, to try and capture that elusive NDE in a recordable, definable way. Killing and bringing them back, over and over and over, the ultimate nightmare that never ends, because Hap apparently doesn’t believe in things like mercy or pity, not in the face of scientific discovery.

Prairie herself is subjected to these repeated killings, she confers with Khatun, and then begins yet another weird-ass portion of the show: the Movements. To me they look like Hindu-based mudras, or prayers, performed in a kind of religious ecstasy dance that only comes after subjecting oneself to mind-blowing rituals or drugs. Prairie proves that these movements work, they absolutely do work, when one of her fellow captives seems to be on his final very last death, and with all the rest of them performing the Movements, he rises like Lazarus. Prairie, or the OA as the other captives are now beginning to call her (if I said why it would just confuse things, so I’ll let you find out for yourselves), sends them all in search of the final fifth Movement, which will in theory allow them to travel some kind of spiritual wormhole and let them, finally, escape Hap’s tyranny.

How the show finally brought everything together in the very last episode – the need for the five Movements, the specially chosen five people to perform them, and where and why they did it – is entirely unpredictable and nearly inexplicable, yet somehow utterly magnificent and moving. The proposed spirituality of the show is strange and otherworldly and largely left open to our own interpretation, which is difficult for the show to pull off and keep the main narrative going at the same time, but for the most part, they manage it pretty nicely. The soundtrack is often startlingly good, and the gut-wrenching performances pulled from the actors make you feel for both the character and the person playing them with all their heart. We are hoping for a second season, considering all the stuff the show left open-ended in the last episode of Season One!

Gird your spiritual wings with The OA on Netflix!

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2014 Opening Night Film RANT

Posted in movie news, Movies, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2014 by aliciamovie

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Ranted by Alicia Glass

Welcome to the 21st Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival, and its Opening Night Film, Espacio Interior. Or rather it would be, if I had actually gotten to see the film. Moxie will explain.

So the SDLFF is very popular round here in San Diego. Tons of people, male and female, young and old, attend the Fest as eager movie-goers. There are live Mariachi bands and solo singers who can take the paint off the walls, advertisers from all manner of Latino TV and radio stations who usually bring bright prize wheels, even Day of the Dead merchants selling t-shirts and the like with sugar skulls on them. Which is all fine, I am glad to be surrounded by your culture and ways, however

At all larger Film Festivals I’ve gone to, there is usually an Opening Night Film and a Closing Night Film. These movies, chosen by the program directors with whatever criteria in mind, are meant to be the highlight and centerpiece of the Festival itself, right? Well. Because I am a member of the Press, I go to the Festival and get my Press pass and therefore don’t have to buy a ticket or generally stand in line for the movie I’m seeing. The opening night film, Espacio Interior, was no real exception, in the beginning. I get my pass, figure out which number movie theater it will be, and then go stand in the Rush Line to wait. The line was allowed into the theater five minutes after the film was slated to begin on the program, but that isn’t unusual for the opening night of a Festival. After that, nothing would do but for an Announcer to come in and make mention of the Festival itself and some of the highlights, attractions, and sponsors, first in Spanish and then in English. Then she had to introduce the Director and Producer of the film, who both had to speak a bit about their film too, also first in Spanish and then in English. No problem there. But then… Right as the Director and Producer of Espacio Interior finished their announcements and were about to leave so the film could begin, it was oh by the way, there will be NO English subtitles for the film.

Personally, I couldn’t believe it. Some people left the theater after that but most stayed. I chose to leave and hunt down a Program Director so I could express my displeasure. He proceeded to tell me that oh yes, there were signs denoting that there wouldn’t be any English Subtitles for the Opening Night Film (just wanted to express that again), they were located at the Box Office and at Will Call. Now, as I stated before, I don’t have to go to the Box Office and pick up tickets at these Fests, so there was no reason for me to have seen that. I did however check Will Call, and well. There was an actual sign, but it was no larger than both my hands, taped at waist height at the edge of the booth, and completely covered by the long line and crowds of people clustered around the Will Call booth. And that isn’t even the point of this entire diatribe.

These Film Festivals are supposed to be for anyone and everyone to enjoy, right? It shouldn’t matter if I don’t speak Spanish, Cubano, or any other Latino-oriented language. Even if the movie was filled with explosions a la Michael Bay and the characters each had less than five lines of actual dialogue, I still want to know what they’re saying! For a Film Festival that happens to be on it’s 21st go-around, it struck me as rather unprofessional to have the Opening Night film be something that fully a third of the audience (at least) couldn’t understand. Yes, Espacio Interior is being shown more than once, and yes, I may catch a showing. If there is one with English Subtitles.

New movies coming out this year

Posted in movie news, Movies, Uncategorized on February 7, 2011 by aliciamovie

Did you watch the super bowl? Well if not here are the new movies coming out this year.

Five films to premiere simultaneously at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and nationwide via Sundance Selects VOD

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 by aliciamovie

 

Sundance Selects, the theatrical and video-on-demand film label, today announced the second partnership with the not-for-profit Sundance Institute for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival (January 20th – 30th, Park City, UT). As part of the “Direct from the Sundance Film Festival” initiative, five films being screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival will simultaneously be available nationwide, on-demand, through Sundance Selects.  The films include four world premieres recently acquired by Sundance Selects (Brendan Fletcher’s MAD BASTARDS, Michael Tully’s SEPTIEN, Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton’s THESE AMAZING SHADOWS, and Joe Swanberg’s UNCLE KENT) and one U.S. premiere (Gregg Araki’s KABOOM).  The films featured through the Sundance Institute and Sundance Selects partnership will begin screening on video-on-demand at the same time as their premieres at the Sundance Film Festival, and will be available in approximately 40 million homes on most major cable systems including Bright House, Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, and Time Warner Cable.

President of Sundance Selects Jonathan Sehring said, “Working with the Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Institute has been an exceptional collaboration for us.  We love being able to, once again, take some of the remarkable films that Sundance Film Festival has to offer this year, directly to the homes of millions of film lovers who won’t be able to make the trek to Sundance.”

John Cooper, Director, Sundance Film Festival said, “As part of the Sundance family, we have always been excited about discovering innovative ways to help our filmmakers find their audience.”

Films selected for the 2011 “Direct from the Sundance Film Festival” program are:

Sundance veteran Gregg Araki returns to the festival with KABOOM, a hyper-stylized Twin Peaks for the Coachella Generation, featuring a gorgeous, super hot young cast.  The film is a wild, sex-drenched, comical thriller that tells the story of Smith, an ambisexual 18-year-old college freshman who stumbles upon a monstrous conspiracy in a seemingly idyllic Southern California seaside town. Written and directed by Araki (who has shown eight films at Sundance from his breakthrough The Living End, to The Doom Generation to his masterpiece Mysterious Skin), and produced by Araki and his longtime producer Andrea Sperling, the film stars Thomas Dekker, Juno Temple, Haley Bennett, Chris Zylka, Roxane Mesquida, Andy Fischer-Price, James Duval and Kelly Lynch.  The film made its world premiere in the Main Selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and had its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2010.  KABOOM will make its U.S. premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and simultaneously on-demand on January 21, followed by a platformed national theatrical run beginning January 28th at the IFC Center in New York City and February 4th at Landmark’s NuArt Theater in Los Angeles, with additional markets and theaters to follow. The film will be shown in the Spotlight section.

Brendan Fletcher’s MAD BASTARDS follows TJ who is a “mad bastard,” and his estranged 13-year-old son Bullet who is on the fast track to becoming one, too. After being turned away from his mother’s house, TJ sets off across the country to the Kimberly region of northwestern Australia to make things right with his son. Grandpa Tex has lived a tough life, and now, as a local cop, he wants to change things for the men in his community. Crosscutting between three generations, the film is a raw look at the journey to becoming a man and the personal transformation one must make. Developed with local Aboriginal communities and fueled by a local cast, MAD BASTARDS draws from the rich tradition of storytelling inherent in Indigenous life. Using music from legendary Broome musicians “The Pigram Brothers”, Fletcher (who wrote and directed) poetically fuses the harsh realities of violence, healing, and family.  The film will make its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and simultaneously on-demand on January 24. The film will be shown in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section.

Michael Tully’s SEPTIEN follows Cornelius Rawlings who returns to his family’s farm eighteen years after disappearing without a trace. While his parents are long deceased, Cornelius’s brothers continue to live in isolation on this forgotten piece of land. Ezra is a freak for two things: cleanliness and Jesus. Amos is a self-taught artist who fetishizes sports and Satan. Although back home, Cornelius is still distant. In between challenging strangers to one-on-one games, he huffs and drinks the days away. The family’s high-school sports demons show up one day in the guise of a plumber and a pretty girl. Only a mysterious drifter can redeem their souls on 4th and goal. Triple-threat actor/writer/director Tully creates a backwoods world that’s only a few trees away from our own, complete with characters on the edge of sanity that we can actually relate to. A hero tale gone wrong, SEPTIEN is funny when it’s inappropriate to laugh, and realistic when it should be psychotic. The film will make its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and simultaneously on-demand on January 23.  The film will have select national theatrical dates in 2011. The film will be shown in the Park City at Midnight section.

Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton’s THESE AMAZING SHADOWS asks the question: what do films like Casablanca, Blazing Saddles and West Side Story have in common?  As the government-appointed protector of our cinematic legacy, the National Film Registry selects culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant works for preservation in the Library of Congress. From award-winning features to music videos, experimental films to home movies, each Registry selection reflects a truth of its time or a standout artistic vision. Through interviews with Registry board members, archivists, and notable filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, Rob Reiner, John Waters, John Singleton, John Lasseter and Barbara Kopple, the filmmakers demonstrate the way film documents artistic and societal milestones. Guided by a true cinephile’s love of the medium and a treasure trove of archival footage, the film molds a cultural history from pieces of film, offering a microcosm of the work of the National Film Registry and making a powerful case for film preservation. The film will make its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and simultaneously on-demand on January 22. The film will be shown in the Documentary Premieres section.

Joe Swanberg makes his first Sundance appearance with his most mature film, UNCLE KENT, an achingly true-to-life modern comedy about aging, loneliness, desire, and the awkward intimacies of online friendship. The film follows 40 year-old Kent (Kent Osborne) who is an unmarried children’s-show writer living alone with his cat in Los Angeles. He spends his days sketching gag cartoons and bouncing ideas off his hyperactive friend, Kev (Kevin Bewersdorf), and his nights staving off loneliness in Internet chat rooms. When one of Kent’s online acquaintances, environmental journalist Kate (Jennifer Prediger), crashes at his house for the weekend, he finds himself attracted to her coquettish manner and frank emotional openness but sexually frustrated by her fidelity to a distant boyfriend. Shot on location in Los Angeles, UNCLE KENT advances many themes and elements found in Swanberg’s early films (Hannah Takes The Stairs, Nights and Weekends, Alexander the Last), including freely improvised dialogue, art-mirrors-life setups, and a renewed emphasis on how technology and other social media enable (or disable) human connection. The cast includes previous collaborators Kent Osborne and composer/actor Kevin Bewersdorf, director Josephine Decker, and newcomer Jennifer Prediger. The film, which marks Swanberg’s Park City debut, will make its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and simultaneously on-demand on January 21. The film will be shown in the Spotlight section.

“Direct from the Sundance Film Festival” will be available for approximately 30 days on each cable system’s main movies-on-demand channel in a special “Sundance Film Festival” branded section.