Plot: Morf (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an art critic, always looking for something new and good. But currently, he is rather more occupied with Josephina (Zawe Ashton). She works in the gallery run by Rhodora (Rene Russo), hoping to become a successful agent herself, and Morf is deeply in love with her, despite having a boyfriend. When Josephina finds out that a recently deceased tenant in her building was an artist who wanted to have all his art destroyed upon his death, she is convinced that his art is something special. She is not wrong, though she couldn’t have foreseen what kind of special it really is.
Velvet Buzzsaw is visually engaging, and has a great cast who obviously had a lot of fun chewing the scenery in this one. But the metaphor at its heart feels a little flimsy and could have done with a little more work.
Plot: Miguel (Jaden Michael) loves the Bronx. So he tries to organize a fundraising event for the local bodega run by Tony (The Kid Mero) that is close to shutting down. It’s not just a bodega, it’s also a safe space for Miguel and his best friends Luis (Gregory Diaz IV) and Bobby (Gerald Jones III). Part of the bodega’s problems is the gentrification that is slowly but surely reaching the Bronx, pushed forward by Murnau Real Estate. But Miguel soon realizes that there is more to the company – they aren’t just there for the profit, they actually are vampires. So Miguel gathers Luis and Bobby to fight for the Bronx.
Vampires vs. the Bronx is sweet and fun, but it stumbles a little over its own political metaphors and a little too conventional narrative structure. Still, it is a very entertaining romp.
Plot: Zoey (Taylor Russell), Ben (Logan Miller), Jason (Jay Ellis), Mike (Tyler Labine), Amanda (Deborah Ann Woll), and Danny (Nik Dodani) have all received an invitiation to a very special Escape Room – one that promises 10,000 dollars to the winner. It doesn’t take long for them to realize, though, that the game is literally one of life and death.
Escape Room feels pretty uninspired. A tired rehash of pieces we have all seen before, combined with bland characters. I was quickly bored and basically only finished the film out of lethargy.
Plot: Charlotte (Allison Williams) used to be a promising cellist at the Bachoff academy, the famous music school, until she had to quit as a teenager to take care of her ill mother. Quite a few years later now, her mother has finally passed and Charlotte flies to Shanghai where she meets Lizzie (Logan Browning), the school’s new star, and her old mentors Anton (Steven Weber) and Paloma (Alaina Huffman). There is an instant spark between Charlotte and Lizzie and Lizzie invites Charlotte to come with her on a trip through China the next day. That trip proves to be rather more fateful for them than expected.
The Perfection starts off well enough, but then it starts to fall over itself in attempts to be clever that ultimately derail the entire film.
Plot: When Veronica (Abigail Breslin) was just a little child, William (Wes Bentley) recruited her after her parents were killed. William’s wife was murderd, too, and he is now looking to train Veronica to take on the murderers of the world. After years of grueling training, Veronica’s time has finally come: she is supposed to take on Jameson (Alexander Ludwig) and his friends who love to hunt young girls for sport.
Final Girl is a very stylized film. That mode could have worked if the story it tells had been a little more primal. Without that appeal, the film falls flat – and the audience with it.
Plot: Maddie (Kate Siegel) is a writer who decided to move to a remote area after a bad break-up to finish her book. She befriended her neighbor Sarah (Samantha Sloyan), but other than Sarah and her boyfriend, there is nobody around. Living that alone is made a little more complicated by the fact that Maddie lost both her hearing and her voice due to an infection many years earlier. It’s nothing she can’t cope with – until a masked man (John Gallagher Jr.) shows up on her doorstep, obviously out to kill her. But Maddie is a fighter.
I didn’t do my homework when it comes to Hush – I was just in the mood for something horrory and it was already rather late, so I wanted it to be a short film, and this was the first likely candidate. Had I known that it was a film built on cripping up, I would have skipped it – and I wouldn’t have missed much.
Plot: Sam (Sarah Jeavons) is babysitting her little sister Maddie when a woman (Kerry Ann Reid) knocks on their door, asking to use the phone. Sam is suspicious, but at this point, it is already too late. Sam wakes a short while later in the trunk of a car driven by Karl (Andreas Sobik). Fearing for herself and for her little sister, Sam starts to fight with everything she has.
Inner Demon does a lot with very little, but after a very strong beginning, it starts to run out of steam a little. Still, it’s not bad.
Plot: Akin (Joe Swanberg) comes to work on the farm of Jeremiah (Robert Longstreet) and his daughter Sarah (Sophie Traub). Jeremiah and Sarah are an odd pair. Jeremiah is always on the verge of insulting and ridiculing Akin, and Sarah seems to be only half in reality. Akin settles in awkwardly, especially since he is hiding that he is actually married. Sarah seems interested in Akin, and Akin starts to be drawn to her as well, but there is a touch of violence to everything.
Thou Wast Mild & Lovely is an unusual film that cultivates a sense of “everything being off” until things really escalate in a suprisingly bloody way in the end. It’s not the easiest thing you can watch, but it is worth thinking about.
Plot: In the hotel Alpenrose in Styria, everything seems to be alright. Travelers Karin (Andrea Maier) and her mother (Greta Kostka) are enjoying their evening at least. But shortly after Karin dies in an accident. Only she isn’t really dead. And she isn’t the only undead around: when a Nazi widow (Renate Stoppacher-Rainer) starts an underground cinema that shows movies that celebrate the fascist past, it draws zombies to the area.
Die Kinder der Toten is incredibly absurd. While I may not have liked everything about it, I really enjoyed it. And I definitely haven’t seen something as strange in a long time.
Plot: After being called to the home of one of her clients, social worker Anna (Linda Cardellini) finds the mother (Patricia Velasquez) in a very anxious state. She has locked her children in a closet and rambles something about hearing the sounds of a crying woman. Anna bringst the children to the hospital, but a short while later they are found drowned in the river. And whatever was after the children in the first place is now coming for Anna’s kids.
I hadn’t planned on seeing La Llorona, but then I had some time to kill and it was playing and I thought, yeah, why the hell not. And it was okay to watch, but if I hadn’t gotten around to seeing it, that would have been perfectly fine, too.