Jakob’s Wife (2021)

Jakob’s Wife
Director: Travis Stevens
Writer: Mark Steensland, Kathy Charles, Travis Stevens
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Nyisha Bell, Sarah Lind, Mark Kelly, Robert Rusler, Jay DeVon Johnson, C.M. Punk
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2021
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Plot:
Anne (Barbara Crampton) has always been the good wife to Minister Jakob (Larry Fessenden). Over the years, she has shrunk herself more and more to fit into the role better and better. When her first love Tom (Robert Rusler) comes back to town and they meet, Anne feels first stirrings of her hunger for life again. But it isn’t until she and Tom are attacked, that her hunger turns very real – and very bloody.

Jakob’s Wife starts well enough, but loses steam right when it should be picking it up, leaving a lackluster feeling behind.

The film poster showing Jakob (Larry Fessenden) reading in a bible and Anne (Barbara Crampton) praying next to him in a startling red dress. Behind them is a chruch, and in the sky we can see a half-transparent face of a vampire.
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The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

The Dead Don’t Die
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, Eszter Balint, Danny Glover, Maya Delmont, Taliyah Whitaker, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Caleb Landry Jones, RZA, Larry Fessenden, Rosie Perez, Jodie Markell, Carol Kane, Tilda Swinton, Sara Driver, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez, Austin Butler
Seen on: 15.6.2019

Content Note: sexism, racism

Plot:
Centerville is a small, sleepy town where nothing much ever happens. Or at least, nothing happened so far. When police officers Cliff (Bill Murray) and Ronnie (Adam Driver) get called to investigate a stolen chicken, they realize that something isn’t right: the sun isn’t setting. Their clocks stopped working. Oh, and the dead start rising again. Soon the entire town has to face a zombie horde.

I didn’t hear much good about The Dead Don’t Die before seeing it, but I still had hope that everyone was wrong (because Jarmusch’s two last films, Paterson and Only Lovers Left Alive, were my two favorites of his ever since Dead Man). Unfortunately it was me who was wrong to hope.

The film poster showing a full moon behind Iggy Pop as a zombie behind Mindy (Chloë Sevigny) behind Cliff (Bill Murray) behind Ronnie (Adam Driver) behind a small Zelda (Tilda Swinton).
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The Mountain (2018)

The Mountain
Director: Rick Alverson
Writer: Rick Alverson, Dustin Guy Defa, Colm O’Leary
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum, Hannah Gross, Denis Lavant, Udo Kier, Larry Fessenden
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 3.11.2018
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Plot:
After Andy (Tye Sheridan) loses his father, his mother having been dead a while already, he is at a loss. That’s when he meets Dr. Wallace Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum) who specializes on lobotomies for the mentally ill. Fiennes new Andy’s mother and spontaneously offers the teenager a job as his assistant. Andy accepts and they start traveling together as Fiennes moves from hospital to hospital to perform his procedures.

The Mountain is not an easy film, in the best sense. It’s a film that requires work and you’ll probably get as much out of it as you’re willing to work for it. As the second film of the day, it got a bit much for me, but I’m more than willing to give it another go, because there is a lot of interest going on here.

The film poster showing Jeff Goldblum and Tye Sheridan reflected several times as with multiple mirrors.
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The Ranger (2018)

The Ranger
Director: Jenn Wexler
Writer: Giaco Furino, Jenn Wexler
Cast: Chloë Levine, Jeremy Holm, Granit Lahu, Jeremy Pope, Bubba Weiler, Amanda Grace Benitez, Jeté Laurence, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 22.9.2018
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Plot:
Chelsea (Chloë Levine), Garth (Granit Lahu), Abe (Bubba Weiler), Jerk (Jeremy Pope) and Amber (Amanda Grace Benitez) are all at the same punk club when it gets raided by the police. The five of them make their escape together, but not before Garth actually stabs a police man to avoid getting caught with drugs on his person. Hoping to find refuge in the hunting cabin of Chelsea’s family, they set out for the woods. Once there, a Park Ranger (Jeremy Holm) gets on their case.

The Ranger was a bit underwhelming, I have to admit. It just didn’t really come together for me, although I did like the idea.

The film poster showing a man in a hat and with sunglasses in shades of blue and black.
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In a Valley of Violence (2016)

In a Valley of Violence
Director: Ti West
Writer: Ti West
Cast: Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, Toby Huss, Tommy Nohilly, Larry Fessenden, Burn Gorman
Part of: the surprise movie at the /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Paul (Ethan Hawke) and his dog are travelling on their own when their paths cross with a drunk priest (Burn Gorman) who tries to rob them. Although Paul gets the better of him, after the encounter he decides to pass through the small town of Denton. But trouble follows him there and he finds himself provoked by deputy Gilly (James Ransone). After a quick fight and a polite visit by the Sheriff (John Travolta), things seem to be resolved. But maybe Paul can’t shake Denton quite as quickly as he thought.

In a Valley of Violence is basically John Wick in the Wild West, but since I’m not much of a Western fan, that transfer didn’t completely work for me, although there is much to enjoy about the film.

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Carnage Park (2016)

Carnage Park
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer: Mickey Keating
Cast: Ashley Bell, Pat HealyAlan Ruck, James Landry Hébert, Michael Villar, Bob Bancroft, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 28.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Joe (James Landry Hébert) and Lenny (Michael Villar) just robbed a bank and took Vivian (Ashely Bell) hostage. They are able to lead the police led by Sheriff Moss (Alan Ruck) on a merry chase and finally get away in the desert, where Lenny dies. Joe and Vivian end up on Wyatt’s (Pat Healy) and Wyatt doesn’t take lightly to trespassers. He shoots Joe outright and what should be Vivian’s salvation turns into her biggest nightmare.

Carnage Park starts off really strong, but then it gets rid of everything I liked about it and becomes the most standard of slashers and I just couldn’t get into it. I would have preferred a film about the bank robbery.

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The Transfiguration (2016)

The Transfiguration
Director: Michael O’Shea
Writer: Michael O’Shea
Cast: Eric Ruffin, Chloe LevineAaron Moten, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Milo (Eric Ruffin) leads a rather lonely and quiet life, keeping mostly to himself. His parents are gone, he lives with his older brother Lewis (Aaron Moten). What he spends most of his time with is vampires in all shapes and forms. But his obsession goes a little farther than most’s – Milo is actually trying to become a vampire, and that includes drinking blood. That’s when Sophie (Chloe Levine) shows up in his neighborhood. The two of them slowly build an alliance of outcasts. But will their connection change Milo’s path?

The Transfiguration has a promising concept but it unfolded way too slow for my taste. I think with more speed I would have loved it, but as is, watching it became an exhausting chore.

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Darling (2015)

Darling
Director: Mickey Keating
Writer: Mickey Keating
Cast: Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Young, Brian Morvant, Larry Fessenden
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Madame (Sean Young) is looking for a caretaker for her house – the oldest house in the city. When prim Darling (Lauren Ashley Carter) arrives, she leaves her to it. Darling does her best to take care of the house, but it’s strange. Something seems to be going on under the surface and Madame is not forthcoming with information. Darling is affected more and more.

Keating’s first outing, Pod, didn’t work for me at all, so when I say that Darling was at least better than Pod, take that for the faint praise it is.

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The Mind’s Eye (2015)

The Mind’s Eye
Director: Joe Begos
Writer: Joe Begos
Cast: Graham SkipperLauren Ashley CarterJohn SperedakosLarry FessendenNoah SeganMatt Mercer
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 1.5.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
Zack Connors (Graham Skipper) and Rachel Meadows (Laura Ashley Carter) are not only in love, they also both share the same gift: they have telekinetic powers. That makes them a target for Dr Michael Slovak (John Speredakos) who wants to harness their powers. After an incident, they had to separate, but they are reunited when Slovak catches them both. Together, they try to make a break for it.

The Mind’s Eye sticks to a straight-to-VHS-80s aesthetic but then it can’t seem to decide whether it wants to reproduce that look and make a serious action film or whether it’s a persiflage of those films and meant to be funny. Thus it outmaneuvers itself: for the former, it’s simply ridiculous, for the latter it’s not funny enough.

themindseye

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Southbound (2015)

Southbound
Segment 1: The Way Out
Director: Radio Silence
Writer: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Cast: Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Segment 2: Siren
Director: Roxanne Benjamin
Writer: Roxanne Benjamin, Susan Burke
Cast: Fabianne ThereseNathalie LoveHannah Marks, Susan Burke, Davey Johnson
Segment 3: The Accident
Director: David Bruckner
Writer: David Bruckner
Cast: Mather Zickel
Segment 4: Jailbreak
Director: Patrick Horvath
Writer: Patrick Horvath, Dallas Richard Hallam
Cast: David YowTipper NewtonMatt Peters
Segment 5: The Way In
Director: Radio Silence
Writer: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Cast: Hassie HarrisonGerald DowneyKate Beahan 
The segments are connected by a radio DJ played by Larry Fessenden.
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 30.4.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Plot:
On the seemingly endless highways of the USAmerican South, several fates cross each other, each set on their own dark path.

There was obviously a lot of thought put into the transition between the segments in Southbound, creating an interesting structure. I certainly appreciated that, though it doesn’t change the usual anthology film problem: some segments are simply better than others. For me, Southbound reached its climax in the middle with The Accident. Overall I wasn’t absolutely enthusiastic about it, but I did enjoy it.

southbound

After the jump I talk about each of the segments individually.

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