VHYes (2019)

VHYes
Director: Jack Henry Robbins
Writer: Nunzio Randazzo, Jack Henry Robbins
Cast: Mason McNulty, Rahm Braslaw, Jake Head, Christian Drerup, Kerri Kenney, Mark Proksch, Thomas Lennon, Courtney Pauroso, Charlyne Yi, Madeline Zima, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 20.9.2020
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Plot:
Ralph (Mason McNulty) gets a VHS recorder for Christmas. He grabs the next tape he finds – unfortunately, apparently, his parents’ (Jake Head, Christian Drerup) wedding tape – and starts recording whatever he finds of interest, from his adventures with his best friend Josh (Rahm Braslaw) to the usually forbidden to him late night TV – where he learns about a haunted house in town.

VHYes is a beautiful love letter to TV of the 80s, and VHS, managing a unique blend of funny and unsettling that I absolutely loved. I think it was one of my favorites of this year’s festival.

The film poster showing a VHS tape with "Ralph's Tape" written on it, as well as a collage of various film characters.
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A Cinderella Story (2004)

A Cinderella Story
Director: Mark Rosman
Writer: Leigh Dunlap
Cast: Hilary Duff, Jennifer Coolidge, Chad Michael Murray, Dan Byrd, Regina King, Julie Gonzalo, Lin Shaye, Madeline Zima, Andrea Avery Ray, Mary Pat Gleason, Paul Rodriguez
Seen on: 4.1.2020

Plot:
Sam (Hilary Duff) divides her time between school and the diner that her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge) inherited from her father. Her stepmother is rarely there herself, which is just as well, as all she sees in Sam is cheap labor. Fortunately, there’s Sam’s best friend Carter (Dan Byrd) and Nomad, a guy she met online and with whom she has kept up a regular correspondence. He goes to her school as well – and he really wants to meet her. So she suggests that they meet at the school’s Halloween dance. There she learns that Nomad is Austin (Chad Michael Murray), the school’s most popular guy. He, on the other hand, doesn’t learn who Sam is – but she loses her phone and he finds it and tries to find her through it.

Look, a fairy tale retold as a teenage RomCom will very rarely win points for originality, and if a plot that surprises you is what you’re looking for, you should skip this A Cinderella Story widely. But I thought it was a pretty sweet take on a familiar story with some nice touches in the way it modernized the story.

The film poster showing Sam (Hilary Duff) riding piggyback on Austin (Chad Michael Murray).
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The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
Director: Curtis Hanson
Writer: Amanda Silver
Cast: Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson, Julianne Moore, Madeline Zima, John de Lancie
Seen on: 11.2.2018
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Plot:
Claire Bartel (Annabella Sciorra) is very happy with her husband Michael (Matt McCoy), and of course their 6-year-old daughter Emma (Madeline Zima). She’s also pregnant again. But when she goes to see her gynaecologist, Dr Mott (John De Lancie), he sexually assaults her. Claire calls in the authorities and Mott commits suicide to escape the scandal. Months later, Mott’s widow (Rebecca De Mornay) comes to the Bartels’ house to work as a nanny under a false name. Not knowing who she actually is, Claire hires her, giving her the perfect opportunity to get revenge for her ruined life.

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is simply awful. Misogynistic and stupid on some many levels, I could barely stand it. It’s a catastrophe.

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