#FantasticFest Day 3 Reactions – #TheLodge, The Whistlers, VFW, Phil Tippet: Mad Dreams and Monsterd

The Lodge (★★★)

I liked “The Lodge” a lot, but more so after simmering with it for a bit. It’s slow, it’s dreary, and operates in a bleak world. There are plot turns that I couldn’t quite commit too, but this is the kind of film that creates a mood and an atmosphere and it achieved that in many ways.

The Whistlers (★★1/2)

“The Whistlers” is a solid thriller. It has French New Wave vibes and sprinkles in some light humor throughout. One thing that really separates it from the dozens of films like it is the way it is put together. How we learn so much about each character without separating ourself from the core plot.

Phil Tippet: Mad Dreams and Monsters (★1/2)

I love a solid documentary about filmmaking, but this one is as textbook as they come. If you already have an idea of Phil Tippet’s massive talent and influence in stop-motion animation, then you’re just getting refresher course. The movie is solid and a good way to introduce those non-converted to the man’s absurd talents, but it is void of depth.

VFW (1/2)

The first true bust of the festival for me. “VFW” wallows in its grainy, blood-soaked grindhouse style, but shoots itself in the foot with choppy editing and dark filmmaking. It’s part of the style, I get it, but it’s nearly impossible to enjoy the gore or the action when the camera cuts every second and you can barely see what’s on screen in the first place.

#FantasticFest Day 2 Reactions – #ColourOutofSpace, Happy Face, The Black Pit of Dr. M, The Death of Dick Long

The Black Pit of Dr. M (★★1/2)

A Mexican horror film from 1959 akin to the old Universal monster movies. “The Black Pit of Dr. M” has no big selling point really, a part from being a well-made horror film of its era.

What shocked me the most was the attention to story and detail that many monster movies of that era neglected. Some shots reminded me of shots in “Citizen Kane.” It was expertly made and I’m glad to have experienced it.

Happy Face (★★)

“Happy Face” has me torn. I’m so glad a film like this exists. Director Alexandre Franchi (Wild Hunt) was in attendance and spoke after in his Q& A how the script was modified throughout production to adjust to the real-life stories of the characters.

All characters and actors in real life, struggle with different facial abnormalities. It’s a film that let’s you take a harder look at beauty and a nuanced look at the human condition. Something about the overall pace though didn’t sit right with me. It felt like it went on a tad too long, and the unfortunate side of the script changes left some of the subplots feeling detached.

The Death of Dick Long (★★1/2)

Daniel Scheinert (Swiss Army Man) directs quite a film here. He was in attendance along with Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar). This film takes you on quite a ride – an unexpected one too.

Unfortunately its peak (film I can’t reveal too much of the plot too without spoiling) so I won’t. I enjoyed it so much. The blend of comedy/drama was exquisite even has things took a sharp turn in the second half. I heard a range of reactions for this one, so it will be divisive, but definitely give it a try.

The Colour of Space (★★★)

Probably my favorite of the festival so far. Another independent film starring Nicolas Cage that deals with something out of this world. Don’t worry, he goes full Cage often, but the overall story (inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s book) is handled with such grace.

What sold me on it was the sheer imagery. The practical, organic effects, the music, the mood. This was an incredible, yet disturbing experience that I’ll remember for some time.

#FantasticFest Day 1 Reactions – #JojoRabbit, Tammy and the T-Rex, & The Happiness of the Katakuris

Jojo Rabbit (★★1/2)

There were moments in this film that I felt heavy weight. Moments that’ll sit with me for some time. I remember smiling and being shocked often simultaneously. Yet, when the curtains came up I felt, well, nothing.

Jojo Rabbit is a solid Love vs. Hate film that brushes up with some real complex themes. When things start looking up for Jojo – his reality hits him and it hits him hard. The juxtaposition between the childlike innocence and Naziism is where this film soars. I tweeted shortly after that there were “moments” of brilliance, but they are shrouded in the cliche.

Tammy and the T-Rex (Gore Cut) (★★)

Yes, I knew about this film coming in, but had never seen the originally released PG-13 version. The movie was absolutely ridiculous and I found myself cackling quite a bit. About halfway into the movie I started feeling more exhausted – like a sense that I got the joke, and we’re just pressing now.

What helped bring me back was the absurd filmmaking-moments. It was definitely of its era (with homophobic jokes/slurs that got quite the groans out of our theater), but all-in-all it was a pleasant time. A celebration of B-movies in the 90s.

The Happiness of the Katakuris (1/2)

Some people love the work of Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Audition), who was in attendance here. I haven’t seen any of his films until this one and…. I didn’t like it.

I’ve heard fantastic things about his other films, but this film felt like a student film full of oddities put into a blender to create something off-putting for the sake of being off-putting. Was it original? Absolutely. But I left the theater simply thinking “Not for me, for someone, but not me”

Matt Mentions launch and #FantasticFest!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Looking forward to my first ever upper-tier film festival.

My plan is to write about EVERY movie I see and my experience along the way. I am on the flight to Austin, TX right now.


Tarantino Marathon: True Romance

So Quentin Tarantino didn’t direct this film – but he did write it and his style is all over it. I can’t however say that I loved this movie. The characters were complex and well-constructed, but overall it felt long and meandering to me.

True Romance is one of those films that I have a lot of respect for, but it just didn’t do much for me.

Tarantino Marathon – Reservoir Dogs

If you know me personally, you know that while I’m a huge fan of movies I still have a lot of homework to catch up with other cinephiles.

When it comes to writer/director Quentin Tarantino I have seen the following films:

Pulp Fiction
Kill Bill Vol. 1/2
Inglourious Basterds
Django Unchained
The Hateful Eight

Having seen these films I do not consider myself quite a Quentin Tarantino fan. I adored Pulp Fiction, but found Kill Bill exhausting, and a deep lack of narrative focus in Basterds, Django, and Hateful Eight.

I still consider the final three great films that are epic in scope, acted wonderfully, and written exquisitely. It has always been clear to me that Tarantino has at the height of artistry in his writing versus his directing.


Acceptance in Pop Culture – How to criticize responsibly

I’ll get straight to the point – A petition is not the way to criticize Game of Thrones.

It’s not the way to criticize anything. Collaborative art (movies, TV, music etc.) is delivered to us on the backbone of a lot of intense labor. The person who is passionate and works hard to create something, a person who is truly vulnerable, doesn’t deserve our relentless scorn.

Displaced aggression is often an issue here too. How much criticism is appropriate though? Maybe criticizing Kelly Marie Tran for her character’s blandness in “The Last Jedi” is displaced – actually it absolutely is.

But a part of the displaced aggression we have overt aggression. Benioff and Weiss are the show-runners of “Game of Thrones” and they’ve made a lot of mistakes, more so as the series went on, but they worked hard and put their vulnerabilities out there – they did the best they could.


Emmys: Game of Thrones looks to dominate – 2019 Primetime Emmy Predictions

It’s easy to see, even with a polarizing ending, “Game of Thrones” absolutely dominating this year’s Emmy awards. Here are our first round of predictions.

Most updated Emmy predictions here.

Outstanding Drama Series (03/29/19)
Game of Thrones
Better Call Saul
This is Us
Killing Eve

The Sinner
Sorry for Your Loss
American Gods

Dark Horses
Ray Donovan
Narcos: Mexico

Outstanding Comedy Series (04/02/19)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Kominsky Method

The Good Place
Russian Doll
Better Things
Modern Family
Will and Grace

Dark Horses
One Day at a Time
The Other Two
Broad City

Outstanding Limited Series (04/02/18)
Sharp Objects
Escape at Dannemora
True Detective
American Horror Story: Apocalypse

A Very English Scandal
When They See Us

Dark Horses
Vanity Fair
The Widow
Catherine the Great
Castle Rock
The Haunting of Hill House
The Spanish Princess
The Act

TV Movie (04/07/19)
King Lear
Native Son
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
My Dinner with Herve
Deadwood: The Movie


Dark Horses
Sense8: Together Until the End
The Romanoffs: End of the Line
The Romanoffs: House of Special Purpose

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (04/07/19)
Sterling K. Brown – This is Us
Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
Milo Ventimiglia – This is Us
Jason Bateman – Ozark
Richard Madden – Bodyguard
Kit Harington – Game of Thrones
Brian Cox – Succession

Billy Porter – Pose
Paul Giamatti – Billions
Ian McShane – American Gods
Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan
Freddie Highmore – The Good Doctor
Stephen James – Homecoming
James Franco – The Deuce

Dark Horses
Diego Luna – Narcos: Mexico
Dominic West – The Affair
Sam Heughan – Outlander
John Krasinski – Jack Ryan
Michael Pena – Narcos: Mexico

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (04/07/19)
Sandra Oh – Killing Eve
Julia Roberts – Homecoming
Robin Wright – House of Cards
Laura Linney – Ozark
Mandy Moore – This is Us
Jodie Comer – Killing Eve
Maggie Gyllenhaal – The Deuce

Christine Baranski – The Good Fight
Elizabeth Olsen – Sorry for Your Loss
Keeley Hawes – Bodyguard
MJ Rodriguez – Pose
Caitriona Balfe – Outlander

Dark Horses
Ellen Page – The Umbrella Academy
Jodie Whittaker – Doctor Who
Ruth Wilson – The Affair
Natascha McElhonne – The First
Esme Creed-Miles – Hanna

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (04/09/19)
Bill Hader – Barry
Ted Danson – The Good Place
Michael Douglas – The Kominsky Method
William H. Macy – Shameless
Jim Carrey – Kidding
Don Cheadle – Black Monday
Rob Delaney – Catastrophe

Anthony Anderson – Black-ish
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory
Sacha Baron Cohen – Who is America?
Eric McCormack – Will and Grace
Iain Armitage – Young Sheldon
Ricky Gervais – After Life
Idris Elba – Turn Up Charlie

Dark Horses
Jason Bateman – Arrested Development
Johnny Galecki – The Big Bang Theory
John Goodman – The Conners
Andy Samberg – Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Hank Azaria – Brockmire
Drew Tarver – The Other Two

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (04/09/19)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep
Rachel Brosnahan – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish
Alison Brie – GLOW
Pamela Adlon – Better Things
Natasha Lyonne – Russian Doll
Kristen Bell – The Good Place

Lily Tomlin – Grace and Frankie
Allison Janney – Mom
Issa Rae – Insecure
Ellie Kemper – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Jane Fonda – Grace and Frankie
Catherine O’Hara – Schitt’s Creek

Dark Horses
Regina Hall – Black Monday
Phoebe Waller-Bridge – Fleabag
Emmy Rossum – Shameless
Constance Wu – Fresh Off the Boat
Aidy Bryant – Shrill
Abbi Jacobson – Broad City
Ilana Glazer – Broad City

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (04/09/19)
Mahershala Ali – True Detective
Sam Rockwell – Fosse/Verdon
Hugh Grant – A Very English Scandal
Anthony Hopkins – King Lear
Ian McShane – Deadwood: The Movie
Peter Dinklage – My Dinner with Herve

Benedict Cumberbatch – Brexit
Benicio Del Toro – Escape at Dannemora
Jonah Hill – Maniac
Fionn Whitehead – Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Dark Horses
Chris Pine – I Am the Night
John Malkovich – The ABC Murders
Andre Holland – Castle Rock
Bradley Whitford – Valley of the Boom

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (04/09/19)
Amy Adams – Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette – Escape at Dannemora
Michelle Williams – Fosse/Verdon
Emma Stone- Maniac
Helen Mirren – Catherine the Great
Connie Britton – Dirty John

Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Ruth Wilson – Mrs. Wilson
Julianna Margulies – The Hot Zone
Christina Hendricks – The Romanoffs: The House of Special Purpose
Joey King – The Act

Dark Horses
Olivia Cooke – Vanity Fair
Melanie Lynskey – Castle Rock
Florence Pugh – The Little Drummer Girl
Kate Beckinsale – The Widow

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (04/16/19)
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – Game of Thrones
Jonathan Banks – Better Call Saul
Kieran Culkin – Succession
Giancarlo Esposito – Better Call Saul
Bobby Cannavale – Homecoming

Jon Voight – Ray Donovan
Justin Hartley – This is Us
Michael Kelly – House of Cards
Shea Whigham – Homecoming
Evan Peters – Pose
Greg Kinnear – House of Cards

Dark Horses
Asia Kate Dillon – Billions
Peter Mullan – Ozark
Ryan Jamaal Swain – Pose
Joel Kinnaman – Hanna
Delroy Lindo – The Good Fight
Tracy Letts – The Sinner
Evan Peters – American Horror Story: Apocalypse

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (09/13/18)
Lena Headey – Game of Thrones
Maisie Williams – Game of Thrones
Sophie Turner – Game of Thrones
Rhea Seehorn – Better Call Saul
Chrissy Metz – This is Us
Fiona Shaw – Killing Eve
Sissy Spacek – Homecoming

Uzo Aduba – Orange is the New Black
Susan Kelechi Watson – This is Us
Kathy Bates – American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Frances Conroy – American Horror Story: Apocalypse
Carrie Coon – The Sinner
Janet McTeer – Sorry for Your Loss

Dark Horses
Mary J. Blige – The Umbrella Academy
Audra McDonald – The Good Fight
Maura Tierney – The Affair
Susan Sarandon – Ray Donovan
Dominique Jackson – Pose
Malin Akerman – Billions
Diane Lane – House of Cards
Patricia Clarkson – House of Cards

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (09/13/18)
Henry Winkler – Barry
Tony Shalhoub – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Tony Hale – Veep
Tituss Burgess – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Timothy Simons – Veep
Alan Arkin – The Kominsky Method
Matt Walsh – Veep

Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live
Alec Baldwin – Saturday Night Live
Sean Hayes – Will and Grace
Reid Scott – Veep
Marc Maron – GLOW
Stephen Root – Barry

Dark Horses
Anthony Carrigan – Barry
William Jackson Harper – The Good Place
Edward Asner – Dead to Me
Case Walker – The Other Two
Frank Langella – Kidding
James Marsden – Dead to Me
Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (04/22/19)
Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky – Veep
Olivia Colman – Fleabag
Marin Hinkle – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Aidy Bryant – Saturday Night Live
Molly Shannon – The Other Two

Leslie Jones – Saturday Night Live
Betty Gilpin – GLOW
Laurie Metcalf – The Conners
Catherine Keener – Kidding
Mayim Bialik – The Big Bang Theory
D’Arcy Carden – The Good Place

Dark Horses
Julie Bowen – Modern Family
Nancy Travis – The Kominsky Method
Judy Greer – Kidding
Rita Moreno – One Day at a Time
Rosie O’Donnell – SMILF
Megan Mullally – Will and Grace
Jane Krakowski – Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Sarah Goldberg – Barry

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (04/22/19)
Norbert Leo Butz – Escape at Dannemora
Ben Whishaw – A Very English Scandal
George Clooney – Catch-22
Kyle Chandler – Catch-22
Stephen Dorff – True Detective
David Oyelowo – Les Miserables
Chris Messina – Sharp Objects

Hugh Laurie – Catch-22
Eric Lange – Escape at Dannemora
Paul Dano – Escape at Dannemora
Eric Lange – Escape at Dannemora
Will Poulter – Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Brandon Victor Dixon – Rent Live

Dark Horses
Michael Kenneth Williams – When They See Us
Justin Theroux – Maniac
Scoot McNairy – True Detective
Michael McKean – Good Omens
Jim Broadbent – King Lear
Jovan Adepo – When The See Us
Topher Grace – The Hot Zone

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (04/22/19)
Patricia Clarkson – Sharp Objects
Patricia Arquette – The Act
Carmen Ejogo – True Detective
Olivia Colman – Les Miserables
Sally Field – Maniac
Niecy Nash – When They See Us
Elizabeth Perkins – Sharp Objects

Vera Farmiga – When They See Us
Sissy Spacek – Castle Rock
Emma Thompson – King Lear
Emily Watson – Chernobyl
Eliza Scanlen – Sharp Objects
Julia Garner – Dirty John

Dark Horses
Chloe Sevigny – The Act
Connie Nielsen – I Am the Night
Kiki Layne – Native Son
Margaret Qualley – Fosse/Verdon
Emily Watson – King Lear
Miranda Richardson – Good Omens

The contradiction of Pokémon

Pokémon The First Movie is all over the place. Mewtwo is vengeful and forcing clones of Pokémon to fight their real-life counterparts.

But after Ash’s brave, yet dramatically stupid, self-sacrifice – Mewtwo has a change of heart. Why is there so much violence in the world? Or as Meowth says “If we focus on what’s the same as opposed to how we are different, well who knows?”


Why I left MoviePass

Those close to me know that I was a huge advocate for what MoviePass was doing.

Summer attendance was as low as it has been since the 90s last summer. After reading several articles behind the ‘$10 a month rationale’ it seemed like a move that was crazy enough to work – except it didn’t work.