Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: HOWL OF A GOOD TIME (2015)

by: Chelsea Opperman

I may be biased because Patrick Rea is a friend of mine...but his short films are so creative and fun.  His style really reminds me of Tim Burton.  He has the wacky stories, the whimsical atmosphere, and the soundtracks that really give his films a magical quality.  And they are consistently entertaining.  In fact, many of his shorts remind me of Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) in terms of aesthetics.  He may not have Large Marge, but he has plenty of memorable characters and scenes that are both frightening and hilarious.

HOWL OF A GOOD TIME is no different. I really cannot reveal too much about the plot without spoiling the magic for those who get to see it.  But I will say there is a charming Rialto-theatre setting, some questionable audience members, and a cameo by one of my favorite Devil’s Rejects. And watch out who gets admission and who doesn’t...that could come and bite you in the ass.

Sniff, sniff.


HOWL OF A GOOD TIME is screening at our next showcase Monday, May 2 at Screenland Armour in Kansas City.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: THE INVITATION (2016)

by: Chelsea Opperman

Dinner party films are fun.  It is a scenario in which all audience members can certainly relate.  With some films that verge on the fantastic or absurd, viewers can gaze in awe but cannot truly put themselves in the movie.  But a dinner party with the awkward silences, stranger introductions, and questionable food is something we have all suffered through.  Often there are even ulterior motives, like selling Amway.  Or sometimes, the intent is much more sinister.

Karyn Kusama, the director behind Jennifer’s Body and Girlfight, weaves a chilling portrait of societal politeness and personal paranoia and delivers it in taut package, set high in the Hollywood Hills.  This beautifully shot film stars the handsome devil from 2010’s Devil, Logan Marshall-Green as Will who broods in a rich and layered character that is haunted by a dark past and an even darker future. We see through his eyes the unraveling of what seems to start as an awkward but mostly pleasant evening slowly change into the apocalypse it is destined to become.  With realistic dialogue and a great ensemble cast, this film places the audience as another guest on the sofa.  The sinister unknown visitor, the wonderful John Carroll Lynch and the eerie commune gypsy (Lindsay Burdge) elevate the guests’ growing paranoia and unease as the night creeps on.  Lewd games, fine wine, chilling stories, and odd philosophies set their teeth on edge, and as we arc towards the third act, the tension is so thick it can be cut only with a serrated knife.  

As beautiful metaphors of coyotes and red velvet cake allude to mercy killings and killers having no mercy, Invitation shows us a claustrophobic peephole view into grief, mourning, and the thirst to survive amidst pain.  A pinch of Hitchcockian suspense, a dash of You’re Next (2011), and a whole lot of Jonestown, this film is one of the best psycho thrillers of the year.  Accept this Invitation at your own risk.  


Please check out THE INVITATION available now ondemand and in select theaters.

Review: HOOT (2016)

by: Chelsea Opperman

HOOT keeps it simple.  With a deliciously (and palette cleansing) straightforward storyline, you get a great picture. The visual textures of the pajama stripes, the frosty branches, the lonely middle aged man with a sad agenda all add to a laughable and fun show.  

And it's a story line we have all lived.  Remember that woodpecker that annoyed the fuck out of you?  That crow that never went away?  The boogeyman that never left the closet?

At this point, from what I have viewed of Patrick Rea's films, he takes whimsical and comical concepts and films them in a literal, visceral sense.  He makes fun of the everyday events and turns them scary.      

You surely can't be mad at a feathery antagonist...but maybe he's not the antagonist at all.  


HOOT is screening at our next showcase on Monday, May 2 at Screenland Armour in Kansas City, Missouri. RSVP here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: PILLOW FRIGHT (2015)

by: Chelsea Opperman

This is the most fun short you will see all year.  When you see ditzy, bubble gum snapping sorority girls gearing up for a night of pizza and booze, you just know you are in for a fun time.  Hell, Slumber Party Massacre is a classic, right?  Patrick Rea’s PILLOW FRIGHT uses this classic trope and turns it on its ass.  He gives life not only to the vapid pigtailed girls, but also their poor, undeserving victims.  Let’s just say he softly gives a feathery touch to his main antagonists, and oh yes, they will exact their revenge.  No one fucks with their family and gets away with it.  With fun special effects and oodles of creativity, this horror/comedy is not to be missed.  You’ll never look at bedding the same way again.   Rea is a great name in the short film biz.  


PILLOW FRIGHT is screening at our next showcase on Monday, May 2 at Screenland Armour in Kansas City, Missouri. RSVP here.