ECLECTIC ARTS

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

THE GODDESS OF FORTUNE Film Review December 2, 2020


The Goddess Of Fortune

Reviewed: 12/2/2020
Breaking Glass Pictures
Rating: 4.5 / 5 




(Breaking Glass Pictures)



I wasn’t sure what to expect from “The Goddess Of Fortune”. A Warner Brothers produced film from Italy, I was extremely surprised in the best way possible by this movie.


It only took maybe five minutes to transport me into the story. That’s saying something.


The story revolves around a couple Arturo (played by Steffano Accorsi) and Alessandro (played by Edoardo Leo) who look after their friend Annamaria’s (played by Jasmine Trinca) two young children while she gets medical testing done for an unknown condition.



(Breaking Glass Pictures)



The film goes from fun and whimsical to serious and dramatic. The fish out of water concept as parents is cute and appealing while the drama is heart wrenching and painful.


“The Goddess Of Fortune” is one of those films that absolutely immerses the viewer into the world of the characters. So, when the characters feel pain, we feel pain. When they feel joy, we feel joy.


The performances by Steffano Accorsi and Edoardo Leo were magnificent. Their choices and acting skills really make the film work. 



(Breaking Glass Pictures)
 


I would have given this film 5 out of 5 but the dancing scene in the rain felt completely out of place to me. There was such momentum being built up in the story that I wish that scene had been edited out. This is a minor quibble and the film is still exceptional.


Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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POSSESSOR Film Review December 2, 2020


Possessor

Reviewed: 12/2/2020
Well Go USA
Rating: 4 / 5 

Available on digital right now.  DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra Blu-ray Combo on December 7th.



(Well Go USA)



It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen such a visually interesting film. It is easy to see that director Brandon Cronenberg knew exactly what he wanted in his latest film “Possessor”.


A science fiction thriller/horror film, the plot revolves around Tasya Vos (played by Andrea Riseborough who I just reviewed in “Luxor” as well) as an assassin who kills her targets via brain implant technology possession. She comes across one assignment though that fights her for his very being.


(Well Go USA)



“Possessor” really plays like a science fiction character study of the acting profession. Actors portray and become characters for their jobs. They can play good, bad, likeable, and unlikable characters. They may immerse themselves to a point where they find it hard to leave the character on the stage and become themselves at home.


The horror elements are direct and disturbing. I also loved that the majority of the effects were practical instead of CGI. I wish more filmmakers would take the time to employ practical VS digital effects professionals.



(Well Go USA)



Overall, “Possessor” is the type of film that requires repeat viewings. You won’t notice all of the details without giving it at least a second look. One of the most interesting and unique films this year.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

INTERSECTION Film Review December 1, 2020


Intersection

Reviewed: 12/1/2020
Breaking Glass Pictures
Rating: 4 / 5 




(Breaking Glass Pictures)



When a thriller uses the overly familiar cat and mouse theme, it can become redundant quickly. The usual threats, pushing someone to their breaking point, kidnapping, blackmail photos, etc. If the payoff is worthy, then the overall effect can absolutely work. If the payoff is nowhere to be found, then it can feel like wasted time. “Intersection” gives you a payoff that not only works but is pleasantly surprising.


Jake Galloway (played by Matt Doran) is a white collar extortionist. He is oblivious to the needs of both his teenage son and his wife. Jake is all about the money and whatever it takes to get it.



(Matt Doran in "Intersection" from Breaking Glass Pictures.)



One evening he is contacted by a mysterious antagonist who has kidnapped Jake’s son. Thus the plot begins as the unknown kidnapper sends Jake on a series of missions in an attempt to break him.


I will stop there as the film really needs to be seen to be appreciated. There is a twist at the end that brings things together nicely. I didn’t see it coming which was a welcome surprise.


The use of the electronic voice masking for the kidnapper got a little grating further into the film. I understand why it was used but it started to remind me of a thriller version of “Saw” or something. I could have done without it.



(Matt Doran in "Intersection" from Breaking Glass Pictures.)



Outside of that, “Intersection” is a compelling thriller that, again, delivers with an ending that makes the whole experience feel quite worthwhile.


Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here! 


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Monday, November 30, 2020

ECHO BOOMERS Film Review November 30, 2020


Echo Boomers

Reviewed: 11/30/2020
Saban Films
Rating: 2.5 / 5 

Saban Films released the action/thriller ECHO BOOMERS in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on November 13, 2020.



(Saban Films)



A young group of thieves rob the rich in the new thriller “Echo Boomers”. The film does its best to appeal to the eye and the mind but it comes up short.


The overused phrase all style and no substance comes to mind. The movie looks good. Slick, well shot, and with plenty of eye appeal. But the story itself is flimsy at best and the back story that should give the story its emotional weight just doesn’t work.



((L-R) Michael Shannon as Mel Donnelly and Patrick Schwarzenegger as Lance Zutterland in the action/thriller film, “ECHO BOOMERS,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.)



Patrick Schwarzenegger plays the lead character of Lance who is just out of college looking for an Arts related job. With no prospects, his cousin offers him a job with very little details. Lance finds out that his art expertise is being used for robberies of the rich and maybe famous. Initially disgusted by the whole scenario, Lance eventually finds the adrenaline rush of committing robberies too hard to resist.


Michael Shannon plays the man with the money, Mel. He has the newest home addresses for the crew to hit and sells their goods to buyers overseas.



(A still from the action/thriller film, “ECHO BOOMERS,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.)



“Echo Boomers” might appeal to a younger demographic but even then, the film doesn’t deliver on its appealing premise.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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WANDER Film Review November 30, 2020


Wander

Reviewed: 11/30/2020
Saban Films
Rating: 4 / 5 

Saban Films will release the thriller WANDER in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on December 4, 2020.


(Saban Films)



With the way this year has gone, both the pandemic and the election cycle, there are more conspiracy theories now more than ever. The new film “Wander” taps into the conspiracy side of things with great success.


Arthur Bretnik (played by Aaron Eckhart) is a private investigator with a haunted past. He is hired to investigate a murder in the town of Wander. The further he investigates, the more he believes a conspiracy is behind not only the murder but is also connected to the death of his own daughter.



((L-R) Aaron Eckhart as Arthur Bretnik, Deborah Chavez as Elena, and Tommy Lee Jones as Jimmy Cleats in the thriller film, “WANDER,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.)



The film is presented in such a way that it twists and turns much like a conspiracy theory. You’re not quite sure what to believe, is everything as it seems, etc. Aaron Eckhart does a masterful job of playing Bretnik. He is in basically every scene and the audience follows and most likely believes what Bretnik uncovers. No spoilers here.


Tommy Lee Jones plays Jimmy Cleats - a friend of Bretnik’s in the film. There is good chemistry between the two actors and I wish they had written Tommy Lee Jones a bigger part. Heather Graham plays Shelley Luscomb who is Bretnik’s friend and lawyer. It was nice seeing her on screen again.



((L-R) Heather Graham as Shelley Luscomb and Nicole Steinwedell as Tanya in the thriller film, “WANDER,” a Saban Films release. Photo courtesy of Saban Films.)



“Wander” is a compelling film that has enough surprises that the viewer is left questioning exactly what they just saw, very much like a good conspiracy theory.


If you believe in such things, you’ll want to watch and re-watch “Wander”. If you don’t, you’ll still be entertained.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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LUXOR Film Review November 30, 2020


Luxor

Reviewed: 11/30/2020
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rating: 3 / 5 

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release LUXOR On Demand and Digital December 4th. 



(Samuel Goldwyn Films)



The new film “Luxor” revolves around the story of a British aid worker named Hana (played by Andrea Riseborough) who runs into an archaeologist and former partner Sultan (played by Karim Saleh). The film explores Hana’s decisions about her past and her future.


Every now and then I see a film that I am quite frankly puzzled by. Whether I’m not culturally advanced enough to appreciate the nuances within the film or some other factors, I am left with a “I don’t get it” impression. “Luxor” is one of those films.



(Andrea Riseborough as Hana in the drama/romance film LUXOR, a Samuel Goldwyn Films release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)



The storyline is very abstract to the point where I didn’t really know what was going on for the first part of the film. Hana is exploring the city of Luxor when eventually she runs into Sultan on a boat. The former relationship aspect is clear between the two characters but the whole story was abstract. 



((L-R) Karim Saleh as Sultan and Andrea Riseborough as Hana in the drama/romance film LUXOR, a Samuel Goldwyn Films release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)
 


I can say that Andrea Riseborough who played Hana was interesting to watch and she made the character curious and somewhat compelling but as a whole “Luxor” left me unsatisfied.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

ZAPPA Film Review November 22, 2020


Zappa

Reviewed: 11/22/2020
Magnolia Pictures
Rating: 4.5 / 5 




(Theatrical one-sheet for ZAPPA, a Magnolia Pictures release. © Bill Gubbins. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)



There are many musicians and artists that I am aware of but really don’t know much of their story. Frank Zappa is one such artist. I’ve always associated him with his testimony during the 1980’s trial against the PMRC and guitarist Steve Vai (one of the many monster musicians that have played with Frank over his career).


The documentary “Zappa” is a fascinating look at one of the most unique musicians in the history of music. The film is narrated through various clips from Frank over the years as well as his wife and the many artistic collaborators that worked with Frank.


As directed by Alex Winter (of “Bill and Ted” fame) the film goes from the early days all the way up to Frank’s passing at the end of 1993.


Clearly an intelligent man with a distinct point of view, the various decades of his work show how he did what he wanted over the years. If he didn’t like something, even on stage, he would say so. When he wanted to put out a box set and the record company said no, he then went and recorded the last 4 contractual albums he owed Warner Brothers and then left to start his own record company (which was pretty much unheard of back then).



(Frank Zappa in ZAPPA, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo credit: Roel of Kiers. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)



Frank was a pioneer for freedom of expression and backed it up by testifying when the PMRC were on a witch hunt to ban certain artists' recordings. He was one of only three artists standing up in front of Congress for artistic expression.


He wrote many orchestral scores over his lifetime. He bluntly explained that he wanted to hire musicians to perform his music so that he could listen to it at home. He wouldn’t cut corners or make sacrifices if it meant the art was diminished in some way. You have to respect that.


It must also be mentioned that the vast array of top notch musicians that have worked with Frank over the years is just mind boggling.


“Zappa” is being screened for one night only in 100+ theaters around the country on Monday November 23rd. Following the credits additional previously unseen footage from the Zappa vaults will be shown.  


Here locally the film hits VOD on November 27th through the Northwest Film Forum.


It is a worthwhile documentary about an incredibly unique and important artist.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!





Thursday, November 19, 2020

TRAIN TO BUSAN PRESENTS: PENINSULA Film Review November 19, 2020


Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula

Reviewed: 11/19/2020
Well Go USA
Rating: 2.5 / 5 

4K Ultra Combo Pack, Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD available November 24 from Well Go USA Entertainment.


(Well Go USA)



There’s always the debate amongst fans about whether a well received film should have a sequel or not. “Train To Busan” was a hit four years ago and the ending left things open for a possible sequel.


“Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula” was released earlier this year. I loved what I saw in the trailers and purposely did not read a single review so I could see the film as fresh as possible.



(Well Go USA)



The new film is a standalone sequel - taking place under the direction of Yeon Sang Ho (who directed the first film). The plot involves a group of covert operatives that are sent in to retrieve a large sum of money and leave unscathed if possible.


Of course things don’t work out the way they planned and the story evolves into a militant group that is surviving amongst the infected. There is also a family that is living amongst the survivors in this post apocalyptic area as well.


The action sequences with the infected are almost like watching a video game. They take place almost exclusively at night and the CGI really shows a lack of execution. I would also add the overall film is shot in such a way it looks like they’re on a soundstage much of the time instead of in a dirty and ruined city.



(Well Go USA)



Unlike the first film, the characterization is lost this go around and by the time the melodrama kicks in toward the end of the film, it’s really too little too late. I wish the drama had been planted early on in the film so that the payoff had more of an impact.


I really, really wanted to like “Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula” but it just fell short in almost every category. After waiting four years for this sequel, the end result is ho hum.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


Official Trailer







Wednesday, November 18, 2020

COLLECTIVE Film Review November 18, 2020


Collective

Reviewed: 11/18/2020
Magnolia Pictures
Rating: 5 / 5 

Opens at the (virtual) SIFF Film Center:  11/20/2020


(Theatrical one-sheet for COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)



The documentary “Collective” had me go from relaxing on my couch at the start of the film to literally sitting on the edge of my seat for the rest of it. It was that good.


The film centers around the aftermath of a horrific fire in a music club in Romania where many people perished. Those that were injured were rushed to nearby hospitals where even more victims eventually passed away.


A team of journalists at a sports gazette started looking into the cause of the fire, lack of exits, etc. and it created a national politically driven story. When the hospital burn victims started to die at an alarming rate, they continued their investigation into the causes. The bulk of the film takes off from there. As always I don’t like to give away too many plot points in my reviews.



(Tedy Ursuleanu in COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. ©Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film, HBO Europe 2019. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)



“Collective” looks at the corruption in the hospital system in Romania, along with the political motives behind it. It is a daring and down right brutal look at a system gone wrong for decades. And the patients pay the price with their lives.


The look at the journalists and their desire to find the truth is inspiring. You feel their defeats, their frustrations, and their triumphs. The healthcare workers that can’t in good conscience work under those barbaric conditions any longer pull at the viewers heartstrings as well.


It boils down to what’s right and what’s wrong. And the uphill battle for those fighting the good fight.



(A scene from COLLECTIVE, a Magnolia Pictures release. ©Alexander Nanau Production, Samsa Film, HBO Europe 2019. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)



There is painful beauty in the survivors' tales who are trying to carry on with their lives. The families of the victims and their sorrow is also incorporated into the film.


The power of film is clearly on display in “Collective”. There were times I almost felt like I was watching a fictional film, where the characters are trying to uncover the truth only to be foiled by the powers that be. But, this was not a work of fiction. This was a documentary about human lives lost in a system that bowed down to the all mighty political dollar.


Highly recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


COLLECTIVE MOVIE OFFICIAL SITE (BUY TICKETS)


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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET REP 2 November 17, 2020



PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET

REP 2

11/12/2020 - 11/16/2020


(Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Elizabeth Murphy in Penny Saunders’ Wonderland, which will have its world premiere during Rep 2 (November 12 – 16) of PNB’s 2020-21 digital season. Photo © Lindsay Thomas.)



The Pacific Northwest Ballet released Rep 2 recently as part of their digital season this year. As someone that was just starting to understand the art of ballet pre-pandemic, I found myself slipping backward during my viewing of Rep 2.


The artistry and meaning of ballet is always going to be an ongoing quest of understanding the expression during any given performance for me. However, having been so out of sync with the higher art forms in Seattle during this time, I found it has not been as easy as getting back on a once familiar bicycle.


The world premiere of “Wonderland” with choreography by Penny Saunders kicked off the evening. A distinct love letter to the live performance, I really enjoyed the use of the massive empty McCaw Hall to bring home the emphasis of the live event (and how much it is missed right now). From the orchestra to the use of the patron seating, the piece was wonderful to view and was a melancholy reminder of how things were pre-Covid 19 times.



(Pacific Northwest Ballet soloists Elle Macy and Dylan Wald in Jessica Lang’s Ghost Variations, which will have its world premiere during Rep 2 (November 12 – 16) of PNB’s 2020-21 digital season. Photo © Lindsay Thomas.)



The PNB premiere of “Arms” and the world premiere of “Ghost Variations” along with “Waterbaby Bagatelles” (excerpt) rounded out the program. The mixed bill of content reminded me that in previous mixed bills, some of the program would resonate with me and other parts not as much.


I was mesmerized by the dance - I usually am. The fluidity and the amount of work that goes into each piece is not lost on me at all. I also liked that I am now recognizing certain dancers much like watching a sports team on the field. In the earlier reviews back in 2018, I didn’t recognize anyone. Not so now - and that’s a plus.


But, having said that, portions of the other pieces were not over my head but they didn’t resonate with me. I loved what was presented but the inner meaning was lost on me. I would need to rewatch again to maybe understand the storytelling aspect of the choreography.



(Pacific Northwest Ballet soloists Elle Macy and Dylan Wald in Jessica Lang’s Ghost Variations, which will have its world premiere during Rep 2 (November 12 – 16) of PNB’s 2020-21 digital season. Photo © Lindsay Thomas.)



As always the Pacific Northwest Ballet put together a top notch production for Rep 2. For the extras, I particularly liked the Five Minute Call portions they’ve been doing as I’m fascinated with the behind the scenes of the PNB.


In this upside down and turned around time, the Pacific Northwest Ballet is providing a lifeline for the patrons of the PNB. Thank you!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


First Look To The Future - Information Link!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

DATING IN PLACE TV Series (short form) REVIEW November 10, 2020


Dating In Place

Reviewed: 11/10/2020
Revry
Rating: 5 / 5 


("Dating In Place" on OML on Revry - 2020)



The first three episodes of the comedy, “Dating In Place” were provided to the media to catch a glimpse of the new series on the OML channel on Revry. The short form comedy series tells the story of two characters falling in love during the 2020 pandemic.


The show is quirky and relatable considering all of us are going through the COVID-19 situation right now. Virtual communication has become the main source of connecting with friends and family, as well as for those that work from home during these times.


The dating aspect during the pandemic is something I honestly haven’t thought about much of during this time. However, I just saw today that an acquaintance did a Zoom speed dating session and is now scheduled to go on his first Zoom date. That sounds like it's its own show to be honest.


The characters Debika (played by Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera) and Jo (played by Emily Goss) are long distance dating (living in different countries). The show goes through many of their conversations and the desire to go on a date in person. This almost comes true until you know what happens in the world.



("Dating In Place" on OML on Revry - 2020)



The episodes are short form (less than 10 minutes each) so by the time I was done with the first three screeners, it felt like I had just watched one episode. This is a good thing.


I found the characters interesting and the dating premise even moreso. If you’ve ever done the long distance dating thing, you’ll relate to what they’re going through. Shantell and Emily have a chemistry in the show which really makes it work. With the bulk of the dialogue occurring between both of their characters, the relationship development had to work for the audience, for us to want to see them meet up for the first time in real life in Hawaii. It works perfectly.


I would love to see how this show plays out in the end. “Dating In Place” captured my attention and now my curiosity has taken over. Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!




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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

WRITTEN INTERVIEWS 2020 Eclectic Arts

(Eclectic Arts - May 2020)

Greetings,

I was thinking about the written interviews that eventually led me to doing the virtual interviews on the AL1CE virtual tour which in turn led me to doing my own virtual interviews and events (Fun Tables).

I will always enjoy reading an interview.  Period.  I wanted to keep Eclectic Arts engaged during the early months of the pandemic and went back to my zine roots.  I was very fortunate that each of the artists below not only agreed to do one but actually completed them!  A few people who shall remain nameless never did.  

Doing a proper written interview takes a lot of time for the artist if they do them "right" - meaning they take their time and give thoughtful answers.  It also takes time (less so) for me to craft the questions along with the follow ups (when needed).

If I had not reached out to Tash Cox from AL1CE, none of the virtual interviews/events would exist today.  If she had not agreed to do one, ditto.  And if she had not come up with the idea to have me do virtual interviews on their upcoming tour, ditto.  

Many of these were already completed during the first leg of the AL1CE virtual tour.  I held off on publishing them as I was inundating my socials with AL1CE tour guest news every day, not to mention the occasional film review, and I didn't want them to get lost in all of the posts.  So, the dates aren't necessarily accurate.

If you enjoy the live-stream virtual interviews and/or The Fun Table Sessions - thank Tash, thank AL1CE, and thank all the artists below that got the ball rolling.  I know I do.

Best,

Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts


CHRISTY ANNA WU August 2020

THE SOAPGIRLS July 2020

HEATHER EDGLEY July 2020

CHRISTINE MITCHELL June 2020

CHLOE WEBSTER June 2020

DIE KREATUR June 2020

ANISA SINTERAL May 2020

AL1CE (Tash Cox) May 2020

BULLETGUYZ May 2020

LEAH INGRAM May 2020

LADY RAGE April 2020

JENN SAKURA April 2020


DATING AMBER Film Review November 4, 2020


Dating Amber

Reviewed: 11/4/2020
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rating: 5 / 5

DATING AMBER available on Demand and Digital on November 10, 2020



(Samuel Goldwyn Films)



The teen based film “Dating Amber” explores the trials and tribulations of lead characters Eddie and Amber. Both being ridiculed for being gay by their classmates, Eddie denies it and attempts to date girls in order to be left alone while Amber stands up for herself and flips the shit right back at her tormentors.


The story then revolves around where Eddie and Amber decide to date each other to keep up appearances and to stop the bullying at school and the questions at home.



((L-R) Fionn O’Shea as Eddie and Lola Petticrew as Amber in the Comedy/LGBTQ/Romance/Drama, DATING AMBER, a Samuel Goldywn Films release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)



“Dating Amber” will strike a chord with anyone, not just LGBTQ+ folks, but anyone that has felt they didn’t fit in and/or were bullied at some point in their life. Amber stands up for herself but still has to deal with her own insecurities in the privacy of her own mind. Eddie’s road becomes one of coming out. He feels the pressure to join the military. He feels the pressure to be straight. But, he knows he’s gay.


The film strikes all the right chords when it comes to the drama, the comedy, and the enlightenment. 




((L-R) Fionn O’Shea as Eddie and Lola Petticrew as Amber in the Comedy/LGBTQ/Romance/Drama, DATING AMBER, a Samuel Goldywn Films release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)
 


Fionn O’Shea (Eddie) and Lola Petticrew (Amber) are absolutely fantastic in their respective roles. They are beyond perfect in their characterizations of Eddie and Amber. You feel their pain, their questioning, and the struggle to do what’s best for them and not for others.


“Dating Amber” will pull at your heartstrings and have you smiling at the same time. Recommended.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here (opens in a new window)


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DARKNESS IN TENEMENT 45 Film Review November 4, 2020


Darkness In Tenement 45

Reviewed: 11/1/2020
Wood Entertainment
Rating: 3.5 / 5

Available on Digital and VOD platforms now!



(Wood Entertainment)



The absolute confusion of this year helps the viewer relate to the characters in the new horror thriller “Darkness In Tenement 45”. Set in the 1950’s, the film spends the time building up anxiety and paranoia amongst the cast of characters that are trapped in tenement 45.


The overall what and who do we believe in 2020 parallels what the characters face in the film. Is there a sickness outside? Do we have to stay inside? What happens if we let light into the home? 




 

The first half of the film is developed as a slow burn storytelling experience. The second half picks up the pace but never quite reaches the heights it could have.


Nicole Tompkins gives a standout performance portraying Joanna. Her character is frightened, confused, but also strong and direct as the movie develops.


The film reminded me of a play. A lot of dialogue, one location, and the fear that it breeds in the home. Director Nicole Groton could certainly adapt the story for the live stage.






Overall, “Darkness In Tenement 45” was an interesting film worth a viewing.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here (opens in a new window)



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BULLETS OF JUSTICE Film Review November 4, 2020


Bullets Of Justice

Reviewed: 11/1/2020
The Horror Collective
Rating: 2 / 5 

Available now on VOD





I love a good exploitation horror film. Down and dirty, sleazy, violent, disturbing, etc. - any of the above can make a genre film into a cult classic. “Bullets Of Justice” attempts to bring a post World War III concept to life but ends up with more misses than hits.


The storyline is rather ridiculous which usually adds to the fun of the genre. In this case the more absurd and crazy the story got, the harder it was to watch. 




 

Danny Trejo makes an appearance to help with the marketing of the film but he isn’t a main character. The visuals are interesting at times I’ll give the team credit for that.


Overall, there isn’t much to write home about a film like “Bullets Of Justice”. 




 

Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here (opens in a new window) 


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Monday, November 2, 2020

TRIGGERED Film Review November 1, 2020


Triggered

Reviewed: 11/1/2020
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rating: 4 / 5

Samuel Goldwyn Films will release TRIGGERED On Demand and Digital November 6th. 



(Samuel Goldwyn Films)



The new film “Triggered” asks the audience what would you do in a similar situation of survival. The premise puts a group of college age adults in the woods. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Through a series of circumstances, they find themselves stuck in a game of survival. Outfitted with explosive vests and timers, the catch becomes if you are nearby and kill one of your friends, you add their time to your timer. The lone survivor at the end will continue to live.


“Triggered” is frantic once the scenario is revealed. It never lets up and it preys on the human psyche which was fascinating to watch. The viewer may initially think well there’s no way I could kill one of my friends but if it means you live, you may start to change your tune. And if you’re of questionable character already, you may even turn to every trick in the book to lure friends to their deaths in order to ensure your own survival.



((L-R) Liesl Ahlers as Erin and Steven Ward as Ezra in the thriller / action / horror / teen film, TRIGGERED, a Samuel Goldwyn Films release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)



There are other plot points that I won’t reveal here that also add to the weight of the storyline. The dialogue is sharp with some black humor at times thrown in for good measure.


The film is basically shot entirely at night so at times it's hard to distinguish who is who as the bodies pile up but that’s only a minor quibble.



(Cameron Scott as PJ in the thriller / action / horror / teen film, TRIGGERED, a Samuel Goldwyn Films release. Photo courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.)



Overall, “Triggered” was a lot of fun and a worthwhile viewing.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here (opens in a new window)



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THE DARK AND THE WICKED Film Review November 1, 2020


The Dark And The Wicked

Reviewed: 11/1/2020
RLJE Films
Rating: 4.5 / 5

RLJE Films will release the horror film THE DARK AND THE WICKED In Theaters, On Digital and On Demand November 6, 2020. 



(RLJE Films - Shudder)



I grew up with horror films so any time there’s an opportunity to review a new horror film I’m cautiously excited. There seem to be more misses than hits this year in 2020 (maybe that has something to do with the year). But, I’m happy to say “The Dark And The Wicked” is a hit.


A slow burn to start where a daughter comes back to visit her family farm where her father is very ill. Her mom and brother are there and while all looks typical it certainly is not. 



(Marin Ireland as Louise in the horror, “THE DARK AND THE WICKED,” a RLJE Films/Shudder release. Photo Courtesy of RLJE Films/Shudder.) 



I love it when a film can create an atmosphere of creepiness without any gore or jump scares in the first half of the proceedings. “The Dark And The Wicked” slowly gets under your skin before the visuals go beyond creepy.


Several times I got chills up my spine during certain scenes which is always a good sign of a quality horror film in my book.



(Michael Zagst as Father in the horror, “THE DARK AND THE WICKED,” a RLJE Films/Shudder release. Photo Courtesy of RLJE Films/Shudder.)



Is the film reinventing the genre? No, but it does deliver on several horror genre fronts which is to be commended. If you like your horror more creepy than gory, “The Dark And The Wicked” is for you.


Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here (opens in a new window)



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Saturday, October 31, 2020

MISTRESS OF BONES Short Film Review October 31, 2020


Mistress of Bones

Reviewed: 10/31/2020 (Happy Halloween)
Luchagore Productions
Rating: 5 / 5





I remember seeing a hype reel for Luchagore back in 2014. The then upstart horror based production company had a lot of buzz around their creations. They then screened El Gigante and I was truly impressed.


“Mistress of Bones” is their latest short film with a public release on November 1, 2020 via Crypt TV.


As most know I don’t like to give away plot points in my film reviews. What I can say is that director Gigi Saul Guerrero wastes no time putting the viewer in the middle of a circumstance that pops right off the screen. Instead of going for the dark and evil, she goes for daylight and the historical that already lends itself to something new and exciting.


The characters are interesting, the visual effects high grade, and the story tight and mysterious.


I wish the investors out there would fund a full length feature from Luchagore.  They have proven over the years that they have the imagination and the abilities to put together high quality film shorts.  The Blumhouse work is a step in the right direction but I would love to see a glorious 90-minute plus horror feature film..   Recommended!


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

BLAME IT ON TOBY Pilot Review October 27, 2020


Blame It On Toby

Reviewed: 10/27/2020
Fox On A Hill Productions
Rating: 3 / 5


(Fox On A Hill Productions)



As a pilot of a new horror anthology called Rogues Gallery, “Blame It On Toby” is the first entry. The plot revolves around well known eccentric Arthur Prentiss-Wilcox (played by Kevin J. O’Connor) who always appears in public with his doll Toby. There are rumors that persist that Toby is responsible for many deaths ever since he was given to Arthur when he was six years old.


Kevin J. O’Connor is the centerpiece of the pilot. His portrayal of Arthur could not have been better. It’s almost lopsided in terms of just how good he is compared to the other characters/actors in the pilot.



(Fox On A Hill Productions)



I won’t give away the ending but it was reminiscent of other films like Stuart Gordon’s “Dolls” from the 80’s. This isn’t a bad thing at all.


Overall, “Blame It On Toby” is an interesting start to the anthology. I am intrigued to see where this Rogues Gallery goes next.


Best,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Connect with Eclectic Arts:  Social Media Links Here!


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