Sundance Review: Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls

Onyx the Fortuitous, is struggling. He’s misunderstood at home and work, but his dreams for a new life seem to be answered when he lands a coveted invitation to the mansion of his idol Bartok the Great for a ritual to raise the spirit of an ancient demon.

Unfortunately Onyx The Fortuitous and the Talisman Of Souls did not do it for me at all, once again I don’t have a whole lot to say here mainly due to the fact this based off something I have never heard of up until I saw the movie. 

Onyx The Fortuitous is a character that Andrew Bowser he also plays the character, he’s character that has a very dedicated following online. And apparently this movie was a Kickstarter project so I do give the much earned respect Andrew Bowser and his team deserve for making the movie actually happen. Unfortunately the said movie isn’t that great, while the cast is pretty fun particularly Olivia Dudley and Rivkah Reyes who actually do bring some decent performances and everyone else seems to be having a lot of fun. The rest of the movie has a lot of jokes that fall completely flat plus if you have no idea who Onyx is like I did you are not going to get a lot of the in jokes among other elements as well. 

What really does put the nail in the coffin is the pacing combined with the running time, this was much too long and I get they wanted to make something more grand and special for the character. But sometimes online characters work far better in shorter video format and that’s definitely the case here, it starts to become very repetitive after awhile and just makes you keep checking the time when it will be over. 

I’m sure die hard fans will love this but for everyone else not so much unfortunately. 

Onyx The Fortuitous and the Talisman Of Souls currently has no release date. 

4/10 D+

Sundance Review: Young. Wild. Free.

A hot-tempered high school senior finds his claustrophobic life suddenly thrust into an enticing, dangerous direction after he is robbed at gunpoint by the girl of his dreams.

Young. Wild. Free. was my first Sundance film of the festival and it wasn’t exactly the best start, it’s unfortunate because I do think there was a lot of potential here. The premise itself sounds very interesting and could have been a very investing story. 

The positives mostly come from the filming that’s actually quite beautiful at times and the performances are quite decent, there’s a few moments here where it does seem like the movie is going to touch the subject of mental health. But quickly abandons it in favor of some dull coming of age story elements that have been done better before, the twist completely breaks the movie mainly due to how predictable and unrewarding it really is for the viewer. It doesn’t help that there was next to no build up to the twist, it’s just sort of there for the sake of being a twist. 

Overall there really isn’t much else to say about Young. Wild. Free. It’s well filmed and has solid performances but leaves a lot more to be desired when it comes to the script. 

Young. Wild. Free currently has no release date. 

4/10 D+

Sundance Review: Resurrection is a disturbing film that will make you think about it!

Margaret’s life is in order. She is capable, disciplined, and successful. Everything is under control. That is, until David returns, carrying with him the horrors of Margaret’s past.

And now we have my favorite film of Sundance 2022 Resurrection! The film will most certainly not be for everyone, as it is a disturbing film that takes it’s time to develop the plot. However this film absolutely worked for me, Rebecca Hall’s performance is both incredible and haunting, her performance here truly adds to the film’s atmosphere and truly brings a bizarre energy as well. There’s one particular scene where Rebecca Hall has a 10 minute monologue all done in one take that is absolutely haunting yet beautiful at the same time, it shows how insanely committed she is as an actress. The atmosphere of the film is disturbing and very tense especially combined with the cinematography that feels like it’s from another world, I’m not sure how I would describe it but that’s the best way to put it. It’s such a haunting and focused feel that really captures the film’s bizarre nature, all of this builds up to the final act which completely loses it in the best way possible. It goes from being disturbing and bizarre to being completely horrifying as well as being even more disturbing. It’s truly fantastic to see the film go through many transformations throughout the running time, Resurrection heavily reminds me of something that David Cronenberg would make, it uses some elements of Cronenberg but makes them it’s own. Resurrection is a film that must absolutely be seen when going in knowing as little as possible. It’s such a disturbing yet fascinating experience I did not want to end!

Resurrection currently has no release date but will be released by IFC Films and Shudder later this year!

10/10 A+

Sundance Review: Palm Trees And Power Lines is a disturbing yet important film on child grooming.

A disconnected teenage girl enters a relationship with a man twice her age. She sees him as the solution to all her problems, but his intentions are not what they seem.

Palm Trees And Power Lines is the equivalent of watching a huge crash in slow motion happen at least 10 times, this film is a lot and very very disturbing. The film is about child grooming and how sneaky and the stages of it, the film doesn’t shy away from any details and tells you how it is. There’s no sugarcoating at all, first and foremost the performance from Lily Mclnerny (who plays Lea a 17 year old girl) should absolutely be praised. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to even do this, she gives such a realistic performance that just adds to why the film is so disturbing. She captures the emotions and actions of a 17 year old girl who is disconnected and someone who has been groomed. Jonathan Tucker also does one hell of a job as well, he plays a 34 year old man who has all of the traits of a child groomer. Pretends to your friend at first and slowly tries to get into relationship territory and then become manipulative and so on, each of those actions are shown in the film what that ends up leading to is the destruction of Lea, it completely destroys her feelings, thoughts and health. There’s tons of heartbreaking and disturbing moments in this film that absolutely got me. The filming is shot in this style that absolutely fits the film, it doesn’t have a clean look to it which keeps things more grounded. The writing is very grounded and only adds to how disturbing the film really is, it captures everything about child grooming what words groomers like to commonly say and so on. But then there’s the third act which while yes the film was disturbing before the final act turns it up quite a lot, there’s a very uncomfortable scene that goes on for about 5-10 minutes this scene will make you feel disgusting after watching it which was definitely the attention. It’s a scene that is very disturbing to watch but brings the message home very well. It should go without saying that this film is most certainly not going to be for everyone, as I said earlier the film is about how sneaky and disgusting child groomers are and what effect they leave on their victims. Jamie Dack did such a fantastic job with this film, I do recommend watching this film only if you know what you are getting into.

Palm Trees And Power Lines currently has no release date.

10/10 A+

Sundance Review: The Worst Person In The World is a powerful story about several choices.

A young woman battles indecisiveness as she traverses the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path.

I’ve been wanting to see The Worst Person In The World for the longest time, last year I didn’t get a chance to see it due to either having a lot going on at festivals it was shown and the film not releasing in America. Luckily Sundance 2022 showed the film and all of that wait was well worth it. This film is a huge gut punch in every single way possible, it tackles a lot of subjects and really gives this theme of what happens in life and sometimes you have to move on. Renate Reinsve’s performance is absolutely incredible, she delivers one of my absolute favorite performances so far this year. The amount of emotion, depth, energy and power that’s put into her role is truly mesmerizing, the cinematography combined with the music really gives this film it’s own identity as well. There’s a lot of focused shots that really make each scene it’s own, splitting the film up into chapters I think was such a brilliant move, it gives each chapter it’s own story to tell as well as it’s own identity. Even with the shorter chapters they add so much to the film and really tell you a whole information in a short amount of time. The writing keeps things very realistic, which makes a lot of moments all the more powerful, it’s a huge deep dive into Julie’s (Renate Reinsve’s character) thoughts, emotions, what she’s going through, her life and so much more. The film also does a fantastic job of focusing on the people around her as well, it explores each of the characters really well and truly delivers. The Worst Person In The World is a film I can’t recommend enough!!

The Worst Person In The World is now in theaters!

10/10 A+

Sundance Review: After Yang is a meditative Sci-Fi Film that captures family emotions!

In a near future, a family reckons with questions of love, connection, and loss after their A.I. helper unexpectedly breaks down.

After Yang is a film I’ve been wanting to watch for a very long time, for awhile it went without a release date. It premiered at Cannes 2021 and then just kind of disappeared for awhile until it was announced it will be shown at Sundance 2022. The wait did not disappoint because After Yang is truly something special, first off the film itself is both hypnotic and meditative everything from the cinematography, writing, acting and direction it really takes you into it’s own world that you follow really closely. The performances were all incredibly strong here particularly Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja and Haley Lu Richardson. They all give a raw performance that really brings you into the film leaving you in a meditative state, plus the characters are given some really strong development that helps build the world of the film. The cinematography does a fantastic job of giving information about the world of the film, it pays attention to every single detail and adds to the story being told. The writing tackles family themes in very unique and interesting ways, it talks about the emotions of a family and goes much more in depth with those themes. After Yang is a much different Sci-Fi film that is bound to make you feel tons of emotions, make you think really hard about what the characters and each of the scenes and what the film means overall. After Yang is a beautifully told story that Kogonada absolutely mastered easily one of the best films so far this year.

After Yang will be released in theaters and on Showtime March 4th!

10/10 A+

Sundance Review: Fresh is a disturbing yet comedic film.

The horrors of modern dating seen through one young woman’s defiant battle to survive her new boyfriend’s unusual appetites.

Fresh is another pretty disturbing film from Sundance 2022, even if it’s also a dark comedy film as well. The mixture of being disturbing and the dark comedy compliment each other extremely well, Daisy Edgar-Jones is absolutely fantastic here and I have a strong feeling we are going to see much more of her after this film releases. Sebastian Stan is also really strong here, it’s definitely one of his more stronger performances his performance here heavily reminds me of John Goodman’s performance from 10 Cloverfield Lane. The film itself is suspenseful and has a very haunting atmosphere to it that builds up to the finale which kicks things up into high gear, Mimi Cave does a fantastic job especially with the fact this is her directional debut which I still find very hard to believe. She captures what makes a film disturbing, thrilling and understands how to balance comedy with disturbing moments. Fresh is one of those disturbing films that slowly builds up to the disturbing moments and completely catches you off guard, I won’t say much more because this is definitely a film where you have to go into it knowing as little as possible. Plus I don’t want to end up accidentally spoiling it, but overall Fresh is a disturbing yet mixes dark comedy that makes it stand out!

Fresh will be released March 4th on Hulu!

10/10 A+

Sundance Review: Fire Of Love is a beautiful film that captures the beauty of volcanos!

Intrepid scientists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft die in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing some of nature’s most explosive imagery.

Who knew a documentary about two people sharing their love for volcanos would be one of my favorite films of the Sundance film festival. Fire Of Love tells the story of Katia and Maurice Kraftt two married volcanologists who share their love for volcanos, the film uses archival footage as well as Miranda July’s commentary to the tell story. Which both combined truly create something absolutely stunning, the beauty of the lava is truly captivating and really grabs you, there truly is something whimsical about watching the lava and hearing the story of two people who share their love for volcanos. It’s also an incredibly touching story that really get’s to you, Miranda July’s commentary adds so much to the documentary in every single way possible she has this beautiful voice that truly hypnotizes you. The archival footage is brilliantly used, it really shows the beauty of the volcano and adds so much layers to the documentary. Overall Fire Of Love is straightforward yet a absolutely fantastic documentary that I can’t wait to watch again!

Fire Of Love currently has no release date!

9/10 A

Sundance Review: Speak No Evil is a disturbing ride.

On a vacation in Toscana, a Danish family instantly becomes friends with a Dutch family. Months later, the Danish couple receives an unexpected invitation. It doesn’t take long before the joy of reunion is replaced with misunderstandings.

Sundance 2022 had a lot of films that seemed simple enough but quickly dived into madness and some others went as far as being disturbing. Speak No Evil is one of the films that ends up being the latter, the film starts out simple enough with two families meeting each other. But as the film goes on it starts quickly paint a very dark picture, it quickly shifts into this very creepy atmospheric film that leads to some very brutal results. Some of which I’m absolutely shocked the film went into that direction, but I’m seriously glad that it did because the build up was ginormous, it’s such well written film that really captures in the writing. The performances from everyone in the film are spectacular, which I actually believe is partly why the film succeeds the acting feels incredibly raw and shows the characters as ordinary people you would see walking down the street. Which is the main focus of the film showing how everyday people can be truly disturbing, as I said earlier the build up is huge it’s very thrilling and keeps piling on the fear and disturbing element of it all. Until it completely explodes and turns into something very very different yet fascinating at the same time. I don’t want to say too much else, going into Speak No Evil knowing as little as possible is the best way to get the full experience, there’s so much to unpack about this film in all the right ways!

Speak No Evil currently has no release date but will be released later this year by Shudder.

9/10 A

Sundance Review: Piggy is a smart commentary on bullying and body shaming.

An overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls poolside while holidaying in her village. The long walk home will change the rest of her life.

I was prepared for Piggy to be yet another “victim of bullying gets revenge” movie that we have seen so many times at this point, however takes that concept and actually does something different with it. The film surprisingly ends up being a very good commentary on bullying and body shaming, it isn’t just one or two scenes that talk about these heavy subjects there’s quite a lot of discussion in the film. The film also questions mortality on both sides, which is definitely something completely different from a lot of other films like Piggy. Laura Galán does such a fantastic job as Sara, she really brings so much to her role and adds a lot to the character! Piggy is a french horror film (well and Spanish too) so you know what that means…lots of gore! Which the gore is really great, there might not be as much gore as there are in a lot of other french horror films. Piggy focuses much more on story and Sara’s life, but the build up is absolutely worth the wait. What makes Piggy successful is the character study type feel it does for Sara, we learn so much about her and what she’s been through. It all builds up to a very strong final act that ends the film on a very high note, the questioning of mortality is definitely one of the strongest parts about the film. Although the film does follow Sara it does question some of the decisions she’s made as well as the bullies as well. It’s a perfect balance that adds so much to a film that could have easily been nothing new.

Piggy currently has no release date.

9/10 A