Year: 2015
Director: Tony Vainuku & Erika Cohn
Cast: Harvey Langi, Leva & Vita Bloomfield, Fihi Kaufusi
Country of Origin: U.S.
Rating: N/A
Time: 125 min.

High school is hard as it is just being a teenager, juggling grades, extracurricular activities and maybe sneaking in some romance in between but the pressures and expectations are held to a stress-inducing standard when you come from an ethnic family who's livelihood depends on your own success. In the spirit of Hoop Dreams, In Football We Trust follows the journey of four Polynesian high school students as they chase their life long and life-changing in hopes of attaining their goals of professional recruitments. Filmed over the span of four years, first time filmmakers Tony Vainuku and Erika Cohn chronicles these NFL hopeful's struggles and pressures to balance cultural and familial expectations in order to find an ticket out from gang violence and poverty. 

Set in the heart of Salt Lake City, Utah, the film chronicles four teenage boys going through high school while facing the enormous pressures of carrying the burden of their dreams and their families, presenting a new take on the American immigrant story.  Despite their small population with a brief history in the U.S., Samoans and Tongans are 28 times more likely than any other ethnic group to play football for the NFL. Some refer to this phenomenon as a "calling" or a gift from god, crediting their genetics which are agreeably the epitome of a great football player. As much as their hefty attributes and build serve as their greatest strength in being a first-class candidate for football, their culture and familial obligations become their greatest motivation and downfall. 



Fihi Kaufusi, like many of the residents of Salt Lake are practicing Mormons deal with the common battle of cultural bond and environment influences of religion and relations. Without the support of his immediate family, Fihi struggles to outshine with unrelenting religious convictions and determination that inevitably does him more harm than good. Two brothers Leva and Vita Bloomfield who's family is affiliated with the most notorious gang in Salt Lake City, struggle to outshine their perceived reputation and not succumb to violence when confronted by peers as a teenage boy. Then there is the star, Harvey Langi whose name has already been circulating around the most prestigious football colleges, carries his family's livelihood on his shoulder as he is their golden ticket from poverty. These four teenage boys all share their passionate stories to succeed and discover the hard truths of growing up with an incredible amount of pressure to succeed and abide by societal expectations. 

Like Fihi says in the film that people don't know what Samoans are and think they're just big Mexicans, only further makes this film that much more special as we get such incredible insight and access to a knit-tight community that is rarely seen on screen. Even though I feel as though I am well aware of Asian cultures and communities, the Pacific Islander experience especially in a pre-dominantly Mormon and White town is an entirely unique experience that has yet to be shown. Polynesians are such a small group of minority, it is their will to thrive that propels them to work that much harder. But in moments of adolescence, and just growing up, the greatest challenge for these four NFL hopeful's is the arduous and sobering journey of the high stakes that come with trying to achieve your dreams all while flourishing out of their adolescence. In no time, they are faced with the harsh realities that maybe, Football it is not all it's cracked up to be. 


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Sundance is less than a week and I am proud to announce that I will be attending this year's Sundance Film Festival! I am continuously impressed by Sundance's extensive and expansive selection of films every year! And of course, I am enthralled by just the sheer fact that I will be breathing the same icy air as these wondrous filmmakers, press, and film lovers alike! Going to Sundance has been a life-long dream of mine so I am definitely starting out 2015 right! There are so many great films at this festival but sadly, I was only able to get 10 tickets for right now. So naturally, I had to ensure that those 10 films were all on my ultimate MUST-SEE list and I am proud to say that I was able to get everything I had wanted. So without further ado, here are the top films I got tickets for as well as the other brilliant films I desperately want to see!



Tickets I've Already Gotten:


Tangerine (Dir. Sean Baker)

A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart. Cast: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, Alla Tumanyan, James Ransone.

Why
: I am so drunk in love with Sean Baker's filmmaking style and stories that highlights underrepresented  communities with such sincerity and ferocity. And Tangerine especially because the story takes place on the nitty gritty streets of Los Angeles featuring transgender actresses in all their glory! I don't expect anything less than a visceral, intoxicating, and dynamic film experience from Sean. The man basically can do no wrong! His previous films, Take OutPrince of Broadway, and Starlet are all on Netflix so get on it folks!


Advantageous (Dir. Jennifer Phang)

In a near-future city where soaring opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter, Jules, do all they can to hold on to their joy, despite the instability surfacing in their world. Cast: Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim.

Why: Just watch the short film version of Advantageous and you will know why. This premise is so dense, I can't wait to see a full-length feature of them really digging into this world that talks about complex social issues about economies, values, and gender disparity. And it doesn't hurt that there is an Asian woman in the forefront of this film that isn't sexualized or a tiger mom in any way.


Knock Knock (Dir. Eli Roth)

Two beautiful young girls walk into a married man's life and turn a wild fantasy into his worst nightmare. Cast: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana De Armas, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand, Colleen Camp.

Why: Two Things: Keanu Reeves and two girls. What could possibly go wrong?! Oh man, so many things and I've grown to love Keanu more and more these days after John Wick and Side by Side. So, I'm really hoping shit goes down and Eli Roth is gives us some sexy time with this uber attractive trio. Of course, some gun play wouldn't be so bad either.


Seoul Searching (Dir. Benson Lee)

A comedy set in the ’80s about a group of foreign-born Korean teenagers who meet at a Seoul summer camp to learn what it means to be Korean. The three boys, from the U.S., Mexico, and Germany, then meet three girls who rock their world. Cast: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, In-pyo Cha, Teo Yoo, Esteban Ahn, Byul Kang.

Why: I've been a fan of all of Benson Lee's work since his first documentary about B-Boys called Planet B-Boy so naturally, I was interested in his new work which is a teen comedy, featuring an all Asian cast! In the 80s! In Korea! I've been waiting to see another teen high school comedy since forever and with the merging of Koreans from all over the globe, it is bound to get so culturally diverse in this film! Check out the film's teaser because it looks like a freaking riot! 


Pervert Park (Dir. Frida Barkfors & Lasse Barkfors)

Pervert Park follows the everyday lives of sex offenders in a Florida trailer park as they struggle to reintegrate into society, and try to understand who they are and how to break the cycle of sex crimes being committed.

Why: The title alone the reason why I am so intrigued because as much as I fear for my life of having an incident with a sex offender, they are (obviously) people as well who are battling with their own demons. It'll be a nice and eye-opening documentary to see their perspective of their crimes and situation in-depth than what meets the eye.


The Nightmare (Dir. Rodney Ascher)

A documentary-horror film exploring the phenomenon of sleep paralysis through the eyes of eight people. They (and a surprisingly large number of others) often find themselves trapped between the sleeping and awake realms, unable to move but aware of their surroundings while subject to disturbing sights and sounds.

WhyGetting sleep paralysis is LIT.ER.ALLY. my worst nightmare and I wish it never happens to me like it has to so many other people. So why am I watching a film about something that I am so horrified by? Ascher's previous documentary, Room 237 was superbly made and I am continuously fascinated by his work and subjects. So while just the act of watching this documentary will be pure psychological punishment, I'm doing it for the art! And cause I'm a masochist. Horray?


Dope (Dir. Rick Famuyiwa)

Malcolm is carefully surviving life in a tough neighborhood in Los Angeles while juggling college applications, academic interviews, and the SAT. A chance invitation to an underground party leads him into an adventure that could allow him to go from being a geek, to being dope, to ultimately being himself. Cast: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Zoë Kravitz, A$AP Rocky.

Why: Y'all know me and Los Angeles films! We need more of them! Especially ones that show the unfiltered version of LA and not the glitzy glam of Hollywood. And I always love a good coming-of-age storie with a diverse cast like this one! Who can deny Tony Revolori after The Grand Budapest Hotel! Tbh, this film just looks dope, just as the title implies and with a film with A$AP Rocky, I wouldn't expect anything less! *Cue A$AP Rocky's Wild for the Night*


Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Dir. Chloé Zhao)

This complex portrait of modern-day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home. Cast: John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Travis Lone Hill, Eléonore Hendricks

Why: I have not seen any of Zhao's previous works but as she is supported by every independent film organization including IFP and Film Independent, I would definitely like to see her work! The premise and image seems like she will tell a unique story about Indians like we've never seen before. And to be honest with you, I don't think I've ever seen a film about Native Americans so it'll be great to see a story that explores their culture, land, and identity. 


City of Gold (Dir. Laura Gabbert)

Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold casts his light upon a vibrant and growing cultural movement in which he plays the dual roles of high-low priest and culinary geographer of his beloved Los Angeles.

Why: Jonathan Gold is my go-to guy when I don't know what to eat and as he is an iconic figure of Los Angeles, I must watch this film! I mean the guy was born in Los Angeles, went to UCLA, and now works for The LA Times! I don't know anyone who is more LA than Gold right here! His eccentric look and positively vivacious writing about food (specifically ethnic food) is what makes him so damn unique as a critic and a figure in the food industry. 


Hot Girls Wanted (Dir. Jill Bauer & Ronna Gradus)

Hot Girls Wanted is a first-ever look at the realities inside the world of the amateur porn industry and the steady stream of 18- and 19-year-old girls entering into it.

Why: Why not?! Just the word porn is provocative enough to make me watch this documentary but also considering that it focuses on young women, it would be fascinating to see their perspective of what the porn world is like as a novice. Tackling not only porn but the internet and the theme of the "girl next door" is endlessly alluring as how all these factors have contributed to changing the platform of the adult film industry in many ways since the birth of dial-up.
Films I Want to See:

Fresh Dressed (Director: Sacha Jenkins)


The history of hip-hop fashion from its birth in the South Bronx to its rise as a billion-dollar global industry, “Fresh Dressed” is supported by rich archival materials, in-depth interviews with individuals crucial to the evolution, and the outsiders who study and admire them.


The Hunting Ground (Dir. Kirby Dick) 


From the makers of “The Invisible War” comes a startling expose of rape crimes on U.S. campuses, their institutional cover-ups, and brutal social toll. Weaving together verite footage and first-person testimonies, the film follows survivors as they pursue their education and justice — despite harsh retaliation, harassment, and pushback.


The Mask You Live In (Dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom)


Is there a “boy crisis” in America? Is our male population suffering due to our emphasis on power, dominance, and aggression? “The Mask You Live In” explores how our narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men, and society at large and unveils what we can do about it.


Finders Keepers (Dir. Bryan Carberry & Clay Tweel)


Recovering addict and amputee John Wood finds himself in a stranger-than-fiction battle to reclaim his mummified leg from Southern entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who found it in a grill he bought at an auction and believes it to therefore be his rightful property.

The Wolfpack (Dir. Crystal Moselle)

Six bright teenage brothers have spent their entire lives locked away from society in a Manhattan housing project. All they know of the outside is gleaned from the movies they watch obsessively (and recreate meticulously). Yet as adolescence looms, they dream of escape, ever more urgently, into the beckoning world.

Lila & Eve (Dir. Charles Stone III)

Lila, a grief-stricken mother reeling from her son’s murder, attends a support group where she meets Eve, who urges her to take matters into her own hands to track down her son’s killers. They soon embark on a journey of revenge, but also recovery. Cast: Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, Shea Whigham, Julius Tennon, Ron Caldwell, Aml Ameen.

Mistress America (Dir. Noah Baumbach) 

Tracy, a lonely college freshman in New York, is rescued from her solitude by her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke, an adventurous gal about town who entangles her in alluringly mad schemes. Mistress America is a comedy about dream-chasing, score-settling, makeshift families, and cat-stealing. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke.

(Synopsis via Indiewire)
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What a fucking awesome year 2014 was in cinema! There were so many thought-provoking, female-driven, visionary filmmaking showcased this year that I simply could not limit myself and why should I?! This list took me a considerable amount of time to really dissect and narrow down considering that I decided to combine U.S. and foreign films together, making the process literally impossible! But here it is! The best films I've seen this year were first and foremost, possessed impeccable and spellbinding form and naturally, commanding stories that demands the audience to confront their own notions on identity, success, and humanity.



Top 10


Under the Skin (Dir. Jonathan Glazer)

It's no surprise why Under the Skin is on everyone's top film lists and the Badass Femme of 2014. Loosely adapted from Michel Faber's 2000 novel of the same name, Glazer tells a story about an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland with surprising depth and heart that examines what it means to be a human, specifically a female on this earth. With it's eerily gripping soundtrack and gorgeous cinematography of the vast landscape of Scotland, Under the Skin doesn't shy away from showing the absolute ugliness of humanity with powerful sincerity and heartbreaking realism. Under the Skin particularly touched my little heart and even inspired me to make a short film (coming soon) and name her the Badass Femme of 2014. If you're not convinced that I'm in love with this film, I don't know what else will. Full review // Badass Femmes: The Female


Birdman (Dir. Aléjandro Gonzalez Inárritu)
From the moment, I laid my eyes onto the glorious Birdman trailer that embodied everything I love about cinema (to name a few): long-takes, maniacal characters on the brink of madness, and surreal tones, I was instantly hooked and (im)patiently waited for the film. And boy, I was not disappointed! With the A-List cast and meta story, Inarritu brought powerhouse performances by every characters, delving within each character who are battling their worst demons that brought harsh truths about broken careers, the new generation, and our own projected egos. Full Review


Force Majeure (Dir. Ruben Östlund)

There are rare moments in your life when you watch a film and you are stuffed with sheer bliss from discovering the utter brilliance of a particular film that it's hard to believe it's utter existence! I got that feeling when I watched Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth and now, Ruben Östlund's Force Majeure. It took the premise of trust within a relationship seen in The Loneliest Planet and delves neck deep in Force Majeure to explore perception and gender expectations in a family setting with piercing wit and humor. Photographed in a calculated and pristine manner, Östlund's fourth feature is will most likely be nominated for an Academy for the Best Foreign Language Film which I hope takes the gold! If there is only one film you watch in 2014, let it be this one. 


Nightcrawler (Dir. Dan Gilroy)

Jake Gyllenhaal has recently been taking a dramatic career shift, distancing himself from his Blockbuster woes to pursue more risky projects like Denis Villenueve's Prisoners and Enemy where he played a tortured cop and mysterious dopplegangers, respectively. He elevates his status as a serious actor even further with Dan Gilroy's debut film, Nightcrawler. Filmed on the gritty streets of Los Angeles, Nightcrawler can be seen as today's modern day success story that touts a razor-sharp screenplay and a transformative performance by Gyllenhaal that'll get under your skin and stay with you. It'll be a dream if Hollywood recognized Gyllenhaal for his creepy and haunting turn as Lou Bloom with a tiny golden man. But one thing is for sure, after working in Hollywood for so long, Gilroy is bound to change the way "Hollywood" films are being made. Full review


We Are the Best! ( Dir. Lukas Moodysson)

Lukas Moodysson is one of the rare filmmakers that has the blessed gift of being able to translate the intimate aspects of life directly to screen without tainting the subject in the slightest. We Are the Best! is easily this year's best film that screams and celebrates the joys of being a young female, which is a film we all so desperately need. Adapted from the graphic novel Never Goodnight written by his wife Coco Moodysson, the film highlights the lives of three 13-year old girls who unabashedly share their love of punk music! It's ultra naturalistic performances by these young actresses brings uncanny chemistry that is belly-achingly hilarious, heart-warming, and exuberant. PUNK ROCK 4EVA!


Selma (Dir. Ava DuVernay)

This has got to be the only "Hollywood" film in the bunch and that's primarily due to Ava Duvernay's exceptionally poignant vision chronicling the three month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights. Selma could've been your typical biopic but in narrowing down and presenting the historical and most victorious period for the civil rights movement, gave more room for the story to show the little details behind King and the moments leading up to the monumental time that is as relevant today as it was then. David Oyelowo's uncanny portrayal as King from his round cheeks to the cadence of his voice is powerful and brilliant. Selma is a best history lesson that doesn't preach but shows the urgency of our racial injustice times with sensitivity as well as potency. 


The Overnighters (Dir. Jesse Moss)

The Overnighters tells one of the most relevant and important story about our post-recession American times that is shows sobering reality of our country's dire situation with assured compassion and sensitivity. In the wake of one of the worst recessions in America,  a pastor sparks controversy in his North Dakota town by opening the doors of his church to homeless workers seeking jobs at nearby oil fields. The story itself is sufficiently compelling but the third act shocker transforms the social commentary documentary into a completely different beast, giving rise to one of the best and important documentaries out there this year.


20,000 Days on Earth (Dir. Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard)

I am ashamed that I did not know who Nick Cave was prior to watching this magical film. Blending fiction and reality, 20,000 Days on Earth focuses on Nick Cave's 20,000th day on earth, showing the day in a life of the musician and international cultural icon. It's hyper-stylized form heightens the surreal experience as we witness Cave's most intimate creative process and reflection on his life that results in a breathtakingly emotional journey for Cave and the audience alike. Bursting with passion and vitality,  Cave's energy is palpable and digs deep down to the microscopic particles of your soul which in turn, forces you to reflect on your own life.


The Babadook (Dir. Jennifer Kent)


Inspired by her short film Monster, Jennifer Kent's The Babadook is truly one of the best horror films of the decade! It utilizes conventional horror tropes of bad kids and supernatural beings to tell a deeply unsettling film that confronts not the demons lurking in the house but the one that lives within yourself. I was not able to sleep for a week after watching this film and personally, my fear of motherhood was only amplified by the monstrous performance by Noah Wiseman who embodies every parent's worst nightmare. The Babadook is a fierce debut film by the Australian writer-director whose cinematic voice is bold and refreshing. I can't wait to see what she does next! Even if that means, I'll lose some sleep. XP Full review


The Raid 2 (Dir. Gareth Evans)

The very coveted #10 spot goes to Gareth Evans' The Raid 2: Berendal, the sequel to what is already been claimed as the Godfather of martial art films. It's explosive, wall-to-wall, ballet of ultra-violence may run more than two hours but it's dramatic opera of undercover cops, family affairs, and new badass characters gives the film sufficient time to flesh out their action-filled storyline with nail-biting intensity and excessive violence, choreographed to perfection! Some may think it's too violent but it satisfies your ultimate action cravings especially in a industry where there are more lackluster and "fake" fight scenes than not. But be careful for what you ask for because this is one slice is pure action that just might detonate your head into flames! Full Review

Necessary Shout-outs

Festival Favorites:

The Tribe
Girlhood
Mommy
Stations of the Cross
Starred Up
The Tribe
Tokyo Tribe
Why Don't You Play in Hell
Two Days, One Night

Nonfiction:
Citizenfour
Citizenfour
Finding Vivian Maier
Happy Valley
Life Itself

Fiction:

Only Lovers Left Alive

22 Jump Street
Boyhood
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow
Frank
Fury

Guardians of the Galaxy
John Wick
Listen Up Philip
Obvious Child
Only Lovers Left Alive
Palo Alto
Snowpiercer
The Double
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The One I Love
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Year: 2014
Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer: J.C. Chandor
Cinematographer: Bradford Young
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Elyes Gabel
Country of Origin: U.S.
Rating: N/A
Time: 125 min.

Kristen Sales (Sales on Film) and I went to AFI FEST this past month and we were able to catch some of the same films together and so we decided to do the natural thing and record some reviews together. J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year is bound to stir some much needed discussion among cinephiles and audiences alike due to the polarizing effect it had on people. Whether you liked it or not, it is undeniable the unique cinematic voice Chandor has for the struggles of everyday Americans. Kristen and I once again explore the themes and aspects of A Most Violent Year that makes us love it or hate it!



I can totally relate to Kristen when she compares A Most Violent Year to films from the old days and how it feels very old school. Indeed, it feels like it could've been made in the 60's or 70's but they made a very simple story seems a lot more complicated than it actually was suppose to be. But what I liked about it were the tones and moods that gave the story a sense of looming danger and struggle especially in the everyday lives of Americans and immigrants alike. Bradford Young's gorgeous cinematography captured the warm yet rigid and harsh environment during the dark times in 1980's New York where the crime rate was at it's all time highest. Whether you come out liking it or not, you can't help but appreciate Chandor's efforts and vision to highlight an unseen aspect of achieving the American dream.


Follow Kristen:
Blog // Twitter 

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The first time I saw Leah Shore's I Love You So Much, it was at Los Angeles Film Festival '14 and I completely fell truly madly deeply in love with it, Savage Garden style. She took such a simple concept of two people who love each other so much but incorporated belly-achingly hilarious dialogue and wacky  animation that resulted in one of the most eyegasmic short films I have ever seen! Shore herself star in this piece that had me kicking and screaming on the floor due to it's insanely comical one-liners (Tinder-worthy) that may seems outlandish and ridiculous but I must admit, I've uttered these words to my once lover(s) (no shame) in my lifetime. Leah Shore is in all sense of the word an artist--an artistic force to be reckoned with even if she just wants to make you feel uneasy! But I mean who doesn't! 



Follow Leah Shore
Website // Blog // Vimeo // Twitter
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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.


2014 was a great year for women in film, from female directed films like The Babadook and The Midnight Swim, to female-centric stories such as Mommy, Two Days, One Night and more. You could say that this was the year of the badass femme; but nobody stood out more than the unearthly woman in Jonathan Glazer’s hauntingUnder the Skin. Named only as The Female, Scarlett Johansson went above and beyond as an out-of-this-world alien whose dead-pan stare and endearing smile was able to lure men to their impending doom. Although the true gender (if that even applies) of the alien is arguable, the character resonates as the year’s best dissection of what it is to be a woman first and foremost, and a human being on an even deeper level.


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Year: 2014
Director: Jennifer Kent
Writer: Jennifer Kent
Cinematographer: Radek Ladczuk
Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall
Country of Origin: Australia
Rating: N/A
Time: 93 min.



If you didn't hear already, Jennifer Kent's The Babadook is being helmed as one of the best horror films of this year, if not the decade! It was inspired by her short film called Monster which I posted up earlier today. Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman bring this simple story to unparalleled and frightening heights as a mother who is haunted by the death of her husband, all while dealing with her son being taunted by this "Babadook" bogeyman figure lurking around in the house. It's a deeply haunting, atmospheric, and jarring story that taps into your deep and darkest fears of motherhood and loss.


Be forewarned when I tell you that I have not slept properly in about two weeks because of Kent's masterful filmmaking. She takes this seemingly simple story but goes dives full throttle into the psyche of a fragile and tortured soul of Amelia. And that is what's so terrifying about the film is not the power the Babadook has but the one Amelia possesses. She takes all the conventional tropes of horror and gives the story a nice and tight little twist! There is even a real Babadook storybook being sold now all signed by Kent herself! Kent is a brave, bold, and brilliant new voice in cinema and I simply cannot wait what she does next!


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Before Jennifer Kent's directorial debut film. The Babadook (see review), there was her short film, Monster. Monster follows the simple premise of a single mother who is dealing with a child who is haunted by a boogeyman figure. Despite its short length, Monster is deeply haunting with its quick paced and direct climax that resurrected my buried anxiety of when I watched The Babadook. The short film shows Kent's uncompromising vision that she transfers to her feature length film that gives her room to be that much more detailed orientated about character development and plot to deliver one of the most jarring films of the last decade! Check out Monster and don't tell me that the "Bogeyman" in the film isn't like The Ring but next level scary! 

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George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road has got to be one of the most anticipated films of 2015! After the release of the teaser a couple months ago (see reaction link below), people were already excited! But now with the full trailer out only confirms what we already knew: MAD MAX IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST FILMS OF 2015! There's no doubt about it with its sweeping cinematography of the harsh and warm terrain, equally manic performances and make-up, and of course, the heart-pumping action sequences! This film also have a very edgy cast consisting of Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Charlize Theron, Zoe Kravitz, and so much more (models)! I'm sure the whole world can agree with me when I say that this has got to be the most exhilarating trailers of this year! Mad Max: Fury Road comes out in theaters May 15, 2015!


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Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

When I first watched Lynne Ramsay’s unnerving We Need to Talk about Kevin, it was merely a week after the horrific 2012 Aurora theater shooting. You can imagine my shock when the real life event crossed over into the terrible events of the film, which features a mother coping with a terrible school massacre committed by her son. Fast-forward to present day where I’m in my mid-twenties and all of my peers seem to be getting married or having babies. With the myriad of films about marriage and children this year (Gone Girl, Force Majeure, The Babadook to name a few), it seems as though the idea of marriage and motherhood is feverishly taunting me, knowing that I’m nowhere near that point in my life. With that in mind, I decided to revisit We Need to Talk about Kevin, because of it’s exploration of nature vs. nurture and the “shocking” notion that not every woman may have the maternal gene that society likes to project.

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It was announced just this morning that Terrence Malick's new film Knight of Cups was going to premiere at next year's Berlin Film Festival and so naturally, the trailer is here! The only thing we knew about the Knight of Cups was that it is about a man who deals with temptations, celebrity, and excess but nothing more considering Malick is always super secretive about his future projects. But now we see from the trailer, it's about a man doing some serious soul-searching via multiple relationships, drugs, and so much more.

I did not like To the Wonder as much as I thought I would so I am extra excited to see Malick's iconic cinematography infused with an energetic vibe  about a man's journey to find himself that frankly reminds me of Gasper Noe's Into the Void. Come to think of it, Knight of Cups is what it would look like if Malick just took a couple of Mollies and made a film! This film has a stacked cast starting with Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman too say the least. Despite what the consensus will be come February when Berlin Film Festival starts, the film looks exhilarating and I'm glad Malick is taking a slightly different route that is still introspective but with a pump of amphetamine-like energy! 

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Year: 2014
Director: Xavier Dolan
Writer: Xavier Dolan
Cinematographer: André Turpin
Cast: Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, Suzanne Clément
Country of Origin: Canada
Rating: N/A
Time: 139 min.



Kristen Sales (Sales on Film) and I went to AFI FEST this past month and we were able to catch some of the same films together and so we decided to do the natural thing and record some reviews together. And how can we go to AFI FEST without reviewing another Xavier Dolan film?! Last year we review Tom at the Farm and this year is one of the year's best films, Mommy. Mommy is about a widowed single mother (Anne Dorval) who has to raise her violent and volatile son all alone (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) until a peculiar neighbor (Suzanne Clément) offers some hope.



Although I have not seen his first feature, I Killed My Mother yet, I can already tell that Mommy is just another extension of that film about his personal relationship with his own mother. You can't help by fall in love with Mommy starting with it's pop culture references like having a 90's top hits soundtrack to shooting in an "Instagram" aspect ratio to emotionally potent performances by all parties that is universally relatable no matter how extreme. It's theme of volatile love in a family setting was wholly relatable to me as I have had my own share of these moments. Mommy went on to win the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and is Canada's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at 2015's Academy Awards which I am sure, it will get nominated! Now, all I have left to do is watch his first film before he comes out with his sixth feature film next year!




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Rise of the Planet of the Dogs? The trailer of Cannes' Un Certain Regard WInner, White God (Fehér istenjust came out and it is a ferociously enthralling story that'll make Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey seem like a cake walk. White God is an Hungarian film directed by Kornél Mundruczó about Lili, a 13-year-old girl's  fight to protect her dog Hagen. She is devastated when her father eventually sets Hagen free on the streets due to harsh "mongrel" fines imposed by the government. Determined to find Lili again, Hagan attracts a large pack of half-breeds who start a seemingly organized uprising against their human oppressors. You think it sounds awesome now, just watch the trailer below!



Initially, I thought it would be an innocent tale about a girl's love for her puppy but it soon turns out to be SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT! It's a story unlike any other that shows the impenetrable bond between a girl and her dog. The story carries a lot of heart and a powerful social message about our society. The film went on to win Cannes' Un Certain Regard Award so you already know the film is good! The canine protagonist Hagen (played by brothers Luke and Body), was awarded the Palm Dog award in Cannes and attended the premiere! They went to the photo-call, red carpet, and even appeared on stage, becoming the first dog in Cannes history to do so and that is so exciting! White God is Hungary's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at 2015 Academy Awards. Hopefully I'll be able to catch it at Sundance because this is one film, I DO NOT WANT TO MISS!

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I have not heard of the band Cruisr before I stumbled upon their music video for "All Over," which is possibly my favorite thing on the internet at the moment ( & I'm on the internet a lot!!). Not only is their song super catchy but it is accompanied by imaginative and seamless animation that is an homage to iconic film couples and pairs ranging from oldies like The GraduateLolitaand Manhattan to small screen indies like Buffalo '66Under the Skin, and even Boyz n the Hood! It's hard enough to not shake your booty to this song all while trying to identify every single reference they are making! But let's see how many you can get!



The video's creator and director Chris Carboni explains his creative process on his website

"The concept was born out of the central theme of the track - the inexplicable but relateable allure of getting your heart stomped on in all the right ways. The clever simplicity of the lyrics combined with the instantly catchy rhythm of the song called for a narrative that could breeze by just as effortlessly. So I decided to visualize the story through notable film romance - from the iconic to the obscure - represented through colorful animated vignettes. A lot of the fun came in finding the right balance of love and chaos to represent such a volatile relationship. Echoing the idea of constantly cycling back and forth between these two extremes, I decided to have each section seamlessly transition into the next without any cuts."

Well damn, Chris Carboni! Well done! There were maybe a few I did not catch but this is a superbly constructed music video that delivers numerous eyegasms as the video unfolds. Can you name all the couples in this video? 
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We finally get the first (French!) trailer to David Robert Mitchell's much buzzed about horror flick, It Follows, which already made it's rounds at Cannes, Fantastic Fest, AFI FEST, and now it's going to Sundance! This is Mitchell's sophomore feature after The Myth of the American Sleepover (which is on Netflix) and it looks really good! Written and directed by Michell, It Follows is about 19-year-old Jay (Maika Monroe), who finds herself plagued by strange visions and an inescapable sense that someone (or thing!) is following her after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter.



Initially, I wasn't sure I was on board with the whole "being punished for being sexually-active" kind of premise but after watching the trailer, there is a omnipresent darkness, permeating through the trailer that'll surely leave many of us shaking in our boots come 2015. Many critics have already claimed that  this film and The Babadook could be 2014's scariest films which only makes me want to see it that much more! Even though, I am the worst when it comes to horror films, its premise about teen sexuality is of great interest to me so bring it on! Sadly, I couldn't catch It Follows when it was at AFI FEST. But thank goodness RADiUs and The Weinstein Company acquired the rights and will be distributing it early 2015. Doesn't it look so creepy and awesome?

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I love it when the film's marketing team knows exactly how to hype up the film even more by releasing a poster that is visually captivating and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I have compiled 30 poster, some from the same films, that I feel are some of the best posters of this year due to their imaginative artwork that translates the film's premise with impressive visual style. Whether it's the staged and cool toned photography in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, the imaginative and detailed design of Willow Creek, or even the seductive minimalism of the Under the Skin poster, this year has been another impressive year for movie posters! Take a gander and tell me which poster is your favorite, if you can even pick one (cause I can't)! 

       



             

       
(I love it how for The Interview, the Korean actually translate to "Don't believe these obnoxious American fools!")


   

     


       

      


             

       



      
     


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