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Writer and Director Ana Lily Amirpour's first directorial debut feature film, A Girl Walks Home at Night has arrived and it's an entirely different kind of vampire tale than you're normally used to. I first heard about it because it got so much buzz at this year's Sundance Film Festival and then again when it came to L.A. for Sundance's Next Fest. Sadly, I missed it while it was in L.A. but good thing, it is finally getting a theatrical release! The story is centered in Bad City, a ghost-town in Iran that reeks of death and loneliness. The townspeople are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire 

Vice Films and Kino Lorber is bringing us A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and by the trailer, you can already tell that it's moody, mysterious, and shrouded in some serious sinisterness. Also, we have a female vampire creeping in the dark corners of the night all while riding a skateboard. How awesome is that?! Amirpour has also decided to write a six-part spinoff comic which explores the girl's backstory with art from Michael DeWeese. The comics will be sold digitally through Comixology and then packaged as a graphic novel, both digitally and in print form. I'll be one of the many that'll be fiending for the book till it comes out! See the sneak peek of issue #1 & #2 here! A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night will be released in Los Angeles and New York on November 21st! I'll be there! Will you?

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Nightcrawler is one of my favorite films of this year and I could not be happier to see these new set of incredibly colorful and imaginative alternate posters designed by the friends of the Shortlist. I got to watch Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal at this year's Beyond Fest which you can check out my review here! As an Los Angeles native, this film is actually shot on the bright and rugged streets to bring you a unflinchingly thrilling story about ambition, success, with a twist of psychotic-ness. And I promise you, it's worth the manically chaotic ride! These posters are seriously so well-crafted, I might just have to order one for myself! Nightcrawler comes out on Halloween!

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Year: 2014
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writer: Keith Bunin (screenplay), Joe Hill (novel)
Cinematographer: Frederick Elmes
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Max Minghella, Joe Anderson, Kelli Garner
Country of Origin: USA | Canada
Rating: R
Time: 120 min

I saw Alexandre Aja's Horns starring Harry Potter aka Daniel Radcliffe at this year's Beyond Fest. Horns is a highly entertaining love story that entails a murder mystery with horror elements all in one! You can tell that Radcliffe is trying to shed his Potter image and for the most part, he does it superbly! Despite some superfluous scenes and music within the film, Horns continues to bring huge laughs and sincere performances. Although the costuming and make-up was flawless, something about Radcliffe being demonic wasn't as convincing and can easily come off as silly. But nevertheless, this is a great assemble of extremely talented and young actors that complement each other really well! I have not read the book but like so many others, I'm sure the book is better. B-

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The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer came out and of course I had to give it my reaction! I totally forgot to mention that James Spader is the voice of Ultron!! The whole crew is back with a refreshing addition of Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, respectively. For the most part, it seems like a basic good vs. evil battle. Joss Whedon said he was going to make the sequel have a darker premise that will bring a greater threat to the group and you can get a glimpse of it in the trailer but hopefully further promotion really amps up on the danger of it all. Regardless, this film is going to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2015! Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out May 1.

*Watch me butcher all the names in this trailer reaction*

Check out the first poster!

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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.

I don’t know about you, but before Twilight’s vampire craze, I already had a soft spot for those blood-sucking creatures of the night. I mean who wouldn’t? Most people have an affinity for youth and immortality anyways, and although these qualities are top-notch attributes to have, avoiding sunlight and basking in the beauty of the night is a gothic delight too good to pass up. One night I was over my friend Andrew’s place having what already had been a very lanky movie marathon, when it was recommended that we see the acclaimed Swedish film Let the Right One In, a film that ironically almost snuck away and disappeared in the night.

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Every year when AFI FEST rolls around, I have a massive anxiety attack for fear that I will not be able to watch everything that I possibly can! Good thing this time, my little fit only lasted about 30 minutes while I scrambled to plan out my schedule for this year! Once again, the line-up is stack with breathtaking international gems hailed from Cannes or Locarno, refreshing and hip American Independents, and high profile Gala films! It'll be a packed 8 day festival that will test the endurance down to the very fiber of my bones! There are so many great films playing but I really had to buckle down and make a schedule that will eventually benefit me as a film critic that'll quench my palette for international and independent cinema! Here are all the films I am watching at the festival!

Nov. 6 - Opening Night

A Most Violent Year (Dir. J.C. Chandor)

In the crime-ridden winter of New York City in 1981, a couple’s attempts to capitalize on the American Dream are mired in corruption and violence.

Nov. 7

The Tribe (Plemya) (Dir. Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy)

This daring film, acted entirely in sign language without the aid of subtitles or voiceover, follows a new student at a corrupt Ukrainian school for the deaf.

Eden (Dir. Mia Hansen-Løve)

Mia Hansen-Løve’s 20-year journey through the electronic dance music scene follows DJ Paul, whose love for the turntables stays strong even after the craze has ended.

The Absent (Los Ausentes) (Dir. Nicolás Pereda)

When an elderly man loses his isolated cabin, deep in the Mexican woods, he also loses his grip on reality.

It Follows (Dir. David Robert Mitchell)

A group of friends is plagued by a nightmarish supernatural threat in this coming-of-age horror film from AFI FEST alum David Robert Mitchell.

Nov. 8

On Acting: A Conversation with Michael Keaton & Edward Norton

The Midnight Swim (Dir. Sarah Adina Smith)

Three half-sisters try to unlock the mystery of their mother’s deep-water disappearance in this unsettling tale, part ghost story and part family drama.

Two Days, One Night (Deux Jours, Une Nuit) (Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne)

The Cannes Palme d'Or-winning Dardenne brothers return with this tale of a young Belgian mother (Marion Cotillard) who must convince her co-workers to forego their much-needed bonuses in order to keep her job.

Merchant of Doubt (Dir. Robert Kenner)

Oscar nominee Robert Kenner’s (FOOD, INC.) latest documentary focuses on the PR masterminds and spin doctors who are paid to shift blame and delay governmental action on climate change.

Inherent Vice (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Joaquin Phoenix stars in this psychedelic surf noir from Paul Thomas Anderson, adapting the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon.

Nov. 9

Thou Wast Mild & Lovely (Dir. Josephine Decker)
In this psychosexual drama, a young farm worker’s attraction to his boss’s daughter unearths dark secrets.

Stations of the Cross (Kreuzweg) (Dir.Dietrich Brüggemann)
Fourteen masterfully composed single-shot scenes tell the story of adolescent Maria, a girl caught between a secular world and the strict religious teachings of her church.

Haemoo (Dir. Shim Sung-bo)

Amid a shroud of sea fog, the voyage of a South Korean boat smuggling a group of illegal immigrants turns into a catastrophe.

NOV. 10

Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) (Dir. Damián Szifrón)

Characters are pushed to delightfully deranged savagery in this anthology of six sublimely absurd short films.

Happy Valley (Dir. Amir Bar-Lev)

The Penn State child sex-abuse scandal, and subsequent downfall of local heroes Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky, is examined in this insightful documentary.

Girlhood (Bande De Filles) (Dir. Céline Sciamma)

Teenager Marieme drops out of school and finds acceptance with a gang of free-spirited girls, while taking on a new feminine identity.

May Allah Bless France! (Qu'Allah Benisse La France!) (Dir. Abd Al Malik)

French rapper Abd Al Malik adapts his raw memoir chronicling how religion and hip-hop saved him from the streets.

Nov. 11

Saint Laurent (Dir. Bertrand Bonello)

Selected as France’s official Oscar® entry, this stylish biopic follows the life and career of iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel), from 1967 through 1976.

The Duke of Burgundy (Peter Strickland)

An amateur butterfly collector and her housekeeper can’t get enough of their sadomasochistic games in this phantasmic tale. 

Nov. 12

Mommy (Dir. Xavier Dolan)

Xavier Dolan’s latest film, selected as Canada’s official Oscar entry, centers on a mother’s tumultuous relationship with her teenage son after he returns home from a correctional facility.

Nov. 13

Foxcatcher (Dir. Bennett Miller)

This true story follows two Olympic wrestler brothers (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) who form a dark protégé-benefactor relationship with an unhinged millionaire (Steve Carell).

So there you have it folks! It's going to be a long and tiring week nonetheless but I'll be there everyday with my trusty camera and notepad in hand scribbling my madness from the fest away! Also look out for my orange hair! AFI FEST will be from Nov. 6 - 13th! So see y'all there!

UPDATED: (Nov. 6)

Nov. 6
A Most Violent Year

Nov. 7 
The Tribe

Nov. 8 
On Acting: A Conversation with Michael Keaton and Edward Norton
The Midnight Swim
Two Days, One Night
Merchants of Doubt
Inherent Vice

Nov. 9
Thou Wast Mild & Lovely
Stations of the Cross

Nov. 10
Tales of the Grim Sleeper
Happy Valley
May Allah Bless France!

Nov. 11
What We Do in the Shadows
Fish & Cat
Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere

Nov. 12
A Tribute to Sophia Loren
Goodnight Mommy

Nov. 13
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Y'all know how much I love photography so you can imagine my excitement when I saw Thomas Dagg's photo series of Star Wars characters in real life! He took real-life photos and injected our most beloved characters in each one of them and the results are stunning. It shows what earth would look like if Darth Vader, R2-D2, and all the iconic space ship s would look like if they were living amongst humans and like humans. There is such a nostalgic and serene beauty within these photos that just make me want to grin from ear to ear. There are more photos in this series so make sure to head over to Dagg's official website after

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I started writing for Sound on Sight recently and I want to introduce the first article I wrote for them titled 5 Horror Films Too Disturbing to Watch Again! It's a good one!

** Spoilers ahead **
I am not a horror film fan. I appreciate the genre but considering that my over-amped imagination will turn a sight of a little girl with long hair in ghostly white attire into a full epileptic seizure within me, I try to stay as far away from scary films as much as possible. But trying to be a well-verse film critic requires me to explore uncharted territories especially that of the horror realm and thoroughly challenge my threshold. Granted I haven’t seen films like the Japanese Ringu, A Serbian Film, IT or even Cannibal Holocaust, but I know scary when I see it. Ahem, The Chainsaw Massacre and The Orphanage. But I can confidently say that these five films that I am about to list is still a terrifying film experience for the majority of viewers and one that cornered me to confront my fear resulting in many nights of dripping sweat concluding in momentary faintness. Read more...
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Even if you're not into documentaries, this is a MUST SEE kind of film. The Look of Silence is the follow-up documentary to Joshua Oppenheimer's shocking and profound film, The Act of Killing (see review). The Act of Killing confronts the murderers behind the Indonesian killings of 1965-66 where more than a million people were slaughtered. In The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer focuses on an optometrist who confronts the men that killed one of his brothers. It's a chilling companion piece that is surely to instill fear just at the sheer tenacity of the premise.

I got chills just at the first glance of the Executive Producer names who are documentary gods aka Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. Just having their stamp of approval means it's a worthwhile and powerful film. Already the tone of the film is heavy but it's also complemented by such serene and beautiful cinematography.

It's always been said that sometimes silence speaks more volumes than words ever could. And it seems like in this case, it's almost an inevitable act considering the fear that confrontations like these bring. We see people in moments of solitude, contemplating their troubling situation especially one that requires lengthy introspection because they know that an act like this will have reverberating consequences once the camera is turned off considering it is the killers who are in position of power.

These are the very reasons why I love documentaries because they have the capacity to capture the hidden reality in brutal and unflinching honesty. The Look of Silence is not going to be an easy ride but it's one that must be experienced and felt. Drafthouse Films is bringing the film early 2015

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Year: 2014
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Writer: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armandro Bo
Cinematographer: Emmanuel Lubezki
Cast: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis
Country of Origin: U.S.
Rating: R
Time: 119 min

This may be a bold statement but I can honestly say Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman is my favorite film of the year! It has the total package of a stellar cast, a relevant and important meta story, and technically meticulous and beautiful cinematography. There's no denying how magnificent the film is but as I was watching it, I couldn't help but feel like the film was made for me (self-involved much?) given my strong preferences of all the spellbinding attributes Birdman embraced and showcased. It is one of those films that reminds you of every single reason why you ever fell in love with film in the first place. Here I list for you the 5 reasons why I loved the film so much!

01:47 - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
02:52 - Cinematography
04:17 - Michael Keaton's Character
05:46 - The Cast
08:20 - Because I can watch it all the time!

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Year: 2014
Director: Alex Ross Perry
Writer: Alex Ross Perry
Cinematographer: Sean Price Williams
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce
Country of Origin: U.S
Rating: N/A
Time: 108 mins

Jason Schwartzman has now made a lifetime acting career out of his typecast as an pompous and inconsiderate intellectual from the start with Max Fishcher in Wes Anderson's Rushmore. So it's no surprise that Alex Ross Perry casted him in a film where the character and the film alike share the same arrogant qualities that is braised with New York literary comedy to the likes of Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach. Perry's third film, Listen Up Philip  is well aware of it's influences and bathes in the tradition of the voice-over narration, self-loathing banter, and light-speed quip all while sticking to his guns by presenting despicable characters in the most harsh and unfiltered light. But its in that process of piercing honesty that we witness a genuine sincerity in these characters no matter how ugly they are. 

Schwartzman plays Philip, a tragically incorrigible and spiteful writer with a knack for unapologetic asshole tendencies who is on the cusp of releasing his sophomore novel. When Philip is not hell-bent on making everyone bleed dry of happiness with his sharp mouthy fangs, he is pestering his painfully vulnerable and kind-hearted girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss). Either way, he is an insufferable, self-involved bastard who just doesn't know when to quit and just smell the roses. More fire is added to the fuel when Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce) who is the splitting image of Philip but thirty years plus, is added to the picture, only to make the plagued atmosphere even that much more venomous. Naturally, the collision of these two forces only ignites a blistering game of one-upping one another to ceaseless ends. No one said being an "artist" was easy.

It's only a matter of time before we completely forfeit to Philip and Zimmerman's incessant piercing jabs. Luckily, Philip's girlfriend Ashley, tells her own story sandwiched in between these other two guys we do not care for. I first and foremost know Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olsen from Mad Men and wasn't sure how good she would be playing a modern day woman but boy, was I wrong. Moss' breathtaking performance as a fragile and vulnerable woman on the path to independence was breathtaking light the film desperately needed. She brought such a painfully genuine performance that just swoops up your heart and hugs the shit out of it! It was at this very moment where I realized rare and immense talent Moss possessed that skyrocketed her to a league of greats actresses like Kate Winslet and Natalie Portman. 

Shot in 16mm, the film emits a seventies vibe that embraces the almost claustrophobic yet intimate scenery of New York City even though the story is clearly set in present day. What is also enthralling and refreshing is the fact that even though it tells very revelant stories about our current times, there is never once a shot of any technology-related items (ie: lap tops & smart phones)! 

I had the privilege of watching Listen Up Philip at this year's Sundance Next Festival where Schwartzman and Perry was in attendance! And guess who else joined their Q&A? None other than the revered writer, Bret Easton Ellis! Check out my video if you haven't seen it! Underneath all the grumbling rants the film spits, it is for certain that Ross has a knack for compelling storytelling with razor-sharp dialogue that'll make your stomach sore from boisterous laughter. He is face of the next generation of filmmakers emerging on the scene and like him and so many others, be sure to be ready to witness a mixture of both old and new traditions to bring a wholly refreshing and revitalizing movement to the future of film! A

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