REVIEW: “WEREWOLVES WITHIN” (2021) IFC FILMS

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There is a sizeable cast in director Josh Rubin’s Werewolves Within, and it takes us on a journey to the quaint town of Beaverfield, which to put it lightly, is about to go through some things.

Due to an incident in town, Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) arrives to take over as the new Forest Ranger, though he is no stranger to ‘incidents’ himself. His first meeting with another person from the town is also a newcomer, mail carrier Cecily (Milana Vayntrub). She shows Finn around and introduces him to the ‘characters’ in town, of which there are more than one, and fill him in on some of the town gossip as well. Oil man Sam Parker (Wayne Duvall), is here to sell the residents on a pipeline, which not everyone is in favour of, even though he’s willing to pony up a pretty penny to buy up their land. Not everyone is ready to cash out and here is where the tensions begin to boil. Jeanine (Catherine Curtin) is the local Inn owner who hasn’t been right since her husband ran off, but on the plus side, she makes great sandwiches. Against the pipeline completely are Joaquim (Harvey Guillen) and Devon (Cheyenne Jackson) are the married, rich gay couple of Beaverfield, and own and run the local yoga studio. On the plus side of the pipeline are Trisha Anderton (Michaela Watkins), and her husband Pete (Michael Chernus), who is essentially the town creeper who can’t seem to keep his hands to himself. Trisha is obsessed with 3 main things; her dog, her husband and the idea that she will finally get the craft store of her dreams as soon as the pipeline sale goes through. Lastly, there is Gwen (Sarah Burns), and Marcus (George Basil), two completely over-the-top, over sexed and yes, over drugged couple who just happen to be the towns mechanics as well. And what would we be if we didn’t have the mean ol’ hermit guy who lives on the outskirts of town aka Emerson Flint (Glenn Fleshler), whose as big as a bear and just as mean, and everyone just leaves him be. Told you there was a lot of people.

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The journey that this town goes on is one that must be experienced. There are some true laugh out loud moments, but it’s definitely all the throw away lines and moments that keep the laughs up throughout. Not knowing that it was based on an online game, probably helped make me see it the best way possible, new, fresh and fun as it’s a perfect blend of murder mystery, werewolf movie and comedy. The chemistry of the two leads only escalates this one, and the supporting cast bring it all home.

Just sit back and enjoy yourselves with this one.

B-

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Review Screening ~ Courtesy of IFC Films

“WEREWOLVES WITHIN” IS IN THEATERS AS OF JUNE 25, 2021 AND ON DEMAND AS OF FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2021

REVIEW: “PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN” (2020) Focus Features

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Emerald Fennell is tackling the “paybacks are a bitch” scenario putting front and center the toxic behaviour we have all experienced at one time or another as women as she turns the tables and changes the game in a whole new way with her directorial debut here in “PROMISING YOUNG WOMEN”. This is also hands down probably 2020’s best film of the year, along with it being the one that you MUST see for yourself and not read the spoilers before seeing it as it was made to be entertaining, but also very BLUNT to get an important message across. ‘Promising Young Woman’ challenges at every turn the idea of what a “good guy” actually is.

Like so many other films have done before it, the movie gives us an incredible new take on the anger I think a lot of women feel, but it also doesn’t completely vilify men as a gender purely because they are men. Fennell’s stellar direction is so meticulous as it zigs exactly when you think it’s going to zag and zags exactly when you think it’s going zig with twists and turns during every jaw-dropping second of it.

Doing my absolute best to give you the outlining of the plot without a massive spoiler the jist is: Carey Mulligan plays Cassandra Thomas, a brilliant former med student who seemingly had a bright future until a disturbing event clearly turned her life upside down. It’s an event so stunning that we the audience don’t know what it is, but it’s affected her life in a grave manner. As we slowly watch and find out those said events unfold, just turned 30 year old Cassie still lives at home with her parents Susan (Jennifer Coolidge) and Stanley (Clancy Brown), works at a coffee shop, and doesn’t date or have any friends. But by night, she sits in a club, face down in a red leatherette booth, seemingly black out drunk. It’s a nightly routine – she goes to a club, acts too drunk to stand, and waits for a “nice” guy to come over and see if she’s okay. Needless to say Cassie leads a very different life as there is definitely something else here at play as she attempts to right a past wrong, very cynically and calculating as she does so. So she is living this secret double life at night…until she isn’t..or is this one of those zig zags mentioned earlier? Again, this is for you to find out and find out you will as every single delicious moment of this thriller come at you over and over again.

Promising Young Woman also give us an impressive supporting cast. From Adam Brody as her first ‘conquest’ Jerry to Bo Burnham as our cutesy-type doctor RyanLaverne Cox as her delicately blunt boss Gail, and Alison Brie who nails her role as former medical school classmate Madison while demonstrating how truly insidious and internalized misogyny can be and how this type of toxic behavior is often normalized in both men and women. Max GreenfieldAlfred Molina, Molly Shannon and Connie Britton all show up for impressive performances and Chris Lowell as Al Monroe is a character no one will be forgetting any time soon. And then there is Carey and Oh Carey! what a performance this is. Her wicked-bad acting powers this film all the way through as she salutes what her character stands for – which is essentially all of us. Never have I seen her take something and truly encompass all that female rage, romance, heartbreak and horror brings us all, in one spectacular performance.

As a warning, the ending is difficult, but at the same time, you can’t see it ending any other way as it’s a cross between triggering, healing and educational all wrapped up and honestly it’s true – revenge has never looked so ‘promising’. Please go see it.

Grade: A+

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Review screening: Courtesy oGinberg/Libby PR

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN” IS OUT ON CHRISTMAS DAY IN THEATERS/DRIVE-INS WHERE AVAILABLE AND ON VOD IN JANUARY

REVIEW: “OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY” (2016) Paramount

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“OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY” delivers exactly what we all need right now.. some much needed laughs. With 2016 so far being the probably one of the worst years in the history of well..ever..this film is just what the ‘Office’ ordered.
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This over-the-top fun ensemble comedy about what happens when a company holiday party goes way, way, way out of control and things start flying out of windows and reindeers are drinking from toilets.

Basic storyline: uptight sister/CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to shut down the Chicago office of father’s company, Zenotek, mostly because of the antics of her hard partying brother, Clay Vanstone (T. J. Miller) and cancel the office Christmas party. Branch manager Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) plans an epic bash against her wishes to win over a big client Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) to prevent the axe from falling on all the employees. OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
But of course, the party quickly gets way out of hand, leaving the office in mess of chaos and destruction. Oddly enough, there is a relatable plot in this movie also, and a somewhat decent one at that. Yes, Bateman is Batemen and Anniston is Anniston, but truly, we aren’t looking for Oscar’s here – we are looking for a laugh and we do find those. With the top-notch supporting cast which includes Kate McKinnon as the hysterical HR manager Mary, Olivia Munn as tech/coding expert Tracey Hughes, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Fortune Feimster and so many more. It’s truly a full ensemble comedy in the truest sense of the word.
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It leaves out the super crass and vulgar, which is nice, though it does have a few ‘huh’ scenes, it definitely doesn’t go down the worst of roads in that extreme. Teens will likely want to see this movie and I recommend it as a PG-13. It also has a momentary sweet homage to Prince and David Bowie that gets a round of cheers from me and most of the screening I was in.

Can you disect this movie piece by piece and find all it’s flaws..sure you can..but why? Just go have fun with it and laugh at the ever-devolving scenario of a party gone nuts.

Grade: C+
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Media Review Screening: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 ~ Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Nationwide Release: Friday, December 9, 2016