Stopmotion (2024)

In Theaters Today before it makes its way to VOD on March 15th and then the Shudder Streaming Service on May 31st.

There’s a scene in Robert Morgan’s “Stopmotion” where protagonist Ella is discussing with her mother, another animator, how she’s handling her puppets. Her mother corrects her in a menacing tone that she is the actual puppet. When it comes to art, the artist tends to submit themselves to a certain kind of madness that becomes a part of the process of creation and death. Robert Morgan’s horror thriller is a brilliant look in to the creative process and the often maddening process that can come with being an artist. In particular, Morgan focuses on the grueling task of stop motion animation and writes a film that’s both a love letter and dire warning to any artist that gives themselves over to the art form.

It’s bound to inspire much analysis from its audience.

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Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle (1981)

Now Available at Melusine.

I was first introduced to Annie Sprinkle during the heyday of HBO when she appeared on the documentary series “Real Sex.” She was promoting one of her sex positive film festivals, as well as taking photos with willing fans donning a bare chest and angel wings. Some how that image never left my brain over twenty years later, and that’s simply Annie’s style. Annie is a self-aware and slickly tongue in cheek porn icon who spent much of the seventies starring in a ton of porn films and never had a limit to what she was into.

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Trunk: Locked In (2024)

The tough thing about making a thriller centered entirely around a confined setting is that you have to kind of build something new with every plot beat or else it wears thin easily. While “Trunk: Locked In” could be confused with the previous year trunk-centric thriller “The Call,” Marc Schießer’s “Trunk” is much more about the victim within the trunk of a car. The majority of the movie’s script spends time only only trying to figure out the hows but the whys and inevitability of what might happen in this circumstance all the while she’s stuck in a trunk forced to deal with a faceless entity that has in their clutches.

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The Last Repair Shop (2023)

Now Officially Available to Stream on Youtube and Screening in Theaters.

Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers’ Oscar nominated documentary is a wonderful look at music and the human connection it can provide. In a world where less and less human contact is being explored, music is one of the last bastions we have where we’re capable of not only connecting with one another mentally, but emotionally, and sometimes physically. “The Last Repair Shop” is about the fragility and art of music and the instruments that make them.

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Trauma Bond (2022)

Director-Writer Jaina Cipriano’s dark drama is a wonderful master class not only in character study but in acting across the board. Cipriano really brings the best out of her small cast, all of whom help to enhance what is a very mesmerizing experience in explorations in trauma, hive minds, and the power of suggestion.

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Madame Web (2024)

In Sony’s quest to maintain the Spider-Man trademark, they continue milking whatever character from his universe that they can, no matter how irrelevant or nonsensical they may be. In the now established “Don’t Say Spider-Man” Spider-Man Movieverse, S.J. Clarkson directs what is essentially “Donnie Darko” but with a heavy theme about Spiders. The writers do everything they can to allude to Spider-Man and Peter Parker but, I’m assuming because of contractual stipulations, not once do we ever get to see Peter Parker or Spider-man, nor do we ever hear his name uttered. Uncle Ben does play a big role, though, because he is not canon in the MCU.

It’s all so tricky.

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Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

Director Zelda Williams and Diablo Cody’s “Lisa Frankenstein” doesn’t just wear its influences on its sleeves, it bedazzles those influences and flashes its sleeves around proudly. “Lisa Frankenstein” watches as if Diablo Cody pitched: “Remember “Edward Scissorhands”? What if “Edward Scissorhands” but in the 80’s?” All the cards are set up from minute one, from the Gothic animated opening sequence, and the pastel photography, while Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse do their very best Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp impersonations.

Mix in “Heathers,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and “Warm Bodies” and we’re given what is essentially a ton of talent with no place to go.

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Available on Blu-ray from Radiance Films 

A couple going through the possible end of their marriage goes back and forth arguing, crying, and treating each other less than ideally in 1950s Japan. Tradition dictates some of what they must do while jealousy, treason, and other issues mix into things, pushing them to isolation and emotional blackmail. 

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