Heroes of the Golden Mask (2023)

Inside “Heroes of the Golden Mask” there’s a great film desperate to bust out. It has a cool concept, some solid animation, and a neat mythology behind it. It’s just once you get down to the nit and grit of the narrative and some lingering plot holes, it never rises above being just average. It’s definitely a direct to video kind of animated movie better suited for basic cable, despite its best efforts. That’s not for lack of trying, though. Director Sean Patrick O’Reilly has a large career in producing budget animation. He and Arcana Studios have helped engineer titles such as “The Steam Engines of Oz,” and the mildly amusing “Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom.”

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Reality (2023)

Director Tina Satter’s account of the interrogation of agent Reality Winner is perhaps one of the more tense thrillers of the year. It’s filled with so much suspense and tension from the moment Reality Winner pulls up to her drive way. Although the movie is simplistic and relies on a very small cast, Tina Satter is able to evoke a ton of really edge of the seat interplay between the characters. Based on the play “Is This a Room,” the dialogue is based almost completely on the transcripts between the federal agents and Reality Winner, and the respective cast is remarkable.

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Mad Heidi (2023)

Tickets are now on sale at Fathom Events; coming to theaters nationwide for a special one-night engagement on Wednesday, June 21st at 7pm, local time.

A lot of the media likes to use the words “Indie film” whenever referring to a movie that isn’t entirely mainstream. The word has been homogenized over the years, as films like “Mad Heidi” are lost in the shuffle. “Mad Heidi” is a real indie film that worked hard to get a distribution deal, and it is here for us to gorge on. According to the press release, “Mad Heidi” initially made waves for its innovative crowdfunded approach, bypassing traditional financing tactics to ensure that the film’s original vision was preserved while placing profits back in the hands of the creators and backers. Even if neo-grindhouse isn’t your cup of tea, “Mad Heidi” deserves a lot of love for its willingness to embrace its indie roots, while also being literally as cheesy as it can possibly be.

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Renfield (2023): ‘Dracula Sucks’ Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Chris McKay’s take on the Dracula dynamic with Renfield has a lot going for it, but it also has so much stacked against it from the starting gate. In a year teeming with Dracula iterations, “Renfield” has a real shot at standing out among the other interpretations of Bram Stoker’s lore, but never really rises to the occasion. That’s mainly because while the concept is interesting “Renfield” never decides what it wants to be. It wants to be a satire on “Dracula,” and a commentary on abusive relationships. It tries to be a cop action, a buddy comedy, a vampire film, and straddles the dangerous line of being a satire on the abuser and abused relationship at times.

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The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster (2023)

Bomani J. Story’s horror film is one part family drama, one part Frankenstein, and one part Re-Animator. Deep down beneath its grue and gore is a very relatable and heartbreaking tale of a family divided by death and a girl determined to beat it. Much of “The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster” is centered around young Vicaria, a literal mad genius who is convinced that she can cure death, and like most mad geniuses, she finds out along the way that what is dead should stay dead, and that her madness might be symptomatic of the world she lives in.

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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)

While “In to the Spider-Verse” demonstrated Stan Lee’s philosophy that anyone can be Spider-Man, and anyone could be a hero, “Across the Spider-Verse” is an exploration of the hero’s biggest mantra. “Spider-Man’s” core philosophy has always been that with great power, comes great responsibility, and with the follow up to the immensely successful “In to the Spider-Verse” we garner a look at the fallout from the abuse of massive power, and how it can corrupt even the best of us.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk (1943)

2023 marks the 85th Anniversary of Bug Bunny’s first animated appearance in 1938’s “Porky’s Hare Hunt.” Debuting originally as Happy Rabbit, Bugs eventually became one of the most iconic animated characters of all time. In honor of the landmark anniversary, we’re discussing every animated appearance by Bugs Bunny. We’re big fans of Bugsy and we hope that you are, too.

Follow us on this massive journey where we discover and re-discover Every Bugs Bunny Ever.

Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk (1943)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Jack Bradbury (etc…)

The whole “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairy tale has been fodder for some of the best and worst movies ever made. It has always translated well especially in the comedy realm with Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes spoofing the story twice. “Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk” should not be confused with “Beanstalk Bunny” from1955, yet another parody of this story starring Bugs Bunny, except this time featuring Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd pulling up the rear. That one is very good and very funny (we’ll get to that one), but “Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk” has its merits just the same.

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The Little Mermaid (2023)

After the disappointment that was “Peter Pan & Wendy” I was hopeful and optimistic about the remake of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” I say remake because Disney has not bothered to really deviate from their successful formula. They haven’t borrowed from Hans Christian Anderson’s original story, but instead just remade their classic animated version from 1989. “The Little Mermaid,” despite my utter optimism and enthusiasm for it is yet another dull, assembly line repackaging of one of their classic interpretations that’s given a new coat of paint and is extended, for some reason. Because nothing signals “sophisticated” than making a movie longer–right? That makes it Oscar worthy–maybe? Simply stretch every nuance and sincere moment from the original animated movie and Bob’s your uncle.

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