It All Goes Away (2016)

itallgoesawayWe are in dire need of tales about Superman that are more thoughtful and awe inspiring. Superman can inspire hope and heroism and act as an avatar for humanity, and “It All Goes Away” proves it. Director Zachariah Smith adapts the short Superman story “Sam’s Tale.” Penned by comic book writer Jeph Loeb, the story was written him as a form of grieving for his son Sam who, very sadly, died of bone cancer in 2005, just as he was beginning to break out in the comic book world. Originally titled “Sam’s Story,” Loeb takes a very contemplative look at Clark Kent living in a world where death is an inevitability.

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The Iron Giant (1999): Signature Edition [Blu-Ray]

irongiantA few years ago, Warner Bros. announced plans to give “The Iron Giant” a new Blu-Ray release, and merely was content with stuffing the DVD port over to Blu. Director Brad Bird was not happy with the announcement and asked fans to demand so much better as “The Iron Giant” deserved a lot better than a mere DVD transfer. I was one of those fans that tweeted and asked Warner Bros. to give “The Iron Giant” much better treatment than a simple transfer. I’m happy a shortly after, Warner has allowed consumers the option of two special deluxe editions of “The Iron Giant,” and Brad Bird is able to give fans a bang up edition that is pretty much the ultimate realization of his masterpiece. Not only is director Bird able to deliver his film in High Definition, but he manages to add a few small scenes here and there to inject more nuance and character depth. These alterations work in favor of “The Iron Giant” adding a bit more dimension and length for folks that always hoped for an extended edition.

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I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

I Am Not a Serial KillerJohn Wayne Cleaver is a teen in a small Midwestern town who’s been diagnosed as a sociopath by his therapist whom he sees at his mortician mom’s prodding.,  As the struggles with his own tendencies, self-imposing rules to be “normal”, a supernatural being is killing the townspeople and it’s down to him to stop it.

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The Invitation (2016)

The-InvitationA man and his new girlfriend receive a very official invitation to a fancy dinner party at his previous home and given by his ex and her new man.  There he gets to see friends he’s not seen in a long time and meet a new duo.  As he suspects something is not quite right, events unfold strengthening his suspicions.

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“Injustice for All” and Other Joker Themed Shorts

InjusticeForAllWith the release of “Suicide Squad” in theaters and its Joker making movie headlines, now is the perfect time to look at a few shorts and fan films starring or about The Joker; or “Mr. J,” if you’re nasty.

Injustice for All (USA) (2016)
Lex Luthor visits Harleen Quinzel who is kept in solitary at Arkham Asylum to find out as much as he can about her beloved Mr. J.  Through her storytelling and expanded scenes of The Joker’s activities, we see a bit of his past and his visits with other DC characters including Catwoman. This short film written by Donavan Darius and Joseph Bryce Hart and directed by Danny Mooney is a look at The Joker taken from a different angle compared to most of his feature film appearances.

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The Inerasable (2015) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

inerasableA horror writer works on a serial using fan letters about paranormal activity in their lives.  After receiving a letter about a haunting that rings a bell, she teams up with the student who sent it and they work to uncover where all the paranormal happenings in the area come from.

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

invasion-blurayPhilip Kaufman’s 1978 remake and adaptation of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” remains one of the most resounding arguments for the purpose of remaking films. Often times like the case of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” directors can rework certain ideas and add something to the mythology, allowing for a starker and very bleak vision that helps a film stand on its own. John Carpenter achieved that with “The Thing,” and Philip Kaufman succeeds in adding his own layer of dread and futility with “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” A lot of horror movies are filled with some tinge of hope that perhaps humanity or our heroes will prevail over the unusual menace threatening to consume a portion of Earth.

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I, Olga Hepranova (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2016]

iolgaWhat pushes someone to once day decide they have had enough and that the only solution to be understood is to commit mass murder?

In 1973, in Prague (Czech Republic), 22 year old Olga Hepranova drove a truck into a waiting crowd, hitting 25 people and killing 8 of them.  The film is the story of how Hepranova got to this massacre. Taking on the hard task of writing this story for the screen without falling into sensationalism or exploitation, writers Roman Cilek, Tomas Weinreb, and Petr Kazda, they took a delicate subject and turned it into a touching and beautiful story of a girl who feels as though she is being bullied and who has a long period of bad luck.

After long enough of asking for help and not receiving it, she decides to take drastic measures.  They do not build Hepranova as a martyr or anti-hero but simply as a complex human being in need of help. Directors Petr Kasda and Tomas Weinreb took this script they co-wrote and turned it into a beautifully sad tale of a woman who possible could have been saved.  The way they shot the film, in tandem with cinematographer Adam Kozakl in black and white and with very somber tomes is sublime.  It takes this very heavy subject matter and make it bearable to watch.  They craft a film that mesmerizes its audience while making them just a bit uncomfortable.

As so much of the film rests on her shoulders, the part of Olga Hepranova had to be cast perfectly.  Actress Michalina Olszanska (mesmerizing in The Lure) was chosen and she is perfectly gloomy and fantastic.  She clearly understood the depth and seriousness of the part, never over acting, always giving her all and stepping in Hepranova’s shoes, no matter how uncomfortable the process looks.  She loses herself in the part and shows tremendous talent, proving that she is a start to keep watching.  The rest of the cast is also very good to great with one stand, Klara Meliskova, as Olga’s cold, unloving mother.

She shows how one woman can be there and take care of basic needs for her child while showing absolutely no love or affection toward that child.  Most characters are played as cruel or cold, except for the character of Miroslav, a man who tries to help Olga but has his own problems.  This part is played by Martin Pechlat who brings a bit of light to the film by not being as serious as the rest of the cast.  However, this is not in a funny or goofy way, but by showing just the right amount of light, even though highly flawed, to Olga’s life and the film.

The film is a must for fans of 70s Eastern Europe.  The costumes by Aneta Grnakova and the art direction by Alexandr Kozak are perfectly on point.  They give a great idea of what Prague and its people looked like in 1973.  They do a very detailed job, bringing the era to life. I, Olga Hepranova is a somber film with a dark subject that is a part of Czech history.  It was important that filmmakers behind the film pay attention to details and that they be careful to not over-dramatize the story.  They do this while creating a perfectly gloomy film that should make any audience feel something.

The very timely subject matter of a mass murderer running people over with a truck is unfortunate but it should not keep people from seeing this film when the genre, style, or subject matter is something they would like to watch.  This is not a film that is a feel good one; on the contrary, it’s depressing, sad, and beautiful.