“Soapy” is usually a word with a negative connotation, but The Burnt Orange Heresy seems to challenge that. The film is a to-do list of soapy thematic tropes, such as using sex, deception, and even murder to drive its story, yet director Giuseppe Capotondi, screenwriter Scott B. Smith, and a great cast get away with it because the central drama is so interesting and the characters are so beguiling.
One of the best things to happen to 21st century genre cinema is the transgression that comes with newer understandings of social norms. After about one hundred years of cinema, the tropes of classic Hollywood became less of a necessity and more of a suggestion, allowing filmmakers to tell stories that go against the grain when it comes to the necessities of living.
Directed and co-written by veteran Samuel Gonzalez Jr., Battle Scars confronts the long-term effects of war through acts of of desperation by a disoriented young soldier learning how to piece his life back together. During the film’s festival run, it picked up awards at the San Diego International Film Festival (Best Military Film), the Orland Film Festival (Best Screenplay), and the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival (Best Feature).
I Used to Go Here is a really funny yet modest take on “faking it ’til you make it”, as well as the internal wrestle between resisting and settling for feigned fulfilment.
Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg (the geniuses who made Weiner) once again flex their flawless capabilities to go with the flow in their latest exceptional doc The Fight.
Ash is a character study that leads audiences one way, only to twist the story into a tough and disturbing direction.
Director Kire Paputts follows up his modest feature debut The Rainbow Kid with The Last Porno Show, an envelope-pushing character drama chronicling the personal arc of an aspiring actor taking over his estranged father’s faded adults-only move theatre. It’s a really good movie that doesn’t shy away from anything and bares it all. It stuck to me like shoes to the floor of a sold-out screening room.
If I was Jay Baruchel, I don’t know if I would’ve followed up my breakout directorial effort in Goon: Last of the Enforcers with a typical horror film like Random Acts of Violence.