The Spotlight

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Geena Davis announces line-up for 2017 Bentonville Film Festival.

The late Carrie Fisher’s scenes will remain intact in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Mark Hamill’s sweet tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

George Lucas Family Foundation donates a lot of money to USC’s film school.

All the basic gear needed if you are an indie film maker.

Sing Street actor Ian Kenny to act in future Star Wars movie focusing on Han Solo.

Jim Gianopulos to run Paramount’s Viacom division.

Ten notable films of the 1990s according the Onion’s AV Club.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins to write TV series focusing on the Underground Railroad.

Looks like this may be a good source for all film makers, both experienced and fledgling.

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Guest Film Review: 68 Kill by Tari Jordan

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Tari Jordan lives and loves in Austin, TX. She adores her kids, cats, wine, well-written fan fiction and all forms of pop culture. Like the mistress of this blog (that would be me) she is a big fan of the CBS drama Criminal Minds. She writes about the show at her blog Criminal Minds Fans. Due to the care and craft Tari puts into her blog she has become well-acquainted with people who work in front of the camera and behind the scenes of Criminal Minds. She has even interviewed cast and crew members of the show.

Tari recently attended Austin’s celebrated SXSW festival where she got to view 68 Kill, Matthew Gray Gubler’s latest cinematic effort (you most likely know Matthew Gray Gubler as the Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds). She was also lucky enough to meet Mr. Gubler. Or should I say, Mr. Gubler was lucky enough to meet Ms. Jordan?

Here is Tari Jordan’s review of 68 Kill. Thanks, Tari!

Starring: Matthew Gray Gubler and AnnaLynne McCord
Directed by: Trent Haaga

This film was featured in the Midnighters category at SXSW 2017, which is where I got to see it, three times, with the cast and director in attendance.

From the opening shot of Gubler as Chip’s enamored face watching his lady-love while she sleeps, to the closing shot of his flowered flip-flop shod foot pressing the accelerator, this is one helluva ride.

The object of his desire, Liza, energetically played by McCord, is batshit crazy, no doubt. We don’t actually know that right at first, but we do see that she’s aggressively hostile and abusive, and that our hapless hero Chip likes it that way.

From then on this film introduces us to a host of characters that Liza is only happy to dispatch, if it will get her closer to the 68 thousand bucks she wants to steal from her disgusting sugar daddy. What’s that, you say? Yep, Liza supplements her and Chip’s income by selling sex to some gross guy while Chip is out making an honest living by emptying septic systems.

So sugar daddy makes the mistake of bragging about his cash stash during one of their ‘visits’, and her heist plan is hatched. She steals a couple of guns, tells Chip he’ll be the cutest burglar ever (he actually really is, and Gubler is excellent in this role, completely open and real, and riveting in all his scenes), and convinces him to go along with it, as long as nobody gets hurt.

Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems, not only do people get hurt – they get dead – by the now fully unleashed psychopath Liza’s hand. Chip is horrified and can’t believe he’s been roped into this, and to make matters worse, now there’s one girl named Violet (Alisha Boe) that Liza didn’t kill in the trunk of their getaway car. Good thing too, because she becomes very important to Chip later.

There’s sex and violence dished out in equal measure here, and as Chip slowly comes into his own, we’re pulled along on his increasingly horrible hero’s journey. The supporting characters are all excellent (special nod to Sam Eidson who plays Liza’s repulsive and psychotic serial killer brother Dwayne, perfectly). Morally reprehensible and void of conscience is always a good recipe for a film villain, and this movie has several. Sprinkled throughout are generous doses of humor and the laughs never feel forced. It’s a mix that’s tricky to get right, and director Trent Haaga succeeds.

68 Kill is one of the most tightly wound murder comedies I’ve seen, and the payoff is extremely satisfying. There’s a running empowerment thread for nearly every female in the cast, and it’s rare in movies like this that usually tend to objectify and weaken the female characters. From the gas station attendant that forces Chip to orally pleasure her, to the menacing kohl-eyed leader (Sheila Vand) of a pack of sickos that hold Chip prisoner while they torture him (and here I did have to look away. Seeing MGG savagely battered isn’t my cuppa, fake or not.), all the women are in charge.

Highly recommended if what you’re in the mood for is a wholly funny, revved-up, fast-paced, bloody bowl of awesome murdery death.

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Look at this gorgeous creature! And the fellow on the right isn’t so shabby either. Love ya, Tari!

The Spotlight

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Movie studios’ plans for the home movie rental  business.

AFI (American Film Institute) 100 Best Movie Songs. My favorite? “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Henry Mancini. My favorite version? Audrey Hepburn’s, of course. I miss her every day.

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Is your movie a “Chick Flick?” Good luck in getting it screened in India.

Yes, I know we’re only two months into 2017, but Thrillist has a list of the best movies of 2017 so far…

Movies that created a buzz at this year’s Sundance.

Here’s a gallery of actors turned directors and their debut films.

The documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” about James Baldwin is still timely in 2017.

How Indian film director Mira Nair’s body of work richly portrays the complexity of mixing cultures.

Bitch magazine’s list of the best movies from 1999-2016.

The worst movies of 2016 according to the Razzies. And 10 people who actual showed up to pick up their Razzie. Hmm, I knew there was a reason why I like Sandra Bullock.

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