Baltic Tribes (2018)

Known as Baltu Ciltis, this film is all about religious rituals, the Battle of Saule, the Crusaders battles and the fiery battles for the free land. Who were the last pagans of Europe and who did they believe? You’ll discover all of that here in this film, in which Danish spy Lars enters the tribal lands of the Baltic people, takes part in religious rites, gets high during the summer solstice, becomes the slave of Curonians and even fights the Crusaders.

The team of Raitis Abele and Lauris Abele has created something truly interesting here. It’s an almost “you are there” way of showing the 13th century, along with animated educational segments. If you told me I was going to enjoy a historical movie this much, I would have told you that you were crazy.

Baltic Tribes is available on demand and on DVD from High Octane Pictures.

DISCLAIMER: This was sent to us by its PR team.

Appiness (2018)

Eric Newman, a shy corporate professional who is nearing thirty, gets laid off out of the blue. He meets up with a long-lost friend named Raj who is dreaming of creating a start-up. However, nothing is ever that simple in life and they soon discover that they may be giving up way too much of their lives before they make it.

Appiness was directed by filmmaker Eli Batalion, who also made the web series YidLife Crisis. So much of it hits way too close to home, because I am in the midst of a career shift and as a result, I spend my evenings staring at the TV, worried that my life is about to fall apart.

So yeah. I get it.

You can learn more at the official siteAppiness is available to rent or own on streaming services (including Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu) and Cable VOD (including Comcast, Verizon, DirecTV, and Dish).

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR team.

Making Montgomery Clift (2018)

Classic film star and queer icon Montgomery Clift’s legacy has long been a story of tragedy and self-destruction — the slowest suicide in show business and a “tragic beauty” or “beautiful loser.” He was a gorgeous man whose twenty-some movies place him in the same rarified air of sex symbols like James Dean and Marlon Brando, actors who played a new type of man for Hollywood. One that was sensitive and also troubled. But a car crash and a need to hide his homosexuality has always pointed to Clift as a figure of great sadness. But when his nephew dives into the family archives, a much more complicated picture emerges.

Director Robert Anderson Clift is the son of Brooks Clift, Monty’s brother. He may have never met his famous uncle, but he was able to learn more about him by meeting the people who actually knew him.

This film attempts to portray a different side to the actor than the books Montgomery Clift: A Biography by Patricia Bosworth and Monty: A Biography of Montgomery Clift by Robert Laguardia. However, the movie does neglect that Clift had a twin sister and her entire side of the family refused to be part of this film. Most of the documentary comes from recordings that Brooks had made of extensive conversations with his family.

The director told The Guardian, “For us, it seemed there was this big difference between what people thought about Monty in the public sphere and what people that knew him would say,” said Clift. “I wanted to figure out why there was such a difference.”

I’d recommend checking out this film, which posits that the books written on Clift came from a place more homophobic than even the Hollywood system that Clift existed within.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR company.

Legend of Carpathians (2018)

As Carpathian legend has it, Oleksa Dovbush was a heroic outlaw with excellent fighting skills and a gift to predict the future. After being orphaned when a lord murdered his mother, he spent his childhood in exile in the mountains, returning as a grown man ready for revenge. Oleksa gathered followers to begin a crusade against the lord, but destiny made other plans for him.

Of all the legends of this character, the colorful ballad “In a Green Grove” is said to be the best known. It’s all about the last days of the outlaw, who arrives in  Kosmach for a rendezvous with Dzvinka, the wife of Shtefan. Dzvinka replies Shtefan is away at work, but does not unbolt the door. Dovbush breaks it down and is shot by Shtefan. With his dying breath, he asks his fellow Opryshky to lift him on their axes and bear him to his beloved highlands. 

According to The Ukranian Weekly, “In reality, the following morning his bleeding body was discovered in the bushes, and a priest was sent for. The Polish authorities sectioned his body into 12 pieces, impaled and mounted them throughout the countryside as a gruesome warning.”

Who are we to get in the way of a good legend?

Ukrainian Robin Hood story Legend of Carpathians is available on demand and on DVD from High Octane Pictures. You can also watch it on Tubi.

Inner Ghosts (2018)

“If ghosts can think and remember who they are, then the physical brain is not the only place where we store our inner selves.”

That’s the first thing this movie wants you to know about it. If you like Insidious and The Conjuring sort of movies, good news. Here’s one with evil 3D printers and people training one another to be mediums.

This is the first full-length film from Portuguese writer/director Paulo Leite. It’s pretty well done and has an intriguing premise, as Helen was once a medium but gave that up when her daughter killed herself. Today, she’s dedicated to brain research. However, she also needs ghosts to do her research, as she’s investigating the fields that the soul leaves behind.

Star Celia Williams, who plays Helen, and Elizabeth Bochmann, who plays the artistic Elsa, are real-life mother and daughter. She comes to be trained along with Helen’s best friend’s daughter Moira, but when science and the paranormal collide, no one’s lives will be unchanged.

If you’re sensitive to strobe lights, however, you may want to skip this one.

Inner Ghosts is available on demand and on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR firm.

A Rough Draft (2018)

About the Author: Paul Andolina is one of my favorite people to talk movies with. If you like his stuff, check out his site Wrestling with Film

Growing up obsessed with Russia, it was only natural that I would stumble upon the 2004 Russian blockbuster Nightwatch when it was released on DVD in 2006. This lead me to tracking down the novel it was based on and in turn me wishing they would release more of the author Sergei Lukyanenko’s books in English. Over the years they have consistently translated his Watch series but his other work is remains mostly undiscovered by English speaking audiences.

In 2005, he wrote a novel called Rough Draft which dealt with parallel universes. I only recently discovered it existed because of the release of the film adaptation dubbed into English by High Octane Pictures. I’m not sure if I have mentioned my dislike for movies that have been dubbed into English here on B and S About Movies but I’m not the biggest fan. I would much rather have the original language with subtitles, however, that was not an option with this screener and I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to watch this film regardless of the audio.

Rough Draft was originally released in Russian theaters in May of 2018 and made an appearance at the Seattle International Film Festival in June of the same year. Rough Draft is about Kirill, a video game designer, who after being dumped by his girlfriend, suddenly finds himself erased from all records and memories of his friends and family. He is initiated into a new position of customs officer of a gateway tower into different worlds. He oversteps the bounds of his duties and his world is yet again turned inside out by the curator and other functionals (people of extraordinary abilities).

I had not even seen a trailer for this film before getting a chance to watch it so I got to see it with fresh eyes, I read a small plot outline prior to viewing it but really had no clue what to expect. I was met with  a wonderful fantasy adventure full of interesting worlds. Kirill and his struggle as the new customs officer of a strange gateway doesn’t seem like a very exciting thing to watch but this movie is packed with odd characters, fantastical settings, and some pretty cool action moments. 

Kirill’s girlfriend, Anna, also plays a large part in the plot of the movie as she starts dating a functional after dumping Kirill. Her sudden appearance at his tower catches him off guard and he is motivated to try and win her back, even though she has no memory of him. Kirill is constantly testing the limits of his new found functional abilities, he becomes near immortal, although if he tries to go more than 9 miles away from his tower some nasty things start happening to his body due a strange spider like leash that he wears around his neck. As long as he drinks plenty of water though he seems to do okay even if he strays out of his legal limits. 

Kirill’s insistence on trying to start a new relationship with Anna proves dangerous not just to himself but others around him as well, Anna, and her new beau, Anton, in particular. Anna is kidnapped and sent to a strange prison like world run by a female blacksmith, and Anton is dissolved after being taken past his leash’s limits. He is constantly being reproached by an android like functional named Renata, who is the one that shows up in Kiril’s apartment when he is erased, and the curator who originally watched and chose him as the new customs officer.

The CGI in this movie is great although it does seem glaring obvious at times. The English dubbing isn’t the best and at first is jarring and unsettling but I did eventually get over it. I loved the story of the film and it is quite beautiful to witness as well. The music is outstanding too. I really want folks to check out this film as if you are a fan of fantasy or science fiction films than I am sure you will find a lot to like in this film. It’s a really captivating movie. It will be available on DVD January 17, 2020 from Amazon in addition to other outlets.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team.

American Tender (2018)

A first date with Penny could mean her playing dead in the middle of a coffee shop. Or taking you along on a robbery. However, her latest plan, which hinges on pinning the crime on her date, goes awry and now he’s the only person she can trust as she tries to figure out what went wrong.

This is writer and director C.J. Renner’s second film, but he’s already pretty assured and more than capable of telling a great story. It really gets across the difference between saying you could rob a store and actually doing it.

I’ve watched way too many heist movies lately, unless the universe is trying to tell me something.

You can learn more at the official site.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR company.

Meant to Be Broken (2018)

Harvey (Dave Coyne) has led a cautious and conscientious life — he knows more strange laws than Tom Waits — until he gets fired and finds out he has one month to live. Throwing caution to the wind, he meets Luke (Nick DePinto) at a bar and confesses he’s never broken any rules. Luke responds “Do you want to?,” and their journey begins.

Along the way, they accidentally kidnap Shuri (Nadia Mohebban) who joins them on their adventure, which has the goal of a theme park in Miami. However, the ways things are going, the group may never get there.

Director and co-writer Jonathan Zuck — and his collaborators Joe Leone and Jenna St. John — have some good ideas here. It’s an odd idea for a comedy, but well-executed and kept me guessing throughout.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR team.

The 11th Patient (2018)

A boy is found in a coma deep in the woods several months after his kidnapping. His kidnapper is still on the loose and he’s the only person who has survived an encounter with this killer. To escape his coma and catch the man who committed these crimes, a doctor who specializes in PTSD is going to help him face his fears.

The 11th Patient was directed by Derek Cole, who has done effects work on Rampage and Aquaman. He also created the 2012 movie An American Ghost Story.

The film is similar to The Cell in that they have to go into someone’s mind to stop a criminal. While this film has a great look, keep in mind that its budget was nowhere near the amount of money that film had to work with.

The 11th Patient is available on demand and on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team.

The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan (2018)

Starring Anna Stromberg and directed by Burt Grinstead (who was in The Car: Road to Revenge, this found footage film concerns the contents of a memory card that belonged to a journalism student named Leah Sullivan who has gone back to her hometown to investigate the thirty-year-old Mulcahy Murders.

As the facts unravel, she begins to realize that this cold case murder may not be all that cold. And she’s also falling for a police officer from town, Patrick Rooke. However, as she gets closer to the truth, she gets closer to her potential death. Can she escape or will curiousity and her ambition be the end of her?

If you like found footage films or are interested in cold case style crimes, this could be the movie for you. It just had its theatrical premiere on December 11. so look for it to be released soon.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by October Coast PR. That has no bearing on our review.