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.

The Tokoloshe (2018)

Busi is young destitute woman with dangerously repressed emotions that has just started a cleaning job at a rundown hospital in the heart of Johannesburg. In need of cash so she can bring her younger sister to the city, she must cope despite the predatory and corrupt hospital manager. When Busi discovers an abandoned young girl in the hospital that is being tormented by a supernatural force, she must face her own demons from the past in order to save them both.

A South African movie filmed in English and Zulu, this is the first full film from director Jerome Pikwane.

It looks gorgeous, as Busi’s past and present are both shown to be filled with dangers, despite feeling like two different worlds. South Africa has some of the worst violence against women in the world, crimes that critically go unreported, so hopefully this film can raise some attention.

The Tokoloshe is available on demand and on DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

DISCLAIMER: This movie was sent to us by its PR department. That has no impact on our review.

Blood Bags (2018)

Here’s the summary they told us: “A creature stalks the corridors of an abandoned mansion. Two friends break in and discover that all exits have been sealed off and the creature that hunts them is growing hungry for their blood; there is no escape.”

For Emiliano Ranzani’s first directoral effort, this looks halfway decent. One thing that puts it over the top is that the credit sequence looks like it had some actual thought behind it. So many direct to streaming releases just have crappy fonts on a bad background. Blood Bags actually tries. Ranzani and co-writer Scarlett Amaris also worked with Richard Stanley for his film The Theatre Bizarre.

There’s also an attempt to pay homage to Fulci and Argento by having a backstory where the killer and his brother suffer from a real malady, Gunther’s disease, which is close to vampirism. Hey — it’s nice to see some horror, any horror, come out of Italy these days. This was shot in Turin, the same city where The Cat o’ Nine Tails and Four Flies on Grey Velvet were once filmed.

Blood Bags is available on demand and on DVD from High Octane Pictures.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team. That has no bearing on our review.

The Legend of the Christmas Witch (2018)

During the day Paola is an ordinary primary school teacher, but at night, she turns into…The Christmas Witch, a magical creature who brings gifts to the good kids.

That said, what is a Christmas Witch? Well, she doesn’t even come on Christmas! In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts throughout Italy on Little Christmas, which is called Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5), the night before the Catholic Church celebrates the manifestation of the divinity.

Some suggest that Befana is descended from the Sabine/Roman goddess named Strenia. Regardless, each year, she visits all the children of Italy to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good, or a lump of coal,  dark candy or a stick (if they live in Sicily) if they are bad. She also will sweep the house, which is symbolic of sweeping away the problems of last year.

So wait…why are we covering this on our site? Stay tuned after the trailer.

So why did we watch it?

The director is Michele Soavi.

You read that right. The same man who made Cemetery ManStagefrightLa Secta and The Church.

This is his first theatrical film since 2008’s Blood of the Losers.

Yes, let that sink in. The dude in the metal mask from Demons made a Christmas movie for kids.

Don’t worry — it’s pretty crazy, even if his visual style is a bit muted here.

The plot concerns Paola being kidnapped by Mr. Johnny, a cruel toymaker who got his childhood ruined by the Witch and is now seeking revenge. Six brave kids all learn the teacher’s secret and work together to save Christmas from commercialism.

So yeah. Merry Christmas early, everyone. You may have wanted something filled with gore and all manner of insanity like a rabbit that learns how to use a TV remote, but hey, you can’t pick what’s under your tree. Just enjoy this one, which you can find for free on Tubi and Amazon Prime.

The Fare (2018)

When a charming woman named Penny climbs into his taxi, Harris finds himself entranced. That is, right up until she disappears from the back seat without a trace. As he desperately tries to make sense of what happened, he resets his meter and is instantly brought back to the moment she first climbed into his cab.
Soon, Harris (don’t call him Harry) and Penny find themselves trapped in an endless loop that just might change their lives forever.

This is the second film for director D.C. Hamilton, who worked with writer Brinna Kelly on The Midnight Man. They’ve teamed up again for this film and Kelly also stars as Penny.

Basically, it’s a conversation that begins again and again between two characters. Major points for having Jack Kirby be such a big part of their back and forth, which I doubt any normal people would use as the focal point of a conversation, but hey, I’m a Kirby fan. It reminds me of the Tarantino script doctored Silver Surfer discussion in Crimson Tide that seems to come out of left field.

The look of this film is heads and shoulders above most released to streaming movies and the idea and execution are, too. An intriguing little film that you should check out for yourself, The Fare is available on demand and on blu ray from Epic Pictures.

DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team. That has no bearing on our review.