MovieCriticND's blog

Cruel Summer

It's nice to be able to get away from it all once in a while. Teenager Danny Evans (Richard Pawulski) loves camping, for example, and in Cruel Summer he's planning a camping weekend on his own as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. Everything has to be just so -- he's high-functioning, but he is autistic, and he puts a great deal of effort into being prepared for everything.

Calvin tries to stand up to Nicholas, with mixed results.

The Forest of Lost Souls

A Floresta das Almas Perdidas -- The Forest of Lost Souls for those of us who don't speak Portuguese -- is aptly named. Most who go there go to commit suicide among the trees or perhaps at the large glacial lake inside the forest. And yes, this particular wood is inspired by Japan's infamous Aokigahara forest where so many go to die. Like its inspiration, it's a beautiful woods despite the sadness of it, and you can almost understand why Ricardo (Jorge Mota) has chosen it as a place to die.

Carolina and Ricardo on the shores of the glacial lake.

Marvelous Mandy

Harvey Fowler (Jonathan Stottmann) isn't having an easy time of things. His wife left him and he's struggling to look after their young daughter, Clementine (Kenna Hardin), who gets teased at school for not having a mother. She might also get teased for being named Clementine, but that isn't clear. Harvey also tells dubious jokes at a comedy club because he can't afford therapy. Then he meets Mandy Simpkins (Paula Marcenaro Solinger), author of the Marvelous Mandy children's books, and everything changes.

Note the more than slightly alarmed look on Clementine's face.

The Sublet

The hunt for affordable housing is no fun, especially when you're talking about a young couple with a baby trying to find a place to stay while Daddy works on becoming an actor. This is probably why Joanna (Tianna Nori) and Jeff (Mark Matechuk) are glad to find The Sublet even though the place hasn't been redecorated since at least the early 70's. There are antlers in random places and some of the scariest religious items you've ever seen. But there's plenty of space, nice-sized closets, and the rent must not be bad, because they take it despite some initial misgivings.

Joanna plays a truly creepy game of dress-up.

Into the Mud

Imagine waking up in the woods and not knowing where you are. You're naked, hurt and bleeding, lying on a plastic sheet. None of these facts are reassuring, but things are about to get even worse. This is where María Forqué's character finds herself in Into the Mud. We'll call her Girl because that's how she's credited on IMDB.

She's having a very bad day right now.

The Devil Lives Here

Teenagers and twenty-somethings are much the same the world over, at least in horror movies. They stumble into urban legends just the same in South America as they do in the U.S. The Devil Lives Here is a Brazilian offering, based on the tale of the Honey Baron. It isn't a real urban legend, or more precisely not a preexisting urban legend as far as I can tell, but one they made up for the film. Being a Honey Baron doesn't seem all that awful (insert 'sweet' pun here), but this particular Honey Baron (Ivo Müller) is not at all a nice man.

The creepy headgear is what beekeepers wore back in the day.

Capture Kill Release

It's great to see someone working to fulfill a long-held dream. Well, most of the time it is. It depends on the dream. For example, in Capture Kill Release, Jen (Jennifer Fraser) dreams of making a documentary film. Sounds nice, right? The problem is, she wants to make a documentary of killing someone, which is not so nice. Luckily (so to speak), her husband Farhang (Farhang Ghajar) is willing to spend hours planning with her.

Yes, Jen is much too excited about that axe.

Deadly Intent

The story in Deadly Intent is unfortunately a pretty familiar one: a widowed mother raising a young son after the death of her soldier husband. This isn't Becoming again, though -- in this case it's Bryony (Rebecca Reaney) and James (Gus Barry), struggling to move on without husband and father Steve (Peter Lloyd). Grief has made Bryony awkward and snappish towards James, who is in turn increasingly withdrawn and sullen, spending hours alone playing out mock battles with his toy soldiers.

James' room looking like the aftermath of a Spider-Man visit.


Memory can play some pretty strange tricks sometimes. Usually memory is just annoying, when you forget where you put your keys or you blank on your phone number for a few seconds, but there are other times when it can be downright bizarre. BoXeD is definitely in the latter camp, because "bizarre" is the least you can say about the memories here, as displayed in flashbacks.

Rachel, not having a good day. Possibly not a good year or two.

Eyes of the Roshi

Years ago in Vietnam, a young man discovers a murdered woman. He reacts about the way I suspect most people would in the situation, but those spur of the moment actions launch a tale of revenge that spans decades. Adam (Adam Nguyen), the aforementioned young man, is now a Roshi, a Grand Master of yoga, Vietnamese Karate-do, and Zen meditation, both in the movie and in life. He leads a secluded life with his pupils, or at least tries to; Ho (fellow Grand Master Hoy Lee), one of the others involved on that fateful day, keeps sending people to kill him.

Booker looks at Marty like he's an idiot for the hundredth time.