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Movie Review: ‘Lace Crater’

Lace Crater Fast Facts:

Director/Writer: Harrison Atkins
Cast: Lindsay Burdge (A Teacher), Peter Vack (6 Years), Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End), and Keith Poulson (Somebody Up There Likes Me)
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 83 minutes
Release: Opens Theatrically NYC + on VOD (Exclusively on FlixFling) on July 29th; Opens Theatrically LA on August 5th; National Rollout to Follow

Review:

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Ruth + Michael = Tru Luv 4eva (Lace Crater)

Lace Crater is a cautionary tale of why kids these days should not do drugs, drink, or have unprotected sex… with ghosts (even if they say they’re a virgin).

No, really!

When Ruth (Lindsay Burdge) and her 20-something year old hipster friends go on a weekend getaway to a pal’s family vacation home in the Hamptons (ooh la la!) they pop pills, down a couple of cold ones, and hang out in the hot tub, sharing secrets and telling ghost stories. While this sounds like the making of a stereotypical horror movie (see my review for The Levenger Tapes), things get really unique (i.e. weird) when Ruth returns to her room and stumbles upon Michael (Peter Vack), a ghost who “haunts” the house.

The two engage in awkward conversation that a middle schooler might call “flirting,” partake in drawn-out face touching that is supposed to be “foreplay,” and have a roll in the hay (or should I say… lilies on a casket). That’s right: Ruth and Michael have a magical night of Woman/Apparition sex as illustrated through dramatic zoom ins of burlap sacks and shaky cam shots of nipples. Alas, the next morning he doesn’t even make her eggs (we learn ghosts don’t eat or defecate), and she doesn’t even leave a note that she’ll text him sometime. Instead, Ruth goes back to the city with her friends.

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My dramatic re-enactment of a real Lace Crater scene

Sadly, what happens in the haunted house in the Hamptons doesn’t stay in the haunted house in the Hamptons: Ruth is quickly plagued with vomiting, hallucinations, bouts of strange ooze, and other disgusting symptoms that will make you swear celibacy. What’s worse is that she’s quickly slut shamed by all of her friends, her doctor is a joke (literally), and she has no idea what to do. The rest of the story is her plight to get answers and figure out what’s going on with her. Unfortunately, as Michael says, sometimes there are no answers and we just have to stop looking. So is the case with this film.

I have to admit, the plot to this story is so out there, that when I read the initial synopsis, I told myself, “NO WAY! I MUST WATCH THAT!” Unfortunately, the delivery of the film suffers for exactly that reason.

It’s just too weird for its own good.

I felt like it was trying way too hard to be whimsical and quirky, to the extent that a lot of the intended charm came off forced. For instance, I believe the dialogue was supposed to be realistic and relatable, but hearing all the awkward pauses and stutters were agonizing! Also, for a film that was relatively short (it clocks in at just 83 minutes), it felt unbearably long due to the choppy editing and haphazard pacing. I had mixed feelings on the aesthetics of the movie. Visually, it looks stunning: gorgeous colors, detailed sets, stylish wardrobes, unconventionally beautiful actors, etc. Any one shot would make a lovely photograph. However, everything appeared to be filmed via a handheld camera, so the cinematography was jarring, and, quite frankly, rather nauseating.

I was also very unhappy with the audio quality. Some parts were very quiet, almost inaudible, while others were booming. I began to wonder if the speakers were haunted, too! I feel like the film team should have invested in a dolly and an additional boom mic before starting production.

Though Lace Crater had an original plot and appealing visuals, it was literally and figuratively painful to watch, so unless you have the patience of a saint (or a ghost) I just can’t recommend it to you, GeekGirl World.

For a closer look at Lace Crater, check out the teaser trailer below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

You can catch Lace Crater when it opens in NYC or on VOD (Exclusively on FlixFling) on July 29th, or catch it when it comes to theaters in LA August 5th.

Want more movie madness, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other film reviews here!

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Movie Review: ‘The Levenger Tapes’

The Levenger Tapes
Studio: Lionsgate
Cast: Johanna Braddy (Amanda: the hottie with a heart of gold), Lili Mirojnick (Kim: the tough, sarcastic BFF ), and Morgan Krantz (Chase: the puppy dog)
Genre: Found footage, horror, thriller
Rating: R for Terror, Some Bloody Images and Language
Runtime: 92 minutes
Release: July 5, 2016 via DVD, Digital HD and On Demand
DVD SRP: $19.98

Review:

The plot of The Levenger Tapes plays out like a How to Write a Horror Movie For Dummies book. With 90% “found footage,” 10% “tired cops who don’t get paid enough watching tapes at 3:00 am,” the film features horny co-eds partying during semester break in a secluded cabin in the woods who find bloody clothes belonging to a missing girl (spoiler alert: it’s Katie Levenger, the film’s namesake). They cross an Old Indian Burial Ground (SERIOUSLY!), are attacked by creepy The Hills Have Eyes-esque people lurking in the trees, before ultimately solving a local mystery a la Scooby Doo. Only with more blood, screaming, and camera shaking (naturally).

shoppingBased on my summary of the plot, you’d probably think this was a trite and cliche horror movie worth skipping, but not necessarily.

The relatable friendship between Amanda and Kim and the sub-plot of a small town’s investment in finding a local girl gave each facet of the film something thrilling and enjoyable. I really did like Amanda and Kim! I felt like their inside jokes, loyalty to one another, and even their bickering were relatable. Hearing the two lament about how they could have been spending their break on a beautiful beach resort versus running through the dark and scary woods was actually pretty funny. Unfortunately, I didn’t particularly enjoy (i.e. I HATED) the role of Chase, who bobbed back and forth between being the scared wimp and the machete-wielding hero. The performer’s acting chops also wavered. The only thing that was consistent about him was that he was 100% annoying, 100% of the time. As mentioned, I also liked the sub-plot of the missing girl, but that might be because I’m a sucker for true-crime stories, detective work, and investigations. I kind of wish there could be a “Katie Levenger” cut of this film, where they only show the parts featuring her. Sure, it would be short, but it would also be intriguing!

The sets were standard but fitting: a tacky family home with way too many floral adornments, a dusty abandoned house with vintage pictures on the wall, and a dark forest with tree limbs that reach out like hands in the dark. I also found the camera work to be suitable: shots with “night vision” were appropriate for the scene, and the movement wasn’t so jarring that it gave me motion sickness. The lack of score was typical for a found footage film, with music sprinkled in when the characters were listening to the stereo.

Unfortunately, my biggest complaint about this movie is that it wasn’t particularly scary.

I am often teased for being the biggest “scaredy cat” around, but this film did little to send shivers down my spine or make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. In fact, during many of the so-called “scary parts,” I tapped my fingers on the table, willing the scene to be over out of boredom— not fear. To be honest, GeekGirl World, this is the kind of movie you watch if it’s raining and Netflix is broken and you’re waiting for your cake to finish baking. Not great, not horrible, just kind of inbetween. In a word, The Levenger Tapes is “Meh.”

For a closer look at The Levenger Tapes, check out the official trailer below:

What did YOU think GeekGirl World? Let us know in the comments section!

Be sure to catch The Levenger Tapes on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand beginning July 5, 2016— if you dare!

Want more movie madness, darling cinephiles? Be sure to check out our other film reviews here!

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New TV Spots for ‘Fantastic Four’

This month, we have seen two new TV spots released for the new Fantastic Four movie. Both offer up what is to be a promising reboot packed with a lot of action!

The movie is based off of Marvel’s very first super hero team whom we are all familiar with at this point. But, in a departure from the team’s original origin, the four main characters are teleported to a different dimension where they develop their powers.

One other notable difference is the characters are at least five years younger than their original counterparts, which could either be a refreshing take on the series or possibly hinder it with the overly modernized story line.

Regardless, it sure seems like it’s going to be a fantastic movie to see this summer holiday season!

We’ve got the two new TV spots for you below. Fantastic Four hits theaters August 7, 2015.

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Zadie Smith and Claire Denis Team Up for Upcoming Sci-Fi Adventure

Where were you when you heard Zadie Smith was writing a script for a space adventure? I was browsing news while enjoying some iced chai, listening to a podcast and hoping to get some great news on the female film making front. And oh, did Monday deliver!

Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Exclusively from Screen International, we’ve learned that Smith, the author of the critically-acclaimed novels White Teeth and On Beauty and part-time professor at New York University, has joined French director Claire Denis (2009’s White Material) for her first English-language film.

Smith, who is making her screenwriting debut, and Denis will be joined on the currently untitled project by Smith’s writer husband, Nick Laird. Little is currently known about the sci-fi adventure apart from it being set in outer space in a “future that seems like the present.”

The project is set to begin filming in late 2015 or early 2016. We love seeing geek girls spread their wings around here, so we’ll keep you updated on the latest developments with this project!

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Captain America & Iron Man return for “Heroes United”

The new concept art for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” was one of the buzziest reveals during this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The monster film isn’t hitting theaters until May of 2015, leaving many fans shifting in their seats with anticipation. And unless you want to pull a Steve Rogers and freeze yourself in some ice until May, you’re going to have to tough it up and wait.

But fear not, Marvel fans! You can satisfy your Avengers cravings with “Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United”.

The occasionally volatile team of Captain America and Iron Man have united in this animated adventure to take down the Red Skull and his trigger man, Taskmaster. Together Captain America and Iron Man attempt to stop them from unleashing a Hydra army, essentially doing what these heroes know best: saving the world.

Voice actors Adrian Pasdar and Roger Craig reprise their roles as Iron Man and Captain America, and Clancy Brown enters the Marvel universe as Taskmaster.

“Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United” is available today through Digital HD, On-Demand and Disney Movies.

Will you be catching the film? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Interview: Dino Wells of When the Bell Rings

wtbrwebsite_color_newBoxing is an unforgiving sport. It’s brutal, hard, and punishing for those who enter the ring. Championship quests are often never fulfilled, and glory is sometimes fleeting. Yet, the sport can be as rewarding as it is exciting to watch. Those rewards don’t always come in the form of monetary success. Sometimes the reward is life success, and the ability to realize goals and dreams you never thought were possible to achieve.

Dino Wells is a man who is embarking on a difficult journey. At 40, he is getting back into the boxing ring to begin his professional career in the super middle weight division. During the early 90’s, he was a rising star in the amateur ranks, but faced with setbacks, he had to put his dreams of a boxing career on hold.

To chronicle his path towards professional boxing, Dino has teamed up with director Brad Bores for the documentary When the Bell Rings. I was fortunate to be able to sit down with Dino and chat about the film, his life, his goals, and the sport. In this interview and the trailers for the film, you will be able to see Dino’s heartfelt ambitions to become a better man, a better father, and a championship fighter.

Ari: What keeps you motivated on your journey towards getting back into the ring?

Dino: Wanting to be a better father, and my past anger built inside of me.

Ari: What level do you hope to achieve in professional boxing?

Dino: I want to win a world title. I will give it all in the ring to do so. Why? Because as an amateur I failed to win…I think 4 titles.

Ari: How does boxing influence the person that you are, and shape the person you want to become?

Dino: Well I can release my inner anger in training, and ultimately whoever I fight, as I rise as a fighter, I will gain the long lost respect that I deserve.

Ari: How did you and director Brad Bores team up?

Dino: Working on the Independent Spirit Awards. I was fat and out of shape. Sad and bitter. I wanted to do this comeback for years, and no one took me serious. So more I fell in the dumps. So I poured out my heart to him, and told him my life. He was compelled, and said let’s do this.

Ari: How is filming of the documentary taking place? Do cameras follow you around 24/7? Is there any part of your life that is off limits in this film?

Dino: Filming is going great. We shoot on Brad’s schedule, now that he’s taken this on 100% cameras will be rolling 60% of my day. I guess if I had a woman, the bedroom nocturnal activities would be off limits (laughs).

Ari: You want to become a better father. In your opinion, what qualities do you believe are necessary to be a good parent?

Dino: Well this is a very sensitive matter that I will discuss, which is the one of the reasons for the documentary. Two of my children’s mothers makes my life difficult. Meaning, I want to spend time with them, have the means to have funds to do things with them, give them things they need and want. Spend quality time at their sporting events and so forth. Time spent and conversations are the best, but when you are forced to be a dead beat, and the kid gets one view of the father then it’s no good.

(in tears in Starbucks now)

I have really four children. An 18 year old son that my mom took from me. A 14 year old daughter who calls me when she wants something, (when I don’t have it and then back to distance). I have a 10 year old son who’s mother’s sole mission is to make my life miserable.
My 9 year old son’s mom is the only one I am cool with, and she finally understands my drive and wants. Three mothers, four kids

Ari: And how is your relationship with your own parents?

Dino: (laughs) I love my mother, but we had a terrible relationship. I hadn’t seen her in 14 years. On this trip, shooting this documentary, we are about to see each other for the first time since she took my son, and it will be emotional. My father, bah hum bug. I love him because he’s a Vietnam vet, and he contributed in making me. This is the reason why I want to be in my kids’ lives now more because of my disgruntledness with my dysfunctional relationship with my parents

Ari:
What inspires you and how do you hope to inspire others with this film?

Dino: What inspires me? I don’t want to sound like a broken record, me being a better father, and I want others to see you can do what ever you want if you just fight, no matter how many dream terrorists are out there to blow up your dreams down playing your goals or mission, keep it moving. I am 40, and finally getting motion and guidance where I am moving. Plus, I am a Buddhist now so that helps even more.

Ari: What is your opinion on the state of professional boxing? I happen to live in Las Vegas which was a boxing mecca, and has seen the sport decline in audience here in the last decade with the rise of MMA. What do you think needs to happen to keep boxing as a top draw sport?

Dino: Boxing is in a great state except for the heavy height division. MMA is what it is, but that’s another reason why I am back in the ring. Build a big following and give it the luster that Sugar Ray Robinson and Marvelous Marvin Hagler brought to the table. What needs to happen? Give me a title shot, and after I become 11-0-10 KO’s. Which I am 0-0-0 right now as a pro (laughs). I am a beast, and I will not be denied. I will beat anyone in front of me. I have nothing to lose. Much to gain. I was borderline suicidal at one point, but hey, I overcame that. I was scorned by false love. I have been destroyed by two of my kids’ moms. I’m rebuilding my legacy so the next 40 years of my life I can live without scratching for change. My film career didn’t take me there. My writing didn’t take me there. So I go back to what I know: kickin’ azz!

Ari: Besides boxing, what other talents, projects, and plans do you have and are working on?

Dino: I am a screenwriter with numerous scripts and an abundance of plots, ideas and concepts. Hollywood is sleeping on me. I am a unsung poet. Check my past facebook notes, and/or myspace blogs. I am focused on my boxing career since everything else is being blindsided by every one else doing their thing in Hollywood.

If you would like to learn more about Dino Wells, Brad Bores, or donate towards the completion of their documentary film, visit www.whenthebellrings.com

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