SXSW 2020 Review: I’M GONNA MAKE YOU LOVE ME

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Brian Belovitch has lived a rather fascinating life. Through his childhood, he endured physical and verbal abuse by his father, in addition to feeling uncomfortable in his own skin, and feeling completely unloved and out of place. Brian would later spend his young, adult years in New York City as a man transitioning to a woman. Two marriagesp, and several decades later, Brian has now been living as a man again, happily married to a loving and supportive husband. Director Karen Bernstein and Brian Belovitch himself tell his remarkable true story of a person struggling to define his own identity on his/her own terms and finding the courage and strength to explore gender fluidity to ultimately culminate in an amazing life.

Karen Bernstein has made an absorbing and moving documentary with I'm Gonna Make You Love Me. Brian Belovitch as well deserves high praise for courageously inviting audiences to experience his incredible life with all of its ups and downs, and candidly describing how his mind and heart took him on this amazing journey. Brian obviously is an intriguing individual, Karen Bernstein's skills as a director helps present Brian's story in some beautiful and enlightening ways. It is an uplifting film that I must highly recommend.

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2020: CODE OF THE FREAKS

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

My festival coverage continues with an insightful documentary that examines Hollywood's obsession with the disabled. Featuring candid interviews with intelligent disabled people, director Salome Chasnoff takes a good, hard look at disabled tropes in cinema, some of the various formulaic stories that are often told and retold, and how real people with various disabilities feel about these movies. The film not only serves as a history lesson of cinema involving disabled characters, it offers a smart, but biting commentary on the exploitative and often insulting ways, movies portray such characters.

The movie's title is inspired by Tod Browning's 1932 horror film Freaks. Though the movie was derided when it was initially released, it has actually found some respect decades later and is considered a historical and culturally significant piece of cinema. In Code of the Freaks, it is rather compelling to hear the responses of various disabled people with different afflictions and disadvantages to so many films often considered acceptable and worthy of accolades. Salome Chasnoff definitely presents some convincing arguments, commentary and criticism towards the Hollywood filmmakers and actors guilty of perpetuating stereotypes, rehashing tiresome cliches, and for simply insulting the intelligence and sensibilities of the real disabled. It is an educational and revelatory documentary I highly recommend for cinephiles, filmmakers, and storytellers.

Blu-Ray/DVD Release: THE WAY BACK

Source: Warner Bros Home Entertainment

Burbank, CA– Follow the road to redemption when “The Way Back” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on May 19. Academy Award winner Ben Affleck (“Argo,” “The Accountant”) stars in “The Way Back,” directed by Gavin O’Connor (“The Accountant,” “Warrior,” “Miracle”).

The film also stars Al Madrigal (“Night School”), Michaela Watkins (“Wanderlust,” TV’s “Casual”), Janina Gavankar (“Blindspotting,” TV’s “True Blood”), Glynn Turman (“Bumblebee”), Brandon Wilson, Will Ropp, Charles Lott Jr. and Melvin Gregg (TV’s “American Vandal”).

Gordon Gray, Jennifer Todd, Gavin O’Connor and Ravi Mehta produced “The Way Back,” and the film was written by Brad Ingelsby. Robert J. Dohrmann, Ingelsby, Kevin McCormick, Mark Ciardi, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth and Madison Ainley served as executive producers.

The Way Back” is currently available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNOW, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On April 14, “The Way Back” will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

The Way Back” will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

SYNOPSIS

Back in high school, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) had everything going for him. A basketball

phenom, he could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros, but, instead, he chose to walk away from the game, forfeiting his future. Jack’s glory days are long gone…but, as it turns out, not forgotten. Years later, he gets the chance to take back his life when he is asked to coach the struggling basketball team at his alma mater. Jack reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself, and as the boys start to come together as a team and win, Jack may get his last shot at redemption.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

“The Way Back” Blu-ray contains the following special features:

·       Every Loss Is Another Fight: The Road to Redemption

·       The Way Back: This Sporting Life

“The Way Back” DVD contains the following special features:

·       Every Loss Is Another Fight: The Road to Redemption

BASICS

PRODUCT                                                                             SRP

Blu-ray                                                                                    $35.99

DVD                                                                                       $28.98

Blu-ray and DVD Street Date: May 19

DVD Languages: English, English-ADS

BD Languages: English, English-ADS, English ATMOS

DVD Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

BD Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Running Time: 108 minutes

Rating: Rated R for language throughout including some sexual references

DVD: DLBY/SURR   DLBY/DGTL

Blu-ray: ATMOS TrueHD, DLBY/SURR   DLBY/DGTL

THE CREDITS

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Inc.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees.

SXSW 2020 Review: MY DARLING VIVIAN

By Mark Saldana

Rating 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

For multiple decades, much has been said about the oft romanticized relationship between Johnny Cash and June Carter. James Mangold's Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, portrays the love affair as a fairy tale romance. Even I have to admit that I became a sentimental "sucker" for that love story after first watching the movie. There is one major problem, however, and that problem has to do with the way Cash's ex-wife, and mother of his four daughters, Vivian Liberto is portrayed in the film.

Directed by Matt Middlehoover, My Darling Vivian sets the record straight Vivian Liberto, and offers a thorough and poignant look at her life, her marriage to Johnny Cash (during both good times and bad), and the even lesser-known years after her divorce. The film features intimate interviews with Vivian's four daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy, and Cindy Cash, the ladies who knew their mother the best. Middlehoover's lovely and occasionally heartbreaking documentary serves as a heartfelt tribute to the wife who deserved better from her husband, the strong, but also vulnerable mother who struggled through stress, loneliness and sorrow to care for her four girls, and the private and humble lady who got her life together following her painful divorce from her husband.

This is a film I must highly recommend for fans of Johnny Cash and especially fans of the movie Walk the Line. That is not to say that My Darling Vivian totally disparages Mangold's movie, but it does offer.a more accurate and fully realized portrait of Vivian Liberto. The film is currently available for streaming via Amazon and will remain as such until May 7, 2020. To find this documentary or any of the other SXSW 2020 titles available for viewing, somple do a search for the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection.

Latest

Austin Screening Pass Giveaway: SPIES IN DISGUISE

Austin Screening Pass Giveaway: SPIES IN DISGUISE

Source: 20th Century Fox

TVR is giving away passes (good for four people) to an advance screening of this movie in Austin, TX, scheduled for Saturday, December 14 at 10:00 a.m.  NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Must be 18 or older to enter. See this movie early and free of charge before it opens in theaters!

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SXSW 2020 Review: GUNPOWDER HEART

SXSW 2020 Review: GUNPOWDER HEART

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

From Guatemala comes this tremendously powerful film from writer/director Camila Urrutia who makes her feature film debut here. Urrutia tells the story of two girlfriends enjoying life and love in an impoverished country with few opportunities for prosperity. On one life-changing night, Claudia (Andrea Henry) and Maria (Vanessa Hernandez) get attacked and raped by a group of boys close to their age. Traumatized and hurting from this ugly violation, both ladies struggle with their new feelings and attempt to cope in very different ways. Maria feels much anger and wants revenge, but the more sensible Claudia is not sure a violent respomse is worth the further consequences.

I must say that I found Camila Urrutia’s film.debut engrossing, heartbreaking and utterly tragic. Urrutia’s film makes a bold and angry statement about the ways women can get treated in Guatemala and how violence often leads to more violence. It is an insightful and compelling film that realistically shows the psychological damage caused by rape and how these cases often get ignored. Both Andrea Henry and Vanessa Hernandez give riveting performances. Though it isn’t feel great material, the film is essential in that it calls for better treatment of women in Latin American nations.

SXSW 2020 Review: MY DARLING VIVIAN

SXSW 2020 Review: MY DARLING VIVIAN

By Mark Saldana

Rating 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

For multiple decades, much has been said about the oft romanticized relationship between Johnny Cash and June Carter. James Mangold’s Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, portrays the love affair as a fairy tale romance. Even I have to admit that I became a sentimental “sucker” for that love story after first watching the movie. There is one major problem, however, and that problem has to do with the way Cash’s ex-wife, and mother of his four daughters, Vivian Liberto is portrayed in the film.

Directed by Matt Middlehoover, My Darling Vivian sets the record straight Vivian Liberto, and offers a thorough and poignant look at her life, her marriage to Johnny Cash (during both good times and bad), and the even lesser-known years after her divorce. The film features intimate interviews with Vivian’s four daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy, and Cindy Cash, the ladies who knew their mother the best. Middlehoover’s lovely and occasionally heartbreaking documentary serves as a heartfelt tribute to the wife who deserved better from her husband, the strong, but also vulnerable mother who struggled through stress, loneliness and sorrow to care for her four girls, and the private and humble lady who got her life together following her painful divorce from her husband.

This is a film I must highly recommend for fans of Johnny Cash and especially fans of the movie Walk the Line. That is not to say that My Darling Vivian totally disparages Mangold’s movie, but it does offer.a more accurate and fully realized portrait of Vivian Liberto. The film is currently available for streaming via Amazon and will remain as such until May 7, 2020. To find this documentary or any of the other SXSW 2020 titles available for viewing, somple do a search for the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection.

SXSW 2020 Review: CAT IN THE WALL

SXSW 2020 Review: CAT IN THE WALL

By Mark Saldana

Rating 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Among the few SXSW 2020 narrative features available for streaming now, this European import makes for an interesting, though not thoroughly satisfying, watch. Writers/directors Vezela Kazakova and Mina Milena hope to shed much light upon the Bulgarian immigration experience in London while presenting and critiquing the political and xenophobic climate. Though both filmmakers show proficiency when it comes to the visualization of real life scenarios, the lack of a more focused script takes much away from the overall impact.

Irina Atanasova stars as single mother Irina. She, her brother Vladimir (Angel Genov), and her young child Jojo (Orlin Asenov) have emigrated from Bulgaria to the U.K. seeking more employment opportunities and an overall better life. Though things are better in London, than they are back home, both Irina and Vladimir work very hard and struggle to make ends meet. In addition to their money troubles, the Bulgarian family slowly falls victim to the changes occurring in both their neighborhood and in their new country. And to make things even more stressful, strained relations with some of their neighbors reveal a prevalence of racism.

Though I found some moments of the film compelling, charming, and disturbing, I feel that Kazakova and Milena’s movie is a bit too chaotic and all over the place. The filmmakers use a cinema verite style that actually works well at times, while it dulls the intended effects in others. The actors perform mostly well throughout the movie, but the writing and lack of tighter direction often take away from their performances. The overall result is a mixed bag of monotony with some dramatic crescendos sprinkled throughout.

I will say that I did connect with the Irina character and identified with some of her troubles and that is the main reason I felt compelled to see this movie through to the end. Ultimately, I was disappointed as a whole and wanted more from it. I cannot strongly recommend this movie as a must-see selection, but if one still feels compelled to watch it, go to Amazon and do a search for the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection where Cat in the Wall will remain available for streaming until May 7, 2020.

Review – On DVD & Streaming September 9th: YESTERDAY

Review – On DVD & Streaming September 9th: YESTERDAY

By Laurie Coker Rating: B+ Yesterday were the Beatles and today, only a glimmer remains – or no memory of them all. Director Danny Boyle takes his viewers on an enchanted journey in this twist on the music of the Fab Four. Written by Richard Curtis, Yesterday offers a...

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