Amy Seimetz

The Sacrament

Look, I’m not one to brag, but I’ve hugged A.J. Bowen. Of course tens of thousands of people could make the same claim, but how many of them managed this feat shortly after giving his latest film a C+ review grade at last year’s Fantastic Fest? Any fear I had falling into his arms melted away when I realized he bore no ill will my way and instead was a funny, smart and personable guy. It probably helped that he knew my opinion carries little to no weight, but still. I guess what I’m saying is I’m now one degree away from hugging Amy Seimetz, and that’s not too shabby. Anyway, The Sacrament. Writer/director Ti West has made several feature films now, and while his love of genre and intentionally methodical pacing has remained steady across most of them he’s made a noticeable shift with his newest one away from the supernatural and into the evils of the real world. The result is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s an entertaining and tense-enough watch where the parts are somewhat better than the whole. The film is newly released to Blu-ray this week, and one of the disc’s special features is a fun and informative commentary track featuring West, Bowen and Seimetz. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary for The Sacrament.

read more...

ff the sacrament

The past is no guarantee of the future, but it’s often a fairly good guide. A new film from Ti West, for example, offers the soft promise of an unhurried pace and escalating terror as evidenced by his two previous movies, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. Past films about cults offer a similar road map to where future ones will go, and while there are far more than two on the topic they seem to be split pretty evenly between two destinations. Some say the world will end with guns and Kool-Aid, others say with sacrifices to the gods. VICE is a journalism outfit known for breaking the stories that other outlets pass by out of fear or worries over ratings, but their latest story finds Sam (A.J. Bowen) and his cameraman Jake (Joe Swanberg) tagging along with a photographer friend named Patrick (Kentucker Audley) who’s concerned with his sister Caroline’s (Amy Seimetz) welfare. She’s joined a cult that recently transplanted itself outside of the U.S., and Patrick wants to confirm her safety and extricate her if necessary. The trio arrive, and while things seem calm and relatively normal at first it’s not long before the truth comes calling. The Sacrament is well made in many regards, but it’s also sadly predictable and somewhat pointless. And thanks to its format choice, that of an actual episode of VICE, it’s irritatingly distracting too.

read more...

Gene Jones in

In recent years dramatic features like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Kill List, and even documentaries like The Source Family, have seemed to have started a movement that has brought the subject of cult to the forefront of movie thrillers. Perhaps the zombie craze and the vampire craze are finally over, and the next big thing is going to be films of all sorts that tap into the fringe groups of the late 60s and early 70s for inspiration. If we get a misguided movie aimed at tweens where a bookish young girl comes out of her shell after starting an unlikely romance with her school’s dreamy Charles Manson-type, we’ll know we’ve stumbled into a full-on trend. Before the movement can reach its mainstream peak, however, we’ve probably still got some room for a couple more artistically-driven filmmakers to make a couple more legitimately creepy movies about cults, and to that end modern horror master Ti West (The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers) is getting ready to release his next feature, The Sacrament. It’s a found-footage affair about a group of documentarians visiting a cult called Eden Parish, and getting more than they bargained for. Click through to get a glimpse of the carnage, but be warned, the red-band before this trailer only seems to be there because of a little bit of blood and destruction, so don’t expect anything too gruesome to be given away.

read more...

Upstream Color

Warning: Though Shane Carruth has referred to his film as “un-spoilable,” this post discusses the ending of Upstream Color at length. It’s been a little over two weeks since I watched Shane Carruth’s ambitious sophomore feature, Upstream Color, and there are still specific images, moments, sounds and feelings that continue to resonate through my mind. Whether it be the sight of a worm moving through the crevices of a human body, the briefly glimpsed drama of an anonymous couple who made a habit out of creating distance and never reconciled before it was too late, or a man’s poetic gesture of quitting his drone job by watching business papers slowly float down several stories in a hermetically sealed, ultra-modern office-tropolis, Upstream Color is as sleek and expertly polished as it is sneakily affecting. A swimmer recites Thoreau’s “Walden” as she gathers pebbles in an indoor pool. A seemingly benevolent farmer herds and feeds a mundane gathering of pigs in a film in which no quotidian imagery is simply that. Blue and white permeate nature as if color itself was a literal material force of its own. Upstream Color is remarkable in its ability to merge the poetic with the concrete, routinely invoking abstract ideas with specific material symbols. The result is one of the most purely cinematic, well-crafted, and earnestly hopeful films released in the first half of 2013. It displays as much faith in audience intelligence as it does in the idea that a sincerely optimistic message will speak […]

read more...

Upstream Color

Editor’s note: Rob’s review originally ran during Sundance earlier this year, but we’re re-running it now as the film releases on VOD tomorrow. And, not for nothing, but it’s still the best movie of the year so far. Shane Carruth has twice broken an unspoken contract between filmmakers and audiences that says watching movies should never require you to think, work or do any of the heavy lifting. A high percentage of film-goers and way too many filmmakers signed on to this arrangement, but small numbers of each stand strong in their defense of difficult and unconventional films. Those movies aren’t better by default, many of them are flat-out unwatchable in fact, but when they work, when everything falls into place… audiences are rewarded with something truly special. Carruth chose not to dumb down his debut, Primer, and while the dense dialogue left many viewers in its wake, those who remained enjoyed a smart and tightly-wound little time travel tale at the heart of something more personal. His long-awaited follow-up, Upstream Color, sees him breaking the rules again but with a far bigger, bolder and more aggressively challenging film that for better or worse ups the ante in every regard.

read more...

postmodem-borscht

Halfway through the 2012 Borscht Film Festival, a documentary screened titled Rising Tide: A Story of Miami Artists. In the film, which offers a basic guide to the growing art scene in the city, local paper sculptor Jen Stark acknowledges the way the digital world allows contemporary artists to flourish outside of major art centers. “Ever since the Internet came out,” she says, “ I never thought I had to be in New York or wherever.” It was a resonating quote to hear in the middle of an event so devoted to both regional communities and how they can come together as a broader, networked collective of filmmaking scenes. The central occasion for Borscht, which was held last weekend, is a screening of shorts either made by local filmmakers or commissioned by the Borscht Corporation and at least shot in Florida. Many of the films involve an overlapping of talent, and by the end you’ve seen 20 works that have given you a good sense of what’s happening with the underground “Miami New Wave.”

read more...

Picture-11

Many of us wish we could go back and see certain films again for the first time. Or, maybe we’d like to be hypnotized and made to see a favorite film as if we’d never seen it before. Yesterday, actress/filmmaker Amy Seimetz tried an experiment at Miami’s Borscht Film Festival where she was able to watch her new, Gotham Award-nominated feature Sun Don’t Shine from the perspective of her audience, specifically those of us seeing it for the first time. She cried the whole way through, apparently, and her primary reaction was that, as critics have stated, the beginning is pretty slow. Afterwards, she was unable to answer certain questions from the crowd due to her hypnosis interfering with the fact that she actually wrote and directed the movie. But it also allowed her to see how interviews and Q&As are such bullshit. While Seimetz got to experience her own film anew, I at least got to experience a film festival screening unlike any I’ve ever known. Sure, there was a gimmicky aspect to it, and I didn’t particularly enjoy Sun Don’t Shine on its own, but the whole package was fresh and fun and weird, which is on par with the very intimate and very strange Borscht experience overall — so far anyway. I’m here in Miami through the weekend, invited down by the festival, which is why FSR’s weekend content will be a tad light this week. I wanted to get one quick post on what’s going on, […]

read more...

Upstream Color Teaser Trailer

If you were that expecting the first teaser trailer for Shane Carruth‘s newest film to answer any questions you may have about the filmmaker’s first project since he gave the world Primer, well, you might want to go back and watch Primer again, just to remind yourself what you’re dealing with here. Carruth’s latest film, Upstream Color, will premiere at Sundance in January, and while the project certainly didn’t need to put out such a stunning, unsettling, foreboding, intriguing, and just flat out well-made first teaser trailer to get cinephiles on board with the new film, we’re not complaining that such a teaser trailer exists. After the break, get a look at what Carruth has cooked up for us this time and, don’t worry, you don’t need to avert your eyes.

read more...

Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

read more...

We open with a gasp. Amy Seimetz’s feature directorial debut, Sun Don’t Shine, kicks off with its lead actress (Kate Lyn Sheil) fighting for breath under the blazing Florida sun, thanks to a knock-down-drag-out fight with her boyfriend (Kentucker Audley) in an empty slice of wetland far from any prying eyes. The two struggle in the mud and sand, until the scuffle is finally over and they resume driving far away from something very bad, very bad indeed. An understated take on the classic Bonnie and Clyde trope with a mumblecore vibe, Seimetz’s film centers on two runaway losers who need to get somewhere far from home – and fast.

read more...

A young woman slinks downstairs in her underwear to fix another drink, recover from some bad sex and turn on some music. The secluded house far away from any city limit sign offers a perfect opportunity to crank of the volume without any close neighbors calling the cops. When her sugar daddy finds her dead body, he’ll also find a message for him scrawled on the sliding glass doors in blood. Thus begins You’re Next. This blood-splattered couple is just the appetizer though. The real focus of the film is a neighboring family that puts the “fun” back in “constantly bitching.” Paul Davison (Rob Moran) and Aubrey (the legendary Barbara Crampton) are father and mother to the brood. Drake (Joe Swanberg) is the ass-kissing mess stuffed into a turtle neck, Aimee (Amy Seimetz) is the perpetual Daddy’s Girl even in her adulthood, Felix (Nicholas Tucci) is the disaffected middle child of history, and Crispian (A.J. Bowen) is the ridiculously-named good son who acts as our entryway into a night that’s meant to celebrate 35 of marriage but will be invaded by figures in animal masks who only mean harm.

read more...

alexander-the-last-1

In an exclusive interview Joe Swanberg talks to us about Alexander the Last, the current state of mumblecore and simultaneously premiering the film at SXSW and on-demand.

read more...

Alexander the Last

We risk losing our doctored press badges and sneak behind enemy lines to get an early look at a film playing at SXSW – Alexander the Last.

read more...
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3