James Ward Byrkit

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Thought-provoking science fiction is a tough genre to get right, apparently, so it’s always an immense joy to find a film that manages to both entertain and intrigue with a mind-bending premise. The majors occasionally get it right, but often it’s the smaller budgeted films that seem to nail it best. Case in point is the new film Coherence from writer/director James Ward Byrkit. It’s the kind of movie that benefits from viewers knowing as little as possible going in, so in lieu of a traditional plot synopsis I give you only the following “official” description. On the night of an astrological anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events. Part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama, COHERENCE is a tightly focused, intimately shot film that quickly ratchets up with tension and mystery.“ Check out the new trailer for Coherence below and then look for the film itself when it hits theaters and VOD on June 20th.

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The Fantastic Corpse

Why Watch? Chances are that you played the Rotating Corpse game at one point in your life, especially if you were brutally subjected to a creative writing class. The rules are simple — multiple artists create a single piece of art without knowing what the other artists contributed. It’s how you get an elephant with a flame thrower for a trunk, or a story about a man who bakes a pie, flies to the moon and kidnaps a princess. It’s often less about the disjointed final result and more about the challenge of the restraint, but a crew at Fantastic Fest decided to have some fun with it, and the result is a short film experiment that works far better than the ABCs of Death toss-up. This particular monster was cobbled together over five days by Oren Carmi (Goldberg & Eisenberg), Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes), James Ward Byrkit (Coherence), Matthew Johnson (The Dirties) and Eugenio Mira (Agnosia, Grand Piano) and features two actors who are put through the ringer in true No Hay Banda fashion. Although the central location of an empty Alamo Drafthouse movie theater seems to have restrained the restraint (some common themes and ideas persevere despite the presumed ignorance of the filmmakers), it’s a fun curiosity with syrupy sarcasm and a doctor’s dose of stagey violence.

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Coherence Movie

There’s nothing that gets a good group of friends riled up more than some bad news. For Emily (Emily Baldoni), the unpleasant scoop is that her boyfriend’s ex, Laurie, will be attending the same dinner party she is en route to. Also en route is a comet set to cruise by the earth and maybe, just maybe, cause a few things to temporarily go awry. The party gets underway slowly, wine is served, salad is tossed and the mention of some watered-down ketamine is bandied about. By the time everyone arrives, a fog of awkward tension has settled in. Also some cellphone screens have randomly shattered.

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Rango is the first animated genre movie I’ve seen that, with no exaggeration, works as well as its live-action counterparts possibly could. Gore Verbinski’s latest is a damn fine western, an entertaining throwback to classic B-pictures that pays clever tribute to its predecessors. Sure, it’s populated by walking/talking lizards, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters. So what? A lizard suffering from some serious existential torment, Rango (Johnny Depp) knows not who he is or of the world beyond the tank he’s called home and the pseudo-tropical knickknacks he’s made his friends. That changes forever when a karmic car accident finds the good-humored, tropical shirt-baring reptile abandoned in the Mojave Desert, his domicile destroyed forever. Making his way through the treacherous terrain, our hero dodges an enormous falcon, befriends roadkill named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) and is eventually escorted by fiery fellow lizard Beans (Isla Fisher) to the long-forgotten, crumbling town of Dirt.

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Rango

Considering that we post movie news, almost every trailer we can find, and speculate wildly on film casting, we’re all about mystery here at FSR. It’s because we, and the rest of the world, are so awash in information that we long for a movie that comes out of left field and hits us in the face. With a fish. This new teaser trailer for Rango does exactly what it needs to do. It teases.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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