Fantasia Film Festival 2021 Capsule Review: Seobok

Written by Alexander Reams

35/100

Unlike the film, I’ll keep this short. Cloning has long been a subject of controversy, scientists say it is the way of the future, the people say it is the way to end us. Two very extreme sides, and who is to say which side is right? This is what writer/director Lee Yong-ju attempts to tackle in his film Seobok.

Fantasia Film Festival 2021 

The plot revolves around a former intelligence agent who finds the first human clone, Seo Bok, and as you would expect, other people want him for their own nefarious reasons. Unfortunately, an intriguing plot is not enough to make a film work. The film does not fail in its writing or directing, in fact Yong-ju does a fantastic job doing both, the actors are who let the film falter, and eventually fail as a whole.

Park Bo-Gum and Gong Yoo clearly do not understand the ideas that Yong-ju wants to present and ask the audience. Their interpretation of his work turned the film from serious piece to a borderline comedy whenever they interacted. Not only disappointing, but actively frustrating when a film is so close to greatness that it fails spectacularly due to egregious miscasting. I wish I could say something more positive but this a rare occurrence where I verbally said “Well, I’m glad that’s over” as soon as the credits rolled.

Seobok Trailer

Seobok is playing at Fantasia Film Festival 2021.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Bentonville Film Festival 2021 Capsule Review: Catch the Fair One

Written by Alexander Reams

38/100

While recently becoming a meme thanks to the long going Fast & Furious franchise, family truly is one of the strongest bonds in life. A love for one’s family can blind the person from reality. Such is the case in Josef Wladkya’s Catch the Fair One. Following pro boxer Kali Reis as she inserts herself into a human trafficking operation to try and find her sister, and bring her home. The problem with being a writer, director, and producer of a film is that a person can get stretched thin, such is the case here. Wladkya’s lack of subtlety destroys any chance of emotional connection with its protagonist. While the story is intriguing, it constantly feels unbalanced and juvenile, as if it was written by people who are new to filmmaking, spoiler alert, it was. Kali Reis is a first time actor and writer here and it shows, her performance felt like she was constantly sleepwalking through the film. Which never pulled my interest or made me care for her character. The film as a whole felt like it was sleepwalking, no clear direction or a want to convey any message. From a film that showcases that it was produced by Darren Aronofsky, I expected a lot more. I wanted to care about this project more than ended up being able to. In total Catch the Fair One is a grave disappointment that left me wanting a better script, direction, and honestly just a better movie overall.

Catch the Fair One Trailer

Catch the Fair One was screened at the 2021 Edition of Bentonville Film Festival and is currently awaiting Distribution.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Tribeca 2021 Film Festival Capsule Review: Larry and Me

Written by Alexander Reams

92/100

Larry King has and always will be a radio and television legend and a hero of mine. His way of connecting with an audience with his demeanor and tone has always kept me coming back to watching his old interviews, especially the ones with his friend Herb Cohen. I have heard King talk about Herb Cohen countless times and it always is very heartwarming to watch. In director Lisa Melmed’s new documentary Larry and Me. Seeing Herb talk about his lifelong friendship with the iconic TV reporter was a joy, and made for one of the best documentaries of the year so far. Melmed makes this feel like King’s presence is still with us even after the credits roll. My only issue with this film is that this was that it is not a feature length documentary film. I would love to see a full length film on their friendship. I felt the genuine love and care these two had for each other and I think that condensing a 75 year friendship into such a short amount time is practically a crime. That being said I am very happy that this friendship is still being explored despite Larry King’s passing.

Larry and Me Trailer

Larry and Me played at the Tribeca 2021 Film Festival. Distribution TBA.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Tribeca 2021 Film Festival Capsule Review: Graceland

Written by Alexander Reams

60/100

Never before has a rock legend been used as a metaphor for gender identity until now. This is the driving force in Bonnie Kathleen Ryan’s Graceland. Led by a familiar face in Anna Camp(Pitch Perfect & True Blood) as a traditional, uptight southern mom who has to come to terms with her daughter coming out as transgender. This story of parents having to accept their children coming out as part of the LGBTQIA+ community has been told countless times, especially in the last 10 years. What sets this film apart from all the rest is the use of the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley. In spite of all the goodwill that the film opens with, after a character completely changes their thoughts and shatters believability the film turns into an after school special from the 1980s. In light of this massively juvenile mistake, the film cannot drag you back into the film and thus flubs the ending, even with a fantastic performance of Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes.

Graceland Trailer

Graceland is currently playing as part of the Tribeca 2021 Film Festival you can purchase a Shorts Pass to view it here.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Tribeca 2021 Film Festival Capsule Review: Last Meal

Written by Alexander Reams

65/100

Throughout cinematic history food has been a metaphor for countless messages. Until viewing Last Meal I had never associated food with the death penalty. Directors Marcus McKenzie and Daniel Principe take a very serious and generally disheartening subject and make it accessible to audiences by using food as a medium to show those who reveled in the attention and coverage from the media. Even with this unique angle, the film simply doles out facts throughout it’s runtime. One meal in particular that stood out was that of Thomas J. Grasso. His final meal request was the iconic “Spaghetti O’s”, instead he got spaghetti. This stuck with him so much that his final words were that “”I did not get my Spaghetti O’s, I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this”.  There are no interviews with convicts who are on death row, nor interviews with politicians making these decisions. I found it to be a powerful short film and well worth the time despite my gripes.

Last Meal Screener

Graceland is currently playing as part of the Tribeca 2021 Film Festival you can purchase a Shorts Pass to view it here.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Capsule Review: Ace in the Hole

90/100

Written by Michael Clawson

As charismatic as he is cynical and unscrupulous, down on his luck newspaperman Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas, fantastic) stumbles on exactly the kind of “human interest” story he can exploit to get himself out of the boonies of New Mexico and back into the big leagues of East Coast journalism. A man has gotten himself trapped deep inside an old Native American cliff dwelling just off the highway, and while getting him out could have been a matter of hours, Tatum – abetted by a couple of other morally bankrupt individuals who see an opportunity to cash in – connives to stretch the incident into nearly a week, allowing himself the time to generate national publicity and attract the media spotlight. Leo Minosa, meanwhile, alone and buried up to his waist in the claustrophobic darkness of the cave, can do nothing but wait as his health and hope of being rescued wane – a disturbing thing to witness. A riveting, gut-punching critique of media sensationalism and greed, the movie might not have any fedoras or foggy city streets, but it’s undoubtedly in the realm of film noir with its pessimistic, hard-bitten outlook and savagely amoral primary characters. I love that in the end, Wilder declines to give us any reason to have faith in these people, instead only further twisting the knife.

Ace in the Hole Trailer

Ace in the Hole is currently streaming on Crackle, Kanopy, and Prime Video.