November 21, 2014
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LATE PHASES Premieres TODAY 11.21.14

LATE PHASES, GEP’s new werewolf film directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano and starring Nick Damici, hits theaters and VOD TODAY. And the web is howling about it…

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From The Village Voice:

Two key elements in horror movies are anticipation and pacing, with the latter simply the heightening and lowering of the former.

With Late Phases, Adrián García Bogliano artfully engages with those tools, crafting a narrative whose close feels a touch underwhelming only in relation to the impressive buildup. In the most entertaining tough-old-crank turn this side of Gran Torino, Nick Damici stars as Ambrose, a blind Vietnam vet who has no sooner moved into the placid retirement community of Crescent Bay than he becomes auditory and olfactory witness to a murder committed by a werewolf.

After the beast also kills Ambrose’s seeing-eye dog, Shadow, the vet vows revenge. (And how! Wait Until Dark this isn’t — file Late Phases as the best film in which a blind individual gets trigger-happy with a series of firearms.) The filmmakers wisely reveal the werewolf early, as this shifts the source of suspense from an obvious question (Will there turn out to be a monster?) to a more mystifying one (Why is there a monster?).

In addition to the careful parceling-out of information and anticipation, the film benefits enormously from Damici’s lead performance: gruff, funny, aggressive, and, of course, commanding sympathy, the character compellingly entices the audience to board this ride.

The narrative ends up working in a smaller scope than one might expect given the premise of a beast plaguing a community, but the journey getting to the finish is exhilarating all the same.

 From the New York Times:

A blind Vietnam veteran is all that stands between a hungry werewolf and the frail residents of a retirement village in “Late Phases,” a sprightly horror movie about finding new purpose for old bones.

Our gruff hero is Ambrose (Nick Damici, far from geriatric), a brusquely independent widower who’s closer to his service dog, Shadow, than to his harried son. Deposited in his new home, he quickly deflects a delegation of glammed-up grannies scenting fresh meat. They’re not the only ones: A terrifyingly gory first night will leave poor Shadow flayed and Ambrose’s closest neighbor chomped to bits.

Working in English for the first time, the Spanish director Adrián García Bogliano forgoes the veiled menace of his 2013 mystery, “Here Comes the Devil,” for something altogether less subtle. Skipping critical narrative beats — Ambrose instantly decides that “Werewolf!” is the answer to “What just happened?” — the plot favors simplicity over rationality with a cheerful insouciance that’s hard to dislike. Much of this good will is inspired by Mr. Damici, whose testy line readings and credible sightlessness give Ambrose’s neighborhood perambulations an oddball intensity. I didn’t see him blink once.

Matching the movie’s homely feel, Robert Kurtzman’s old-school effects produce an endearingly shaggy creature that’s pleasingly tactile and beholden to the laws of physics. And if the central transformation scene strains fruitlessly for the sky-high bar of Rick Baker’s groundbreaking work on “An American Werewolf in London” (1981), it’s no matter: “Late Phases” is really concerned with change of a different sort. Before, Ambrose was resigned to death’s waiting room; now, he has a reason to work out.

LATE PHASES CLIPS on Bloody Disgusting

WHERE TO SEE IT

THEATRICAL PREMIERE

November 21-27 New York IFC Center
December 5 Minneapolis, MN Mall of America
December 12 Los Angeles, Cinefamily
January 2 & 3 Phoenix, AZ, FilmBar
January 2-4 Columbus, OH, Gateway Film Center

 

ON DEMAND

Sony Entertainment Networks

Blockbuster On Demand

Xbox

Amazon Instant Video

iTunes

Vudu

Google Play

May 17, 2014
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AMERICAN JESUS a Village Voice Critic’s Pick

From The Village Voice:

“…[American Jesus] is a restless, sunnily shot, one-thing-after-another travelogue of the peculiarities of American worship and belief, and he could have pulled a full movie from most of its many, many pit stops: a West Virginia roadhouse of snake handlers and boogie-woogie piano; ’80s Christian alt-rocker Steve Taylor’s bizarre satirical anthem “I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good”; the entrepreneur behind a clothing line mixing Christ with MMA fighting; tough-guy pastor Keenan Smith, whose Team Impact preaches the word through feats of strength, snapping a board over his knee and later declaring “[America] was never founded for a freedom of all religions. It was founded for the freedom of Judeo-Christianity.

The vignettes pile up, all fascinating, many heartening. Garriga emphasizes non-denominational pop-ups catering to surfers, bikers, skaters, rockers, and believers disinclined toward main-line churches. A pastor at Amarillo’s Arena of Life says of his cowboy parishioners, “They feel like when they’re out in their pasture they’re closer to God than they can ever be in a building.” There’s a pair of comedians who target Christian audiences — and actually seem funny. Some of the pastors we meet even bother helping out the poor, a thing the Gospels mention more often than clinic-bombing.

The good feelings ebb in the final third, when Garriga turns the film over to journalists and authors like Michelle Goldberg and Frank Schaeffer, who thumbnail the currents that have given us Left Behind, the Creation Museum, and Evangelical Zionism, a movement whose endgame involves nothing less than ending the world for the betterment of all of us. All that deserves a full movie, as do most of the film’s subjects — but Garriga’s quick treatment of each is distinguished by stirring photography, empathetic interviewing, and a shrewd sense of who to let talk and who to cut off.

Especially strong: the surprise animated sequence illustrating a short story by David Dark that should rattle the teeth of the most literal-minded of believers. Scenes like that, along with many of the film’s portraits of the exotic flora sprung from this same ancient seed, mark American Jesus not as an assault upon Christian belief but as a concerned examination. There are ways to hold to something grand in your life without assuming everyone who doesn’t is going to spend eternity being flayed…”

See the full review at VillageVoice.com.

July 17, 2013
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Village Voice on BENEATH: “spiked with rainy-day-matinee movie love “

BENEATH movie review from VillageVoice.com:
Over the last few decades, Larry Fessenden has become something like a one-man rescue team for modern American psychotronica. Think of a fresh horror-genre indie of note from the last decade and a half, and chances are, Fessenden’s name is on it somewhere. But for all his ubiquity, Beneath is only Fessenden’s fifth mature feature as a director, and it is every inch the work of a dedicated geek, a proudly lowbrow, low-budget monster movie that   Continue Reading »