The Fields is up for pre-order!

It should be noted that it takes me forever to get things done. Well, preparing a book for pre-order is one of those things. But, finally, the e-book is now available on Amazon! You can order it now and then forget about it til the release date (December 30th) rolls around.

Eventually I’ll get print copies available as well, so stay tuned!

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Pre-order your e-book now!

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Sketch Comedy FTW

Hey guys! As some of you know, I’ve been working lately on a sketch video team for HITflix (a branch of the HIT world). Well, a sketch that I worked on that I’m actually pretty proud of has just been released. Also, I acted in it. So weird.

Stay tuned! There will be more to come.

My Bye Week

This past couple of weeks have mostly been bogged down by political commentary and busyness, so instead of trying to come up with something uplifting to write, I have instead decided to focus on site maintenance and uploading old high school films to the Internet. If any of you want to see a bunch of kids getting their hands on cameras, check out the film page (it’s in descending order, so oldest works are at the bottom of the page). The newer stuff will be uploaded once I get my act together and finish up more projects.

Review: THE INNOCENTS

“Faith is 24 hours of doubt and one minute of hope.”

This honest description comes from a woman wracked with trauma and hiding in secrecy — from a nun, in fact. Director Anna Fontaine’s THE INNOCENTS explores a too-real, overwhelmingly solemn experience, based on real events, which hope to remind us of the truth behind this statement.

Mathilde Beaulieu (Lou de Laâge) is a young doctor working for the French Red Cross in Poland, 1945. When a nun comes to the door of a survivor camp at the end of the war, Mathilde discovers a world constructed by nightmares: in the nearby convent, several nuns are in advanced stages of pregnancy, a result of a night in which German soldiers attacked the convent 9 months previous. Mathilde agrees to help the nuns in birthing the babies, and to keep their secret.

img_1492What an emotionally brutal, complex story to bring to the big screen, and yet it is handled with such sensitivity. The plot unfolds with as much prudence as can be hoped for, not forceful in its procedure but simply allowing the audience to uncover the horror of the situation themselves. Fontaine gives a devastating look at the inner turmoil of these nuns as they struggle with their faith and outward perception, not to mention PTSD from the rapes, throughout the film.

De Laâge shines in her performance, serving as the surrogate for the audience while simultaneously tackling her own arc. Agata Buzek and Agata Kulesza (who we’ve recently seen in last year’s IDA) give beautiful performances as well, handling their characters’ circumstances with great delicacy.

This is a film you won’t want to miss. THE INNOCENTS is now playing at Midtown Cinema!

 

Review: THE HOLLARS

He gave us BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN back in 2009, and as many directorial debuts can be, the result was uneven and lacking in authority. Now, John Krasinski has helmed another film, and while THE HOLLARS is endearing, it doesn’t show a lot of growth in direction.

John Hollar (Krasinski) has an eccentric family. His father, Don (Richard Jenkins) cries at the drop of a hat; his brother, Ron (Sharlto Copley) is in his 30s and has the responsibility of a child; and his mother, Sally (Margo Martindale)… Well, Sally just found out she has a brain tumor.

imageJohn travels back to his childhood home, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend, Rebecca (Anna Kendrick), to be with his family. But when he arrives, he is bombarded by the mess that his family has created around them. Ron has divorced his wife (Ashley Dyke) and is slowly being driven crazy by her new Reverend boyfriend (Josh Groban), and Don can’t keep the family business from sliding into bankruptcy. Sally’s nurse (Charlie Day) is now married to John’s ex-girlfriend, making things a little awkward for John, who is already feeling anxiety about his and Rebecca’s relationship.

The characters in the story are brilliant, and transparent to a fault. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of comedy for the sake of comedy in THE HOLLARS. The plot seems to be staged around gimmicks, and the more poignant moments of the film are sometimes a little bit clumsily juxtaposed with the latter.

But there are nuggets dispersed throughout the film that make up for the uneven pacing and cartoonish humor. The story may have its flaws, but the characters are still relatable. For a fun watch to bide the time until Oscar contenders start cropping up, check THE HOLLARS out at Midtown Cinema!

Review: MORRIS FROM AMERICA

No one wants to reminisce about when they were thirteen years old.

In fact, no one wants to be thirteen years old; especially when you’re moving to a new neighborhood — scratch that, new country — and are going to be the only black kid in town. That pretty much eliminates any initial chances of fitting in.

Morris (Markees Christmas) has this problem. In director Chad Hartigan’s newest film, MORRIS FROM AMERICA, we see the pinnacle of awkward middle school angst: Morris and his father, Curtis (Craig Robinson) have just moved to Heidelberg, Germany for Curtis’s job as a professional soccer coach. Morris doesn’t want to be in Germany; Morris wants to be back in the States, working on his dream of becoming a rapper. There’s no way he wants to put himself out there, barely knowing the language, and make friends. But when even his language instructor, Inka (Carla Juri) tells him that he needs to go out and meet people his own age, Morris decides to go to the local youth club.

imageAlmost instantly, Morris meets a girl. For a thirteen year old, puppy love is a big deal, and when Katrin (Lina Keller) pays attention to him, it’s an even bigger deal. But Katrin hangs with a racy crowd, and the more Morris wants to be cool (in tune with his “gangsta rapper” ambitions), the more trouble he finds himself in.

Hartigan gracefully meshes relatable characters with unique circumstances, resulting in a completely fresh perspective for this coming-of-age story — while it is already natural for a thirteen year old to feel alienated, the scenario is a little more stacked for Morris as he is thrust into a completely different world. And the relationship between Morris and his father feels completely natural and ingrained — there is still the stern quality of parenthood in Robinson’s performance, but it is clear that father and son are also friends. This is largely due to the chemistry that Robinson and Christmas bring to the screen: they are perfectly cast.

With its high energy and realistic undertones, MORRIS FROM AMERICA is a delight. Starting 9/9 at Midtown Cinema!