In what makes Zoe.mp4 work is that it very nicely puts all of this character’s life in a container that’s over a fire, and it’s waiting to explode!
Making Its World Premiere at Whistler Film Festival on Nov 30. For tickets, please visit the link here.
Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Zoe.mp4 is the title. Most digital videos are encoded in either the mp4 container format or MKV; and to put anything into a digital document can be unsettling, since anyone can look at it in order to deconstruct whatever gets recorded by the device’s lens. Some say a camera can capture your soul, but what else can it do?
Zoe’s life isn’t picture-perfect. She has doubts about where her career is going, and Julia Sarah Stone excellently plays those fears up. We witness her journey and, when she gets kidnapped, also feel her discomfort. Although the choice to make the title character young is curious, perhaps that’s to make this film relatable for today’s generation. Not everyone knows what they want to do with their growth or find themselves capable of doing.
I’m more interested in the songs since it has to eventually come to some revelation, and this movie titled Open can close.
Playing at select theatres now and VOD beginning Nov 7
Maybe what Kristina (Lindsay Anne Williams) has to do to get past her relationship woes is to “Open” her heart and go through the motions so she can heal. Although a certain Roxette song came to mind while watching this romantic comedy, there’s not much I could find that relates to this film’s theme. Instead, Mama Mia screamed at me, and ABBA’s music for that concept album is still playing in my head as I write this review.
Although this character drama describes itself as Marriage Story meets Scott Pilgrim vs the World, I’m sensing other works were also an influence. The New Wave, Jazz, Country and Punk driven music video dream-sequences sets this work apart from others I’ve seen. And although the composition of these songs aren’t as snappy at the start, as long as you’re willing to wait it out, the scores get better! The early tracks are too heavy in psychoanalyzing what this protagonist is feeling, and honestly, the later tracks improve so that what’s felt is like a day tripper! But as for whether this work is meant to be a tribute to musicals, I doubt Miles Doleac had that in mind when directing this film.
Had this home video release included a featurette interviewing directors Keiichi Hara and Takakazu Nagatomo explaining the film, I’d appreciate Lonely Castle in the Mirror a lot more.
Now Available on Home Video Shout! Studios & GKIDS
Fans of Mizuki Tsujimura‘s Japanese fantasy book are more likely to purchase the animated adaptation of Lonely Castle in the Mirror than others, and honestly, I feel it shouldn’t be avoided. It deals with a difficult narrative in how to deal with life when it deals you lemons. It’s not just about bullying. And what’s taught here is that there are ways to find empowerment.
Although what’s shown doesn’t get deep into self-improvement, perhaps I should look at Tomo Taketomi’s manga instead. This movie follows the misery Kokoro (Ami Tôma) faces daily. She’s been teased, intimidated and perhaps more. With nowhere to retreat, how she manages at home is equally isolating, and it’s a shame.
What Jared Moshé delivers in Aporia s more of a thoughtful narrative concerning how not to alter the past for the sake of having a better future.
Well GO USA
Playing July 27 & 28th at Fantasia Film Festival and select theatres starting Aug 11.
Nearly everyone knows that travelling into the past is dangerous. When that person changes one tiny, insignificant thing, like in Sophie does in Aporia, everything else becomes altered in ways that can’t be predicted. That butterfly effect is effectively explored in Jared Moshé’s film.
Instead of weighing viewers with science, everything waxed here is more existential than philosophical jabber. For better or worse, the device Jabir (Payman Maadi) made is an oversized gun that can fire bullets through the fabric of time and space. It should be confiscated by the FBI, since it can kill anyone this physicist wants. The only person he chooses to reveal this weapon to is the wife of his best friend, Sophie (Judy Greer). Ever since Mal (Edi Gathegi) was struck by a drunk driver and put six feet under, life has never been the same. But now that she has an opportunity to alter the past, will she do it?
When this Door Mouse (Hayley Law) is a comic book illustrator whose second job is that of a burlesque performer, she better learn another occupation fast!
Available in select theatres and
digitally starting on January 13th
Door Mouse has plenty of Quinten Tarantino and punk rock vibes in its story about Mouse (Hayley Law), a comic book illustrator whose only real paying job is that of a burlesque performer. But when her colleagues get kidnapped, she becomes a gumshoe with a mission–to protect her sisters from the hood. They either wind up dead or much worse. As a result, the cops dismiss the problem as not worth investigating. Instead of waiting to be a victim, she’d rather be a victor in this quirky indie film smartly written and well directed by Avan Jogia.
This movie’s greatest strength lies in how perfect the neo-noir atmosphere is realised. Not only is it coloured in pastel lights, but also we get an appropriate sound design to make the world feel grungy. Additionally, the illustrations are animated to recognize how this lead looks at the world. This approach works to explain why she’s drawing from her life experience to create her comic book. The grittiness that’s visualised makes me wonder if we’ll ever see a sampler as a booklet when the home video release is ready. The sketches I see makes me think this artist is inspired by Robert Crumb.