Filmmaker, author and musician Andrew Buckner has released a four-minute short film entitled “Eyes and Bones” (2020) via YouTube. The work, which can be seen in full at the link above, is a found footage/ audio work directed, edited, recorded and produced by Buckner. The piece involves an unnamed individual who sees lights in the sky one night. The next morning he decides to document what is occurring. This triggers a series of events where the beings behind the light seem to be repeatedly following and tormenting him. Utilizing no special effects or human faces, the endeavor is another example of Buckner’s ability to make high-quality films in his backyard that are completely free of cost.
Musician, author and filmmaker Andrew Buckner, under the name Buckner, released his fifth EP yesterday afternoon via YouTube. It is entitled 5 1-Minute Freestyles. The project is a collection of five a capella rap freestyles. All of which run just a little over a minute. They were all recorded and performed by Buckner himself on the morning of June 10th, 2020. The 6-minute and 11-second work can be heard in its entirety at the YouTube link above.
Director, author and musician Andrew Buckner has released his third short documentary film via YouTube, “Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories: A Short Film Retrospective on Family, Midnight Movies and the Theater Experience” (2020).
The 14 minute and 45 second project contains unscripted audio of Buckner speaking on some of the memories he has with local theaters and drive-ins throughout his life. Filled with nostalgia and a love for film, the work also showcases how the theater experience has brought him many wonderful times with his family. Buckner also reminisces on some memorable midnight movie premieres he attended. The endeavor is also broadened by Buckner discoursing on how the recent theater shutdown his altered his current feelings about motion pictures.
In turn, this is a glorious love letter to movie theaters and the connection one individual has had with them throughout the years.
By Andrew Buckner
Above is a streaming link to my first audio/video review! It is for Chris Esper’s brilliant new short film, “Yesteryear” (2020). The project, which is undoubtedly my favorite short film of the year so far, gets five out of give stars from me. It is available on Stories in Motion’s YouTube channel to stream in full right now.
Andrew Buckner, writer and site owner of AWordofDreams, released his debut album, What is Music?, on his Facebook page yesterday.
Unveiled under the artist name Buckner, the project is a 5-part, 26-track, 33-minute experimental/concept record. It showcases the many forms music can take as well as the spontaneity of the art. Covering spoken word, freestyle rap, acoustic guitar, a capella singing, natural sounds and more, this 100% indie work is completely improvised and original. It was performed and recorded by Buckner himself.
You can stream the album in full at the Facebook link above.
By Andrew Buckner
*Please note that the inclusion of the films in this list is based on an original 2020 U.S. release date.
Director: Jonathan Jakubowicz.
39. Spaceship Earth
Director: Matt Wolf.
Directors: Mark Linfield, Vanessa Berlowitz.
37. Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Contact Has Begun
Director: Michael Mazzola.
36. Why Don’t You Just Die!
Director: Kirill Sokolov.
35. An English Haunting
Director: Charlie Steeds.
34. The Gentlemen
Director: Guy Ritchie.
Director: Joe Begos.
32. First Love
Director: Takashi Miike.
31. Extra Ordinary
Directors: Mike Ahern, Enda Loughman.
Director: Brad Michael Elmore.
29. Gretel & Hansel
Director: Oz Perkins.
28. The Invisible Man
Director: Leigh Whannell.
27. Come to Daddy
Director: Ant Timpson.
Directors: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman.
25. We Summon the Darkness
Director: Marc Meyers.
Director: David Marmor.
23. The Lodge
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz.
22. Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time Volume 1 Midnight Madness
Director: Danny Wolf.
Director: Alan Yang
20. A Secret Love
Director: Chris Bolan.
Director: Kantemir Balagov.
18. Far from Perfect: Life Inside a Global Pandemic
Directors: Lenny Schwartz, Nathan Suher.
17. Blow the Man Down
Directors: Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy.
16. The Platform
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia.
15. The Hunt
Director: Craig Zobel.
14. The Assistant
Director: Kitty Green
Director: Lorcan Finnegan.
Director: Autumn de Wilde.
11. Slay the Dragon
Directors: Chris Durrance, Barak Goodman.
10. Before the Night is Over
Director: Richard Griffin.
9. The Assassination of Western Civilization
Director: Nathan Suher.
8. The Other Lamb
Director: Mlgorzata Szumowska.
7. Color Out of Space
Director: Richard Stanley.
6. Planet of the Humans
Director: Jeff Gibbs.
Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis.
4. Beastie Boys Story
Director: Spike Jonze.
3. Circus of Books
Director: Rachel Mason.
2. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Director: Eliza Hittman.
1. Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Director: Celine Sciamma.
Directors: Kleber Mendonca Filho, Juliano Dornelles.
By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.
Director Nathan Suher’s sophomore feature, The Assassination of Western Civilization (2020), is a brilliant political discussion wrapped-up in an effortlessly enthralling storyline. The 74-minute project is a unique, magnificent take on the idea of being easily “triggered” by the ideas, especially those of a policy-making and conspiratorial nature, of others. It is also a potent warning against the deadly consequences of such actions. These resonant intellectual threads are woven into a masterful tapestry of confident pacing, thoughtful dialogue and organic character development. This is via the efficient and effective script from Lenny Schwartz. It is based upon his successful play Newscastle (2014).
Suher’s minimalistic approach to the material, which consists of the entire picture being erected in one-shot and unfolding in a single room, beautifully compliments the stage roots of the endeavor. It also strengthens the previously stated qualities inherent in the authorship from Schwartz. The obvious inspiration from such ever-relevant governmental thrillers as All the President’s Men (1976), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975) heighten the timeless and timely tone of the narrative. Such bold decisions help fashion the foray into a triumph of independent cinema; one of the best movies of the year so far.
The plot of the IM Filmworks production revolves around tabloid reporter Mark Wallace (Phoenyx Williams). After news of a United States senator being slain comes to his attention, Wallace finds himself quickly being drawn further into the case. His professional interest in the incident takes a personal turn when he finds himself being visited by FBI agent Maccabees (Brad Kirton) near the midway mark. From herein, the tale becomes a verbal faceoff between Wallace and his visitor. It is one that is as much a social statement as it is a showcase of steadily mounting intensity. This all leads to a finale that is as evocative as it is thought-provoking.
What also helps the excursion is the all-around gripping performances from a well-chosen cast. Williams is superb as Wallace. Kirton is just as good as Maccabees. Jocelyn Padilla’s enactment of Susan, Christie Devine’s go as Mia and Sarah Reed’s brief work as Kate are all skillful and engaging. Josh Fontaine as Peter, Wendy Hartman as Alex and Sheri Lee as Gwen all offer strong portrayals. The cinematography from Ben Heald is sharp and fitting for the tone of the venture. Both the make-up and sound departments offer a commendable contribution to the overall prowess of the undertaking.
Recorded in Woodsocket, Rhode Island, Suher’s latest more than satisfies as both an intellectual exercise and as a nail-biting suspense yarn. The film has fun smartly laying down its intricate clues as to what is transpiring in the account. Regardless, it all gleams with purpose and intention. Nothing in the chronicle is unnecessary, unearned or artificially rendered to momentarily absorb audiences. Such adds immensely to my overwhelming admiration for the labor. Consequently, Suher has crafted a rare whodunit. It’s sharply-made, notion-filled and pleasantly favors speech over effects. Most importantly, it is completely riveting for the entirety of its lean runtime. I cannot recommend it enough.
By Andrew Buckner
Rating: ***** out of *****.
Lean, beautiful and mysterious, Before the Night is Over (2020) is a masterful return to horror for director Richard Griffin. Stylistically reminiscent of such generally single-setting efforts from the 1960’s-70’s such as Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace (1963) and Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977), the 73-minute film is also admirable for its subtlety and restraint. This is immediately evident in the wordless five-minute opening sequence of the picture. In this evocative and brilliantly rendered bit, a wonderfully mood-setting musical composition, facial expressions and hand gestures potently speak all that needs to be said. Griffin also ends the production on an equally quiet and poetic note. Such touches make for incredibly effective bookends to an exercise that is eloquent, classy and classic in both its narrative and in its approach. It also calls to mind the commencing section of Griffin’s equally magnificent Long Night in a Dead City (2017). Such instances are made evermore breathtaking by John Mosetich’s gorgeous, colorful, awe-inspiring cinematography.
Complimented by a superbly penned script from co-authors Griffin and Lenny Schwartz, which perfectly balances character-focus and buildup, Griffin tells the tale of Samantha (in a captivating portrayal from Samantha Acampora). Suffering from the loss of her parents, she becomes a maid at a bordello run by her aunt, Ms. Blanche DeWolfe (in a wonderful enactment by Lee Rush). Immediately intrigued by the erotically charged nature of the place, she finds herself slowly on the trail of a secret. It is one which has led before to death and, Samantha soon finds, will do so again.
With this intriguing premise, Griffin erects a surreal tour-de-force. It is one which is utilized as well in its credibly etched dramatic sequences as it does in its psychological thriller and slasher-on-the-loose instances. Griffin also keeps the project as tightly paced as possible. This is while giving his characters plenty of room to breathe and make themselves closely known to the audience. The third act also delivers quite a few twists that are genuinely surprising. Best of all, they never break the finely woven credibility or old-fashioned elegance Griffin has so delicately sewn into the endeavor. Such is just another sample of the top-notch craftsmanship that has gone into Griffin’s latest undertaking.
What also works is the equally deft turns given by Griffin’s performers. Bruce Church is exceptional as Ambrose. Jay Walker commands the screen as Mr. Wheatstraw. The same can be said of Terry Shea as Clay, Roberto Alexander as LaRue and Ricky Irizarry as Jameson. Victoria Paradis gives a terrific depiction of Ms. Olivia. Furthermore, Griffin’s editing is seamless.
Before the Night is Over (2020) is another winner for Griffin and The Reasonable Moving Picture Company. Reportedly made on a budget of $5,000, the feature is ambitious and hypnotic. This is while being economical and intimate. It is also deeply cinematic, while respecting the traditions of past big-screen excursions into fear. The movie also has Griffin’s unique stamp on every frame. The piece deftly addresses many of the ever-timely themes and notions from his previous creations. All of this is to grand consequence. In turn, Griffin has created a haunting and thoughtful symphony of sight and sound; a perfect storm of indelible imagery and directorial flair. Cinephiles and genre fanatics alike are destined to adore it. I know I did.
By Andrew Buckner
12. The Night Window by Dean Koontz
11. Tales to Chill Your Bones To by Michael Haberfelner
10. Theodore Boone: The Accomplice by John Grisham
9. Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill
8. Go to School, Kanunu by Chris Esper
7. Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay
6. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
5. The Gordon Place by Isaac Thorne
4. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
3. The Andromeda Evolution by Michael Chrichton, Daniel H. Wilson
2. The Guardians by John Grisham
1. The Institute by Stephen King
By Andrew Buckner
25. Put a Crown on It – Rittz
24. Yuck! – Anoyd, Statik Selektah
23. Ga$ Money – Lyric Jones
22. S.P. The Goat: Ghost of all Time – Styles P
21. Trunk Muzik 3 – Yelawolf
20. Igor –Tyler, the Creator
19. The Fifth – Obie Trice
18. W.W.C.D. – Griselda
17. Sincerely, Detroit – Apollo Brown
16. The Bando Theory – Kuniva
15. Demons – Madchild
14. Under Bad Influence – Ubi
13. N9na – Tech N9ne
12. Vernia – Erick Sermon
11. Street Urchin 2 – Sean Strange
10. Out to Sea – Chris Orrick
9. Ghetto Cowboy – Yelawolf
8. Born 2 Rap – The Game
7. Practice Makes Paper – E40
6. Let Love – Common
5. The Lost Tapes 2 – Nas
4. Chamber No. 9 – Inspectah Deck
3. Czarface Meets Ghostface – Czarface, Ghostface Killah
2. Ghostface Killahs – Ghostface Killah
1. I Read That I Was Dead – Chris Orrick, The Lasso