Before the Night is Over – (Movie Review)

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.

The 25 Best Rap Albums of 2019

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

Andrew Buckner’s 75 Favorite Films of 2019

By Andrew Buckner

*Please note: All films included in this list are based on a 2019 U.S. release date.

1. Once Upon a Time….in Hollywood
Director: Quentin Tarantino.

2. They Shall Not Grow Old
Director: Peter Jackson.

3. The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Director: Joe Talbot.

4. The Irishman
Director: Martin Scorsese.

5. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Director: Marielle Heller.

6. Doctor Sleep
Director: Michael Flanagan.

7. Memory: The Origins of Alien
Director: Alexandre O. Phillipe.

8. The Image Book
Director: Jean-Luc Godard.

9. Never Look Away
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

10. Ad Astra
Director: James Gray

11. Us
Director: Jordan Peele.

12. Hail Satan?
Director: Penny Lane

13. Apollo 11
Director: Todd Douglas Miller.

14. Non-Fiction
Director: Olivier Assayas.

15. Birds of Passage
Directors: Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra.

16. Climax
Director: Gaspar Noe.

17. Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz
Director: Barry Avrich.

18. High Life
Director: Claire Denis.

19. American Factory
Directors: Julia Reichert, Steven Bognar.

20. One Child Nation
Directors: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang.

21. The Souvenir
Director: Joanna Hogg.

22. The Farewell
Director: Lulu Wang.

23. The Nightingale
Director: Jennifer Kent.

24. Dolemite is My Name
Director: Craig Brewer

25. Cold Case Hammarskjold
Director: Mads Brugger.

26. We Believe in Dinosaurs
Directors: Monica Long Ross, Clayton Brown.

27. Meeting Gorbachev
Directors: Werner Herzog, Andre Singer.

28. Transit
Director: Christian Petzold.

29. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Director: Chiwetel Ejiofor

30. Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made
Directors: David Amito, Michael Laicini.

31. Luz
Director: Tilman Singer.

32. Bliss
Director: Joe Begos.

33. The Dead Don’t Die
Director: Jim Jarmusch.

34. Midsommar
Director: Ari Aster.

35. Velvet Buzzsaw
Director: Dan Gilroy.

36. Shadow
Director: Yimou Zhang.

37. Aniara
Directors: Pella Kagerman, Hugo Lilja.

38. Booksmart
Director: Olivia Wilde.

39. Empathy, Inc.
Director: Yedidya Gorsetman.

40. The Nightshifter
Director: Dennison Ramalho.

41. The Head Hunter
Director: Jordan Downey.

42. Knock Down the House
Director: Rachel Lears.

43. Harriet
Director: Kasi Lemmons

44. Her Smell
Director: Alex Ross Perry.

45. Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken
Director: Morgan Spurlock.

46. Art of the Dead
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky.

47. Tennessee Gothic
Director: Jeff Wedding.

48. The Mustang
Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre.

49. Little Woods
Director: Nia DaCosta.

50. Tolkien
Director: Dome Karukoski.

51. Knife+Heart
Director: Yann Gonzalez.

52. 10/31 Part 2
Directors: Breet DeJager, Zane Hershberger, Jennifer Nangle, Tory van Buskirk, Stephen Wolfe.

53. Vault
Director: Tom DeNucci.

54. In the Tall Grass
Director: Vincenzo Natali.

55. 3 from Hell
Director: Rob Zombie.

56. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Director: Andre Ovredal.

57. It Chapter Two
Director: Andy Muschietti.

58. The Prodigy
Director: Nicholas McCarthy.

59. Charlie Says
Director: Mary Harron.

60. Child’s Play
Director: Lars Klevberg.

61. Depraved
Director: Larry Fessenden.

62. I Trapped the Devil
Director: Josh Lobo.

63. Hagazussa
Director: Lukas Feigelfeld.

64. The Wind
Director: Emma Tammi.

65. Rust Creek
Director: Jen McGowan.

66. The Girl on the Third Floor
Director: Travis Stevens.

67. Satanic Panic
Director: Chelsea Stardust.

68. The Furies
Director: Tony D’Aquino.

69. Crawl
Director: Alexandre Aja.

70. Dragged Across Concrete
Director: S. Craig Zahler.

71. The Peanut Butter Falcon
Directors: Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz.

72. Glass
Director: M. Night Shyamalan.

73. The Beach Bum
Director: Harmony Korine.

74. The Lake Vampire
Director: Carl Zitelmann.

75. The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
Director: Henry Dunham.

 

The Fifty-Five Greatest Films of the 2010s

By Andrew Buckner

The 2010s have been a terrific decade for films of all genres. Blockbusters. Award-winning dramas and critically acclaimed documentaries. Thought-provoking and spine-tingling horror films. They can all be found here in my list of the fifty-five greatest films from 2010-2019.

55. Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019)
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe.

54. Bridge of Spies (2015)
Director: Steven Spielberg.

53. Blue Valentine (2010)
Director: Derek Cianfrance.

52. Pasolini (2014)
Director: Abel Ferrara.

51. Drive (2011)
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn.

50. Shame (2011)
Director: Steve McQueen.

49. Cosmopolis (2012)
Director: David Cronenberg.

48. Love (2015)
Director: Gaspar Noe.

47. Long Night in a Dead City (2017)
Director: Richard Griffin.

46. The Neon Demon (2016)
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

45. Annihilation (2018)
Director: Alex Garland.

44. The Witch (2015)
Director: Robert Eggers.

43. The Babadook (2014)
Director: Jennifer Kent

42. Bodied (2017)
Director: Joseph Kahn.

41. Super 8 (2011)
Director: J.J. Abrams.

40. Ad Astra (2019)
Director: James Gray.

39. The Handmaiden (2016)
Director: Chan-wook Park.

38. The Post (2017)
Director: Steven Spielberg.

37. Crimson Peak (2015)
Director: Guillermo del Toro.

36. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Director: Quentin Tarantino.

35. Capernaum (2018)
Director: Nadine Labaki.

34. Filmworker (2017)
Director: Tony Zierra.

33. Us (2019)
Director: Jordan Peele.

32. The House That Jack Built (2018)
Director: Lars von Trier.

31. Boyhood (2014)
Director: Richard Linklater.

30. The Black Swan (2010)
Director: Darren Aronofsky.

29. The Artist (2011)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius.

28. The King’s Speech (2010)
Director: Tom Hooper.

27. Moonlight (2016)
Director: Barry Jenkins.

26. Django Unchained (2012)
Director: Quentin Tarantino.

25. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Director: Luca Guadagnino.

24. Lincoln (2012)
Director: Steven Spielberg.

23. The Image Book (2019)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard.

22. Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)
Director: Michael Moore.

21. The Master (2012)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson.

20. Selma (2014)
Director: Ava DuVernay.

19. Once Upon a Time….in Hollywood (2019)
Director: Quentin Tarantino.

18. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Director: Tomas Alfredson.

17. Interstellar (2014)
Director: Christopher Nolan.

16.The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Director: Martin Scorsese.

15. mother! (2017)
Director: Darren Aronofsky.

14. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche

13. They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)
Director: Peter Jackson

12. Amour (2012)
Director: Michael Haneke.

11. Roma (2018)
Director: Alfonso Cuaron.

10. A Ghost Story (2017)
Director: David Lowery.

9. A Separation (2011)
Director: Asghar Farhadi.

8. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen.

7. The Revenant (2015)
Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu.

6. Silence (2016)
Director: Martin Scorsese.

5. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

4. Life Itself (2014)
Director: Steve James.

3. Nightcrawler (2014)
Director: Dan Gilroy.

2. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Director: Steve McQueen.

1. The Tree of Life (2011)
Director: Terrence Malick.

Andrew Buckner’s 10 Favorite Documentary Films/ Limited Series of 2019

By Andrew Buckner

Please note: All films included in this list are based on a 2019 release date.

10. Wrinkles the Clown
Director: Michael Beach Nichols.

9. Supersize Me 2: Holy Chicken!
Director: Morgan Spurlock.

8. Cold Case Hammarskjold
Director: Mads Brugger.

7. Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men
Director: Sacha Jenkins.

6. Knock Down the House
Director: Rachel Lears.

5. American Factory
Directors: Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert.

4. Apollo 11
Director: Todd Douglas Miller.

3. Hail Satan?
Director: Penny Lane.

2. Memory: The Origins of Alien
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe.

1. They Shall Not Grow Old
Director: Peter Jackson.

“Tennessee Gothic” – (Movie Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ****1/2 out of *****.

Tennessee Gothic (2019), from writer-director Jeff Wedding and based on the short story “American Gothic” (1987) by Ray Russell, is an incredibly successful blend of comedy and horror. Though Wedding’s latest favors the latter, it uses the former to pepper the personality of the sufficiently developed characters and occasionally off-the-wall situations. Regardless, the jokes are never overdone or unnecessary (as is the case of many such genre hybrids). Additionally, these lighter instances are mostly reseved for the second act.

This is an effective move. It is one that helps make every one of the eighty-eight minutes of the undertaking unpredictable and entertaining. In so doing, Wedding crafts a wild ride of beautifully rendered terror and more hit than miss humor. Yet, what is most impressive is that, despite these naturally conflicting elements, the ominous tone is never broken.

Via his deftly structured screenplay, Wedding tells the tale of Sylvia (in a brilliant, commanding portrayal by Jackie Kelly which stands as one of the highlights of the production). After an act of violence, which is caught in the harrowing and well-done opening four minutes of the endeavor, she finds herself under the care of teenage Caleb (William Ryan Watson) and the widower Paw (Victor Hollingsworth). The joy the pair initially find in this new living situation on their farm, which is amplified by the reoccurring presence of Reverend Simms (Wynn Reichert), slowly turns nightmarish. This is in a manner that none of the aforementioned male leads could’ve possibly foreseen.

One of the smartest and most engaging moves in the picture is how well Wedding keeps a veil of mystery hovering over Sylvia. It is playfully hinted at and clues are teased addictively throughout the endeavor. All of these aforesaid bits are utilized in a fashion that constantly makes Wedding’s exercise evermore gripping. When the answer to such a question is exposed in the fantastic conclusion, it more than satisfies.

What is just is stunning is the gorgeous and colorful cinematography from Eric Stanze. It wonderfully captures the often earthy spirit of the narrative. The same can be said of the mood and atmosphere-appropriate music from Greg Bennett. Moreover, Watson, Hollingsworth and Reichert offer astounding turns. Christine Poythress is just as good in her enactment of Mrs. Simms. Jason Christ is excellent as Ronnie.

Furthermore, Wedding’s editing is strong. The special effects from Katie Groshong is superb. Trevor Williams’ visual effects are equally splendid. The makeup and sound department implement a magnificent contribution to the exercise. Wedding’s guidance of the project is stylish and stunning.

In turn, Wedding delivers an unforgettable modern take on folklore. Its themes branchout from said cultural body in a clever, credible and appealing fashion. Best of all, none of these touches feel as if they are an inorganic aspect of the plot. Such is a testament to both the quality of the storytelling at hand and the account itself. It is also a small part of the reason why Tennessee Gothic is spellbinding from the first frame to the last.

Andrew Buckner’s 60 Favorite Horror Films of 2019

By Andrew Buckner

*Please note that the inclusion of all films on this list is based on an original 2019 U.S. release date.

60. Hoax
Director: Matt Allen.

59. The Furies
Director: Tony D’Aquino.

58. Between the Trees
Director: Brad Douglas.

57. Artik
Director: Tom Botchii Skowronski.

56.Winterskin
Director: Charlie Steeds.

55. The Farm
Director: Hans Stjernsward.

54. I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà vu
Director: Meir Zarchi.

53. Reborn
Director: Julian Richards.

52. Greta
Director: Neil Jordan.

51. Camp Wedding
Director: Greg Emetaz.

50. The Silence
Director: John R. Leonetti.

49. Incredible Violence
Director: G. Patrick Condon.

48. Devil’s Revenge
Director: Jared Cohn.

47. Annabelle Comes Home
Director: Gary Dauberman.

46. Blood Craft
Director: James Cullen Bressack.

45. Gwen
Director: William McGregor.

44. The Banana Splits Movie
Director: Danishka Esterhazy.

43. Pet Sematary
Directors: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer.

42. Seeds
Director: Owen Long.

41. The Hole in the Ground
Director: Lee Cronin.

40. Into the Dark: Culture Shock
Director: Gigi Saul Guerrero.

39. Nightmare Cinema
Directors: Alejandro Brugues, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryuhei Kitamuri, David Slade.

38. The Field Guide to Evil
Directors: Ashim Ahluwalia, Can Evrenol, Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz, Katrin Gebbe, Calvin Reeder, Agnieszka Smoczynska, Peter Strickland, Yannis Veslemes.

37. The Night Sitter
Directors: Abiel Bruhn, John Rocco.

36. Satanic Panic
Director: Chelsea Stardust.

35. Critters Attack!
Director: Bobby Miller.

34. Crawl
Director: Alexandre Aja.

33. It Chapter 2
Director: Andy Muschietti.

32. Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark
Director: Andre Ovredal.

31. Child’s Play
Director: Lars Klevberg.

30. Belzebuth
Director: Emilio Portes.

29. Tigers Are Not Afraid
Director: Issa Lopez.

28. One Cut of the Dead
Director: Shin’ichiro Ureda.

27. Darlin’
Director: Pollyanna McIntosh.

26. The Wind
Director: Emma Tammi.

25. We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Director: Stacie Passon.

24. Escape Room
Director: Adam Robitel.

23. Piercing
Director: Nicolas Pesce.

22. Ready or Not
Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillet.

21. The Prodigy
Director: Nicholas McCarthy.

20. Knife+Heart
Director: Yann Gonzalez.

19. The Perfection
Director: Richard Shepard.

18. Starfish
Director: Al White.

17. Depraved
Director: Larry Fessenden.

16. The Whistler: Origins
Director: Gisberg Bermudez.

15. I Trapped the Devil
Director: Josh Lobo.

14. Hagazussa
Director: Lukas Feigelfeld.

13. Lords of Chaos
Director: Jonas Akerlund.

12. The Dead Don’t Die
Director: Jim Jarmusch.

11. Art of the Dead
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky.

10. Midsommar
Director: Ari Aster.

9. The Head Hunter
Director: Jordan Downey.

8. 3 from Hell
Director: Rob Zombie.

7. In the Tall Grass
Director: Vincenzo Natalia.

6. The Nightshifter
Director: Dennison Ramalho.

5. Velvet Buzzsaw
Director: Dan Gilroy.

4. Bliss
Director: Joe Begos.

3. Climax
Director: Gaspar Noe.

2. Luz
Director: Tilman Singer.

1. Us
Director: Jordan Peele.

AWordofDreams Presents: 31 Great Lesser Known Horror Films From 1920-2018

By Andrew Buckner

From the entertaining to the extreme, here is a list of thirty-one great lesser known horror films from 1920-2018 to make your Halloween season unforgettable.

1. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964)
Director: Jose Mojica Marins.

2. Onibaba (1964)
Director: Kaneto Shindo.

3. Begotten (1990)
Director: E. Elias Merhige.

4. Possum (2018)
Director: Matthew Holness.

5. Eyes Without a Face (1960)
Director: Georges Franju.

6. Haxan (1922)
Director: Benjamin Christensen.

7. Carnival of Souls (1962)
Director: Herk Harvey.

8. 10 Rillington Place (1971)
Director: Richard Fleischer.

9. Men Behind the Sun (1988)
Director: T.F. Mous.

10. Visions of Suffering (2006)
Director: Andrey Iskanov.

11. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013)
Directors: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani.

12. Mark of the Devil (1970)
Director: Michael Armstrong.

13. Antichrist (2009)
Director: Lars von Trier.

14. Three…Extremes (2004)
Directors: Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike, Chan-wook Park.

15. Hour of the Wolf (1968)
Director: Ingmar Bergman.

16. Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972)
Director: Bob Clark.

17. A Cat in the Brain (1990)
Director: Lucio Fulci.

18. Magic (1978)
Director: Richard Attenborough.

19. Bloodsucking Freaks (1976)
Director: Joel M. Reed.

20. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)
Director: Nicolas Gessner.

21. Curse of the Demon (1957)
Director: Jacques Tourner.

22. Vampyr (1932)
Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer.

23. The Old Dark House (1932)
Director: James Whale.

24. Dr. Cyclops (1940)
Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack.

25. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Director: Eugene Lourie.

26. Dead of Night (1945)
Directors: Alberto Calvacanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer.

27. I Bury the Living (1958)
Director: Albert Band.

28. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Director: Robert Wiene.

29. Brain Damage (1988)
Director: Frank Henenlotter.

30. Pieces (1982)
Director: J.P. Simon.

31. Eraserhead (1977)
Director: David Lynch.

AWordofDreams’ 21 Favorite Horror Novels of the 21st Century (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

21. The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
20. The Night Parade by Ronald Malfi
19. The Devil’s Labyrinth by John Saul
18. Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
17. Broken Monsters by Lauren Feukes
16. The Lords of Salem by Rob Zombie, B.K. Evenson
15. The Taking by Dean Koontz
14. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
13. The Gordon Place by Isaac Thorne
12. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
11. Stranglehold by Jack Ketchum
10. The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
9. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan
8. The Institute by Stephen King
7. Under the Skin by Michael Faber
6. Consumed by David Cronenberg
5. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
4. Nos4a2 by Joe Hill
3. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
2. The Fireman by Joe Hill
1. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

“Go to School, Kanunu” by Chris Esper (Book Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****

Hilarious, heartfelt and deeply personal, Go to School, Kanunu (2019) by Chris Esper is a perfect children’s book. Inventive and lively in its storytelling, with a multitude of terrific illustrations by Cardigan Broadmoor which bring these inherent qualities in the text to eye-popping life, the thirty-two-page tome has a look and demeanor that is easily aligned to the collective works of Dr. Seuss. This aspect can be easily assessed in the colorful and tone-setting cover Broadmoor conceived. It deftly summarizes Esper’s brief saga in a single image.

What further broadens this comparison to the ever-iconic catalogue of Dr. Seuss is how the project moves efficiently, effectively and enjoyably from one smirk-inducing situation to the next. Commencing with an ordinary moment, a mother telling her son to finish breakfast and do as the title of the effort suggests, the narrative becomes increasingly off-the-wall. This is as the mother seeks out inanimate objects as well as household animals to help get Kanunu to listen to her demands. They range from a timeout chair to a mouse.

Yet, what is most admirable about the self-published endeavor, which was released on July 30th of this year, is that it has a wide-ranging accessibility. This is most apparent in its theme of having a sluggish start to the day. Such is a topic guaranteed to ring true for every youth. It’s moral emphasis, the importance of punctuality, is fashioned in an easy-to-understand and amusing manner. It is one which its target audience will retain without difficulty.

As mentioned above, there is a private component to the undertaking which makes Go to School, Kanunu much more than an engrossing chronicle. In the touching Introduction, Esper states that this is a fiction his father would tell him and his sister. It was passed down to his father from his parents. Both of whom receive a loving dedication in the opening of the literature. This intimate connection tightens when we learn that Esper sees the yarn as a link to his Syrian heritage. It is an account his grandparents most likely heard themselves for the first time in the Middle East country. Esper’s hopes that the folk tale “may also shed a different light” on Syria is just as moving as the information garnered in this early passage.

Punctuated by an appropriately pleasant concluding note, Esper’s sophomore trek into the world of the printed word (after his brilliant 2016 debut, The Filmmaker’s Journey: Or What Nobody Tells You About the Industry) further showcases his depth and range as an artist. Whether tackling the subject of anxiety in the fantastic silent short “Imposter” (2018) or penning an engaging item for kids (as he does in his most recent opus), there is a consistently introspective nature to Esper’s material that is as relatable as it is endearing. This element illuminates every page of Esper’s latest venture. With great assistance from this quality, Esper has crafted an undertaking that feels immediately timeless. Go to School, Kanunu is an instant classic.