“A Distance from Avalon” (2021) By Mike Messier – Book Review

By Andrew Buckner

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

A Distance from Avalon (2021), the debut novella from fellow filmmaker and critic Mike Messier, is a refreshingly subtle and philosophical take on the vampire saga. In a compact and complex ninety-seven pages, Messier weaves the tale of two educators, Joe Humble and a young music instructor by the name of Shadow. Pairing up to enjoy a late October Friday Night, the duo arrives at an ominous mansion entitled Avalon. From herein, the hosts seduce and separate the guests. Immediately afterward, the visitors willingly follow the mysterious figures to separate rooms. At a point near the central mark, the narrative crafts a superb balance of introspection and intrigue. It is one which lasts the remainder of the volume. This is as the leads and their partners for the night gradually unveil secret and sentimental elements of themselves.

What is immediately striking about the tome is that Messier’s screenwriting roots are much intact. For example, the whole book is composed of brief chapters. These sections range mainly from one to two pages. They are so vividly written, yet efficient, that they could easily be scenes in a film. Additionally, every scrap of dialogue reads like a line of poetry: Beautiful, thoughtful, and as economical as the segments in which they are unified.

Messier’s characters, all of whom are terrifically formed and whose monikers greatly enhance the figurative essence of the effort, are equally captivating. They are all distinct, yet intelligent and credible. The individuals who dominate A Distance from Avalon are also enigmatic and insightful. They are well-established components that constantly elucidate the classic, sophisticated atmosphere of the project in spellbinding fashion. Messier uses them to discourse on religion, love, time, mankind, art, and a myriad of related subjects. This is in a way that is intellectually stimulating without appearing unnatural. It is also executed via a method that does not take away from the propulsion of the smoothly paced narrative.

I admired the manner with which Messier frequently avoids the tropes often attributed to such tales of bloodthirsty creatures. What is utilized of these bits is enough to establish a knowledge of the lore of these nocturnal entities. Instead of relying on this heavily, as an easy act of recognition hinging on events the audience has perused in other such exercises, Messier uses this foundation to forge his own path. In turn, this helps build a far more surprising and satisfying story.

In the work, Messier showcases a deft command of tying together all the fine details he has dispersed throughout the enterprise. This is most notable in the finale. In this climactic bit, Messier brings all the cumulative mystery, symbolism, and restraint that he exhibited throughout the endeavor to a compelling and appropriate punctuation point. It is one of the various signs ceaselessly at play of his knack for spinning an exemplary account.

There are also many sly references to the cinema of Messier expertly woven into the volume. The most obvious of these is his phenomenal forty-minute short documentary on the creative process, “Disregard the Vampire” (2017). His brief, and equally good, Fantasy tale, “The Nature of the Flame” (2014), are just as cleverly addressed. These winks at the reader are incredible. This is especially when considering how they organically derive from the attempt. They also operate just as significantly as world-building in the collective universe of Messier’s artistic ventures.

Graced by eye-popping and gorgeous cover art from Nazar Germanov, A Distance from Avalon is an all-around brilliant publication; a literary four-course meal. It is driven by a fantastic plot. Such is one that is given depth and dimension by Messier’s cerebral and refined writing abilities. The piece is intimate, open, ambitious, smartly structured, and perfectly told. Messier has constructed a sensational world of nuance and underlying fear. Masterful in all arenas, the power of this dignified beast is impossible to ignore.

A Distance from Avalon can be purchased in Kindle eBook or paperback format here.

Andrew Buckner’s 105 Favorite Films

By Andrew Buckner

105. Center Stage (1991)

Director: Stanley Kwan.

104. Red Desert (1964)

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni.

103. Loving Vincent (2017)

Directors: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman.

102. The Intruder (1962)

Director: Roger Corman.

101. Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

Director: Shin’ya Tsukamoto.

100. Network (1976)

Director: Sidney Lumet.

99. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Director: Frank Capra.

98. M (1931)

Director: Fritz Lang.

97. Deep Red (1975)

Director: Dario Argento.   

96. Porcile (1969)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini.

95. The Changeling (1980)

Director: Peter Medak.

94.  Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Director: Steven Spielberg.

93. The Deer Hunter (1978)

Director: Michael Cimino.

92. The Great Dictator (1940)

Director: Charlie Chaplin.

91. Kwaidan (1964)

Director: Masaki Kobayashi.

90. Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese.

89. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Director: Isao Takahata.

88. Nostalghia (1984)

Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky.

87. Suspiria (1977)

Director: Dario Argento.

86. Q: Winged Serpent (1982)

Director: Larry Cohen.

85. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Director: Sergio Leone.

84. Persepolis (2007)

Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi.

83. Blow-Up (1966)

Director: Michelangolo Antonioni.

82. At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul (1964)

Director: Jose Mojica Marins.

81. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Director: Georges Franju.

80. Kids (1995)

Director: Larry Clark.

79. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

Director: Guillermo del Toro.

78. The Lost World (1925)

Director: Harry O. Hoyt.

77. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Director: Tobe Hooper.

76. Lady Snowblood (1973)

Director: Fujita Toshiya.

75. My Dinner With Andre (1981)

Director: Louise Malle.

74. Halloween (1978)

Director: John Carpenter.

73. Ikiru (1952)

Director: Akira Kurosawa.

72. Contact (1997)

Director: Robert Zemeckis.

71. The House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Director: William Castle.

70. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Director: Jack Arnold.

69. The Thing from Another World (1951)

Directors: Christian Nyby, Howard Hawks.

68. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Director: Robert Wise.

67. Creepshow (1982)

Director: George A. Romero.

66. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Director: Oliver Stone.

65. The Fly (1986)

Director: David Cronenberg.

64. Begotten (1989)

Director: E. Elias Merhige.

63. Gummo (1997)

Director: Harmony Korine.

62. Teorema (1968)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini.

61. mother! (2017)

Director: Darren Aronofsky.

60. Freaks (1932)

Director: Tod Browning.

59. The Birds (1963)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock.

58. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Director: Roman Polanski.

57. Phantasm (1979)

Director: Don Coscarelli.

56. Holy Mountain (1973)

Director: Alejandro Jodorowsky.

55. Onibaba (1964)

Director: Kaneto Shindo.

54. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini.

53.  The Best of Youth (2003)

Director: Marco Tullio Giordana.

52. Pi (1998)

Director: Darren Aronofsky.

51. The Dark Crystal (1982)

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz.

50. Enter the Void (2009)

Director: Gaspar Noe.

49. Dead Alive (1992)

Director: Peter Jackson.

48. The Evil Dead (1981)

Director: Sam Raimi.

47. Poltergeist (1982)

Director: Tobe Hooper.

46. Gremlins (1984)

Director: Joe Dante.

45. Ghostbusters (1984)

Director: Ivan Reitman.

44. The Omen (1976)

Director: Richard Donner.

43. Scenes from a Marriage (1974)

Director: Ingmar Bergman.

42. Amarcord (1973)

Director: Federico Fellini.

41. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

Director: Robert Wiene.

40. Nosferatu (1922)

Director: F.W. Murnau.

39. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Director: George A. Romero.

38. Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (2019)

Director: Quentin Tarantino.

37. The Dreamers (2003)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci.

36. Antichrist (2009)

Director: Lars von Trier.  

35. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Director: Steve McQueen.

34. Double Indemnity (1944)

Director: Billy Wilder.

33. Notorious (1946)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock.

32. La Dolce Vita (1960)

Director: Federico Fellini.

31. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Director: Ingmar Bergman.

30. The Conformist (1970)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci.

29. Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche.

28. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini.

27. Stalker (1979)

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky.

26. Weekend (1967)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard.

25. Persona (1966)

Director: Ingmar Bergman.

24. Haxan (1922)

Director: Benjamin Christensen.  

23. Amour (2012)

Director: Michael Haneke.

22. Away from Her (2006)

Director: Sarah Polley.

21. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

Director: Werner Herzog.

20. 8 ½ (1963)

Director: Federico Fellini.

19. Life Itself (2014)

Director: Steve James.

18. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Director: Roberto Benigni.

17. The Shining (1980)

Director: Stanley Kubrick.

16. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore.

15. Cries & Whispers (1972)

Director: Ingmar Bergman.

14. Seven Samurai (1954)

Director: Akira Kurosawa.

13. Eraserhead (1977)

Director: David Lynch.

12. Dekalog (1989)

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski.

11. Shoah (1985)

Director: Claude Lanzmann.

10. The Tree of Life (2011)

Director: Terrence Malick.

9. The Seventh Seal (1957)

Director: Ingmar Bergman.

8. Metropolis (1927)

Director: Fritz Lang.

7. Alien (1979)

Director: Ridley Scott.

6. King Kong (1933)

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack.

5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Director: Steven Spielberg.

4. Psycho (1960)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

Director: William Friedkin.

2. Schindler’s List (1993)

Director: Steven Spielberg.

1. Jurassic Park (1993)

Director: Steven Spielberg.

The 40 Best Albums of 2020

By Andrew Buckner

40. ADHD by Joyner Lucas

39. Detroit 2 by Big Sean

38. Evolution by Joyner Lucas

37. The Devil Hates Sundays by J’L

36. Molocular Meditation by Jan St. Werner

35. Versus (EP) by Jonezen

34. After Hours by The Weeknd

33. Mystic by Mackenzie Nicole

32. Ceremony by Phantogram

31. Closer Than They Appear by Lyric Jones

30. Cut Throat City Soundtrack (EP) by Various Artists

29. My Brother’s Keeper by Kuniva & Swifty McVay

28. The Allegory by Royce Da 5’9

27. EnterFear by Tech N9ne

26. Fear Exodus (EP) by Tech N9ne

25. Guided Meditations (EP) by RZA

24. Pray For Paris by Westside Gunn

23. Who Made the Sunshine by Westside Gunn

22. The Food Villain by The Alchemist

21. Picture Perfect by Rittz

20. Your Birthday’s Cancelled by Iron Wigs

19. RTJ4 Run The Jewels

18. Gorilla Twins by Ill Bill & Nems

17. Alfredo by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

16. No Hermano by Sean Strange

15. Loud Is Not Enough by Public Enemy

14. Felt 4 U by Felt

13. Detroit Life by Swifty McVay

12. Alpha Underdog by Kuniva

11. Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God by Busta Rhymes

10. Seven Times Down, Eight Times Up by Elzhi

9. What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down? by Public Enemy

8. From King to a God by Conway the Machine

7. Summer of Sam by Serial Killers (Xzibit, B-Real, Demrick)

6. Flag by Kxng Crooked

5. Streams of Thought, Volume 3: Cane and Abel by Black Thought

4. King’s Disease by Nas

3. All My Heroes Are Dead by R.A. the Rugged Man

2. A Beautiful Revolution (Pt.1) by Common

  1. Music to Be Murdered By and Music to be Murdered By: Side B by Eminem

The Ten Best Books of 2020

By Andrew Buckner

10. Crooked River
     By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child.

9. Survivor Song
    By Paul Tremblay.

8. Wonderland
    By Zoje Stage. 

7. Devoted
    By Dean Koontz.

6. The Living Dead
    By George Romero, Daniel Kraus.

5. Ready Player Two
    By Ernest Cline.

4. Home Sweet Home
    By Riley Sager.

3. Chasing the Light
    By Oliver Stone.

2. A Time for Mercy
    By John Grisham.

1. If It Bleeds
    By Stephen King

Runners-Up:

Camino Winds
   By John Grisham

Elsewhere
   By Dean Koontz

The 21 Best Short Films of 2020

By Andrew Buckner

*The inclusion of the short films on this list is based on the criteria of an initial 2020 U.S. release date.

21. “For Milo”
Director: Matthew Gilpin.

20. “Rotten Magnolia”
Director: Tracy Huerta.

19. “Hollow”
Director: Max Buttrill.

18. “Private”
Director: Steve Blackwood.

17. “The Nurturing”
Director: Alex DiVincenzo.

16. “A Rock Feels No Pain”
Directors: Gabrielle Rosson, Kris Salvi.

15. “The Never Was”
Director: Mike Messier.

14. “Exeter at Midnight”
Director: Christopher Di Nunzio.

13. “Waffle”
Director: Carlyn Hudson.

12. “Dear Guest”
Director: Megan Freels Johnston.

11. “Thankless”
Director: Mark Maille.

10. “Wives of the Skies”
Director: Honey Lauren.

9. “Stuck”
Director: Steve Blackwood.

8. “The Dirty Burg”
Director: John Papp.

7. “Being Kris Salvi”
Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

6. “Voices from the Invisible”
Director: Miriam Revesz.

5. “Salvation”
Director: Gabrielle Rosson.

4. “Priest Hunter”
Director: Skip Shea.

3. “Fire (Pozar)”
Director: David Lynch.

2. “Gay as the Sun”
Director: Richard Griffin.

1. “Yesteryear”
Director: Chris Esper.

31 Years of Horror in 31 Days: A Halloween Must-Watch List

By Andrew Buckner

The following is a list of thirty-one horror films. This is with one genre selection, some independent and some mainstream, from each of the past thirty-one years. Each feature, all of which comes with my highest of recommendations, is supposed to represent one of the thirty-one days in October. It is also meant to be a must-watch horror list where one movie is viewed per day of the month. This is to create the ultimate AWordofDreams/ Andrew Buckner approved Halloween film festival.

Without further ado, here is the list in its entirety.

Tetsou: The Iron Man (1989)
Director: Shinya Tsukamoto.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
Director: Joe Dante.

Nekromantic 2 (1991)
Director: Jorg Buttgereit.

Dead Alive (1992)
Director: Peter Jackson.

Fire in the Sky (1993)
Director: Robert Lieberman.

Serial Mom (1994)
Director: John Waters.

Castle Freak (1995)
Director: Stuart Gordon.

The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
Director: Dario Argento.

The Wax Mask (1997)
Director: Sergio Stivaletti.

Bride of Chucky (1998)
Director: Ronny Yu.

Stir of Echoes (1999)
Director: David Koepp.

Ginger Snaps (2000)
Director: John Fawcett.

Frailty (2001)
Director: Bill Paxton.

May (2002)
Director: Lucky McKee.

High Tension (2003)
Director: Alexandre Aja.

Saw (2004)
Director: James Wan.

Land of the Dead (2005)
Director: George A. Romero.

Bug (2006)
Director: William Friedkin.

Inside (2007)
Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury.

The Strangers (2008)
Director: Bryan Bertino.

Antichrist (2009)
Director: Lars von Trier.

The Loved Ones (2010)
Director: Sean Byrne.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)
Director: Tom Six.

Sinister (2012)
Director: Scott Derrickson.

The Conjuring (2013)
Director: James Wan.

Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Directors: Severin Fiola, Veronika Franz.

The Witch (2015)
Director: Robert Eggers.

Raw (2016)
Director: Julia Ducournau.

Mother! (2017)
Director: Darren Aronofsky.

Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (2018)
Director: David Amito, Michael Laicini.

Doctor Sleep (2019)
Director: Mike Flanagan.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
Director: Charlie Kaufman.

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Fall Short Film Festival 2020 – Film #1: “Entropia” (2018)

By Andrew Buckner

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Fall Short Film Festival 2020, which will focus primarily on everything horror related, commences with the award-winning “Entropia”. It is the first of thirteen films in the aforementioned online gala.

Boasting a superbly engaging and altogether terrific performance by Sissy O’Hara, the 14-minute and 54-second project resonates a wonderfully atmospheric 1970’s style. It is apparent in the mesmerizing cinematography by Amanda McGrady. The use of sound and the haunting music by Evan Phinnicie masterfully reflect this quality. Brilliantly written and directed by Marinah Janello, the work unfolds with deft confidence and memorable imagery aplenty. The effects, another frequently strong aspect of the visual appeal of this endeavor, are often gooey and tremendously well-done. Moreover, the story itself is fascinating. This is especially true of the “show over tell” nature of the way the narrative unveils. 

Character-driven, unpredictable and unforgettable, “Entropia” is a perfect treat for the Halloween season. 

FILM #1: “ENTROPIA” (2018)

Sissy O'Hara in Entropia (2018)

IMDB Link for Cast/Crew, Synopsis and other Information for the Film:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7385642/?ref_=nm_knf_t1&fbclid=IwAR0NQX5XpymlfGb6ySbusKfvrkga4Q2yrh_6cACG3xvTptjQTHC9bPVa6UU

28-Second Trailer for the Film:

You can screen the film in full below:

*All films featured in this festival were used with the kind permission of those involved with the work itself.

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Summer 2020 Short Film Festival – Films 13 and 14: “Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories” (2020) and “The Man Who Fears the Rain” (2020)

By Andrew Buckner

The Andrew Buckner/ AWordofDreams Summer 2020 Short Film Festival concludes with the final pair of films in the 14-part series: “Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories” (2020) and  “The Man Who Fears the Rain” (2020). Both are deeply introspective works that I wrote, produced, directed, scored and narrate. In “The Man Who Fears the Rain”, I even make a brief appearance. Both projects cost absolutely nothing to make. They were also filmed primarily in my backyard and with my phone.

As promised, the festival concludes with:

Film 13: Andrew Buckner’s Big Screen Memories 

Synopsis:

A 14-minute and 45-second documentary which focuses on director Buckner’s personal memories and admiration of the movie theater. The piece draws primarily on midnight movie and family experiences to describe the intimate connection he has to said place. It also describes how the recent cinema shutdowns due to Covid-19 have altered his feelings as a filmgoer.

Told with audio narration and using three bits of symbolic video bits, the endeavor is a truly unique project.

(Re)Search my Trash Review of the Film:

http://www.searchmytrash.com/cgi-bin/creditsb.pl?andrewbucknersbigscreenmemories(2020)

30-Second Trailer for the Film:

Film Still:

Additional Information:

Color.

Shot in June of 2020.

The Film in Full:

Film 14: “The Man Who Fears the Rain”

Synopsis:

A lone man ponders his fear of turbulent weather, namely rain, and wonders what it says about his inner-self.

10-Second Trailer for the Film:

Additional Information:

Color.

Runtime: 2 min. 14 sec.

Filmed in July of 2020.

The Film in Full:

* All films included in this festival were used with the kind permission of the directors themselves.

“Salvation” – (Short Film Review)

By Andrew Buckner

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

Stylishly and strikingly directed by Gabrielle Rosson, “Salvation” (2020) brilliantly captures the look and feel of its summer of 1957 setting. Based an original script entitled “Fink” by actor Kris Salvi, the twelve-minute short film never wavers as a masterclass in elegant Martin Scorsese-like mood. Briskly paced and fluently entertaining, the project benefits from the natural on-screen chemistry, likability, and overall marvelous performances from leads Justin Thibault (as Santo) and Salvi (as Salvatore). Further benefitted by often cryptic dialogue, especially in the masterfully done diner sequences which take up the bulk of the effort, Thibault and Salvi command every bit they are in together.

The plot revolves around the consequences of a grim past affecting the present state of long-time friends Salvatore and Santo. Rosson’s rich screenplay takes what could have been a relatively straightforward narrative and gives it intimacy, depth, and complexity. The endeavor never loses its eye on the central figures. Best of all, it smartly develops Salvatore and Santo in a largely banter-driven manner. It is one which is, like the entirety of the attempt, both slick and engaging.

What also helps the work become so magnificent and robust is the colorful, eye-popping cinematography by Manx Magyar. Additionally, Ian Rashkin’s music is superb. It suits the smooth attitude of the exercise terrifically well. Michael Hansen and Rosson’s editing is pitch perfect. The same can be said of Kimmi Monteiro’s set decoration. The fleeting turns from Paul Kandarian as Ciro and Sarah Morse as Bambi are just as effective. The opening, especially the early black and white portion which perfectly reflects the decade appropriate flair of the narrative, and concluding credits are visually remarkable bookends to the undertaking. What is just as noteworthy is the climax of the venture. It is beautiful and violent in equal measure.

In turn, “Salvation” is classy, sophisticated, and brooding. It is a bullseye of talent in front of and behind the camera. Like Rosson’s previous brief picture, “Being Kris Salvi” (2020), it stands as one of the greatest narratives of its type of the year. Similarly, it continues to establish Rosson as a fantastic moviemaker with a firm grasp of the medium. “Salvation” is highly recommended viewing.

“Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part 2” – (Movie Review)

By Andrew Buckner

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

The world is in desperate need of laughter in our increasingly bleak times. Director Richard Griffin and screenwriter Duncan Pflaster provide just that with their latest collaborative effort: the rapid-fire hilarious Undercover Vice: Strapped for Danger Part 2 (2020). Griffin’s latest feature is on par with the massively entertaining original entry in this series, Strapped for Danger (2017), in every way. I cannot recall a single joke in the brisk 88-minute runtime of Undercover Vice that doesn’t land with either a smirk, a chuckle or a slew of knee-slapping guffaws. Even the quieter sight gags, such as one clever moment that utilizes a water cooler at twenty-six minutes into the work, are effective and well-done.

As has become a trademark with Griffin films, the piece has numerous jokes pointed at the private lives of Republicans. While this attribute is successful enough to add a personal political point-of-view to the piece, the endeavor does not linger too long on these bits. It simply adds its own perspective, as is the right of every artist, and moves forward with the tale. In an age where subtly seems to be a forgotten art, such actions are evermore admirable.

What is just as worthy of respect is that there is never a bitter flash in the entirety of the production. There are a few dramatic instances. But they play out in a manner which heightens the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, joyously campy quality of the affair. A subplot involving a central figure getting his grandfather out of a nursing home is where many of these touches are mechanized. Regardless, the unabashedly quirky tone of the picture is never broken.

The plot involves two police officers, Andy (Sean Brown) and Kevin (Chris Fisher), who pose as porn stars to stop a ring of corruption involving a local politician. Pflaster gives this story life with dialogue that is endlessly smart and witty. Furthermore, there is an enviably quick and efficient pace throughout the entirety of the silver screen opus. This is largely due to Griffin’s masterful editing. There not a single unnecessary or overlong scene in the production. Such measures greatly compliment the jovial atmosphere of the project.

What also helps this matter is that every performance herein is gleefully pitch perfect. Brown and Fisher are brilliant with their endearing lead depictions. Sarah Reed is fantastic as Zooey. The same can be said of the respective turns of Sissy O’ Hara as Sister Dymphna and Samantha Acampora as Rebecca. Johnny Sederquist is always enjoyable as the delightfully named Pinata Debris.

Undercover Vice is bigger and grander than its predecessor. Still, its wonderfully intimate with just the right amount of character focus. Every frame is a visual feast for the eye. This is a courtesy of the marvelous, colorful cinematography from John Mosetich. It is as just as much a sonic smorgasbord with some truly excellent musical selections peppering the undertaking. This is especially noteworthy during the superbly constructed end credits. Yet, Griffin’s exercise is just as brilliant in sections such as the near two-minute opener of the chronicle. This sequence uses only voiceover dialogue to describe what is transpiring and the names of those participating in the article.

These elements come together to craft another inspired and dazzling masterpiece in Griffin’s cinematic canon. Undercover Vice is one of the funniest flicks in years. It is also one of 2020’s top-tier movies. Griffin has crafted another triumph of independent storytelling via the visual medium. Strapped for Danger Part 2 is a must-see.