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A preview of the 24-hour livestreamed film festival… and something extra?

An interesting press release showed up in my inbox today, announcing a virtual film festival taking place in March. The Unnamed Footage Festival, which normally takes place in San Francisco, typically showcases “a unique and often obscure selection of found footage horror, first-person POV cinema, and faux documentary.” This year, though, instead of being held at their typical venues, the Unnamed Footage Festival will be what organizers are calling a “24-hour long webathon.”

UFF24hr will be a live, one-time-only, day-long marathon of weird and exclusive in-world camera features and shorts, alongside Q&As with filmmakers and industry professionals. Beginning on March…


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A review of the new film, on demand now

Look: it’s no secret that Los Angeles is experiencing a major homelessness crisis. As of last month, an estimated 66,000 people are currently homeless in Los Angeles County in the middle of a deadly pandemic and some of the worst economic fallout in many generations.

Paradise Cove, a new erotic thriller directed by Martin Guigui, attempts to reckon with that context, and in doing so mishandles it in nearly every way. The film is about Knox and Tracey Bannett (Todd Grinnell and Mena Suvari, respectively), a couple who move into Knox’s mother’s beach house in Malibu in order to renovate…


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A review of the new romance, streaming at the Reel Love Film Festival this week

This week, leading up through Valentine’s Day, I’ll be reviewing films out of the Reel Love Film Festival. Reel Love is a new virtual fest “dedicated to honoring the future of love on screen and its profound cinematic legacy thus far.”

Tim Sutton has an eye for compelling, evocative imagery. Directing from his own script, he constantly finds moments in his new film Funny Face that are so acutely-observed, so bewitching, that they seem to slip the film out of reality and into a more dreamlike, fairytale state. A man in a grotesque rictus mask and a woman in a…


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A review of the new black comedy, at the Reel Love Film Fest this week

This week, leading up through Valentine’s Day, I’ll be reviewing films out of the Reel Love Film Festival. Reel Love is a new virtual fest “dedicated to honoring the future of love on screen and its profound cinematic legacy thus far.”

The Reel Love Film Festival’s LGBTQ+-centric feature selection is somewhat lacking for a festival whose aim is to show “the future of love on screen.” Aside from (excellent) closing-night selection Shiva Baby, about a bisexual girl struggling to keep her life together during a particularly chaotic shiva, the only other full-length film tagged as LGBTQ+ on the festival’s schedule…


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A review of the new romantic drama, showing this week at the Reel Love Film Festival

This week, leading up through Valentine’s Day, I’ll be reviewing films out of the Reel Love Film Festival. Reel Love is a new virtual fest “dedicated to honoring the future of love on screen and its profound cinematic legacy thus far.”

Writer/director Sabrina Doyle’s debut film Lorelei is a strange one. Part post-prison drama, part romance, and part class commentary, Lorelei is messy and unfocused, spending far too much time on some parts of its story and giving others the short shrift. …


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A review of the new docuseries, on Netflix February 10th

A press release for Netflix’s surefire smash Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel describes the show as “the first season in a new documentary series that deconstructs the mythology and mystery surrounding infamous locations in contemporary crime.” That’s a crucial thing to keep in mind while watching director Joe Berlinger’s addictive show, which ends up being a brilliantly-constructed cautionary tale about the genre as a whole. …


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A comprehensive look at James Dean biopics, for his 90th birthday

James Dean would have turned 90 today, had he not been killed in a tragic car crash at the age of 24. His life was cut short just as his star was beginning to rise; only East of Eden, which was his first starring role, had been released when he died. Rebel Without a Cause hit theaters less than a month later; his final film, Giant, was still in production when he died and would not come out for another year.

It’s hard to say exactly why, in death, James Dean became the icon that he did. Something about his…


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A review of the new film, on demand now

It’s always fun when movie posters make a leap to connect a new film to previous audience favorites without being clear about who, exactly, forms the connecting tissue. The poster for new thriller Horizon Line announces that the film is “from the Creators of 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Shallows,” two movies I love a lot, so before watching I did a bit of digging to figure out who said “creators” are.

In this case, it means that Horizon Line was written by two of the writers of 10 Cloverfield Lane, Matthew Stuecken and Josh Campbell… the two 10CL writers…


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A review of the dark and gritty fairy cartoon adaptation, on Netflix Jan. 22nd

About halfway through the six-episode first season of Fate: The Winx Saga, I found myself imagining the pitch meeting that must have led to this live-action adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon. “Remember Winx Club, that cartoon about fairies that kids liked in the mid-00s?” someone must have said. “What if… this time… they curse, drink, smoke, and fuck?”

“…What’s our imagined audience here?” the Netflix executive must have replied. “Is this a show for children? Or are we trying to please grown-up fans of the original cartoon?”

“Maybe you didn’t hear me,” the guy pitching must have said. “They’re…


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A review of the new thriller, on demand now

A Jane Austen quote opens new thriller Don’t Tell A Soul: “What strange creatures brothers are.” It’s from Mansfield Park, and in context it’s about men being unable to communicate their feelings to one another; here, in this film, it’s rather more literal. The brothers in question are teenage delinquent Matt (Fionn Whitehead) and his younger brother Joey (Jack Dylan Grazer), two kids trying to survive in a world that seems to have forgotten about them. Their mother (Mena Suvari) is sick with cancer and their father is dead, so all they have is each other.

One day, Matt tells…

Eric Langberg

Interests: bad horror movies, queering mainstream films, Classic Hollywood.

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