A Preview of Screenland’s Arts and Crafts Film + Beer Festival

by Christian Ramos on August 23, 2017

in Print Reviews,Reviews

The following films are going to be showing at the 5th Annual Arts and Crafts Film + Beer Festival at Screenland Armour. The festival runs August 25th-31st.

Tickets can be purchased at their website by clicking here!

[Rating: Rock Fist Way Down] 

I don’t normally think this, but Temple directed by Michael Barrett is a prime example of a horror movie that would have been better as a found footage piece. I think I just scared myself writing that! The movie follows three Americans, Kate (Natalia Warner), Christopher (Logan Huffman) and James (Brandon Sklenar) and their journey to find a mysterious temple in the forests of Japan. The movie provides us with the tiresome cliche that the temple is a bad place. Obviously nobody listens to the townspeople or their stories, that the people who go into the temple, don’t normally come out the temple. Thankfully, the films run time is short enough where it doesn’t stretch out the scenes in the temple and jumps quickly to the scares. I used cliche once already, but from start to finish, I could tell you the movie’s big twists and how it would end. I’m sure people who like a quick flick will appreciate this, but I did not.

Temple plays Friday August 25th at 8:15 P.M.

[Rating: Minor Rock Fist Down] 

Noelle (Francesca Eastwood) is an art student almost done with school and ready for the next step in her career. She finds her life changing when, after one night of partying she is savagely sexually abused by a fellow classmate. Noelle then seeks revenge not only on the man who rapes her, but also a group of rapists who got away scott-free in an early case. Noelle’s new experience as vigilante causes her to flourish in her art work, but at the turn of the plot, it takes a hard look at how her life is turning out and how it is affecting the lives of those she loves.

Director Natalia Leite’s new film M.F.A. is an interesting look at the issue of campus sexual abuse free from the male gaze but hard on judgement. It successfully shows that college campuses do not do their absolute hardest in preventing cases or punishing the crime.

Noelle has to take matters into her own hands which is fine, but she crosses this line that makes the movie seem almost unrealistic. I feel that there had to have been a better way to show this revenge process she goes through because in the end of it all, she’s not really rewarded on what she has done. Her friend has to suffer because of Noelle’s own story in making her revenge come through in her art and her quest to better her art for classmates and the professor to approve. There is a change in her all right, but not for the better.

It is sad to say that this movie that had a lot of potential, fizzles out in the third act and loses the stability to be an effective thriller. It’s ambitious, I’ll give it that but it wants to accomplish a little too much in a short run time. If something good can come out of this, it is the deeper talks of college campus sexual assault that needs to be taken serious in the public eye and maybe this movie will be another catalyst to open the eyes of administration.

M.F.A. plays Saturday August 26th at 3:15 P.M.

[Rating: Solid Rock Fist Up] 

Directed and produced by married team P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes, Mansfield 66/67 looks into the wild last two years of blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield‘s life through archival footage of her films, magazine clippings and personal interviews with friends who knew her well to understand what happened to her in the end. This all piles into one story connecting Mansfield to Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan. Speculation into Mansfield and LaVey’s personal life is explored as many believe that LaVey put a curse on Mansfield, causing her tragic accident.

This documentary warns viewers that it is “based on rumor and heresy” which can be interpreted as you will. Through interviews with John Waters, Mamie Van Doren and Tippi Hedren who all were either fans of Mansfield or personal friends add at least a bit of credibility to the picture. I was a fan of this myself. I love a good conspiracy documentary and to me this was on the same lines of Room 237 about The Shining. Mansfield 66/67 keeps the shroud of mystery surrounding the actress’s life still a questionable mystery, but plays into the hearts of conspiracy theorist everywhere.

Mansfield 66/67 plays Sunday August 27th at 3:15 P.M.

 [Rating: Minor Rock Fist Up] 

Directed by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy, Zoology comes to the festival from Russia. It tells the story of Natasha (Natalya Pavlenkova) who awakes one morning to find she has grown a tail. Her life is not the best from her mentally abusive co-workers to living with her mother with no intentions on finding love. Her tail however helps her find love with a kind x-ray specialist (Dimitriy Groshev). He looks at her differently compared to the town. To him she isn’t the mythical Devil-woman the old women talk about. Natasha’s life has a chance to turn around and make her better. Zoology is a quirky little comedy. I’m sure Tverdovskiy’s script has a much deeper meaning that is presented on film but it’s never fully explored. This is an interesting entry into the festival and is one that is sure to attract an audience and maybe have some fans who will take in the romance in humor!

Zoology plays Sunday August 27th at 3:30 P.M.

Christian Ramos is a classic film fan, having had the dream to host Turner Classic Movies for years now. He also has a large amount of Oscar trivia in his head, remembers dressing as Groucho Marx one Halloween, and cherishes the moment Julianne Moore liked his tweet.


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