Boned (2015)

A dog sitter becomes unwittingly entangled in a dognapping scheme with a handsome doctor and an S&M mistress.

Written and directed by Laura Lee Bahr, this film has a little bit of everything.  The characters she creates here feel like maybe exaggerated versions of real people one would meet in Hollywood, people looking for their shining moment, their 15 minutes of fame.  They sometimes feel like exaggerated versions or stereotypes, but most of the time, they feel like actual people.  The film takes these people and puts them in crazy situations where they have no options but to do things most people wouldn’t even think of doing.  At the same time, outside of the dognapping and a few other events, the film is filled with regular, normal moments which anchor the story in reality and create a counter-balance the WTF moments.  Laura Lee Bahr weaves a story that should not make any sense (a dominatrix, goth kids, dog sitters, botox parties, …) yet it does.  She manages to take a few crazy ideas along with some odd characters and makes them entertaining and engaging.

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Island Soldier (2017) [Hot Docs 2017]

Micronesians are a big part of the US military forces but get very little in terms of recognition or assurance that they will be taken care of if and when things take a bad turn.  Here the Nena family is followed through their sons’ and their struggles and joy with the process of them joining the American military, going abroad, training, going into service, et al.

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The Ottoman Lieutenant (2016)

Following a lecture by a handsome missionary doctor, a frustrated young American nurse decides to go to Turkey to deliver much needed supplies and her late brother’s truck.  As war looms and dangers abound, she is assigned an Ottoman Lieutenant to protect her on her journey to the faraway hospital.  During their journey, friendship blooms and once at the hospital, romance is in the air.

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Dig Two Graves (2014)

Following her brother’s accidental death, a girl gets involved with the local black sheep and learns a thing or two about her family, the past, and revenge.

Written by Hunter Adams and Jeremy Phillips and directed by the former, Dig Two Graves is an ok drama with a few horror elements that goes at a decent pace. The film has decent characters, decent dialogue; it’s all decent, but it’s all a bit bland. The film has some interesting aspects, especially the family that lives in the woods, but it’s not quite enough to make it a stellar film or even a really interesting one, which is too bad as everyone involved is seemingly talented and capable of more.

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Logan (2017)

Logan, the public’s beloved Wolverine, has aged and isn’t doing so great.  As he holds onto life for some reason and is looking for a reason to be.  His later life is not filled with action, something he seems to have settled into.  That is until a woman comes asking for his help and a chain of events leads to him having to help a young girl in desperate need of guidance and assistance.

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The Devil’s Candy (2015)

After buying their dream house in Texas, The Hellmans, a painter, his wife, and their daughter, must face human and supernatural threats.  As the father finds an incredible muse and must paint, his daughter and wife deal with lurking dangers.

Written and directed by Sean Byrne, The Devil’s Candy is a strong follow up to his debut feature The Loved Ones, showing that his talent was not fluke and showing that the man can craft a good horror story with truly creepy and even scary elements.  Here he creates an interesting family who is traditional in one way and not in others; they are a cool, artsy family with a love to heavy metal.  Their differences set them apart from the usual cinematic families who encounter evil in their new homes.  Also, the way the evil comes into their lives is original and works well in the film’s context.  His characters work well together, giving them more to care about, more to worry about, more to lose.  His writing and directing create a film with a family the viewer can identify with and care for.  Also, his human antagonist is one that has presence, who oozes creepiness while playing in the potential supernatural angles.

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