Hammer to Nail Review: Circle

(The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival started May 14 and ran all the way until June 7. HtN was on the scene and a festival wrap-up is coming later this week. In the meantime, check out this review of Circle, the latest from filmmakers Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione).

Circle is the most fun you can have watching a diverse group of strangers get systematically executed. Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione crafted a shrewd script for their Twilight Zone inspired morality tale about fifty people who are forced to stop being polite and start getting judgmental.

It begins with everyone returning to consciousness after a blackout, to discover that they are standing in a circle, facing each other, in a dark room. They soon learn that they cannot move too much or try to step off the red dots under their feet, lest a machine in the middle of the room electrocutes them. And that’s not even the bad news. Every two minutes, the machine also kills one person at random. They can’t stop the death, but they do have the power to choose the next victim by popular vote. There are other rules and nuances that they ascertain along the way, all of which play into their harrowing discussion about who should be the next to die and if “winning” this sadistic game is even an option…

Read the rest on Hammer to Nail!

Hammer to Nail Review: Sleeping with Other People

(The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival started May 14 and runs all the way until June 7. Keep an eye on HtN for several reviews like this one, the latest from Writer/director Leslye Headland).

Writer/director Leslye Headland’s Sleeping with Other People is a Rom-Com that exists in the space between sincerity and satire. It’s hard to top Headland’s own description: “When Harry Met Sally for assholes.” But if you were truly an asshole, you’d be annoyed by the film’s frequent moments of earnestness. Moreover, fans of that saccharine, genre-defining film might have trouble empathizing with Headland’s deeply flawed protagonists. With its sexual implicitness, casual swearing, and unabashed recreational drug use, Sleeping with Other People is more akin to the films of Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller than to Rob Reiner…

Read the rest on Hammer to Nail!

Hammer to Nail Review: Glassland

(The 2015 Seattle International Film Festival started May 14 and runs all the way until June 7. Keep an eye on HtN for several reviews like this one, the latest from Irish filmmaker Gerard Barret).

Irish filmmaker, Gerard Barrett  follows up his acclaimed first feature Pilgrim Hill with Glassland, another peek into the hardships of life in working-class Dublin. John (Jack Reynor, Transformers: Age of Extinction) is a young man struggling to hold his family together thanks to his mother, Jean’s (Toni Collette), full-blown alcoholism. She drinks like it’s her job and so it becomes John’s job to keep her alive and the family above water. He occasionally attempts to blow off steam in the company of his best friend, Shane (Will Poulter), who is going through some heavy stuff of his own regarding his estranged newborn son. Glassland is an incredibly bleak and intense 90 minutes that haunts you for days after. The lasting impression it leaves is especially remarkable considering the budget and time constraints under which Barrett worked…

Read the rest on Hammer to Nail!