Jay Paulson

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Black Rock Review


Excellent

First-time filmmaker Aselton creates one of the most assured thrillers in recent memory, throwing finely developed characters into a very nasty situation that makes us squirm in our seats. It's also a rare film that acknowledges how difficult it actually is to kill someone: no one dies as easily as they do in most Hollywood horror movies, and the psychological nastiness is even worse than the physical stuff.

The title refers to an isolated island off the coast of New England, where Sarah (Bosworth) is planning a reunion camping trip with her two childhood pals, Lou and Abby (Bell and Aselton). The problem is that Abby hasn't spoken to Lou for six years, following an unforgivable incident. So Sarah has to trick them into coming along, then convince them to bury the hatchet for a weekend on the island they used to visit as little girls. Just as they've reached a peaceful accord, they run into three cute young hunters (Bouvier, Paulson and Richardson). But after an evening of alcohol and flirting, things take a very dark turn, and the boys start hunting the girls through the woods. They may be armed, but these feisty women know their way round the island a lot better.

Even though the back-story is essentially very simple, it adds to the dynamic between these three women, creating characters we are interested in right from the start. And their dialog is smart and offhanded, bringing out lively humour, dark emotions and the tensions between these strong-minded women. Opposite them, the three ex-soldiers are also intriguing because they show signs of post-traumatic stress. So the girls know they will never give up looking for them: they can't just hide, they have to fight back if they want to survive.

Continue reading: Black Rock Review

Black Rock Trailer


Abby, Lou and Sarah are three girlfriends who all need a break in their lives and what better than a girly vacation to an isolated island near Maine where they can relax, reconnect and generally have a great time. Things take an unexpected turn when three hunters appear near their campsite, but when Lou recognises one of them, Henry, as the brother of someone they went to school with, Abby invites him and his friends Derek and Alex to join them on their vacation. After too much alcohol, Abby starts to flirt heavily with Henry despite Sarah's reminders that she is in fact married. When the two of them find themselves alone, Abby rejects Henry's advances and he starts to get violent. Abby hits him with a rock to protect herself but inadvertently hurts him more than she meant to. When Derek and Alex discover what has happened, they set out to shoot the girls down in a vicious revenge mission while Abby, Lou and Sarah attempt to escape the island while doing whatever it takes to survive. 

This killer thriller could be set to be a massive hit with the hunt and kill style subject matter always being a big favourite on the big screen. Directed by and starring Katie Aselton ('The Freebie') and written by Mark Duplass ('The Puffy Chair', 'Jeff, Who Lives at Home'), 'Black Rock' is recommended to all fans of 'Wilderness', 'Cabin in the Woods' and 'Severance' esque flicks and will be released on May 17th 2013.

Director: Katie Aselton

Continue: Black Rock Trailer

Imaginary Heroes Review


Very Good
Considering that Imaginary Heroes starts off with a teenager's suicide and then follows what happens to his family in the following year, it's a surprisingly energetic film that refuses to send its characters through either easy therapeutic resolution or cinematically pretty depression. This is more about how people grieve in reality, how they keep on moving through the days and plowing through the grief. And though it can't avoid all the potential clichés that come into its path, this is a tale of suburban angst that can easily stand beside works like American Beauty and The Ice Storm, if not surpass them completely.

The feature directing debut of Dan Harris, the scriptwriting wunderkind behind X2 and a batch of upcoming superhero flicks (from Superman to The Fantastic Four), Imaginary Heroes is a breathtakingly assured piece of work. Notable are the shimmering cinematography and unusually nuanced performances from both veteran actors we tend to take for granted and several fresh, younger faces. It starts off with Matt Travis (Kip Pardue), a high school swimming legend who always hated swimming and so shoots himself in the head one night. Although we only really see him in retrospect, talked about in narration by his younger brother, Matt (Emile Hirsch), it's quickly obvious that Matt was the shining star of the family and so everything quickly goes to pot in his absence. The dad (Jeff Daniels) collapses into an unshaven, sullen drunk, and the sister (Michelle Williams) dashes back to the safe haven of college. Matt - the film's closest thing to a protagonist - buries everything deep, hiding all emotions from his best friend Kyle (Ryan Donowho) and girlfriend, breaking up with her after she keeps asking how he's feeling and why his body is covered in bruises.

Continue reading: Imaginary Heroes Review

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Jay Paulson Movies

Black Rock Movie Review

Black Rock Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Aselton creates one of the most assured thrillers in recent memory, throwing finely...

Black Rock Trailer

Black Rock Trailer

Abby, Lou and Sarah are three girlfriends who all need a break in their lives...

Imaginary Heroes Movie Review

Imaginary Heroes Movie Review

Considering that Imaginary Heroes starts off with a teenager's suicide and then follows what happens...

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