Missing Is A Slow Burn Thriller With A Surprising Twist [Fantastic Fest]

Missing, also called Sagasu, delivers a subdued thriller playing at Fantastic Fest, where even the violent moments are unnaturally quiet. Directed by Shinzô Katayama and written by Katayama, Kazuhisa Kotera, and Ryô Katada, Missing starts with a father, Harada (Jirô Satô), struggling with his daughter, Kaede (Aoi Itô), after the death of his wife. In debt, Harada pursues a serial killer for a reward, but Kaede searches for him when he disappears. Filled with unexpected turns, Missing expands its thriller with drama, moments of levity, and a philosophical current regarding life and death.

Unidentified Objects: Poignant Trip Displays Pain And Joy Of The Outsider

From Dutch to Next Exit, I enjoy a good road trip movie. Even moreso when it takes an approach that I have not seen. Unidentified Objects, directed by Juan Felipe Zuleta and written by Zuleta and Leland Frankel, playing at Fantastic Fest, delivers. The story, during the pandemic, follows Peter (Matthew Jeffers), a testy little person offered money by Winona (Sarah Hay), a sex worker determined to keep her date of departure with aliens, who needs his car. Unidentified Objects focuses on the road trip themes of growth and shines as a poignant movie that makes you look inward and upward.

The Witch 2: The Other One [Fantasia Festival ’22 Review]

The Witch 2: The Other One (also known as The Witch: Part 2. The Other One) playing at Fantasia Festival, expands on the story in the first film and adds more of the fight sequences that shocked viewers. Written and directed by Park Hoon-jung the film adds a new overpowered girl to the mix. But the girl (Shin Sia) does not need her hands to deliver a beatdown that her opponent’s ancestors feel. Adding onto the story that riveted audiences with more comedy, booming action, and world expansion, The Witch 2: The Other One surpasses the first film in many ways. 

Butterfly in the Sky [Tribeca Review]

There are shows from childhood that shape us for better or worse. Butterfly in the Sky, directed by Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb, looks at the origins and struggles to bring the beloved PBS show Reading Rainbow to television. The documentary, aired at Tribeca, interviews the crew, educators, children from the show, and show’s host and star, LeVar Burton. Reading Rainbow inspired children to enjoy reading, and that impact is indelibly embedded in the foundation of countless people. Butterfly in the Sky takes us down memory lane and shows us what was happening behind those joyous scenes. 

Jethica [SXSW ’22] Review

and drama wrapped in a  short 70-minute runtime. Jethica follows Elena (played by Callie Hernandez) as she helps Jessica (Ashlee Denise Robinson) deal with her stalker, Kevin (Will Madden). The situation becomes morbid and dark comedy as they seek assistance from beyond the grave to dispose of Kevin. Jethica keeps its pace, does not bloat the runtime, and stays unnerving and comical. 

Sell/Buy/Date [SXSW ’22] Review

Sell/Buy/Date, a docudrama mixed in comedy, premiered at SXSW Festival. It stars Sarah Jones, with a story by her and David Goldblum that looks at the sex industry via the intersections of privilege. The documentary or, as Sarah Jones calls it “unorthodoc” is about Sarah Jones trying to make the documentary based on her play of the same name. Entertaining, honest in Sarah Jones’s confusion, Sell/Buy/Date skillfully touches on the main points regarding sex work, sex trafficking and decriminalization.

Emergency [Sundance ’22 Review]

Emergency starts as a comedy but spirals into a dramatic film that leaves you filled with dread as it progresses. Directed by Carey Williams and written by KD Davila, Emergency is about a night of would-be partying spiraling into a comedy of errors that leads to a potentially dangerous outcome. With strong directing and dynamic acting from the trio of men, Emergency tackles the terror of racism in an engrossing way. It does not seek to find a resolution but demonstrates how that unwarranted terror can have a lasting impact.