The sincerity of The Homestretch is certainly never in doubt. Depicting the plight of three homeless teens in Chicago, Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s documentary interweaves the personal stories with various facts and statistics highlighting the widespread nature of the issue. Unfortunately, despite its pure intentions, The Homestretch never really manages to succeed to be truly engaging, regardless of the clear warmth of the three featured youths.
Written and directed by Jon Watts with co-writer Christopher Ford back in 2014, Clown has been in the offing for some time now. Originally conceived in 2010 as a fake trailer for a forthcoming feature attraction fictively produced by contemporary horror genre guru Eli Roth, Watts’ first feature length production is a mixed bag. Blending various elements of body horror with the basic thematic structure of a domestic comedy, Clown is more silly than it is scary.
Mark of the Witch (also known as Another), written and directed by Jason Bognacki, is described as a horror fantasy film. It tells the story of Jordyn, played by Paulie Rojas, who is confronted with her Aunt Ruth’s (Nancy Wolfe) attempted suicide just minutes after blowing out her birthday candles, and soon discovers a dark secret about herself. Jordyn just wanted to know who she is and where she comes from, which her Aunt Ruth acknowledges is a perfectly normal thing for anyone to wonder about.
You may be wondering why you are reading a review for a film initially slated for release in 2014, after its première at the Los Angeles film festival, in the here and now of 2016. It tells us a lot about contemporary cinema and the struggle independent films face in finding distribution that this well-made film has waited two years for a wider release when there have been countless lesser films clogging our screens in the intervening time. It has been with the recent support of Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY that Echo Park has found a cinematic release in LA and New York as well as an international release through Netflix and, if you are looking for something different to the sometimes saccharine cuteness of US indie romances, I would encourage you to seek this film out.