For this year’s Provincetown International Film Festival, I caught a couple of great gems, with my favorite of the bunch being the absolutely phenomenal drama, CODA. A full listing of all the films covered, including recently-reviewed ones from previous festivals, is included below…



Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Cryptozoo is a special brand of strange adult animation, the likes of which would find a perfect home at the doorstep of Adult Swim. Beautiful and trippy 2D animation feels like sketchy illustrations brought to life. The sheer scale they are able to achieve on a limited indie budget is jaw-dropping to behold. The film is one big drug trip, and writer/director Dash Shaw hopes to give you the biggest high of your life. 


After opening with the projector-like hum of a lawn mower, Give or Take finds Martin (Jamie Effros, who co-wrote the script) returning to reclaim his father’s home in Cape Cop after his untimely passing. His dad, who lived with partner Ted (Norbert Leo Butz) for years, couldn’t have anticipated that his son and his lover would clash over funeral arrangements, or act possessive about the house Ted now calls home. A sassy real estate agent (Cheri Oteri, in a hilarious key role) pressures Martin to sell the home amid a “sizzling market,” but would his father want it just going to the highest bidder? The hustle and bustle of Martin’s city escape is abandoned in lieu of scaled-back familial drama. Supporting roles, like a neighborhood kid (Jaden Waldman) who belts “I Shot the Sheriff” in a flooded trash bin, add personality and charm. Both Ted and Martin, in their shared sadness, learn new things about the man they both loved, and how to deal with his absence. It’s a simplistic movie about acceptance, forgiveness, and grief, and one that was likely a deeply personal story for writer/director Paul Riccio.


What would you do with your last day on earth? It’s an intriguing question in which How It Ends occasionally finds clever and interesting answers. This is a different approach to apocalypse cinema than what I’ve seen before. It has very charming elements and presents concepts worthy of further exploration, but it never takes off in an explosive way. Seeing Logan Marshall Green on a bridge holding puppies is worth the watch.


Full review at the link.


The only word that comes to mind is “adorable.” What a sweet and pure movie! I was expecting to hate it due to the Zoom format. It is very well-done and the ending made me smile. Natalie Morales does a terrific job directing a film that, on the surface, could’ve been super boring. This is the most I’ve liked Mark Duplass since Creep.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Filled to the brim with strange imagery and impeccable direction, I found this one to be particularly baffling. It charts a family of four (Paul Schuyler, Jade Schuyler, Quinn Schuyler, Shaw Schuyler) isolating themselves while a virus that spreads through the internet wreaks havoc on the world around them. The sickness begins to leak its way into the family unit, and the lines blur between reality and mind games. Some of this made me laugh in its absurdity, like one of the sons insisting he’d been smuggling his phone usage via “3G networks at best!” Beauty comes where you least expect it though, and director Paul Schuyler clearly has an eye for the macabre. Juxtaposing scenes of a saw on a table with wood sliding and one of the kids holding a knife while cutting bread made me uneasy. Red River Road is a completely bizarre pandemic movie that only reveals its hand in the film’s frenetic final act. It’s here where it embraces horror dead-on, and I loved the direction it took. It left me wishing it had pursued this route just a tad earlier, because the suspense is immaculately executed.


(Written by Allison Brown) I expected so much more from Searchers than Director Pacho Velez had to offer. The documentary is constructed from a mesh of three different pieces. The first depicts overly zoomed in shots of singles of all ages, genders, and sexual orientation swiping through dating apps, including Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge, Match, Grindr, and Seeking Arrangement. They offer commentary and actions for film crew to complete off camera. I couldn’t help but laugh at one elderly dater’s quote, “the key is to look at the worst photograph because that’s the most accurate.” The second presents landscape snippets of New York couples living life; one comedic segment in particular notes individuals glued to their phones. The third (or truly an extension of the first) involves general interviews about dating experience. I related most to a discussion about men who use the line, “what are you looking for,” as that is perhaps one of my biggest pet peeves. A great segment in which a young man describes a spreadsheet tracking demographical statistics of his dating success was cut far too short, lasting no more than a couple of minutes. For six months, he kept track of his dates’ app origin, race, hometown, job, and number of dates to provide a greater lens into his perfect match. Searchers would have been greatly improved by a narrator providing analysis and outside interpretation. It felt too casual, suffered from a bloated runtime, and honestly, didn’t hold my attention.


Shit & Champagne is pure John Waters, 70’s-style kitsch and camp. Poop jokes, quotable dialogue, hammy over-acting performances, and a playful but ridiculous atmosphere throughout—Shit & Champagne is equal parts outrageous and so-bad-it’s-good. Drag Race All Stars winner Alaska Thunderfucks shows up in a memorable smaller role as a Mall-Wart manager. Every member of the ensemble delivers consistently exaggerated performances that I can only imagine would be uproarious in the energetic comfort of a theater setting. Take a bow, D’Arcy Drollinger, for giving us a memorable cult instant-classic that will appeal to lovers of LGBT camp a la Polyester.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link.


Full review at the link. This is still my favorite film of 2021 so far since watching it for the SXSW Film Festival.


Full review at the link.

The festival was an interesting mix of indie movies, many of which have been picked up for wide distribution already. I was very happy they allowed a virtual aspect, because I would not have been able to cover it otherwise. For more information about the 2021 Provincetown International Film Festival, please visit the official website.

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