2022’s iteration of Cinejoy Film Festival held a handful of interesting entires; compiled here is our full coverage of the fest, including a link to our intern’s full review on Continue. Check it out after the jump!

ASHGROVE

It’s a future not so different from our own, where a water pandemic is raging. A virus feeding on oxygen molecules has killed millions of people, making drinking water toxic, and it is too late for a vaccine. The human race, on the precipice of extinction, has but one last hope: the brilliant mind of water chemistry professor Jennifer (Amanda Brugel). If this premise catches one’s eye, the beginning of Ashgrove is almost too good to be true. However, the film soon turns into one big marriage counseling session with Jennifer’s husband, Jason (Jonas Chernick). The eventual conclusion is half-baked and abrupt, though a late-in-the-game twist actually caught me by surprise. Ashgrove has a brilliant concept—if only the script itself was on par with the story and the surprisingly excellent acting.

BALLOON ANIMAL

This is one of those films that doesn’t feel as if it has anything unique to say about its explicitly singular world. How can one make a film about life in the circus and coming-of-age so boring? As young purple-haired Poppy, Katherine Waddell undoubtedly does her best. When a relationship is hatched between an awkward-but-cute local boy from the town who seems starstruck at seeing an out-of-towner as the gas station, I simply did not care. Poppy has the potential to be the next assistant manager of the circus, but she is in the midst of an existential crisis? Balloon Animal features Poppy forming creatures from balloons multiple times; if one desires the beauty and spectacle of typical circus-related fare, it is sadly absent here amongst the spotty acting performances.

CONTINUE

Full review at the link.

MUCH ADO

Performed like a high school play with attractive pedestrian actors trying their damndest at selling the material, Much Ado is yet another adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic that we probably did not need. Apart from taking place in a modern setting with a banging soundtrack (the one and only aspect of the film I actually enjoyed), absolutely nothing else here is singular or distinct from any version of this story one can already find at their very own fingertips. Ironically directed by the Shakespeare sisters, Anna-Elizabeth and Hillary Shakespeare, Much Ado is simply an indie-movie take on the material that feels self-indulgent, and without actual purpose. In conclusion, thy sucketh.

That’s the end of our coverage on this year’s Cinejoy Film Festival. Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out the festival’s official website for more information about its film lineup!

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