That's a wrap! 2019 Cinetopia Film Festival movie reviews

The past two weekends, I was able to attend the Cinetopia Film Festival, in both Ann Arbor and Royal Oak. This was my 6th year attending the festival, and it continues to be one of my favorite movie events to attend.

Originally I planned on attending 23 movies, but that number got cut down to 21 because of illness (I've been sick with a cough/cold for the past 9 days or so). Still more than I saw in previous years, because I tended to always be out of town the second weekend of the festival.

I'm breaking this up into three sections: favorites, least favorites, and overall ratings.

Them that Follow movie
Alice Englert, in Them That Follow

Favorites of the fest:
  • The Farewell. I saw this my second day of the fest, and Awkwafina was great in it. It should be out in theaters mid-July sometime. 
  • Wild Rose. This should be out mid-June. Fun story about a Glasgow country singer who wants to move to Nashville and be a famous singer.
  • Killing God (Matar a Dios). Weird screwball comedy with a crazy ending. 
  • 93Queen. This was maybe my favorite movie of the festival. It followed Orthodox Jewish women who wanted to create their own ambulance corps, since the men's corps would not allow women to work for them. If you have PBS on your cable line-up, you can find it here. (Detroit area: must have "DPTV Passport" to watch)
  • Bite Me. Another screwball comedy that focused on a vampire who starts to date the IRS agent that is auditing her and her "church." The director was present for a Q&A after the movie, too, which was fun; the movie does not yet have distribution, I believe, but you can currently stream it on Amazon here.
  • Them That Follow. I wanted to see this because Jim Gaffigan was in it, but ironically, he has a very small part in it; Walter Goggins (TV's Vice Principals) and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) steal the show here. Should be in theaters in August.
  • The Third Wife. Interesting movie that follows a man's third wife (who is only 14 years old) in Vietnam in the late 1800s. Already out in some areas, should be out soon nationwide but probably in indie theaters, is my guess.
The Third Wife movie
The Third Wife

Least favorites of the fest:
  • Styx. This was the second movie I saw at the fest, and had almost no dialogue. The Third Wife did not either, but was great at showing rather than telling; Styx unfortunately failed at this. 
  • Time Trial. I'll admit I took a short nap during this film, but I still wasn't a huge fan of it. The premise was interesting: it follows a professional cyclist who got kicked out a while back for doping, however was recently allowed to participate in the Tour de France once again. However, the execution was rather boring. Currently free with a Prime membership, if you want to put yourself through it ... (click here).
To Dust movie Matthew Broderick
To Dust, with Matthew Broderick

Every movie I saw + my ratings:
  1. Before You Know It. This was the opening movie of the festival, in Ann Arbor, and we were able to experience a Q&A with the two main actresses afterwards. Overall a cute movie about a family, that reminded me a bit of The Royal Tenenbaums. 3.5/5 stars. 
  2. Styx. As I mentioned above, I was not a huge fan of this movie. 2/5
  3. The Farewell. This film was great, and I'm hoping to see it again once it hits theaters. 4/5.
  4. Wild Rose. I overall enjoyed this movie. 3.5/5
  5. Killing God. This movie was much quirkier than I thought it would be, and it kept me guessing. 3.5/5
  6. Midnight in Paris. This documentary followed teens in Flint (MI) as they prepared for their prom. Parts had unexpected humor in it, but overall it meandered a lot. 2.5/5
  7. To Dust. Matthew Broderick starred in this one, and I originally was going to give it 2.5/5, but a lot of its one-liners stuck with me after. 3/5
  8. Time Trial. Wasn't a fan of this one. 2/5
  9. 93Queen. This is my favorite film I saw at the festival, and I almost didn't get to see it; I ran from Time Trial to this one and the theater was already packed. 4.5/5
  10. Welcome to Commie High. I left this one early because I was tired and needed to get home, but from what I saw, I'd give it 3.5/5. 
  11. Complicity. The story here was interesting, and I'll admit I took a nap midway through, but I'd give it 2.5/5. 
  12. After So Many Days. I had heard mixed reviews about this one going in, but it was actually rather charming. 3.5/5
  13. Fiction & Other Realities. On LetterboxD, someone compared this to Once, which I'd agree with. 3.5/5
  14. Gaza. Interesting look at the Israel/Palestine conflict from the Palestine side. 2.5/5
  15. Bite Me. Often hilarious film which I hope gets distribution soon. 4/5
  16. Amateurs. Not as funny as I thought it would be, from the trailer, but it had a sweet ending. Free on Amazon Prime, currently. 2.5/5
  17. Well Groomed. The pups in this film were very cute, and I had no idea this was such a huge business. 3.5/5
  18. Them That Follow. I love crazy religious films and this one was all that and more. 4/5
  19. Midnight Traveler. Interesting documentary about a family who escapes from Afghanistan. IMDb says it will be out on September 18 in the U.S. 3.5/5
  20. The Third Wife. See comments above - worth seeing if you can find it at an indie theater. 3.5/5
  21. The Witch Hunters. Very creative at times, but overall could have been better. 3/5

Have you ever been to a film festival? If so, what was your favorite part of it?

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