Beverly Hills Film Festival 2018 – First Film Reviews

And the flicks just keep on coming!  For all LA based film fanatics the 18th Annual International Beverly Hills Film Festival taking place Wednesday, April 4th thru Sunday, April 8, 2018 at the famed TCL Chinese Theatre at Hollywood and Highland (go to www.beverlyhillsfilmfestival.com for more info!) is well underway and there are even more movies to be see.  But we’re giving an initial critical look at three films we’ve now seen and the prognosis is positive.  Two docs – one on commerce vs. creativity in the gaming world and one on the history of women in Hollywood – plus a dramatic indie that examines the consequences of ones actions make up the trio of features dissected below.  Check out the critical opinions on Play Money, The Women Who Run Hollywood and Hunting Lands via our continued BHFF 2018 coverage…First Film Reviews.

“Play Money” – Dug how this doc started out as a bit of a David & Goliath cautionary tale and then turns the tables by making the viewer question some of the validity of the moneymaking ventures by the subjects featured.  Meaning the every day dudes selling coins, weapons and characters for MMO’s like World of Warcraft may seem relatively harmless, but it’s when software cheating of game play for profit begins to surface that lines starts to blur.  (And the power hungry gents at Blizzard are not amused!)  In any case Director Anthony Gilmore not only dissects each of his fascinating featured folks deeply, but updates their life years later – a real feat of patience in the doc world.  Not unlike a really good game that everyone can play, this doc has stuff even a n00b can appreciate.

“The Women Who Run Hollywood” – A wonderful and timely doc that even managed to school a lifelong movie geek like me, The Women Who Run Hollywood is a real eye-opener.  Taking things back to before 1920 at a time where women ruled creativity in silent cinema, filmmakers Clara and Julia Kuperberg show how it was actually the better smarter sex that started the film revolution. From ideas planted by perceptive dames (Paramount head-to-be Barry Balaban actually got the idea to start his famed theatre chain by his mother!), to women starting studios before it was a thing (Mary Pickford was a founder of United Artists!) and even the dominance of female screenwriters (Frances Marion wrote over fifty produced films!), the doc shows with moxie how the whole movie thing got started – and how different it is today.  (Put this one in your Hollywood history pipe and smoke it money hungry movie bosses!)

“Hunting Lands” – Hunting Lands was the first time I started off liking a film, then not digging it, then loving it – all in a single cinematic sitting.  An engrossing tale of a recluse war veteran who comes across a girl wrapped in tarp and decides to investigate runs the gamut to provide one unique movie watching experience not easily forgotten.  Part of the genius of Hunting Lands is the sullen and somber turn by lead man Marshall Cook, who all but steals the film.  Though the other notable is Director Zack Wilcox’s firm desire to not give the audience what they want, but instead give them what they didn’t know they needed.  It’s a powerful story-wielding tool that only a few filmmakers can pull off, but Wilcox seems like a helmer with a firm plan in place here.  An exercise in rising and falling emotions both on-screen and off, this is the engaging outing you’ve been hunting for.

So keep checking back for our views on the BHFF 2018 crop of hopefuls and if your in LA this weekend get down to the TCL Chinese Theatre and see the movie magic for your self – go to www.beverlyhillsfilmfestival.com for all the info!


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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