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Red Rover

Canada 2018
produced by
Duane Murray, Shane Belcourt, Michelle John, Chad Williams (executive), Mike MacMillan (executive) for The Story Attic
directed by Shane Belcourt
starring Kristian Bruun, Cara Gee, Meghan Heffern, Morgan David Jones, Joshua Peace, Anna Hopkins, Sugith Varughese, Laura Wilson, Amanda Armagon, Richard Lee, Helen Johns, Cody Don Reader, Ryan MacDonald, Oscar Matthews, Glenn Brooks Slaughter, Sonia Van Meter
written by Duane Murray, Shane Belcourt, music by Anthony William Wallace

review by
Mike Haberfelner

When Damon (Kristian Bruun) gets fired from his job as a geologist for doing exactly nothing wrong, it's just a particularly bad day in a bad life - bad life inasmuch as he's still sharing his house with his ex Beatrice (Meghan Heffern), living in the basement, and constantly hears (or even sees) her having sex with her buff new boyfriend Mark (Morgan David Jones). So when he's combing the beach that day with a metal detector and runs into a girl in a spacesuit, Phoebe (Cara Gee), who hands him a flyer that promotes the new Mars program, that's actually the highlight of his day already, just because Phoebe is nice to him - and he seriously thinks about applying for the program, even if the choosing program for the first Mars explorers seems more like a reality TV show than anything else. But the Mars program promises to leave earth with just three fellow earthlings for the red planet to never return - which seems to be just what the doctor has ordered. But when Damon tries to make his application video, he realises he's crap at promoting himself - which is when he runs into Phoebe again, and she agrees to help him make a hip video that's sure to win over audiences. In the course of this, the two get really close, which ends in them having sex ... and then Phoebe just takes off, and when Damon finally manages to track her down, she doesn't want to have anything to do with him anymore - which leaves Damon shattered ... and also stranded in a way, because without her help he'll never be able to finish his application - until he receives a call from the Mars program congratulating him for passing the first test, as obviously Phoebe has sent off the video without his knowledge. So Damon's called in and passes all subsequent tests with flying colours - but the closer he (figuratively) gets to Mars, the less sure he is if there isn't something that might hold him back ...


Now I'm the first to admit that in general I'm not the biggest fan of modern romantic comedies, as many of them are too formulaic and too sugar-coated - but this one gets it right: Basically, while the film's premise - a chance to travel to Mars - seems to be a bit far-fetched for its time, it works bloody well as a metaphor for the movie's main character's state of mind, as does Phoebe being dressed almost exclusively in a spacesuit for the first half of the film - and both also works to make Red Rover more quirky than your usual genre fair, and gives the main characters a certain kind of eccentricity that's never exploited just for the cheap effect but treated with respect. And in that light, even most of the supporting characters (with exceptions) come across as genuine and not just caricatures. And a subtle directorial effort really helps to ground the film, as do very natural central performances. In all, even if you don't like romantic comedies as a genre, you'll probably enjoy this one.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD