Remnants – David Ugarte
Homicide detectives Fenter (Hugh McRae Jr.) and Chinaski (Terrance Roundtree) team up with no nonsense Medical Examiner Poe (Tonya Adamski) to investigate a grisly Phoenix homicide. There’s gore oozing everywhere and the responding rookie officer Hunt (Reavis Dorsey) is about as helpful as a roll of Quilted Northern in a septic tank explosion. As the team slogs through the ghastly goo, Fenter keeps yammering about his theory on post-decapitation brain activity. Supernatural forces are most definitely at work as the fearless team of investigators get a demonic butt whoopin. Another excellent offering remnants1from director Ugarte who (once again) is able to present an all too familiar image (a suburban Phoenix stucco) and creatively distort it into a skewed, dramatic, creepy and terrifying place that transcends from the familiar to the unworldly. Props to relative AZ indie newcomer Terrance Roundtree for an absolutely scene devouring performance. Final Take – Sticking around.  (Watch it here)

6s-and-7s6’s & 7’s – Zachary Trussell
When Bailey (Chris Ryan) arrives at the post-prom makeout location selected by his prom date, he discovers her lifeless body at the bottom of a hill. Tossing her in the trunk of his car, he then calls his pals Jack, George and Kyle (Mathew Wetzel, Jesse Callahan, Christopher Baker) for assistance. The dim-witted quartet sits in an all night diner and half heartedly try to figure out who killed the girl, and what they should do with her dead body. The jokes are weird and slightly off color in this dialog laden whodunit. Final Take – Because 7 8 9. (Watch it here)

The Thaw – Cesar Orozco
With Rabab in hand, determined musician Qais Essar ventures into aquais-essar2 forest and tunefully conjures fire into a sparkling dance and entices the mysteriously alluring  element of earth to join him fireside for a celebration of rebirth. Exquisitely well shot and beguiling video that synchronizes sound and scenery into sensual sprezzatura. Take a listen to all of the wonderful gems director Orozco has in store. Final Take – Warm all over . (Watch it here)

Skin in the Game – Kurt Kubicek
It’s 2008 and a record producer’s assistant frantically calls him in Burbank just as he is about to enter the recording studio with Ice Cube. All hell is breaking loose in the economy and investors are bailing out left and right. A rapid fire, fast skin-in-the-gamepaced presentation of events and reactions, and the cause and effect of the recession, especially on artists and entrepreneurs. The info is accurate in capturing the sheer panic of the moment, but eventually disintegrates into text heavy titles that (for a full minute and a half) cover everything from investing in gold to changing the minimum wage. Still an important film that accurately captures the desperation and devastation of the recent recession. Final Take – Playing for keeps. (Watch it here)

Reverend Wheels – Lorenzo Cuevas
Despite blindness, muscular dystrophy and the effects of years of alcohol abuse, Shawn Sullivan shows up every day to practice yoga. A very well shot, even handed doc that presents an individual not for pity or plight, but to subtly reveal the healing, regenerative experiences of the friends and caregivers who assist Shawn in his journey. Brand new from director Cuevas and heading to a film festival near you. Final Take – Healing hands.