Aly Michalka Fan
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I finally got around to adding screen captures of Aly from her movie “Sequoia” to the gallery. “Sequoia” is a beautiful film and Aly was wonderful in it! I encourage everyone to watch the movie if you haven’t gotten around to it yet! It’s definitely one of my favorite roles Aly has ever had!

Gallery Links:
1222 x Movie Productions > Sequoia > Screen Captures

Aly’s movie “Sequoia” will be released on iTunes and On Demand on August 25! I can’t wait to watch it!

EXCLUSIVE: The Orchard acquired worldwide rights to Sequoia, the Andy Landen-directed comedy that premiered at the last SXSW and played other festivals. Scripted by Andrew Rothschild, the film stars Aly Michalka, Dustin Milligan, Joey Lauren Adams, Demetri Martin and Lou Diamond Phillips. Reilly (Michalka) travels to the beautiful backdrop of Sequoia National Park to quit life, and her dysfunctional family is in hot pursuit. Honora Productions’ Giles Andrew, Charles Denton and Jessica Latham produced with Ashleigh Phillips of Audire. The Orchard’s Abe Schwartz and Danielle DiGiacomo brokered the deal with Honora’s Andrew.


“Sequoia” will be screening at the Hollywood Film Festival that takes place October 16-19.

A dark and dramatic film that takes an unflinching look at cancer.

Sequoia is the story of Riley, a 23 year old woman suffering from stage 3 cancer. Riley decides to go to the Sequoia National Park to end her life. Her plan hits a speed bump when she meets a young man named Ogden while at the park. If that isn’t bad enough, her family learns about Riley’s plan and try their hardest to put their differences to the side as they rush to try and stop her.

As Riley, Aly Michalka portrays a complex character with many layers and each one is darker than the next. Ogden, played by Dustin Milligan, is the exact opposite of Riley and the contrast between the two makes for some interesting discussions. The chemistry between the two is spot on and the more time these two spend on-screen, the stronger the chemistry gets.

When we are introduced to Riley’s family we understand part of the reason why Riley mindset is the way that it is. Riley’s family is one of the more dysfunctional on screen families that I have seen in awhile. Riley’s mom, Bev (Joey Lauren Adams) comes off as a self centered bitch that doesn’t give a damn about her daughter. Bev’s boyfriend, Steve (Demetri Martin), believes the majority of Riley’s mental issues are just her way to get attention. Riley’s rebellious little sister, Van (Sophi Bairley), is more than willing to help Riley in her planned suicide. Riley’s dad, Oscar (Todd Lowe), is an alcoholic trying to turn things around and also seems to be the one who cares the most if Reily lives or dies. Each one of these characters seemed to represent every type of screwed up personality we have seen in other unstable onscreen families. Yet they also felt very real, which is due to the writing.

Andrew Rothschild’s script is never too light in tone as it maintains the sense of foreboding for Riley. The performances by all the actors felt genuine. The chemistry between Michalka and Milligan was very strong, and you can feel the tension between them and feelings they develop for each other over the course of the movie. There is a surprise cameo by Lou Diamond Philips who does a great job for the short amount of time he is on screen.

Director Andy Landen gives us a film that is as poignant as it is entertaining, as well as a bit depressing. It is a journey that I felt did not drag at any point. The setting of the beautiful Sequoia woods was an interesting juxtaposition to the dark subject the film presents. Aly Michalka does a fantastic job of pulling you with her to feel her determination, sadness and insanity. Sequoia is a film that will keep people talking after viewing it, and the cast of characters that will stick with you well after the credits roll.

Score: 4 out of 5 stubs.

Suicide can be a pretty tough subject to tackle in film. Nine times out of ten, a “will they/won’t they” drama suffers from the major flaw of deflated stakes as the audience is smart enough to figure out the filmmaker isn’t very likely to kill his or her protagonist. So it is actually rather refreshing when Sequoia’s protagonist Riley (Aly Michalka) swallows a lethal cocktail of prescription pills in the film’s first act. Yep. She’s going to go through with it.

The drugs are going to take some eight hours to take effect, giving Riley the time to say goodbye to her sister at their predetermined farewell spot in Sequoia National Park. That is, until her sister calls to let her know she wrecked her dad’s car and won’t be coming. Distraught, Riley turns to the only person within 100 miles she knows, a shy traveler named Ogden (Dustin Milligan) she met on a bus the previous day. As Riley tries to convince Ogden to take her to the lookout, a bond forms between them, and she eventually let’s him in her secret: terminal cancer.

While the subject matter is dark, the film plays out as an indie dramedy. Most of the comic elements come from her dysfunctional family, played by Joey Lauren Adams, Todd Lowe, Sophi Bairley, and Demetri Martin, as they race to try to save the day (alerted by Riley’s compromised sister). But Riley herself has a dry sardonic wit, captured perfectly by Michalka. This tone is one of Sequoia’s great triumphs; a suicide drama that is actually fun to watch.

The romance angle between Riley and Ogden is believable, even if it dips a toe into movie romance a bit. But the real story is what is going on inside Riley. She is a nuanced character, hiding behind a wall of sarcasm, her inner beauty peeking out just slightly when Ogden is able to tease it out from behind her incredibly striking eyes.

While the family story is squarely in the b-plot realm, it is enjoyable, mostly because of the good performances and particularly strong editing. There is a lot style on display here from first time director Andy Landen and both the score and cinematography are excellent throughout. Landen has assembled a very strong team and the result is a mature and poignant film. But there is no doubt that the take away from Sequoia is that Aly Michalka is one to watch.


We’ve added pictures of Aly attending the “Sequoia” Premiere, Official Photo Op and Q&A at the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival. Previews and gallery link are below:

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Gallery Link:
20 x Public Appearances > 2014 > “Sequoia” Premiere, Official Photo Op and Q&A – 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival – 03.09.14

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