[In Theaters Now] “THE GENTLEMEN” Is The Return Of Ritchie With Familiar Fun and Fumbles

[In Theaters Now] “THE GENTLEMEN” Is The Return Of Ritchie With Familiar Fun and Fumbles


January 23, 2020    Rob Dean

THE GENTLEMEN is a return from the recent blockbuster misfires—ALADDIN (though, to be fair, that was financially successful and critically mixed), the various SHERLOCK HOLMES adventures, and more—to the crime comedies that gave Guy Ritchie prominence. While this homecoming results in two great performances, a handful of interesting characters, engaging gangster sequences, and a dope soundtrack—it also leads to multiple instances where there’s an attempt to inject depth, darkness, and complexity that consistently fails.

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Revisiting Picard’s Previous Last Rodeo in “STAR TREK: NEMESIS”

Revisiting Picard’s Previous Last Rodeo in “STAR TREK: NEMESIS”


January 23, 2020    Jay Alary

The new Star Trek: Picard series is a potential mea culpa after the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation bade adieu in their last film, 2002’s STAR TREK: NEMESIS, a film that fell at the box office to J. Lo’s MAID IN MANHATTAN on its opening weekend (the first Star Trek film not to debut at #1 on its opening weekend—it dropped an incredible 76.8% in its second weekend, sliding to 8th place). Many films have received critical re-appraisal as decades pass (TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME was booed at Cannes and savaged by film critics in 1992 before becoming embraced by cinephiles and critics), so a re-examination of NEMESIS is in order. Has it improved with age? In a word…no.

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[In Select Theaters Now] Beautiful “WEATHERING WITH YOU” Shows Shinkai’s Signatures And Strengths

[In Select Theaters Now] Beautiful “WEATHERING WITH YOU” Shows Shinkai’s Signatures And Strengths


January 23, 2020    Rob Dean

Another person who has quietly become a juggernaut in the Japanese animated film industry is Makoto Shinkai, a writer/director who has been making critically acclaimed anime movies with their own fans since 2007’s 5 CENTIMETERS PER SECOND and was behind one of the biggest movies in the history of his country, 2016’s YOUR NAME. Shinkai has returned to the big screen with the stateside release of his 2019 film, WEATHERING WITH YOU, which has all of his hallmarks—for good and ill.

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[Film Review] VHYES is a Fun Trip Down Memorex Lane

[Film Review] VHYES is a Fun Trip Down Memorex Lane


January 20, 2020    Rob Dean

Ostensibly a comedy until it isn’t, VHYES is a look back at a specific and odd time where UHF was a bit of a wasteland on television and people were just beginning to have an interceding presence between them and experiencing the moment, full of pinpoint period accuracy and lots of perfectly bizarre bits sprinkled throughout.

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[IN THEATERS NOW] THE WAVE (2019)

[IN THEATERS NOW] THE WAVE (2019)


January 15, 2020    Matt Wedge

Despite a looping structure supplied by a plot that sends its protagonist on a drug trip that involves hallucinogenic freak-outs and time travel, THE WAVE is really a simple morality tale with a basic lesson about the consequences of our decisions. While I normally tend to bristle at films that…

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[In Theaters Now] UNDERWATER is a Muddled Return to Aquatic ALIEN-sploitation

[In Theaters Now] UNDERWATER is a Muddled Return to Aquatic ALIEN-sploitation


January 9, 2020    Rob Dean

For a very brief moment in time—as in about two years—the incredibly popular sub-genres of aquatic horror and exploitation based off 1979’s ALIEN collided. 1989 saw the release of THE ABYSS, DEEPSTAR SIX, and LEVIATHAN—with THE RIFT (aka ENDLESS DESCENT) coming out in 1990—and all featured an isolated crew in the unforgiving depths of the ocean encountering creatures and various personnel disasters. It was an extremely confusing time at the video store when they all came out, but it did lead to two out-and-out great popcorn movies and two lesser titles that have some fun monster stuff in them. UNDERWATER is less a descendant of those films than it is a repurposing of the same premise that directly channels (and visually references) ALIEN as much as possible. Directed by William Eubank and written by Brian Duffield & Adam Cozad, UNDERWATER has multiple impressive assets and strong sequences, but is so inconsistent with decisions around style and execution that it waters down a lot of its promise.

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[Broadway Review] Beetlejuice: The Musical, The Musical, The Musical

[Broadway Review] Beetlejuice: The Musical, The Musical, The Musical


January 2, 2020    Nathan Smith

I’ve been a musical theatre geek for a very long time and, in meeting my wife, found someone who appreciate actors treading the boards and belting out some of the greatest tunes penned by songsmiths. During our marriage we’ve seen some of the greatest hits that 42nd Street and its accompanying district has to offer (albeit mostly in Texas as we live in the Lone Star State). Still, we’ve run the gamut from shows like The Book of Mormon, Once (which is probably my favorite musical – and one of my favorite movies), Rent, and Dear Evan Hansen – all shows we consumed hungrily with a twinkle in our eyes. And once we had children (Millie and Orin), we naturally shared our love of musicals with them and they’ve fallen madly in love with the spirited singing of some of the biggest shows out there. I finally got to see my first musical on Broadway, Hamilton, with them at the Richard Rogers Theatre during my first sojourn to the Big Apple (because our kids can recite it chapter and verse). A little while later, once the Beetlejuice: The Musical, The Musical, The Musical’s soundtrack released digitally, we devoured it. Listened to it non-stop, to the point where my daughter, Millie, can joyfully sing “Dead Mom” right along with original cast member Sophia Anne Caruso and have a blast on the back and forth bantering that accompanies the thunderous crooning in one of the best songs in the show, “Say My Name.”

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[In Theaters Now] UNCUT GEMS Is The Best Panic Attack You’ll Have All Year

[In Theaters Now] UNCUT GEMS Is The Best Panic Attack You’ll Have All Year


December 23, 2019    Rob Dean

The Safdie Brothers’ UNCUT GEMS is an exceptional model that deploys, builds, and preserves a sense of tension from the opening shot to the closing credits. Powered by incredible performances from Adam Sandler, Kevin Garnett, Julia Fox, LaKeith Stanfield, and Keith Williams Richards, this anxiety-inducing maelstrom of a terrible person constantly making everything worse is a brilliant character study, an engaging story of various lowlifes, and one of the best films of 2019.

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[IN THEATERS NOW] ‘RABID’ IS A CULTURALLY UPDATED INJECTION INTO CLASSIC HORROR’S VEINS

[IN THEATERS NOW] ‘RABID’ IS A CULTURALLY UPDATED INJECTION INTO CLASSIC HORROR’S VEINS


December 23, 2019    Samantha Schorsch

With remakes and reboots abounding in the last few years, it’s become increasingly difficult to retread old waters and breathe life into them that’s both respectful homage and new commentary or content worth spending your time on instead of simply viewing the original. The Soska Sisters’ remake of /homage to David…

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[In Theaters] ‘BOMBSHELL’ Tells An Important Story With Many Omissions And Lack Of Unique Voice

[In Theaters] ‘BOMBSHELL’ Tells An Important Story With Many Omissions And Lack Of Unique Voice


December 19, 2019    Rob Dean

With BOMBSHELL, director Jay Roach and writer Charles Randolph attempt to take the serious atrocity of systemic sexual assault at Fox News, pair it with the inherent absurdity that comes with the propagandist mindset at the channel, all while providing historical and logistical context for people unfamiliar with the history and machinations of a cable news network. The movie gives off a lot of vibes of THE BIG SHORT (also written by Randolph)—with comic interludes and grim moments and breaking the fourth wall—but lacks the deft hand that THE BIG SHORT’s director Adam McKay had balancing those tones with the larger ramifications at play within this one story.

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[In Theaters Meow] CATS: The Meows That Roared, Floored, and (Sometimes) Bored

[In Theaters Meow] CATS: The Meows That Roared, Floored, and (Sometimes) Bored


December 18, 2019    Mike McPadden

In fairness to the general CATS reaction, the trailer—and indeed, I can say now, the whole movie—is bizarre-looking and freakish and garish and off-the-rails/all-over-the-place and bombastically beyond the scope of fanbrat respectability/acceptability. But here’s the thing: those are points of praise.

That CATS ultimately left me wishing, time and again, it would move along from one hyper-repetitious, semi-tuneless introduction of a fresh feline would-be showstopper to the next Rebel Wilson actual showstopper is criticism of the core material far more than its big-screen adaptation.

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RISE OF SKYWALKER Is A Sloppy & Exciting Conclusion To A Sloppy & Exciting Series

RISE OF SKYWALKER Is A Sloppy & Exciting Conclusion To A Sloppy & Exciting Series


December 18, 2019    Mike Vanderbilt

It’s astounding to read at the STAR WARS chapter of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls as the eleventh film in the franchise, THE RISE OF SKYWALKER is hitting theaters. Conceived as a kids movie—director George Lucas once described STAR WARS as WIZARD OF OZ meets WILLY WONKA—the film became a cultural…

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[Now Playing] IN FABRIC is Bizarre, Grotesque, Absurd…and Perfect

[Now Playing] IN FABRIC is Bizarre, Grotesque, Absurd…and Perfect


December 6, 2019    Rob Dean

IN FABRIC similarly starts off seeming to be one type of film—a killer dress film where a cursed object haunts and strikes down scores of people—while slowing mutating into a bugnuts insane movie that pulls from the supernatural works of Argento and Bava, with hilarious jabs at the absurdity of capitalism, and all manner of other weird elements that slam together in ways that shouldn’t work but are actually brilliant.

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[BLU-RAY REVIEW] THE FAN (1981)

[BLU-RAY REVIEW] THE FAN (1981)


November 28, 2019    Matt Wedge

Despite how tepid it sometimes is when it comes to its horror elements, THE FAN is surprisingly watchable as it toes the line between earnest thriller and camp with the incongruous presence of Lauren Bacall, James Garner, and Maureen Stapleton in a slasher flick. There really is not much original…

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[BLU-RAY REVIEW] PROPHECY (1979)

[BLU-RAY REVIEW] PROPHECY (1979)


November 26, 2019    Matt Wedge

The decision to direct PROPHECY was an odd one for John Frankenheimer. While he did direct two terrific films that can be seen as horror in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and SECONDS, those classics were dread-soaked exercises in paranoia. PROPHECY is a full-blown monster movie. And as many directors before him…

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[NOW ON BLU-RAY FROM SYNAPSE FILMS] WATCH ME WHEN I KILL (1977)

[NOW ON BLU-RAY FROM SYNAPSE FILMS] WATCH ME WHEN I KILL (1977)


November 23, 2019    J. Tonzelli

Like its American cousin the slasher, the Italian giallo can come in many forms. It can be a straightforward horror-thriller, it can be a sleazy soft-core sex romp, or sometimes it can be something more: classy, with much more of an emphasis on mystery than on chilling murder sequences or…

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[NOW ON BLU-RAY] ROAD GAMES (1981)

[NOW ON BLU-RAY] ROAD GAMES (1981)


November 22, 2019    J. Tonzelli

Director Richard Franklin was known in his native homeland of Australia as “Australia’s Hitchcock,” and that’s not because he was a filmmaker who made notable genre fare, but because, like another noted genre filmmaker, Brian De Palma, Franklin was fascinated by Hitchcock’s techniques and sensibilities and adopted them into his…

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[In Theaters Now] A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: On Radical Acts of Kindness

[In Theaters Now] A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: On Radical Acts of Kindness


November 21, 2019    Rob Dean

Daily Grindhouse covers all sorts of genre fare—from vintage sexploitation films to the most recent splatterfest hitting streaming. But it probably seems like a review of A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD—the Mr. Rogers film starring America’s nicest uncle, Tom Hanks—wouldn’t really fit in with this website. But Marielle Heller’s new movie about PBS’ ultimate mensch fits in on this site for two main reasons.

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[BLU-RAY REVIEW] AGFA UNEARTHS THE ORIGINAL ‘SCARY MOVIE’ (1991)

[BLU-RAY REVIEW] AGFA UNEARTHS THE ORIGINAL ‘SCARY MOVIE’ (1991)


November 19, 2019    Matt Wedge

There is a crackerjack short film buried somewhere inside of SCARY MOVIE. But, as is often the case with work from first time feature directors, that short film is stretched beyond the breaking point to create a repetitive experience that has several admirable components, but leaves the audience begging for…

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[BLU-RAY REVIEW] AGFA SHINES A LIGHT ON ‘THE FILMS OF SARAH JACOBSON’

[BLU-RAY REVIEW] AGFA SHINES A LIGHT ON ‘THE FILMS OF SARAH JACOBSON’


November 18, 2019    Matt Wedge

I honestly knew very little about Sarah Jacobson or her work when I dug into this collection from AGFA. What I found was a filmmaker with a clear voice, very strong sense of place and character, and a more than welcome female perspective that was often sorely lacking in American…

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[TV Review] American Horror Story: 1984, Episode 8 — “Rest In Pieces”

[TV Review] American Horror Story: 1984, Episode 8 — “Rest In Pieces”


November 8, 2019    Nathan Smith

Do you think fictional slasher movie villains are capable of finding inner peace? For most of them, their violent bloodbaths were predicated on enacting revenge for the wrongs they felt were thrust upon them, like Mrs. Voorhees losing her son or Kenny Hampson being goaded into making out with a dead body. They usually end up dead before the credits roll, unable to bring their journey of slaying to its natural endpoint – that they can never end what drove them to madness in the first place. Others just continue on in cash-grab sequel after sequel, their acts of terror driven by an unending hunger for carnage so much so that they most likely don’t even remember the motivations for why they picked up their butchering implements in the first place. Getting resurrected time after time, it seems like they’ll never find tranquility, it seems like they’ll be trapped in hell forever.

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[In Theaters Now] DOCTOR SLEEP Builds a Vast World in the Shadow of THE SHINING

[In Theaters Now] DOCTOR SLEEP Builds a Vast World in the Shadow of THE SHINING


November 6, 2019    Rob Dean

Legacy looms large over DOCTOR SLEEP and finds itself as a recurring theme in many of the characters and arcs told in its two and a half hour running time. The legacy of an alcoholic father, passing along his rage and addiction to a son that barely knew him. The legacy of a supernatural race, clawing its way for survival as it buys more time with the blood and screams of children. The legacy of a traumatic event and the shuttered, haunted grounds on which it took place.

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[BLU-RAY REVIEW] ‘FEAR NO EVIL’ IS A FEARLESSLY WEIRD BIT OF CATHOLIC-SPLOITATION

[BLU-RAY REVIEW] ‘FEAR NO EVIL’ IS A FEARLESSLY WEIRD BIT OF CATHOLIC-SPLOITATION


November 4, 2019    Matt Wedge

I’ve seen more absurd, outrageous movies than FEAR NO EVIL, but few of them have made me mutter an amused “What the hell?” to myself as many times as I did while watching this odd little flick. For whatever reason that I cannot quite put my finger on, there is something…

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[BLU-RAY REVIEW] ‘THE DEVIL RIDES OUT’ CONJURES SATAN AND A SCREAM FACTORY BLU-RAY

[BLU-RAY REVIEW] ‘THE DEVIL RIDES OUT’ CONJURES SATAN AND A SCREAM FACTORY BLU-RAY


October 31, 2019    Matt Wedge

I honestly wish I loved THE DEVIL RIDES OUT as much as the contributors to the special features of this new Scream Factory Blu-ray do. But while I am very impressed by a couple of the film’s more ambitious set-pieces and Christopher Lee’s imposing presence put to good use as…

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