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Review: DARKEST HOUR Illuminates Wartime Anarchy in the UK

It’s often observed that moviemaking, large scale moviemaking in particular, is akin to orchestrating a war. That’s not to belittle or demean the very real horror and cost of true war; in filmmaking the severity of casualties don’t usually stem...

Review: In Overstuffed JUSTICE LEAGUE, More Proves Less For DC Team Up

DC's first superhero team-up extravaganza has arrived, and while an improvement on last year's much-derided Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League suffers from many of the same problems that have plagued the DC Extended Universe. The two-hour running time is...

Morbido 2017 Review: LA QUINCEANERA, Luchagore's Action Web Series Packs Emotional Punches

Alejandra Santos is about to turn 15 years old. She is becoming a woman and so it is time for her coming of age ceremony, the Quinceanera, a Latin American tradition. Alejandra is troubled though because her father is nowhere...

Review: THOR: RAGNAROK Brings Color and Joy to the End of the World

The many films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (henceforth called the MCU) have all opted for either of two strategies. Number one is to follow a thriller path, and try to edge a title towards the realms of realism and...

Blu-ray Review: Linda Blair in Wes Craven's SUMMER OF FEAR, Gently Unnerving Horror

More than a fascinating curio, Summer of Fear (aka Stranger in Our House) showed that Wes Craven was a talented director and that Linda Blair could more than hold her own at the center of a dramatic film. First broadcast...

Sitges 2017 Review: WIND RIVER, a Tale of Vengeance in the Snow

Maybe to some of you the name of Taylor Sheridan won't ring a bell. But if I tell you that he's the man behind the scripts for Denis Villeneuve's Sicario and David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water, then it's more...

Review: THE FOREIGNER, a Convoluted Political Thriller Squanders One of Cinema's Most Charismatic Performers

One could be forgiven for walking into a screening of Martin Campbell's The Foreigner expecting a new action film starring the legendary Jackie Chan. After all, Chan is quite literally the the face of the film. All of the trailers...

Review: BLADE RUNNER 2049 More Than Justifies Its Existence

Is Deckard a replicant? Just after the identity of "Deep Throat" and who the song "You're So Vain" is about, that has been one of the most persistent cultural questions of the past several decades. Now though, we know the...

Review: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US, Realistic Survival Amidst Romantic Notions

In an interview with our own Dustin Chang in February 2014, speaking in connection with his film Omar, director Hany Abu-Assad said in part: "If I made a list of ten movies I like by other filmmakers, they would be...

Review: AMERICAN MADE, Crime Doesn't Pay This Much, Usually

Tom Cruise only appears to be in cruise mode in his latest film, American Made, a breezy, largely comic adventure about an American pilot who was drafted into undercover service by the CIA in the late 1970s and then became...

Fantastic Fest 2017 Review: THOROUGHBREDS, A Pitch Black Tale of Female Friendship

Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy cement their positions as two of the most captivating young actresses working today in Thoroughbreds, a wickedly humorous psychodrama straddling the class divide in small-town Connecticut and exposing the complex malevolence of the adolescent psyche....

Blu-ray Review: Hitchcock's REBECCA, Or Is It Selznick's? New From Criterion

Authorship is a tricky concept in filmmaking. For the last 50 years, serious film critics have debated the nature since the concept of the "auteur" arose from the French critics who would propel the Nouvelle Vague to international attention. These...

Review: IT, The Feel-Good Fright Film of 2017

Director Andrés Muschietti's new adaptation of Stephen King's It is one of the best mainstream horror films in recent memory, and that is no small feat. Over the last few years, we've had a number of solid mid-budget horrors, from...

Venice 2017 Review: MOTHER!, A Masterpiece Straight From Hell

Director Darren Aronofsky has set the 47th Biennale Main Competition alight with an infernal psychological thriller that definitely burns with the fire of his past films Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. It's perhaps not surprising that mother! is...

Venice 2017 Review: Martin McDonagh Triumphs Again With THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

In Bruges director Martin McDonagh has laid down what could be the first real winning hand at the 74th Biennale with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and whilst there's definitely still time for someone else to clinch this year's Golden Lion,...

Venice 2017 Review: SUBURBICON Floats Between Brilliant and Underbaked

The opening sequences of George Clooney's Suburbicon unfold in front of us like an animated book straight from a Cold War infomercial. Set in late 1940s America, these scenes are accompanied by a narrator who cooingly tells us the benefits...

Review: DEATH NOTE, A Boy And His Death God

Live-action versions of animes – especially the Westernized kind – are tough to pull off, and the reason why goes beyond the dreaded “whitewashing”. Rather, there’s a huge cultural barrier to overcome; anime series and TV shows are very, very...

Review: LOGAN LUCKY Races for the Big Score, Finishing Above Average

How lucky are we? I suppose that depends upon how you feel about the work of director Steven Soderbergh. One of the most deliberately eclectic and diverse filmmakers in the history of Hollywood, Soderbergh has seen fit to shift gears...

Review: THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD Shoots Wide of the Mark

Spoiler: Patrick Hughes' The Hitman's Bodyguard ends with a post-credits stinger in which Ryan Reynolds sits at a bar, waiting for his cue only to be put off by a five-minute church bell song, and ultimately ending with a half-funny...

Review: THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE, A Nutty Surprise

Everyone loves to be pleasantly surprised by a movie.  What's even better?  Being surprised by being pleasantly surprised by a movie.   There is no known expectation of The Nut Job sequel being any good in any way.  The 2014...