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SXSW 2017 Review: Triumph of THE DISASTER ARTIST

I think we were all pretty skeptical upon hearing the announcement that James Franco would be bringing the story of the making of Tommy Wiseau's The Room to the big screen over three years ago; at least those of us...

Blu-ray Review: Scream Factory's FIRESTARTER Scorches

Directed by Mark L. Lester, the new Scream Factory Blu-ray release of Firestarter is hot stuff, indeed. Starring David Keith, George C. Scott, Martin Sheen, and Drew Barrymore in one of her first roles, Firestarter is a Stephen King adaptation...

Review: KONG: SKULL ISLAND, A Lifeless Creature Feature

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts does not believe in subtlety, does not relish the glorious curious reveal of a brand new creature; an iconic symbol of the movies that hundreds of man-hours were spent to animate and bring to life. This is...

Review: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Lovely, Long, Lyrical, Lesser

A tale as old as time is refurbished with new materials for reasons that are not readily apparent in Beauty and the Beast. It's the cinematic equivalent of someone blowing all the dust off a 25-year-old piece of furniture and...

Review: BEFORE I FALL, A Refreshing, Respectable YA Adaptation

The term Young Adult (or YA) tends to result in a groan, particularly with all the non-Hunger Games style future dystopia films that have saturated this market since Jennifer Lawrence killed stuff with a bow. Despite the sophistication of the...

Review: IN DUBIOUS BATTLE Allows James Franco and His Cast to Shine

The figure of James Franco as a director is under constant scrutiny; this is his 15th film, yet he still hasn’t made one that has made the ripples that he no doubt wishes they had. His directing style is still...

Blu-ray Review: Criterion's MILDRED PIERCE Stuns

What exactly is Mildred Pierce? Is it a drama? A film noir? A proto-feminist declaration? You could argue that the Hollywood watermark is all of the above. Directed by Micaael Curtiz and starring the indomitable Joan Crawford, Mildred Pierce is freshly out on...

Review: LOGAN, Superheroes Aren't Just for Kids Anymore

Tough, tense, thoughtful, and terrific, Logan is truly the first superhero movie for adults, not for kids or arrested adolescents. Granted, it's best for adults who have a tolerance for bloody, vicious violence. One of the characters claims the violence...

Review: In Zhang Yimou's THE GREAT WALL, Matt Damon Saves the World

I've seen sillier attempts at blockbuster fantasy films than Zhang Yimou's latest, The Great Wall, but I must admit it's been a while. The director, one of China's most respected visual artists after his stunning work on crossover hit wu...

Review: FIFTY SHADES DARKER Goes Narratively Limp

In the saucy on-screen world of author E.L. James, things are leveling out. In both this movie, and its film franchise on the whole, a balance is suddenly being enforced. Whereas the initial entry, Fifty Shades of Grey, told a...

Review: JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2, There Will Be Blood, Oh, So Much Blood

All he wants to do is enjoy his retirement. With his new dog. But first, he needs his car. So begins John Wick: Chapter 2, continuing the tearjerking saga of the titular character, an assassin who broke free of his...

Review: THE COMEDIAN, Not Very Funny Despite Its Title

There is a very fine performance embedded in Taylor Hackford’s otherwise enervating, overlong, patience-trying, and not very funny film The Comedian. However, that performance is not delivered by the putative headliner, Robert De Niro. He plays Jackie Burke, a comic who once starred in a...

Review: A CURE FOR WELLNESS, A Most Curious and Thrilling Adventure

A curiosity, indeed, Gore Verbinski's A Cure for Wellness is a magnificent production of a tiny idea. Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) is a bloodthirsty junior executive at a financial services firm in Manhattan who would like nothing more than to become...

Now on Blu-ray: Kirsten Johnson's CAMERAPERSON Is One Of Criterion's Strongest Discs

2016 was a disproportionately good year for documentary. Films like I Am Not Your Negro, 13th and O.J.: Made In America lead the conversation on race in America. Docs like Weiner and Tower arrived in an eerily timely fashion to...

Review: THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE Just Might Save the DC Cinematic Universe

Following a string of direct-to-video animated outings for DC characters in LEGO form, themselves spawned from a series of successful video games, Batman appeared in Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 2014 smash hit The LEGO Movie and promptly stole the show....

Review: RINGS, Or, Samara, What Have They Done to You?

Darkly stylish and occasionally moody, Rings mostly lies flat on the screen, daring anyone to pay attention. Featuring not one but two different sequences before the main title appears, the filmmakers tip their hand early, in favor of the loud...

Now on Blu-ray: PARENTS and THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM From Vestron Video

Lionsgate Home Video's new specialty imprint, Vestron Video Collector's Series, is back with another pair of '80s video store classics. Bob Balaban's Parents, a pitch black satirical look at utopian surburban life, and Ken Russell's The Lair of the White...

Review: GOLD Is Not Entirely Worth Its Weight

Are you old enough to recall Bre-X? If not, Stephen Gaghan's Gold is a fanciful, fictional retelling of a story about Wall Street greed and hubris that is happy to take the cautionary tale and gild it with Hollywood glitz....

Blu-ray Review: THE ASPHALT JUNGLE Is Near Perfect

John Huston was one of the greatest mid-century (or ever) American directors. He directed The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Key Largo, Prizzi's Honor, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Annie, and The Misfits, among others. Huston had previously been an opera singer, and enjoyed a...

Blu-ray Review: SOMETHING WILD Represents Untamed Cinema

There are so many reasons to recommend Something Wild (1961) to today's audiences that it becomes difficult to choose one. It is as timely and disturbing as the day that it was made and equally as insightful about sexual assault....