Author: David Shreve

‘A Dark Song’ Sings with Brightly Burning Promise

Overview: A grieving mother seeks the help of an occultist to contact her dead son. IFC Films; 2017; Not Rated; 100 Minutes. Truth: Last year, I was blown away by Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane, a horror mystery that succeeded in being affecting, thrilling and surprising by telling the 100% truth from start to finish. It’s a strange formula for any film looking to establish tension and unnerving control over its audience, and it’s hard to think of any comparative examples of films which presented multiple situational possibilities and then delivered on all of them. Now, we have another....

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‘Phoenix Forgotten’ Almost Makes for a Memorable Experience

Overview: Twenty years after strange lights appeared over Phoenix, Arizona, a young filmmaker seeks the truth behind the disappearance of her brother who went missing while investigating the sightings. Cinelou Films; 2017; PG-13; 87 minutes. Worth Remembering: I frequently see people using the terms “found footage” and “mockumentary” interchangeably, which is an error I’m never in a hurry to correct, given that anyone who hasn’t learned the difference by now likely has little interest in the horror/sci-fi genres where the two different forms are most frequently applied and the distinction most necessary. But in the case of Phoenix Forgotten,...

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Jackin’ It: ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ Let Jack Nicholson Dive Headfirst Into Sanity

Jack Nicholson turns 80 years old on April 22. To celebrate, we’ll be discussing our favorite Jack Nicholson performances through the preceding week in our Jackin’ It series, a collection of critical love letters penned to Nicholson’s best characters. … Remembering One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, I think a lot about the way Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) laughs when Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher) loses control of the therapy circle. Or the look of unbridled and ornery joy that slowly appears on his face when he’s offered a stick of Juicy Fruit. Or the way he whoops and hollers...

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Guillermo del Toro Handed Out Free Twitter Lessons on Monsters, Beauty, and Death

Twitter is getting shittier and shittier. We still have the joy of the weird Twitter comic personalities, the occasional celebrity slip up, and Cher. But we’ve been inundated with an influx of Pepe-avatared Nazis, Trump supporters misspelling everything more complex than an M, an A, a G, and another A, and the executive and design Twitter teams deciding the best way to take care of all of that is by changing the default avatar picture and letting more people to be @’d in replies. Any time a celebratory event starts to turn the too’ls tide back toward its glorious...

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‘Fraud’ Is Either an Incomparable, Impossible Artistic Feat or a Brilliant Con Job

Overview: Home video footage captures a family dealing with mounting debt, burning their house down in an act of insurance fraud, and fleeing to Canada. Memory/Rough House/Grasshopper Film; 2016; 52 minutes. I Give Up: Fraud is an impossible film. It is impossible to succinctly and fairly explain Fraud without doubling back and looping your description and complaints and praises into a knot of self-entrapment. It is impossible to assign a singular reading to Fraud without feeling as though you have sold short another important rich layer of the film. It is impossible to compare Fraud to any other film....

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