Category: New Releases

VIFF: Tragedy Girls is Destined for Sleepover Stardom

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: Two girls bent on becoming horror legends use the work of a serial killer to project their burgeoning hobby into a career. It’s The Comeback Kids; 2017; Rated R; 98 minutes. Get Off My Lawn: Back in the ’90s and early-aughts sleepover classics like Heathers, Jawbreaker, and Idle Hands reigned supreme. These dark horror-comedies played perfectly for angsty, giggly teens the...

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VIFF: Thelma Is a Striking Story of Self-Realization

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: A young woman experiences a sexual and supernatural awakening. Snowglobe Films; 2017; Not Rated; 116 minutes. Sad Girl: There’s something wrong with Thelma. She’s six-years-old, standing in the forest, her breath coming in plumes as she stares down the wild doe. Her father stands behind her, his rifle pointed securely at the back of her head and then, a breath, and...

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VIFF: Tiger Girl Goes Wild

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: Polite Maggie learns to bring out her alter-ego Vanilla the Killer thanks to one cool girl named Tiger. FOGMA GmbH; 2017; Not Rated; 90 minutes. Girl Power: Maggie (Maria Dragus)—or, Vanilla the Killer as she’ll soon become known—is a bit of a wet noodle. It’s not her fault; she’s just become a relative doormat due to a lack of confidence and assertiveness. We...

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The Foreigner Disappoints With Stone-Faced Dad-Core

Overview: Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan share the screen in a heavy dad-core action thriller. STXfilms; 2017; Rated R; 114 minutes. Dad-Core Strikes Back: Jackie Chan is one of the greatest discoveries in film history. An action superstar who transcended borders and is beloved worldwide. Pierce Brosnan is also an adored action star thanks to his part in the legacy of James Bond. They are practically global icons greatly respected in the industry for their craft and ability to bring a crowd-pleasing attitude to action films. But perhaps the most undervalued asset of both Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan...

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VIFF: Bitch is a Triumph for Bitches Everywhere

Overview: A troubled housewife finally snaps and shows everyone what a bitch really looks like. Company X; 2017; Not Rated; 93 minutes. Holy Shit: Writer/Director/Star Marianna Palka has no time to waste with her latest black dramedy, Bitch. She comes out swinging from the first moment and never, ever stops. Palka is Jill Hart, wife to a pathetic, cheating husband, mother to four rambunctious extra-curriculared kids, and she is tired of her thankless existence. Just as we meet her, she attempts to end her own life. Jill needs help, and she’s all but begging for it as she desperately grabs...

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Happy Death Day Dies A Slow Death

Overview: A young woman must solve her own murder as she relives it repeatedly. Blumhouse Productions; 2017; Rated PG-13; 96 minutes. The Hook Brings You Back: Any great horror movie needs a satisfying hook. This is necessary for a film to not get lost among the countless other horror entries that come and go every Halloween season. Luckily, Happy Death Day has that buy-in even from the promotional materials. It has been described by many as a horror version of Groundhog Day. Honestly, this was enough to get me in the theater. There are several directions that this film...

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Leatherface is Exactly What You’d Expect

Overview:  A young nurse is kidnapped by escapees from a mental institution; Lionsgate Films; 2017; 90 Minutes. The Whole World’s Gonna Know: This time of year calls for a good old-fashioned blood romp through the fields. Fans of horror classics will turn to the days of yore for that nostalgia-flavoured death dream: ‘80s franchises, favoured cult classics, and, of course, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. TCM didn’t need an origin story. Its unanswered questions made up for some of the most depraved and creative imaginings for its audience. How did this family get so completely maniacal? How long has this...

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VIFF: Sweet Virginia is a Smoldering Thriller

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: A retired rodeo star becomes involved with a killer in a small town. Automatik Entertainment; 2017; Rated R; 105 Minutes. Cold Open: Sweet Virginia is a complex web filled with many spiders. Ex-rodeo champ Sam (Jon Bernthal) has retired his spurs after too many falls off the bull and runs a little motel in Alaska called Sweet Virginia that gets its fair...

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VIFF: The Endless is a Perfect Circle

Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 28 – October 13, 2017. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF’s program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems.  Overview: Two brothers revisit the cult they escaped years before to confront their past and present. Snowfort Pictures; 2017; Not Rated; 111 minutes. Hey, Guys: We’ve been fans of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead for a long time. It began with Resolution, their first inventive indie horror back in 2012, continued in 2014 with their dark romance Spring, and rounds out this...

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The Mountain Between Us Strays Off Course

Overview: Two strangers are thrown together in a dire life-or-death situation in this romance-meets-survival story. 20th Century Fox; 2017; Rated PG-13; 103 minutes. In Peril but Out of Synch: The night before I went to see The Mountain Between Us, I caught the last fifteen minutes of the 1971 made-for-TV movie Duel on cable. It’s a guilty pleasure movie for me and I’ve seen it, in whole or in part, dozens of times.  In a very literal interpretation, it’s a survival film, a man-against-machine test of wills, slightly cheesy and slightly formulaic. I bring it up because those 15 minutes...

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Blade Runner 2049 is an Epic Personal Journey

*Spoilers ahead* Overview: 30 years after the events of the original film, Blade Runner K uncovers the body of a replicant who died in childbirth. Investigating this seeming impossibility unravels a mystery that can change the world and stop human progress dead in its tracks. Warner Bros. Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 163 minutes. Fearful Symmetry: Blade Runner 2049 begins with an eye, before the scene shifts to a spinner vehicle moving through dark, towering structures. This opening directly recalls the opening of Ridley Scott’s film, all that’s missing is the fire. Scott created a hellscape, a steaming gutter that...

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Cult of Chucky Brings New Toys to Madcap Seventh Entry

Overview: Picking up five years after Curse of Chucky, the titular killer doll tracks Nica down to a mental asylum where he continues his assault of terror, while revealing a larger scheme that brings his original target, Andy, back into the fray. Wanna Play?: It almost goes without saying that by the time the seventh entry of a horror franchise comes around, expectations are pretty low and justly so. The examples are numerous. The same could be said of sixth entries as well. Yet, Don Mancini bucked the trend with 2013’s Curse of Chucky, which broke the curse of...

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Charismata is Unmissable Indie Horror

Overview: A rookie detective investigates satanic killings while dealing with her own demons. Loose Cannon Films; 2017; Not Rated; 100 Minutes. Resting Bitch Face: Detective Rebecca Faraway (Sarah Beck Mather) has had it. It’s clear in the first frame of her face reflecting the harsh red light of the dashboard; she’s done. It’s a look recognizable to anyone who has been forced into confinement with a difficult personality. In this case, it’s her partner Detective Smith (Andonis Anthony) who condescendingly pries about her well being, comments on her appearance, and makes jokes at her expense. They’re on their way...

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VIFF: True to its Promise, Lucky Gives Us Harry Dean Stanton One Last Time

Overview: A 90-year old comes to terms with his life and his death. Magnolia Pictures; 2017; Rated PG; 88 minutes. That’s Some Heavy Shit: The concept of aging has always scared me much more than the concept of death. Being trapped inside a body that’s slowly breaking down is a sobering thought, one that encouraged me to start exercising and taking care of myself early. Lucky shows us Harry Dean Stanton’s 90-year old body close up in full detail as he practices his daily yoga exercises and drinks his morning glass of whole milk. It’s strange to look at—bony...

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