Category: New Releases

In Columbus, A Relationship Blooms Amidst Architectural Wonders

Overview: A young woman who cares for her mother befriends a man who visits the town of Columbus, Indiana when his father falls ill; Depth of Field; 2017; 100 minutes. Dream Baby Dream: Early in Columbus, the debut film from writer/director Kogonada, we hear a girl rehearsing to herself as she stands at the foot of a beautiful building. The hushed voice recites the facts and figures you’d hear from a tour guide. Indeed, Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) would make a great guide to the modernist architecture sprinkled around the town in Indiana that the film is named for....

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle is Fun but Empty

Overview: After the Kingsman headquarters is destroyed, the remaining Kingsmen are forced to seek out their American counterparts, the Statesman, to stop a dangerous threat. Twentieth Century Fox; 2017; Rated R; 141 Minutes. “Now I’ve Got Wings”: Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was creative, irreverent, well-crafted parody that still managed to have a sweetness to it, courtesy of its protagonist Eggsy (Taron Egerton). The sincerity and heart present in the chaos and parody in the original Kingsman came from Eggsy’s origin story, from an aimless working-class boy to an English gentleman spy, guided by his mentors Harry Hart (Colin...

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Stronger Is One Big Phantasmagoria

Overview: A victim of the Boston Marathon bombing’s photographed image becomes a source of hope for his city and country while his personal life becomes increasingly fraught with anguish from his trauma. Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions; 2017; 119 Minutes. Phantasmagoria: Since he passed away earlier this month, I’ve been thinking a lot about something legendary actor Harry Dean Stanton told The Observer in an interview in 2013: “In the end, you end up accepting everything in your life—suffering, horror, love, loss, hate—all of it. It’s all a movie anyway.” Life, he explained, was “one big phantasmagoria.” Strange, then, that the first...

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Indivisible Is A Dark Fairy Tale

Overview: Conjoined twins Viola and Dasy come of age and begin to question the direction of their separate lives. Tramp Ltd.; 2017; Not Rated; 100 minutes Together: Indivisible gets right into it, addressing the question that comes to everyone’s most honest mind: how attached are they, and what sensations are shared between them? The film opens on conjoined twins Viola and Dasy, Viola sleeping soundly with a pleasured smile on her face as Dasy lazily touches her vulva, seemingly more bored with the morning than actually aroused. This initially shows us that what affects one girl’s body somehow transfers...

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American Assassin is Poorly Timed and Under Developed

Overview: After his girlfriend dies in a terrorist attack, a self-sanctioned renegade is taken into a secret training program and quickly assigned to a dangerous mission regarding stolen nuclear materials; Lionsgate Films; 2017; 111 Minutes. Honor: The book upon which Michael Cuesta’s new film American Assassin is based, Vince Flynn’s novel of the same name, was written in 2008. Production on Cuesta’s film started in early 2016. There would have been no way for Cuesta and Lionsgate to predict the world into which they would be releasing their movie, an obvious attempt to spark a new action series. But...

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Mother! is an Inspired Creation

Overview: A happy couple’s world is invaded by both natural and supernatural force. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 121 minutes. Inspired!: Art is meant to inspire. The best art, or worst, depending on your perspective, rips feeling out of you, seemingly against your will. This is actually more rare in film than one might think. The vast majority of movie-going experiences are viewed, remembered for a day or two, and then completely forgotten. It is the joy and the sorrow of a visual, fleeting medium. Yes, one can purchase a movie and have physical or streaming copies, but that...

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Tulip Fever Is In No Danger of Catching On

Overview: A married woman and an artist hired to paint her portrait fall in love and hatch a plan to be together. Paramount Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 107 minutes Longing for Love: One distinct challenge of the period film is the inability for people in love, regardless of marital status, to say how they truly feel about one another. This longing dictates a challenge for actors, given that one of their most direct avenues of communication, that of dialogue, is immediately removed from their toolbox. This can do one of two things, either create a palpable sense of longing...

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Patti Cake$ Pleases with a Star Performance from McDonald

Overview: The story of aspiring rapper, Killa P, and her desire to somehow get out of Jersey. Fox Searchlight Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 108 minutes Someone To Root For: The best underdog stories are about aspiration, finding a better place, both inside of ourselves and to journey towards. It must be understood why our hero (or heroine) has not made it yet, but also why we should root for them to actually succeed in the first place. These characters must have faults, and an inner nobility that only we and their closest friends and kin are aware of, something...

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Abundant Acreage Available Demands Empathy and Rewatches

Overview: Following the death of their father, a middle-aged brother and sister must deal with three unexpected squatters who take up residence in their family tobacco field. Gravitas Ventures; 2017; Not Yet Rated; 80 minutes. Tell, Don’t Show: It’s hard to believe Angus MacLachlan’s Abundant Acreage Available didn’t begin life as a stage play. Constrained to a single house, a single tobacco field, and the inside of a single tent, the film almost totally neglects the desolate wilderness of its rural North Carolina setting. There are no sweeping vistas, no flashy or fancy frame compositions, no hint of any...

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Little Evil Wastes a Fun Premise

Overview: A man begins to believe that his stepson might be the Antichrist. Netflix; 2017; Rated TV-MA; 95 mins. Parody: The Omen is one of the greatest horror movies ever made. Its depiction of the demonic spawn of Satan in the form of an adorable/intensely creepy kid has been referenced, copied, and spoofed in myriad movies since The Omen’s release in 1976. Little Evil aims at retelling the same story but from the point of view of an overeager step-father who finds himself the guardian of a kid who can make people kill themselves and who communes through a...

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MIFF 2017: Spookers is a Peek Behind the Curtain

Over the next few weeks, our writer in Melbourne, Sean W. Fallon, will be covering the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and reviewing some of his favourite movies from the festival. Overview: A look behind the scenes at the enormously popular haunted house attraction, Spookers. Madman Production Company; 2017; Rated-M; 90 mins New Zealand: It would seem that the popularity of last year’s Tickled has led to an interest in some of the more esoteric aspects of New Zealand culture. At Miff this year, two of the hot tickets were Pecking Order and Spookers, both documentaries that looked at interesting Kiwis...

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Wind River Is Cold As Snow And Tough As Tree Bark

Overview: A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent in Wyoming discovers a dead body, kicking off an investigation that opens old wounds. The Weinstein Company; 2017; Rated R: 111 Minutes. Snow and Silence: For movies like Wind River, we often like to use summary phrases like “meditation on grief.” But the new sophomore effort from Director Taylor Sheridan (the screenwriter behind Sicario and Hell or High Water) might unravel with a distinct stillness and quiet—the first and second acts see Ben Richardson’s camera pursue a handful of basic elements: snow falling as thick as television static, rigid trees, dead bodies...

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The Defenders is a Satisfying Urban, Kung-Fu Mystery

Overview: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up to stop the mysterious organization known as The Hand from destroying New York City in its quest for eternal life. Netflix; 2017; TV-MA; 8 episodes. Ties That Bind: Over the past two years, Marvel and Netflix have been weaving together intricate tales of grounded heroism in the midst of social consequences. Through, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, a tangential side of the MCU opened up, and within these New York boroughs and back alleys every choice had a cost.  While The Defenders, led by Daredevil...

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MIFF 2017: Pecking Order is a Warm and Fuzzy look at Poultry Pageantry

Over the next few weeks, our writer in Melbourne, Sean W. Fallon, will be covering the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) and reviewing some of his favourite movies from the festival. Overview: A look at the competitive world of New Zealand poultry pageantry. Vendetta Films; 2017; Rated-PG; 88 mins Chickens: The world of poultry pageantry, or chicken fancying, is a hardcore world. After all, this is a competition that requires you to raise, from an egg, a chicken that will eclipse all over chickens (in New Zealand at least). The level of work required, the dedication, the number of ‘ugly’ chickens...

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