Category: New Releases

1922 is Slow Creeping Horror

Overview: A farmer decides to murder his wife to gain her inheritance. Netflix; 2017; rated TV-MA; 101 mins Intimate King: It’s been a great year for King adaptations. It, Gerald’s Game, and, now, 1922 are a great showcase for how King’s horror can be transported to the screen. Moreso than any of those previously listed films, 1922 is not a big, grand horror movie. It is made up of small, slow moments that show the cost upon a person’s conscience and well-being of doing a terrible deed. The movie begins with Wilfred James, played by Thomas Jane, sitting in...

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Only The Brave and the Hope of a Detoxified Masculinity

Overview: Based on the tragic deaths of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots during the June 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire, Only the Brave follows several elite Arizona firefighters in their last year of service before dying in the line of duty. Columbia Pictures; 2017; PG-13; 133 minutes. Playing With the Boys: Joseph Kosinski’s Only the Brave drapes itself in the trappings of Hawksian male camaraderie and machismo. The members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots—a group of twenty elite Arizona firefighters who serve on the front-line of forest fires—all posture and preen like the meatheads we’ve come to expect...

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The Snowman Falls in A Hole and Never Recovers

Overview: Detective Harry Hole tracks a serial killer with only the help of a handwritten note and his young partner. Universal Pictures; 2017; Rated R; 119 minutes. Missed Opportunities: There is nothing easy about making movies. There is no formula to the making of a good movie, or of any other piece of art, for that matter. You cannot simply plug in the right pieces and expect greatness to be the output. A truly great film is usually more than the sum of its parts, it provides something wonderful and unexpected. The Snowman is neither a great a movie...

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Marshall Sets a Precedent with a Powerhouse Performance

Overview: In this biopic, NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall takes on a complicated case in Connecticut: Strubing vs. Spell. Open Road Films; 2017; PG-13; 118 minutes. SVU:​ ​Connecticut: Marshall is a biopic but not the kind of biopic that the trailer might lead you to believe it is. Instead of covering the entire life of Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman), or even the most widely-known aspects of his career, it focuses on a portion of Thurgood Marshall’s time as an NAACP lawyer sent to Connecticut to defend black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) in 1940. The headlines surrounding socialite Eleanor...

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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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