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Archive for the 'Movie Reviews' Category

‘The Strangers’ S10: 10 Years Later (Movie Review)

I often credit 2008’s The Strangers as one of the last times a horror film unsettled me. Others have scared me since, but that one was something different. Now, ten years later, we have a sequel, The Stranger: Prey at Night. It’s nowhere near as terrifying and often feels like a different move that happens to have some familiar faces…er…masks, but it’s reasonably effective for what it’s doing. The film suffers from a wider setting and dimmer character choices, but it’s stylish in a way that had me admiring the new direction this follow-up decided to take.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Three New Indie Titles

Small crop of only a mere three lesser-known cinematic hopefuls this week, but thankfully I’ve got my first five-star indie flick of 2018.  (So don’t lose hope film fans!)  Girls with an affinity for quips and killing, a gang of grifters play a game of who’s conning who and a bad son tries to do a little good by finding his mother’s killer all make up the exciting line up of this edition of Encapsulated Movie Reviews.  Check out the critical skinny on Thoroughbreds, The Swindlers and Juggernaut all below!

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “American Mary”

Today’s distinctively female helmed past flick marks a twisted family pairing to die for – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Ever remember watching early work by odd auteurs and having an epiphany moment of ‘here is a talent not to ignore’ – welcome the Soska Sisters.  Steeped in both a love of horror and a skill of making truly unforgettable films, the Soska’s revel in all things genre related and this week’s perversely and passionately abnormal flick is one of their best.  A wonderfully insane conundrum of horror, drama, revenge and the effect power has over people – in other words a seriously savory mind job known as….American Mary!

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Six New Indie Titles

Indie is the secret word for today and the lesser-known cinema out this week is as plentiful as ever.  Tales of damaged writers, fame seeking hypochondriacs, money stealing psychos, folks fixated on love, damaged dads and moms and big brutal bigfoots all provide a little movie escapism for film fans looking of the beaten movie path.  Check out the six Encapsulated Movie Reviews of The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, 5 Doctors, Midnighters, November, Foxtrot and Primal Rage for your reading convenience below.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Surveillance”

Dark wondrous cinematic wares from women continue this week with a look at another movie helmed by a talented female filmmaker – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick.  This week’s selection proves that some filmmakers do indeed get better with age.  Case in point is Boxing Helena filmmaker and daughter of wizard of weird Jennifer Lynch, who after making the half-decent film with an unfortunately atrocious ending over fifteen years earlier, went on to create one disturbing, thought provoking and totally lingering piece of celluloid.  That’s the film we focus on this week – an unsettling story that can be dissected with just the right…Surveillance.

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Nine New Indie Titles

And the indie train just keep on trucking with another gaggle of nine new lesser-known outings that make up the smaller cinema scene featured here.  Sex and romance from a female point of view, social media gone psychotic, life after being a zombie, a wordy battle of the sexes, creation turning obsessive, time traveling for justice, crisis in the cockpit, getting some payback and animal cruelty taken to a whole other level all make up the subjects in the crop of films dissected this week.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Half Magic, Like Me, The Cured, Toss It, Chimera, Curvature, Beast Of Burden, Agenda: Payback and Days Of Power below.

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You Don’t Play ‘Game Night’ It Plays You (Movie Review)

There seems to be a brand of studio comedies in the 2010s that do enough to hold you in place for 90-100 minutes and then instantly evaporate afterward. It’s not unlike other decades, but there’s the addition of flashy direction that makes me think the film was at least trying hard. That’s the sort of mold Game Night fits into. It’s perfectly enjoyable, complete with a solid core cast, some fun cameos, and ample shock humor. This is the sort of film where a ridiculous premise is enacted, while we get all the principal characters putting just as much focus on their personal lives, which will no doubt take a turn for the better, just as the plot concludes as well. There’s nothing wrong with this; it just ends up feeling hollow.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Kissed”

Highlighting poignant past film work by way too-few female filmmakers (more please!), who says love and sex have to end with death – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week we are waxing nostalgic about a controversial film that raised a ton of eyebrows upon its release.  It weaved a simple tale of a girl who takes her new job working at a mortuary very seriously.  So seriously in fact that she throws herself into her work – body and soul.  Death, sex and a pinch of necrophilia – time to get….Kissed!

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Black Panther Offers a Brief Glimpse of Light in the Current State of the Dark & Gloomy MCU (Movie Review)

Black Panther Movie ReviewOutside of the Black Panther in Marvel’s Civil War my exposure to the character is null and zero.  I have no understanding of what his powers are, how he can jump like a cat or even what his weaknesses are.  I am assuming it’s all because of that sinister looking, fancy black feline costume he dons, but that’s why I am here today at the press screening of the Black Panther to hopefully find all this out.  I want to know what makes me the man tick, the history, his lore, etc.  Now say what you want about the Black Panther movie trailers, but so far the one thing I could not get past is Michael B. Jordan’s hairdo.  That was the Achilles heel of the marketing push for me.  I know I am petty, but hey I am giving this one a chance regardless to win me over despite my angst for the boring and depressing Civil War.  So there’s that.  However, what really makes me curious is the early reviews of this one.  I am not going to lie.  From what I read it seems like the Black Panther’s sh1t does not stink and he can do no wrong.  That’s what I hope to clear up here down below.  Will you join me? Continue reading ‘Black Panther Offers a Brief Glimpse of Light in the Current State of the Dark & Gloomy MCU (Movie Review)’

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Seven New Indie Titles

The indie movie scene is as always loud and proud with this week’s crop of seven films hitting various genre notes for hungry cinema seekers.  Sensual stories, coming of age tales, cancer comedies, stressful shindig sagas, mid-life crisis movies, voyeur suspense outings and body jumping terror tales make up the flicks featured and dissected for your convenience.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews for Double Lover, Lucky U Ranch, Irreplaceable You, The Party, Golden Exits, Looking Glass and Black Creek below!

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Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Eleven New Indie Titles

Having been out of the indie movie loop for a while due to side projects (special events – they do take time!) I’m back in the cinema saddle for a while to deliver some lesser- known film goodies.  That’s why this week’s crop of flicks examined contains a whopping eleven titles to make up for lost time.  (There are a couple January flicks thrown in for good measure!)  The complications of time travel, trying to be a part of something big, examining real life violence against cinematic stuff, dim dudes in need of some female inspiration, creepy old guys next door, martial arts with an added spirit energy kick, verbal slams that linger long, postpartum depression from hell, parents that kill their kin, mysterious black boxes in the forest and victims rising from the dead to get a little vengeance all get their movie due below.  Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews for Diverge, West Of Her, Fake BloodEntanglement, The Neighbor, The Insult, Kill Order, Still/Born, Mom And Dad, Black Hollow Cage and RV: Resurrected Victims – happy indie hunting! Continue reading ‘Encapsulated Movie Reviews – Eleven New Indie Titles’

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Timecrimes”

Time travel in cinema it doesn’t always have to have big extravagant effects to be effective as sometimes smaller can be better – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Still within the realms of the wide world – but focusing outside the US of course – this week we head to Spain for a little past picture inspiration in the form of a foreign flick that dares to do high tech on no-budget.  It’s a nifty little ditty that’s a clever mix of horror, suspense and drama (all the things Hitchcock used to love!) all the while being a believable sci-fi flick about traveling through time that appropriately bends the brain and heightens the senses.  Careful what you spy through those prying eyes as you could accidentally witness some…Timecrimes. Continue reading ‘Forgotten Friday Flick – “Timecrimes”’

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‘Peter Rabbit’ Has Fun, Big Screen Mischief (Movie Review)

Well, it’s clear the American trailers have done a disservice to Peter Rabbit. Based on the classic children’s stories created by Beatrix Potter, this 2018 cinematic interpretation has the appearance of…well, something like Smurfs. The actual film is much better. It’s no Paddington 2, which came out first and could bury this movie any day of the week, but Peter Rabbit has a lot more cleverness and understated comedy going along with all the slapstick fun and jukebox-like soundtrack selection. Suffice it to say, this rabbit has a few good-natured tricks up its jacket sleeves.

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‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Is A Challenge For Movie Scientists And Brand Association (Movie Review)

So it turns out Cloverfield is not just the name of a road in Santa Monica, CA, it’s a space station. That’s a spoiler for a premise, but The Cloverfield Paradox seems like a film so bent on throwing surprises at you that this one is not a major reveal to feel that concerned with. More concerning is how J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions plan to use the Cloverfield label. While I’m fully ready to review this third entry, it is, frankly, impossible to evaluate the film without considering the unprecedented nature of its release. What we have is a sci-fi horror film that was suddenly dropped on audiences every, following the Super Bowl, and whether or not that’s a matter for those watching this film years from now, it does play a role in understanding what is making this film tick.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Amélie”

For those who claim that dark tales of woe are the only thing I know, I submit this week’s past picture selection as proof that positive cinema does get its due with me too – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Continuing the examination of all things foreign film, sport a smile and break out the love for a whimsical tale with plenty of good vibes.  Featuring a timid gal who finds her cupid calling and begins to make lives better for strangers (and herself to boot!), this French fable has ample parts sweetness and signature style guaranteed to melt movie hearts.  Mysterious boxes, ghost plagued photo booths and lawn elves that love to travel – welcome to the wonderful world of Amélie!

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‘Winchester’ Summons A Haunted House Misfire (Movie Review)

Fun fact, seeing a spooky film based on the Winchester Mystery House is not my first encounter with this famous site. Before seeing Winchester, I actually visited the San Jose location with my horror-movie-loving mother a good couple decades ago. While my memories of that tour are vague, it feels like I got more out of that strange adventure than I did with this film. It’s a shame, as there is enough in the concept alone to make a meal out of a real-life mansion entirely fit for a haunted house story. Instead, the so-called “House That Ghosts Built” feels more like real estate fraud.

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Forgotten Friday Flick – “Mother” (2009)

Sometimes even foreign filmmakers have a few notable movie skeletons in their high-profile cinematic closet that yearn to be exposed – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  This week we highlight a lesser-known but still masterful thriller about a determined mother willing to go to any (and I do mean ANY!) lengths to keep her sweet son out of harms way.  A murder, a mystery and mom is on the case!  It’s my #1 movie pick of that year brought back to life for your convenience – Bong Joon-ho’s five-star film…Mother.

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‘Hostiles’ Are US (Movie Review)

You can easily label Hostiles as a revisionist western. Then again, it’s not as though any filmmakers try to make classic westerns anymore, what with the modern emphasis on morally questionable heroes and increased awareness of what certain films tend to glorify and the efforts to subvert certain expectations. So sure, Hostiles is another western that goes after the grey area, more than it attempts to paint things in black and white. The results lead to some strong performances that fit right in with the beautiful landscapes captured on film. I only wish writer/director Scott Cooper found a way to tell a more involving story.

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