Posted in: Review

Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2016

There are multiple ways to approach the TCM Classic Film Festival, all of them highly rewarding, and the annual event in Hollywood (now in its seventh year) has attracted such a growing audience that attendees might end up never even crossing paths, depending on their individual tastes. As the name indicates, the festival is the […]

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Southbound

Horror anthology films are often inconsistent in terms of both tone and quality, with segments that often feel like separate, unrelated movies simply packaged together (in some cases because they are). But the filmmakers behind Southbound worked together to create a uniquely seamless anthology, in which one story bleeds into the next so smoothly that […]

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Manson Family Vacation

Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass have leveraged their success to become something akin to indie-movie moguls, using their names as producers and presences as actors to help struggling filmmakers get their projects off the ground. The brothers’ latest protégé is writer-director J. Davis, whose debut feature Manson Family Vacation was produced by the Duplasses as […]

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Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2015

At the sixth annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the big closing-night world premiere was a silent movie from 1919 that almost no one had seen in 80 years, and the in-demand sell-outs were obscure 1940s film noirs and a pre-Code battle-of-the-sexes comedy. That’s the delightful alternate world of this festival, which has grown […]

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Zombeavers

The title of Zombeavers alone gives potential viewers a pretty good idea of whether they’d want to see it or not. If your first reaction is laughter or excitement, then you’ll probably get some enjoyment out of Jordan Rubin’s silly (although perhaps not silly enough) horror-comedy. But if your first reaction is to groan and shake […]

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Amira & Sam

It’s tempting to give writer-director Sean Mullin extra credit for putting a spotlight on under-represented characters in his limp romantic dramedy Amira & Sam, but when those characters are drawn so poorly and stuck in such a contrived, flimsy story, their mere presence onscreen isn’t enough. The title characters are U.S. Army veteran Sam (Martin […]

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Willow Creek

Nothing in Bobcat Goldthwait’s history as a filmmaker or an actor indicates that he’d be the guy to make a found-footage horror movie about Bigfoot, but given the distinctive edge he’s brought to his efforts as a writer-director (including Sleeping Dogs Lie and World’s Greatest Dad), there’s reason to hope he might bring something original […]

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Festival Report: TCM Classic Film Festival 2014

Only at the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival can you show up 10 minutes before the screening of an obscure Rosalind Russell comedy and end up sitting in the front row because there are no other seats available. That’s how my experience at this year’s festival started, and while the front row is probably […]

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Nymphomaniac: Volume I

In movies like Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, and Dogville, Lars von Trier puts his pure-hearted heroines through almost unimaginable torment, piling misery on top of misery until it’s impossible to believe that they won’t suffer complete mental and physical breakdowns (and sometimes they do). Von Trier often claims that these female protagonists […]

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Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven

It’s not uncommon for movie studios to produce cheap straight-to-video “sequels” to well-known movies based solely on name recognition, often with virtually no connection to the originals. At first glance, you might expect Showgirls 2: Penny’s From Heaven to be one of those movies, trading on the notoriety of Paul Verhoeven’s infamous 1995 flop, which […]

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Passion

It’s sort of hard to believe that anyone could make the dopey 2010 French thriller Love Crime more ridiculous, but Brian De Palma manages to do just that with Passion, a mostly faithful remake. The final movie directed by Alain Corneau, Love Crime is a trashy, pseudo-titillating story about a ruthless corporate shark (played by […]

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The Kings of Summer

So breezy that it threatens to blow apart entirely, the coming-of-age dramedy The Kings of Summer has some sweet moments but ends up feeling wholly inconsequential. The self-consciously quirky supporting characters take away from the emotional impact of the central story, about teenage best friends Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso), who decide to […]

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Rushlights

As far as dumb ideas go, impersonating your dead junkie roommate to collect a mysterious inheritance from a shady lawyer is pretty high up there. But the protagonists of the moronic thriller Rushlights don’t seem to see anything wrong with it, at least not until they are in way over their heads and being targeted […]