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NEW THIS WEEK
Black Panther 4.44
Monster Hunt 2 4
Monkey King 3, The 3
Loveless rate me!
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ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
22-Feb Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built
23-Feb Annihilation
23-Feb Cured, The
23-Feb Curvature
23-Feb Death House
23-Feb Every Day (2018)
23-Feb Game Night
23-Feb Hannah
23-Feb Lodgers, The
23-Feb November (2018)
23-Feb Operation Red Sea
23-Feb Survivors Guide to Prison
23-Feb Young Karl Marx, The
28-Feb Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

DVD RELEASES
20-Feb Coco (2017)  
20-Feb Daddy's Home 2  
20-Feb Mom and Dad  
20-Feb Star, The  
27-Feb 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene  
27-Feb Darkest Hour  
27-Feb Just Getting Started  
27-Feb Justice League  
27-Feb Murder on the Orient Express (2017)  
27-Feb Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Fantastic Woman, A 5
In the Fade 5
Black Panther 4.44
Hanson and the Beast 4
Have a Nice Day 4

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
15:17 to Paris, The 1
Cloverfield Paradox, The 1
Fifty Shades Freed 1.33
Commuter, The 1.63
All the Money in the World 1.88

2017 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Darkest Hour 3.89
Stronger 5
Downsizing 1.75
Shape of Water, The 3.67
Lady Bird 4.31
MORE MOVIES

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Headshot (2012) 4
Side by Side 3.86
Whole Lotta Sole 4
Revenge for Jolly! 1
War Witch 4.5
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Ip Man: The Final Fight 4
Last Tycoon, The 4
Curse of Chucky 4
Berserk Golden Age Arc 2: The Battle for Doldrey 3
Garden of Words, The 5
MORE MOVIES

2017 Fantastic Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Endless, The 4.86
Cold Hell 5
78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene 4
Blade of the Immortal 4
Super Dark Times 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Major, The 5
Fifth Estate, The 2
Sacrament, The 3
Green Inferno, The 3.91
Cold Eyes 3.86
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Immigrant, The 4.23
Her 4.36
Stranger by the Lake 4
Invisible Woman, The (2013) 5
Alan Partridge 4
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2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Stray Dogs (2013) 2
August: Osage County 1.78
Kill Your Darlings (2013) 2.2
With You, Without You 3
Blinding Sunlight, The 3
MORE MOVIES

2016 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
31 3
Love & Friendship 4.46
Sleight 3
Life, Animated 5
Certain Women 4.14
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2016 Slamdance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Embers 4.14
MORE MOVIES

2016 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
High Treason 4.14
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 4.03
Reconnoiter 3.07
Phoenix Incident, The 3
Skyquake 2
MORE MOVIES

2017 Venice Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Mother! 3.83
Suburbicon 2.22
Downsizing 1.75
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 4.81
Brawl in Cell Block 99 4.5
MORE MOVIES

2017 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Landline 3
Lady Macbeth 3.54
Little Hours, The 5
Berlin Syndrome 2
Thoroughbreds 4
MORE MOVIES

2017 South by Southwest Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Prevenge 4
Small Town Crime 3.38
Disaster Artist, The 3.71
78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene 4
Lucky (2017) 4
MORE MOVIES

2017 Boston Underground Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Most Beautiful Island 5
Southland Tales 4.03
She's Allergic to Cats 3
68 Kill 4
Neighborhood Food Drive 4
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Independent Film Festival Boston 2017 MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Dealt 4.71
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail 4
Band Aid 4
Stumped 4
Gook 5
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2017 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Bitch (2017) 3
My Life as a Zucchini 5
Wild Blood 1
Kills on Wheels 4
Geek Girls 3.29
MORE MOVIES

2017 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Thelma 3.71
Wonderstruck 4.85
Florida Project, The 3.86
BPM (Beats Per Minute) 5
Lady Bird 4.31
MORE MOVIES

2017 AFI Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Call Me by Your Name 4
Hostiles 4
I, Tonya 2.29
Molly's Game 2.88
Shape of Water, The 3.67
MORE MOVIES

2018 Slamdance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Human Affairs 5
Circus Ecuador 5
MORE MOVIES

2018 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Lu Over the Wall 4
Futile and Stupid Gesture, A 5
MORE MOVIES

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EFC STATS
Movies Listed: 31116
Total Ratings: 247261
Total Reviews: 27770
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: HOLY ANGELS director Jay Cardinal Villeneuve
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: NEVER SAW IT COMING director Gail Harvey
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN director Jarod Moshe
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: JUGGERNAUT director Daniel Dimarco
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: BUDAPEST NOIR director Eva Gardos
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: SOMEONE ELSE'S WEDDING director Pat Kiely
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: VENUS director Eisha Marjara
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview - NEVER HERE director Camille Thoman
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: A SWINGERS WEEKEND director Jon E. Cohen
Whistler Film Festival 2017 Interview: THERE IS A HOUSE HERE director Alan Zweig
Whistler Film Festival: The Darkest Movie Moments on the Starriest Slopes
Films I Neglected To Review: "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes
Celebrity Exclusive Interviews
Film Festivals of the World
Criticwatch
Rants and Raves
DVD Reviews
Movies & Money with Erik Childress
The Oscar Eye
Films I Neglected To Review with Peter Sobczynski
Short Stuff
WGN Radio's Movie Reviews Podcast (w/ Nick Digilio, Erik Childress & Collin Souter)
DVD/Blu-ray Schedules
Movie Madness Podcast (with Erik Childress)
MORE FEATURES
LATEST REVIEWS
MONSTER HUNT 2
"Less plot, but more and better monsters."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There are many sorts of sequels, all with their various merits - the serialized story, the shifting genres, the attempt to recapture the same magic but with more resources. "Monster Hunt 2" definitely falls into the "more of the first" category of sequel, with a story that is often vague enough that it like some combination of treading water until a climactic third part or only having time for a loose outline before shooting because the filmmakers knew they'd have to leave time for visual effects in order to hit a Chinese New Year release date. That's okay; that first was pretty good and this doesn't throw much of it away to get Wuba and his human foster parents together again." (more)
MONKEY KING 3, THE
"Less Monkey King, best entry."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Sometimes, the third time apparently is the charm - despite a pair of less-than-impressive predecessors, director Cheang Pou-soi's third "Monkey King" film winds up being pretty darn decent. It's been a heck of a troubled path to get there, as the producers basically scrapped everything and started over at one point, and there have been at least two better takes on the same material while this series of movies has been a going concern, but on its own, this particular flick isn't a bad way to spend a couple hours if your local theater has booked it for Chinese New Year." (more)
GATEWAY, THE
"There's probably a slightly (but crucially) better version in another world"
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 BOSTON SCI-FI FILM FESTIVAL: "The Gateway" (also called "Alpha Gateway" because there's a good chance your cable company lists its pay-per-view options alphabetically) is a reasonably capable parallel-worlds bit of science fiction that relies an awful lot on security procedures being terribly lax in all versions of Australia, even the paranoid violent one. It's the kind of thriller that simultaneously hopes you'll be impressed by its twists and not notice the really questionable things necessary to get to them, but at least it's got a decent-enough cast to make the good bits work." (more)
BLACK PANTHER
"98% Of The Time, It Works 100% Of The Time"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Despite what some less informed commentators have stated elsewhere, “Black Panther” is not the first major motion picture to feature an African-American superhero at its center—films ranging from comedies like “The Meteor Man” and “Blankman” to the Shaquille O’Neal vehicle “Steel” to the “Blade” trilogy beat it to the punch decades earlier and I am sure that I am forgetting a few here and there. However, none of these films were especially memorable or good—Guillermo del Toro’s “Blade II” was the best of the bunch and that is by far his weakest movie to date—and one of the key problems is that while watching them, you always got the sense that the filmmakers were hedging their bets by dialing down that very aspect that made them unique on the assumption that doing so would help broaden their appeal to people who might otherwise be put off with the notion of a superhero saga with African-Americans in the lead roles. There are many great things on display in “Black Panther” but perhaps the best and certainly the most significant is its attitude. This is a superhero film that focuses exclusively on black characters and concerns and clearly does not give a flying fuck about tempering that down to attract a wider audience—in many ways (and I mean this in the best possible way), it looks and feels like the biggest and most elaborate blaxploitation film ever made. To do this was no doubt a gamble—albeit one that Marvel Studios could presumedly cover—but it is one that has paid off beautifully and while it may not be the unblemished masterpiece that some have suggested, it is a superior example of the superhero genre that should prove to be as much of a commercial and creative game-changer as “Wonder Woman” (which demonstrated a similar attitude towards its presentation of a female superhero) was last year. (Although I will try not to delve too deeply into plot specifics, those of you who are more sensitive towards plot spoilers may want to exercise caution before proceeding.)" (more)
FIFTY SHADES FREED
"This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "If you ever wondered what the brilliant music video created for Taylor Swift’s hit song “Blank Space”would have been like with all of the fancy trappings left intact but without the wit, insight, strong writing, convincing performances and plausible choreography, then “Fifty Shades Freed,” the conclusion of the three-film saga based on the distinctly cut-rate but insanely popular series of books by E.L. James, will no doubt prove to be your jam. For everyone else, this astoundingly poor excuse for a story—one which, for all the huffing and puffing on display, is to honest-to-goodness erotica what Olive Garden is to authentic Italian cooking—will prove to be the low point in a trilogy that is not exactly overstuffed with highlights. At least those earlier films, “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Fifty Shades Darker,” had stuff going on in them—inane, stupid and decidedly stuff, to be sure—but enough stuff to create the vague impression that a story was being told. By comparison, this film consists of maybe twenty minutes of discernible storyline—almost all of which could have simply been folded into “Darker” without missing a beat—surrounded by endless scenes of nothing much happening enacted by a couple of actors whose key motivation throughout seems to have been the knowledge that they would never have to see each other again once it finally hit theaters." (more)
BASMATI BLUES
"Snap Crackle And Dance!"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "2018 is only a little more than a month old at this point but we already have a prime contender for the title of Strangest Movie with the release of “Basmati Blues.” Here is a film that is so absolutely dotty that if I relate even a cursory description of the plot, many of you might suspect that I had myself on the head and drifted in and out of consciousness with four or five different and wildly incompatible movies playing in the background. There is no real way that I could claim it to be a “good” movie by most conventional critical standards but I have to admit to feeling a strange sort of affection for its goofball charms. After a few weeks of dreary weather and drearier movies, a bit of unabashed silliness like this cannot help but look good by comparison." (more)
FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL
"Aging can put us in a lonely place."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It's only reasonable to be somewhat skeptical about "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"; present-day Annette Bening doesn't quite recall the image of Gloria Grahame in one's head, and that is potentially a huge hurdle for the movie to get over, especially since a large part of the audience is people who do have an image of her in her 1940s-1950s heyday in their heads (as opposed to the later years of smaller roles and TV work). It works in large part because the filmmakers are able to use and subvert that dissonance, creating an oft-intriguing story of fighting and accepting the march of time out of it." (more)
15:17 TO PARIS, THE
"Train In Vain"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Thanks to one of those unfortunate scheduling snafus that crops up from time to time, the sole press screenings of Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 To Paris” and “Fifty Shades Freed,” the theoretically long-awaited climax to the “Fifty Shades” trilogy, ended up taking place at the exact same time, obligating local critics to choose between looking at the Clint or looking at the—well, you know. For most, the choice was relatively easy since even though Eastwood’s output of late has been a bit on the uneven side, he has still made more than his share of stone-cold classics and his willingness to experiment at an age when most filmmakers become increasingly entrenched in the tried-and-true, even when those experiments end up going sideways, promised something more interesting than the wooden acting and tepid stabs at “kink” that have distinguished the “Fifty Shades” films so far. Adding to the lure of the Eastwood film are the unusual circumstances surrounding its existence; in recounting the story of the attempted 2015 attack on an Amsterdam-to-Paris high-speed train by a man named Ayoub El-Khazani, a suspected terrorist armed with a box cutter, an Ak-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammo, that was thwarted when three young American friends—Airman First Class Spencer Stone, National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos and college student Anthony Sadler—managed to overwhelm him when his rifle jammed, Eastwood elected to eschew the traditional casting route by having the three real-life childhood pals play themselves. (A couple of Frenchmen and a British businessmen also helped to subdue the attacker as well.) On paper, it sounds like a fascinating conceit for a film of this sort, though maybe not as audacious as the hype might suggest, but when it was all over, I know that I wasn’t the only one thinking that perhaps I went to the wrong movie after all. “Fifty Shades Freed” probably would have been terrible but at least its flaws could be expected and even rationalized based on the failings of its predecessors while “The 15:17 to Paris” is so bewilderingly terrible that all you can do is scratch your head in disbelief while quietly admiring the still-potent strength of Eastwood’s power in the industry that would allow him to make a film that is virtually indistinguishable from the instant and usually dreadful made-for-TV movies torn from the headlines that were all the rage a couple of decades ago." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
SHORT STUFF: THE 2017 OSCAR-NOMINATED LIVE-ACTION SHORTS
by Jay Seaver
"Every year that I write one of these wrap-ups, I point out that it's an awful shame that this collection of Oscar-nominated short films is the best chance many will get to see this kind of production which isn't expanded to a commercially-viable length and can be tremendously focused as a result. It can be tough to talk oneself into the short programs at a festival, if that's even an option, and traditional means of exhibition don't exactly have room for these subjects, especially now. It's a tremendous boost to them to get this nomination, and if the Oscar Shorts programs are playing near you or are on your cable system's On-Demand menu, these five films are a heck of a package." (more)
SHORT STUFF: THE 2017 OSCAR-NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS
by Jay Seaver
"Or, "The 2018 Oscar-Nominated Shorts (Animation)", as the program would have it. They can say that officially so that it doesn't look stale, but I say that the proper title ought to refer to the year the films were released, and not the one where the awards are given." (more)
WHISTLER FILM FESTIVAL 2017 INTERVIEW: THE OTHER SIDE OF PORCUPINE LAKE DIRECTOR JULIAN PAPAS
by Jason Whyte
""THE OTHER SIDE OF PORCUPINE LAKE is a behind-the-scenes documentary that follows independent Canadian director, Ingrid Veninger, as she makes her sixth feature film entitled PORCUPINE LAKE. This film eschews a traditional making-of documentary approach by using an observational style without interviews to reveal the intimate process of making an original female-driven feature film from writing and casting, and through to production and post. It shows a different way of making movies at a low-budget level within Canada while focusing on aspects of filmmaking that a regular viewer does not usually see in documentaries like the editor assembling material, the craft person making a meal and the crew bonding and hanging out." Director Julian Papas on THE OTHER SIDE OF PORCUPINE LAKE which screened at the 2017 edition of the Whistler Film Festival." (more)
MORE FEATURES

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