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LATEST REVIEWS
PREDATOR, THE
"Another decade, another Predator."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Predator" had no business spawning a franchise at all, and yet Twentieth Century Fox keeps trying because, while there's nowhere to take it without losing the sheer 1980s muscle-headed appeal of the original film, it's just too damn merchandisable. So roughly every ten years the try again, and it's not like they don't give it their best shot, but digging deeper into the mythology behind a dumb action movie is something of a fool's errand. This attempt to do so is pretty capable, in a disposable-paperback way, but even by those standards could have been more." (more)
FAHRENHEIT 11/9
"Messier but better than Moore's first 'Fahrenheit.'"
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Michael Moore’s 'Fahrenheit 11/9' is a sloppy but affecting essay about American crisis." (more)
MADELINE'S MADELINE
"Equal parts excellent performances and art-house hooey."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Well, that's me done with Josephine Decker. I don't want to be. There are some terrific performances to be found in this movie, a pretty decent core story, and moments that feel like something approaching self-awareness. As with her previous work, I can see great talent and potential there. I want to say nice things. And the thing of it is, if I hadn't come into this movie with a chip on my shoulder about certain things from her previous films, I'd probably be a lot more impressed, although it's not like the things that put that chip there wouldn't still be big negatives." (more)
WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?
"A rebel in his gentle way."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "'Won’t You Be My Neighbor?' is a lovely film about a lovely man, Fred McFeely Rogers, known to generations of children as Mr. Rogers." (more)
BROTHERS' NEST
"No mere sibling rivalry here."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: There should, by now, be a name for the class of crime film that starts as a screwball comedy but ends far from it in either feeling or deed, so that one can say a movie is this thing in just a few words and the person to whom it has been recommended won't feel misled. Whatever you call it, "Brothers' Nest" is an impressive example of that thing, dark as heck but often roaringly funny." (more)
MANDY
"All The Boys Really Love Mandy"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Last week, you will recall (and don’t worry for a second if you didn’t), saw the release of “Peppermint,” an absolutely reprehensible thriller about an ordinary person who sees their loved ones brutally murdered before their eyes by violent thugs and then, with conventional justice not an option, sets off on a rampage of blood-soaked revenge in which they systematically slaughter everyone even tangentially responsible for the original crime. Although there were plenty of reasons to hate the film—the clumsy and contrived nature of the screenplay, the shoddy and haphazard quality of the filmmaking and the utter waste of the immensely likable Jennifer Garner in the lead role among them—perhaps the worst thing about it, other than the startlingly level of racism on display in virtually every scene (including one in which Garner kills about 20 Hispanics in a piñata factory but leaves the sole white guy on hand alive to pass on some information), was how boring and pro forma it was—for all intents and purposes, it was little more than just another uninspired knockoff of “Death Wish” and we already had one of those earlier this year with that terrible Bruce Willis remake. I cannot imagine any circumstance in which I wouldn’t not have been aware of the sheer laziness that permeated every scene of that film but I was perhaps especially attuned to it when I saw it because I had just finished watching a film that utilized the same basic plot parameters but infused with such ingenuity, style and sheer audacity that it felt like a truly singular work for the ages." (more)
GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM
"A 'Blair Witch' for the streaming era."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Before anything else, "Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum" is a good horror movie, one that gets the audience to jump at the right times and does a fair job of creeping them out in between. It also arguably represents the evolution of a certain part of the genre, either a transitional step between found-footage movies like "The Blair Witch Project" and screenshot entries like "Unfriended" or an impressive job in cross-breeding the two. It's a good enough haunted-house movie that the format never feels like a cheap gimmick." (more)
MAQUIA: WHEN THE PROMISED FLOWER BLOOMS
"A throwback in style that feels bold and fresh."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Maquia" reminds me more than a bit of the anime that captured imaginations when I was younger, fantasy that takes some time revealing its details before integrating them into the background, building up a human story that nevertheless came quite be told the same in any other world. It's epic and intimate all at once, meticulously constructed." (more)
FIELD GUIDE TO EVIL
"As you travel, watch out for dangerous flora, fauna, and folklore!"
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "The Field Guide to Evil" is not a bad horror anthology, really - it probably averages out to something a notch or so above average by the time all eight countries in its world tour of frightening folklore have checked in. It's just that it quite possibly peaks with its first entry, and even some of the better ones that follow never quite live up to how smart and thrilling that one is." (more)
PIERCING
"Crazy but, unfortunately, not unhinged."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: It does not particularly surprise me to see that this comes from a novel by Ryu Murakami, the same author who provided the source material for "Audition". One can see a lot of the same DNA that went into that here, though expressed in a garish, colorful manner that's fun to watch in the moment but which never comes together into much more than screenwriter/director Nicolas Pesce showing us just how much affection he has for film and the genre." (more)

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