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LATEST REVIEWS
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)
FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES
"Certainly looks the part of a South African Western."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Five Fingers for Marseilles" is being labeled a "South African Western", which describes it as well as anything but also doesn't feel quite right. There's too much history to the characters, and not enough frontier, but that seems a bit like quibbling. It feels more like a western than anything else, especially once it gets to the end." (more)
ONE CUT OF THE DEAD
"A terrific showbiz comedy hiding behind a terrible horror movie."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: It's not unusual to have a conversation about a television show and have someone say that the first year isn't very good, but if you hang in there for something like fifteen hours, it starts to get good, but also occasionally have the same people say that they turned a movie off ten minutes in. "One Cut of the Dead" is an odd movie because is more or less counts on at least part of the audience cutting it the same slack they would a serial whose early segments aren't actually that good. A risky play, but one that is eventually rewarded." (more)
LITTLE STRANGER, THE
"Not haunting."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Somewhere in the middle of "The Little Stranger", the filmmakers seem to decide or remember that it's going to be a ghost story and start having weird things happen. It hasn't been great at being anything else, but that still seems like the least interesting choice they could have made. It's a bland, generic haunting, and never seems to serve as the metaphor for a dying way of life that it should be, just a way to tidy up." (more)
HEREDITARY
"what the actual fuck is this shit"
2 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "A strange bird, "Hereditary" is. This shrill and unhappy supernatural drama starts off as a sort of psychological character study and ends up in the wild hinterland of sulfur and vile spirits." (more)
L STORM
"The most straightforward 'Storm' but also the most enjoyable."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I don't know that "L Storm" is quite the improvement on its immediate predecessor that "S Storm" was to "Z Storm", but the extent to which this series has figured out its strengths and managed to make a decent series out of corruption, inter-agency squabbling, and white-collar crime is impressive. These won't become classics, but there's nothing wrong with a bit of solid, unbloated crime at the movies." (more)
MONEY TRAIN
"Snipes and Harrelson and Ruben Shine"
4 stars
Jack Sommersby says... "Off a $68 million budget (not surprising given all the elaborate stunt work), it racked up $72 million at the box office, making it profitable but not the box-office smash as was hoped." (more)
WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE
"Just a quality thing about people trying to kill each other in the woods."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I haven't perused the listings for the local LGBTQ festival as closely as I have others in recent years, but I don't recall many entries that seemed as unrepentantly pulpy as "What Keeps You Alive". It doesn't exactly have main characters who just happen to be gay, but it's also not a niche film, or an introduction, or really outside of the mainstream in any way. It's just a darn good thriller that shows that everyone should watch their backs when they go out to the pretty country with the spotty cell phone reception." (more)
ARIZONA (2018)
"Good location, but these developments all look the same."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Arizona" starts out in a smart, timely spot, taking advantage of the vast number of hollowed-out, prefabricated, unfinished developments in the Southwest to create both a memorable sense of desperation and an isolated setting, but somewhere along the way the black comedy of people unwilling to take responsibility for increasingly horrible actions and a twisted American dream becomes a standard direct-to-video thriller. Eventually, a guy chasing a woman and his daughter with a gun is just that, no matter how clever it started out." (more)

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