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LATEST REVIEWS
ALIEN ABDUCTION (2014)
"The Brown Mountain Project"
4 stars
Charles Tatum says... "Aside from the generic title and some pretty bad "Airforce" footage, this film is quite the little chiller. It is hard to make the silliness of alien abduction scary, but director Matty Beckerman does an admirable job with Robert Lewis' sometimes repetitive script." (more)
NIGHTCRAWLER
"All The News That's Fit To Blurgh. . ."
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... ""Nightcrawler" may share its name with a second-tier character from the "X-Men" universe but anyone showing up at the multiplex expecting the usual superhero histrionics is bound to come away from it feeling disappointed, along with anyone who is partial to such arcane concepts as subtlety or plausibility. No, this is a dark and satirical drama that dares to expose the seedy underbelly of contemporary media that wants to do for the TMZ generation what films like "Network" and "Natural Born Killers" did for the news gathering approaches of their respective eras. Alas, its efforts are somewhat undermined by a relentlessly self-serious and hectoring tone, a general lack of plausibility and a central performance so twitchily over-the-top that all one can do is just stare at it and think "Really?"" (more)
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP
"I've Forgotten More Than You'll Ever. . . D'oh!"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... ""Before I Go to Sleep" offers viewers the chance to watch two Oscar-winning actors working in service to the kind of material that one might normally expect to see presented as a Lifetime Original movie starring Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and whoever the equivalent of Bert Convy might be these days. As dubious of a prospect as that may sound in theory, it is nothing compared to the actuality of this ludicrous load. Here is a film so convulsively and inadvertently hilarious that while it may not top "Left Behind" in the number of bad laughs in a 2014 release, it comes far closer to hitting that mark than anyone might rationally have expected. I am not the easiest laugh in the world when it comes to movies but by the time it reached its climactic moments, I promise you that I was laughing so hard that there were more than a few tears streaming from my eyes. Yes, I laughed and I cried, though if it becomes a part of me, I can only pray that there is some kind of outpatient care to deal with it." (more)
FURY (2014)
"It's all in the title."
3 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "War is hell. A dingy, merciless exercise in depravity, a haunting example of how viciously people struggle to persevere. The casualties can't simply be distilled to bodies either. The tortured minds and hearts of those involved in conflict scar entire generations, and often darken national heritage for decades. David Ayer's “Fury” does a superb job of envisioning the savage realities of war, refreshingly filtering guilt and inhumanity through the prism of WW2. Pictures like “Saving Private Ryan” do a remarkable job of depicting horror in fits and bursts, but often, Hollywood adopts a decisive perspective, served a comfortable antagonist in the form of Adolf Hitler. After all, nobody likes a Nazi, lending WW2 a breakdown of hero and villain that potentially robs recreation of truth. “Fury”doesn't adopt such falsity, falling tonally in line with the great, troubling Vietnam pictures of the 70s and 80s. War only serves to ruin lives, Ayer's story showing how even the winners end up losing." (more)
BABADOOK, THE
"BA BA DOOK DOOK"
4 stars
Daniel Kelly says... "“The Babadook” has one helluva title. In fact, it might be my favourite thing about an otherwise effective horror film. I mean, seriously. Babadook? It just rolls off the tongue. It sounds like the sort of creation stripped from the pages of a storybook, with dark seeds of threat sewn just beneath its ostensibly hummable veneer. Director Jennifer Kent’s feature debut owes a debt to the works of Roman Polanski and to a lesser degree Sam Raimi, the film utilising psychological torment and macabre boo moments to keep its audience on red alert. It begins with raging intent, signified by its wild, ethereal compositions and deliberately overwrought sound design, and builds steadily until its slightly clapped out ending. The thematic underpinnings of the feature are explored with a thorough eye, but maybe work to dispel some of the picture’s ultimate power. All the best horror flicks leave viewers shaken for hours, threatening to taunt them during moments of loneliness or even lurch uncomfortably into their slumber. “The Babadook” probably won’t manage that. In acutely essaying the notion of horrors past, the film sacrifices the hope of impressing lasting fear. Maybe, just maybe, Babadooks (I honestly don’t know what the plural for a Babadook is.) aren’t so frightening after all." (more)
JOHN WICK
"Thugs beware: The day of Wickoning is at hand"
4 stars
Greg Ursic says... "Confucius said “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” Clearly he never had pissed off former assassins in mind, or he might have suggested the use of a backhoe and a large pit…" (more)
JINXED!
"A great director cashes out"
2 stars
Charles Tatum says... "An infamous flop when it came out, Don Siegel's final film is a chore of missed opportunities and obvious production problems." (more)
WAIT UNTIL DARK
"A classic of grueling suspense."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin were born five years apart, but while "Wait Until Dark" is near the beginning of Arkin's career, Hepburn would would enter semi-retirement afterward, not yet forty. This means that while Audrey is still Audrey, young Alan Arkin (with hair!) might seem rather jarring to those who know him as an older character actor. But you get used to it, especially since the movie itself is a thriller so taut that it's not uncommon to have people describe it as a horror movie." (more)
HAPPY NEW YEAR (2014)
"Indian Ocean's Six."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "If you've read my reviews of Bollywood movies over the past couple of years, you'll find a couple of patterns: Just because I enjoy them as a change of pace from the usual Hollywood fare doesn't necessarily mean that I don't get extremely frustrated with their shortcomings, and I really like Deepika Padukone. "Happy New Year" does not exactly deviate from that - she's the best part of a heist movie that gets fairly seriously lost over the course of its three hours." (more)
REVENGE OF THE GREEN DRAGONS
"Good, if not great, grindhouse."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Don't let some of the pedigree that "Revenge of the Green Dragons" can whip out fool you - executive producer/"presenter" Martin Scorsese and co-director Andrew Lau have made some transcendent gangster movies, but this one is more or less the sort of lurid fare its name suggests. This is not an argument against it, mind you; what better way is there to tell the story of an Asian-American street gang than by bringing some Hong Kong style to old-school grindhouse?" (more)

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