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LATEST REVIEWS
FACE IN THE CROWD, A
"Griffith at his best."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "On a recent episode of "The View," Whoopi Goldberg prescribed a viewing of 1957’s "A Face in the Crowd" as a way of understanding Donald Trump’s unaccountable popularity among a small segment of the populace. The movie explains more than that, actually." (more)
KAHLIL GIBRAN'S THE PROPHET
"A decent frame around some amazing pictures."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Khlail Gibran's The Prophet" is a labor of love for producer Salma Hayek, and like a fair number of those projects, it's got some rough edges as the desire to realize a complicated project within a window of opportunity may have taken priority over waiting until it could be perfect. Or maybe not; the production may have been perfectly smooth, and some spots are certainly excellent enough to justify the enthusiasm for the film." (more)
SUNRISE (2015)
"Despair and delusion raining down like a monsoon."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Writer/director Partho Sen-Gupta takes certain things very literally in "Sunrise", but it's kind of a delight when he does, because the effect is nifty and exhilarating in the midst of a film that can use a bit of that as it tries to sap the audience's hope. Even with the obvious flourishes, he's still made a tight film that may obviously trumpet its cause but is engrossing nevertheless." (more)
TURBO KID
"One of the finest 1980s action movies made in the twenty-first century."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Turbo Kid" seemed to be on the fast track to being a cult hit well before its release; folks seemed keen on the short film produced as part of a contest connected to "ABCs of Death" and it seemed to get plenty of early buzz looking for funding and production partners as part of the Fantasia Festival's Frontières co-production market and had people looking forward to it for a year or two. A hero's welcome for the Quebec production was not unexpected at its Montreal premiere; but tat the movie actually is the sort of cheerfully gory retro-sci-fi blast intended is kind of a pleasant surprise." (more)
AVA'S POSSESSIONS
"A highly entertaining take on picking up the pieces after being possessed."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Three years ago at this festival, I raved about Jordan Galland's superhero comedy "Alter Egos" in part out of surprise; it worked its alternate Earth scenario better than a lot of films of its sort and built a remarkably solid cast of characters for a sort of spoof movie. With "Ava's Possessions", he does the same thing with the demonic possession genre and turns another high concept into a pretty charming comedy." (more)
DARK PLACES
"Theron & Hendricks are anything but cold cases."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: I'm mildly curious how big a part a secondary character had in the original book; after an amusing introduction (and fairly high billing), he gets streamlined right in the background. It's the right choice - this is a story about people involved in a crime rather than those investigating it, and while that material can be a bit uneven, but when it hits, the results are fairly impressive." (more)
SYNCHRONICITY
"Solid structure, weak foundation."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: There's not really a glut of movies like this one out there, although if you spend enough time watching modestly-budgeted science fiction you'll see a fair number of people try to make something that needs the T axis to handle all of its twist, even if few of them are clever or dedicated enough to the details to make the result great. Jacob Gentry is the latest to give the knotty time-travel story a shot with "Synchronicity", and he does a fair job of building a complex structure fast enough that it doesn't collapse from its shaky foundation until the end." (more)
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE- ROGUE NATION
"In which Tom Cruise renews his commitment to doing anything to entertain."
5 stars
Brett Gallman says... "When “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation” opens with Tom Cruise clinging to a plane as it lifts off, it’s staggering on multiple levels." (more)
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE- ROGUE NATION
"Accepted"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "There have only been a handful of film franchises that have been lucky enough to earn a fifth go-around in theaters and in nearly every one of those cases, a certain degree of artistic ennui has inevitably set in as the filmmakers, more often than not, are merely rejiggering things that have worked in the past instead of taking the time to come up with something fresh and entertaining. The results have, for the most part, been fairly dire--"A Good Day to Die Hard," "Star Trek V" and any number of horror titles one could mention to name just a few. (Hell, even the James Bond series, a franchise as durable as one could possibly hope for, had its first stumble with its official fifth installment, the semi-disappointing "You Only Live Twice.") Oh sure, I am certain that we could come up with a couple of films that buck that particular tide--"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" comes to mind (though anyone calling "The Empire Strikes Back" "Episode V" is going to get [i]such[/i] a pinch)--but such things are pretty much a rarity. Now there are plenty of reasons to love "Mission: Impossible--Rogue Nation," the fifth in the incredibly lucrative and surprisingly durable string of films spun off from the popular Sixties-era espionage television series--the smart writing, the good performances and the breathlessly exciting action set-pieces that have been its hallmark since Brian De Palma had Tom Cruise dangling from the ceiling of CIA headquarters in the 1996 original--but the most significant one is that it is that rare late entry in a long-established series that is still acting as if it has something to prove instead of lazily resting on its laurels. Like "Mad Max: Fury Road" from earlier this summer, a lot of care and effort clearly went into making this film and the result is the best franchise film to come along the line since. . . well, since "Fury Road."" (more)
COP CAR
"Stay out of the back seat, kids!"
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Cop Car" opens by dropping enough swearwords that even parents who missed the R rating might consider pulling their kids out, which is both necessary and a bit of a pity. A family-friendly take on the story could have been fun, although staying true to where writer/director Jon Watts sees the story creates something just as entertaining and probably more thrilling." (more)

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