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LATEST REVIEWS
ARAGNE: SIGN OF VERMILLION
"Looks great but can't bring its story together."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Aragne: Sign of Vermillion" is the sort of anime that would has always excited audiences looking for something they couldn't find in American cinema a generation ago, a combination of science fiction, horror, and mystery that plays has a whiff of the exotic and has plenty of room for fan theories and speculation. Those movies are not always as rich as they seem, unfortunately, and this one suffers badly for not having a more defined story, even though horror can often get further on atmosphere than other genres." (more)
COLD STEEL
"Action Lite"
1 stars
Jack Sommersby says... "Deservedly died a box-office death." (more)
MICROHABITAT
"You've got got have priorities, right?"
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Microhabitat" threatens to become a cutesy story of a woman who may not have the things society says she needs but is a free spirit, but then, maybe that's the game - get you liking someone who has decided cigarettes and whiskey are more important than shelter, see how capitalism and conformity are strangling her friends in other ways, and then set you up for a gut punch." (more)
LAST CHILD
"For better or worse, it's hard to stop being a parent."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Last Child" is an impressive, understated film about dealing with loss and heartbreak, tied up with a parent's needs and duties. It has a hard time avoiding some issues in the end as the new bonds that have been formed must be tested, but that's not necessarily a negative; these things should be awkward and not quite fit easily." (more)
NIGHTMARE CINEMA
"Barely restless-night cinema."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: The very conceit of "Nightmare Cinema" is maybe a little too close to the hearts of all involved to truly bring forth the thrills it promises Five directors with obvious affection for horror movies making horror stories that play out inside a cursed theater is too on the nose, too much inside their comfort zone to actually lead to something truly scary and unsettling. In fact the one that seems most like a nightmare is the one that seems to fit the anthology least." (more)
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3
""NO!!!! Not the Macarena! Anything but the Macarena, Please!!!!"
3 stars
alejandroariera says... "Poor “Hotel Transylvania.” The first two films were slammed for their desire to please kids under 10 (as if that were a crime) while driving impatient parents up the freaking wall. They were criticized for not being intellectually stimulating or technically innovative as Pixar’s output or Dreamwork Animation’s early films. I personally find them charming, goofy and heartfelt. They don’t pretend to be anything more than a gag-filled, vaudeville-influenced piece of entertainment with a kiddy-safe message that goes down easy. It’s the cinematic equivalent of comfort food. Granted, I caught up with the first two films when they aired on television, which could lead to the very legitimate critique that they work much better on the home screen than on the big screen. After all, their director, Genndy Tartakovsky, began his career on television with such quirky series as “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “The Powerpuff Girls” and the far more adult “Samurai Jack” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” His “Hotel Transylvania” films have that Saturday morning cartoon vibe…all that’s missing is a bowl of cereal. Which is why I couldn’t help but feel that scheduling a press and word-of-mouth screening of “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” on a Saturday morning was more than appropriate, even though no cereal was served." (more)
TREMBLE ALL YOU WANT
"An enjoyable play on searching for The One."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2018 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: There are a lot of things that impressed me in "Tremble All You Want", well worth breaking down and pointing out, but since it's a movie centering on one character who is in almost every scene, she had better be good. Fortunately, I get the feeling that I could watch this movie with no sound or subtitles and still get a real kick out of watching star Mayu Matsuoka work. She's terrific and a huge part of how Akiko Ohku's movie is not just better than most romantic comedies, but also better at deconstructing the genre and putting it back together than most going that direction." (more)
SKYSCRAPER
"Not So Much A Die Hard Clone As Die Hard Cosplay"
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "For those of a certain age, it seems difficult to believe but as I write these words, it has been almost exactly 30 years to the day when a sarcastic New York cop went to see his estranged wife at her office Christmas party in Los Angeles, stumbled upon a massive robbery being pulled off by a group of highly skilled thieves posing as terrorists and took them all down in a series of wild action set pieces that wound up reducing most of the building’s 40 stories to smoke and rubble. Although the combination of a cops-and-robbers thriller and over-the-top Irwin Allen-style disaster spectacle may not have been the most original thing imaginable in theory, “Die Hard” proved to be one of those films where everything worked—the lean, effective and surprisingly witty screenplay, the good performance from Bruce Willis as the hero, the great one from Alan Rickman, making his film debut as chief villain Hans Gruber and the legitimately stunning action scenes that still have the power to amaze today and stand as one of the last great displays of practical visual effects work before the arrival of CGI—and the film that had until its release been largely derided for the controversial decision to pay Willis, who had not yet proven himself a big-screen draw, a then-astronomical $5,000,000 salary, not only became one of the year’s biggest hits and spawn a string of increasingly lackluster sequels but would essentially revolutionize the entire action film genre. For the next decade or two, the subgenre known as “Die Hard in a [Blank]” would flourish as film after film would try to replicate the formula of the original while resetting the action to locations ranging from everything from boats to trains to hockey games. Although a couple of these films were pretty good (especially the Steven Segal vehicle “Under Siege” and the cheerfully goofy Jean-Claude Van Damme joint “Sudden Death”) but most of them only served to remind viewers of just how brilliant “Die Hard” really was and how much the pretenders suffered in comparison." (more)
DIE HARD
"Hasn't lost its violent lustre."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "'Die Hard,' which turns thirty on July 12, is a big, beautiful, excessive action machine with a thousand moving parts." (more)
QUIET PLACE, A
"A good effort, but lacking on some level."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "John Krasinski proves with 'A Quiet Place' that he has the chops to direct a tense horror movie — his previous two films as director were more indie ensemble drama pieces — but please, please don’t insist that he now make nothing but horror. It’s clearly not what he’s interested in." (more)

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