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LATEST REVIEWS
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)
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)

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