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LATEST REVIEWS
DAY AND NIGHT (2019)
"Looks good in the light."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2019 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Day and Night" opens like a mystery, its hero coming home to find a mess that he can't untangle and which nobody will talk about, but it's more practical than that, more interested in the truth of the present than that of the past. It's hardly the first movie to take this tack, but it's rare that one does such a fine job of letting a person sink into his dark side, convincing himself that he may still get out." (more)
DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
"You have to be a rat soup eating motherf*ucker not to like this movie."
5 stars
Lybarger says... "If you’re too young to have seen Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live, Beverly Hills Cop or Bowfinger, you might not know that Eddie Murphy is a supremely talented comic." (more)
ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALE, THE
"Wants to be three different zombie movies, all of them kind of screwy."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2019 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Zombie movies are especially prone to running together as you see enough of them; like the undead creatures themselves, they've mostly got the same symptoms and eventually wind up breaking through as they arrive in a horde. I've probably seen dozens in the past couple decades just at genre festivals like this, and many of the ones that stick out come from South Korea. That's not necessarily surprising; lots of good genre film comes out of the Korean Peninsula, and the emphasis on black comedy is just the thing to send these movies in weird directions. "The Odd Family" may not be in the category of "Train to Busan" or "The Neighbor Zombie", but it's at least different enough to remember." (more)
BLACK AND BLUE
"It's big but not so easy."
3 stars
Lybarger says... "As he matures, producer-director Deon Taylor is slowly learning that storytelling can be a lot more suspenseful than borrowing jump scares from other movies." (more)
MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL
"An interesting idea that could really do with scaring the kids more."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I can't say that I exactly loved "Maleficent" when it appeared a few years ago, but it was at the very least interesting, and grew in relative stature as Disney followed it up with less daring live-action takes on their animated library. Maybe the sequel will follow a similar path, but its ambitions seem less impressive and interesting, a mere building out of the fairy-tale world that the first attempted to turn on its head." (more)
CAPTAIN, THE (2019)
"A heck of a story told quite well indeed."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "As near as I can tell, "The Captain" (aka "The Chinese Pilot") has been the most popular of the three big releases meant to stoke national pride for the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, which is nice, because it is also the one that feels the least like obvious propaganda. Instead, it's the sort of solid tale of heroic competence that risks understating the extent to which its hero showed grace under pressure - or, in this case, incredibly low air pressure." (more)
JOJO RABBIT
"a.k.a.The Tin-Eared Drum"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "If I were to make a list of cinematic subgeneres that I could easily go the vast majority of my life without ever again seeing unfolding on the big screen, the weirdly persistent one that fuses together the whimsical innocence of childhood with the horrors of World War II would probably land somewhere near the top of it. Oh sure, there have been a couple of examples of this particular brand of filmmaking that I have admired—John Boorman’s “Hope and Glory” and Steven Spielberg’s “Empire of the Sun” (especially its astounding first hour or so) immediately spring to mind—but those hardly begin to make up for such utter grotesqueries as “The Tin Drum,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” and, of course, the more-appalling-than-ever “Life is Beautiful,” films that take the most horrific event of the 20th century and attempt to milk it for cheap sentiment and, hopefully, Oscar nominations from people who mistakenly assume that just because a movie involves a serious subject like the Holocaust, it must be serious as well and therefore worthy of consideration. The latest big screen attempt to tell a story along these lines, Taiki Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” tries to shake the formula up a bit by adding comedy to the mix, presumably so that viewers can bravely laugh through their tears as they embrace what has been boldly described as being “an anti-hate satire.” The results, needless to say, are pretty appalling as unfunny comedy rubs shoulders with unearned sentiment with results that desperately want to be considered outrageous but which end up coming across as far too empty-headed for any sensible person to deem as actually offensive." (more)
HUMAN LOST
"Interesting sci-fi trapped inside familiar anime."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT THE 2019 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Human Lost" is one of those anime productions that are something like 60% world-building, 30% action, and 10% trying to find a story in all that. The fact that it has no shortage of interesting ideas which keeps it moving at an impressive clip, and it certainly hooks the audience with a great centerpiece action scene early on. It's fun to watch and explore, enough that anticipation of it all coming together can carry the viewer to the end." (more)
TAMMY AND THE T-REX
"Now restored to the specific sort of bad movie it always should have been."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "If I'd seen "Tammy and the T-Rex" when it came out twenty-five years ago, rated PG-13 and the first feature for the two cast members who would go on to bigger things, I'd have slagged it pretty mercilessly, calling it misguided at best, and I almost certainly wouldn't have dropped eleven bucks to see the restored, gory version. But here we are, with me kind of admiring its no-budget insanity and preferring its honest camp to the knowing irony of its spiritual successors." (more)
EXTRA ORDINARY
"Genuinely sweet and funny from start to end."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I suppose movies like "Extra Ordinary" are the domain of the streaming services now, but there should be theaters in every city that show movies like "Extra Ordinary" for relatively cheap, making it easier to experience them with an audience. It is built to be a cheap and memorable date, with plenty to make the audience smile, and even if someone somehow doesn't like it, it's just off-kilter enough to let you talk about how screwy it was." (more)

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