Cinera

Movie theater attendance has become a problem in recent years due to high ticket prices, poor customer service experiences, and a wealth of entertainment choices from various subscription streaming services. While companies like MoviePass are trying to increase attendance with their own movie ticket subscription plan, one company is trying to make the home theater experience even more enticing.

Cinera started out as a Kickstarter pipe dream to bring a high-definition movie theater experience into your home by way of a headset that uses dual-screen high-resolution technology to put movies right in your face. Now the product is ready to be ordered and shipped this December. But is this a new piece of home theater tech that’s worth the money? Read More »

foxtrot review

Comedy and tragedy are usually treated as two wildly different emotions – the Golden Globes even consider them so different as to break up their film awards into two tracks on those lines. But for a writer/director like Samuel Maoz, the dichotomy is not so clear-cut. His new film Foxtrot, the stealth sensation of 2017’s fall festival season, evinces how these two experiences are not opposites, but rather two sides of the same coin. Maoz, in just his second narrative feature, repeatedly demonstrates the way hilarity and calamity are never far removed from one another. Just one break in the other direction can produce a wild twist of fate.

With the absurdist deadpan of Swedish master Roy Andersson, Foxtrot captures a unique look at how young men respond to both the banality and boredom of war, as well as how adults absorb the trauma of death. It’s best to let the strange whims of life in the film guide the viewing journey; go in as blind as possible. As he charts the impact of a calamitous development, Maoz responds to a full range of human reactions. They’re never treated as separate gears to operate. Instead, pain and humor are complementary forces that overlap and bleed into each other.

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What mother is really about

Leave it to Darren Aronofsky to lob a cinematic concussion grenade right in the middle of September. The writer/director’s latest film, mother!, is layer upon layer of allegory and metaphor, a movie that almost demands a long conversation afterwards to process what you’ve just seen. It’s earned a rare “F” Cinemascore, and Paramount even had to issue a statement defending their decision to release the film (read that here), which is a move that strikes me as crazier than anything that happens in the actual movie.

Aronofsky and his star Jennifer Lawrence have spoken about how they intended the movie to be about Mother Nature, and in a new interview, the filmmaker answers more questions about what mother! is really about. But do his intentions matter any more?
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unicorn store review

“The most grown-up thing you can do is fail at things you really care about,” imparts Joan Cusack’s Gladys to her daughter, Brie Larson’s Kit, towards the close of Unicorn Store. It’s the perfect nugget of wisdom for a tale of stilted, prolonged adolescence. But the film, Larson’s debut behind the camera, is a world away from the Seth Rogen-style manchild so prevalent in the past decade of comedy.

Kit, like many millennials, struggles to adapt to a corporate environment and bristles at the drabness of office life. She’s an artist by training with an instinct to color outside the lines, a proclivity received unkindly by her stern professor. Kit snags a temporary gig at PR&R PR, where she finds herself unsure of how to reconcile her well-nurtured passion for individual expression with the mandate to be a productive, contributing member of society. At this sterile company, suit-clad men envision selling products on their purpose alone. Kit wants to set her imagination free to convey how those same products make her feel.

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Editing in-flight movies

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything. In this edition: Delta Airlines should provide uncut movies on their flights.

What’s the deal with airlines editing in-flight movies for content? (/end Jerry Seinfeld impression) But seriously, folks: I’ve recently taken a few trips across the country using Delta Airlines, and while their in-flight film selection is admittedly impressive, the glow of having a myriad of options at your fingertips immediately fades when you realize that each movie they offer comes with the following message beforehand: “This film has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit this screen and edited for content.” The result? You aren’t truly watching the movies you think you’re watching.
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Room 104 Phoenix Review

(Each week, we’ll kick off discussion about Room 104 by answering one simple question: what’s the strangest thing in Room 104?)

For the second time this season, Room 104 traveled back in time. “Phoenix” takes place in the late 1960s, just moments after a plane crash. The sole survivor is trying to make sense of what happened to her, and decide what to do next. Luckily, Liza arrives to help her choose a path forward.

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tiff

Another Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone, bringing with it a wealth of great movies and a few weirdly disappointing ones too. This usually sets the stage for the remainder of the year in film – the movies that generated buzz at TIFF will likely go on to be talked about ad nauseam come Oscar season. TIFF itself gives out awards as well, and the big winner was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which took home the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.

I didn’t see it. Sorry!

But I did travel to TIFF and take in a slew of memorable films, which I will now present special awards to for the sake of wrapping-up the fest. Some spoilers follow.

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1

(We’re going to kickstart our discussion of HBO’s The Deuce by answering one simple question: what is the “best bet” in this week’s episode?)

There’s a curious kind of romanticism attached to 1970s New York City. The Deuce, created by David Simon and George Pelecanos, delves straight into it, setting a tone that’s just as delightfully pulpy, and introducing a cast of pimps, sex workers, gangsters, and cops (including twins played by James Franco) that rivals Game of Thrones in sheer scope. In its first two episodes, we get a glimpse of each of their lives, as well as the first inklings of where the whole enterprise is headed.

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it

On the September 18, 2017 episode of /Film Daily, Peter Sciretta is joined by Jacob Hall and Hoai-Tran Bui to talk about the latest news, including: the release date for John Wick: Chapter 3, Jon Hamm voicing Boba Fett in a Star Wars story, Jamie Lee Curtis returning for the Halloween reboot, some intriguing Westworld casting, and a director’s cut of It. In our Feature Presentation, Hoai-Tran introduces her new mission to tackle the horror genre after years of being terrified by it.

You can subscribe to /Film Daily on iTunes, Google Play, Overcast and all the popular podcast apps (here is the RSS URL if you need it).

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mother! early reviews

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Darren Aronofsky’s mother!)

Darren Aronofsky’s talents extend beyond his gripping filmmaking, inspiring intense debate among those who watch the finished product. His latest film, mother!, is starting to inspire the loudest debate of all: those who have seen the film (whether or not they’ve walked out before it ended) are fiercely divided among those who love it and those who helped give it a CinemaScore of F this past weekend. Technically, a lot happens in mother!, but there’s not exactly a plot or character arcs on display (neither of which, of course, are necessary). The film does bear similarities to many of Aronofsky’s previous films, from Black Swan to Noah, but it’s still very singular. What else could you call a movie where a massive group of people devour a newborn baby?

Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself. To attempt to answer the question at the core of mother! — to wit, what the hell is this about? — it’s worth exploring the multiple allegories that present themselves throughout.

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