The Eyes of My Mother Review

There’s a scene in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre where Leatherface, the deranged serial killer who wears the skin of his victims, runs to the window of his isolated farmhouse. He’s just made quick work of two teenagers who wandered onto his property one after another and he has no idea where they came from, what they wanted, and if more are on the way. Through that grotesque flesh-mask, we can see his eyes: confusion and fear and concern for what else this day may bring him. For a few seconds, this monstrous figure is so oddly…human.

The Eyes of the Mother is like a feature-length version of that shot.

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the handmaiden review

Park Chan-wook has spent much of his career being compared to the great Alfred Hitchock and The Handmaiden isn’t going to stop that. But there’s something to be said for a modern filmmaker being constantly placed side-by-side with one of the greatest directors of all time and there’s something more to be said when that director was known for his range and his willingness to take risks. Yes, Park’s films are Hitchockian in that they’re technically precise thrillers, but they’re also Hitchcockian because they muddle elements of horror and black comedy into the mix. And with The Handmaiden, Park proves that he can also match Mr. Hitchock in another category – he too is gloriously perverted.

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arrival first look

UPDATE: Fantastic Fest has unveiled the second wave of films in this year’s line-up, including Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden, and Sadako vs Kayako (which finds the monsters from The Ring and The Grudge battling it out). We have added the complete list of second wave films to the bottom of this post.

Fantastic Fest, the Austin, Texas-based film festival built around showcasing genre movies from the around the world, has announced its first wave of programming and it’s a doozy. Sure, the biggest news here is a red carpet screening of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, but that’s just the bait. The real appeal of Fantastic Fest, and the real appeal of this first wave announcement, is the collection of odd and unusual films that accompany the headliners. Come for the Tim Burton movie, but stay for the latest from Werner Herzog, Andrea Arnold, Don Coscarelli, and a number of the most unusual filmmakers working on the international stage at the moment.

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24x36 trailer

We live in an interesting age for movie posters. While actual film studios and the marketing people they employ continue to line multiplex walls with generic, heavily photoshopped work that generally relies on giant floating heads and/or random debris particles filling in every inch of negative space, pop culture art has undergone a revolution. Companies like Mondo, the Bottleneck Gallery, and Hero Complex have embraced movie buffs’ desire to line their walls with tremendous art representing films that are important to them. The movie poster has been reinvented.

The new documentary 24X36: A Movie About Movie Posters looks to explore how the beautiful movie posters from decades past gave way to the generic designs of today and how third parties and inspired artists have resurrected the form. And yes, you can watch the trailer below.

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The Greasy Strangler Trailer

For every film festival movie that hits all the expected cliches, whether it’s troubled romance, coming-of-age, or dysfunctional families, there’s always one movie that goes against the grain of everything. And that’s where The Greasy Strangler comes into play.

From The ABCs of Death 2 segment director Jim Hosking comes a positively nuts feature film debut that feels like the insanity of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim turned up to 11 and made even more gross and revolting. Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on in this movie or why, and that’s probably why I’ll end up watching it.

See The Greasy Strangler teaser trailer after the jump, but beware, it’s NSFW due to nudity. Read More »

southbound movie

Horror anthologies may be the best form of horror movie.

Seriously. If you start watching a lousy scary movie, you have to find it within yourself to endure 90-plus minutes of something you’re not enjoying. But an anthology, which divides the running time into a collection of different stories, keeps you on your toes. If you’re not enjoying the current storyline, just wait 15 minutes for the next one to start.

So the anthology structure of Southbound already has us interested in what this movie has to offer. A cool poster, an impressive trailer, and the online-in-an-official-capacity opening scene ensure that we’ll be checking this one out. You can watch the Southbound opening scene below.

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dangerous men clip

I’ve seen Dangerous Men twice now and it’s just as brain-breaking as the trailer implies. John Rad‘s mesmerizing B-movie cocktail of sex, violence, and revenge brought the house down at this year’s Fantastic Fest and it will soon start collapsing movie theater roofs all over the nation (in a purely metaphorical manner, of course). There are a ton of great “bad” movies out there, but this film, shot over 26 years by a bootstrapping Iranian immigrant, is top-notch, grade-A insanity. There has never been anything else quite like it – it has no right to exist or to be seen in any format beyond a crummy VHS tape passed along from one curious set of hands to another. But here it is.

We’re pleased to present an exclusive new clip from Dangerous Men, which is being re-released by Drafthouse Films, a company that has a habit of rescuing odd and unusual films from oblivion. These 60 seconds represent only a tiny fraction of the movie’s pleasures. Know that the fight scene depicted in the video below isn’t even the most bizarre fight scene in the movie. There’s a lot more where this came from.

Prepare to have your psyche annihilated by the new Dangerous Men clip after the jump.

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The 12 Best Films at Fantastic Fest 2015

Fantastic Fest 2015

This year marked my first time attending the the Austin-based Fantastic Fest, and I’m glad I went. How good is the festival? Well, the first film I saw, which is no. 1 on this list, blew my socks off. The movies I saw after that grand introduction, for the most part, didn’t make for a downhill slope. After the jump, read about the 12 best films at Fantastic Fest 2015.

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green room release date

Jeremy Saulnier‘s Green Room is the cinematic equivalent of getting your face bashed in. In a good way, of course. This take-no-prisoners thriller has been making the festival rounds throughout 2015, sucker-punching unsuspecting audiences from Cannes to Toronto. It’s a mad and brilliant movie… and it’s already been picked up by A24, who have officially given this gruesome instant-gem a release date.

For details on the Green Room release date, hit the jump!

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Son of Saul Review

Son of Saul is a significant achievement made all the more astonishing by the fact that it is the director’s debut feature. This intimate story from within the Holocaust avoids World War II movie cliches, turning away from convention to embrace an unflinching vision of one man’s quest for redemption in the inferno of Auschwitz.

The phrase “Holocaust movie” may inspire an instinct to avoid rather than rush towards a film; in this case please don’t give in. Son of Saul approaches its subject without gingerness or caution, but this film’s spirit never falls into exploitation. More important, focusing on one man’s experience does not trivialize the weight of the story’s context. Seeing the Holocaust through Saul’s own personal mission gives us a view of the genocide that is unlike any other in cinema. Read More »