Mohawk Review

Fresh from his ghostly triumph We Are Still Here, writer/director Ted Geoghegan finds himself combing the woods for a different kind of horror with Mohawk. One part revenge thriller, one part historical drama, one part home invasion where the United States is the home being invaded, this ambitious indie project delivers a spark of real-world tragedy yet falls prey to its low budget limitations.

The hook of Mohawk seems simple, but old grudges add gasoline to the fire and ensure no one leaves without blood on their conscience. It opens near the end of the War of 1812 as tribe members Oak (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Calvin Two Rivers (Justin Rain), and British soldier Joshua Pinsmail (Eamon Farren) try to convince elder Wentahawi (Sheri Foster) to join in war against the Americans. She refuses, and things start racing downhill once Two Rivers murders a bunch of American militiamen as they sleep. A cadre of American soldiers is dispatched to hunt him down, but, like the old adage says, if you embark on a journey of revenge dig, like, fifteen or sixteen graves.

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killing ground review

Why do people even bother to go camping anymore? To quote Jim Gaffigan, “The only happy camper is the one leaving the camp ground.” When you head into the woods for a getaway, you have to contend with the heat, bugs, uncomfortable sleeping situations, and, if movies are to be believed, psycho killers. It seems whenever characters in films decide to pitch a tent somewhere, it’s not long before weapon-wielding lunatics come calling (and killing). 

This very familiar scenario gets a mostly inventive twist in Damien Power’s slow-burn Aussie horror flick Killing Ground. Writer-director Power takes the traditional set-up of young people in peril in the woods and tinkers with the narrative, building every so deliberately toward an inevitable, unsettling conclusion.

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Jamie Lee Curits Psycho Shower Scene

The running water. The figure behind the shower curtain. The flash of the knife. The sudden screech of strings to accompany the slaughter. Everyone knows the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho – even people who have somehow managed to never see the film. It is, perhaps, the most famous scene in film history, and it’s a moment that changed the medium itself.

So famous and influencial is the shower scene that it now has its own documentary in the form of Alexandre O. Philippe’s fascinating 78/52. While at times bordering on Hitchcock hagiography, 78/52 is an incredibly in-depth exploration of just what makes the shower scene, and Psycho in general, tick. At the time, Hitchcock had become a household name thanks to his Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. He was also coming off the technological wonder that was North By Northwest. The fame brought on by these projects enabled the filmmaker to get away with murder, so to speak, by adapting Robert Bloch’s lurid, pulpy Psycho, ostensibly applying an A-movie mentality to a B picture.

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Brigsby Bear Trailer

When the /Film crew attended the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, one of our favorite movies was the comedy Brigsby Bear. The film hails from Saturday Night Live sketch director Dave McCary and cast member Kyle Mooney, and a new trailer finally digs a little deeper into what makes this quirky comedy so damn good.

However, we want to point out that while the new Brigsby Bear trailer gives away a little more of the story than the teaser trailer did, it still doesn’t come right out and explain the catalyst for the film’s story (though it’s not difficult to figure out). Personally, I think the movie is better experienced if you go in knowing as little as possible, but if you’re not worried about ruining an interesting turn in the story that happens within the first 10-15 minutes, then just keep on reading after the video. Otherwise, just watch the Brigsby Bear trailer and then go about your day. Read More »

jojo's bizarre adventure review

I rarely start reviews with first-person prose, but for JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, an exception must be made. Why? Because I’ve attended midnight screenings of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room with tamer audiences. Welcome to the Fantasia International Film Festival, where a Japanese manga adaptation can pack an auditorium full of French Canadian superfans.

When JoJo first struts into focus, pompadour-on-steroids cut and all, audience members lost their collective cool, like The Beatles just touched down on American soil for the first time. Diehard “JOficionados” (Copyright) spiked an energy that can be neither bottled nor explained, as they were harder than any diamond for glam-rock JoJo. And his mousy new friend. And white hat Michael Jackson impersonator. And Water Golem (whose actual name is Aqua Necklace).

Now imagine myself – an outsider to the manga’s cult fame – who dashed from airport to theater after a three-hour-plus flight delay. Was it all just a malnourished exhaustion hallucination? That’s how it felt, and even as you read these words, I struggle to grasp what entered my eyeballs that night.

But I’m going to try.

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the villainess review

The opening of The Villainess is dangerous. An exhilarating, first-person POV hallway fight scene that leaves a lot of unnamed henchmen in bloodied heaps is thankfully smart enough to (cleverly) shift away from the first-person angle just when you start wondering if the next two hours of your life are going to be a video game you aren’t in control of. The move expands our view of the stunningly choreographed action and announces a hint of the innovation yet to come. Yes, it’s dangerous, and like a lot of dangerous things – a mile-high tightrope walk, hanging to the outside of a C130 in flight, killing Keanu Reeves’ dog – it’s also thrilling when done right.

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A Ghost Story Ending Explained

This past weekend, A Ghost Story joined the specialty box office line-up by hitting theaters in New York in Los Angeles before the Sundance selected drama from Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery expands in the coming weeks. Having caught the film at Sundance, I can say you haven’t seen a movie quite like this before. However, the title might be a little misleading for those expecting a ghost story that’s more horror than thoughtful drama. Furthermore, the ending may leave many perplexed as the scope of the narrative expands and becomes something bigger than you’d expect.

Thankfully, director David Lowery was asked about the ending to A Ghost Story, and he was happy to provide a little more explanation for those who might be confused when the credits start to roll. If you haven’t see A Ghost Story yet, don’t read any further because there are spoilers abound, and you really should wait for clarification until after you’ve seen it for yourself, even if that doesn’t happen until it’s available on home video. Read More »

Lemon trailer

Brett Gelman can simultaneously make one laugh as they want to cringe and shrivel up into a ball. He does so often on Netflix’s Love, but he’s brought that particularly great skillset to other comedies over the years. Gelman recently co-wrote and starred in a film which looks like it’ll have some good uneasy laughs, Lemon, which is co-written and directed by Janicza Bravo.

Below, watch the Lemon trailer.

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Icarus Trailer

While the United States is still trying to determine how/if Russia tampered with the presidential election of 2016, Netflix has a new original documentary from Sundance that will show how the nation has been corrupting the athletic world by cheating at the Olympics for decades.

Icarus is a new documentary that set out to investigate doping in sports, but found so much more. Director Bryan Fogel ended up connecting with renegade Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the man behind Russia’s so-called “anti-doping” program that was actually a cover for helping Russia cheat at the Olympics, tainting the most revered athletic competition in the world.

Watch the Icarus trailer below to get an idea of how crazy this story gets. Read More »

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Baby Driver Review

(This review originally ran following Baby Driver‘s world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. The film opens in theaters today.)

Edgar Wright makes movies for movie fans, first and foremost. Is there a wide audience for a zombie comedy that upends the genre while also delivering one of the most affecting horror tales of the 21st century? Maybe not at first, but Shaun of the Dead exists and it is spectacular. It took too many people too long to fall in love with a stylized rom-com martial arts adventure that appropriates video game language to provide commentary on how relationships evolve, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has rightfully become recognized as a one-of-a-kind pop masterpiece.

And speaking of pop masterpieces, Wright’s latest film, Baby Driver held its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival over the weekend and it’s remarkable for two reasons. First, Wright’s unique voice remains intact, even as he plunges into a genre that is new to him and a story that takes away some of his more familiar crutches. Second, he’s made a movie that feels like it has the capacity to win over the average moviegoer as quickly as it wins the hearts of his fellow cinephiles.

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