Blackout Overlook

I fit the giant brass key into the door lock, turned it, and was terrified to hear it click open. This wasn’t my hotel room, and I didn’t know what was waiting inside for me. I just knew it was nothing good.

My life had taken a strange turn in the past day, and I was living inside a horror movie at the Timberline Hotel, the iconic hotel that served as the outdoor setting for The Shining and the host of the horror-centric Overlook Film Festival. Like any old hotel, it has its share of ghost stories and we had been essentially snowed in the day before. There was so much snow that it came to the window of my second-floor room. Last night screams echoed through the hallways. They could have been drunken revelers or something far worse.

And now, here I was, participating in Blackout, an experience that has been dubbed the scariest “haunted house” of all time. This was the absolute last place I should be walking around, entering strange bedrooms. I hesitated for a second, hearing what sounded like static coming from a radio, and strained my ears hoping to get a hint of what else might be in the room. No, nothing good would come of this.

I took a deep breath and pushed on in.

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Brigsby Bear

One of the standout movies from the 2017 Sundance Film Festival was an indie comedy called Brigsby Bear. The film is led by Saturday Night Live cast member Kyle Mooney, who stars as a twentysomething young man named James Pope who has spent his life growing up in a bunker, raised by his parents and watching a kids TV show known as Brigsby Bear, the only form of entertainment available to him.

However, James has his life thrown into upheaval when authorities raid the bunker and he learns that his parents are actually two strangers who kidnapped him as a baby. Struggling to adapt to the real world that he’s been isolated from his whole life, he takes solace in tapes of the TV show that he’s collected over the years, and it just might be the best way for him to cope with his stolen life. That might sound pretty serious, but this is undoubtedly a comedy, albeit one with a touching emotional core that’s all about the power of storytelling.

Now the first teaser poster has arrived, give us a new look at Kyle Mooney and his beloved childhood TV pal, Brigsby Bear. If you like 1980s style portraits that used to be taken at the mall, you’ll love this poster. Read More »

Problems with Netflix

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, and opinionated about something that makes us very happy…or fills us with indescribable rage. In this edition: our take on the current battle between Netflix and Cannes.)

Times are a-changin’. In just two years, Netflix has ramped up their big push into the film business, and are beginning to make waves in an industry stuck in its old ways. Two films produced by Netflix were curated to play at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, and that decision has sent shockwaves through the exhibition community, resulting in a new rule that may prevent the streaming company from appearing at the festival in future competitions. Below, learn more about the Netflix vs. Cannes battle, which is heating up thanks to movie theater exhibitors.
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Hounds of Love review

This is not an easy movie to get through. Hounds of Love depicts graphic scenes of sexual assault and torture. It’s the kind of movie that makes you question why you enjoy watching horror movies in the first place. Why subject yourself to something like this? Why sit through something that makes you feel like you need to take a shower afterwards?

But nothing here is done for the sake of exploitation or titillation. Hounds of Love is a surprisingly deep meditation on domestic violence and controlling relationships, an astonishingly well-acted piece of film, and it doesn’t end quite the way you’d expect from its rape-revenge trappings. But it’s certainly not going to be for everyone.

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Mayhem

There are few better locations to watch horror movies than in the iconic hotel that was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and the inaugural Overlook Film Festival, which I wrote about in great detail, took full advantage of this. Along with some possible classics (you can read my review of It Comes At Night right now and a full review of Hounds of Love is coming) I spent much of my time there watching movie after movie, and was pleased by the variety of genre films on hand.

Let’s take a look at what I saw, in order that I watched them!

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tribeca reviews my friend dahmer

Another Tribeca Film Festival has come and gone, bringing a new slew of films you should look out for. This year’s festival was particularly jam-packed, with some incredible special events, including a 25th anniversary screening of Reservoir Dogs (using Quentin Tarantino’s personal 35mm copy) and cast panel, talks with industry legends such as Tom Hanks, Kathryn Bigelow and Dustin Hoffman, VR showcases, the premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, and the literal godfather of all events, an all-day screening of The Godfather and The Godfather II with the cast and director Francis Ford Coppola assembled for a 45th anniversary retrospective panel and reunion to close out the festival.

Sandwiched in-between these star-studded events were some truly incredible films which I had the pleasure of screening and discovering during this sleepless stretch of two weeks. Here are the narrative titles that stood out, that shocked me, thrilled me and left me in dumbfounded awe by the end credits. Here are my Best of Tribeca 2017 films!

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Overlook Film Festival

When you host a film festival at the actual location that served as the outside of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, you don’t need to do a whole lot to provide atmosphere. But the snowstorm sure didn’t hurt.

That’s what travelers to the inaugural Overlook Film Festival were greeted by last Thursday as they made their way up the treacherous mountain pass to the iconic lodge. The Timberline Hotel is an utterly gorgeous location, a still-functioning ski lodge on top of a snowy mountain about 60 miles outside of Portland. To say it’s picturesque would be putting it mildly, but we didn’t see much in the way of anything on the way up. Whiteout conditions and a driver using tire chains for the first time led to a harrowing journey up the slippery road. We made it intact, but later on, I heard from more than one person who had fishtailed all over the place, or even ended up in the snow.

It was one helluva way to kick things off a weekend filled with horror movies, haunted houses, and an immersive “game” that thrust me into an actual horror story, that’s for sure.

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The Big Sick Trailer

You might think it’s a little bold to proclaim that The Big Sick will be the best comedy of the summer. And while reactions from trailers can tend to be hyperbolic in the moment, in this case, we’ve actually already seen the movie in question.

The Big Sick debuted at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, and when all was said and done, it was the /Film crew’s favorite movie that premiered there. Now the first trailer for the movie written by comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his real life wife Emily V. Gordon has arrived, giving us a tease of the romantic comedy which adapts the writing duo’s surprisingly true love story. Trust me when I say the movie is hilarious, touching and absolutely worth seeking out this summer.

Watch The Big Sick trailer below. Read More »

Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower Trailer

Joshua Wong wasn’t born when Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese government in 1997 after being under British rule and influence by western civilization. But that didn’t stop him from rallying against the Communist government for trying to take away some of Hong Kong’s autonomy that was promised in the “one country, two systems” principle that came with their return to Chinese rule.

In 2012, China attempted to implement a National Education curriculum that was aimed at deterring youth from having “unpatriotic thoughts.” It’s the institutional equivalent of brainwashing and propaganda in schools, and at 14 years old, Joshua Wong wasn’t going to sit back and let it happen. His defiance turned into an activism group that ended up rallying hundreds of thousands of students around him, putting him toe-to-toe with the entire Chinese government. It sounds like a fictional narrative, but it’s a true story, and Netflix’s new documentary Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower shows how it all went down.

Watch the Joshua: Teenage vs Superpower trailer below. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

firestarter

You can’t keep a good Firestarter down. After the opening night screening at the Overlook Film Festival tonight, Akiva Goldsman and Jason Blum announced that they would be teaming up once again to bring Stephen King’s classic pyrokinetic tale back to the big screen. Hit the jump to learn more about the Firestarter remake.

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