a dark song review

If your average horror movie is an indication, the occult is a piece of cake. Grab a dusty old tome from your local library, pick up a Ouija board, light a candle or two and voila! You’re ready to open a portal, summon a demon, or cleanse a house of a vengeful spirit. Genre movies have a habit of making magic look easy and convenient. Either anyone can do it, or an exposition-spouting expert is just a quick phone call away.

A Dark Song isn’t that kind of movie. Writer/director Liam Gavin has made a movie where black magic isn’t just dangerous and a good way endanger your soul – it’s also really, really difficult and it takes a long time. Here is a movie about a single dark ritual that takes place over the course of six months.

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shin godzilla review

What is Shin Godzilla?

Known as Godzilla: Resurgence in Japan, it is the 29th Godzilla movie produced by the legendary production company Toho. It is directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi and no connection whatsoever to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film or the giant monster universe Warner Bros. is currently building.

But that doesn’t really answer the question, because Shin Godzilla isn’t what many viewers think it will be. So, what is Shin Godzilla? That’s a difficult question to answer because Anno and Higuchi have really made four movies in one package and each one is fascinating and frustrating and genuinely revealing about what this iconic, and wholly Japanese, series actually represents in the year 2016.

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raw review

It’s going to be easy to label Raw as a cannibal horror movie. It’s simple. It gets the point across. It’s a hook to get people in the door. However, director Julia Ducournau‘s feature debut is about so much more than the consumption of human flesh. It’s a coming-of-age drama that truly understands the loneliness of being away from home for the first time. It’s a pitch-perfect portrait of the awkward transition into college life. It’s a sad and lovely portrait of how siblings are never that far apart, even when there appears to be a great distance between them. Raw is a movie about changes and transitions and settling into being the person you will be for the rest of your life.

And yes, it is also a cannibal horror movie.

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split review

Every filmmaker finds themselves in a rough patch every now and again, but few directors have had quite as public a rough patch as M. Night Shyamalan. It wasn’t enough that the immensely talented director of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs was stumbling with duds like The Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender – his name had become synonymous with disappointment for many moviegoers. He had become a punchline.

But now, it’s looking like Shyamalan has started to get his groove back. The Visit was one of last year’s more pleasant surprises and now Split, which held its world premiere as part of a secret screening at Fantastic Fest, has seemingly revealed his future going forward: he’s going to keep on making low-budget horror movies until someone tells him to stop. If his latest film is any indication, few people are going to tell him to stop anytime soon.

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Sadako vs Kayako review

“Who would win in a fight?” is the great conversation starter. You yell about it on the playground. You debate the finer points in the bar. Who you back in a match-up between two fictional characters can sometimes say a lot about you and your tastes. Batman or Superman? Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees? Alien or predator?

And now we’ve reached peak versus with the arrival of Sadako vs Kayako, which pits the evil spirits from The Ring and The Grudge against each other in an absurd supernatural throwdown. In one corner, you have a longhaired young woman with a penchant for possessing outdated physical media. In the other, you have a broken-bodied, frog-throated demoness who really doesn’t like visitors. And when they do fight, will anyone care?

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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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First 10 Minutes of Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Not only was What We Do In The Shadows one of my favorite films of 2015, it shocked us all by coming in at #2 on the list of the best movies of the year put together by all of us here at /Film. Right now the film’s director, Taika Waititi, is busy in Australia behind the camera for Thor: Ragnarok, the third film in the Marvel Studios franchise. But before he went into superhero territory, Waititi went back to New Zealand for an indie adventure comedy that debuted at Sundance this year and is now readily available for you to watch.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople arrives on Blu-ray and DVD next week, but you can actually buy it on Digital HD right now if you were so inclined. And honestly, it could be the best decision you make this month, or even next month. The film takes the character dynamic of Up and tosses it into the brush of New Zealand with adorable hilarity that only Taika Waititi can deliver. If you need any more convincing, you can watch the first 10 minutes of Hunt for the Wilderpeople after the jump. Read More »

Newtown Trailer

On December 14, 2012, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and shot 20 children aged between 6 and 7 years old, as well as six adult staff members. It’s the kind of horror that you hope one can’t even imagine, but it became a real life nightmare for the parents and families of the murdered children and school employees. Now a new documentary looks at how the small town is recovering a few short years later.

Newtown premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and was acquired this past summer for a release this fall. Now the first trailer for the documentary has arrived, profiling the parents who lost their children in the vicious act, as well as a surviving teacher, one of the emergency room doctors who took care of the victims, and even some of the survivors who witnessed this tragedy firsthand.

Watch the Newtown trailer after the jump. Read More »

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Black Mirror Season 3 Review

It’s been nearly two years since the last episode of Black MirrorCharlie Brooker‘s tech dystopia anthology series, and over three years since the last proper full season aired. Naturally, then, news that Netflix had commissioned 12 more episodes was met with a combination of excitement and trepidation.

On the one hand, Black Mirror is second to none when it comes to chronicling the way humanity and technology intersect in 2016. On the other, we’ve seen tons of shows renewed after extended hiatuses, only to return as shells of their former selves. Could the third season of Black Mirror live up to the greatness of the first two? Based on the two episodes that screened at TIFF, “San Junipero” and “Nosedive,” the answer seems to be yes.  Read More »