split ending

It should come as no surprise that M. Night Shyamalan‘s Split features a big twist. It’s kind of his thing. Everyone, even his fans, has poked fun at his penchant for Big Shocking Reveals, some of which work as stunning reversals and some of which fall flat on their face. The twist in Split is a weird one – for every person who sees it and loses their goddamn mind, there will be someone who has no idea what the hell just happened.

In other words, it’s the kind of thing that demands to be discussed. Huge spoilers ahead. Seriously. If you haven’t seen Split yet, I’d suggest not reading on.

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Wind River Review

In the past two years, Taylor Sheridan has delivered acclaimed crime thrillers as the screenwriter behind the 2015 drug trafficking hit Sicario and last year’s award-worthy heist thriller Hell or High Water. Now he’s made his directorial debut at Sundance.

Wind River follows stoic and skilled fish and wildlife service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) as he discovers a young woman’s body in the snowy mountains of Wyoming while on assignment to find a pack of mountain lions who have been wreaking havoc on the local livestock of the titular Indian reservation. What follows is a crime thriller that feels like an extended episode of a crime procedural, but takes a shocking, and thrilling turn.

Read on for our full Wind River review. Read More »

Berlin Syndrome

Given that the Sundance Film Festival consists of literally hundreds of screenings, it’s an inevitability that something will go wrong at some of them. On Friday night, the world premiere of Cate Shortland‘s Berlin Syndrome was hit with spectacularly bad luck when the DCP projection froze roughly 5 or 10 minutes before the ending, leaving star Teresa Palmer to explain the ending to a bemused audience.  Read More »

bad day for the cut trailer

Much like how the Sundance Film Festival itself helps set the stage for every other film festival in the year that follows, the fest’s Midnight category helps to gauge what we can expect from independent genre cinema over the next twelve months or so. While I’m not attending Sundance (our own Peter Sciretta, Angie Han, and Ethan Anderton will be bringing you reviews over the coming week!), this is the section I tend to keep the closest eye on. Sundance has premiered plenty of unforgettable, and often gnarly, movies after the sane people have gone to sleep.

So that brings us to the trailer for Bad Day For the Cut, an Irish thriller that looks like it’ll be right at home with the after-hours crowd. It has everything you need: Revenge! Violence! Thick accents! A Game of Thrones veteran!

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I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore Review - Melanie Lynskey

Director Jeremy Saulnier has delivered chills, thrills and blood spills at the Sundance Film Festival before. His film, Blue Ruin, featured the relatively unknown actor Macon Blair setting out to track down the people who killed his parents and deliver his vengeance upon them. It appears some of Jeremy Saulnier’s filmmaking style has rubbed off on his leading man as Blair has returned to Sundance, this time as the writer and director of own twisted tale of revenge.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (which honestly needs a new title) stars the endlessly charming Melanie Lynskey (Up in the Air, Win Win) as Ruth, a woman who is fed up with people being assholes. It’s that simple. One day, she comes home to find that her house has been broken into, with the thieves having stolen her laptop, a set of silver she inherited from her grandmother, and some prescription medication for depression and anxiety. When it becomes clear that the police are basically doing nothing to help her, she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Read on for our full I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore review. Read More »

house of cards season 5

Well, that’s one way to celebrate Inauguration Day.

As I type this sentence, Donald Trump is on the cusp of taking the oath of office and becoming the 45th President of the United States, so Netflix saw this as an opportune time to release the first House of Cards season 5 teaser. There is no actual footage here, no glimpse of Kevin Spacey‘s scheming Frank Underwood – just foreboding imagery, specifically an American flag being flown upside down…a sign of distress.

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split review

(This review originally ran after Split‘s first screening at Fantastic Fest 2016. It arrives in theaters today.)

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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The Belko Experiment trailer

Greg McLean‘s (Wolf Creek) new thriller, The Belko Experiment, turns co-workers into animals. Written by James Gunn — who is busy with post-production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — the story is a dark, bloody, and violent office comedy. One day, the heads of a non-profit company decide they need 30 employees instead of 80, so they trap their workers, provide them with a deadly ultimatum, and turn them loose on each other.

Below, watch The Belko Experiment trailer.

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I Don't Feel Like Home in This World Anymore trailer

If you’ve seen the films of Jeremy Saulnier, you know Macon Blair. While he’s been in plenty of other movies, Murder Party, Blue Ruin, and Green Room have placed Blair front-and-center, giving him meaty roles and asking him to pull off tricky characters. As a result, he has become one of my favorite actors and I am always delighted when I see him appear on screen.

So it’s a little weird to say that I’m looking forward to the new Macon Blair movie while knowing that he’s not playing a lead character. That’s because I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is Blair’s directorial debut and the new trailer has arrived. And wouldn’t you know it – it looks really good.

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Five Movie Commentaries to Listen to in January

boogie-nights

While Damien Chazelle‘s La La Land wears its fondness for old school Hollywood productions proudly on its sleeve, his portrayal of present-day Los Angeles is hardly unflattering. It’s a movie so appealing to the eye it’s almost impossible to see nothing except beauty in La La Land, but it captures a genuinely lovely part of the city: it’s a place a lot of driven and passionate people move to every day.

After seeing the film a second time, it made me want to revisit a few movies set in Los Angeles, including Boogie NightsThe GraduateKiss Kiss Bang Bang, and a few others, which all feature some commentary tracks worth listening to.

Below, check out this January’s movie commentary recommendations.

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