the autopsy of jane doe review

The horror genre is so often dominated by stupid characters doing stupid things, so it’s refreshing to watch a film like The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Here is a frightening story about two intelligent men whose talents for science and deduction break against a wall of undefinable supernatural power. Here is a fascinating mystery where the pleasures are not only derived from a series of increasingly terrifying and impossible discoveries, but from watching these two men work down a checklist of every possible rational explanation before realizing they are beyond their limits.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a film as interested in process as it is in jump scares and the result is one of the most entertaining horror movies I’ve seen in a year that has had no shortage of great scary movies.

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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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the void review

In the eyes of many genre filmmakers, the horror genre peaked in the ’80s and this mindset has informed entire filmographies. To attend any genre film festival is to wade through movies that feel like deliberate riffs on the work of directors like John Carpenter, movies filled with gooey practical effects and set to icy synth soundtracks. This kind of affection for a bygone era even went mainstream this summer with the release of Netflix’s Stranger Things – everyone wants to make a great ’80s movie 30 years after the fact and it can feel stifling. Nostalgia can be a bitch and a half. After a few miserable ’80s horror pastiches, you can’t help but feel ready to throw this entire subgenre to the dogs.

And then something like The Void arrives and shows how you can do it right.

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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 »


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There’s a lot to admire about Nocturnal Animals, the second feature from Tom Ford. The narrative is actually two narratives, beautifully braided together by Ford and brought to life by Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s pretentious pulp, in a good way — engaging to watch and pretty to behold. But Nocturnal Animals seems to be aiming for profundity, and there it falls short. It’s trying to say something, but what isn’t exactly clear.  Read More »

La La Land Review

“They don’t make ’em like this anymore” is a frequent lament when it comes to movies, but it couldn’t be truer in the case of La La Land, an unabashedly old-fashioned musical directed by Whiplash‘s Damien Chazelle. Set in contemporary Los Angeles — with just enough modern-day flourishes to remind you that this is a movie made and set in the 2010s, not the 1950s — La La Land follows a struggling pianist and an aspiring actress who fall in love but find their separate dreams threatening to pull them apart. It’s a story as old as Hollywood and jazz, and Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone feel like a pairing for the ages.

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The Belko Experiment Review

James Gunn has been tied up with Marvel movies for the past couple of years, but somewhere in there, he found the time to write and produce The Belko Experiment. Greg McLean, the Aussie filmmaker behind the nasty Wolf Creek films, takes the helm, and the result is a simple, entertaining horror-thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Read More »

Sing Review

Since Despicable Me, Illumination Entertainment has established itself as a go-to source for sturdy family entertainment. Their films may not reach the artistic heights of Pixar or Disney, but you can generally count on them to be perfectly pleasant and inoffensive, able to entertain the kids without annoying the parents.

Sing is Illumination’s first musical, but otherwise it’s cut from the same cloth as the company’s other films. While not especially deep, the combination of a star-studded cast and an equally star-studded music catalogue make for a fun time. It’s light and sweet and pretty as cotton candy, and it dissolves from memory just as quickly.  Read More »

Anne Hathaway in Colosssal review

Movies about giant monsters descending upon cities are a common sight, as are movies about chronic screwups trying to get their lives back on track. But if a movie has ever combined those premises before, I haven’t seen it.

Written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal stars Anne Hathaway as a hard-drinking, unemployed thirty-something who hits rock bottom when she gets dumped. But her messy life takes an even crazier turn when she realizes that she’s somehow connected to an enormous creature that’s begun terrorizing Seoul. It’s a bizarre conceit that works against all odds, anchored by strong performances from Hathaway as Gloria and Jason Sudeikis as Oscar, Gloria’s childhood friend.  Read More »

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Arrival Review

Denis Villeneuve‘s Arrival begins with a premise we’ve seen in a hundred summer blockbusters. One day, aliens arrive on Earth, in the form of twelve mysterious ships scattered around the globe. Their purpose is unclear, and humanity is naturally both intrigued and terrified. Where it goes next, though, is a welcome return to grown-up sci-fi, more Contact or Interstellar than Independence Day.

For starters, the aliens don’t open with an attack. And we Earthlings don’t, either. Instead, the U.S. military calls upon Louise (Amy Adams), a linguistics professor, to try and make contact with the alien spaceship in Montana. From there, Villeneuve carefully unspools a story that’s equal parts heart and intellect, encompassing memory, language, loss, love, grief, and the passage of time.

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