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Update from editor Peter Sciretta: The following review was published by Germain Lussier on January 19th 2014 from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The movie is out in theaters this week:

The films by director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett always have one thing in common. They are obviously influenced by an intense passion for movies, but are not overtly obvious about referencing those movies. In that sense, The Guest might feel like something you’ve seen before. It’s got the basic feel of a stalker film from the late ’80s or early ’90s, but filtered through the action of Quentin Tarantino, the music of John Carpenter, the ideas of James Cameron and almost too many others to mention. There’s action, sci-fi, horror, comedy… you name it, this movie has it. The result is a fresh, fun film that crescendos from title to credits with suspense, laughs and violence. Read More »

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This Wednesday, September 17, one of the coolest films of the year is coming to select theaters. That movie is The Guest, the latest film from the team behind You’re Next, and it is a “fun ’80s throwback with sci-fi and stalker sprinkles on top.” That’s what I said at Sundance, where the film premiered. Now, nine months later, you can finally see what all the fuss is about.

Directed by Adam Wingard, The Guest stars Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens as a soldier returning home for war. He visits the family of a fallen comrade hoping to help them deal with their grief, but he has some more sinister, ulterior motives. Along the way, the whole film feels like a blend of John Carpenter, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and more. You can read my full review here and, below, we’ve got the exclusive debut of two very cool alternative posters for the film. Read More »

Half a decade after Zac Efron‘s last High School Musical outing, he’s still working on the challenging transition from Disney dreamboat to serious adult actor. And while he’s not quite there, he seems to be getting a little bit closer with every passing film. Neither The Lucky One nor The Paperboy were particularly well received, but they at least allowed Efron to try his hand at more mature material, and his supporting role in Liberal Arts earned some critical appreciation.

Perhaps Efron’s best shot yet at proving his chops comes from At Any Price, the latest drama by Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart director Ramin Bahrani. Reactions to the film were all over the place after its Telluride debut last year, but for what it’s worth, our own Peter Sciretta called it his favorite of the festival — better, even, than Argo. Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham, Maika Monroe, and Red West also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Ramin Bahrani‘s most accessible film to date ends up being my favorite film of the 2012 Telluride Film Festival (yes, besting Ben Affleck‘s Argo).

Ramin has developed a cult following from his three minimalist slice-of-life micro-budget films starring non-professional actors (if you havent yet seen Man Push Cart or Goodbye Solo, put them on your “to see” list). But with At Any Price, Bahrani is gearing up to step out of the film festival shadows and find an audience beyond cinephiles. Indie filmgoers may be turned off by this but I welcome Bahrani’s attempt to tell more expansive stories.

Dennis Quaid plays a fourth generation farmer trying to survive in a time when big corporations are pushing in and devouring the American heartlands. Fighting to keep his family afloat, and losing the battle of keeping his family unit together, Henry comes face to face with the consequences of his amoral actions.

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Thanks to Garry Marshall, I can’t hear of any film with a holiday for a title without a brief flash of fear that it’ll be another cringeworthy sequel to Valentine’s Day. But no, Labor Day isn’t another star-studded romcom, it’s the next picture by Jason Reitman. And if his past track record — which consists of Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, and Young Adult — is any indication, it’s one you’ll want to keep on your radar for the next several months.

Josh Brolin has been circling the coming-of-age drama since all the way back in 2010, with Kate Winslet signing on last summer. As the start date approaches, Reitman’s rounding out the rest of the cast with Gattlin Griffith, James Van Der Beek, and more. Hit the jump for details.

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