Even though the South by Southwest film festival was canceled back in the spring when the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to tear through the United States, some of the movies intended to premiere at the festival still screened for critics. One of those movies was Insert Coin, a video game documentary looking at Midway Games and the making of historical video games like Smash TV, NARC, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and more. Now you can finally see the movie for yourself when it arrives on Alamo Drafthouse VOD and other virtual cinema platforms starting this week. Read More »
Every child learns about the historic efforts of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. to stop systemic racism in a society that continually treated Black people as inferior. But what they don’t often learn is how the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover, was ordered to provide surveillance of King in order to get enough evidence to destroy him and the movement that he was leading. The new documentary MLK/FBI uncovers rarely seen facets of the FBI’s investigation into Martin Luther King Jr., and the first trailer has arrived online. Read More »
For such a romantic, Christian Petzold sure likes to keep his audience at arm’s length. The German director of alt-history star-crossed romances like the 2018 stunner Transit ventures into folklore with his latest cosmic romance Undine, a chilly, cryptic film that spends most of its runtime searching for a soul. Whether it finds it finds it or not is up for debate, but there’s no question that Undine is a lush, transporting affair whose enigmatic magic laps at your feet and slowly washes over you.
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“Unfortunate you, if you cannot understand the mysteries of the jungle…”
There’s a Mayan myth of the “Xtabay,” a female demon said to dwell in the forest who lures men to their deaths with her incomparable beauty. Described as having lustrous, shining black hair that falls to her ankles and wearing a white dress, the Xtabay is an intriguing figure in Mayan folklore who has been everything from prostitute with a heart of gold, to a vengeful spirit of a fallen woman, depending on the storyteller. In Yulene Olaizola‘s lush, sweaty Tragic Jungle she’s a slave on the run from her lustful white master and the enigmatic embodiment of the film’s ecological rage. Part feminist revenge film, part environmental cautionary tale, Tragic Jungle is a bloody fable that posits that the mysteries of women are as deep and impenetrable as the jungle…and just as deadly.
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American Horror Story. Black Mirror. Room 104. Channel Zero. The Mortuary Collection. Monsterland. Creepshow. Scare Me. Nightmare Cinema. Scare Package. Books of Blood. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. 50 States of Fright. Into the Dark. Welcome to the Blumhouse. The Twilight Zone. Horror anthologies are all the rage across various media right now, and the Shelter-In-Place Edition of Telluride Horror Show is no exception.
A collection of selected short stories, anthologies come in the form of literature, television shows, movies and more. Typically running somewhere between ten to thirty minutes, segments may either make up several chapters within one whole picture, like in Tales from the Hood and John Carpenter’s Body Bags, or they may be relegated to one story per episode, as is the case with cult classics like Tales from the Crypt and Masters of Horror. Most contain wrap-around stories which explain the reasoning behind the varied stories, and some even feature a dryly sardonic host, such as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, or the Crypt Keeper. Some anthologies may devote entire seasons to one plotline, like The Act, while others land somewhere in the middle, like Lovecraft Country, which follows a monster-of-the-week scenario not unlike The X-Files, but simultaneously carries an overarching villain that comes to a head over the course of the season a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
When it comes to the types of anthologies at Telluride, there’s a little something for everyone.
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Margot Robbie already has quite the reputation as a big screen criminal thanks to her fantastic portrayal of The Joker’s ex-girlfriend, the Clown Princess of Crime, Harley freakin’ Quinn. But this fall, Paramount Pictures has her on the run from the law in a very different kind of movie.
Dreamland finds Margot Robbie playing a fugitive bank robber on the run from the law in the middle of the Great Depression. Desperate to make an escape to the Southern border, she’ll do whatever she has to in order to survive, but she doesn’t exactly seem like a stone cold criminal. There’s something more to this woman than meets the eye. Watch the trailer below. Read More »
“Some things are older than science, older than God; the earth has its own secrets,” whispers a local Irishman named William. As two Canadian travelers carefully approach an ancient gravesite, William’s friend jumps out from around the tombstones scaring the hell out of the tourists who wanted to get a glimpse at a real piece of historic horror. That is one of the great things about folklore. Stories are passed down through generations that cause people to travel all over the world to see the sites that inspired mythological creatures, and locals love to lean into it all for a scare or a laugh.
Embracing small town antics and camaraderie, writer/director Chris Baugh summons a new story on the traditional vampire lore and takes a stab at marrying comedy and horror with his film Boys from County Hell.
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Misery may love company, but loneliness craves it. Yearns for it. Counts down the minutes waiting for company to arrive until life is but a hollow shell, an endless repetition of mindless tasks, wasting away waiting for something that may never come. And then when that company is finally there, doesn’t know what to do it with it but shyly dance around it.
Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang has long delved into the feeling of alienation, isolation, and the miracles of human connection with his films, and Days is no exception. A mesmerizing exercise in the mundane, Days is almost completely free of dialogue — and intentionally unsubtitled for this reason — inducing a kind of calm hypnotic state that makes the viewer even more aware of the sharp stabs of loneliness felt by his longtime muse Lee Kang-sheng. Lee stars as Kang, a middle-class man wandering through the lonely urban landscape of Hong Kong, biding his time until he meets Non, a young Laotian immigrant working as a masseuse in Bangkok (Anong Houngheuangsy).
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Science and religion unite in an unconditional manner with writer/director Devereux Milburn’s Honeydew. Making its world premiere at Nightstream Festival, Honeydew is as auditorily savory as it is visually sadistic. A blend of horror sub-genres, Milburn proves that he has a talent (and an appetite) for serving audiences a disturbing new take at an exploration in the countryside gone wrong.
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Don’t be alarmed if you find yourself wondering halfway through Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear just what the hell is going on. Levine intends for his characters to be off-kilter. At least, at first. Influenced by filmmakers like Hong Sang-soo, Levine’s sophomore feature is less about following a straight narrative and more about the longtime screenwriter giving himself permission to explore the unconventional. To bask in the beautiful loneliness that inevitably comes with the curse of being a creative. A girl in a bright red bathing suit on a washed out dock alone at sea. Wood paneled walls conflating claustrophobia with feminine wiles. A young vixen slow dancing in the corner, swaying alone, playing at romance. A ravenous bear stirring up trauma wherever he goes. These images are captured by a shy, distant camera that grows more fervent as the movie rolls on, like a wallflower blooming to life and getting swept up in the storm.
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