The Pool review

The Pool is a pro-life crocodile attack flick set in a drained Olympic-sized swimming pool that is incredibly mean-spirited towards its main character, improbably audacious…and sponsored by Pizza Hut? Ping Lumpraploeng’s Thai creature feature is cheesily melodramatic and has it out for the few characters on screen with such meanness, which ensures a cackle-worthy “WTF” brand of riotous watching experience. Cultural nuances shape a comically overdramatic “monster” movie of questionable circumstances, always sold with the proper level of head-scratching entertainment. It’s “a lot” in all the weirdest, most unexpected ways.

Oh, also, any dog and animal lovers should be warned: The Pool will tear your heart out, stomp it into mush, and stuff the gunk back down your throat. Read More »

Fantastic Fest 2019 Day 6 Recap

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day six. In this entry, Memory: The Origins of Alien finds new things to say about one of the best movies ever made, The Vast of Night is low-key science fiction that comes this close to working, and Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street is a fascinating and heartfelt blend of horror and LGBTQ history.

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the wave review

Gille Klabin‘s The Wave starts off seeming like the most annoying bro comedy in recent memory – but don’t be deterred. After that bumpy start, The Wave rolls into something far more engaging, even charming: a fairly clever, trippy saga with its heart in the right place. It’s ultimately a story about coming to terms with your own mortality, and learning to not be a complete asshole in the process – and who among us couldn’t stand to be reminded of that?

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First Love review

Eventually, everyone has a first love. No matter where you find it or with whom, there is a chaotic and exciting rush that attaches itself to that particular feeling. With over one hundred films under his belt, director Takashi Miike is an expert at juggling all of the beauty and brutality that encompasses the emotional state of love. Rich in components of fear, revenge, anger, and sweetness, Miike delivers a pure knockout in his latest film, First Love. Read More »

Fantastic Fest Day 5

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day five. In this entry, In the Shadow of the Moon is a slick sci-fi serial killer thriller and The Lighthouse is a gonzo, genre-bending masterpiece.

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Jallikattu review

“Jallikattu: A traditional spectacle in which a bull is released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to grab the large hump on the bull’s back with both arms and hang on to it while the bull attempts to escape.”

There’s one thing for certain: you’ve never seen a film like Jallikattu. Partly because director Lijo Jose Pellissery struggles to have his movies promoted stateside, equally because culturally representative filmmaking on this level doesn’t typically work as well in the U.S. market. Communist politics with tribal undertones as a bull runs rampant through wooden village architectures? This is primal storytelling at its rawest. It’s a descent into barbarism that’s vividly unique, no doubt divisive, and the most extravagant sensory overload you’ll either applaud or detest.

Jallikattu is corralled calamity on an unseen level. Whether or not it’s your vibe is a completely different story. Read More »

Fantastic Fest Diaries Day 4

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest 2019, day four. In this entry, Fractured is a stylish adventure in the familiar and Dolemite is My Name is the best filmmaking biopic since Ed Wood.

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fractured review

This review may contain mild spoilers.

Brad Anderson really hates hospitals. You can’t blame him, really. They may technically be places of healing, but they’re also places of death, pain, disease, and misery. Places where we’re born, and places where – more often than not – we die. Anderson burst onto the scene in 2001 with his spooky indie Session 9, about a potentially haunted abandoned mental hospital. His underrated Stonehearst Asylum also focused on a still-operational, but just as spooky hospital. Now Anderson is back with Fractured, a film full of sterile environments, long white hallways, and medical professionals with shifty eyes. Something is very wrong in this hospital – but nothing is as it seems.

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The Deeper You Dig Review

There is a palpable love that radiates deep within The Adams’ latest film, and it is not just because the production is a family affair. A story reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, the marital duo Toby Poser and John Adams direct, write, produce, and star in The Deeper You Dig–a film at Fantastic Fest 2019 that explores grief, guilt, and determination within the fragile boundaries of life and death. Read More »

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Wrinkles the Clown Review

Plastered around telephone poles, buildings, and ice cream trucks in South Florida, you’ll find stickers of a clown with hollowed-out eyes, thick red lips, and a phone number under his withered face. This is Wrinkles. Legend has it that the masked clown is out to provide a service terrorizing disobedient children. Over the past few years, Wrinkles has become folklore personified. Thanks to the hyperactive age of social media, the diabolic clown is pure nightmare fuel for naughty children but a breath of fresh air for parents in need of alternative disciplinary methods. Directed by Michael Beach Nichols, Wrinkles the Clown (watch the trailer here) introduces audiences to the man behind the mask and explores society’s dark fascination with his disturbing omnipresence.  Read More »