Philophobia Review

The below contains minor spoilers for the film Philophobia: or the Fear of Falling in Love.

You ever feel like your love life is a horror movie? If so, you’re going to find Philophobia: or the Fear of Falling in Love extremely relatable. Tyler Cole’s directorial debut takes a swing at romantic horror and punches it right in the heart. Because honestly, what could be more terrifying than being in love? You take the most vulnerable version of yourself and you just hand it over to another human being hoping they don’t spike it like a wide receiver.  

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1917 review

Not since Mad Max: Fury Road has a film so fully embraced the “motion” part of motion pictures. Sam Mendes‘ jaw-dropping, nerve-jangling World War I epic 1917 is designed to look like one extremely long take from start to finish, resulting in a film that almost never sits still. The clock is ticking, and the narrative thrusts the characters forward as if a strong wind is at their backs.

One-take movies are nothing new, and 1917 ran a serious risk of being gimmicky. But Mendes, working with master cinematographer Roger Deakins, uses the single-take concept to fully enhance the narrative. Best of all, the film underscores its technical prowess with a raw, emotional story that finds beauty struggling to push through all the muck and mire. In 1917, war is hell, but it’s a hell you can find your way back from as long as you remember your humanity.

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Josh Trank Reviews Fantastic Four

Back in 2015, 20th Century Fox wasn’t worrying about being purchased by The Walt Disney Company. But they were worried about the release of their new take on Marvel’s first family, Fantastic Four. The studio was rebooting the franchise in an effort to capitalize on the love for Marvel Studios movies, and rather than going in the goofy family action comedy direction of the first franchise, they got dark and gritty with Chronicle director Josh Trank at the helm. But things did not go well.

Josh Trank’s vision for Fantastic Four did not pan out as he hoped. Studio executives demanded reshoots, and it was clear that they completely crippled whatever Trank had in mind. Well, four years later, Trank decided to revisit his box office bomb that stopped any hopes of revamping the franchise dead in its tracks. The director even took the time to post a movie review to Letterboxd, in which he reflects on that time in his life and hints at the production woes behind the scenes. Read More »

white snake review

For all the dominance that China has asserted on the movie industry in recent years, the country has not yet been able to gain a foothold in the animation market. There have been a few Hollywood productions co-financed or co-produced by Chinese studios, but no original films from China have yet to make a mark on outside of the country’s borders. And considering China’s rich cultural history and mythology — which has frequently been cribbed by Western animators — it seems like a long time coming.

White Snake, the second feature film from Beijing-based CG animation studio Light Chaser Animation, bears all of this baggage on its back and delivers a breathlessly imaginative and visually stunning animated film that is easily one of the most beautiful animated films this year. But for all its visual splendor, the story itself feels like an afterthought, too heavily inspired by the Disney films that it emulates.

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21 bridges review

Hollywood doesn’t pump-out many non-franchise action-thrillers these days, so perhaps we should be thankful for 21 Bridges. And perhaps that this movie hails from producers The Russo Brothers, a duo responsible for so many blockbuster franchise movies, is a good sign. But lordy, does the end result have to be so lifeless?

21 Bridges is a yawn-inducing long night’s journey into day, where a supposedly hotshot detective doesn’t pick up on big twists we spot a mile away, and where characters fire off dialogue that’s supposed to be weighty but comes out clunky. You get the sense that 21 Bridges wants to be a throwback to old school police action-thrillers, but you’d be better off avoiding this and renting one of those old school flicks instead.

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doctor sleep spoiler review

Time will be kind to Doctor Sleep, a bold, audacious, unapologetically sentimental horror film. The box office returns are paltry, and the film itself has its fair share of problems. And yet, Mike Flanagan‘s tender adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel shines because it’s so committed to embracing emotion. Stanley Kubrick’s cold, unfeeling, excellent The Shining jettisoned the sentimentality so prevalent in King’s work. Doctor Sleep attempts to reconcile this with Kubrick’s legacy.

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Noelle trailer

Noelle would seem to have all the necessary elements you’d want to find in a feature comedy: a few recognizable actors, a high-concept premise, a character arc, setpieces, etc. But there’s something just…off about the whole affair, from its opening moments. Maybe the key problem here is that the basic conclusion of the movie is such an obvious, foregone conclusion. Or maybe it’s that the humor is lifeless, or the emotion false and unearned. Whatever it is, Noelle is the kind of Christmas present that has shiny packaging and a whole lot of nothing behind all the wrappings.

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Frozen II Bruni and Elsa

“Some things never change,” or so go the lyrics in one of the songs in the highly anticipated Disney sequel Frozen II. This follow-up arrives six years after the worldwide phenomenon of Frozen took hold of popular culture, with its songs becoming so unavoidable and ubiquitous almost overnight. Frozen II attempts to carve out a place for itself while delivering the charm, catchy music, and core emotional underpinnings that so inflamed people’s imaginations in 2013. With its eye-popping animation, world-building, and character exploration, Frozen II is nominally a slight improvement on its predecessor. But it’s still limited by the burden of expectations.

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The Good Liar Review

The Good Liar is the latest entry in a slowly expanding subgenre best known as They Don’t Make Movies Like This Anymore dramas. In a time of infinite intellectual property, of franchises and sequels and reboots, The Good Liar is a small oasis in a cinematic desert where once there was more frequent life. This literary adaptation is a nasty little thriller, anchored by two elder-statesmen performers whose presence alone likely willed this film into existence. It’s not without its flaws, but The Good Liar has enough charm and is fresh enough by dint of being so different from what the rest of the multiplex has to offer.

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charlie's angels review

Whenever a reboot of a moderately successful property comes around, eyes will inevitably roll. Did we really need a new remake/reboot/reinvention of insert-movie-here? It’s a question that plenty of people will have going into Elizabeth Banks‘ new Charlie’s Angels. Did we really need a new Charlie’s Angels? Not really. Does it justify its existence? Not exactly. But Charlie’s Angels is a mostly inoffensive piece of empower-pop entertainment that does have a lot of Kristen Stewart being very gay, which has to count for something.

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