The Kitchen trailer

Halfway through the new period crime drama The Kitchen, the three leads stride confidently down a New York street towards the car driven by their muscle. They get to the car, and two of them get in; the third tries to open the remaining door, before snapping to the driver, “It’s locked.” The driver unlocks the door, letting the third lead in, and they drive off. There’s literally no reason for the door to be locked — it’s a weird stumble in a short scene that serves as a microcosm of the utterly nonsensical pacing, tone, and character motivations in The Kitchen. This film has a killer cast, and wastes them in a baffling, atonal mess.

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Into the Dark School Spirit Review

(Blumhouse Television and Hulu have partnered for a monthly horror anthology series titled Into The Dark, set to release a full holiday-themed feature the first Friday of every month. Horror anthology expert Matt Donato will be tackling the series one-by-one, stacking up the entries as they become streamable.)

After scoring exemplary marks with last month’s Culture Shock “episode,” Into The Dark returns to its less memorable form in School Spirit. Mike Gan’s tribute to I Know What You Did Last Summer era high school slashers may earn a passing grade by certain standards, but brings nothing new to an outdated subgenre conversation. Reformat existing horror architectures all you want, but there’s not much “spirit” within rudimentary “101 Level” storytelling horror fans have studied ad nauseam. A little Breakfast Club, a lotta Scream, but Blumhouse’s deadly detention sentence capitalizes not on a pirate killer far less interesting than a sinister Act III suggests.

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Ode to Nothing Review

What would it take to creep out an undertaker? Dwein Ruedas Baltazar’s third feature is a slow-burning, deeply unsettling art-horror hybrid. Sonya (Filipino superstar Marietta Subong), the protagonist of Ode to Nothing, is a mortician at a struggling funeral home in a small town in the Philippines. She lives with her father, who takes little interest in her or the business.  When bodies are brought in by their sobbing, sometimes wailing, loved ones, Sonya appears colder than the corpses as she sets to work on them. She tries upselling flower arrangements (or a plush coffin perhaps?), but living in such poverty means even the most devoted (and, of course, religious) families can barely afford the gravestone. Towards the beginning of the film, a middle aged woman brings her two dead parents in and requests a 2-for-1 deal on the flowers: “We have two dead people, that’s good for business.” 

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Hobbs and Shaw Spoiler Review

Spoiler alert: It’s about family.

And that’s it? We can end this article there, right?

Okay. We’ll go beyond that. When taking about Hobbs and Shaw, the latest film in the Fast and Furious saga, it helps to step back a bit when reflecting on the ridiculousness of the first spin-off from what I’ve dubbed the Fast and Furii (I’ll keep going ‘till it catches on, dammit). And here’s your real spoiler warning: all plot points are on the table from here on out.

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Harpoon Review

If you’re a cynical blackhearted comedy fan, Rob Grant’s Harpoon is your “Catch Of The Day.” At an airtight seventy minutes and change, this dangerously dysfunctional yachting expedition is meaner than your least favorite aunt after three too many glasses of wine. Exquisitely paced to surface tensions early, often, and volcanically. Brett Gelman’s blank-filler narration humorously keys viewers in on the necessary details, never bothering with information to be considered non-essential. Pointed like a sharpened spear tipped with toxic machoisms – just add water, weapons, and stranded isolation where tempers are inescapable.

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Blood on Her Name Review

Matthew Pope’s Blood On Her Name ranks among Americana thrillers such as Blue Ruin, I Don’t Belong In This World Anymore, Small Crimes, and other tobacco-stained justice flicks. A modest look into how one decision can change your life forever; sins paid in flesh and blood. Characters all blend into a complicated existence between sympathy and wrongdoing, as Pope holds complication over easily definable boundaries between “good” and “evil.” In a time when online mob justice demands black-and-white rulings on human affairs, Blood On Her Name reminds us of the sprawling grey area that defines our experience. Tension strung tight enough to slice through a crowd like the opening scene in Ghost Ship.

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Les Particules Review

You might, understandably, roll your eyes and scoff at a doe-eyed person reminding you that “We’re all just stardust.” When gazing at the stars, the desired feeling of oneness and connection with the universe and all its inhabitants, at least for me, is nowhere to be found. And yet, films that sew a little bit of celestial mystery into the lining without falling into sentimentality can successfully widen their scope. Blaise Harrison’s first narrative feature Les Particules is a welcome addition to the oft-treaded coming-of-age genre by tinging it with sci-fi. 

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Sator Review

Those of you cast under Hagazussa’s spell and blown away by The Wind, prepare yourselves for Jordan Graham’s Sator. Think Krisha meets The Blair Witch with some “gang-gang supernatural cultishness” stirred in. Graham writes, edits, gaffs, scores, produces – he does everything short of acting, no exaggeration. When you nurture artistry so personal, it’s hard to let control go. As Netflix Originals have proven, sometimes boundless auteurism grants filmmakers too much power. Creators cannot separate themselves from their art, killing no darlings, but that’s not an issue here. Slow as sap dripping from a maple tap, maximum fuck-you-up-edness as only embittered family dysfunction can permit.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold Review

At first blush, a feature film based on the Nick Jr. cartoon Dora the Explorer seems like a non-starter. The show, designed to help preschoolers grasp Spanish-language terms for English phrases, doesn’t scream out for the cinematic treatment, and definitely not the live-action feature treatment. Yet such a film now exists: Dora and the Lost City of Gold both manages to broadly acknowledge its inspiration while cutting its own path as a tween-friendly version of Indiana Jones. It’s a surprisingly funny blend of fish-out-of-water comedy and adventure, even if the familiarity is hard to ignore.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

the red sea diving resort trailer

When you see your brother or your sister struggling, you must not remain silent. Do not remain still. Go to their aid. Help them.

Last week, we spent a little bit of time talking about the very real crisis that wreaked havoc on Ethiopia through the ’70s and ’80s. Specifically, we focused on the crisis of the Ethiopian Jews. We did so to discuss the subject matter of Netflix’s most recent film, The Red Sea Diving Resort. Now that I’ve had a chance to check out the film, I figured it was only appropriate to talk about the film itself.

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