Into the Dark Pure 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.)

Into The Dark’s inaugural season concludes with a whimper in Hannah Macpherson’s Pure. August stole September’s “Back To School” relevance, which leaves Macpherson with a claws-out gender battle rooted in religious servitude. The issue is, Macpherson reveals her film’s hand and chucks the same cards our way until credits roll. What feels like a short film idea is elongated into a ninety-minute streaming feature, and we’re right back experiencing the same elongation issues Into The Dark hasn’t been able to overcome since “episode” numero uno. Not a promising end-note with Season 2 on the horizon.

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The Spectacular Now at Sundance

In an age when the phrase “teen drama” suggests hardscrabble dystopias or lovelorn werewolves, what’s extraordinary about The Spectacular Now is how ordinary it is. The leads are two kids that could be from any town in America, and their romance is neither epic nor star-crossed. Stories like this one surely play out dozens of times a day all over the world.

But despite that ordinariness, or more likely because of it, The Spectacular Now is also one of the best teen dramas of recent years. Under the direction of James Ponsoldt (Smashed), The Spectacular Now is a pitch-perfect depiction of adolescence, warm and funny and sad without ever veering into forced sentimentality.

It’s a tough balance to pull off, and during a recent press stop in New York I got the opportunity to ask him how he managed to get it right. We also talked about why the kids in The Spectacular Now drink so much, how he took advantage of Kyle Chandler‘s Coach Taylor image, and which Arrested Development star he’d love to work with. Hit the jump to read the full interview. (Some spoilers for The Spectacular Now follow.)

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Over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of montages, re-edits and remixes based on footage from popular movies, and popular action movies in particular. But none is quite like Pure, which is almost brutal in the way it slices every bit of extraneous material away from the skeleton of the action movie. I might’ve watched this a dozen times over the weekend, and it is too good not to share. Read More »