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Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Movie Review

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a pleasant comedy propelled almost exclusively by dry, character-driven humor. That’s a refreshing characteristic in a summer landscape bloated with contrived, action-heavy blockbusters and gross-out comedies led by men and women alike. Writer-director Taika Waititi is a creative force that will be increasingly nitpicked, considering his next film is Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok; independent filmmaking… Read more »

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The Witch – Movie Review

After seeing The Witch for a second time, I’m certain it’ll be talked about for decades to come as a horror classic. It had been 13 months since I initially saw the film at its widely hyped premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (my initial thoughts can be found here), where I was left with an indelible… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 19, Bear Reviews Edition: Ringu

Note: The following contains spoilers. Imagine the scene. You’ve just returned home after vandalizing a woman’s resting place and climbing wells and thinking about ghosts and curses for many-a-nights and you sit down and the television turns out. Standing there is a bear on a unicycle and it slowly, menacingly unicycles towards the camera. You… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 18: Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood

Note: The following contains spoilers. In some ways I appreciate The New Blood more than most Friday the 13th movies. It at times manages to hit the “fun” tone that Jason Lives wanted to hit with better results, but the decision to have Jason face a telepath is probably an interesting one that was just… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 17: The Cabin in the Woods

Note: The following contains spoilers. Early on in The Cabin in the Woods, our group of college kids visits an old gas station and gets warned about their doom from the station owner. The crotchety old fella is a cliché in every sense of the word, but while watching the scene I couldn’t help but… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 16: Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

Note: The following contains spoilers. I thought that I may have hit the nadir of the Friday the 13th franchise with A New Beginning, in which, just to remind everybody, a faux-Jason spends the movie slaughtering kids at a halfway house. But then I watched Jason Lives and found something even worse than the killing… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 15: Scream 2

Note: The following contains spoilers. I have conflicted feelings on Scream 2. While I really like the way they played with the villains’ motivations being responses to the common reasons people gave for violent behavior around the time the movie was released, the villains themselves didn’t quite come together for me, and they felt more… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 14: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Note: The following contains spoilers. Much of the bad word-of-mouth around A New Beginning stems from the fact that it doesn’t have Jason in it. Despite what people may say, this isn’t an inherent problem (the original film didn’t have Jason as the killer either, and we don’t even hear Jason’s name until the film… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 13: REC 2

Note: The following contains spoilers. REC 2 starts out very much as the Aliens to REC’s Alien. Meaning that the original was a group of ordinary people shoved into extraordinary circumstances that they have no real hope of overcoming and they get picked off one-by-one, while the sequel starts with an armed, highly-trained group (in… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 12: The Descent

Note: The following contains spoilers. One of the cave-dwelling monsters in The Descent attacks and scares the main group 56 minutes into a 96-minute movie. It’s a long time for the “villains” of the movie to not be active in terrorizing the main characters, but Neil Marshall masterfully builds tension throughout the first hour, and… Read more »

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  • Mud is not an obvious film to be labelled great, but it remains sound and emotionally strong every time I dissect a section in my head. Jeff Nichols follows up his 2011 masterpiece Take Shelter with a film far less abstract and intense as that feature (although one just as detailed, running 130 minutes), one that acts… Read more »

  • Pain & Gain is an idiotic film that has grown on me over the last few days; upon initial watch, I considered it one of the worst releases I’ve seen in years, a genuinely deplorable piece of filmmaking with no merit whatsoever. I still think it’s a terrible film, but there’s a certain idea about fitness… Read more »

  • Oblivion has many markings of greatness: homages to 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and other sci-fi classics serve as reminders of the film it strives to be. And while it doesn’t truly reach those heights, it’s a superb science fiction epic that has a strong, complex narrative with themes that resonate far… Read more »

  • Room 237 is filled with a whole lot of crazy talk, to put it simply. Conspiracy theories abound about Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining, including the idea that it’s his way of apologizing for faking the moon landing footage. People pull ideas out of their asses and connect them on screen with seemingly no true lines… Read more »

  • Terrence Malick has created another visually beautiful film, insisting that the art form emerge from striking imagery as opposed to a strong, character-driven narrative. This is a non-descript story about non-descript individuals, with our only connection to them stemming from the narration that pervades over every scene and the visuals that accompany them. This film,… Read more »

  • The East is a great thriller, one of the finest in years, because it’s politically driven and idealistically torn between what’s morally right and the truth. Brit Marling has established herself as one of the best actresses working today, first with the very effective Another Earth and then her excellent follow-up Sound of My Voice, which she collaborated on… Read more »

  • The Way, Way Back gives us very little substance with its occasional bits of hilarity, but ultimately succeeds (if lightly) due to its charming cast. Sam Rockwell delivers one of his best performances as the manager of a waterpark who takes in Duncan (Liam James), a 14-year old kid who is troubled by his mother’s (Toni… Read more »

  • The Story of Luke tackles autism in an effective, moving way, something only daring films can really pull off despite a lot going against them. This one’s defined by its lead performance, a great one by Lou Taylor Pucci that balances remarkably sincere comedy with deep analysis of a troubled individual. His search for a job… Read more »

  • The Spectacular Now has a focus on teenage life that doesn’t portray it one-dimensionally: you won’t find idealistic talks of life here or kids hating every waking moment of their lives. These are people on the verge of beginning their adulthood, trying to find their way in a world that hasn’t dealt them many distinct hardships,… Read more »

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    Thank You, Roger Ebert

    Dear Mr. Ebert, I remember the first time I purchased one of your books. It was in my junior year of high school, as I was looking through Great Movies. I began reading every one of your reviews of the films I’d seen; I sat there for hours, entranced by how lovely the films were… Read more »