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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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    The Overnight – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Few films have surprised me as much as The Overnight. It’s clearly an inventive film with a simple premise: a family “playdate” turns decidedly dirty and confusing as the insecurities of married couples come to the surface. Writer-director Patrick Brice understands his story and lets it… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: Magic Mike XXL

    Sometimes you go to see a movie about male strippers and make idle chit-chat prior to the movie starting, and sometimes you recast The Beatles using Happy Madison players. For those of you who are curious, the line-up is: Adam Sandler: John David Spade: Paul Steve Buscemi: George Rob Schneider: Ringo Kevin James: Yoko As… Read more »

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    Terminator Genisys – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  The more I think about Terminator Genisys, the less of a film it becomes. The Terminator franchise has entered its fifth entry with decidedly little fanfare after the third and fourth entries proved underwhelming: Terminator: Rise of the Machines was a bridge film without a strong conflict and Terminator Salvation was… Read more »

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    Magic Mike XXL – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website and Luminary Daily. Magic Mike XXL is an entirely different experience than Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 original. While both are sun-soaked and laden with oiled, chiseled men, their tones are polar opposite. Director Gregory Jacobs (whose work as an assistant director on many Soderbergh films lends… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: Ratatouille

    This June, Bear Reviews is celebrating the release of Inside Out by looking back at some of Pixar’s classic films. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your local zoo. Bear Reviews is reviewing old Pixar movies, just for you! There are no bears in Ratatouille, but there are a whole bunch of rats. And… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: Ted 2

    In the prior week, a certain film critic whose name rhymes with Eric Forthun* informed me that I should do a Bear Review for Ted 2, saying that the movie makes great leaps in the struggle for Bear Rights, because the movie makes the argument that bears are people too. Surprisingly, I take offense to this,… Read more »

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    Ted 2 – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website and Luminary Daily.  Ted 2 is a creatively absurdist rebound for Seth MacFarlane, who brings his cartoonish antics to the big screen in a sequel that proves stronger and less offensive than its predecessor. While MacFarlane still has a knack for poorly conceived jokes regarding… Read more »

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    Hannibal: “Secondo” Review

    WARNING: The following review contains spoilers. During the first and second seasons of Hannibal, the cases of the week were entertaining ways of letting great directors paint grotesque-yet-beautiful pictures while giving Fuller and co. an opportunity to let their various players muse on life and death. From totem of bodies, to mushroom people, to sewed… Read more »

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    A Deadly Adoption – TV Movie Review

    Lifetime’s A Deadly Adoption feels like a minor exaggeration of the Lifetime standard, which makes the project both slightly amusing and familiarly tiresome. Centering on a married couple who continues to reel after a miscarriage threatens the fabric of the family, the film uses Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig without much consideration for their comedic talents. Instead, the film walks… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: Up

    Up has zero bears in it, but on a thematic level that more or less makes sense. Bears would never let themselves become domesticated like Muntz’s dogs (and if by some insanity they did, Muntz would have easily taken over South America and then the world with his bear army), and a bear would be… Read more »