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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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  • Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), the main and most important of 11-year-old Riley’s five Emotions, explores Long Term Memory in Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out." Directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.,” “Up”), "Inside Out" opens in theaters nationwide June 19, 2015. ©2014 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

    Inside Out – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website and Luminary Daily.  Exploring the mind of an 11-year old girl through animation sounds admittedly thin on premise and flimsy in its potential execution. Sure enough, Pixar’s 15th film is perhaps their most brilliant creation to date, thanks in large part to director Pete Docter’s… Read more »

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    Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is that special breed of teenage film that strikes an emotional cord with every fundamental age group. It’s a film marked by deeply rooted compassion from writer Jesse Andrews and director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, both making their emphatic debuts on… Read more »

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    Interview: Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and the Stars of ‘Me and Earl and the Dying Girl’

    Note: this interview is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website and Luminary Daily. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl premiered in January at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to universal acclaim. It’s one of the rare films that has won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, a true testament to its reach… Read more »

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    Hannibal: “Primavera” Review

    NOTE: The following review contains spoilers.   Hannibal has never been a show with a large, sprawling cast. But the decision to make the first two episodes character studies that are confined to Bedelia and Will, with Hannibal orbiting around them influencing their every move, still feels like an incredibly bold decision. We’re two episodes… Read more »

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    Jurassic World – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  Jurassic Park was an exhilarating adventure from start to finish, driven by strong characters, a Spielbergian family core, and thematic resonance that lingered in practically every frame. Its two follow-ups, particularly the third installment, never regained the sense of wonder and spectacle that the first… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: The Incredibles

    This June, Bear Reviews is looking back at some of the classic movies from Pixar.     Is The Incredibles actually Randian propaganda disguised as a family-friendly super hero movie? Probably not, but I’ll let YOU decide. But what I won’t let you decide is how much this movie cares about bears. It doesn’t. Although… Read more »

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    Hannibal: “Antipasto” Review

    NOTE: The following review contains spoilers. Read further at your own discretion. In one of the final scenes of Hannibal’s fantastic season opener, Hannibal turns to Bedelia and asks if she is observing or participating. Hannibal sort of mocks her after she says she’s just observing, but there’s a bit of an irony here. Throughout… Read more »

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    First Impressions: Everest Should Cast a Long Shadow

    The release of trailers has gotten to be a more significant event over recent years, where people look towards a trailer, or even the release of a teaser trailer, with almost as much anticipation as they have for the release of the actual movie. While this anticipation ultimately increases buzz for a movie (See: Star… Read more »

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    Insidious: Chapter 3 – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  Insidious: Chapter 3 shows remarkable signs of life for a series now entering its third film in five years. After a significant drop in quality from the delightfully terrifying first film to the mediocre, repetitive second film, the latest entry tells a story that takes… Read more »

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    Spy – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website and Luminary Daily.  Melissa McCarthy continues to prove that, when given ripe comedic material, she is one of the funniest actresses on the planet. After some misfires like Identity Thief and the thoroughly unpleasant Tammy, she re-teams with Paul Feig for Spy, their third collaboration following their previous endeavors Bridesmaids and The Heat…. Read more »