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Captain America: Civil War Delivers A-Grade Action Alongside A Mature Superhero Story
Production: Action Sequences: 
Ever since Marvel announced plans to unite its characters within a cinematic universe (commonly referred to as the MCU), fans have been clamoring to see the films tackle the Civil War storyline. While it may not be the most successful Marvel arc (in terms of storytelling), Civil War is still one its most unique,...

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'Dough' Is An Improbable Stoner Comedy That Sounds Funnier Than It Is
Production: Comedy Factor: 
An old Jewish baker and a young Muslim drug dealer might seem like an improbable duo, but that's who's at the center of Dough. The old Jewish baker in Dough is named Nat Dayan (Jonathan Pryce from Something Wicked This Way Comes), and his kosher bakery in London is slowly being run out of business by his competition,...

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'Green Room' Rages With Punk Rock, Paranoia, And Patrick Stewart
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Scary Factor: 
A couple of years ago, writer/director Jeremy Saulnier caused quite a stir in the independent film community with his genre-bending revenge tale Blue Ruin. Now, he's riding that buzz with the equally impressive punk rock horror film Green Room. Green Room is about a punk band called The Ain't Rights who are...

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'The Meddler' Shows What Happens When Susan Sarandon Loves Rose Byrne Too Much
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Never one to shy away from controversy, actress Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) has been in the news a lot lately, taking stances on political issues and throwing her support behind underdog Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. But, amidst all of her politicking, everyone...

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'Louder Than Bombs' Is A Standard Tale Of Grief And Anger Told In A Non-Standard Way
Production: Directing: 
Louder Than Bombs takes place three years after the death of war photographer Isabelle Reed (Amour's Isabelle Huppert), who, after surviving the treachery of her career, was actually killed in an automobile accident shortly after retiring. Isabelle left behind a husband named Gene (Gabriel Byrne from The Usual...

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John Carney's 'Sing Street' Will Make Every Teenager Want To Form A Irish Pop Band
Production: Cinematography: 
Musical Numbers: 
Writer/director John Carney seems to have found his niche in the film industry by making enjoyable movies about musicians making music. Several years back he made a splash with his indie hit Once, and he parlayed that success a few years ago by rehashing a similar story into the Keira Knightley/Mark Ruffalo vehicle...

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'Elvis & Nixon' May Not Be A 'True' True Story, But It Should Be
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: Comedy Factor: 
Everyone has seen the picture, the one with a fake-smiling Richard Nixon giving a half-hearted handshake to an Elvis Presley who looks like he'd rather be anywhere but there. That picture was taken in 1970 inside the Oval Office, and it's reportedly one of the most requested photographs in the National Archives....

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'The Invitation' Is Psychological Horror At Its Slow-Burning Best
Production: Scary Factor: 
I was recently discussing The Invitation with a couple of my fellow film critics who hadn't seen it, and as I was telling them what it was about one of them stopped me and said "you've said too much already." And he was absolutely right. It's best to go into a movie like The Invitation with as little prior knowledge...

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'Take Me To The River' Invites You To The Most Awkward And Uncomfortable Family Reunion Ever Thrown
Production: Directing: 
A couple of years ago, there was a great documentary about the Memphis music scene called Take Me to the River. If anyone who is looking for that movie accidentally stumbles across this Take Me to the River, they're going to be a little confused, and a lot surprised. Take Me to the River is about a young California...

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'Miles Ahead' Teams Don Cheadle With Ewan McGregor In An Unlikely Buddy Cop Picture...About Jazz Music
Production: Editing: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
For the past thirty years, Don Cheadle has been one of Hollywood's most recognizable character actors, with memorable performances in both indie masterpieces such as Boogie Nights and flashy blockbusters like the Iron Man movies. He finally gets a chance to work behind the camera as well, making his feature film...

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'The Adderall Diaries' Explores The Unreliability Of Memory In A Very Unmemorable Way
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
In last year's True Story, James Franco played an accused murderer who was the subject of an investigation by a writer (played by Jonah Hill). Now, in The Adderall Diaries, the tables are turned; it's Franco's turn to portray the writer who is obsessed with a man who is standing trial for murder. The Adderall...

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Jake Gyllenhaal Dismantles His Entire Life In 'Demolition'
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Between 2013's Dallas Buyers Club and 2014's Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée has been on a roll for the last few years. That roll continues with his next A-list feature, Demolition. Demolition is about a man named Davis C. Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal from Nightcrawler and Enemy) who is involved in a car accident...

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Even The Cuteness Of Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell Can't Stop 'Mr. Right' From Going Wrong
Production: Chemistry: 
Comedy Factor: 
Set in New Orleans, Mr. Right stars Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods, The Last Five Years) as Martha McKay, a young woman who, while trying to get over a cheating boyfriend, meets a charismatic stranger named Francis (Sam Rockwell from Poltergeist and Laggies). At first, Martha thinks that Francis is her Mr. Right,...

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'I Saw The Light' Introduces The Next Generation Of Moviegoers To Hank Williams Sr.
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
There is little doubt that Hank Williams Sr. is one of the most significant and influential figures in American music. Not only is he enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it seems as if every child he has fathered or grandfathered has...

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'Marguerite' Is More Entertaining Than Any Hurtful Movie Has The Right To Be
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Marguerite takes place in Paris in the 1920s. A Baroness named Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot from Haute Cuisine) is a member of The Amadeus Club, a music club which meets at her palatial home and listens to her sing. She has an agonizingly horrible singing voice, but she's surrounded by sycophants who reassure...

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'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' is a Cinematic Mess With Few Victories
Production: Action Sequences: 
To say that the weight of a fanboy nation rests on the shoulders of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be to put things mildly. Whereas The Avengers was the culmination of years of careful world building and cinematic planning for Marvel fans, BvS is the DC Comics equivalent.albeit with much less time to...

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Simple And Powerful, 'Krisha' Will Strike A Chord - With The Right Audience
Production: Cinematography: 
Directing: Sound: 
Sometimes, the simplest of movies can also be the most powerful. That's the case with Krisha. Played by Krisha Fairchild (The Killing of John Lennon), the title character in Krisha is a recovering alcoholic who, desperate to reconnect with her estranged family, decides to attend a Thanksgiving dinner. The...

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'Baskin' Masks An Incoherent Story With Slick Filmmaking And Gratuitous Splatter
Production: Scary Factor: 
In the Turkish language, the word "baskin" means "police raid," and that's basically what is at the center of the new Turkish horror movie Baskin. Well, sort of. Baskin is about a squadron of five police officers who get a call to go to a building. Things get weird before they even arrive, as something darts...

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There's Nothing To Root For In 'The Bronze'
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Sports movies can be brilliantly unifying things. When done well, as is the case with Rocky or Miracle, sports movies have the power to make the audience stand up and cheer. When done poorly, however, they end up like The Bronze. The Bronze is about a gymnast named Hope Ann Greggory (Melissa Rauch from "The...

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Frame Of Mind

BarracudaThis past weekend saw the untimely death of Wayne Crawford at the comparatively young age of 69.  Crawford is probably best known for producing such cult classics as Valley Girl and Night of the Comet, but he was also a talented writer, director, and actor.  And sometimes, he did it all in the same movie.  The 1978 low-budget horror classic Barracuda was one of those times.

White ZombieBetween the success of “The Walking Dead” on television and the campiness of any number of the “X vs. Zombies” movies in theaters (or, more likely, on VOD), zombies are literally everywhere, having invaded every last fiber of popular culture.  George Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead is usually credited with inventing the modern zombie, but the horror trope goes back farther than that.  Low-budget movie moguls the Halperin brothers (Ex-Flame) made what most people consider to be the first feature length zombie movie thirty-five years earlier in 1932 when they came up with White Zombie.

Simon, King of the WitchesWhen most people think about witches, they automatically envision women.  Movies are no different; from the old classic The Witches to the modern masterpiece The Witch, the title characters are usually female.  But there are male witches – or warlocks, as they are known – in movies, and 1971’s Simon, King of the Witches is as good of an example of a witch-man movie as one is bound to find.

Alice, Sweet AliceActors usually don’t just step into million-dollar roles, they most likely have had to work their way up.  Sometimes, they even have to start in horror movies.  Everyone knows how Johnny Depp began his career in A Nightmare on Elm Street and how Jennifer Aniston’s first movie was Leprechaun, but even the too-cute and equally talented Brooke Shields made her big screen debut in a horror movie way back in 1976 when she appeared in the cut-rate supernatural slasher Alice, Sweet Alice.

AngstAlthough it has a fairly rich cinematic history, most American filmgoers only know Austria as the birthplace of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  With its close proximity to (and shared language with) Germany, what few Austrian films that find their way to America are often mistaken for German productions.  The country is not usually thought of as a hotbed of horror, but last year’s dark horse thriller Goodnight Mommy was Austrian, as was Michael Haneke’s 1997 home invasion nightmare Funny Games (which was remade in English ten years later by Haneke himself for American audiences).  In 1983, another legendary Austrian horror film was made, the proto-psycho-slasher with the name that means “Fear” in English, Angst.

Dead of NightIn the mid-sixties, writer/director Dan Curtis successfully injected vampires into a soap opera with “Dark Shadows,” a show that not only ran for over twelve hundred episodes, but also spawned a number of tie-in movies, a nineties television reboot, and even a 2012 Tim Burton/Johnny Depp big-budget reboot-of-the-reboot.  Curtis was more than just “Dark Shadows,” however; he owned horror on the small screen, with TV movie titles like Scream of the Wolf and Dracula on his resume.  He also made a couple of the greatest television horror anthology movies ever – one was the 1975 classic Trilogy of Terror, and the other, the focus of this week’s Cinema Fearité, is the criminally underrated 1977 effort Dead of Night.

Strange Septembers: The Hill Abduction & The Exeter EncounterOn September 19, 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were driving along a road in rural New Hampshire when they were reportedly abducted by extraterrestrials.  Four years later, on September 3, 1965, Norman Muscarello saw a UFO while hitchhiking near Exeter, NH, and reported it to police, which resulted in New Hampshire Police Officers Eugene Bertrand and David Hunt also observing the phenomenon.  These are two of the most compelling and controversial cases in the annals of UFO encounters, and they are examined in the new documentary Strange Septembers: The Hill Abduction & The Exeter Encounter.

The Earth Dies ScreamingThe horror and science fiction genres have always loved their end of the world movies.  From the original comet-crashing 1916 movie The End of the World to more modern dystopic films like The Hunger Games and Divergent, the end of mankind is a solid premise.  In 1964, the extinction of humanity by alien invasion was explored in the dramatically titled The Earth Dies Screaming.

InfernoOn March 10th, 2016, influential keyboardist/composer Keith Emerson died of an apparent suicide.  Emerson was best known as a founding member of the prog-rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer (or ELP for short), but the maestro also dabbled in film scoring.  Arguably, his most famous score was the soundtrack to legendary Italian filmmaker Dario Argento’s 1980 classic Inferno.

Hitchcock/TruffautIn 1962, burgeoning young filmmaker François Truffaut approached his idol, the legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, about sitting down for an extended interview about his attitudes and methodologies towards cinema.  Truffaut, a critic as well as a filmmaker, asked all the right questions and Hitchcock affably gave all the right answers, and in 1966, the results were published in veritable bible of auteur film theory, a simply titled book called Hitchcock/Truffaut.  Now, “The Daily Show” writer Kent Jones has turned those conversations into a movie, the also simply titled Hitchcock/Truffaut.

Assault on Precinct 13The internet was in mourning a couple of weeks ago over the death of a talented-yet-underappreciated character actor named Tony Burton.  Burton was most recognizable for his role as Duke, Apollo Creed’s corner man who would become Rocky’s corner man, in all of the Rocky movies up until Rocky Balboa.  However, in 1976, the same year that the original Rocky was released, Burton had a small-but-pivotal role as a prisoner in an influential horror classic: Assault on Precinct 13.

Just Before DawnLast weekend, Hollywood icon George Kennedy passed away at the age of 91.  Kennedy won an Academy Award for his performance in Cool Hand Luke, but he was not above taking sillier, less distinguished roles in fun movies; he appeared in all of the Airport series of disaster movies as well as the entire The Naked Gun comedy franchise, and that’s not even mentioning his stint as a regular on the nighttime soap opera “Dallas.”  Of course, he also did horror movies, with performances in the noir thriller Strait-Jacket, the schlockfest Brain Dead, and the “Old Chief Wood’nhead” segment of the anthology Creepshow 2.  In 1981, Kennedy even appeared in the full-blown slasher movie Just Before Dawn.

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'After over a decade of waiting, even longer if you’ve wiped the three prequel’s from your mind, Star Wars is back in a big way. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Episode 7 in the franchise, has arrived, and brought with it a new direction. Like the original films, The Force Awakens is all about myth building and discovery, creating a mystique that slowly unravels as the 2-hour plus space tale unfolds. We see and hear the familiar sights and sounds of the galaxy far, far away, but it isn’t long before it becomes clear that this is Star Wars for the modern age, thanks in part to the gender and race blind casting.

NightmaresThe big difference between the classic horror anthologies of yesteryear and those that are made today is consistency.  Today’s anthologies, movies like those found in the V/H/S and The ABCs of Death franchises, have different directors and writers for each segment, so the quality and tone can vary greatly.  That’s not the case with the old-school classic anthologies.  From 1924’s Waxworks right up to the beloved Creepshow movies of the eighties, horror anthologies were the vision of a single director, one filmmaker who would bring several stories to life by putting his or her personal thumbprint on each one.  One of the most fun and forgotten of these classic anthologies is 1983’s Nightmares.

**Read more from Frame Of Mind and the News Section**
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