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Just When You Really Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water, 'The Shallows' Makes Sharks Scary Again
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Summer's here, and so is The Discovery Channel's Shark Week. So what better time for a good old-fashioned killer shark movie? Lucky for theatergoers everywhere, that's exactly what The Shallows is. The Shallows stars Blake Lively (The Age of Adaline) as a young medical student named Nancy who makes a pilgrimage...

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'The Neon Demon' Is As Visually Stunning And Aurally Exciting As A Plotless Movie Can Be
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Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) claims that, with The Neon Demon, his aim was to create a "teen horror film...without the horror." That's as accurate of a description of the movie as one is bound to find. The Neon Demon is about an underage orphaned girl named Jesse (Elle Fanning from...

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'Therapy For A Vampire' Draws A Few Laughs, But Very Little Blood
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Just when the vampire trend seemed to have been going the way of the zombie, last year's What We Do in the Shadows pumped new blood into the subgenre by embracing it lovingly and laughingly. Well, it may not hit quite as hard, but Therapy for a Vampire takes a swing at the same funny bone. Set in Vienna during...

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'The Conjuring 2' Is James Wan Doing What James Wan Does - Scaring The Hell Out Of People
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It's been almost three years since director James Wan scared the pants off of audiences with The Conjuring. Ever since, fans have been waiting with bated breath for the sequel, and the spinoff Annabelle did little to satisfy their thirst for suspenseful scares. Well, the wait is over; The Conjuring 2 is here. After...

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'Warcraft' Is High Fantasy And Spectacle For A Very Particular Audience
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Let's get this out of the way: the average moviegoer is going to have a hard time liking Warcraft. Its orc vs. human setup is the stuff that only works for those who buy into high fantasy, and the way it handles the material, servicing the fans first and foremost, will further distance casual audiences. This is...

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'Puerto Ricans in Paris' Can Take The Fish Out Of The Water, But It Can't Make Them Funny
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From Beverly Hills Cop to Hot Fuzz, people love fish-out-of-water cop movies. At least, they used to; there's not a whole lot to love about Puerto Ricans in Paris. Puerto Ricans in Paris is about a couple of New York City police detectives named Luis and Eddie (Luis Guzmán and Edgar Garcia, both from "How...

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'Mark Of The Witch' Stuns With Its Beauty, But Snoozes With Its Plot
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Mark of the Witch is about a young woman named Jordyn (Paulie Rojas from The Last Resort) who was raised by her Aunt Ruth (Helter Skelter's Nancy Wolfe) from a very young age. Upon turning eighteen, Jordyn learns the truth about her parentage; she was not orphaned, her mother abandoned her, and Aunt Ruth has...

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'Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping' Is A Hilarious Spoof On The Self-Serious Concert Film
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Although most might not be familiar with the work of The Lonely Island, chances are they have heard at least one of the group's songs. Born from the "Digital Short" era of "Saturday Night Live," the trio of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer have expanded to the big screen as separate entities but...

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'Monsterland' Lives Up To Its Name - All Monsters, All The Time
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There are two ways to approach putting together a horror anthology. One is to hire a director, a cast, and a crew to go out and shoot everything from scratch. The other is to stick together a bunch of existing short films and hope that the results are coherent. Monsterland uses the second method and turns it...

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'X-Men: Apocalypse' Delivers All The Superhero Action That Audiences Crave, And Little Else
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With all of the buzz surrounding the upcoming The Justice League movie (built up by all of the guest appearances in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) and the continuing saga of The Avengers (fed by all of the new heroes in Captain America: Civil War), it's easy to forget about the other superhero cash cow, the...

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Artsy And Surreal, 'The Lobster' Is The Most Fascinatingly Weird Comedy Of The Summer
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There are movies that are weird because they're trying to be weird, and then there are movies that make weirdness look effortless. The Lobster is the latter. The Lobster takes place in a near-future world where people are not allowed to be single. When David (Colin Farrell from Fright Night) is suddenly left...

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Greta Gerwig Shines...And Outshines...In 'Maggie's Plan'
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I should open this review of Maggie's Plan by admitting that I am a big fan of Greta Gerwig. Last year, she starred in one of the best comedies of the year, Mistress America. A couple of years before that, she lit up the screen in Francis Ha. Heck, she was even one of my favorite things about Ti West's The...

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'The Nice Guys' Is A Smart & Hilarious Detective Story Anchored By Great Performances
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Although he doesn't have too many directorial efforts under his belt, Shane Black has proven himself to be a master wordsmith and storyteller. With films like Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Black demonstrates an understanding of how to surprise and entertain all at the same time. But those prior films were...

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'A Bigger Splash' Reeks Of Wasted Potential And Missed Opportunity
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When a movie includes one Academy Award winner, another Academy Award nominee, and a pair of "rising stars" in its core cast, it's got to be good, right? Well, not necessarily. A Bigger Splash is proof of that. A Bigger Splash is the story of a world-famous rock singer named Marianne Lane (Oscar winner Tilda...

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'Money Monster' Subverts Expectations With A Formulaic Story
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Jodie Foster's Money Monster has no right being as entertaining as it is. With a plot this formulaic, in which a financial TV personality is held hostage by a disgruntled blue collar investor, few movies could have found a way to surprise, let alone entertain. And yet, Money Monster defies the odds and somehow...

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'High-Rise' Tosses Tom Hiddleston Into A Cold Concrete Metaphor For Modern Society
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For years, there have been rumors and speculation flying around about a movie adaptation of J.G. Ballard's 1975 dystopian sci-fi novel High-Rise, with big names like Nicolas Roeg and Vincenzo Natali reportedly attached to direct. Well, British filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Kill List, A Field in England) has finally...

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'Captain America: Civil War' Delivers A-Grade Action Alongside A Mature Superhero Story
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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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'Green Room' Rages With Punk Rock, Paranoia, And Patrick Stewart
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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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John Carney's 'Sing Street' Will Make Every Teenager Want To Form A Irish Pop Band
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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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Frame Of Mind

The ThingWhen it comes to horror remakes, there are two approaches that can be taken.  First is one of replication, where the filmmaker simply imitates the story and style of the original.  The recent remake of Carrie did this, as did the new rehash of Poltergeist (and don’t even get me started on Gus Van Sant’s Psycho).  The other way of thinking is to take the basic premise of the original and run with it until something new and different emerges.  These are the reboots that become legendary classics, movies such as David Cronenberg’s The Fly or Franck Khalfoun’s Maniac.  Horror icon John Carpenter’s 1982 reimagining of The Thing belongs squarely in this second category.

Don't Look in the BasementHorror movie titles can be so commanding, especially when they’re telling the viewer not to do something.  The word “Don’t” has appeared at the beginning of so many movie titles that silly director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Attack the Block) spoofed the trend in his hilarious contribution to the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez collaboration Grindhouse.  The “Don’t” movies can be subliminally cautionary, like Don’t Look Now.  They can be sagely advisive, like Don’t Open Till Christmas.  They can even wide-eyed and optimistic, like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.  But, most of the time, they’re exploitatively demanding, like Don’t Go Near the Park, Don’t Go in the House, or Don’t Answer the Phone!  Way back in 1973, one of the first movies to warn its viewers to “Don’t” do something was the proto-slasher Don’t Look in the Basement.

De PalmaWhether one considers him one of the freshest voices in modern cinema or just a hack Hitchcock imitator, there’s no doubt that Brian De Palma has made some of the most important movies of the last half century.  Now, fellow directors Noah Baumbach (Mistress America) and Jake Paltrow (“NYPD Blue”) turn the camera around on the iconic filmmaker in the simply titled documentary De Palma.

Warcraft PosterIn 1994, Blizzard Entertainment released the game "Warcraft: Orcs & Humans," which created a universe so popular the company created three more games in the series; the most widely known and arguably the most popular being "World of Warcraft (WOW)." The "WOW" phenomenon has had its ups and downs in popularity among gamers, but it continues to have a solid following. The most shocking part of the games' story is that it took over 20 years to have a movie based on them made. Warcraft has finally arrived, rolled up in an action-packed, CGI-filled fantasy spectacle that will surely have "WOW" devotees grinning from ear-to-ear.

 

Stephen King's ItWhether it’s a badge of honor or a sign of disrespect is up for debate, but it seems as if, for better or worse, every reasonably successful horror movie in history gets remade, some more than once.  Stephen King adaptations are no different; the superstar author’s first three books (Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, and The Shining) have all been made and remade (Carrie has gone through the reboot ringer twice).  Now, since the reimagining of It has finally gathered enough steam (and a director and cast) to go into production, it seems like as good a time as any for Cinema Fearité to take a look back at the scariest television miniseries of 1990: Stephen King’s It.

Dark HorseIn the sports world, the Green Bay Packers get a lot of attention for being fan-owned, as the NFL team has been possessed by shareholders for nearly an entire century.  The Packers may be the only community owned organization in American professional sports, but worldwide, the practice is fairly common, especially among football clubs (the type of football that Americans refer to as soccer).  A textbook example occurred in the early part of the twenty-first century when a group of British villagers pooled their money and bought a racehorse.  Their unlikely story is told in Dark Horse.

There's Nothing Out ThereIn 1996, the late, great Wes Craven re-energized the fledgling horror genre with his smart, self-referential classic Scream.  Craven found his inspiration two years earlier when, in 1994, he pulled back the curtain on filmmaking with the A Nightmare on Elm Street sequel/reboot Wes Craven’s New Nightmare.  Both of these movies recognized and reflected upon the workings of the horror movie genre as part of their overall makeup.  Well, when it comes to self-aware horror movies, the 1991 Troma-distributed, micro-budget horror comedy There’s Nothing Out There beat Craven to the punch by a few years.

Presenting Princess ShawIn New Orleans, an elder care worker named Samantha Montgomery writes songs, records them acapella, and uploads them to YouTube under the internet name Princess Shaw.  Half a world away in Israel, an eccentric musician named Ophir Kutiel, better known in the online world as Kutiman, scours the web for videos of musicians plying their craft and assembles them into “visual symphonies.”  Presenting Princess Shaw shows what happens when Kutiman discovers the raw talent of Princess Shaw and puts his unique musical polish on it.

Graduation DayIt’s graduation time, the point of the year where students switch the tassels over to the other side before tossing the whole cap into the air.  Cinema Fearité’s quest to remain timely is just as fervent as any recent grad's thirst for knowledge, so this week, we’ve got a movie that is both seminal and topical: the 1981 slasher Graduation Day.

First Man Into SpaceOn April 12, 1961, the Soviets put a man into space.  Twenty-three days later, the Americans repeated the feat.  Both events played a huge part in the so-called Space Race, but Hollywood beat them both to the punch, putting a human into space two years earlier in 1959 with the aptly-titled First Man Into Space.

Final ExamIn the world of slasher movies, there are two never-fail scenarios.  The first is the killer-in-the-woods, which Cinema Fearité has explored several times over the years with features about Madman, The Burning, The Final Terror, Sleepaway Camp, and Just Before Dawn.  The other is the university-kids-being-stalked motif, which we’ve covered with Terror Train and The Prowler.  Well, this week, we’re going back to college again with a buried gem from 1981 – Final Exam.

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.

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.

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.

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