The Latest Movie Reviews
Ben Wheatley's 'Free Fire' Is Ten Characters, One Warehouse, And A Whole Bunch Of Bullets
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
There's a common thread to the movies of Ben Wheatley, the director of indie gems like High-Rise, Kill List and Down Terrace. They're aesthetically beautiful, yet narratively lacking, and they tend to overstay their welcome for a bit before they eventually conclude. Free Fire fits right into the Wheatley mold. Set...

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'The Fate Of The Furious' Shows That The Franchise Has Run Out Of Gas
Production: Action Sequences: 
Although the Fast and the Furious franchise has never been one to abide by common logic or even coherent narrative, it has done well thanks to popcorn entertainment and some star power. At some point, though, the series was going to run out of gas, and if any of the nonsensical previous entries didn't do it for...

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Nacho Vigalondo's 'Colossal' Bends Genre With Giant Monsters And Anne Hathaway
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Scary Factor: 
Writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has been one of the horror world's best kept secrets. Fright flick fans know him well from his features Timecrimes and Open Windows as well as from his short segments in The ABCs of Death and V/H/S Viral, but he's remained relatively unknown to general audiences. That's about...

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'The Dark Tapes' Is Everything That's Wrong With Found Footage Movies
Production: Scary Factor: 
The found footage trend has been both a blessing and a curse for horror fans. On the one hand, moviemaking has become so cheap that anyone can do it. And on the other hand, moviemaking has become so cheap that anyone can do it. When done right, found footage can be very effective. When done wrong, it's hard...

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Werner Herzog's 'Salt and Fire' Is As Dry As, Well, Salt And Fire
Production: Acting: 
Cinematography: 
Werner Herzog is best known for his compelling documentaries like Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and Encounters at the End of the World, but he's also a renowned narrative filmmaker, having made legendary pictures such as Nosferatu the Vampyre and Aguirre, the Wrath of God. His newest narrative feature,...

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'Bethany' Ho-Hums Its Way Through The Full List Of Modern Horror Tropes
Production: Scary Factor: 
Bethany is about a young woman named Claire Mason (Stephanie Estes from The Bunnyman Massacre) who inherits her childhood home when her mother passes away. Claire's husband, Aaron (Zack Ward, best known as the bully Scut Farkus in A Christmas Story), loves the idea of living in the house, but as soon as the couple...

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It's Been A Long Wait, But 'The Blackcoat's Daughter' Lives Up To The Hype
Production: Sound: 
Scary Factor: 
It's been a couple of years since February, the creepy thriller from writer/director Oz Perkins (son of the legendary Anthony Perkins), began getting rave reviews from critics and festival goers alike. The film was snatched up by indie superheroes A24...then promptly put into a seemingly endless distribution...

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'T2 Trainspotting' Is The Sequel That Trainspotting Fans Have Wanted, And The One That They Deserve
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Directing: 
There are two things that a sequel to Trainspotting needed to get right in order to be effective. First, the soundtrack had to be kicking. And second, it had to not ignore the events that took place at the end of the first movie. T2 Trainspotting checks off both boxes. When we last saw the Trainspotting boys,...

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'Life' Beats 'Alien: Covenant' To The Punch
Production: Cinematography: 
Scary Factor: 
There's been a fun little fan theory going around that Life, the new sci-fi horror movie from Sony, is a prequel to another recently announced Sony movie, the Spider-Man spinoff Venom. True or not, it's good publicity for a movie that, frankly, should be seen. Life is about a team of scientists aboard the International...

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'Raw' Dares The Viewer To Watch Its Purposeful Tastelessness
Production: Scary Factor: 
Ever since it had its premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the French cannibalism film Raw has been one of the most anticipated horror movies on the schedule. After a long festival run that was highlighted by screenings at Sundance, TIFF, and Fantastic Fest, Raw is finally hitting wide release. Raw is...

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'Personal Shopper' Sends Kristen Stewart Back To The Realm Of The Supernatural
Production: Scary Factor: 
Trying to shake the stigma of being Bella Swan from the Twilight movies, Kristen Stewart has made some great role choices in recent years, from Still Alice and Certain Women to Café Society and Clouds of Sils Maria. Now, she's venturing back into the realm of the supernatural, under the guidance of her Clouds...

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'Bokeh' Wastes A Ton Of Story Potential...But It Sure Looks Great
Production: Cinematography: 
What if you and your significant other were the last people left on Earth? That's the question asked, and somewhat answered, by Bokeh. Bokeh is about an American photographer named Riley (Frailty's Matt O'Leary) who takes his girlfriend, Jenai (Maika Monroe from It Follows) on a romantic adventure to Iceland....

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'Atomica' Is A Minimalistic And Restrained - And Decidedly Unfun - SyFy Original Movie
Production: Scary Factor: 
SyFy original films have a reputation for being over-the-top and exploitive, but they can be a mixed bag of quality. When done right, we get awesomely fun movies like Sharknado and Dinocroc vs. Supergator. When done wrong, we get movies like Atomica. Atomica is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a company...

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Ape-pocalypse Now! 'Kong: Skull Island' Delivers The Monster-Fighting Goods
Production: Special Effects: 
Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War, Kong: Skull Island stars John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane) as Bill Randa, a nutty researcher who has used satellite photos to discover an uncharted island. Using competition from the Russians as leverage ("they've got a satellite passing over in three days, do you want...

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'Land Of Mine' Shows The Aftermath Of War In A Very Different Light
Production: Directing: 
War movies usually conjure up images of visceral battle scenes (the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, or the second half of Hacksaw Ridge), tense standoffs (Willem Dafoe's big moment in Platoon, or the head-butting of Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox in Casualties of War), or uneasy paranoia (all of Apocalypse...

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'Logan' Is A Fitting Send-Off, And One Of The Best Comic Book Movies To Date
Production: Action Sequences: 
Although the Disney-distributed Marvel movies have certainly given us plenty of memorable characters, few could top Wolverine when it comes to comic book movie notoriety. For nearly two decades Hugh Jackman has played Logan, the adamantium-clawed wild card on the X-Men roster, but eventually things were going...

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'Before I Fall' Is A Serviceable Young Adult Adaptation...And Not Much More
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Ever since the breakaway success of the Twilight series of books, there has been a section in many mainstream bookstores for "Paranormal Teen Romance" selections. This is where the novel upon which Before I Fall is based can be found. Set in the Pacific Northwest, Before I Fall is about a high school girl named...

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'My Life As A Zucchini' Tugs At The Heart Strings While It Tickles The Funny Bone
Production: Animation: 
The Academy Awards have come and gone, and guess what? Disney's Zootopia won Best Animated Feature. And for good reason, as Zootopia is a well-made movie with something important to say. But a lot of people were pulling for the underdog. The underdog this year was a Swiss-French stop-motion movie that hadn't...

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Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' Is Not The Movie You Think It Is
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Scary Factor: 
Jordan Peele is best known as a comedian from his stint on "MADtv" and as the "Peele" half of "Key & Peele." But anyone who has read any interviews with him or listened to him on a podcast knows that he is a big horror buff. Horror movie Midas Blumhouse Productions has given Peele a shot behind the camera, letting...

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Frame Of Mind

The Day AfterThis week’s Cinema Fearité is going to be a little different.  With Donald Trump sending warships to North Korea and their leader, Kim Jung-un, constantly developing and testing his country’s nuclear capabilities, the world hasn’t been this close to nuclear war since the Reagan era more than thirty years ago.  It’s time to revisit the 1983 television movie The Day After.

Killer's KissThere’s little doubt that Stanley Kubrick is one of the most influential directors in modern cinema.  He revolutionized the science fiction genre with 2001: A Space Odyssey, the dystopian nightmare with A Clockwork Orange, the horror movie with The Shining, and the war film with Full Metal Jacket.  He even invented the political satire with Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.  But he wasn’t always so...Kubrickian.  Like most filmmakers (see David Cronenberg’s Stereo), Kubrick started his career making cheap and simple films.  His second feature, made way back in 1955, was the tidy little noir thriller Killer’s Kiss.

HobgoblinsFollowing the success of Gremlins in 1984, the film industry decided that the next big thing would be tiny creature movies.  The ghoulies in Ghoulies led to the troll in Cat’s Eye and the critters in Critters led to the demons in The Gate.  But all of that was just prepping the world for 1988’s Hobgoblins.

Sole SurvivorLast week, Cinema Fearité brought you Offerings, an eighties slasher that was just behind its time.  This week, we’re heading to the other end of the scale by featuring a movie that was years ahead of its time.  That movie is 1983’s Sole Survivor.

 

OfferingsThe eighties were called the “Golden Age of the Slasher” for a reason; slasher movies were a dime a dozen.  By the time the decade ended, audiences had pretty much seen it all.  That didn’t stop the movies from trying, though.  In 1989, a little-slasher-that-could recycled every trope into a movie that, well, seemed like a bunch of recycled tropes.  That movie is Offerings.

Chopping MallWhether it’s because of the innovative architecture or the retro nostalgia is anyone’s guess, but horror movies set in malls are fun.  Sometimes, they’re smart indictments of consumerism, like Dawn of the Dead.  Other times, they’re just silly creature features about college co-eds, such as Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama.  And sometimes, they’re both, like the 1986 technological warning-meets-teenage party movie Chopping Mall.

RavenousLast month, Cinema Fearité paid tribute to female filmmakers for Women in Horror Month by diving into Mary Harron’s American Psycho, Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary, and Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-hiker.  Thanks to the untimely passing of Bill Paxton, we got a little sidetracked last week with our remembrance of Frailty.  Well, better late than never; we’re back on track to wrap up Women in Horror Month by taking a look at Antonia Bird’s 1999 cannibalism movie Ravenous.

FrailtyAnother blow was dealt to not only the horror scene, but to Hollywood in general this past weekend when versatile everyman actor Bill Paxton died from complications following heart surgery at the age of 61.  Paxton was first noticed by most fans as a punk in The Terminator (“Your clothes. Give them to me.”) and as bully older brother Chet in Weird Science (“How about a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?”).  He went on to play legendary roles in classic films like Aliens and Near Dark, and even had mainstream success in big studio movies such as Apollo 13 and Titanic.  In 2001, Paxton pulled double duty, starring in and directing Frailty, one of the most psychologically disturbing movies of the twenty-first century.

Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter TribeDocumentaries about subcultures are usually fun because they give the viewer a glimpse into a world that they might otherwise have never even known existed.  The new film from Jon Manning, Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe does just that, and does it in a way that is both informative and entertaining.

The Hitch-HikerFebruary is Women in Horror Month, and Cinema Fearité has been celebrating all month long.  First, we took a look at Mary Harron’s American Psycho, then we checked out Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary.  This week, we’re taking it all the way back to 1953 with Ida Lupino’s noir thriller The Hitch-Hiker.

Pet SemataryLast week, Cinema Fearité celebrated Women in Horror Month by taking a look at Mary Harron’s American Psycho.  We’re continuing the party this week by featuring another classic fright flick directed by a member of the fairer sex – Mary Lambert’s 1989 Stephen King adaptation of Pet Sematary.

I Am Not Your NegroAs both a black man and a homosexual, writer James Baldwin’s work usually dealt with social injustice and inequality on some level.  When he died in 1987, he left behind an unfinished manuscript for a book called Remember This House that detailed his own memories of the civil rights struggle of the sixties.  This manuscript is the framework for I Am Not Your Negro.

American PsychoIn case you haven’t heard, February is Women in Horror Month.  Although generally underrepresented, female filmmakers have made some of the most important (and most enjoyable) horror movies in history, from classics like Amy Holden Jones’ The Slumber Party Massacre and Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark to more modern masterpieces such as Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook and Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation.  And then, there’s one of the greatest films, horror or not, of the 21st century – Mary Harron’s American Psycho.

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.

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