The Latest Movie Reviews
'Office Christmas Party' Is A Mish-Mash Of Mediocre R-Rated Comedy Skits
Production: Comedy Factor: 
It seems that the R-rated Christmas movie has become the new fad for the holiday season, with two similar films releasing in the month of December. The first of those films is Office Christmas Party, an attempt to inject holiday festivities with some R-rated twists that feels like a movie cobbled together from...

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'Abattoir' Turns The Standard Modern Haunted House Movie On Its Head
Production: Scary Factor: 
The definition of the word "abattoir" is "slaughterhouse." While that's not exactly what goes on in Abattoir, the new movie from director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, 11-11-11), it's as good a name as any for it. Abattoir is about an investigative reporter named Julia Talben (Jessica Lowndes from "90210")...

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'Things to Come' Is Yet Another Movie That Is Anchored By A Brilliant Isabelle Huppert Performance
Production: Acting: 
Earlier this year, French actress Isabelle Huppert lit up screens as easily the best element in Paul Verhoeven's Elle. Huppert is having quite a year; aside from Natalie Portman's portrayal of Jaqueline Kennedy in Jackie, Huppert's biggest awards competition comes from herself in Things to Come. Things to Come...

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Despite Its Promising Premise, 'The Possession Experiment' Is Just Your Standard, Run-Of-The-Mill Exorcism Movie
Production: Scary Factor: 
Next to zombies, exorcisms are the most overused and abused horror movie trope. Every month it seems as if a new movie with the word "possession" is released. This month's offering is The Possession Experiment. The Possession Experiment is about a college student named Brandon Jenson (Chris Minor) who decides...

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Anchored By An Emotionally Charged Performance From Casey Affleck, 'Manchester By The Sea' Is A Solid Oscar Contender
Production: Acting: 
Writer/director Kenneth Lonergan is one of those guys who pops into the Hollywood circle every several years and makes a movie. Some have been good (You Can Count on Me) and some less-good (Margaret), but they always make you feel something. Get ready to feel again, because Manchester by the Sea is Lonergan's...

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'The Eyes of My Mother' Is A Dirty Little Slice Of Nightmarish Genius
Production: Cinematography: 
Scary Factor: 
Every once in a while, a movie comes along that should be gone into blind, with absolutely no knowledge of the story. The Eyes of My Mother is one of these movies. It's full of shock and awe, and for this reason, it is best experienced with fresh eyes. Those who need a loose plot synopsis (and I mean very loose),...

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'SiREN' Is A Disappointing Outing For The Best Character In 'V/H/S'
Production: Special Effects: 
Scary Factor: 
Everyone who saw it has a favorite segment of V/H/S, the clever horror anthology film from 2012. Those who enjoyed the first vignette, David Bruckner's "Amateur Night," are in luck, because the story of the enigmatic "I Like You" girl continues (or does it start?) in SiREN. SiREN is about a groom-to-be named...

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'Bleed For This' Is A Satisfactory Biopic With A Strong Leading Performance
Production: Acting: 
Bleed for This is the type of boxing biopic that feels like it's trying to capitalize on a trend rather than tell a compelling story. Sure, the true tell of how Vinnie Paz (played by Miles Teller in the film) recovered from a broken neck to box again is a compelling one, but the cinematic version of Paz's real...

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'Nocturnal Animals' Combines Beauty And Brutality Into An Engaging, If Ultimately Unsatisfying, Modern Melodrama
Production: Acting: 
November has been a banner month for Amy Adams. Just last week, she anchored the awesome sci-fi thriller Arrival. Now, she's back again with the darkly disturbing psychodrama Nocturnal Animals. In Nocturnal Animals, Adams stars as Susan Morrow, an artist/gallery curator whose ex-husband, author Edward Sheffield...

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'The Edge Of Seventeen' Is As John Hughes As A Non-John Hughes Movie Can Get
Production: Comedy Factor: 
The Edge of Seventeen is about a girl named Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld from The Keeping Room and The Homesman) whose life is turned upside down at a young age by the untimely death of her father. Her one source of happiness and security throughout her childhood and up until high school has been her best friend,...

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Paul Verhoeven's 'Elle' Is An Overindulgent Vehicle For A Remarkable Isabelle Huppert Performance
Production: Acting: 
Paul Verhoeven used to be cool when he was making movies like Robocop, Starship Troopers, and Total Recall. Hell, even Showgirls is a lot of fun when it's put into context with his other movies (it's a parody!). Somewhere around the turn of the century (post Hollow Man), he lost his way and started making art...

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'Arrival' Takes A Classic Science Fiction Theme And Thrusts It Into The Modern Age
Production: Cinematography: 
Remember that old episode of "The Twilight Zone," the one called "To Serve Man," where aliens landed on Earth and all the humans were running around suspicious of what the visitors really wanted? That's kind of the basis of Arrival, too. Arrival is about the arrival (ha!) of several alien spacecraft in twelve...

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Bryan Bertino's 'The Monster' Explores The Horrors Of Monsters, Both Internal And External
Production: Scary Factor: 
Writer/director Bryan Bertino has made a name for himself as one of the most exciting visionaries in the modern horror world. First, he terrified audiences with his simple-yet-effective The Strangers, then he confounded them with his surreal take on the found footage genre Mockingbird. Now, with The Monster,...

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'Christine' Brings One Of The Most Horrifyingly Tragic Events Of The Seventies To Life
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
Filmmakers Sean Durkin, Josh Mond and Antonio Campos take turns directing, writing, and producing under the collective name of Borderline Films. The trio has been responsible for some of the most interesting indie films of the last few years, titles like Martha Marcy May Marlene, James White, and Simon Killer....

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Frame Of Mind

Cat PeopleWhen people think about B-movie producers, the names that come to mind are usually Roger Corman, William Castle, maybe even Ed Wood.  A good decade before those guys, however, there was Val Lewton, who owned the 1940s with movies like I Walked with a Zombie and The Ghost Ship, as well as his trio of Boris Karloff collaborations that included The Body Snatcher, Isle of the Dead, and Bedlam.  Arguably his best movie is his first, the 1942 creepy classic Cat People.

Jaws of SatanThe hits just keep on coming for 2016.  Over the holiday weekend, the entertainment world lost yet another legend when Fritz Weaver passed away at the age of 90.  Even if his name isn’t immediately recognizable, his face certainly was; Weaver appeared on every type of television show, from “All My Children” to “Wonder Woman.”  He guest starred in just about every horror show imaginable, anchoring episodes of “The Twilight Zone” (both the sixties and eighties versions), “Tales From the Darkside,” “The Outer Limits,” and even “Monsters” (remember that one?).  On the big screen, he shined in big budget adventure movies like The Marathon Man and Black Sunday, but he always had time for horror movies like Creepshow, Demon Seed, and this week’s Cinema Fearité offering – the 1981 shocker Jaws of Satan.

Manos: The Hands of FateLast week, an actor named Tom Neyman passed away at the age of 80.  Calling him an actor might be a bit of a stretch, since he only made one movie way back in 1966, but that one movie is legendary…for being one of the worst films of all time.  Well, since it’s Thanksgiving anyway, let’s take a look at that famous turkey - a little movie called Manos: The Hands of Fate.

GleasonFormer New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason’s football career can be defined in a single play.  On September 25th, 2006, in the Saints’ first home game since their city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Gleason blocked a punt by the Atlanta Falcons that was returned for a touchdown, the first score of a game which the Saints would go on to win.  It was more than just a football play.  It was a symbol of resilience, a statement about the resurgence of a city that had been nearly destroyed.  Gleason provided a spark of hope which turned the city around.

Shock CorridorAs cheap of a ploy as it sounds, setting a horror movie in a mental hospital is a highly effective way to raise the creep factor.  From Asylum to The Ward, and even in cult classics like Alone in the Dark and Bad Dreams, a loony bin is a great setting for scares.  Even fringe horror movies get spookier when they take place inside an insane asylum.  For an example, look no further than Samuel Fuller’s 1963 noir thriller Shock Corridor.

Cat's EyeTwo of this year’s most buzzworthy horror movies have had animals featured in prominent roles.  The Witch stars a freaky 210 pound goat named Charlie as the evil Black Phillip, and a charming seagull named Sully almost steals The Shallows away from Blake Lively with his performance as Steven Seagull, her rocky reef-mate for the movie.  All of the hype surrounding these two talented non-humans brings to mind another stirring performance by an animal – that of the titular character in the 1985 anthology Cat’s Eye.

Cry Baby LaneHorror on television has been around since the fifties and sixties, but it only reached out towards the children’s television market in the nineties with shows like “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” and “Goosebumps.”  Before long, Nickelodeon, the “Kid’s Network” and home of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”, even branched into scary TV movies aimed at the pre-teen demographic.  Around Halloween of 2000, Nick pulled no punches with its controversial television feature Cry Baby Lane.

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.

Sonny BoyLet’s face it, some movies are just plain weird.  Some are shockingly weird, like The Baby or Pink Flamingos.  Some are surreally weird, like Eraserhead or any one of a number of films from Alejandro Jodorowsky.  Either way, there is an entire unofficial subgenre of cinema that takes strangeness to a whole new level.  Sonny Boy falls squarely into this category.

Command and ControlOn September 18, 1980, a technician at a Titan II missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas, dropped a tool that punctured the side of a missile, spraying rocket fuel into the silo.  That may sound like a minor mishap, but the fact that the missile contained a nuclear warhead that was 600 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima escalated the situation.  Long story short – the missile exploded, but the warhead did not, and although the incident was widely publicized, the full details were covered up.  Until now.

The FlyHorror fans love to complain about remakes, but there are times when a re-imagining does actually surpass the original.  John Carpenter’s The Thing is a good example.  So is Chuck Russell’s The Blob.  Franck Khalfoun’s brutal interpretation of Maniac comes pretty close.  And, of course, David Cronenberg’s The Fly has to be in the conversation.  But hold up…because the original 1958 version of The Fly is pretty hard to beat.

Author: The JT LeRoy StoryJT LeRoy was a real-life Cinderella: an androgynous boy with a truck stop prostitute for a mother who lived a life of drug addiction and sexual abuse before becoming a literary phenomenon when his first autobiographical book, Sarah, was published in 1999.  JT LeRoy was also a fraud: an identity manufactured by writer Laura Albert as a way for Albert to write about taboo subjects that she normally wouldn’t dare approach.  Albert’s deception was exposed in 2005, and the entire drama is documented in the fascinating film Author: The JT LeRoy Story.

Evil EyeItalian director Mario Bava is considered to be one of the pioneers of both the giallo and the slasher subgenres of horror movies.  With films like A Bay of Blood, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, and Kill Baby, Kill to his credit, Bava’s work is usually seen as bloody and gruesome, but there was another side to the filmmaker.  Bava could make movies that teemed with subtle suspense, such as his 1963 classic Evil Eye.

Deepwater HorizonThe first major explosion will make you gasp, and what comes next will enthrall you as each moment passes and the situation grows more and more intense. There's no escaping the horror; Berg has made a point to put you directly in the action. And that is what makes Deepwater Horizon a movie made for the big screen.

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