The Latest Movie Reviews
'Skyscraper' Is A White Knuckle Thriller As Only The Rock Can Deliver
Production: Action Sequences: 
Part Die Hard and part The Towering Inferno, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Skyscraper is a thrilling blockbuster built for the summer movie going season. It ticks all the boxes of a big budget action movie and features very little fluff. Does it defy the laws of physics and have plenty of logic leaps? Most definitely,...

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Boots Riley's 'Sorry To Bother You' Has A Lot To Say...And A Really Weird Way Of Saying It
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Set in a bizarre parallel-universe version of Oakland, California, Sorry to Bother You is about a young man named Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield from Short Term 12 and Get Out) who gets a job at a telemarketing company. After a few frustrating calls, Cassius gets some advice from an old timer named Langston...

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Debra Granik's 'Leave No Trace' Is A Survival Story With Layers
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It's been about eight years since indie filmmaker Debra Granik burst onto the scene with Winter's Bone, the Sundance darling that not only garnered Granik an Oscar nomination, but essentially introduced the world to the pre-Hunger Games, pre-X-Men Jennifer Lawrence (who also was rewarded with the first of her...

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'Ant-Man And The Wasp' Is A Fun Marvel Distraction
Production: Action Sequences: 
Any Marvel film that was released after Avengers: Infinity War and before Avengers 4 was going to have a hard time, especially one like Ant-Man and the Wasp that is set slightly before the events of Infinity War. Perhaps Marvel knew that, and rather than try to balance the tone of a light, Paul Rudd-led adventure...

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'The First Purge' Satisfies The Blood Lust, But Little Else
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Although they have been generally well received, the first three movies in the Purge series (The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, and The Purge: Election Year) have been underwhelming to me personally. However, the concept of one lawless night is engaging enough to keep me coming back, because I know that someday,...

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'Sicario: Day Of The Soldado' Keeps The 'Sicario' Saga Going Full Steam
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In 2015, film fans learned that the word Sicario means 'hitman' in Spanish. Now, with the sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado, we learn that Soldado means 'soldier.' Sicario: Day of the Soldado brings back Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2) as government anti-terrorism agent Matt Graver. The president...

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'Who's Watching Oliver' Is A Dirty, Mean, And Nasty Movie With A Surprisingly Relatable Anti-Hero
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Serial killer movies are a dime a dozen. In order to stand out from the crowd, they need a little something extra. Who's Watching Oliver has that something extra. Who's Watching Oliver is about an awkward young man, of course named Oliver (Russell Geoffrey Banks from Ghosthouse), who stalks the streets and...

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'Big Legend' Is, For Better Or Worse, Just Another Bigfoot Movie
Production: Scary Factor: 
One of my earliest cinematic memories is of my mom taking me and my sister to a double feature of Orca and Grizzly, two of the greatest Jaws ripoffs ever made. Also, as a child of the seventies, I have always been fascinated by Bigfoot movies. So, on paper, Big Legend should be a slam dunk for me. In practicality,...

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'Boundaries' Is A Road Movie That's All Journey And No Destination
Production: Acting: 
Boundaries is about a flakey animal lover named Laura Jaconi (The Conjuring's Vera Farmiga) whose estranged father, Jack (Christopher Plummer from All the Money in the World), gets kicked out of his nursing home. Arrangements are made for him to stay with Laura's sister, JoJo (Kristen Schaal from "Bob's Burgers"),...

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'Hearts Beat Loud' Combines An Emotional Story With A Bouncy Soundtrack
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
Although "quirky" and "charming" have become film criticism buzzwords, they really are the perfect words to describe music-driven, indie movies like Frank, Sing Street, and Band Aid. And they're also the perfect words to describe Hearts Beat Loud. Hearts Beat Loud is about an aging musician/record store...

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'Summer 1993' Is A Surprisingly Uplifting Movie From A Darker Time
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Summer 1993 is about a little girl named Frida (Laia Artigas) who is sent to live with her uncle and his family in the country after the untimely death of her mother. Frida's Uncle Esteve (David Verdaguer) and his wife, Marga (Bruni Cusi), welcome the little girl in, fostering her with the same love that they...

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'Tag' Tells the Hysterical True Story Of Companionship, Camaraderie, And Competition
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Tag is about a five friends who have been playing the same game of Tag for 30 years. Every year during the entire month of May, the group sets aside their adult careers and lives to relentlessly chase, tag, and run from each other. It's an intense competition that the guys credit for keeping their friendship...

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The Horror Hype Train Was Right: 'Hereditary' Lives Up To Its Festival Buzz
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
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Every year, there seems to be a movie that comes out of its festival run with "scarier than The Exorcist" buzz. We've seen it recently with movies like It Follows, Raw, and The Witch. And now, we're seeing it again with Hereditary. A word of caution; the best way to experience Hereditary is completely blind,...

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'Ocean's 8' Misses The Mark As It Panders To The Masses
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
The 1960 heist film Ocean's 11 has gotten a hip 2001 remake, which has itself gotten not one, but two sequels. So, what's next? A gender-flipping rehash? Enter Ocean's 8. Ocean's 8 stars Sandra Bullock (Gravity) as Debbie Ocean (Danny's sister.ooh!), a thief who is released from prison and immediately sets...

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'Hotel Artemis' Gives A Not-So-Subtle Glimpse Of A Cartoony Dystopic Near Future
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The year is 2028, the city is Los Angeles, and the Hotel Artemis is essentially a hospital for criminals, run by a nurse named Jean Thomas (Jodie Foster from The Silence of the Lambs) and an orderly known as Everest (Dave Bautista from Guardians of the Galaxy). For a membership fee, bad guys can check in and...

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'American Animals' Is This Week's 'Other' - And Better - Heist Movie
Production: Uniqueness: 
With all the hype surrounding the mediocre Ocean's 8, people have forgotten about the "other" heist movie that is being released this week. And that's a shame, because American Animals is a better movie. American Animals is about a pair of young college students named Warren Lipka and Spencer Reinhard (Evan...

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'Upgrade' Is Pulpy Sci-Fi Action At Its Very Best
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
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As the writer of the first few Saw movies and the entire Insidious franchise, Leigh Whannell is best known as James Wan's sidekick, but he did make his directorial debut a couple of years back when he took the reins of Insidious: Chapter 3. Now, the writer/director brings fans his sophomore feature effort, the...

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Paul Schrader's 'First Reformed' Explores...And Exposes...The Struggle Between Science And Religion
Production: Cinematography: 
Paul Schrader is one of the unsung members of the Spielberg/Scorsese/Coppola "movie brat" generation of filmmakers. He's hardly a household name, but he's had a hand in some of the most important movies in film history, both as a writer (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) and as a director (American Gigolo, Cat People)....

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'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Tells A New Story In An Old Familiar Way
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
It's a great time to be alive for Star Wars fans. Between canon sequels like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and standalone movies like Rogue One, Disney is pumping out a new movie every year, whether audiences want them or not. This year's offering is the origin story for which fans have been clamoring for years:...

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'The Seagull' Wastes A Stellar Cast On A Mediocre Movie
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What do you get when a Tony Award-winning director and a Tony Award-winning writer team up with an incredible cast to adapt a classic play for the big screen? In the case of The Seagull, you get a technically proficient snoozefest. The Seagull takes place at the lake home of an elderly dying man named Pjotr...

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Frame Of Mind

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final FridayThere’s a Friday the 13th this week.  So, it’s as good a time as any for Cinema Fearité to take a look at the wackiest – and most maligned – entry into the popular and prolific Friday the 13th franchise, the ninth film in the series, the one made in 1993 after Jason had gone everywhere else in the world, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.

To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder StoryAt the beginning of To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story, Kane Hodder claims that he has murdered more people on film than any other actor in history.  As a horror movie icon who has played both Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees and Hatchet’s Victor Crowley four times each, he is probably correct.  But even if he isn’t, no one is going to argue with him.

When a Stranger Calls BackA while back, Cinema Fearité triggered ex-babysitters everywhere when we covered the 1979 classic When a Stranger Calls.  Now, we’ve got sequel fever.  It’s time to take a look at the 1993 TV movie When a Stranger Calls Back.

The Fearless Vampire KillersBetween his being kicked out of the Academy because of his embattled personal life and his home being the site of the infamous Manson Family murders, it’s easy to forget that Roman Polanski is a talented filmmaker, despite the fact that he’s constantly churning out movies, from Knife in the Water in the early sixties to Venus in Fur in 2013.  His two horror masterpieces are Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby, but in between those two movies, in 1967, he made the quirky little horror comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers.

Deathrow GameshowIn 1987, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with director Paul Michael Glaser to adapt the Stephen King/Richard Bachman novel The Running Man for the big screen.  But that wasn’t the only convict reality show movie to see release that year.  Decades before The Asylum was even a thing, an unwitting rip-off called Deathrow Gameshow explored the same concept as The Running Man, only with far more hilarious results.

The ShiningA handful of horror movies are just bona-fide classics.  Some are from the silent era, and others are products of the Universal Monsters period of the thirties, but the classics that are remembered most fondly today are the popular fright flicks from the seventies and eighties, movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Alien, and even The Amityville Horror.  Also falling into this timeless category is Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 Stephen King adaptation The Shining.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?Those who grew up in the seventies may remember a children’s show nestled in between “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company” on PBS called “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”  It wasn’t as flashy as its bookends, but it was every bit as charming, and probably even more historically important.  The show and its creator, Fred Rogers, are the subject of the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Fire in the SkyOver the years, Cinema Fearité has handled both alien invasions (Xtro, Without Warning, Prey) and outer space horror (Event Horizon, Galaxy of Terror, The Green Slime).  But what about that middle ground, the alien abduction movie?  We’re checking that off the list this week with the 1993 sci-fi thriller Fire in the Sky.

The Return of the Living DeadThis past weekend, B-movie goddess Linnea Quigley celebrated her 60th birthday.  Quigley is about as famous on the horror circuit as an actress can be without actually being a household name, thanks to movies with titles like Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Nightmare Sisters, and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.  Arguably, her most high-profile role came in 1985 when she played the sexy punk rocker Trash in the cult hit The Return of the Living Dead.

WaxworkSome movies are timeless.  Classics like The Exorcist, Halloween, or even Jaws are as fresh today as they were on the day they were made.  Other movies, like 976-EVIL, Evilspeak, and Nightmares are products of their time, snapshots of the era in which they were conceived.  Made in 1988, Waxwork is another one of these time capsule movies.

FilmworkerWhile the great Stanley Kubrick had a fairly modest output over his long career (13 movies in 46 years), there’s little doubt that he’s considered to be one of the most influential filmmakers of all time.  Filmworker takes a close look at the second half of his career through the eyes of someone who was involved intimately in it, his trusted colleague and friend Leon Vitali.

SistersThis past weekend, Canadian-born actress Margot Kidder passed away at the age of 69.  Although Kidder was known primarily as Lois Lane from the classic Superman series of movies, horror fans remember her as both Barb in Black Christmas and Kathy Lutz in The Amityville Horror.  However, her first fright flick, made two short years before Black Christmas in 1972, was Sisters.

Pope Francis: A Man of His WordIn 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to the Papacy and took the name Pope Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi.  Almost immediately, he became a controversial figure because of his progressive views.  A few years later, documentary filmmaker Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, The Salt of the Earth) was given unprecedented access to the Pope in order to make a movie.  That movie is simply called Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.

Nightmare SistersIn 1987, cult director David DeCoteau (Dreamaniac, Creepozoids) got together with scream queens Linnea Quigley (Graduation Day, Silent Night, Deadly Night), Brinke Stevens (The Slumber Party Massacre), and Michelle Bauer (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) and made the camp classic Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama.  But that’s not the only movie that particular quartet made in 1987.  It’s not even the campiest.  That title goes to Nightmare Sisters.

RBGIn her long and storied career, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has gone from lawyer to judge to Supreme Court justice.  But perhaps her most interesting accomplishment has been becoming an internet meme, an inspirational figure for both modern women and liberal activists all over America.  Her fascinating story is the subject of a new documentary, appropriately entitled RBG.

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