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'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Twists And Turns Its Way Into One Of The Best Movies Of The Year
Production: Acting: 
Playwright Martin McDonagh has been making quite a name for himself in Hollywood. He burst onto the scene in 2008 with In Bruges and continued his success with 2012's Seven Psychopaths. Now, he's back with his best work yet, the masterful Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Three Billboards Outside...

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'Justice League' Is A Messy Superhero Team-Up That Lacks Weight
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At the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the DC Extended Universe put itself on a path with one inevitable destination. Now, that destination has arrived in the form of Justice League, the superhero team-up movie that would bring DC Comics' most iconic heroes together in one cinematic adventure. This...

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'Lady Bird' Shows That Greta Gerwig Can Literally Do It All
Production: Comedy Factor: 
In front of the camera, Greta Gerwig has proven herself to be a powerhouse of independent cinema with show-stopping and scene-stealing performances in movies like Mistress America, 20th Century Women, and Maggie's Plan. Now, audiences get to see what she can do behind the camera with her solo directorial debut...

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Nothing In 'Murder On The Orient Express' Is As Epic As Hercule Poirot's Moustache
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Throughout the twentieth century, Agatha Christie wrote dozens of mystery novels. Many of those books have been turned into movies. And of all of the Agatha Christie works that have been made into movie, Murder on the Orient Express is one of them. Murder on the Orient Express sees superdetective Hercule Poirot...

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'Devil's Whisper' Is A Typical Possession Movie That Still Manages To Have A Bit Of Bite
Production: Scary Factor: 
Devil's Whisper is about a high school boy named Alex (Luca Oriel from "Shameless") who aspires to be a priest. His grandmother has just died, and her belongings were passed on to his mother, Lucia (Tessie Santiago from "Scandal"). While going through the items, Alex and his father, Marcos (Marcos A. Ferraez...

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Joe Lynch's 'Mayhem' Is The Executive Takedown That Subordinates Can Only Dream About
Production: Action Sequences: 
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Ever since the first episode of the seventh season of "The Walking Dead" (spoiler alert) killed off the character of Glenn Rhee, fans have been wondering what actor Steven Yeun has been doing. Rest assured, he's still been kicking tail in director Joe Lynch's Mayhem. Mayhem is set in a quasi-futuristic world...

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'Thor: Ragnarok' Is The God Of Thunder's Best Outing Yet
Production: Action Sequences: 
Say what you will about Thor: Ragnarok biting Guardians of the Galaxy's style or trying to reinvent the hero, what matters is whether a film works or it doesn't. And Marvel's third outing for the God of Thunder works in numerous ways. This is by far the best film with Thor as its main hero; it's funnier, more...

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'Wonderstruck' Doubles Down On The Slowly Unravelling Mysteries
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
From Velvet Goldmine to Carol, director Todd Haynes has proven himself to be both a competent and versatile filmmaker. Wonderstruck proves it even further. Wonderstruck tells the story of a young boy in 1977 Minnesota named Ben (Oakes Fegley from Pete's Dragon) who goes deaf after a freak accident. When his...

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'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer' Is Yorgos Lanthimos At The Top Of His Game
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Score & Soundtrack: Scary Factor: 
Between the disturbing Dogtooth and the quirky The Lobster, writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos has emerged as one of the most unique voices in independent film. And The Killing of a Sacred Deer may just be his masterpiece. The Killing of a Sacred Deer stars Colin Farrell (The Beguiled) as Dr. Steven Murphy, a...

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'Blade Of The Immortal' Bookends A Hero's Journey With Some Epic Battles
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Since his first film in 1991, Japanese director Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer) has pumped out an average of almost four movies per year. A little quick and dirty math reveals that Blade of the Immortal is the filmmaker's 100th film. Blade of the Immortal is about a samurai warrior named Manji (Takuya...

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'Tragedy Girls' Is A Slick Modern Slasher That Combines A Retro-Kitsch Style With Pitch-Perfect Execution
Production: Comedy Factor: 
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What do you get when an up-and-coming writer-director team casts a couple of superhero movie (kinda) stars in a horror comedy? You get Tragedy Girls, that's what. Tragedy Girls is about a pair of high school girls named Sadie Cunningham (Brianna Hildebrand, better known as Deadpool's Negasonic Teenage Warhead)...

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'Suburbicon' Is A Twisting Parable That Succeeds More Than It Falters
Production: Writing: 
While the marketing for Suburbicon would have you believe that the movie is a revenge tale about a suburban father who tries to protect his family from nefarious characters, George Clooney's latest directorial effort is all about misdirection. Much like the idyllic suburban neighborhood that serves as the namesake...

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'All I See Is You' Is Not The Blake Lively Movie You Think It Is
Production: Cinematography: 
At first glance, All I See is You seems like it would be the triumph-of-the-will love story. Nothing could be further from the truth. All I See is You stars Blake Lively (The Shallows, The Age of Adaline) as Gina, an American woman living in Thailand who has been blind since a childhood car accident that took...

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Without All The Film School Padding, 'Shortwave' Would Be, Well, Short
Production: Scary Factor: 
Shortwave is about a couple, Josh (The Stranger's Cristobal Tapia Montt) and Isabel (Juanita Ringling from the "C" section of The ABCs of Death), who moves to a secluded country estate in order to put their lives back together after the disappearance of their child. Josh is a research scientist, and his partner,...

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'Geostorm' Is A Disaster Flick To Avoid
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Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Heat waves. Earthquakes. Cold fronts. Floods. A film about natural disasters and the effects of climate change on earth couldn't be more topical. And that's part of the draw with Geostorm: to see how/if mother nature can be controlled. Well, according to Geostorm, it won't take very much...

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'The Snowman' Is The Best Looking Unfinished Movie Ever
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Norwegian author Jo Nesbø has been writing novels about a troubled homicide detective named Harry Hole (no, really, that's his name) since 1997. Twenty years after the first Harry Hole novel, the brilliant investigator is finally hitting American movie screens in The Snowman. The Snowman sees Harry (Michael...

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'Goodbye Christopher Robin' Tells The Tale Of A Childhood Icon - Without The Childlike Wonder And Innocence
Production: Acting: 
Goodbye Christopher Robin is about British writer A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson from Ex Machina), who, after returning home from the front after World War I, struggles to find his place in the world. With wife Daphne (Suicide Squad's Margot Robbie), son Christopher Robin (newcomer Will Tiltson), and nanny Olive...

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'Breathe' Misses The Real Robin Cavendish Story
Production: Writing: 
Andy Serkis has been the go-to CG effects motion capture artist for years thanks to his performances in, among dozens of others, the Lord of the Rings and the Planet of the Apes movies. He's a modern Hollywood institution. So, it's a curious decision that his directorial debut would be a movie like Breathe. Breathe...

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'The Florida Project' Is A Visually Striking Look At Adult Problems Through Childrens' Eyes
Production: Acting: 
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A couple of years ago, director Sean Baker solidified his reputation as an indie-filmmaker-to-watch with the groundbreaking Tangerine. Now, with all eyes on him, he follows it up with the equally impressive The Florida Project. The Florida Project is about a week-to-week hotel in Orlando, Florida (right in...

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Frame Of Mind

RubyThe seventies gave the horror world a ton of classic movies.  Jaws scared people into not going into the water.  Halloween struck fear into the hearts of babysitters everywhere.  The Exorcist made people afraid of demonic possession.  But, for every Jaws, Halloween, or The Exorcist, there were a dozen other movies that fell along the wayside.  Made in 1977, Ruby is one of these movies.

 

Don't Answer the Phone!A while back, Cinema Fearité celebrated horror movies that urge audience to not do things, like Don’t Look in the Basement, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Don’t Look Now, and even Don’t Open Till Christmas.  This week, we’ve got another movie that’s bossing you around, this time with an exclamation point à la mother! and Bloodlust!, called Don’t Answer the Phone!

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the WorldAmerican rock and roll music is seen as a smorgasbord of musical influences, borrowing liberally from both European and African sources.  But the influence of the Native American culture on rock music has rarely been acknowledged.  Documentarian Catherine Bainbridge (who also explored Native Americans in Hollywood movies with Reel Injun) and cinematographer Alfonso Maiorana (who worked with Bainbridge on the TV series “Mohawk Girls”) explore the Indians that have had an impact on rock and roll in their fascinating new movie Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.

Let's Scare Jessica to DeathThe seventies were one of the coolest decades in horror history.  There were slashers, occult movies, vampire flicks, psychological thrillers, and old-fashioned ghost stories.  And sometimes, as in the 1971 classic Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, there’s a lot of subgenre overlap.

FrenzyA few months back, Cinema Fearité waxed upon the confusion that sometimes can be inspired by horror movie titles when we compared Witchtrap to Witchboard.  But what happens when two movies from different decades share the same name?  We saw it with the non-Chucky Sidney Lumet movie Child’s Play.  We saw it with movies called The Hand and Maniac. And now, we’re going to see it again with the non-Hitchcock 1945 British movie Frenzy.

California TypewriterRevisiting old technologies can be fun.  The analog warmth of vinyl records sounds better than the harsh digital compression of CDs.  The feeling of flipping the pages of a good book in your hands beats the hell out of scrolling through that same book on a tablet.  And, as any avid movie collector will tell you, VHS tapes often have way cooler artwork than their DVD/Blu-ray counterparts.  But no one ever thinks about that other lost form of communication – the typewriter.  No one, that is, until music video director-turned-documentarian Doug Nichol made California Typewriter.

The Whip and the BodyWith the semi-ironic popularity of the Fifty Shades of Grey movies, film fans everywhere are discovering the wonders of S&M and B&D.  Okay, not really, but the movie/book franchise has piqued the interest of “square” people and brought sexual domination to the pop culture forefront.  Of course, for horror fans, it was always there.  Way back in 1963, Italian uber-director Mario Bava (Hatchet for the Honeymoon, A Bay of Blood) played with the trend with the aptly named The Whip and the Body.

EscapesHampton Lansdon Fancher.  You may not recognize the name, but you are no doubt familiar with his work.  His biggest claim to fame is that he wrote the first drafts of the script for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, but he also had an extremely prolific career as a b-level character actor.  But even behind the scenes, Fancher has led a fascinating life.  So fascinating, in fact, that his filmmaker pal Michael Almereyda (Experimenter) made a movie about him.  That movie is called Escapes.

The WarriorsNew York, New York.  A hell of a town.  The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down.  And it’s a great backdrop for movies, horror or otherwise.  Even when that movie is as surreal and fantastical as The Warriors.

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.

FlatlinersThis past weekend, a remake/reboot of Flatliners opened in theaters to little fanfare.  Not only was it not screened ahead of time for press, but there were no early paid showings on Thursday night in most markets, with the first opportunity for anyone to see the film coming on Friday morning.  Well, in celebration of a movie that the studios seem to be hiding, this week’s Cinema Fearité is taking a look at the original 1990 movie upon which it is based, also called Flatliners.

Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane DocumentaryAfter getting his start in nonfiction television, documentary filmmaker John Scheinfeld has carved out a nice little niche for himself in the music film world with his The U.S. vs. John Lennon and Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?).  Keeping up the momentum, he now explores the life of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane in his newest film, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary.

Bloodlust!Out of all of the elements of the polarizing mother! to be controversial, one wouldn’t expect the title to be one of them, but the awkward non-capitalization at the beginning coupled with the exclamation point at the end has been playing hell with the auto-correct of critics everywhere (including my own).  But mother! is hardly the first movie to feature strange characters in its name; from Airplane! to Land Ho!, movie titles have gotten creative with their punctuation.  Because this is Cinema Fearité, we’re going to take a gander at a horror movie with an exclamation – 1961’s Bloodlust!

ObitIn the rapidly declining world of print journalism, newspapers are known for their different sections.  There’s the news and politics section, the funny papers, the sports page…and the obituary column.  Obit takes a good look at the surprisingly lively writers who are responsible for producing the content for that last section.

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