The Latest Movie Reviews
'Alien: Covenant' Connects Some - But Not All - Of The Dots Between 'Prometheus' And 'Alien'
Production: Acting: 
Action Sequences: Scary Factor: 
In 2012, director Ridley Scott's Alien prequel Prometheus was one of the most polarizing movies of the year. People either loved it or hated it, and those opinions tended to sway from one side to the other with subsequent viewings. Because of this, any review of the new Prometheus sequel/Alien prequel should...

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'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' Brings The Merry Band Back Together
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Comedy Factor: 
When Guardians of the Galaxy was released back in 2014, it was a major risk for Marvel Studios. Sure, they had a nearly flawless record, but most of those hits were with well-known properties. Guardians of the Galaxy, on the other hand, was a relatively unknown comic series, led by familiar but unproven stars,...

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'The Shadow Effect' Spoils A Cool Premise With Its Stock Shoot-'Em-Up Approach
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Well, the Jason Bourne movies should really be flattered by The Shadow Effect. The Shadow Effect is about a young man named Gabriel Howarth (The Magnificent Seven's Cam Gigandet) who suffers from very violent, very real-seeming dreams. When he notices...

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'My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea' - Corny As Hell, But You'll Like It
Production: Animation: 
As a writer and illustrator, Dash Shaw has had several successful graphic novels. Now, following in the footsteps of Daniel Clowes and Frank Miller, Shaw has turned to feature filmmaking for his next challenge with the wildly entertaining My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea. The title of My Entire High...

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'Rupture' Starts With A Bang And Ends With A Fizzle
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Fifteen years ago, director Steven Shainberg shocked the pre-Fifty Shades of Grey world with his BDSM tale Secretary. Now, he's back to try and shock again with Rupture. Rupture is about a single mother named Renee Morgan (Noomi Rapace from Prometheus) who gets a flat tire one morning. She is assisted by a...

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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
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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
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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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It's Been A Long Wait, But 'The Blackcoat's Daughter' Lives Up To The Hype
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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
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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
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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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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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'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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'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

GorgoIt’s been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Well then, in 1961, Great Britain flattered the hell out of Japan by making a little Godzilla homage called Gorgo.

The EvictorsLast week, the talented character actor Michael Parks passed away at the age of 77.  Parks was one of those actors whose name might not be instantly recognizable, but whose face is known by every cinemaniac.  He was a regular in films by both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and Kevin Smith has gone on record saying that he wrote Red State and Tusk specifically for Parks.  Like so many other cult favorite actors, Parks did his share of horror movies, schlock with titles like The Savage Bees, Nightmare Beach...and the subject of this week’s Cinema Fearité – The Evictors.

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.

The BabysitterIn the seventies, a whole subgenre of horror popped up that revolved around the profession of babysitting.  Led by movies such as Halloween and When A Stranger Calls, horror films made young girls everywhere think twice about childcare as a moneymaking venture.  In 1980, a television movie, simply called The Babysitter, flipped the script on the stalked kinder-care motif by making the sitter the hunter instead of the prey.

The StranglerHorror filmmakers and fans alike have always had a morbid fascination with real-life serial killers.  Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and The Zodiac Killer have all inspired horror movies - even the legendary Jack the Ripper got a speculative thriller.  Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein alone has been the basis for dozens of films, everything from film classics like Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to cult standards such as Deranged and Motel Hell.  In 1964, just a few short months after he claimed his last victim, The Boston Strangler (aka Albert DeSalvo) got his movie – the simply titled The Strangler.

Galaxy of TerrorA piece of pop culture history was lost this past weekend when Erin Moran, best known as the little sister Joanie on the long-running sitcom “Happy Days” (and carrying the role over to the spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi”), died of cancer complications at the young age of 56.  “Happy Days” made Moran a household name in the seventies, but she was already a child star at that point, and went on to have a humble television career after.  Of course, because this is Cinema Fearité, we’re going to take a look at Moran’s one and only horror movie, the 1981 Roger Corman-produced sci-fi schlockfest Galaxy of Terror.

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.

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.

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