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'Phantom Thread' Is More Of The Same Pretentious Genius From Paul Thomas Anderson
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With the exception of maybe Quentin Tarantino and M. Night Shyamalan, Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice, The Master) is probably the purist modern film auteur working today. Taking on music video and documentary projects in between feature films, his big releases generally land a few years apart. Well, it's...

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'Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool' Shows Annette Bening Getting Better And Better With Each Movie
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In 1978, a young British man named Peter Turner struck up an unlikely relationship with Hollywood film actress Gloria Grahame. In 1986, he wrote a book about it, and now, that book has been adapted into the movie Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool begins in 1981 with Gloria...

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It's Steven Spielberg vs. The White House In 'The Post'
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Whether it's subtle, as in Duel, or more overt, like in Minority Report, director Steven Spielberg has never been afraid to poke the bear. However, his poking is probably never been as obvious as it is in The Post. Set at the tail end of the Vietnam War, The Post stars Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies, Sully) as...

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'Paddington 2' Is More Of The Same Charming, Charismatic Bear That Everybody Loves
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A few years ago, Paddington, along with its eponymous protagonist, charmed its way into filmgoers' hearts everywhere. Now, thankfully, there's a sequel that's just as charming: the appropriately entitled Paddington 2. Paddington 2 picks up with Paddington Bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw from Cloud Atlas and The...

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'Happy End' Almost Connects The Dots...But Not Quite
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Happy End is about a woman named Anne Laurent (Elle's Isabelle Huppert) who has taken over the running of her family's construction company from her eighty-year-old father, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant from Amour). As she is busy dealing with a catastrophic workplace accident that was caused by the negligence...

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'Abe & Phil's Last Poker Game' Lets Martin Landau Be Martin Landau
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As an actor, Martin Landau did it all, from slasher movies (Alone in the Dark) to quirky biopics (Ed Wood), from science fiction television ("Space 1999") to science fiction television ("The Twilight Zone") to, well, science fiction television ("The Outer Limits"). And he kept doing it all, right up until his...

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'Insidious: The Last Key' Is A Compelling Paranormal Mystery...That's Still Very Much An 'Insidious' Movie
Production: Scary Factor: 
Most horror filmmakers would be ecstatic to have one lasting franchise. If they're really lucky, they might create two. James Wan, with his Midas touch, has been behind three, count 'em, three successful horror franchises - Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring. Even the arguably weakest one, Insidious, has spawned...

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It's Like Kevin Spacey Was Never There In 'All The Money In The World'
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On July 10, 1973, John Paul Getty III, grandson of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, was kidnapped in Rome and held for ransom. Almost 45 years later, director Ridley Scott (Alien: Covenant, The Martian) turned the ordeal into the movie All the Money in the World. All the Money in the World begins with...

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Thanks To A Brilliant Timothée Chalamet Performance, 'Call Me by Your Name' Lives Up To Its Hype
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One of the most buzzed-about movies of the year coming off of the festival circuit is the independent darling Call Me by Your Name. But does it live up to the hype? Well, in most regards, yes. Yes it does. Set somewhere in Northern Italy during the year of 1983, Call Me by Your Name is about a graduate student...

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Alexander Payne's 'Downsizing' Is Not The Movie It's Pretending To Be
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Writer/director Alexander Payne has been money in the bank. From the teenage comedy of Election to the introspective drama Nebraska, his movies always hit the right notes. Until Downsizing. Downsizing takes place in a world where a process called cellular reduction, also known as Downsizing, has been perfected....

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'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Mixes Suspense And Surprises Into An Enjoyable - If Meandering - Popcorn Movie
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When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released a couple of years back, fans noted that the plot closely mirrored that of the original Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope). It should only be fitting that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would bear some similarities to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars: The...

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'Darkest Hour' Amounts To Little More Than An Oscar Grab For Gary Oldman
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One can always tell when it's Oscar season because theaters get flooded with indulgent, two-and-a-half-hour epic historical biopics with little more to offer other than a few brilliant performances. Which brings us to Darkest Hour. Darkest Hour begins with the appointment of Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman from...

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James Franco's Masterpiece 'The Disaster Artist' Is The Spirit Of 'The Room' With Higher Production Values
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In 2003, an ambitious dreamer named Tommy Wiseau got frustrated with waiting for his big Hollywood break, so he made that break himself by writing, directing, and starring in The Room. Initially ridiculed, The Room has gone on to become the biggest cult film of the twenty-first century. Wiseau's partner in crime,...

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'The Shape Of Water' Brings Guillermo Del Toro Back To The Realm Of Monsters
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A few years back, rumors swelled that director Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, The Devil's Backbone) was developing a remake of Creature from the Black Lagoon, possibly as an entry into the ill-fated Universal Dark Universe. That movie never materialized, but that hasn't stopped del Toro from turning his work...

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Woody Allen's 'Wonder Wheel' Just Spins And Spins Without Going Anywhere
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Given the filmmaker's controversial past, it would seem as if the last thing that the current Hollywood climate needs right now is a new movie from Woody Allen (Match Point, Blue Jasmine). But that's just what the world is getting with Wonder Wheel. Set sometime in the 1950s near Coney Island, Wonder Wheel...

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'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' Twists And Turns Its Way Into One Of The Best Movies Of The Year
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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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'Roman J. Israel, Esq.' Is The Movie Denzel Washington Fans Have Been Waiting For
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For the last few years, Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington has been toiling away in either bland theatrical adaptations (Fences) or phone-in action films (The Magnificent Seven). The one constant has been that, no matter how bad the material is, Washington brings his A game to the screen, frequently elevating...

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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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Frame Of Mind

Flowers in the AtticGothic horror is usually thought of as a period subgenre, with lavish costumes and grand sets.  Gothic horror movies are also generally considered to be older classics, like Nosferatu or Frankenstein.  Even modern gothic horror movies are either set in past centuries, like Crimson Peak or The Woman in Black, or deal with the making of those older classics, such as Shadow of the Vampire or the appropriately entitled Gothic.  But every once in a while, there comes a modern gothic horror movie set in its actual time.  Flowers in the Attic fits into this mold.

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.

RollerballScience fiction is a nebulous thing.  It can be heavily futuristic, or it can take place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”  Or sometimes, it can take place just barely in the future, giving the audience a glimpse of almost an alternate timeline of history.  It is one of these worlds in which 1975’s Rollerball takes place.

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.

Shadow of the VampireIn the years after the writer’s passing, Bram Stoker’s estate was very protective of his intellectual property.  So, in 1922, when German expressionist filmmaker F.W. Murnau was denied the rights to do an adaptation of Dracula, he did one anyway – but he had to change the name of his lead character from Count Dracula to Count Orlok, and had to refer to the count as a Nosferatu instead of a Vampire.  And the silent classic Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror was born.  More than seventy-five years later, in the year 2000, music video director E. Elias Merhige (who, appropriately enough, worked with Marilyn Manson, among others) made a movie about the making of Nosferatu called Shadow of the Vampire.

Get OutIt’s that time of year again!  For what it’s worth, here are my ten favorite movies of the year.  As always, these are my favorites, and the results of the other writers at FilmFracture may vary.

Night SchoolMost horror movies are meant to be terrifying.  Some, like Student Bodies or Saturday the 14th, are comedies first, going for laughs before scares.  And then there are those movies which were made seriously, but wind up packed with unintentional laughs in addition to the thrills and chills.  Night School is one of these films.

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.

Psychos in LoveA couple of years ago, Cinema Fearité explored a glorified student film from 1984 by now-music documentary filmmaker Gorman Bechard (Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements, Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart) called Disconnected.  Well, in 1987, Bechard followed up the crazy Disconnected with the equally crazy Psychos in Love.

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.

SuspiriaIn the horror world, there are a handful of movies that are household names, movies that are well known by even those who aren’t fans of the genre.  Movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and Night of the Living Dead have transcended the genre and have leapt into the vernacular of everyday cinema.  Then, there are films that are just as legendary, but are only revered and worshipped by the insiders, the hardcore horror fans.  Suspiria is one of those movies.

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 Boogey ManLast weekend saw the passing of the influential filmmaker Ulli Lommel.  One of the freshest voices of the New German Cinema movement of the sixties and seventies, Lommel collaborated with both Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Tenderness of the Wolves) and Andy Warhol (Blank Generation) throughout his career, but he is best known by horror fans for his 1980 proto-slasher The Boogey Man.

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.

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