The Latest Movie Reviews
'Annihilation' Is A Great Flight That Doesn't Quite Stick The Landing
Production: Production Design: 
Scary Factor: 
Before making his directorial debut with the subtle sci-fi masterpiece Ex Machina, filmmaker Alex Garland paid his dues writing other, less subtle message movies like 28 Days Later..., Sunshine, and Dredd. It's taken a few years, but Annihilation, Garland's sophomore film as a director, is here. Annihilation...

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Marvel Enters The Modern World With 'Black Panther'
Production: Action Sequences: 
Marvel Studios has done something truly impressive with Black Panther, which stars Chadwick Boseman as the titular hero. While past Marvel films have tackled familiar themes of government paranoia (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and adolescent growth (Spider-Man: Homecoming), this latest film taps into the...

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'The 15:17 To Paris' Is A Weak Tribute To Its Three Heroes
Production: Directing: 
On August 21, 2015, three young American men helped thwart a terrorist attack aboard a Thalys train on its way from Amsterdam to Paris. The whole story just begs to be made into a movie by Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, Sully). And that's just what The 15:17 to Paris is. The 15:17 to Paris follows the three...

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'Peter Rabbit' Combines Heart And Laughter With A Dose Of Darkness
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Although anthropomorphic animals are nothing new in Hollywood, the recent success of the Paddington franchise will most likely be opening up a floodgate of furry critter movies. Just weeks after the release of Paddington 2, audiences are seeing the first trickle of cute fuzzies in the latest adaptation of the...

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'Kill Order' Punches And Kicks Its Way Through An Unremarkable Story
Production: Action Sequences: 
There may be some confusion in store for fans of The Maze Runner series of movies. The fourth book in the series, a prequel called 'The Kill Order,' should be the next one adapted for the screen. But there is a different dystopian sci-fi action thriller being released called Kill Order that has nothing to do...

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'Winchester' Is A Fun, Albiet Safe, Haunted House Movie
Production: Scary Factor: 
January and February are generally thought of as a dumping ground, the place where movies are put to underperform between the end-of-the-year awards season and the Oscar blitz. This is particularly true of horror movies. Last January, audiences got a pleasant surprise with Shyamalan's Split, but more often than...

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'Hostiles' Is A Beautiful, If Forgettable, Revisionist Western
Production: Cinematography: 
In his relatively short Hollywood career, writer/director Scott Cooper has tackled the music drama (Crazy Heart), the revenge movie (Out of the Furnace), and the crime biography (Black Mass). Even though the genres are all markedly different, each of his movies has bared his distinct cinematic thumbprint. The...

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'Phantom Thread' Is More Of The Same Pretentious Genius From Paul Thomas Anderson
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
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
Production: Acting: 
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'
Production: Acting: 
Cinematography: 
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
Production: Comedy Factor: 
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
Production: Directing: 
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
Production: Acting: 
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'
Production: Acting: 
Editing: 
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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Execution Is The Villain In 'I, Tonya'
Production: Acting: 
It's hard to imagine today, given the proliferation of scandalous news stories, that one could grab the attention of the world. Okay, that's not true, it seems to happen weekly. But, in 1994, that wasn't the case because the Internet as we know it didn't exist. You watched the news -- on a television. And one...

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Thanks To A Brilliant Timothée Chalamet Performance, 'Call Me by Your Name' Lives Up To Its Hype
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
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
Production: Directing: 
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
Production: Action Sequences: 
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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Frame Of Mind

EmbryoSometimes, science fiction horror movies are subtle, like the modern classics Ex Machina and 10 Cloverfield Lane.  Other times, they’re pants-poopingly frightening, like Alien and Event Horizon.  Still other times, however, they walk the line, becoming so crazy that the viewer is unsure as to what to think, like Phase IV and Prophecy.  And then, there are movies like Embryo.

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?What’s in a name?  For movies, it can be a lot.  Would Life have been better if it were called Space Station Massacre?  Would The Spidery Double have made a better title than Enemy?  In the world of B-movies, exploitative titles are almost a badge of honor – just look at Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungles of Death, or Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers for examples.  But, back in 1964, way before any of those movies, the bar was set by The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?

Beyond the 7th DoorCanadian horror, sometimes referred to as “Canuxploitation” movies, are fascinating.  Sometimes, they are cinematic masterpieces like David Cronenberg’s The Brood, Scanners, or Videodrome.  Other times, they are brilliant head-scratchers like Deranged or Cathy’s Curse.  But no amount of Cronenberg classics or low-budget cult flicks can prepare a viewer for the Canadian enigma known as Beyond the 7th Door.

The Green SlimeA few years ago, Cinema Fearité took a look at the legendary science fiction classic The Blob.  Now, we’re doubling down with the less legendary – but equally awesome – science fiction classic The Green Slime.

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.

GhostwatchIn a post-The Blair Witch Project world, it’s difficult to fool the public with a faux-documentary, but before 1999, people were gullible.  Orson Welles caused panic with his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds back in 1938.  In 1980, Cannibal Holocaust was so convincing that director Ruggero Deodato was brought up on murder charges.  And in 1992, the BBC scared the hell out of an entire country by broadcasting the simulated news report Ghostwatch.

The Shape of WaterOscar season is here again, and that means Hollywood gets to tell you what movies are good.  Of course, I do that year-round, so you can trust me.  The 90th Academy Awards Ceremony is March 4th, but you can place your bets on the nominees right now.  And, as always, I’m here to help you sort your way through them.

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.

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.

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