The Latest Movie Reviews
'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
Production: Cinematography: 
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
Production: Scary Factor: 
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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'Bokeh' Wastes A Ton Of Story Potential...But It Sure Looks Great
Production: Cinematography: 
What if you and your significant other were the last people left on Earth? That's the question asked, and somewhat answered, by Bokeh. Bokeh is about an American photographer named Riley (Frailty's Matt O'Leary) who takes his girlfriend, Jenai (Maika Monroe from It Follows) on a romantic adventure to Iceland....

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'Atomica' Is A Minimalistic And Restrained - And Decidedly Unfun - SyFy Original Movie
Production: Scary Factor: 
SyFy original films have a reputation for being over-the-top and exploitive, but they can be a mixed bag of quality. When done right, we get awesomely fun movies like Sharknado and Dinocroc vs. Supergator. When done wrong, we get movies like Atomica. Atomica is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a company...

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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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'Land Of Mine' Shows The Aftermath Of War In A Very Different Light
Production: Directing: 
War movies usually conjure up images of visceral battle scenes (the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, or the second half of Hacksaw Ridge), tense standoffs (Willem Dafoe's big moment in Platoon, or the head-butting of Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox in Casualties of War), or uneasy paranoia (all of Apocalypse...

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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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'Before I Fall' Is A Serviceable Young Adult Adaptation...And Not Much More
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
Ever since the breakaway success of the Twilight series of books, there has been a section in many mainstream bookstores for "Paranormal Teen Romance" selections. This is where the novel upon which Before I Fall is based can be found. Set in the Pacific Northwest, Before I Fall is about a high school girl named...

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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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'A Cure For Wellness' Is A Heavy Genre Pick That's Too Weird For Its Own Good
Production: Directing: 
From its opening moments, it's hard to deny the allure of A Cure for Wellness. With an ominous score, foreboding cinematography, and subtle foreshadowing, the film teases its audience with a mystery that's layered, sophisticated, and, most importantly, worth unraveling. However, as the film progresses, it struggles...

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Anchored By Strong Performances, Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman' Earns Its Oscar Nomination
Production: Acting: 
One of the bigger stories coming out of this year's Oscar race has nothing to do with movies. Writer/director Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. With his home country of Iran falling under Trump's new visa ban, Farhadi has been denied entry into the U.S. for the ceremony....

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'The LEGO Batman Movie' Is A Smart, Family Friendly Comedy
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Picking up off the lead of The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie is the latest brick-based animated comedy to hit theaters. But where Emmet's adventure was a playful parody of LEGO toys combined with a genre-bending adventure, The LEGO Batman Movie is more traditional in its aims. There's still an underlying theme...

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'Rings' Just Rehashes 'The Ring' - And In The Worst Possible Way
Production: Scary Factor: 
There are certain clues that movie critics get when a film is going to be bad. The first is if the film's release keeps getting pushed back for weeks or even months. A second is if the early press screenings are held on the night of the film's opening. A third is if the review embargo doesn't lift until twelve...

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'The Comedian' Roars When It Stands Up, But Sputters When It Sits Down
Production: Acting: 
Score & Soundtrack: 
For such an accomplished actor, Robert De Niro has made some interesting choices with his more recent career. Sure, he started out with schlock like Bloody Mama, but he quickly graduated to a run of classics like Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, and Raging Bull, and that's not even mentioning The Godfather: Part...

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'Paterson' Is The Most Entertainingly Humdrum Feel-Good Movie Ever Made
Production: Acting: 
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Adam Driver is living the dream. The actor was cast as the main villain in the newest batch of Star Wars movies, beginning with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He's a recurring character on the hit cable television show "Girls." He's gotten to work with Martin Scorsese on Silence, The Coen Brothers on Inside...

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Frame Of Mind

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.

FrailtyAnother blow was dealt to not only the horror scene, but to Hollywood in general this past weekend when versatile everyman actor Bill Paxton died from complications following heart surgery at the age of 61.  Paxton was first noticed by most fans as a punk in The Terminator (“Your clothes. Give them to me.”) and as bully older brother Chet in Weird Science (“How about a nice greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?”).  He went on to play legendary roles in classic films like Aliens and Near Dark, and even had mainstream success in big studio movies such as Apollo 13 and Titanic.  In 2001, Paxton pulled double duty, starring in and directing Frailty, one of the most psychologically disturbing movies of the twenty-first century.

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.

The Hitch-HikerFebruary is Women in Horror Month, and Cinema Fearité has been celebrating all month long.  First, we took a look at Mary Harron’s American Psycho, then we checked out Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary.  This week, we’re taking it all the way back to 1953 with Ida Lupino’s noir thriller The Hitch-Hiker.

Pet SemataryLast week, Cinema Fearité celebrated Women in Horror Month by taking a look at Mary Harron’s American Psycho.  We’re continuing the party this week by featuring another classic fright flick directed by a member of the fairer sex – Mary Lambert’s 1989 Stephen King adaptation of Pet Sematary.

I Am Not Your NegroAs both a black man and a homosexual, writer James Baldwin’s work usually dealt with social injustice and inequality on some level.  When he died in 1987, he left behind an unfinished manuscript for a book called Remember This House that detailed his own memories of the civil rights struggle of the sixties.  This manuscript is the framework for I Am Not Your Negro.

American PsychoIn case you haven’t heard, February is Women in Horror Month.  Although generally underrepresented, female filmmakers have made some of the most important (and most enjoyable) horror movies in history, from classics like Amy Holden Jones’ The Slumber Party Massacre and Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark to more modern masterpieces such as Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook and Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation.  And then, there’s one of the greatest films, horror or not, of the 21st century – Mary Harron’s American Psycho.

2017 Oscar PreviewThe last few months have been packed with two-and-a-half hour epic movies loaded down with big stars, and you know what that means!  It’s Oscar season!  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the list of nominees for the 89th Academy Awards, with the ceremony scheduled to take place on February 26, 2017.  If you follow other awards races, the 2017 Oscar nominees will hold few surprises, so the only drama of the night will be if there are a few upset wins.  Here’s a little look at the nominees, as well as some predictions for who might walk away with the statues.

 

1984Not to get overly political, but it’s all over the news that the events of the first week of the Trump administration reminded enough Americans of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to rocket the 1949 book to the top of the bestsellers list again, almost seventy years after it was written.  For those who don’t like to read, the prophetic novel has been made into a movie not once, but twice.  The first time was in 1956, just a few years after its initial publication.  But, the definitive cinematic imagining of the story was the later one, both made in 1984 and entitled 1984.

The Night FlierJust last week we lamented the fact that Cinema Fearité was turning into a memorial column for legends who have recently passed away.  The bandwidth used to post that article had not even been calculated before another loss was suffered – Miguel Ferrer died of throat cancer at the age of 61.  Most recognizable to horror and cult movie fans from his supporting roles in “Twin Peaks” and Robocop, Ferrer was one of those actors whose face was more famous than his name.  In 1997, he took center stage as the lead in Stephen King’s The Night Flier.

De PalmaWhether one considers him one of the freshest voices in modern cinema or just a hack Hitchcock imitator, there’s no doubt that Brian De Palma has made some of the most important movies of the last half century.  Now, fellow directors Noah Baumbach (Mistress America) and Jake Paltrow (“NYPD Blue”) turn the camera around on the iconic filmmaker in the simply titled documentary De Palma.

The Ninth ConfigurationLately, it seems almost as if Cinema Fearité has been more of a memorandum column for horror icons who have passed away than a weekly tribute to cool horror movies.  Well, it happened again; William Peter Blatty died last week of plasma cell myeloma at the age of 89.  Blatty will far and away always be remembered as the man who wrote The Exorcist, both the novel and the screenplay, but he had a healthy little moviemaking career outside of that one film as well.  In 1980, seven years after The Exorcist, Blatty was given the chance to direct a movie himself with The Ninth Configuration.

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