Movies

Movie Review: BEAST MODE

BEAST MODE movie poster | ©2020 Devilworks

Rating: Not Rated Stars: C. Thomas Howell, James Duval, Carrie Finklea, Spain Willingham, Leslie Easterbrook, Robert Costanzo, Daz Crawford, Teddy Margas, James Hong, Ray Wise, Aliana Matheis, Douglas Bennett Writers: Chris W. Freeman & Spain Willingham & Drew Fortune Directors: Chris W. Freeman & Spain Willingham Distributor: Devilworks Release Date: December 1, 2020 To paraphrase a famous quote, dying is easy, comedy is hard, parodying Hollywood and trying to do horror at the same time on a low budget is super-hard. Credit BEAST MODE for giving it a go, even if it doesn’t hit the mark much of the time. […]Read On »

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Movie Review: ZAPPA

ZAPPA movie poster | ©2020 Magnolia Pictures

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Frank Zappa, Gail Zappa, Bunk Gardner, Ruth Underwood, Steve Vai, Mike Keneally, Pamela Des Barres Director: Alex Winter Distributor: Magnolia Pictures Release Date: November 27, 2020 ZAPPA, as its title suggests, is a documentary about the late rocker/composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993). There is something valiant about the way writer/director Alex Winter has assembled a mass of archival footage, integrated it with new interviews, set the mood with unrelated but thematically relevant clips, and gotten it into coherent form. ZAPPA isn’t one of those documentaries where we are primed for blinding new revelations, or even explanations of […]Read On »

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Movie Review: BOOKS OF BLOOD

BOOKS OF BLOOD Key Art | ©2020 Hulu

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Britt Robertson, Anna Friel, Rafi Gavron, Yul Vasquez, Frieda Foh Shen, Nicholas Campbell, Andy McQueen, Kenji Fitzgerald, Etienne Kellici Writers: Adam Simon & Brannon Braga, based on the story THE BOOK OF BLOOD by Clive Barker Director: Brannon Braga Distributor: Hulu Release Date: October 7, 2020 BOOKS OF BLOOD is the collective title for author Clive Barker’s first several published collections of short stories. THE BOOK OF BLOOD is also the title of a specific Barker story, which has been adapted for the screen once before, in 2009. Here, director Brannon Braga and his co-screenwriter Adam […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE GIANT

THE GIANT movie poster | ©2020 Vertical

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Odessa Young, Ben Schnetzer, Jack Kilmer, Madelyn Cline, Danny Ramirez, P.J. Marshall Writer: David Raboy Director: David Raboy Distributor: Vertical Release Date: November 13, 2020 THE GIANT turns out to be a lot like its main character, Charlotte Williams (Odessa Young). Charlotte is beautiful, distracted, depressed, and has a hard time separating reality from dreams. Likewise, THE GIANT writer/director David Raboy has a distinctive visual style that smears light deliberately through the frame from onscreen sources to often striking effect, with trees that gleam and relentless cicadas on the soundtrack. He’s also very deft with audible […]Read On »

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Movie Review: AMMONITE

AMMONITE movie poster | ©2020 Neon

Rating: R Stars: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Fiona Shaw, Alec Secareanu Writer: Francis Lee Director: Francis Lee Distributor: Neon Release Date: November 13, 2020 AMMONITE has a protagonist not seen every day, in film or in life: an 1840s female British paleontologist. Ammonite is also a kind of prehistoric cephalopod, now found only as a fossil. Written and directed by Francis Lee, AMMONITE is also a quiet lesbian romance, set mostly on and near a rocky beach, with the pounding of the waves ever in our ears. Virtually the first thing we see is a fossilized […]Read On »

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Movie Review: JUNGLELAND

JUNGLELAND movie poster | ©2020 Paramount Pictures

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell, Jessica Bardem, Jonathan Majors, Fran Kranz, John Cullum Writers: Theodore P. Bressman & David Branson Smith & Max Winkler Director: Max Winkler Distributor: Paramount Pictures Release Date: November 10, 2020 JUNGLELAND at first seems like it’s going to be a fight film. We’re in Massachusetts, where older brother Stanley (Charlie Hunnam) trains his talented younger brother Lion (Jack O’Connell) like a regular boxer. Even though Lion is powerful and determined fighter, Stanley seems a lot more stoked about the young man’s prospects than Lion does himself. The guys work in a sewing shop by day, […]Read On »

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Movie Review: A PLACE AMONG THE DEAD

A PLACE AMONG THE DEAD movie poster| ©2020 Modern Films

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Juliet Landau, Deverill Weekes, Amy Jennings, Meadow Williams, Seven McDonald, Charlaine Harris, Lance Henriksen, Tom Holland, Mariana Klaveno, Kim Newman, Gary Oldman, Robert Patrick, Ron Perlman, Anne Rice, Joss Whedon Writers: Juliet Landau & Deverill Weekes Director: Juliet Landau Distributor: Modern Films Release Date: December 14, 2020 A PLACE AMONG THE DEAD is a trippy, documentary-style horror drama. Directed by Juliet Landau, who co-wrote the film with her husband, cinematographer Deverill Weekes, the film viscerally (at times literally) explores the links between human predation and narcissism, and low self-esteem and being victimized. A PLACE AMONG THE DEAD […]Read On »

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Movie Review: COME PLAY

COME PLAY movie poster | ©2020 Focus Features

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Azhy Robertson, Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr. Writer: Jacob Chase Director: Jacob Chase Distributor: Focus Features Release Date: October 30, 2020 COME PLAY is produced by Amblin. This isn’t too surprising, as COME PLAY feels like something Amblin founder Steven Spielberg might have made in his younger years. COME PLAY also feels like a less scary riff on THE BABADOOK. As with that 2014 traumatizer, we have the elements of a special-needs young boy – here, Oliver, played by Azhy Robertson – and a creepy illustrated storybook. Instead of being pop-up, the text and pictures show up […]Read On »

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Movie Review: KINDRED

KINDRED movie poster | ©2020 IFC Films

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lowden, Edward Holcroft, Anton Lesser, Chloe Pirrie Writers: Joe Marcantonio & Jason McColgan Director: Joe Marcantonio Distributor: IFC Films Release Date: November 6, 2020 KINDRED is what might be termed modified modern Gothic, or somewhat less-than-grand Guignol. It harks back to certain kinds of old-fashioned thrillers. However, because it’s set in the present, and because the screenplay by director Joe Marcantonio and his cowriter Jason McColgan is an original rather than an adaptation, there are certain things that we expect and don’t get. This in itself is not a flaw. Goodness knows, we […]Read On »

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Movie Review: MORTAL

MORTAL movie poster | ©2020 Saban Films

Rating: R Stars: Nat Wolff, Iben Akerlie, Per Frisch, Priyanka Bose, Arthur Hakalahti, Per Egil Aske Writers: Andre Ovredal & Norman Lesperance & Geoff Bussetil, story by Andre Ovredal Director: Andre Ovredal Distributor: Saban Films Release Date: November 9, 2020 MORTAL begins with the definition of its title as “a human being.” We then meet Eric Bergland (Nat Wolff), a young man who certainly thinks of himself as a human being, though he may be in the process of becoming something a bit other. We see some gorgeous Norwegian mountain landscapes before zeroing in on Eric, who is camped out […]Read On »

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