Movie Review: HURT

HURT movie poster | ©2021 Gravitas Ventures

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Emily Van Raay, Andrew Greer, Michelle Treacy, Stephanie Moran, Bradley Hamilton, Adam Drodge Writers: Solomon Gray & Sonny Mallhi Director: Sonny Mallhi Distributor: Gravitas Ventures Release Date: December 9, 2021 HURT begins with a prayer for Biblical vengeance. This is followed by an onscreen statement that what we are about to see is inspired by true events: “In 2012, a teenage girl went camping with her sister and her mother … as usual, the teenage girl wanted nothing to do with her sister or her mother.” Things can’t get much truer than that. But this sets […]Read On »

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Movie Review: DEATH VALLEY

DEATH VALLEY Movie Poster | ©2021 Shudder

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Jeremy Ninaber, Ethan Mitchell, Kristen Kaster Writer: Matthew Ninaber Director: Matthew Ninaber Distributor: Shudder Release Date: December 9, 2021 DEATH VALLEY has an odd title, considering its contents. There’s plenty of death, but we’re not in the Mojave Desert, nor in any sort of valley at all. Our primary locations are a Russian forest, and the underground biolab beneath it. This aside, DEATH VALLEY is surprisingly well-done. Moments that seem to be plot missteps are actually clues. Despite the clearly low budget, director/writer Matthew Ninaber and his cinematographer, Brent Tremain, establish plausible lighting sources. They make […]Read On »

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Movie Review: ENCOUNTER

ENCOUNTER Movie Poster | ©2021 Amazon

Rating: R Stars: Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada, Rory Cochrane, Shane McRae, Janina Gavankar, Misha Collins, Keith Szarabajka Writers: Joe Barton and Michael Pearce Director: Michael Pearce Distributor: Amazon Studios Release Date: December 3, 2021 ENCOUNTER is a movie that’s hard to discuss in specifics without spoiling most of it. At the start, an ominous comet streaks through sky. It touches down in a North American forest, where the insects are shown busily devouring each other in close-up. Meanwhile, in a town, a tiny, weird creature buries deep into a human’s skin. Former U.S. Marine Malik Khan […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE ADVENT CALENDAR (LE CALENDRIER)

THE ADVENT CALENDAR Key Art | ©2021 Universal Pictures/Shudder

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Eugénie Derouand, Honorine Magnier, Clément Olivieri, Janis Abrikh, Cyril Garnier, Vladimir Perrin, Jean-François Garreaud Writer: Patrick Ridremont Director: Patrick Ridremont Distributor: Universal/Shudder Release Date: December 2, 2021 THE ADVENT CALENDAR is worth seeing for its title object alone. The antique wooden advent calendar, with a different size and design for each of its doors, is a joy of design, something any collector of folk art would be delighted to own – assuming they didn’t know what this advent calendar does. Eva Roussel (Eugénie Derouand) introduces herself, speaking directly into camera. She says she is a paraplegic, […]Read On »

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Movie Review: tick, tick … BOOM!

TICK, TICK … BOOM! movie poster | ©2021 Netflix

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus, Vanessa Hudgens, Joshua Henry, Jonathan Marc Sherman, MJ Rodriguez, Ben Ross, Judith Light, Bradley Whitford Writer: Steven Levenson, based on the stage musical by Jonathan Larson Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda Distributor: Netflix Release Date: November 19, 2021 TICK, TICK … BOOM! the movie is based on the late Jonathan Larson’s stage musical TICK, TICK … BOOM!, which was about Jonathan Larson writing a musical. The movie can’t help having automatic added pathos by the fact of Larson’s death at the age of thirty-five, the night before his second produced musical, RENT, […]Read On »

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Movie Review: AUTUMN ROAD

AUTUMN ROAD movie poster | ©2021 Gravitas Ventures

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Lorelei Linklater, Riley Cusick, Justin Meeks, George Welder, Jordan Wright, Ranger Lerway, Maddie Lea, Jonas Lerway, Lar Park Lincoln Writer: Riley Cusick Director: Riley Cusick Distributor: Gravitas Ventures Release Date: November 23, 2021 AUTUMN ROAD represents a major challenge for filmmaker Riley Cusick. Not only does Cusick write and direct, but he also stars as twin brothers Charlie and Vincent. Given all he’s taking on, Cusick does an admirable job with all but one of these tasks. We first meet Charlie (played as a young teen by Ranger Lerway) and Vincent (played as a youth by […]Read On »

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Movie Review: GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE movie poster | ©2021 Sony/Columbia

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor Writers: Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman, based on characters created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis Director: Jason Reitman Distributor: Sony/Columbia Release Date: November 19, 2021 GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE is directed and co-written (with Gil Kenan) by Jason Reitman. Reitman is the son of Ivan Reitman, who directed 1984’s GHOSTBUSTERS and 1989’s GHOSTBUSTERS II (he’s also one of the producers here). Oddly, though, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE doesn’t feel like a film directed by either Reitman, based on their work (Jason Reitman’s previous credits include UP IN THE […]Read On »

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Movie Review: HIDE AND SEEK

HIDE AND SEEK movie poster | ©2021 Saban Films

Rating: R Stars: Jonathan Rhys Myers, Jacinda Barrett, Sue Jean Kim, Mustafa Shakir, Quinn McColgan, Eli Golden, Avril Wei, Joe Pantoliano, Alejandra Rivera Flaviá, Josh Alscher Writer: Joel David Moore, based on the film HIDE AND SEEK written by Huh Jung Director: Joel David Moore Distributor: Saban Films Release Date: November 19, 2021 HIDE AND SEEK, directed and written by Joel David Moore, is a remake of the 2013 South Korean thriller of the same title, directed and written by Huh Jung. Moore does a good job of creating tension and menacing atmosphere, even though the plot takes a couple […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE UNITED STATES OF INSANITY

THE UNITED STATES OF INSANITY movie poster | ©2021 Fathom Events

Rating: Not Rated Stars: Joseph Bruce, Joe Utsler, Michael Steinberg Directors: Tom Putnam & Brenna Sanchez Distributor: Fathom Events Release Date: November 12, 2021  THE UNITED STATES OF INSANITY is a documentary that’s partly about a weird clash between fandom and law enforcement. More precisely, it’s partly about what happened when the FBI investigated the band Insane Clown Posse’s ardent fans – known as Juggalos (the way Jimmy Buffett fans are known as Parrotheads) – as a gang and a possible terrorist organization. Once the case is introduced, THE UNITED STATES OF INSANITY also becomes a broader documentary about Insane […]Read On »

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Movie Review: BELFAST

BELFAST movie poster | ©2021 Focus Features

Rating: PG-13 Stars: Caitriona Balfe, Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Ciarán Hinds, Jude Hill, Lewis McAskie Writer: Kenneth Branagh Director: Kenneth Branagh Distributor: Focus Features Release Date: November 12, 2021 Belfast has, tragically, been synonymous with violence in Northern Ireland for much of the twentieth century. BELFAST the movie incorporates that, but it’s also the story of a boy, his family and their home. Director/writer Kenneth Branagh has based BELFAST on his own childhood. He achieves an appealing balance of nostalgia and verisimilitude in his depiction of a family, a neighborhood, and an era. BELFAST opens with a color panorama of […]Read On »

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