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Posted inFilm/TV

Christian show ‘The Chosen’ vandalizes its own billboards to generate buzz

Reading Time: 4 minutes In an attempt to portray themselves as better than other forms of faith-based media, the producers of a new Christian TV show engaged in the most stereotypically evangelical scheme ever: They depicted themselves as victims of persecution when no such thing was actually happening. The show is The Chosen, which generated plenty of (earned) media […]

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Review: Oscar hopeful ‘Belfast’ offers a wistful look at a grim period

Reading Time: 2 minutes There’s this incredible moment in Conor McPherson’s low-key horror flick The Eclipse that finds Ciarán Hinds’s melancholic widower driving alone at night, lost in thought, when he’s suddenly visited by the not-yet ghost of his dying father-in-law sitting in the front passenger seat, the soundtrack’s chorus segueing from soothing to bloodcurdling, causing a startled Hinds […]

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Review: ‘Student Body’ easily wiped from memory

Reading Time: 2 minutes I can’t get over the chalkboard.  Student Body (no relation to 1981’s Student Bodies), is a low-budget Breakfast Club slasher riff, set in a fictitious, present-day (they use smartphones!) prep school. Early in the film, brainy yet mortally shy Jane (Montse Hernandez, destined for better things) is put on the spot by her sadistic math […]

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Review: Woody Allen’s ‘Rifkin’s Festival’ is a depressing exercise in nostalgia

Reading Time: 2 minutes Woody Allen’s latest film Rifkin’s Festival would have completely escaped my notice were it not for Will Sloan’s gleeful description of official Rifkin’s Festival tie-in NFTs (non-fungible token) on the Michael and Us podcast. The film, about the existential/marital crisis of a retired Film Studies professor, is among the unlikeliest candidates imaginable for blockchain gimmickry. […]

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Review: ‘They Say Nothing Stays the Same’ adrift on the small screen

Reading Time: 2 minutes For decades, theatrical exhibition has been synonymous with tent-pole event movies, with smaller films typically relegated to the home video/streaming sphere. But my viewing of They Say Nothing Stays the Same (hereafter They Say) would have dramatically benefited from a theatrical screening, not so I might better soak in its impressionist panoramas (lovely as they […]

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Review: ‘Ema’ takes a cinematic flamethrower to the status quo

Reading Time: 2 minutes Martin Scorsese recently published an editorial in the Los Angeles Times urging readers to go watch Guillermo del Toro’s stylish Nightmare Alley (currently in theaters, including a black and white version; available on Hulu and HBO Max starting February 1). I was lukewarm on it but nonetheless saddened by its underwhelming box office against that […]

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Review: ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ brings meme culture to mainstream

Reading Time: 3 minutes Sony Pictures Animation is quickly becoming a dark horse favorite in the typically risk-averse realm of mainstream American animation. Lacking the pedigree of Disney/Pixar and overwhelming magnitude of Katzenbergian stunt casting at DreamWorks Animation, Sony has nonetheless housed talented weirdos like comedy duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), formalist […]

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Review: ‘Chaos Walking’ insufficiently chaotic

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s going to take a long time to reasonably excavate pandemic-era cinema. As Walter Chaw’s wonderful Best of 2021 list illustrates, any given year of film is rich with treasures, many doomed to obscurity. Streaming platforms have made movies simultaneously easier to access and harder to keep track of (remember that time Netflix released a […]

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Review: The story behind ‘The King’s Daughter’ is more interesting than the movie itself

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s January, that magical, cursed time of year when studios quietly dump their mistakes into theaters while audiences with better sense than I catch up on award season hopefuls like The Power of the Dog (on Netflix!) and Annette (on Amazon Prime!), or if they’re feeling adventurous, track down rental copies of The Novice or […]

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Review: ‘Scream’ (2022) gazes inward, sees abyss

Reading Time: 3 minutes My suspicion with the Scream movies is that they were released in too close succession to ever develop any sort of meaningful commentary about horror trends beyond themselves. The first three installments came out within a four-year period (1996, 1997, 2000), the original riffing on familiar slasher conventions of the 1970s and 1980s with callous, […]