REVIEW: Love and Monsters [2020]

Man, Todd loved that goldfish. We’re seven years past the apocalypse. Eight years since the world banded together to send every nuclear missile on Earth into the sky to stop an asteroid hell-bent on destroying all life. Things obviously didn’t work out too well if the latter wasn’t able to stop the former. Ends up that that much radioactivity falling back down through the atmosphere was just as cataclysmic—killing off a lot of the population and mutating cold-blooded animals/insects into giant monsters that ultimately killed the rest. Ninety-five percent of…

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NIGHTSTREAM20 REVIEW: Lapsis [2020]

Do not do anything with Felix. As multi-billion dollar corporations expand their reach within their respective industries (and beyond), the wage gap in our country increases. Executives are granted astronomical bonuses while the people on the ground floor are shifted from full-time employment to freelancers as a way to mitigate the possibility of unions, paying health insurance, etc. Welcome to the gig economy: a capitalist spin promising “self-employment” and freedom while actually trending towards isolation so that anyone can be cut loose before they start costing more to keep on…

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REVIEW: Possessor [2020]

Pull me out. We see it all the time in antihero assassin films: the killer with a conscience. How many jobs does it take for the toll to become too much? Where do they draw the line between their professional identity and the private one they share at home with family? Love, companionship, joy—they’re all used as incentives to pull these murderers for hire out of the dark mindset that has consumed them since their days in the military or since the horrible tragedy that marked them during childhood. Hope…

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REVIEW: The Honeymoon Phase [2020]

You are my everything. How well do you know your significant other? Enough to realize when the person lying next to you isn’t actually them? While we’d like to believe we would notice the tiniest of differences, that’s not always the case—especially not in a country so intrinsically interwoven with a Christian ideal of traditionalism wherein many couples don’t even start living together until after the marriage is finalized. There’s no way of knowing whether you’re truly compatible beyond physical attraction in that case because you’ve yet to live every…

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FANTASIA20 REVIEW: Come True [2020]

I can’t tell you that. The darkened screen is almost pitch black before we can begin to discern shapes in the distance. First it’s wooden stakes in the ground at what looks to be a trailhead of sorts. Next it’s a mountain in the distance. Finally we come to a door that swings open as though we’ve been placed inside a videogame merging the puzzle mechanics of Myst with the brooding aesthetic of Hellraiser only to continue moving forward towards a bald figure with back turned—unmoving and foreboding with a…

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REVIEW: Спутник [Sputnik] [2020]

Victors are not judged. Heroism comes at a cost, but rarely is it the hero’s to bear. They reap the benefits, bathe in praise, and maybe even start believing they’ve earned it regardless of whether the title was bestowed upon them for saving lives or simply being a “pioneer.” Those who suffer are the families left behind who compete for this hero’s time and those faceless strangers the hero trampled upon with a sense of entitlement and lack of remorse. A hero exists for what could be while that which…

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REVIEW: The Vast of Night [2020]

They don’t stay for long. The world that director Andrew Patterson and writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger put on-screen for their film The Vast of Night isn’t real. Rather than transport us to 1950s New Mexico, we’re put in front of a TV to watch the latest episode of “Paradox Theater”—a “Twilight Zone” riff promising unexplained wonders—set in 1950s New Mexico. It’s an interesting formal decision since we never interact with the place in which we reside. We can neither look around the living room beyond that television…

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REVIEW: Blood Machines [2020]

She’s between life and death. When a space vessel goes rogue, fleet commander Galdor (Walter Dickerson) tasks Captain Vascan (Anders Heinrichsen) and his co-pilot/mechanic Lago (Christian Erickson) with retrieving it. Shooting it down from space to crash land on an unknown planet proves this story’s beginning rather than its end as we discover the destination was hardly some random accident. No, it’s exactly where the ship was headed because it is the only place with inhabitants who know its plight. Unlike Vascan’s crude sadist who’s all too happy to destroy…

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REVIEW: Proximity [2020]

‘Cause that’s the kind of attention we want. There’s a lot left unsaid within visual effects artist Eric Demeusy‘s directorial debut Proximity. While initially thinking it was a means to create mystery around main character Isaac (Ryan Masson), I eventually saw it was a product of needing narrative context for what’s actually important instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you hide those loose threads in the background as the main thrust of your action is born from them, but doing so proves difficult when they’re specifically introduced as…

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REVIEW: Soundwave [2020]

No one’s ever listening. To be as good as Ben Boyles (Hunter Doohan) is with old radios is to inevitably hypothesize about their use beyond our current capacity of understanding. With extensive research into sound waves and their ability to forever remain present around us no matter when or where they originated, he wondered if he could create a device that would amplify those seemingly inert memories in the air and listen to them as though they were happening right now. And while the possibilities and potential profits of such…

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REVIEW: Butt Boy [2020]

I miss everything about it. It was about sixty minutes into Tyler Cornack‘s one hundred-minute feature film Butt Boy when I wondered aloud, “How can there be so much time left?” At this point the culprit behind the disappearance of a child had already been identified as IT professional Chip Gutchell (Cornack) in the prologue. The person positioned to take him down (Tyler Rice‘s Detective Russel Fox) was more than ready to pounce. Both men were heading towards their climactic convergence point as a result of the script’s unabashed use…

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