REVIEW: Wild Nights with Emily [2019]

Sue, forevermore. As evidenced by her poetry and letters, the reclusive spinster Emily Dickinson proves anything but. Through them we learn of her struggles to get published, the rejections endured, and a love shared with her sister-in-law Susan. Why then was the former thought process how we were told to consider her life? Because those lies were better suited to the mythic status one would manufacture as publicity to garner posthumous acclaim. Mabel Todd erased Sue’s name from Emily’s love correspondence (proven via spectrographic technology) and created a legend that…

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REVIEW: Pet Sematary [2019]

I just wanted to be a family again. Remakes are often thankless jobs because you’re stuck trying to live up to or best your predecessor while also creating something wholly different. Most attempts based on literary works are able to fall back on the clichéd notion of “returning to the source” as though the first adaptation was inexcusably unfaithful. But when you’re following a script written by the novel’s author, that excuse holds zero weight. So Jeff Buhler (Matt Greenberg‘s draft was apparently changed enough to downgrade his credit to…

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REVIEW: Alien: Covenant [2017]

“One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony” I was in the minority with Prometheus in 2012, declaring its brilliantly nuanced story diving beneath its genre conventions as the best entry in the Alien franchise since the original. It was spirituality-tinged science fiction whereas Ridley Scott‘s 1979 classic was character-based horror with palpable emotion-laden terror. Both were disparate worlds that fit together if not reliant upon each other. Scott found this new success in large part to screenwriter Damon Lindelof and the decision to scale back Alien references so that…

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REVIEW: You’re Next [2013]

“Will you just die already? This is hard enough for me!” Disappointment that the hype surrounding director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett’s film You’re Next was proving impossible to achieve set in about halfway through. I expected what many called an entertainingly fresh horror thriller with comedic flourishes, but all I saw was the usual home invasion tropes and by-the-numbers carnage courtesy of animal-masked predators and their unsuspecting, family weekend attendee prey. Then something happens to change its tone completely as attractive Aussie plus-one Erin (Sharni Vinson) rolls away…

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REVIEW: Upstream Color [2013]

“How are you supposed to help someone like that?” I think we can now officially declare writer/director Shane Carruth far from a one-hit wonder. As the years ticked by with nothing to glimpse on the silver screen, no one could have been blamed for thinking this former software engineer simply had nothing more to say. His journey to cinema was far from conventional and his critical praise almost too universal to ever be matched. And with a predilection for the obtuse, obscure, and intellectually challenging, no Hollywood studio would ever…

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