TIFF22 REVIEW: Roost [2022]

I’ll see you in a little bit. This is a tricky film to talk about without massive spoilers unless, of course, the eventual marketing campaign decides divulging its secrets will help them sell it. I’m hoping they ultimately choose to keep its twists and turns under wraps because going in blind adds a dimension that I’m sure playwright Scott Organ (who adapts his own “The Thing with Feathers”) intended and director Amy Redford matches. As she mentions in the press notes, Roost is about provocation. It’s about telling us one…

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REVIEW: Dinner in America [2022]

You better tame that tone. Born from the decision to combine two sketches written in the aughts that weren’t quite working on their own, filmed in 2018 (stewarded with the help of Danny Leiner, who passed during production), and debuted in 2020 at Sundance, writer/director Adam Rehmeier would be forgiven for just being happy Dinner in America is finally hitting the public. The result is more than the culmination of a lengthy artistic gestation, though, because its content, humor, and heart all merge to deliver a piece with the potential…

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REVIEW: Ghosts of War [2020]

If you leave, you die. Sometimes the memories of our inaction haunt us more than the actions we have committed. This can be especially true at war once you return home to realize the blood on your hands goes far beyond the lives you were directly responsible for extinguishing. Whether you found yourself helpless to act because of a direct order from your superior or you simply froze out of justifiable fear, the screams of those lost will remind you of your complicity either way and haunt your dreams like…

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REVIEW: Welcome to Happiness [2016]

“But then …” When you think of short stories like W.W. Jacobs‘ “The Monkey’s Paw” or Richard Matheson‘s “Button, Button” (adapted to the small screen for “The Twilight Zone” and big for Richard Kelly‘s underrated The Box), dark images of death are conjured. The consequences of earning personal reward come at great cost to those you may or may not know. They concern selfish acts that will incite chaos and a purveyor of their too-good-to-be-true opportunities who relishes in watching the destructive path cut by fate’s unyielding need to balance…

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REVIEW: Red State [2011]

“Even the Nazis think this guy is nuckin’ futs” As if Kevin Smith wasn’t polarizing enough on his own, the venture making Cop Out for hire bought more ill-will and the risky endeavor of self-producing an original horror only allowed a new genre’s legion of fans to add to the backlash. It’s weird because I always thought Smith was pretty universally loved between his seminal debut Clerks and cult favorites Mallrats and Chasing Amy. My circle of friends would stop at nothing to see his latest work in the theatres…

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REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010]

“I haven’t even cut you yet” So this is what it has come to. Hollywood should really stop making ‘revisionings’ and just tack on another number to the end of the once sacred horror franchise they decide to desecrate. I’ll admit, the new A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t that bad, at least as far as formulaic genre flicks reveling in blood and gore while leaving any sense of ambiguity out the window go. What truly made the original scary and still fresh when watched today—especially for newcomers unfamiliar with…

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