REVIEW: The Rental [2020]

Abs-bro-lutely. There’s something to be said about a lack of sentimentality in a horror film. That doesn’t mean we can’t still have sympathy for the victims’ plight—the fact that they’re human beings provides the space for it regardless of who they are or what we know about them. We care because we see ourselves in their shoes. They embody our fear rather than provide an object for us to fear for. Whether or not they suffer when fate’s hand comes down is therefore quite often a moot point. Our sympathy…

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REVIEW: Sword of Trust [2019]

Is this ‘Antiques Roadshow’ for racists? There’s a point in Lynn Shelton‘s Sword of Trust where the four principal characters are being led into a situation with as much chance of ending in their death as it does the payment of forty thousand dollars. Sitting there in that moment of uncertainty without any bearing as to where they were or where they were going, Mel (Marc Maron) can’t help but smile and revel in the fact that he’s about to see something so wild he can’t wrap his head around…

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REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

Let’s see if it’s your time. It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone who loves her away because she’s devoting her life to finding the leader (Toby Kebbell‘s Silas) of the criminal outfit she infiltrated as a green undercover agent over fifteen years ago. That may be her…

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REVIEW: In a Valley of Violence [2016]

“I stopped listening to men like you a long time ago” Ti West‘s western In a Valley of Violence might have been great if it allowed itself to become the serious revenge thriller it sporadically proves. A dark drama able to embrace the weight of its characters’ turmoil appears once you remove Karen Gillan‘s over-the-top dullard in distress theatrics, James Ransone‘s cartoonish villainy, and the pinball piñata that is the penultimate body to fall. Denton, a virtual ghost town run empty by its corrupt Marshall (John Travolta) with a self-proclaimed…

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REVIEW: The Invitation [2016]

“I’ve been waiting to die since the moment it happened” Death plays a large role in our lives, mortality seemingly out of reach but never forgotten. For some it knocks early—or at least earlier than we’d hope to believe. Disease, accident, and fate remind us how precious our time on Earth is. We grieve, pray, repress, and overcome, the inevitable sorrow bringing as much strength to move on as agony to stop everything. And nothing is more heartbreaking or painful than the passing of a child taken too soon and…

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REVIEW: Rescue Dawn [2007]

“Little Dieter needs to fly” Werner Herzog is a legend in the film world. Having made around 50 films, whether fiction or documentary, he is known for grueling shoots and a take no prisoners attitude. One of his early films actually had a group of people carry a ship up a mountain; the guy gets what he wants and as a result usually has some great stories or even a film about the making of his epics after their completion. Supposedly his new narrative tale, Rescue Dawn, is no exception.…

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