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Out in Theaters: ‘BELOW HER MOUTH’

Inept romantic drama Below Her Mouth is awesomely bad. This next level cinematic scourge is a perfect confluence of ineptitude, a wholly pitiful effort defined by horrendous acting, terrible scripting and amateur direction that inspires any captive audience member to gawk in horror at its epic multitude of failures. In more ways than one, Below Her Mouth, which contains a whopping seven fully nude sex scenes in its first hour, finds pace with classic movie dumpster fire The Room in that it’s undeniably awful and yet you can’t look away from the cinematic implosion onscreen.   Read More

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Talking With Veronica Ferres of ‘SALT AND FIRE’

From the Peruvian rainforest to the Katmai Alaskan Wilderness, the depths of the Chauvet caves of Southern France to McMurdo Station in AntarcticaWerner Herzog is a journeyman who has long questioned man’s relationship with nature. In Salt and Fire, Herzog takes us to Bolivia’s sprawling Salar de Uyuni, the worst’s largest salt flat. A desolate beauty of biblical proportion, here transpires a kidnapping and desertion in this eco-minded quasi-thriller that feels  like a natural extension of Herzog’s last documentary, Into the Inferno. The auteur again twisting his most recent obsession (volcanoes) into narrative form to varying success.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘GHOST IN THE SHELL’

Controversy has plagued Ghost in the Shell since the day Hollywood “It” girl Scarlett Johansson was cast in the pole position. Adapted from a serialized Japanese manga of the same name, Ghost in the Shell tells the story of Major, a Japanese cybernetic counter-terrorist agent. Before anyone starts yelling “Whitewashing!”, it’s easy enough to see the problem lurking. Even those without a ton of processing power may be thinking to themselves, “Hey, but Scarlett Johansson isn’t Japanese…what gives?” Indeed, what gives? Johansson being the most bankable actress in the world, teeing her up to lead an effects driven potential franchise starter makes perfect sense. From a financial perspective, the move is logical. But… Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘RAW’

I suppose it’s fair to say Raw is not for everyone. Turns out a lot of the general populace don’t like subtitled French movies. Much less ones where humans gleefully feast on each another’s flesh. But let me tell you, Raw is every bit the toothy show-stopper that I wanted it to be. And much funnier. A familial politics drama smuggled inside a coming-of-age cannibal story, the feature debut from writer/director Julia Docournau tells the story of vegetarian veterinary student turned budding people-eater Justine (Garance Marillier) and is served up with all the fixin’s. To say I loved it would be an understatement.      Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘LIFE’

Life is deja vu. Not life itself mind you – let’s say that debate for the existentialist philosophers – but Life, the hacky, trashy alien thriller from director Daniel Espinosa. From a distance, the trailers for the film suggested a film that borrowed heavily from Ridley Scott’s treasured Alien but we’re all smart enough to know that trailers are just marketing tools, often constructed to stimulate nostalgia nodules to sell a product to audiences. So imagine my shock when Life was quite literally nothing less than a watered-down, unimaginative, worthless thieving of one of my favorite films of all time. Seriously, how in the actual fuck is this happening? Let’s examine. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘T2 TRAINSPOTTING’

Eternally a stylist, Danny Boyle returns to the primordial ooze that made Danny Boyle Danny Boyle with T2 Trainspotting, a self-reflective reality check of a sequel, one that dwells on past wrongs and potential paths forward, undercut with themes of addiction and redemption. Boyle’s penchant for flash won’t go unnoticed, with the very grain of the film busting with an artist’s eye. Strung out in the kind of manic urban setting that Boyle has mastered over the years, T2 is a somber meditation on regret fused with an upbeat saga of reconciliation, all told with Boyle’s vibrant knack for blaring soundtracks, an escapist kinetic energy and daring visuals. Boyle’s first sequel doesn’t always work, frequent callbacks land with various success, but when T2 is on point, his dizzily dosage of electrifying cinema can be quite inebriating and an unexpected shot to the heart.   Read More

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Talking with Olivier Assayas of ‘PERSONAL SHOPPER’

Man of vision Olivier Assayas is not your average filmmaker. The Parisian director is the kind of filmmaker that makes critics blush, his last feature Clouds of Sils Maria making its way onto a sizable share of Critic Top Ten Lists circa 2014/15. Dedicated to making bold, often female-led poetic musings, Assayas is celebrated for helping shape rounded, vibrant characters. For the second time, Assayas pairs with Kristen Stewart to tell an unconventional ghost story in Personal Shopper, a woeful tale of a woman’s tedious professional life and search for peace after her brothers passing ingrained within larger themes of spirituality and self-doubt. Unsurprisingly at this point, Stewart is phenomenal in the role, with more emotion spilling from her jittery, anxiety-wracked texting fingers than in some lesser performer’s entire arsenal.  Read More

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SXSW ’17 Review: ‘TRAGEDY GIRLS’

Mean Girls meets Scream in Tyler MacIntyre’s trendy satirical midnight horror-comedy Tragedy Girls. Like Heathers for the social media age, MacIntyre’s coming-of-age serial killer misadventure satirizes iPhone-obsessed culture as two popular girls go on a killing spree in order to gain followers, accrue likes and establish a brand. A fucked-up ode to friendship first and foremost, Tragedy Girls’ kill-happy mentality is demented no doubt but the relationship at its center sincerely (and gruesomely) cuts to the core of high school woes and the trials of BFF-dom. Not to mention, it’s bloody good fun.
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Talking with Mark Webber of ‘FLESH AND BLOOD’

Fans of the darker side of cinema may recognize Mark Webber from last year’s excellent Green Room where Mark played a Nazi trying (and failing) to defect from a gnarly order of backwoods skinheads but his roots in the film world run deeper than you’d think at first glance. A seasoned actor and filmmaker both, Webber has not followed a traditional path but has found success nonetheless. With his latest feature, a documentary-cum-drama, Webber has pioneered something unclassifiable, a powerfully pure art piece where the lines of reality and fiction become blur and indistinguishable. Read More

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SXSW ’17 Review: ‘WIN IT ALL’

A more lovable loser there may not be than Jake Johnson’s Eddie Garrett in Win It All. The 18th (!!!) feature from mumblecore originator Joe Swanberg, Win It All is the second “official” collaboration between Swanberg and Johnson, who paired up last year to middling success with Digging for Fire after previously working in a director-actor capacity on festival favorite Drinking Buddies. Swanberg’s brand of low-key, grounded comedy-drama has rarely been better than in Win It All as he and Johnson create an emotionally involving character study of a man whose addiction to gambling (and losing) has come back to bite him, just when life has started looking up. Read More