post

Out in Theaters: ‘THE ENDLESS’

Justin Benson and Aaron Scott Moorhead are a tactile duo, crafting thought-provoking, effects-driven, genre-defying features filled with big ideas on a micro-budget. Their last film, Spring, which can only be described as a “romantic body horror” and was a favorite for many who sought it out after its 2014 Toronto Film Festival debut, failed to find much of an audience among the general public but solidified the partnership, who had previously collaborated on 2012’s low-budge horror flick Resolution, as a pair for cinephile’s to keep a close eye on. Rather than pulling in the reins, the creative partners have gone even bigger with The Endless, a heady science-fiction-slash-horror—slash-cult-thriller-slash-sibling-drama that’s ambitious to a fault.  Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE’

Violence is cynical in Lynn Ramsey’s down and dirty arthouse thriller You Were Never Really Here. A rough and tumble look at a life surrounded and dictated by violence, Ramsey’s long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s We Need to Talk About Kevin stars Joaquin Phoenix as a mumbling fixer. Armed with a hammer and crippling PDST, Phoenix’s squirrelly and traumatized antihero is a hired gun; a vigilante who specializes in liberating young women from sex trafficking.  Read More

post

Talking with Andrew Haigh of ‘LEAN ON PETE’

Yorkshire native Andrew Haigh has worn many hats in the entertainment industry. He cut his teeth in the early 2000s working as an assistant editor on a number of big budget blockbusters including Gladiator, The Count of Monte Cristo, Black Hawk Down, Reign of Fire and Kingdom of Heaven. In 2009, shortly after his last editorial gig, he released his first directorial debut, Greek Pete which he followed up two years later with Weekend. Neither made a huge splash at the box office but with his next feature, 45 Years, Haigh erupted on the art house scene, directing Charlotte Rampling to an Oscar nomination. He’s since lent his talents to the small screen, directing a number of episodes of the HBO sleeper gay drama Looking as well as a feature version of that same show. Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘LEAN ON PETE’ 

Scruffy name aside, Andrew Haigh’s deeply felt and heartstring-plucking Lean on Pete is a sorrowful spirit trip through America’s discarded backcountry where a boy wants desperately for belonging. Haigh’s emotionally draining adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s 2010 novel of the same name is of the traumatic animal movie ilk. Not for the weak-spirited, the film from A24 constantly tests the resolve of its protagonist, putting him in increasingly difficult circumstances. Even the life of the titular Lean on Pete, a racehorse on his last leg, lies under constant threat as his unsympathetic owner makes passing threats of sending him off to the glue factory with all the remorse of stepping on a bug. Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘SWEET COUNTRY’

Racial constraints are life in Warwick Thornton’s low-boiling and powerful drama Sweet Country. It’s 1920, Western Australia. When elderly aboriginal Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) kills a belligerent white man in self-defense, he must flee the crooked arm of the law. With posses rounded up and eager lawmen hot on his trail, Thornton explores the racial tilt of criminality drawing disturbing parallels to modern-day criminal justice. Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘A QUIET PLACE’

Put your phones on silent bitches. A Quiet Place, a masterfully disquieting creature feature from The Office alum John Krasinski, simply will not stand for interruption. Taking pages from the books of Hitchcock, Argento, and Spielberg, Krasinski skillfully weaves together a sharply intelligent, emotionally involving and blisteringly suspenseful chamber-piece that layers a uniquely “silent” horror film in with a very personal treatise on the challenges of parenthood.  Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘BLOCKERS

Cockblocking. That thing one does, inadvertent or not, to impede the sexual congress of another. Just about anyone can be a cockblocker. The douchebag who stole your date. The overweight wingman paying way too much attention to her obviously interested friend. Your overbearing, sensitive dad. Anyone who desires, for a myriad of reasons, two people’s nether regions not to mate. Cockblocking can be fueled by jealousy. A sense of machismo competitiveness. Or your mom being driven into a state of controlling mania by the thought of you losing your flower on Prom night.  Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘READY PLAYER ONE’ 

Ernest Cline’s 2011 dystopian YA novel ‘Ready Player One’ struck a nerve with self-described fanboys, sending readers into a tizzy of nostalgia-fueled nerdgasms. Many gyrated over the book’s overindulgent references to 80s pop culture, from coin-op arcade games to deeply engrained new wave synthpop cuts to the nerdcore iconography of John Hughes films. I personally found the book dull, monotonous and underwritten; reference-laden light reading that worked more as a pop culture checklist than an actual story. Worse yet, Cline’s book functioned as an unchecked celebration of deep-dive fandom in a time where fandom has become hostile, exclusionary and often vile.  Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘FLOWER’

Juno meets Hard Candy in Max Winkler’s acerbic dark teen comedy Flower. Fueled by a filthy mouth and a warped sense of justice, this edgy femme fatale misadventure sees a brassy pixie named Erica attempt to make right of the turmoil life has forced upon her, employing devious measures to get what she wants with a little help from her friends. Primed to push your buttons, Flower is sure to send those with any sexual or language sensitives running for the theaters doors (and is just about the last thing you’d want to watch with your teenage daughter or future mother-in-law) but as far as spitfire coming-of-age stories overloaded with prima donna bite, Winkler delivers the goods without respite.  Read More

post

Out in Theaters: ‘I KILL GIANTS’ 

I Kill Giants, Anders Walter’s adaptation of Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura’s popular graphic novel, is a movie left searching for purpose in a post-A Monster Calls world. Sure, the 2016 J.A. Bayona fantasy drama was a bomb domestically (with a paltry cume of less than four million) but remained a hit overseas and was celebrated by critics and audiences alike who noted the film’s deft ability to tackle large thematic material through the prism of fantastical monsters. I Kill Giants not only involves a young outsider struggling to adapt to real-world issues through metaphorical monsters but does so for precisely the same reason, aiming for a similarly moving but also unwaveringly sullen coming-of-age drama.  Read More