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‘HOTEL MUMBAI’ Makes a Strong Case That Terror Attacks Are Scary

Book me a table at the Taj Mahal hotel restaurant, a dining experience where the “customer is god” and the servers are literally willing to put their lives in harm’s way to prove it. So goes the true story of the 2008 terror attacks in India as depicted in Hotel Mumbai, a dramatic thriller assembled with all the visceral horror of being trapped in a Jihad slaughterhouse that proves once and for all that terror attacks are super scary.  Read More

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Tim Burton’s Creatively Bankrupt ‘DUMBO’ Doesn’t Take Flight

As told by Tim Burton, Disney’s Dumbo is a glossy kiddo-approved spectacle piece sure to entertain the youngins in the audience while offering no reason for its existence beyond the plain-faced cry for box office chowder. Adapting the 1941 story of a circus elephant whose oversized ears enables him to fly, Burton and screenwriter Ehren Kruger (Ghost in the Shell) co-opt the basic premise of the original tale and fluff out the barebones story with a cast of uninteresting human characters and a corporate subplot that offers a kids a warning about bad employers and carefully reading contracts.  Read More

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Angry Cop Heist ‘DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE’ is Criminally Long ‘Reservoir Dogs’ Redux

Mel Gibson steps back into the limelight after what seemed like an eternity in Hollywood jail to embody Brett Ridgeman, a salty cop peddling on both sides of the law in S. Craig Zahler’s crime-drama Dragged Across Cement. Sure, Gibson’s popped up in a few higher profile studio releases over the past decade but it’s been since the 2011 Jodie Foster-directed The Beaver that he’s been in the pole position leading a film. And, unfortunately, Dragged Across Concrete hardly gives us a chance to celebrate the return of the veteran actor with a troubled history. Read More

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‘US’ a Superfly Flurry of Inventive Horror-Comedy World Building

Comedy and horror exist in harmonious marriage to one another. Even the grimmest horror exploits regularly squeeze uncomfortable laughs from packed crowds, too hopped up on their own nerves not to giggle with anticipation or great relief after a big scare. Screams and laughs are the wine and cheese of any good horror movie, a perfect pairing, and Jordan Peele’s uncompromisingly cool Us comes boasting a delicious vintage of both.  Read More

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The Steep Price of Legacy in ‘THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT’

Commerce is a wheel beneath which much is crushed. And once that wheel is in motion, there is no stopping it. Not for epistemological discourse. Not for environmental factors. Not even for late-stage stomach cancer. In Kim Nguyen’s unorthodox The Hummingbird Project, there simply ain’t no mountain high enough, no river wide enough to keep the Zaleski cousins from installing a direct line of high-speed fiber cable from New York City to Kansas. The wheels of commerce roll on and they intend to be its primary highway.  Read More

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HORROR MOVIES TO SCARE THE SH*T OUTTA US IN 2019

2019 is already off to a hot start when it comes to my favorite genre: horror. Between Gaspar Noe’s wrecking ball of a breakdown with Climax, the highly overlooked creeper The Prodigy, and Nicolas Pesce’s anti-love body horror cat and mouse game Piercing, 2019 is off to the races with fantastic offerings for the genre. Even the slight (and only tangentially horror) Happy Death Day 2 U was a fun theatrical distraction. But the year is long and the number of potential horror hits higher than ever. There is no doubt that a handful of these will be joining our countdown of the 100 greatest horror films of the decade come the end of the year. Check out the breakdown of what to expect for horror for the remainder of 2019.

Do note that this is not a comprehensive list of all 2019 horror movies to come as I’ve intentionally left off fare like the second untitled Annabelle sequel (first time director and a checkered past with the franchise has me thinking it won’t be very good) and The Curse of La Llora (the trailer was simply awful, hoping the film is much better.) Similarly I don’t have New Mutants on here (not convinced it’ll ever see the light of day at this point honestly) and the 47 Meters Down sequel (does not look inspired in the least bit). So don’t come after me.
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Julianne Moore Discovers Inner Strength in A24’s Humanist Romance ‘GLORIA BELL’

Come for Julianne Moore’s effortlessly jubilant performance, stay for the complicated middle-aged tryst in Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria Bell. A remake of the director’s own 2013 Spanish-language film Gloria, Chile’s submission for Best Foreign Language film at the 2014 Academy Awards, the film is distributed by indie giant A24 and carries the mark of quality that is commonly associated with their auteur brand, though it would be hard to mistake the competent, if hard to swoon for, drama for one of the distribution company’s finest outputs.  Read More

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‘CAPTAIN MARVEL’ Punches Through the Glass Ceiling With Style

True to its name, Captain Marvel is pure Marvel. That’s not to say that it’s necessarily a top-tier entry to the now twenty-one film franchise (it is however a worthy middle entry) but the film perfectly sums up what the Marvel brand is: a family-friendly blend of sci-fi and action adventure, led by postured heroes in colorful spandex, lit up by busy, expensive CGI and regularly relieved with whip-snap jokes. It’s an origin story of somewhat common degree, one familiar with the storytelling roots of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America before it, that encapsulates the highs and lows of the superhero series in equal measure.  Read More

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Gaspar Noé Hosts World’s Worst Acid Dance Party in ‘CLIMAX’

Climax is a movie only Gaspar Noé could – and would – make. The French provocateur has long embedded hallucinatory imagery into his pictures – his 2009 feature Enter the Void is a literal out-of-body experience adopting the POV of a slain drug dealer – but takes his flirtation with on-screen drug use to new levels with his latest experimental feature, which follows an acid-dosed troop of dancers over the events of an increasingly unhinged night. The journey is a dark and delirious jaw-dropping mindfuck for sure, but one of horrifying technical marksmanship that is sure to burrow under your skin and peck at one’s brain. Like blood in the carpet, these psychological stains won’t wash out easily.  Read More

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‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD’ Doesn’t Manage to Fly Higher

If looks could kill, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World would engulf audiences in a deathly conflagration of dragon fire. The animated second sequel looks absolutely brilliant on the big screen, roaring to life in luscious detail. From the crystal-clear scale of its big set pieces to the minutia of the movement of sand and water, Dreamwork’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World splashes every penny of its 129 million dollar budget up on the screen for audiences to behold. If only they could have dumped equally as much energy and effort into the story mechanics, which are far and away the weakest of the three HTTYD films.  Read More