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Out in Theaters: ‘JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM’ 

Fallen Kingdom indeed. If you’re considering seeing the latest Jurassic World movie, do yourself a favor and flush that $13 down the toilet instead. There’s maybe 15 minutes of Fallen Kingdom’s 130-minute runtime that is almost, kind of watchable. The rest is some of the most embarrassing tentpole bullshit this side of a Transformers movie. Hackneyed dialogue, a shamelessly uncreative and entirely predictable plot, awful acting, boring characters, and zero memorable set pieces to distract from all the awfulness, Fallen Kingdom sets an incredibly low bar for the once beloved dino series, delivering an abomination of blockbuster filmmaking that makes one wish for a meteorite to strike their local theater and wipe its nasty existence clean from this Earth.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE INCREDIBLES 2’ 

The state of superhero films today can only be described as ubiquitous.  In 2018, there’s a new superhero movie every month. Sometimes two. And with Marvel films like Black Panther and Infinity Wars doing absolute gangbusters at the box office, there is no sign of slowing for the super-charged genre. But before Iron Man ever suited up or Batman began again, Brad Bird and Pixar offered a family-friendly spin on the Golden Age of superheroes with 2004’s widely adored The Incredibles. Its sequel, Incredibles 2, may pick up right where its predecessor left off but its commentary about popular culture is as timely as can be.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘OCEAN’S 8’ 

The king is dead, long live the queen. With the apparent demise of George Clooney’s smug, square-chinned Danny Ocean, kid sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) has taken up the family mantle of thievery, having cooked up the perfect jewel heist while locked in a state penitentiary for the past five years. There’s double-crosses, jobs within jobs, slick montages, and a brand new bag of femme fatales to get to know but Ocean’s 8 is very much an offshoot of the popular rebooted franchise brought to life in the early 2000’s.  Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT’

Recovery is a marathon not a sprint, not that the snarky wheelchair-bound protagonist of Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry would be able to stand for either. Telling the true story of celebrated, irreverent Portland cartoonist John Callahan, from his reckless drinking days to his untimely paralysis to his long tenure at AA, Van Sant’s latest is a hopeful salvation saga sprinkled with un-PC delights lead by a powerful Joaquin Phoenix performance. Lippy but uplifting, Don’t Worry crutches on a jumbled timeline that can make the narrative feel sloppy and untethered but is harnessed by a message of preservation in the face of all obstacles. Jonah Hill is raw as a flowy flaxen-haired sponsor amidst a standout supporting cast. (B) Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘HEREDITARY’ 

Every once in a blue moon, there comes a horror movie that’s legitimately capital-T terrifying. One that’ll cause your eyes to dart around the dark stillness of the theater at the smallest creak. One that’ll hitchhike a ride home with you to invade your dreams; an unabortable mental pregnancy. One whose delirious imagery will burn into your cranium as if doused in paint thinner and struck by a match. I am happy to report that A24’s Hereditary, dear readers, is just that kind of movie. It’ll take your damn head off. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES’ 

John Cameron Mitchell is a man of many talents, talents which erupted in 2001 when he wrote, directed and starred in to-be cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a devilishly stylish, strictly adult, anti-musical about a transgender punk-rocker from East Berlin. Mitchell has flexed his filmmaking muscles infrequently since, his most notable follow-up work being 2010’s sorrowful study of marital grief, the well-regarded Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart. With his latest work, the somewhat over-named How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Mitchell exercises a different set of sinew, stretching into unfamiliar territory – new-age punk-rock sci-fi – in an effort that reaches for the stars but comes up a parsec short.  Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘HEARTS BEAT LOUD’

Nick Offerman plays a hipster record shop owner/has-been musician/doting father to the talented and driven Sam (Kiersey Clemons in a vibrant coming out party of a performance) as the two start an unlikely band in Brett Haley’s lovely indie musical Hearts Beat Loud. The pair share wonderful screen chemistry – Offerman has never been better – while the movie itself transforms into a warm blast of dreams, acceptance, and growing pains that’s luminously riddled with maturity. This charmed musical crowdpleaser hits all the right notes, delivering a bucket of all-the-feels alongside some delightfully head-bobbing tuneage. (A-) Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID’

Not even children are spared in this gritty Mexican fantasy-thriller from writer/director Issa López. Both grounded in dark realities and anchored by larger-than-life fantastical elements, Tigers Are Not Afraid shares DNA with Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-language horrors movies (think Devil’s Backbone), which smuggle pervasive social commentary in with spooky, mythic thrills. A 10-year old girl joins up with a similarly orphaned child gang, roaming the streets and eluding ill-intentioned adults in this unsettling fable about loss and criminality. Moody and uncompromising, Tigers marks López as a blooming talent to keep a close eye on. (B) Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS’ 

Eddy Galland, David Kellman, and Robert Shafran had their lives turned upside down with the discovery that the three 19-year olds were long-lost triplets. Overnight media sensations, the long-separated trio discover a nefarious plot to settle the argument on nature vs. nurture in this stranger-than-fiction type documentary from Tim Wardle. Equally compelling and fascinating, Three Identical Strangers is a psychological tragedy that shuffles between the influences of fame, genes, and mental disease to startling effect. Runs out of steam as the surprises fade away but remains a largely arresting watch nonetheless. (B) Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘RUIN ME’ 

This concept horror from Preston DeFrancis tries to combine the shlocky guesswork of a whodunnit in with the craze of Escape Rooms to middling effect. When ex-addict Alexandra (Marcienne Dwyer) accompanies boyfriend Nathan on Slasher Sleepout, the orchestrated haunt becomes menacingly real and the pair must fight for survival. Some of the narrative twists work but the acting is standard C-list horror subpar, the practical effects disappointing, and the scares lacking entirely. The script from DeFrancis and Trysta Bissett is loaded with bromides and jump-to-conclusions dialogue as well as some hare-brained endgame mustache-twirling that comes across as more tasteless and off-putting than brutal and brilliant. (C-) Read More