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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid of ‘IT: CHAPTER 2’ Trailer

]Yikes. What a spooker of a first look. The debut trailer for the much anticipated It: Chapter 2 has ceremoniously dropped, setting the tone for what appears to be a deliciously dark showdown between the evil clown Pennywise and the Loser’s Club. With Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and more joining the lines of Bill Skarsgård as the malevolent nightmare clown, the sequel from director Andy Muschietti has its work cut out for it. 2017’s adaptation of It was an absolute box office powerhouse and quickly become not only the highest-grossing horror movie of all time but the highest-grossing R-rated movie as well. This first look should do more than enough of the heavy lifting to get potential audiences stoked for the second chapter of Steven King’s feared novel. Scare yourself and take a look down the sewer grate. Read More

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‘DETECTIVE PIKACHU’ Solves Mystery: Video Game Adaptations Still Not Great

Did you know that Pokémon is already the highest grossing media franchise of all time? At 90 billion dollars in total franchise revenue, its total haul triples that of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, eclipsing the net worth of Winnie the Pooh, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse & Friends, Mario, and the entire Disney Princess collection. To say it’s an international sensation is to put it mildly. After the recent resurgence of the pocket monsters in the form of the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go, Pokémon fever has been at a new all-time high and for the first time in nearly 20 years, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu marks the long-awaited return of Pokémon, Pokémon trainers, and their pokéballs of steel to the big screen.   Read More

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SIFF ’19: Bone Dry ‘FRANCES FERGUSON’ Demands Acquired Tastes

Bob Byington’s latest sparsely funny dark-comedy is a mannered step back from mainstream appeal. The Infinity Baby director follows a woman (Kaley Wheless, monotonous but arresting) who’s so dissatisfied with her marriage that she throws her life in the toilet by sleeping with a student. What follows is a quirky bureaucratic procedural from the POV of said sex offender that somewhat jumbles its satirical take on the monotony of punishment. At 74 minutes, it’s extremely slight and uses quirky “nomnipotent” narration from Nick Offerman to offer a sardonic birds-eye approach to storytelling. The characters’ apathy is reflected in Byington’s almost narcissistic touch, making his decidedly festival-circuit exclusive more niche than ever. (C+) Read More

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‘HER SMELL’ Writer/Director Alex Ross Perry Talks Misanthropic Characters, Universality of Rock Band Break Ups

Alex Ross Perry has been making movies for a decade now, even if his name only really registers with the festival crowd or dedicated indie connoisseurs. The filmmaker behind such critical darlings as Queen of Earth, Listen Up Phillip and The Color Wheel has a very distinctive taste and rarely shies away from nerve-wracking, challenging characters and with his latest, Her Smell, a daring punk-rock character study that circles Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss), is his greatest and most difficult work yet. I spoke with Alex about team effort, Elisabeth Moss’ singular talent, inspiration from Axl Rose and Charles Manson, tight shooting schedules, building a breakdown, influence from 70s horror movies, and the universal experience of bands breaking up. Read More

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Hammy Quaid Almost Makes Trashy Thriller ‘THE INTRUDER’ Worthwhile

Self-taught director Deon Taylor, who directed the embarrassing Mike Epps spoof movie Meet the Blacks, has a familiar way of staging a scene. That is to say, at the Christmas potluck that is Hollywood, he’s brought nothing new to the table. Despite modern trappings, this is a movie that feels trapped in the 90s, both in story and storytelling technique. From the totally awkward over-use of R&B music on the soundtrack to the sleek but rarely suspenseful camerawork, Taylor’s creation feels like a product released after its expiration date, but one that lives and dies by its unintentionally ironic and campy sense of uncool. Fittingly, The Intruder is the dad bod of psychosexual thrillers, past its prime and flailing for relevance, maintaining its rangy charm by sheer force of will. It’s the Dennis Quaid of movies.   Read More

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Seattle International Film Festival 2019 Announces Complete Lineup

SEATTLE – Wednesday, May 1, 2019— The Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, announced today the complete lineup of films, guests, and events for the 45th annual 25-day Festival that runs May 16 – June 9, 2019. This year, SIFF will screen 410 films representing 86 countries and will include: 147 features (plus 4 secret films), 71 documentaries, 12 archival films, and 176 shorts. The lineup includes 33 World premieres (12 features, 21 shorts), 42 North American premieres (27 features, 15 shorts), and 19 US premieres (11 features, 8 shorts). Read More

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Politically Tinted ‘LONG SHOT’ a Rogen-Theron Rom-Com Hit

God bless Seth Rogen. The Canadian-born comedian and Freaks and Geeks alum has made a career playing lovably disheveled stoners, his public persona often aligning with the characters he plays, if reliably less successful. In Long Shot, Rogen’s third collaboration with director Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Night Before), Rogen steps into familiarly stoney, snarky shoes as a left-leaning journalist named Fred Flarsky who rekindles a relationship with his old babysitter Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron), who is currently running for president. Read More

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Awesomely Poisonous ‘HER SMELL’ Turns Elisabeth Moss’ Punk-Rock Stardom into Horror Show

There’s a heartbeat cadence throbbing in the background of Her Smell. Racing like a speed addict’s BPM, undulating and omnipresence, it thrums. Maybe it’s the pulsing cry of the expectant crowd. Or the muted surge of an opening act bleeding through thick subterranean walls. But it’s there, subtly informing the uneasy tension and amplifying the sense that things could go desperately wrong at any given moment. With Becky Something, disaster – in the form of a looming overdose, public implosion, or full mental break – lurks in every corner. Read More

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‘AVENGERS: ENDGAME’’s Epic Stroll Down Memory Lane Makes for Best MCU Film Yet

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began in earnest when Tony Stark proclaimed, “I am Iron Man.” Then Nick Fury stepped out of the shadows and assembled a team. The movie industry shook. It was the beginning of something new; an unchartered holistic approach to franchise filmmaking and the genesis of a box office monolith unlike any to have ever proceeded it. Over the course of 21 films, the MCU has become the equivalent of global Saturday morning cartoons; serialized superhero adventure stories that somehow most of the world has bought into. And all that comes to a head in Avengers: Endgame, a movie that is so momentous, it’s difficult to classify in and amongst other general releases. Empty out your pockets now folks, cuz you’re gonna need to strap into this ride a few times.  Read More

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‘TEEN SPIRIT’ Gives MTV Spin to Tale as Old as Time

In Max Minghella’s flashy debut Teen Spirit, Elle Fanning plays a modern-day immigrant dreaming of a greater existence. Blessed with a ripping set of pipes but stuck in the dead-end-ville that is the Isle of Wight, Fanning’s Violet is a Polack living in the far reaches of the UK who embarks down a well-trod rags-to-riches road, one that makes a point of name-checking iconic humble-beginnings-princess Cinderella. There is little novel that defines Violet’s underdog arc but Fanning’s magnetic turn and a sensitive approach to character development make this poppy toe-tapper an irresistible power ballad, if one you’ve definitely heard play on repeat since the advent of film. Read More