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‘SUSPIRIA’ Remake a Horrifyingly Inauspicious Chore

A pretentious bore posing as high art, Suspiria is a stuffy dance horror melodrama that manages to make a murderous coven of ballet witches boring as sin. At two-and-a-half grueling hours, the film from Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) is the most masturbatory of remakes, one that painfully tacks a superfluous hour of runtime onto the original without any added content. By the time Suspiria finally reaches its blood-soaked conclusion, I stood at such an emotional distance, with a countenance of such bored apathy, as to not even enjoy its macabre platter of dark ritual and liberal gore.  Read More

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Pop Opera ‘BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY’ Will Rock You…Sorta

Fun fact: if you put enough liquor in me I will attempt to sing Queen. On a karaoke stage. In front of people. I’m probably better at ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – that’s not to say I’m any good, period – but that doesn’t stop me from queuing up for the old 6-minute ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ every now and then. Queen’s hit rock opera ballad is impossible not to belt along to, then and now. A soaring frenzied assault of vocal prowess and unmatched musicianship,  ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ mixes fab-rock with the opera house to create what very well could be the best song of all time. Freddie Mercury hits notes few can. Certainly notes that I cannot.  Read More

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10 Best Horror Movies of the Decade (2010-Now)

Halloween is just around the corner so I decided to torture myself with doing a little listicling for all you wannabe scared-to-go-to-sleepers out there. And Sweet Satan was this process painstaking! Like poking flaming needles in my eyes while my ankles were hobbled by a split ax. Or something like that. I flipped, back-flipped, see-sawed, hemmed and hawed.. etc. As a horror movie aficionado, whittling an entire decade of my favorite genre down to a mere two-hands-worth of selections was Sophie’s Choice after Sophie’s Choice. With no Meryl Streep to help! Which is probably why the last time I did this, I ended up with 13 entries. And though some of these may seem like obvious entries or redundancies that you’ve seen before, I really haven’t seen anyone nail the best of the decade, so this is me putting my feet to the fire and throwing the cards out there. Read More

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15 Things Alex Honnold Thinks You Should Know About ‘FREE SOLO’

Alex Honnold is a man like few others. The world-famous free solo climber, the complicated subject for Jimmy Chin and Chai Vassarhelyi’s record-smashing adventure documentary Free Solo, may sound nuts on paper but, turns out, is actually a remarkably normal guy. Quick-witted, personable, and calculated in every word and movement, Alex isn’t the reckless adrenaline junkie that those who hear his story may imagine at first glance. He just is willing to take risks that few of us can even imagine. And the payoff, it turns out, is huge.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘HALLOWEEN’

The slasher subculture saw its heyday in the 1980s, with franchises like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street accruing scores of harebrained sequels, spawning a pattern of rinse-repeat horror franchises that rarely held a candle to the greats in terms of turnover quality. Jason eventually went to outer space. Freddy Kruger broke the fourth wall. Michael Myers was revisioned as a force for utilitarian good, destined to kill all of Laurie’s family in order to save all of civilization. To say that these sequels haven’t always been so hot is quite the understatement. In 2018, director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) – of all people – has taken the governing principles of the slasher and given it new life through a winning combination of tasteful updates, tactful homage, and gleeful bloodletting and in doing so, he may have just perfected the slasher movie.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BEAUTIFUL BOY’

In the timeless words of Mr. Mackey, “Drugs are bad, mkay?” Beautiful Boy, an addiction drama starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, reiterates this point ad-nauseam without adding a lot more complexity to the topic than could a cartoon elementary school counselor. Adapted from Nicolas and David Sheff’s tell-all memoirs about a son’s personal struggles with addiction and his father’s battle to deal, Beautiful Boy struggles to add texture to the already established conversation about the horrors of addiction and the tolls it takes on its victims and their families. The product feels overtly telegraphed; a predictable series of ups and downs that lack distinction and uniqueness. As such, the overall impact of the film remains a bit muted. Like an ex-user’s nerve endings, it just can’t deliver the feels that one craves.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN’

There’s a timeless charm to The Old Man and the Gun, easily obsessed in the breezy chemistry of its two elegant stars. The sparkle dancing in Robert Redford’s eye reflects off the Golden Era glimmer of Sissy Spacek’s gentle curl of a smile. Their attraction is palpable, enchanting. Like sweet senior citizens slow dancing to a Sinatra classic. Imported from the height of 1970s quirk, this true story is cool in much the same way a stand-up bass is cool; it’s an old-timey classy caper, outdated though it may be, that serves as a fitting send-off for the always reliable Redford.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE HATE U GIVE’

The Hate U Give burns with a righteous anger. Director George Tillman Jr. and screenwriter Audrey Wells wrangle the searing social conscience and incisive melodrama of Angie Thomas’ best-selling novel into what is very likely the most meaningful film of 2018. Thought-provoking and morally challenging, beautifully acted and poignantly directed, THUG is a moving, necessary, and often hilarious, rarity; a mainstream, race-relations pop-art primal scream whose vital message is only intensified by its raw watchability.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘FIRST MAN’ 

First Man takes a triumphant first step telling the story of American astronaut Neil Armstrong and hits it with a spell of arthouse sensibilities and emotional undercurrent. Ryan Gosling is a fitting Armstrong, an exceedingly competent pilot, razor-sharp engineer, and unassuming Ohioan boy. He’s a figure of reserved strength and quiet calculation, a perfect match for Gosling’s strong, silent affectation. To his peers, Armstrong is a resilient commander, a man of rock-solid gumption and iron determination. To his family, Armstrong is an emotional astronaut. He’s a world away even on earth. And much like Neil Armstrong the American Hero, I respect the hell out of First Man but it’s a tough cookie to love.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE’

Long-winded and neither as smart, surprising, or sassy as it thinks, Bad Times at the El Royale is a stylish snow-globe of sixties subcultures clown-car piled into an overdrawn neo-noir. Bursting at the seams with metaphorical material and cultural commentary but featherlight on plot and deep-dive character development, this strangers-at-a-hotel mystery has a lot of guff and bluster but little actual punch. It’s not exactly bad times but the times decidedly aren’t so grand either.  Read More