Category Archives: Genres

The Pack (2010) Movie Review

This review of Franck Richard’s The Pack is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Charlotte Massot (Emilie Dequenne) is running away from something. Her car is packed full, and she is driving until she runs out of CDs to listen to. Along the way, she picks up a hitchhiker (Benjamin Biolay) and they wind up at an off-road bar. When the hitchhiker disappears, Charlotte is too curious not to investigate the bar further.

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Too bad for her, as she gets conked on the head and winds up in a Continue reading The Pack (2010) Movie Review

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The Florida Project (2017) Movie Review

The Florida Project, director Sean Baker’s follow up to the highly acclaimed Tangerine, takes place on the outskirts of Disney world, an Orlando-area that is plagued by poverty. In the Magic Castle—a motel named loosely off of a Disney property, seemingly as a way to drum up more business—children run about in the Summer heat doing whatever they please.

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One of these children is Moonee (Brooklynn Prince). We are introduced to her when she and two of her friends decide to run off to a neighboring motel and spit on someone’s car.

It doesn’t feel like a fitting introduction to a child character who we are about to follow for the next two hours, but that’s how it is. There’s no Continue reading The Florida Project (2017) Movie Review

Saw IV (2007) Movie Review

This review of Saw IV is part of the Saw Franchise Retrospective series in anticipation of this month’s release of Jigsaw.

Following the death of John Kramer (Tobin Bell), aka the Jigsaw killer, a tape is discovered in his cadaver’s stomach detailing a new game. Two police officers related to the Jigsaw case, SWAT member Rigg (Lyriq Bent) and Lt. Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), disappear.

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Agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson) is tasked with solving the latest Jigsaw mystery.

But who cares, really? Saw IV continues the Continue reading Saw IV (2007) Movie Review

The Snowman (2017) Movie Review

Crime novel adaptations to the screen seem to not be faring too well. Last year’s The Girl on the Train is the most recent example, but now we have The Snowman to take up the mantle. Let’s just hope that Murder on the Orient Express does some justice to its source material and to the medium of cinema.

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Wait…something’s not right here

The Snowman begins in a flashback, in which a child witnesses the abuse of his mother at the hands of a police officer. This flashback establishes our killer, but it doesn’t Continue reading The Snowman (2017) Movie Review

Saw III (2006) Movie Review

This review of Saw III is part of the Saw Franchise Retrospective series in anticipation of this month’s release of Jigsaw.

Saw III might be the most dull installment of the torture porn franchise. Directed, like with the first sequel, by Darren Lynn Bousman, this seeming end to a trilogy sees the final waning days of John Kramer (Tobin Bell). Kramer is an aging man with terminal brain cancer. He is also an eccentric serial killer known as Jigsaw.

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While needing critical brain surgery (he kidnaps a woman and forces her to operate to solve this issue), Jigsaw has another crazy plot Continue reading Saw III (2006) Movie Review

The Babysitter (2017) Movie Review

McG’s new film, The Babysitter, is immediately abrasive. Within the first five minutes, we find ourselves in four different locations. Cole (Judah Lewis) is introduced as too squeamish to accept a shot from the school nurse. A strange introduction, to be sure.

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Cole is your stereotypical high school nerd. He stutters his way through conversations. He is bullied by the stereotypical bullies. He has a massive crush on his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving).

Bee is a great babysitter. She is down to earth, sees things on Cole’s level, bends the rules. Did I say bend the rules? I meant Continue reading The Babysitter (2017) Movie Review

Saw II (2005) Movie Review

This review of Saw II is part of the Saw Franchise Retrospective series in anticipation of this month’s release of Jigsaw.

Is Saw II genius for its opening scene, which alludes to the horrifying opening to Luis Bunuel’s surrealist masterpiece Un Chien Andalou? Is Darren Lynn Bousman making some commentary on how art repeats itself, making a bold self-reflexive statement about where the Saw franchise was headed back in 2005?

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No. Okay, just checking.

Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) is a father and a cop. That’s about all you need to know of his character. Lucky for him (?) he stumbles on Continue reading Saw II (2005) Movie Review