Category Archives: Long Reviews (>400 Words)

Saw (2004) Movie Review

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

The first image we see in James Wan’s Saw, now somewhat of a perennial torture porn classic, sets up the illogical world that this series is grounded in. A fitting introduction, one might say. We see Adam (Leigh Whannell, who also serves as screenwriter) underwater in a tub with a key dangling in front of his face. He is holding his breath, but also unconscious. When he wakes, he yanks open the drain and the key disappears forever.

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How long was he out? How could he be alive after Continue reading Saw (2004) Movie Review

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Criminal Lovers (2000) Movie Review

This review of Francois Ozon’s Criminal Lovers is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Francois Ozon’s Criminal Lovers begins as a Bonnie & Clyde narrative, where two kids of 17 kill a man in passion and go on the lam, robbing jewelry stores and convenience stores to get by as they make their way into the countryside. Then, it becomes something more akin to a Hansel & Gretel tale of survival.

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Alice (Natacha Regnier) convinces Luc (Jeremie Renier) to help her kill Continue reading Criminal Lovers (2000) Movie Review

Gerald’s Game (2017) Movie Review

A sexually frustrated married couple, Jess (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), travel to a vacation home in the forest to spice up their sex life. Two pairs of handcuffs (the real ones, not those fuzzy novelty ones that break when you really get going) trap Jess to the reinforced bedposts of a queen-sized bed.

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Jess stops Gerald as the sex game goes to far and starts treading into a rape fantasy that she was not expecting, but of course it can’t simply end there. As they fight about their broken marriage, Jess repeatedly asking for him to uncuff her, Gerald Continue reading Gerald’s Game (2017) Movie Review

Happy Death Day (2017) Movie Review

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes up hungover in the dorm room of Carter Davis (Israel Broussard). Glibly, she blows him off and leaves to her sorority house, where she continues to brush off people left and right. If you cannot yet tell, she is not a very nice college student. She doesn’t even care that it is her birthday.

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She goes to class (she is engaging in an adulterous relationship with her professor), comes home to prepare for a party, and leaves alone to get there. On the way, she is cornered by a masked knife-wielder and killed. But wait… Continue reading Happy Death Day (2017) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach’s latest, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), is the story of a family reuniting when a confluence of life events causes them to float together.

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Danny (Adam Sandler) moves back in with his father (Dustin Hoffman) during a divorce that leaves him without income. At the same time, his daughter Eliza (Grace Van Patten) is beginning film school (her first film is a strangely humorous Avant-garde piece about a hermaphroditic superhero).

Danny’s half-brother Matthew (Ben Stiller) is en route as their father prepares for Continue reading The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017) Movie Review

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Movie Review

Over the past decade, The Poughkeepsie Tapes has become an artifact of horror fandom lore. Initially set for a 2007 release, John Erick Dowdle’s mockumentary profiling of a serial killer was pulled from the release slate and faded away.  In 2014, the film received a light VOD release and vanished again.

On October 10, 2017, The Poughkeepsie Tapes was given, for the first time, a proper release. It is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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In retrospect, the film feels like the found footage love child of The Blair Witch Project and V/H/S. Talking head interviews frame the story of a serial killer who Continue reading The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Movie Review

Sheitan (2006) Movie Review

This review of Kim Chapiron’s Sheitan is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

The abrupt open to Sheitan is an utter delight. The first image is a closeup on a man’s shocked face. He asks if we’re ready. There is indistinct noise, perhaps in protest, from outside of the frame. He asks again. Then, he begins scratching a turntable, and we are introduced to a rowdy night club that presents us with the energy of the film. Text appears on the screen that reads: “Do not forgive them, for they know what they do.”

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In this night club are three men who are quickly thrown out for one of their transgressions against patrons. The transgressor, Bart (Olivier Barthelemy), has some issues with anger and sexual aggression toward women (and apparently bad breath).

Before being kicked out, however, they meet Eve (Roxane Mesquida), who invites the three men and Yasmine (Leila Bekhti) to her eccentric home in the country, which is filled with Continue reading Sheitan (2006) Movie Review