Preston Barta // Features Editor Many horror franchises focus on the kills and recycle material to make a quick cash grab. Very few of them attempt to evolve the central terrorizer and deepen the mythology. THE OMEN COLLECTION – DELUXE EDITION Rated R (or not rated), about 533 minutes.Available for...
[Fresh on Criterion] ‘THE CIRCUS’ – Charlie Chaplin’s last entry of the silent film era is worth the price of admission
THE CIRCUS was the last Charlie Chaplin film to be made during the silent film era, and it is one that he would rather forget. In fact, Chaplin didn’t even mention it in his 1964 memoir. The reason is mainly due to the circumstances surrounding its making. Much like Terry Gilliam’s plagued Don Quixote film (which is explored in the documentary LOST IN LA MANCHA), Chaplin’s CIRCUS was beleaguered by production woes from the start.
Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s GREENER GRASS will be your jam if you’re a fan of late-night sketch comedy – and smart observations.
[Interview] Willem Dafoe details the smell of ‘THE LIGHTHOUSE’ set, a ‘STREETS OF FIRE’ connection & his ‘MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN’ beard
Willem Dafoe spills the beans on what THE LIGHTHOUSE set smelled like, his STREETS OF FIRE costume & his MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN beard.
There’s a world out there that has appropriated our toys and turned them into a vast array of film franchises that serve very different cinematic purposes. One is about lovable characters with existential issues we have followed for decades, and the other is a jump-scare factory about a doll who can harness evil. Put them side by side and they are completely different. But in the right context, each is an equally horrifying experience.
Fresh Fiction spoke with director Brad Anderson at Fantastic Fest in Austin last month. We discussed how his latest film continues some of the themes from Anderson’s previous work and what impact the material had on him personally.
James Clay // Film Critic GEMINI MAN PG-13, 117 minutes.Director: Ang LeeCast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong Gemini Man was not screened in high frame rate or 3D for this press screening. The idea of evil twins, doppelgangers, clones, or doubles (however you want to slice it )...
Fresh Fiction spoke with director Takashi Miike after ‘FIRST LOVE’ premiered at Fantastic Fest. Using an interpeter, Miike looked back over his career to discuss his filmmaking process and how he maintains focus.
[Fantastic Fest review] ‘MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN’ a cinematic deep dive into a science-fiction classic
Travis Leamons // Film Critic MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN Not rated, 95 minutes.Director: Alexandre O. PhilippeCast: Veronica Cartwright, Tom Skerritt, Diane O’Bannon, Carmen Scheifele-Giger, Clarke Wolfe, Roger Corman and Ben Mankiewicz AUSTIN – Normally, I’m not one to show off my film expertise in a classroom setting, but that’s...
Connor Bynum // Film Critic PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006) Rated R, 118 minutes.Director: Guillermo del ToroCast: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Roger Casamajor and Doug JonesAvailable today on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD. Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro is unquestionably known for his unique take on fantasy...
If you are lucky, you have a best friend – somebody who you can be with when things get rough. Someone you can be silly with, even in the most inappropriate situations, and most importantly, somebody who just gets what is it like to be you. That kind of love cannot be forced, and that is precisely where the soapy Canadian comedic-thriller HOMEWRECKER comes into play.
Fresh Fiction reporter Preston Barta sits down with RAISING DION stars Alisha Wainwright and Jason Ritter. The actors discuss their creative process for bringing a genuine touch to the material as well as what the show gave them in return.
[Fantastic Fest interview] ‘MEMORY’ director brings cinematic experience to documentary about the creation of ‘ALIEN’
Fresh Fiction spoke with MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN director, Alexandre O. Philippe (78/52: HITCHCOCK’S SHOWER SCENE, THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS) at the film’s regional premiere at Fantastic Fest in September. Highlights from the interview include Philippe developing a taste for film anatomy, how MEMORY evolved into another beast entirely, and what makes art transcend time. Read the full conversation here:
[Fantastic Fest review] ‘WRINKLES THE CLOWN’ a doc about an unidentified clown who trades in terrorizing children
Preston Barta // Features Editor WRINKLES THE CLOWN Not rated, 78 minutes.Director: Michael Beach NicholsWriters: Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker AUSTIN – WRINKLES THE CLOWN premiered at Fantastic Fest in Austin last week, and it was one of the most intriguing titles in the weirdo litter. I mean, who wouldn’t...
Preston Barta // Features Editor AUSTIN – Every year at Fantastic Fest there’s a film that has the “Rooty Tooty Fresh ’n Fruity” of movie titles. This year, that honor belongs to BUTT BOY. Once you catch a whiff of what this movie is about, you won’t be able to...
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas is hosting a 31-day series of horror movies in the month of October. It will include screenings, special guests, movie parties, cereal parties, and so much more fun. Read all the details here!
[Fantastic Fest interview] ‘DEATH OF DICK LONG’ director encapsulates small-town life in offbeat comedy
At Fantastic Fest in Austin, Fresh Fiction sat down with ‘THE DEATH OF DICK LONG’ director Daniel Schneinert. We discussed the outlandish themes and how exploring the concept of secrets led to some fascinating and moving results.
FROZEN 2’s poignant big number has a lot going on: What’s Elsa wearing? What’s her drive? And who’s the singer behind callback siren vocal? We have the answers!
THE POOL is not necessarily a difficult movie to describe. It’s actually kind of astounding that it even exists. This isn’t merely a movie about a dog trainer who falls asleep in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, only to wake up to it being completely drained without a way out and only a gator and his chained up dog to keep him company.
SEA FEVER, the confidently directed nautical creature feature by Neasa Hardiman, rests its laurels on crafting a sense of dread out of the seemingly benign situation. Hardiman’s direction creates a claustrophobic atmosphere that gets under your skin. The issue lies in Hardiman’s scripting. It feels like it leaves the impressive group of actors (including Hermione Corfield, Connie Nielsen, Dougray Scott, Ardalan Esmali and Jack Hickey) completely marooned.
[Fantastic Fest review] ‘SWALLOW’ – Haley Bennett commands attention and sympathy as a submissive housewife
The days of Donna Reed seeing her husband off to work with a kiss and a smile may seem like a stale TV dinner reminder of 1950s domestic bliss. But it feels alarmingly contemporary in Carlo Mirabella-Davis’s provocative feature debut, SWALLOW.
Fresh Fiction attended the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. But we also didn’t miss Knives Out’s stateside introduction at Fantastic Fest. Director Rian Johnson and actor Noah Segan walked the red carpet, and it’s where we caught up with the talents to discuss how the film couldn’t be more fit for 2019 as well as what makes the relationship between Johnson and Segan so lasting.
Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to sit down with the film’s cast at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX. Cast members Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman and Michael C. Hall discussed what they took away from the sprawling narrative and what they recognized in themselves from playing their unique characters.
[Fantastic Fest review] ‘SYNCHRONIC’ – Benson & Moorhead’s latest is an inventive, drug-fueled time-trip
Travis Leamons // Film Critic SYNCHRONIC Not rated, 96 minutes.Director: Justin Benson and Aaron MoorheadCast: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton and Ally Ioannides AUSTIN – Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead love to play with time as much as Christopher Nolan. From time loops (THE ENDLESS) to time cycles (SPRING),...
We’re nearly a month away from Halloween, but home distribution companies are shelling out the horror movies in hopes of making your days leading up to trick-or-treat time spookier. They may not be the cream of the genre crop, but these titles will surely wet horror fans’ whistles.
There’s a point in Daniel Scheinert’s (SWISS ARMY MAN) new film THE DEATH OF DICK LONG, where the inherently disgusting mystery of the titular incident is uncovered that’s either going to shock and delight audiences. It’s hard to believe that this Southern Fried cover up handles it’s the ludicrous premise with sincerity as two Alabama yokels (Michael Abbot Jr. and Andre Hyland) are caught hilariously making one ill-advised decision after another. In the fog of bad decisions, and dubious behavior there’s a sincerity that runs deep in the fabric of this comedy that’s about the consequences of letting skeletons in your closet. With humor and an understanding of flawed human beings, Scheinert’s film rises far above its’ premise into becoming a daring and unforgettable experience.
Preston Barta // Features Editor THE LODGE Not rated, 108 minutes.Director: Severin Fiala and Veronika FranzCast: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Richard Armitage and Alicia Silverstone AUSTIN – Since Robert Eggers’ premiere of THE VVITCH at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2015, there has been a film each...
Preston Barta // Features Editor COLOR OUT OF SPACE Not rated, 111 minutes.Director: Richard StanleyCast: Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Brendan Meyer, Julian Hilliard, Elliot Knight, Q’orianka Kilcher and Tommy Chong AUSTIN – Oh, Richard Stanley, how we have missed your intoxicating weirdness. After his departure from 1996’s THE...
Director Vincenzo Natali (CUBE, SPLICE) deserves credit for his attempt to keep the hooks in you. He sweeps through the grass setting in compelling ways. But after a while, the wheels begin to spin like a windmill, and you can’t escape the feeling that the story would have been a better fit as an episode on Shudder’s new CREEPSHOW anthology series.
Festival-goers may have been soaked by the weather on Thursday night at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar Boulevard in Austin, but that wasn’t about to rain on anyone’s Fantastic Fest parade. Plenty was happening at the film festival’s opening night. In fact, enough for any film fan to repeat the day three times.
Emerging filmmaker Trey Edward Shults’ trajectory has been rising. His first two films, KRISHA and the lesser IT COMES AT NIGHT, packed a wallop and put him on the map. His latest, WAVES, is his most complete vision. Shults, who worked with Terrence Mallick earlier this decade, took all of Mallick’s best qualities and put them into a bombastic piece of work that’s bursting at the seams with youthful energy.
[TIFF Review] ‘MARRIAGE STORY’ – Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver hit career highs in powerful drama
Noah Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY is a deeply personal film about a disintegrating marriage. It equally shows both sides with compassion, understanding and (ultimately) frustration. The story doesn’t place blame on either one of its protagonists, and it’s a wonderfully helpful tutorial guide for couples to cope with their feelings together.
[TIFF Review] ‘UNCUT GEMS’- Adam Sandler goes off the rails in the Safdie brothers’ delirious crime-comedy
Adam Sandler has turned in a fair share of cringe-worthy characters over his 30-year career. His performance in UNCUT GEMS, however, is a diamond in the rough. In Josh and Benny Safdie’s follow-up to their excellent dirty New York crime-comedy GOOD TIME, the sibling directors steer Sandler toward a commanding use of his energy.
Steven Soderbergh is a director that will not conform to dull narrative practices. The virtuoso filmmaker is all over the place with his latest, THE LAUNDROMAT. But it kind of works. The speedy comedy works as a rededication for 2016 Panama Papers leak.
[TIFF Review] ‘JOKER’ lives up to the hype, delivers a knock-out Joaquin Phoenix performance and film
The film is bound to inspire the wrong type of crowd. Some will see the origin story of the clowned price as a rallying cry for the oppressed and abandoned. But Phillips is holding up a mirror to our society with a cautionary tale. It looks for human decency rather than anarchic wish fulfillment.
[TIFF Review] ‘FORD v FERRARI’- Matt Damon and Christian Bale go vroom-vroom in this bland sports drama
FORD v FERRARI is a movie made for the bygone era. It’s a sports drama that’s an eye-rolling look at the spirit of competition. Coming off of LOGAN, director James Mangold chronicles the saga of the Ford motor company’s ventures into the world of endurance racing, and it’s a real clunker – a true meat and potatoes film with an outdated look at its subject matter.
[TIFF Review] ‘BAD EDUCATION’ – Hugh Jackman shines in comedy-drama that should have hit the cinematic books
Hugh Jackman has been searching for his post -Wolverine acting identity. Kudos to the worldwide star who has danced in musicals and been a disgraced presidential candidate. Now, in Cory Finley’s occasionally effective but middling sophomore feature, BAD EDUCATION, Jackman plays a corrupted educator.
[TIFF Review] ‘KNIVES OUT’ – Rian Johnson’s sleight-of-hand mystery hits like a brick with all its fun surprises
James Clay // Film Critic KNIVES OUT Rated R, 130 minutes.Director: Rian JohnsonCast: Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Toni Collette, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Noah Segan and Christopher Plummer TORONTO – Mysteries play out with hilarity in Rian Johnson’s incredibly entertaining whodunit, KNIVES OUT. The...
In the unlikely comedy JOJO RABBIT, Taika Waititi (director of THOR: RAGNAROK) portrays the world’s most hated man, Adolf Hitler, to great comedic effect. The film that’s being labeled by its own theatrical poster as an “anti-hate satire” sends up the Third Reich in the waining days of World War II as the allies are closing in on the German border.
[TIFF Review] ‘HONEY BOY’- Shia LaBeouf’s personal story works as a universally recognizable therapy session
HONEY BOY is a film that’s giving men a chance to work through their emotions from the inside out. It’s not about what’s existing on the exterior, but how to examine the egomania on the inside. LaBeouf’s love letter to himself is an extremely raw film. It could very well provide catharsis for many viewers as well.
[TIFF Review] ‘A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD’ – Tom Hanks is trustworthy as ever in this flawed Mr. Rogers biopic
In this film, Mr. Rogers spreads his wisdom around like fairy dust as he pops in with his oddly detached, yet sage advice. Heller’s film doesn’t have any magical realism elements. As influential the memory of Rogers is in the minds of millions of people, her film options him into an all-knowing presence.
James Clay // Film Critic THE FRIEND Rated R, 124 minutes.Director: Gabriela CowperthwaiteCast: Dakota Johnson, Jason Segel, Casey Affleck and Gwendoline Christie TORONTO – On paper, the new weepie cancer drama from filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite, titled THE FRIEND, plays like a Judd Apatow comedy, but slightly tweaked to add more fuzzy feelings...
Darius Marder’s film, SOUND OF METAL, takes the immersive approach. It closely follows heavy metal drummer Ruben (another knock-out performance from Riz Amed), who suddenly loses his hearing.
[TIFF Review] ‘JUST MERCY’ – Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx lay down the gavel in this powerful courtroom drama
James Clay // Film Critic JUST MERCY Rated PG-13, 136 minutes.Director: Destin Daniel Cretton, Cast: Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson and O’Shea Jackson Jr. TORONTO – There’s more to the film JUST MERCY than being a typical social-justice drama. Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s best asset (which he displayed in his...
A gloriously twisted story about class, greed, and deception. Bong Joon Ho’s film subtly morphs from a comedy and into a thriller, and (at times) it’ll dip its toes in the horror genre pool. There is no real way to put PARASITE in a box or even find a way to classify it.
[TIFF Review] ‘THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD’ – Dev Patel is back in top form with a whimsical big fish tale
THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD is the perfect Sunday afternoon picnic film. A perfectly friendly trip to a corner of Dickens’ work that’s nothing more than a wistful form of entertainment. If this is what it’s like to adapt classic British literature with modern values, sign Iannucci up to direct more projects just like this, please.
[TIFF Review] ‘HUMAN CAPITAL’ sees an exceptional ensemble driving an intriguing story with disappointing results
The film boasts an impressive cast, including Liev Scheider, Marisa Tomei, Peter Sarsgaard, Alex Wolfe, and STRANGER THINGS breakout star Maya Hawke. They are all attempting to craft characters who have an incredible amount of depth. But unfortunately, the film doesn’t support them and sees their characters swimming in ludicrousness.
Australia has developed an active roster of filmmakers. Often these talents craft harsh films that can reward viewers with an artistic vision. From the brutality of Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE to the spectacle of George Miller’s MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – even Baz Luhrman’s voice has resonated with audiences – filmmakers from the Land Down Under mine from a region that has a wealth of historic mythos. And that is precisely what director Justin Kurzel does with his latest film, TRUE HISTORY OF THE KELLY GANG.
James Clay // Film Critic CLEMENCY Rated R, 109 minutes.Director: Chinonye Chukwu Cast: Alfrie Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Danielle Brooks and Wendell Pierce TORONTO – Chinoye Chukwu’s film CLEMENCY represents the most sobering aspects of the criminal justice system. Taking place largely inside the walls of an unknown prison’s death row unit, a reluctant...
There has never been anything quite like THE LIGHTHOUSE. Robert Eggers’ highly anticipated follow-up to THE VVITCH operates on another planet.