Film Review: It Chapter Two

It Chapter Two, director Andy Muschietti’s followup to 2017’s wildly successful It, is a baffling hodgepodge of half-baked ideas. Every time the film has an interesting choice to make, it makes the wrong one, squandering its stellar cast and Stephen King’s rich mythology. Frustratingly overlong and exceedingly myopic, It Chapter Two is one of this year’s most disappointing horror blockbusters.

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Film Review: Ready or Not

A violent romp of class warfare, Ready or Not is a fun - if predictable - exercise in survival horror. Neither very insightful nor clever, the film is bolstered by a single silver lining: the undeniable charm of Samara Weaving. The Australian actress is far and away the best part of the movie, carrying its light narrative with her considerable charisma. And while Ready or Not may not be particularly deep, its B-movie thrills and kills are sure to guarantee at least a passably good time.

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Film Review: Tigers Are Not Afraid

Tigers Are Not Afraid, the new film from writer and director Issa López, is a haunting blend of fairy tale and horror. Bracing and fearless in its magical realism, the film navigates a nameless Mexican city in the throes of gang warfare and violence. Anchored by a stunning and precocious young cast, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a confident effort by López that combines affecting storytelling with a poignant message. Minor spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: The Nightingale

Uncompromising in its brutality, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale tackles a completely different type of real-life horror than the director’s 2014 feature debut, The Babadook. A savage treatise on the evils of man - both the species and the gender - The Nightingale is a gauntlet of violence and terror that also happens to be one of this year’s most powerful films. Buoyed by blistering performances from Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambarr, Kent’s sophomore effort is as enthralling as it is difficult to watch. Minor spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, is a nostalgia-laden love letter to Hollywood during the Summer of Love. A project that feels deeply personal, the film dials down the director’s penchant for provocation and sensationalism, and instead delivers a mature snapshot of friendship, vintage Tinseltown, and a time that has escaped our grasp. Elevated by the powerful trio of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and a radiant Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is some of the best filmmaking that 2019 has to offer.

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10 Lesser Known Found Footage Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of The Blair Witch Project’s 1999 theatrical release. Love it or hate it, the film left an indelible legacy within the horror genre, shifting the paradigm to a bold type of filmmaking that would soon become an industry mainstay. With their lower budget requirements and DIY aesthetic, found footage films get a bad rap, but with an anyone-can-do-it approach also comes a trove of hidden gems. Today, we’re looking past the horrors of The Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity, and diving into some more obscure waters. Here are, in no particular order, 10 lesser known found footage horror films that are worth your time…

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Under the Radar: The Phenom

Under the Radar is a column by Strange Harbors that explores hidden gems in pop culture. Whether it's a little seen film, an underappreciated television show, or a forgotten comic, there's a lot of quality stuff out there that goes relatively unnoticed. This column's job is to shine an oft-needed light on these overlooked, but ultimately worthwhile, works. This week, we'll be taking a look at The Phenom, Noah Buschel’s under-seen film that powerfully tracks a talented young pitcher and his fraught relationship with his father.

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Film Review: The Farewell

Director Lulu Wang’s sophomore feature-length film, The Farewell, is one of the year’s best. As a second-generation Chinese American myself, the film hits particularly close to home in a way I never expected to see on the big screen - a transcendent examination of the gap between cultures and generations, The Farewell is a funny and emotionally poignant portrait of a family and the secrets it keeps. Minor spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Midsommar

Midsommar, a harrowing tale of grief steeped in uncomfortable folk horror, is a confident and gut-wrenching sophomore effort from director Ari Aster. With his second feature-length film, Aster proves that Hereditary was no fluke, and solidifies himself as a new master of squirm-inducing terror. Florence Pugh absolutely owns the role of Dani Ardor with a breathtaking performance, and cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski directs some of the most beautifully disturbing imagery seen in cinema this year. Minor spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom Holland’s second standalone appearance as the friendly neighborhood web-head, is a worthy followup to 2017’s Homecoming and a strangely fitting end for Marvel’s Phase Three. A confident mix of humor, action, and comic book zaniness, Far From Home’s sleight-of-hand pulls off effective and high-impact twists and turns, even when you see them coming. With an assist from Jake Gyllenhaal’s captivating performance as Quentin Beck, the film is one of Marvel’s best in recent memory. Mild spoilers ahead…

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TV Review: Jett

While HBO and Netflix are currently hogging the premium cable and streaming spotlights, Cinemax (itself an HBO spin-off) has been operating in the background, churning out respectable entertainment right under everyone’s noses. In addition to its thrilling Bruce Lee passion project, Warrior, Cinemax has crafted yet another winner with its twisty neo-noir crime drama, Jett. Minor spoilers ahead...

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Revisiting 1988's Child's Play

With the remake being released this Friday, now is as good a time as any to take a look back at 1988’s cult classic, Child’s Play. Written by franchise legend Don Mancini and directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night, Thinner), Child’s Play sees the birth of one of horror’s greatest monsters: Chucky. How does the original killer doll hold up, and what makes him so special? Let’s find out. Spoilers ahead…

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TV Review: Swamp Thing

DC Universe’s third live-action original series, Swamp Thing, debuted less than two weeks ago, but has already been mysteriously and unceremoniously canceled. But like many one-season wonders can tell you, just because something has been canceled doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time. An enthralling blend of body horror, Southern Gothic, and comic book weirdness, Swamp Thing is the best version of itself. Minor spoilers ahead...

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Film Review: The Perfection

Netflix’s The Perfection is a nasty little film that has lofty aspirations. Part love story, part body horror, and part revenge tale, director Richard Shepard aims high with his twist-laden story, but is never fully able to rise above the trappings of B-movie camp. Elevated by some fantastically deranged performances from Allison Williams and Logan Browning, The Perfection is popcorn fare disguised as high-brow horror. Mild spoilers ahead...

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TV Review: Game of Thrones - "The Iron Throne"

Welcome to the Strange Harbors review of the final season of Game of Thrones. Typically, I tend to avoid posting recaps/reviews of single, individual episodes, but Game of Thrones is a cultural behemoth that deserves a more in-depth look at each installment, especially in its last six episodes. Each recap/review of the final season will be written from my perspective as A Song of Ice and Fire book-reader and a fan of the show. Today, we will be covering the series finale, titled “The Iron Throne.” Spoilers ahead…

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Under the Radar: Five Minutes of Heaven

Under the Radar is a column by Strange Harbors that explores hidden gems in pop culture. Whether it's a little seen film, an underappreciated television show, or a forgotten comic, there's a lot of quality stuff out there that goes relatively unnoticed. This column's job is to shine an oft-needed light on these overlooked, but ultimately worthwhile, works. This week, we'll be taking a look at Five Minutes of Heaven, Oliver Hirschbiegel’s under-seen film that tracks two men from different sides of the Irish political divide.

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TV Review: Game of Thrones - "The Bells"

Welcome to the Strange Harbors review of the final season of Game of Thrones. Typically, I tend to avoid posting recaps/reviews of single, individual episodes, but Game of Thrones is a cultural behemoth that deserves a more in-depth look at each installment, especially in its last six episodes. Each recap/review of the final season will be written from my perspective as A Song of Ice and Fire book-reader and a fan of the show. Today, we will be covering the fifth episode of Season 8, titled “The Bells.” Spoilers ahead…

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TV Review: Warrior Season 1

Cinemax brings a healthy dose of Asian representation to premium cable with its new martial arts western, Warrior. Originally pitched for television in the 1970s by Bruce Lee, the series’ original incarnation was mothballed for over four decades until it was picked up by producers Jonathan Tropper (Banshee) and Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious). While Warrior continues the Cinemax tradition of graphic sex and violence, along with a reach that is sometimes beyond its grasp, it is also a compelling look at the bloody Tong Wars of 1870s San Francisco. Buoyed by frenetic martial arts action and strong female performances, Warrior admirably fills the void left by the end of Cinemax’s Banshee and Strike Back. Minor spoilers ahead…

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