Posts in Film
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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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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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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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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Film Review: Avengers: Endgame

The end is here. The Marvel Cinematic Universe wraps up its long-running “Infinity Saga” with the messy, convoluted, and thematically satisfying Avengers: Endgame. The 22nd film in a franchise spanning over a decade, Marvel architects Joe and Anthony Russo compose a resonant coda to a story that began with 2008’s Iron Man, but also create a new breed of spectacle that defies criticism and filmmaking logic. Minor spoilers ahead...

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Film Review: Pet Sematary

The 2019 Pet Sematary remake deviates wildly from previous iterations, but the fable remains the same: let sleeping cats lie. Directed by the relatively green duo of Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and starring familiars like Jason Clark, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, the film touts few impressive scares, but wins points for its ultra-eerie and unsettling ambience. Minor spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Shazam!

The seventh entry in the DC Extended Universe, Shazam! continues Warner Brothers’ quest to find its footing among superhero features. Bringing in a remarkable sense of humor and fun, the film is the DCEU’s best installment yet. Shazam! coasts on the charms of its young cast plus the shenanigans of Zachary Levi in the title role, and is able to transcend its cookie-cutter villain and third act doldrums with an upbeat confidence. Mild spoilers ahead…

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Revisiting 1989's Pet Sematary

What Stephen King calls his most frightening novel makes for a bloody, but muddled film. Directed by Mary Lambert and penned by King, Pet Sematary is written faithfully close to its source material, but stiff acting and off-balance pacing dampen its effectiveness. Packed with 80s camp, including some stellar gore and creepy-kid horror riding off the coat-tails of 1988’s Child’s Play, the film is vintage fun, but is probably viewed through rose-colored glasses. Die-hard King fans may be able to appreciate the sickly silliness, but not if they’re searching for a sincere scare.  

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Film Review: Us

Us, writer and director Jordan Peele’s followup to 2017’s Oscar-winning Get Out, cements the filmmaker’s well-deserved reputation as horror’s “next big thing.” A whirlwind of humor, thrills, and creepy imagery, the film is a living denial of the sophomore slump, even if it never reaches the airtight highs of his debut. Along with cinematographer Mike Gioulakis (It Follows) and a tour de force cast, Peele supplies a gorgeously crafted narrative and bracing social commentary, but also falls short of true greatness with his penchant for hand-holding and blunt-force messaging. Mild spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Dragged Across Concrete

In today’s sensitive political climate, a film like Dragged Across Concrete is sure to prod, offend, and enrage. The third feature from writer and director S. Craig Zahler, the film is a perfect cauldron of incendiary messaging - from its casting to its characters and narrative, Dragged Across Concrete teems with nasty provocations that will undoubtedly cut against the grain of all liberal sensibility. But, Zahler’s latest is also an effective and engrossing police thriller that paints realistic portraits of its characters, rough edges and all. As a left-leaning member of today’s society, my experience with the film is a curious paradox: a cautious and hesitant appreciation for a stylized and violent tour de force, even if it is steeped in a harrowing backwards morality. Mild spoilers below…

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Film Review: Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female-led superhero flick, sees the highly anticipated (and also unfortunately controversial) debut of Brie Larson as the titular super-heroine. Directed by indie film duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel is the living embodiment of some of the MCU’s worst tendencies, but still ends up being an enjoyable ride and a fine introduction for Carol Danvers. The film’s uneven pacing, muted character beats, and boring CGI spectacle leaves a lot on the table, but are outweighed by the script’s humor and Brie Larson’s fun and easy chemistry with Samuel L. Jackson. Mild spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Greta

Not trashy enough to be low-brow, but not nuanced enough to be high-brow, director Neil Jordan’s Greta instead finds itself in a rote and disposable middle ground. Even with the talents of Chloë Grace Moretz and the inimitable Isabelle Huppert, the film struggles to rise above a tedious script and paper-thin characterizations. Greta offers some basic thrills and a bevy of interesting individual moments, but none of it is enough to make the film particularly memorable. Minor spoilers ahead…

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