Posts in Film
Film Review: Joker

Joker, director Todd Phillips’ long-awaited - and controversial - take on the Clown Prince of Crime, is a prime example of a film whose architecture outstrips its narrative. Even with Joaquin Phoenix’s no-holds-barred performance, Hildur Guðnadóttir’s thunderous score, and Lawrence Sher’s stunning cinematography, Joker is nothing more than a shallow homunculus of better films. Mild spoilers ahead…

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Film Review: Ad Astra

Sprawling in its vision and intimate in scope, director James Gray follows up The Lost City of Z with his affecting space drama, Ad Astra. Brad Pitt puts forth one of the most subdued - yet poignant - performances of his career as astronaut Roy McBride. A powerful meditation on fathers, sons, and masculinity, Ad Astra profoundly deconstructs a traditional character archetype with a deft hand. Mild spoilers ahead…

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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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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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