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‘Somebody’s Darling’ Shows Promise, But Ultimately Falls Flat

Set in 2006, Somebody’s Darling takes place on a university campus and centers on a fraternity house that throws posh cocktail parties instead of keggers. The frat brothers put on an air of Southern sophistication, but it doesn’t take long before we see a darker underbelly to the house.
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TIFF 2017: Beast

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Beast wasn’t in my original TIFF plans. Extremely limited press screenings forced me to blow up my schedule twice, but I saw the main things I wanted. Beast was a pick-up, from promising new filmmaker Michael Pearce. In the film, a woman is forced to defend her lover when he falls under suspicion for a series of brutal murders. While the film’s twists yank it a tad too far from the realm of believability, it’s a tense thriller and a quality debut.

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‘Buster’s Mal Heart’: Rami Malek Shines in Surreal But Broken Thriller

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Anyone who watches Mr. Robot knows how hypnotic Rami Malek’s presence can be. He’s mastered an aura of complicated blankness, his glinting, buggy eyes set deep in his flatly inexpressive face. Malek calls on that same bright, disturbed facade to propel the shambolic, disjointed thriller Buster’s Mal Heart from director Sarah Adina Smith. A head-scratcher with a twisty split narrative, the film’s an uneven study of one man’s descent into madness, held together by the force of Malek’s commanding distance.

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‘Get Out’ Gets It Right; Scores Big at the Box Office

One of the most anticipated thrillers of recent times opened this weekend, and audiences were ready and waiting for it. Here’s what went down:

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Get Out, the psychological thriller from Jordan Peele, debut in the top spot this weekend with an estimated $30.5 million, definitely on the high side of estimates. I had a chance to see Get Out on Friday night and it was outstanding. The performances from all the lead actors were excellent, it dealt with the subject matter of race relations in a unique method and was genuinely tense throughout its entire running time. My one let down was I was hoping the film would be significantly scarier that it actually was. Regardless, Get Out is a thriller that delivered and then some.  Read the rest of this entry

The Mixed Sense: Stylish Lavender clings to the familiar with creepy amnesiac tale

Ed Gass-Donnelly’s got style and atmosphere to burn, that’s for sure. In the opening moments of his new elegiac horror-thriller Lavender, we track into a frozen tableau of police investigating a grim crime scene in a rustic farmhouse. The cops hover like statues over sheet-draped bodies as the camera glides between them, coming to rest on a petrified girl slumped against a bedroom wall, clutching a bloody razor. As she stares blankly into us, we wonder, is this girl a killer? Why would she do such terrible things?

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Biff Bam Pop’s Alien Invasion rolls camera on Super 8

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When the trailer for JJ Abrams’ Super 8 first hit the public eye, everything about it seemed so mysterious. It appeared as a sort of supernatural film, but it was hard to be sure if it was about a monster or alien being. It looked like a government conspiracy film with the shots of the securely guarded cargo train winding through small town America.

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Marie Gilbert’s Review of 10 Cloverfield Lane

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I never got to see the first Cloverfield film in the Cloverfield franchise, but I’m not a big fan of “found footage” types of film; they give me motion sickness. That said I was excited to see the sequel, 10 Cloverfield Lane, which J.J. Abrams is quoted as saying is a spiritual successor. Did the second film live up to the hype? Find out after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

31 Days of Horror: Synchronicity

Chad McKnight stars as a time and space bending scientist in Jacob Gentry’s sci-fi noir Synchronicity

One of the many cool things Toronto After Dark does is they’ve pitched a wide tent for themselves. The gory heart of the festival is and will probably always be grand guignol horror, with its gouts of blood and maniacal glee. But they like to stretch out in other directions, too. Friday was sci-fi night, and I caught an offbeat futuristic thriller of sorts, a weird little gem called Synchronicity (2015). Not really a horror film per se, director Jacob Gentry’s edgy sci-fi noir is a time-traveling paean to Ridley Scott’s 80s masterpiece Blade Runner (1982). But can a low-budget indie live up to one of the most influential movies of the past forty years? Is that the future we’re living in?

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Sorcerer: A Forgotten Classic Blows Up Again?

There was no magic in the timing of William Friedkin’s 1977 release Sorcerer. An unusual thriller about four men transporting trucks full of nitroglycerin over treacherous jungle terrain to extinguish a raging oil fire, the film was a tremendous flop. How did the director of the massive hits The French Connection and The Exorcist fizzle with such an explosive concept? Join me after the jump to find out. (Just don’t click hard. This nitro’s going to go…) Read the rest of this entry

Comedy of Eros: Verhoeven’s Lurid Pair

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The cultural excavations of the 80s have reached near the bottom of that embarrassing crevasse (parachute pants! purple reigns!). It’s only logical then that our voracious fashion-media-money machine is spreading out to mine new (old) territory. Welcome to the 90s redux, ladies and gentles. To go along with your neo-grunge, what finer exemplars of 90s cinema can you have than two of director Paul Verhoeven’s trash classics, Basic Instinct (1992) and Showgirls (1995)? As part of their retrospective Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven, TIFF is showcasing both movies this week. And what a pair they are, chockablock with lurid dialogue, fevered plotting, twists and contortions and I’m not even talking about the sex. Join me for a peek on the seamy side of 90s life, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

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