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Warmed Over, by Barnabas Prontnicki

21 Jul

Over the weekend I made chicken sandwiches from a recipe entitled “Copycat Chic-Fil-A Sandwiches.” I also watched a movie where a discontented, immature male relived the same day over and over again and was only shaken from his mundane life by trying to win over a lady love interest. You may have heard of it, it’s called Groundhog, er, Palms Springs.

When I first saw a trailer for Palm Springs, I was excited. It looked funny, and while some are put off by Andy Samberg (who plays the lead, Nyles), I rather enjoy him. But my main question was, “Is this going to be any different from Groundhog Day?”

The answer: Not really.

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Strange Tides, by Reed Lackey

20 Jul

Strong horror stories thrive on the mysterious and the unknown. They are anchored in a sense of atmosphere and emotional evocation that, when most effective, connect with us on a visceral level. That effectiveness can often be undermined, however, by a listless sense of scope or underdeveloped elements. The Beach House, the debut feature film by Jeffrey A. Brown, walks a thin line between what works and what frustrates to create a film with several memorable sequences, even if the whole of the experience remains somewhat lacking.

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Typical Madness, by Tober Corrigan

18 Jul

Sometimes a film hits all the right personal preference buttons yet still leaves you underwhelmed. That was my experience with Shirley, Josephine Decker’s loosely autobiographical account of fiction writer Shirley Jackson’s years in North Bennington, Vermont. It really gets the process of imagining characters and bringing fiction to life in your head. It captures with great specificity both the intrigue and the trappings of elite university culture, particularly during the 1950s in America. Its depictions of what it means to be a woman, a wife, and a creative person are also excellently realized. Yet rather than boldly claiming new cinematic territory with these themes and concepts, I found the film, in both style and storytelling, to vary little from the lineage of films that have covered this same ground. 

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Plenty of Time, by Bob Connally

18 Jul

Going into Palm Springs, I had not seen a trailer. I knew who the two leads were and a friend of mine had told me she’d enjoyed it. That’s it. So when it very suddenly becomes something more than a standard rom-com about 15 minutes in it comes as quite a shock. If you have not watched the trailer and want to go into the film completely unspoiled then I recommend simply going to Hulu and watching the movie before reading the rest of this review so you can be as surprised as I was. Also, that makes this easier for me as it’s really impossible to review Palm Springs by dancing around the bulk of the movie.

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Brutish Squad, by Bob Connally

12 Jul

The premise of The Old Guard sounds like a teenage boy saying, “What if Highlander but Furiosa is John Wick?!” The resulting film feels as though it was written by a teenage boy. Basing it upon his own graphic novel series of the same name, Greg Rucka’s screenplay is full of cringe-inducing dialogue delivered by actors who are either trying to hide their own embarrassment or whose weaknesses are only exposed by it. The only exception to this is Chiwetel Ejiofor who is giving it his all as a character potentially more interesting than the immortal leads of the film. In his relatively small role, he’s better than this movie deserves.

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Breathless, by Bob Connally

11 Jul

As the grandson of not one but two men who served in the United States Navy during the Second World War and the son of a naval officer who was in the Mediterranean the day I was born, it’s fair to say I have a connection to the world Greyhound takes place in. That being said, my only real experience with naval vessels has been from ship tours and of course, war movies. Greyhound feels a bit different from most seafaring war movies in that its brief 92 minutes are filled to the brim with almost nonstop action. In this sense, it’s a far cry from Das Boot, where it’s around the 90-minute mark of the full miniseries cut before any action even occurs. The resulting film is fast-paced and certainly holds one’s attention though it doesn’t have anywhere near the sense of tension of Das Boot and it’s unlikely to have the high rewatchability in years to come of The Hunt For Red October.

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Episode 230: I Still Believe

10 Jul

In this episode, Tyler is joined by Kevin McCreary to discuss the Erwin Brothers’ I Still Believe and Brad Silberling’s Moonlight Mile.

Synthesized Terror, by Bob Connally

7 Jul

If you’ve been watching movies and TV for the past decade and a half, then you’ve certainly noticed ’80s nostalgia being a big part (sometimes too big a part) of our pop culture landscape. The most unabashed and probably the most famous example of this has been Stranger Things, the ’80s set kids adventure, sci-fi, horror series that is packed with references to the films and shows of that era. There are numerous ’80s pop hits on the soundtrack and the show’s original score is pure synthwave. 

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Episode 229: The Vast of Night

21 Jun

In this episode, Tyler discusses Andrew Patterson’s The Vast of Night and John Carpenter’s The Thing.

Faith-based Optimism, by Bob Connally

10 May

Why are Christian movies so terrible? That’s a question many of us have been asking now for decades. The answer is simple really. Low production values, inexperienced actors, inexperienced directors, but most of all, cringe-inducing screenplays that lead with their message. They become films designed to be sermons more than movies. In his new documentary, Reel Redemption: The Rise of Christian Cinema, Tyler Smith of course examines those aspects of Christian filmmaking but he also goes much deeper into the relationship between Christianity and Hollywood over the past century.

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