Movie Review: 7 WITCHES – low budget and a waaaaay too short running time dilute this indie horror’s potential. Could, and should, have been better.

One of my favourite horror elements is that of black magic, specifically witchcraft, and specifically performed by witches.  I never really took too much to the idea of wizards or warlocks – there’s just something about female practitioners of black magic that appeals to me, they seem darker, somehow.  Not that men can’t – the real world has a much higher ration of evil men to evil women, and maybe that’s where the appeal lies; it’s different in the world of the supernatural.  And I will be even more specific here – I prefer younger witches to the old ones.  Like the archetype of the vampire, there’s a strongly sexual appeal in the youthful-looking witch image.  They’re women who yield power confidently, unafraid, unrestrained.  I’ve always had a thing for Samantha from Bewitched, and Samantha Robinson as The Love Witch is about as sexy (and sociopathic) a practitioner as you could possibly find.  The movie 7 Witches features a another darkly sppealing witch, as part of a familial coven.  I watched this movie last night, knowing nothing about it, arriving as it did from a mysterious benefactor …

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Movie Review: THE VOID – successfully blends its many obvious influences into an entertaining piece of indie horror.

An old school friend of mine shares much the same interest in indie horror as me, so when he recommended The Void, I didn’t waste any time in requesting a copy.  As soon as I started watching it, I realized that I heard about this way back in the distant past of 2016, when it debuted to a strong critical reception at Fantastic Fest, the Texas film festival co-founded by Ain’t It Cool’s Harry Knowles.  The Canadian movie has already garnered a cult following, and it’s not hard to see why.

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Movie Review: SHUT IN – a good performance from Naomi Watts overshadowed by the spectacularly bad “WTF?” reveal.

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If there’s one single thing about movie marketing I absolutely cannot stand, it’s the bait and switch.  It usually happens when either the studio knows they have a dog on their hands through test marketing, or they find themselves with a movie on their hands that defies a target market.  I remember there was a big stink from fans of the 2012 movie John Carter, based on the John Carter of Mars series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, because of a weak and ineffective marketing campaign.  The trouble here was with the movie, a wretched piece of badly written drivel.  When movies can spend close to $100 million alone on marketing, sometimes a movie is just so poor that the studio cuts its losses and declines to throw good money after bad.  An example of not knowing who to market to is the recent movie A Monster Calls, with an ad campaign that tried to appeal to the same crowd as those who loved The Iron Giant and The BFG.  Last night’s movie, Shut In, is a classic example of marketing bait and switch.

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Movie Review: A MONSTER CALLS – beautiful, poignant modern fable that left me in tears. A must-see.

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I hadn’t even heard of A Monster Calls until a few weeks ago, and then only had some interest because it starred Felicity Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), whom I like.  Had no idea what the story was about (it’s adapted by Patrick Ness, from his novel of the same name), or if it was live action or animated.  The movie poster is vague to say the least, as you can see.  I put it on the back burner.  Last week I read a short blurb that gave off an Iron Giant kind of vibe, and that kind of tied into the poster.  Not like I had a ton of enthusiasm, but whatever was there ebbed away a little.  Listen, not like I don’t love The Iron Giant like everyone else, but I don’t need to see a knock off.  Movie came, movies went, and last night while home alone I decided to watch a double bill.  The second movie was The Eyes Of My Mother, first was A Monster Calls.  And frankly, it blew me away.

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Movie Review: I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER – welcome return of Max Records, but this small town dark drama is almost overpowered by an early plot twist.

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For me, the most notable thing about I Am Not A Serial Killer (other than the horrendous title) is that fact that it’s headlined by Max Records, the child star of Spike Jonze’s excellent 2009 adaptation of Where The Wild Things are.  I remember seeing The Sitter theatrically, but completely forgot about it, and by extension the fact that Records made another movie.  His headlining role surprised me because the movie also stars Christopher Lloyd – regardless of who the movie is actually about, Records wouldn’t necessarily be the first name in the credits with Lloyd also in the production, so it would have been great to have been a fly on the walls of those contract negotiations.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter – Records absolutely deserves his billing.

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Movie Review: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS – an absorbing, frustrating dark drama with a terrific Michael Shannon performance at its core.

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The new year is only two weeks old, but Nocturnal Animals is likely going to make my top 5 movies of 2017.  I saw this a couple of days ago on my birthday, a few weeks after being disappointed that it had already left the major theater chains here in Minnesota around Christmas, and I left the movie impressed.  It’s hard to ignore a movie with a cast boasting Jake Gyllenhaal (Enemy), Amy Adams (Arrival), and Michael Shannon (Midnight Special), and even though I still haven’t seen Tom Ford’s first movie, A Single Man,  I remembered the good buzz around it.  On the strength of this sophomore effort, I’ll move it up the queue.

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Movie Review: THE VOICES

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Few movies are so inconsistent in tone that I’m compelled to comment about that one aspect, but such is The Voices, staring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool, Self/Less), Gemma Arterton (Byzantium), and Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air, Pitch Perfect).  I stumbled across this the other week, and was intrigued by the premise, and the fact it seemed like an odd choice for Reynolds, whom I consider a solid lead actor.  The poster itself sets up a quirky, offbeat black comedy, but like many posters that try to sell a different kind of product to the public, this one is grossly misleading.

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