Movie Review: RAW – daring, and different kind of horror movie, but the scenes of college life are cliche and banal.

Raw, the critically acclaimed French-Belgian movie written and directed by Julie Ducournau is described on many sites as a “cannibal” themed horror movie, but while that’s literally what happens in the movie, it’s as much about cannibalism as the Antonia Bird movie Ravenous was back in 1997.  Human flesh may be consumed here, but this is what Stephen King would call a vampire movie, using his archetypical definition in Danse Macabre, his fine non-fiction look at the horror genre.

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Movie Review: A SERBIAN FILM – it’s one of the most notorious movies ever made, but is it any good? A resounding YES.

It’s fair to say that A Serbian Film is the most vilified horror movie of our generation.  Other generations had Salo, Cannibal Holocaust, and The Men Behind The Sun, and A Serbian Film, made in 2011, joins the club of horror movies with scenes that are so extreme they come to define the movie itself.  I’m willing to bet that just like those other movies, A Serbian Film is also one the most vilified horror movies that’s actually never been seen by its harshest critics.  If you’ve heard of the movie, you’ve also heard of that scene, and you may have already made up your mind about it and decided not to see it – which would be a shame, because it’s a truly effective, character-driven horror movie.  I don’t often review movies older than a couple of years, but this is an exception.

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Movie Review: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN – a remake of the 1960s original that’s too bland and featureless to justify its own existence

Although I haven’t seen the original The Magnificent Seven for the best part of 20 years, I still retained enough memory of the plot to try comparing it with the 2016 Antoine Fuqua (Southpaw)/Denzel Washington, and from those hazy memories, there didn’t seem to be many large deviations from the plot.  Instead of a village being raided by bandits, it’s a small (and kind of unconvincing) western town bullied into submission by Bartholomew Bogue, a mining company owner (played by Peter Sarsgaard) who wants the surrounding land, and the vein of gold under it.  After a brutal opening wherein Sarsgaard’s armed goons kill a few of the more rebellious townsfolk, the widow of one takes it upon herself to seek vengeance, and a way to stop Bogue from plundering what remains of the townspeople’s land.

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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: GHOST IN THE SHELL – completely uninteresting adaptation of the famous manga franchise, that plays like bad 80s sci fi.

Ghost In The Shell, Scarlett Johansson’s most recent action movie, can barely be discussed without mentioning the newish cinematic pejorative “whitewashing” as an integral part of any criticism.  I’m not going to put any kind of sociopolitical slant on this review, but if you haven’t heard the term, it refers to white actors being cast in roles that certain groups believe should go to ethnic actors.  It’s not an entirely unfounded criticism (Matt Damon’s recent monster movie The Great Wall was called out for it), and certain movies kinda invite it openly.  Case in point, is Ghost In The Shell, based on the famous manga franchise.  It’s a particularly egregious example – not only does Scarlett Johannson play a character that pretty much should have been played by an Asian actress, but almost all of the main roles are played by white actors.  And they didn’t even bother to switch the action to the west either!

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Movie Review: CAPTURE KILL RELEASE – insultingly dumb, “shocking” found-footage indie horror that annoys more than it disturbs.

Ugh, expectation … it’s a cruel mistress.  Sometimes you get what you wanted, but most times once the thing you’re waiting for finally arrives, you think, “Man, I really hoped it would be better.”  And sometimes the reality is so badly out of sync with expectations, it’s almost wondrous.  My expectations for Trainspotting 2 were tempered by the fact that 21 years had passed since the beloved original movie, and that period encompassed a fair bit of change for me.  Capture Kill Release, on the other hand, showed up on my radar around early December 2016, and I finally got around to viewing it last night.  Talk about badly out of sync! This turned out to be one of the worst movies I’ve watched in recent years.  Knockout poster, though.

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Movie Review: TRAINSPOTTING 2 – good, but uneven sequel that favours sentimentality over the anarchic spirit of the original.

At least once in our lives we’ll be stricken with a certain trepidation about how the present matches up with memories of the past.  It can be an old flame that’s been rekindled over years; the reunion of a favourite band, the comeback of a sports idol, an attempt of ours to somehow recapture past glories, to see if we still have it.  Sometimes lightning can strike again, but more often than not we’re vaguely unsatisfied by version 2.0, and we begin to doubt ourselves.  Was the original time around really that good?  Are those memories seen through the rose coloured lenses of nostalgia?  There’s only one way to find out, though.

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