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The Hilarious Jason Mantzoukas Elevates “The Long Dumb Road”

By Joe Shelton The Long Dumb Road treads one of the most trodden trails in American movies: the one where two mismatched travelers find themselves thrown together and, ostensibly, learn something from one another.  The best-loved examples are probably Planes, Trains and Automobiles, or if you’re an antiquarian, It Happened One Night.  Maybe the Road To…

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Neverending Man: Hayao Miyazaki: Fly-On-the-Wall to Artistic Purpose

By Kari Bowles It must be said upfront that I am an ardent fan of Hayao Miyazaki; when asked who I consider the greatest living film director, I offer up Miyazaki. From his feature debut The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979, to the Academy Award winning Spirited Away in 2002, up to The Wind Rises…

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Holmes and Watson Is Depressingly Bad, But Why Not Rent It Anyway?

I grew up with Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live.  In those ancient times, post-AOL but pre-Google, call it the Ask Jeeves years, Will Ferrell was pretty hilarious.  He yelled and chewed the scenery, something like an absurdist Adam Sandler. And when Anchorman came out, I was still a dewy youth of 17, and consequently…

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“The Clovehitch Killer” Marks an Impressively Restrained Horror Debut

“The Clovehitch Killer” could have been a sort of dumb comedy, and its tale of a 16 year old boy who begins to suspect that his father (the local Boy Scout troupe leader) is an infamous serial killer could have been exploited for cheap, if black-humored, laughs.  But “The Clovehitch Killer” is a different kind…

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WW2 Zombie Flick “Overlord” Has a Lot of Fun Killing Nazis

Let’s get the review portion of the review out of the way early; “Overlord” is pretty good, and if you like zombie horror, WW2 flicks, or action-pulp video games like “Wolfenstein”, then you’re going to enjoy “Overlord”.  Its pleasingly splattery, and it spends its comparably thrifty budget on some nicely lurid special effects.  Ok, there…

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“Ralph Breaks the Internet” Makes You Wonder: Is the Internet a Fit Place for a Kid’s Movie?

It really makes you wonder why Disney, ostensibly one of our cultural gatekeepers supposedly providing wholesome, kid-friendly entertainment, chose to make Ralph Breaks the Internet, and not something less potentially morally compromising, like “Ralph Starts a Ponzi Scheme” or “Ralph Runs for Congress.” Making a kids’ movie set on the internet seems like almost as good…

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In “Halloween” (2018), America Finds Something On Which to Rely

What, in this era of declining faith in our national institutions, a world in which a 2018 Gallup poll reported that only 5% of the country reported that they had a “great deal” of confidence in Congress, can be relied on?  I mean really relied on, the way that Americans of yesteryear could rely on…

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“Bad Times at the El Royale” is as Ferociously Entertaining as it Is Long

Anyone could be forgiven for eyeing the 2 hour and 21 minute running time of “Bad Times at the El Royale” and being concerned that the film, a noir set almost entirely in a kitschy hotel one dark and stormy night in the late sixties, is going to be overlong and indulgent.  Nor would that…

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“The House with a Clock in its Walls” Shows a Kinder, Gentler, but Still Pretty Scary Eli Roth

Who, watching the climactic maimings of 2005’s torture-porn classic “Hostel” or the cannibal exploitation of the truly repugnant “The Green Inferno”, indeed, who could possibly have foreseen that the director of those paragons of good taste, Eli Roth, would end up making one of the warmest, most entertaining children’s films of 2018? Not me, that’s…

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“Sorry to Bother You” Was One of the Most Interesting Movies of 2018

Before I ever saw “Sorry to Bother You”, hip-hop artist-cum-filmmaker Boots Riley’s hilarious, transgressive satire, I had heard it compared to Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”, which sounded great — “Brazil” is probably my favorite movie of all time.  I love how deftly it mixes dystopic satire with absurdism, tragedy with comedy. Its also interesting because director…

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