Author's posts

Impractical Jokers: The Movie

Joe Gatto, Salvatore Vulcano, Brian “Q” Quinn, and James “Murr” Murray hit comedy gold when they came up with the concept of being the Impractical Jokers—a quartet of friends where one person (with an earpiece) is put into an embarrassing candid camera situation, following the instructions of the other three until they can’t anymore. As their …

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To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You

The end of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was downright John Hughes-ian, including a big kiss between Lara Jean Song-Covey and Peter Kavinsky on a football field meant to echo Judd Nelson’s pumped fist at the end of “The Breakfast Club.” Depending on the viewer, this was either a major victory or a …

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Hulu’s Ambitious Utopia Falls Mixes Sci-Fi, Hip-Hop and Cheesy Teen Drama

“Utopia Falls” is a new sci-fi series about how the discovery of hip-hop can inspire individual liberation, and seeing even a supposedly perfect world in a whole new way. It’s dressed up like dystopian YA series of past (“The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” for example), but instead of a revolution that starts with violence, it’s the …

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Cane River

“Cane River” is a cinematic valentine straight from the mind and soul of writer/director Horace B. Jenkins, who died before the project’s original release in 1982. It’s the only movie that he directed, and it was made with an all African American cast and crew. Newly restored by IndieCollect (from a print acquired by the …

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USA Network’s Briarpatch is Not Worth the Visit

USA Network tries to conjure up their own “Twin Peaks” with the highly self-amused mystery series, “Briarpatch” (premiering on February 6). Based on the book by Ross Thomas, the series leans into that comparison by focusing on a small town of eccentrics that leads one detective toward a larger underground conspiracy. They even have the same …

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Sundance 2020: Boys State, A Thousand Cuts, The Social Dilemma

Sometimes you see a slew of young faces in the midst of amazing circumstances, and you can just tell what they’re going to be like in 10 or even 50 years from now. “Boys State” takes place on such an edge of maturity, as it follows a group of high school-age political science nerds in …

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The Best Films of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Almost everyone in Park City agreed that this year was one of the strongest overall slates in a long time. Yes, the fest seemed to lack a true breakout like “Manchester by the Sea” or “Brooklyn” – films you instantly knew would be talked about all year – but the overall “yeah, that was pretty …

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The Best Performances of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival

Our team of writers saw around a hundred movies this year, featuring dozens of performances we loved. What’s so wonderful about these particular acting turns is the breadth of style contained within this feature. A festival like Sundance offers an opportunity to see familiar faces reaching a new level as performers alongside brand new names …

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Sundance 2020: The Last Shift, Dream Horse, Tesla

Richard Jenkins gives one of his most soulful performances in years in Andrew Cohn’s “The Last Shift,” a drama about one man’s devotion to his job, and the ways in which is employer takes advantage of his pride. From when we first see him—crafting a chicken specialty he calls the “Stanwich”—Jenkins’ everyman quality is put to …

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Sundance 2020: Run Sweetheart Run, The Nowhere Inn

A fascinating meta odyssey of rock stardom, Bill Benz’s “The Nowhere Inn” is a perfect antidote-turned-hallucinogenic for the festival’s opening night Taylor Swift documentary, “Miss Americana.” It raises a great question that not music documentaries do: “Just how boring are rock stars when they get off stage?” That’s the case with Annie Clark, known in rock music …

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Sundance 2020: The 40-Year-Old Version, Farewell Amor, Sylvie’s Love

Radha Blank stars as Radha in “The 40-Year-Old Version,” a black-and-white New York story where Blank takes her own experiences as a creative and turns them into a funny, often crowd-pleasing venture about a woman getting her talents out there. She’s an instructor for a playwriting class full of goofy but supportive teens, and also a playwright …

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Sundance 2020: Charm City Kings, Save Yourselves!, Blast Beat

Angel Manuel Soto’s “Charm City Kings” is a movie with big dreams. It wants to bring you into a rich world through the exhilarating spectacle of dirt bike riding, and also tell the timeless story of a boy becoming a man with the right and wrong influences. And it wants to do so with a …

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Horse Girl

Alison Brie stars in “Horse Girl” as Sarah, a socially awkward craft store employee whose mental health is rapidly deteriorating. The history of mental illness within her family, particularly that of her grandmother, is not on the forefront of her mind as images from her dreams start to blend into reality. Written by Brie and director …

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Sundance 2020: La Llorona, Impetigore

Premiering under Sundance’s “Spotlight” selection (after previously making its way to the Venice and Toronto film festivals), is Jayro Bustamante’s “La Llorona,” a slow-burn horror movie that grapples with genocide in the director’s country of Guatemala, and a need for justice. It’s worth noting from the pitch that this isn’t the type of horror movie …

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The Last Thing He Wanted

Dee Rees’ “The Last Thing He Wanted” is incomprehensible to an almost impressive degree—usually when a movie’s narrative gets so out of control, it over-corrects itself at some point before the end. But not here. This international anti-thriller, which freely mixes hardworking journalism and weapons smuggling, continues to blaze its own path of gibberish up through a …

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Downhill

Every movie, even a remake, deserves to be viewed on its own merits. But that’s easier stated than done when you have a film like “Downhill,” a largely inferior American knockoff which is far less dynamic than the 2014 dark comedy it is based on. Not that this project didn’t come together with some inspiration, …

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Sundance 2020: Exil, Jumbo

From Germany, writer/director Visar Morina’s “Exil” is a quietly nightmarish character study about the daily paranoia of being intentionally left out—something that everyone experiences, but very few people dare make movies about. With an extremely tempered performance from Mišel Matičević the film puts those feelings under a microscope, and turns all of those moments of sitting …

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Sundance 2020: Spree, Feels Good Man

Only a mad man like Eugene Kotlyarenko could have made the bloody, brilliant social media satire that is Sundance NEXT title “Spree.” He’s always had fresh critical ideas about how communication through modern technology leads to distorted experiences, whether it’s the AOL Instant Messenger boxes that dramatize the slacker comedy of his 2011 debut “0s and 1s,” …

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Sundance 2020: High Tide, Summer White

In Verónica Chen’s Argentinian film “High Tide,” a woman does what she wants with her body, and then has to put up with leering men and their disgusting lack of boundaries. Laura (Gloria Carrá) decides that she does indeed want to have sex with Weissman (Jorge Sesán), the boss of the workers who are fixing up …

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Sundance 2020: His House, The Night House

The last film to get its world premiere as part of Sundance’s Midnight program was Remi Weekes’ “His House,” the kind of confident debut that from start-to-finish feels like beholding a major new vision in horror. “His House” shows Weekes’ already wide range in creating the unsettling to making scenes that will make audiences scream, …

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