Movie Review: Duel (1971)

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Rating: B/ Steven Spielberg’s feature film debut is a high concept thriller focusing on the world’s worst case of road rage leaving a man fighting for his life. Essentially two people (one almost entirely unseen throughout the entire film) and one long car chase, with a few intermittent breaks for the introduction of a few new minor settings or characters, Duel is the mostly compelling story of the worst day of a man’s life. It doesn’t have a huge budget, and you don’t entirely care what happens to the smug protagonist, but the use of clever cinematography and Weaver’s tense performance cut past the budget restraints and the viewer’s lack of sympathy for the main character. Continue reading Movie Review: Duel (1971)

Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

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Rating: C+/ Why don’t they just leave? That was the question plaguing my mind as I watched The Invitation, a indie thriller sporting a scant premise that goes on at least twenty minutes longer than it should. When a guest at the dinner party from hell finally tries to get the fuck out of there, I idly wondered why someone didn’t get that exact same idea like half an hour ago. The cringe factor is high, but the film itself is a little bit dull and the payoff unrewarding, despite some great performances from the little-known cast of talented actors. Continue reading Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

Movie Review: Blue Velvet (1986)

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Rating: C+/ I honestly don’t know if Lynch has created a profound work of art or an extended rape/bondage fetish fantasy on film. Blue Velvet is a movie where nobody behaves like a human being should, characters go on long, bizarre tangents for interminable lengths of time, and the lead female is treated as a hysterical piece of sex meat. Yet there is a kind of an artistry here, in the haunting nature of the imagery and the bizarre atmosphere Lynch invokes that lurks behind a picturesque suburban community. I can’t claim to understand this movie, but there is a genuinely sinister vibe and a beautiful visual element. Continue reading Movie Review: Blue Velvet (1986)

Movie Review: Blue Ruin (2013)

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Rating: A/  As far as I can tell, one of the great mysteries of the modern age is why Macon Blair’s career didn’t go wild after being in this movie. Blair plays Dwight, and let me tell you, he makes one hell of an entrance. A traumatized homeless vagrant with achingly sad, lost eyes, Dwight is a guy for whom jumping out of a window naked after sneaking a bath on the sly is the extent of his criminal activity, but that’s before a compassionate police officer takes him to the station and gently informs him that ‘he’ has gotten out of prison. Continue reading Movie Review: Blue Ruin (2013)

TV Review: Stranger Things (2016)

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Rating: A/ Y’know, my dad actually had a point when he said that Netflix streaming service has been doing way better than cable TV lately. With a few big failures (I’m looking at you, Adam Sandler,) Netflix has been coming up with a number of good original TV shows and movies, and Stranger Things, a send up of 80’s sci-fi adventure movies that manages to be both disturbing and whimsical, is no exception. Containing only two weak points on it’s cast (the overacted Winona Ryder and the flat Natalia Dyer,) Stranger Things is a treat for Science Fiction nerds and Science Fiction newbies alike, offering a pastiche of references to movies from a bygone era. government conspiracies, parallel dimensions, and gooey alien attacks that will make you squeal with geekdom. Continue reading TV Review: Stranger Things (2016)

Movie Review: Sing Street (2016)

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Rating: A-/ Fifteen-year-old Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is in a bit of a bind. His squabbling parents (Aidan Gillen and Maria Doyle Kennedy) are officially broke and have decided to transfer him from his posh private school to a tough inner city Dublin school, which it soon becomes clear is a complete hellhole where the students go totally fucking Lord of the Flies and the teachers sit back and  do nothing. Bullied on his first day by the virulent Barry (Ian Kenny,) Conor finds a release by starting a band with some classmates to impress an aspiring model (Lucy Boynton) one year his senior, despite not knowing the first thing about music. Continue reading Movie Review: Sing Street (2016)

Movie Review: The Purge (2013)

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Rating: B-/  Okay, The Purge is not a great movie. But I think the 5.6 rating on IMDb is a little harsh, because although this isn’t a subtle or masterful film, it is an entertaining one that manages to raise some interesting questions. I was definitely intrigued by the premise right off the bat, as far-fetched as it is. And despite the issues with the script, which I will go into momentarily, this movie kept my interest from beginning to end. Continue reading Movie Review: The Purge (2013)

A Fangirl's Rants about Movies, TV, and Literature

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