Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Hall’ is a good idea held back by glacial pacing

Hall

Imagine that you need to escape. Your partner is abusive, and you’ve finally woken up. You take a family trip and stay in a fancy hotel. You are going to use this time to escape. This is the setup of Hall. Set almost entirely on one floor of a hotel, this drama has a woman who desperately wants to leave her husband and save her child but has never had a good opportunity until now. Unfortunately, something else is going on in the hotel.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘For the Sake of Vicious’ starts slow but ends big

For the Sake of Vicious

A home invasion is a nightmare scenario for anyone. Masked intruders coming into your home to do all manner of violence and cruelty. For the Sake of Vicious takes that idea and runs with it.

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Review: ‘Scare Me’ is more hilarious than scary, but it has a sting too

Scare Me

I can’t do religious or mental horror. For whatever reason, I get no enjoyment at all from jump-scares, or possessions, or demonic interactions. So when I say I love horror movies – and I really, really do – I definitely mean those films that have an extra action or comedy element. For instance, I can’t wait to find time for my The Thing double-bill (2011 then 1982, for that glorious dog crossover), but I also really want to find space for Sam Raimi’s wonderfully entertaining Drag Me To Hell before Halloween is over.

I always have a little bit of trepidation when starting an unseen horror film – will it strike the right balance for me? So when I began Shudder’s Scare Me, I was wondering how far the premise would stretch before the scares came in. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried; if anything, Scare Me is much more placed as a dark comedy, but it is one that is unafraid to show its love for horror when it truly counts. It’s also one of the best films you could choose to watch for Halloween.

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Blood in the Snow Review: ‘Anything for Jackson’ is a story about love taken to the wrong extremes

Anything for Jackson

How far would you go for someone you love? Most people say they’d do anything, but how many would turn to satanism? For Henry and Audrey Walsh, an older couple desperate to bring back their lost grandson, satanism is just the beginning.

The titular Jackson died in a car accident some two years before the beginning of this story. His grandparents, completely distraught and desperate, kidnap a young pregnant woman with the intent of performing a sort of reverse exorcism, a ritual to place Jackson’s soul into the woman’s unborn baby. Of course, these are the dark arts, and this is a horror movie, so they get entirely more than they bargained for.

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Review: ‘On The Rocks’ has Bill Murray and Rashida Jones exploring how the comfort of a relationship can sometimes be the problem

On The Rocks

Every relationship has that point where you are so comfortable that you become uncomfortable. In these moments we can either behave rationally, or we can freak out, or we can do anything in between.

With On The Rocks, Sophia Coppola tells a story about a successful Manhattan couple who have reached this point, where despite all their success and comfort, something doesn’t feel quite right. Rashida Jones plays Laura, a successful author and mother of two who is stuck in this rut but. She begins to think there is more going on when her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) stumbles home from a work trip one night and begins a passionate embrace, only to then seem like maybe she was someone else.

Her suspicions are not without cause, her father Felix (Bill Murray) cheated on her mother and in later life has become a serial philanderer. Laura can’t help wondering if every man is like her father. Felix assumes that every man is exactly like him, and so the adventure begins.

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Review: ‘Body and Bones’ charts a painful coming of age story against a Newfoundland backdrop

Body and Bones

We all make mistakes when we are young. That shouldn’t be news to anyone who isn’t a teenager now, because we’ve all been teenagers. Many pressures in life feel like the end of the world when you are eighteen, and many that can knock your whole world off track.

Tess is an 18-year-old whose whole world has been knocked off track. She lives in a tiny town in Newfoundland, in a house she technically owns as she inherited it when her mother passed away. The only person she has in the world is her mother’s boyfriend, who is moving on with his life and moving them both in with his new girlfriend.

She has become so desperate for some escape from her life that she has become stuck in it, until one day she finds a man in her kitchen. The man is Danny, the son of the woman she now shares a home with, and ne’er do well folk singer who ghosted the town twenty years prior.

The attraction that forms is, in a word, problematic. Partly this is due to the age difference, but also it’s because Tess latches on to him as the one person who seems to have escaped the life she feels trapped in.

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Oculus Quest 2 is an incredible leap into an untethered VR future, but at what cost?

Oculus Quest 2

It’s hard to properly capture how amazing it is to slip into Oculus Quest 2’s alternative dimension. I’ve owned and play a plethora of VR headsets over the years – from the second iteration of the Oculus Rift years ago at an expo, where the blurry Godzilla-style city smashing game made me sick to my stomach in seconds, through to my own Gear VR, Oculus Go, and PSVR. Each has dangled the promise of VR immersion, but with enough caveats (overheating, low resolution, screen door effect, clunky setups) to stop them from realising the medium’s potential.

So it’s with a mixture of triumph and trepidation that I can tell you, after two days with the newly-released Oculus Quest 2, the dream is finally here. Triumph, because it not only removes those lingering issues but its cable-free, high framerate/resolution experience exceeds even your highest expectations. The store is packed with great games and experiences. Digital delivery is quick and easy.

But trepidation because this is very much a Facebook machine, in ways you maybe hadn’t anticipated, which could very well outweigh its incredible potential.

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Review: ‘Rebecca’ is a sumptuous romantic thriller and a great new adaptation

Armie Hammer and Lily James / Rebecca

“I don’t believe in ghosts.” This is the defiant declaration by the future Mrs de Winter as she heads toward her new life. She came to Monte Carlo as a ladies maid and is leaving as the future wife of a wealthy landowner, and her lady has warned her that she will be haunted by the ghost of her fiancés’ first wife. Ghost aren’t real in the literal sense but what she doesn’t realize is that we can be haunted by the departed none the less.

Rebecca is a new adaptation of the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier, which follows a young woman, after she spends a whirlwind summer with her handsome suitor, settling into her new life as Mrs De Winter, the lady of a large estate in 1930s England. While her summer was idyllic her new life quickly turns into something else as the memory of her husband’s first wife permeates every aspect of her new life.

Each day that passes the remembrance by all those around her –new friends, new family, and new staff– haunts her further and drives her slowly toward madness. Is that haunting simply because she was larger than life, or is it something more insidious?

The answer, of course, is something you’ll have to watch the movie to find out and that, dear reader, is something I recommend you do.

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Review: ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ uses American’s past to hold a mirror up to its present

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The topical period piece is hardly a new phenomenon. Examining our past such that we might examine our present is a function of art, and if executed well a surefire way to be on everyone’s mind come awards season.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 tells the story of the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. During that event, several groups came to the city to protest the war in Vietnam. Thousands of people protested for days before violence broke out, and the situation devolved into what we now know to be a police riot. The film picks up the following year when eight men, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale are on trial for conspiracy to incite a riot.

Aaron Sorkin has been developing this film for years, but it’s hard to imagine a world where the timing of its release could be better.

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‘Mank’ teaser: David Fincher’s new film takes a close look at one of the greatest films ever made

Gary Oldman / Mank

Citizen Kane is widely regarded as one of the best movies ever made, and the story behind that film is the subject of David Fincher’s latest project. Mank follows the life of Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles co-writer on Citizen Kane, as the project is being written and made.

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‘News of the World’ trailer: Tom Hanks in his first western

News of the World

Tom Hanks, aka ‘Americas Dad’, is one of our greatest living actors and while he has starred in films from nearly every time period and tackled almost every subject you can think of, I don’t think he’s never actually made a western.

Until now, that is. Here’s the first trailer for News of the World, the new western from director Paul Greengrass.

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