Exposition and Emotion in Interstellar

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by Daniel Stidham

My first impressions upon leaving Interstellar were not gushingly positive. I almost tweeted about how full I felt from being spoon-fed by Chris Nolan for 3 hours, though I held off my quipping in order to give myself time to think about the film. Without giving anything away, I found a major third-act revelation in his new science fiction opus to be frustratingly over-explained. Something that ought to feel like a major discovery, a heavy realization about the very nature of time and space, quickly spills forth from two characters ill-equipped to diagnose or apply it. Before we have a chance to let it sink in, they are already using it to tie plot threads together and push the story forward to its resolution. The result is, ahem, a lack of gravity (I’m sorry). A feeling of weightlessness, if you will (I wouldn’t if I were you). It’s a sense that Nolan is interested in big ideas, but only as long as they provide “whoa” moments to audiences. READ FULL ARTICLE

The ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Director: Various
Starring: Various
Running Time: 2 hrs, 5 mins
Rated: R


Review by Daniel Stidham

To say that The ABCs of Death 2 is a better movie than its predecessor is a lot like a chef telling you the meal you are about to eat is better than a Twinkie that was left on the counter for a year. It’s technically true but tells you almost nothing about the dish itself. After all a Twinkie is barely food and The ABCs of Death was barely a movie. For that project, 26 different directors from around the world were each given a letter of the alphabet and asked to choose a word starting with that letter. Using their word as inspiration they were to create a short film having to do with death. The resulting 26 shorts were compiled as The ABCs of Death. Now, that sounds like a premise rife with potential to unleash the creative instincts of cutting edge artists, who, when given complete control over the contents of their shorts, would in no way fill 2 hours with juvenile, lazy, disgusting crap.

But that’s not what happened.

Thankfully, The ABCs of Death 2 is a much better film than the stale, spongy log of preservatives that came before it. Dramatically better. While it follows the same format – 26 letters, words, and short films about death – the overall quality of the work is way up. It’s not exactly high art but there’s nothing in this swath of shorts as dismal as the first film’s “G for Gravity,” “M for Miscarriage” or “F for Fart.” Maybe the budget was raised, or the producers were pickier, or the directors were given more instruction. It’s hard to say. In any case, they’ve assembled a compulsively watchable anthology in which the misses are balanced out by interesting and imaginative vignettes.

Read the full review on CutPrintFilm.com

Eyes Without A Face | Magic | The Beyond | The Blob (1988) | The ABCs of Death | The ABCs of Death 2 | Eraserhead | Scanners | Black Sunday (1960) | Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer | Funny Games (1997) | Shutter (2004) | High Tension | Slither | Frailty | Pontypool | Sleepaway Camp | Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon | The Verdict


“I want your horror, I want your design”

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Godzilla (2014)
Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen
Running Time: 2 hrs, 3 mins
Rated: PG-13


Review by Brother Reed

SPOILER WARNING: This review references the movie’s ending and other plot developments throughout. Read at your own risk.

The moment the screen went black, I threw up my hands in exasperation. It was an emotion that had been building slowly over the past hour. This was the first time that I, a lifelong Godzilla fan, had ever seen the King of the Monsters on the big screen. I should be ecstatic. The last time he came to an American cinema was a universally recognized travesty, disowned and dismissed by most fans as an affront to the character’s legacy; and this new movie is by all accounts a superior entry into the well-loved saga. So why was I so disappointed? In fact, disappointment is really the wrong word for it. I was angry. I felt cheated. Bamboozled. Snookered. Ne’er-done-well. I won’t reproduce here the exact comments I made in the theater but here’s a visual aid:
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25 Great Community Episodes: A Memorial

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We got the news on Friday that Community was done. NBC decided not to renew that weird sitcom it’s been airing before Parks and Rec, the one with the rabid cult fan base and low ratings (though, it should be noted, not much lower than Parks). Over the past year or two as I went through the older seasons on DVD and watched the new ones on TV or on Hulu, the show has come to eclipse even 30 Rock and Arrested Development to take its place as my favorite TV comedy. In some ways it’s like the show was made for me. It was a colorful, creative show that pushed and sometimes destroyed the boundaries of what could be done in a half hour network slot. It made it okay to use movies and TV as ways of expressing yourself and connecting with the people around you. The Abed character was something special that I think really spoke to people. I hope that if I should die suddenly this week my friends will stage it to look like a suicide brought on by the sudden unjust cancellation of Community. READ FULL ARTICLE

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As most of you know, last week my appendix decided to mutiny against my body and was promptly and forcibly exiled. This took its toll on the remaining body systems which have been in recovery mode ever since. Naturally this left me lying on the couch quite a bit and it was the perfect time to try out yet more shows that people keep telling me I need to watch. I’ve been mostly just watching the first episode of a given series and trying to judge the style of the show based on that, to see if anything grabs me and demands that I continue watching. Included here are my initial impressions of the shows I sampled. READ FULL ARTICLE

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Can we talk about movie trailers for a minute? I’ve been lucky enough to see a couple of PG-rated movies in the theater lately, a fact I tend to forget until I’m treated to a barrage of trailers for family-friendly CG-fests like Free Birds, Mr. Peabody, and The Nut Job. I generally don’t mind this as they’re harmless enough. There has always been disposable crap marketed at kids just like there is to adults and I’m sure as a child some of it amused me; and of course, some movies with children as a key demographic are genuinely great. There is a reason I bought tickets to The Lego Movie and Frozen, which is how I even came to be aware Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue in the first place. It’s also how I spent two of the most baffling minutes of my life viewing the debacle that is the trailer. READ MORE