Dying of the Light (2014)
Director: Paul Schrader
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Anton Yelchin, Alexander Karim
Running Time: 1 hr, 34 mins
Rated: R

Review by Daniel Stidham

Early in Dying of the Light, the camera zooms in on a man’s hand which then begins to tremble uncontrollably. The hand belongs to Nicolas Cage, and this shot is the first best hope we have that the film we’re watching will be worthwhile. Though Cage has a notoriously uneven track record, many of his highest highs involve him playing disturbed, afflicted, or deeply neurotic characters. Leading Man Cage, National Treasure Cage, is fine as far as he goes; but what you really want is Matchstick Men Cage, Bad Lieutenant Cage. You want the guy who has unpredictable freak-outs, manic ticks and ridiculous hair. Sometimes it’s a thin line that separates “I want to take his face…off!” from “No, not the bees,” but we’re willing to take that risk because when it works it pays off big time; and for at least a few minutes of Dying of the Light, it looks as though we’re about to be treated to the next entry in the “Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit” canon.

Read the full review on CutPrintFilm.com

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Director: John Frankenheimer
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Harvey, Angela Lansbury
Running Time: 2 hrs, 6 min
Rated: PG-13

Review by Brother Reed

The Manchurian Candidate has often been called a great film. It’s achieved the status of “classic” in recent days and I assume this is because it is an influential thriller with a star-studded cast. At the time of its release it fed into the political paranoia of the Cold War. Between Communist threats, political conspiracy, and assassination, many relevant ideas are played with in the movie – relevant, that is, in 1962. If you are politically-minded or very interested in the McCarthy era this film is likely to be a greater treasure to you than to others. A few of the movie’s themes are still applicable, as there is always some new foreign threat or political unrest. Conspiracy theorists are probably as numerous today as they were then. Yet when I view this movie, there seems to me very little urgency. Unlike some viewers, I get little sense that this movie speaks to the world today. Perhaps this is because I don’t readily entertain far-fetched espionage plots, or because I have relatively little interest in politics and right-wing/left-wing bickering (though I’m not above tossing out the occasional zinger about the powers that be). READ FULL REVIEW