Thriller

Movie Review: Parasite (2019)

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (“Okja”) says that he always tries to overturn viewer expectations and hopes that his latest film succeeds in this way. Palme d’Or winner at the 2019 Cannes Film festival, Bong’s Parasite (Gisaengchung) does indeed thwart expectations, but the question is — to what end? Defying any strict genre classification, the…

Movie Review: Joker (2019)

Shakespeare’s Richard III famously said I can smile, and murder while I smile. The Joker has long been a character who will smile and cackle while he murders and terrorizes. In previous cinematic incarnations, the Joker has been a crime boss fried in acid (Jack Nicholson), an anarchic terrorist (Heath Ledger) and a pimped out…

Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019)

Ready or Not was one of the highlights of London’s horror film festival FrightFest. Wonderful in its balance of scares and laughs, it brings together a fine cast with a viciously vibrant script and highly inventive direction. Much of the film’s genius comes from its central device of games, a device that structures both the…

Movie Review: Haunt (2019)

Haunt was written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, writers on “A Quiet Place”; and while this is similarly high concept, it couldn’t be more different in tone. It aims for brisk, bloody and blackly comedic, and on those terms it delivers. The conflict in “A Quiet Place” was as much psychological as…

Movie Review: Running with the Devil (2019)

With one co-directing credit under his belt (“Smoke Filled Lungs”), writer/director Jason Cabell begins his sophomore film with a surprising amount of confidence. Leading with intriguing, juxtaposing images of torture and partying aided by a smooth soundtrack-driven flow, the opening scene of his first solo-directed feature Running with the Devil teases a style generally uncommon…

Movie Review: Depraved (2019)

After a night of nookie and a passive-aggressive argument, Adam (Alex Breaux, “Bushwick”) leaves his girlfriend’s apartment and heads into the night. He is promptly stabbed to death. The end. Just kidding. Adam awakens on an operating table, in a theater belonging to a young, rogue surgeon. Dr. Henry (David Call, “Dark Was the Night”)…

Movie Review: Luce (2019)

A high school student’s essay discussing radical philosopher Frantz Fanon’s belief in the necessity of violence by oppressed people raises certain eyebrows in Nigerian director Julius Onah’s (“The Cloverfield Paradox”) thought-provoking but over-determined Luce, a drama about race that challenges us to impose our own expectations on the main character. Onah says that, “Every other…

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