Reviews: Limited Release

Review: 'Citadel' Puts You In An Uncomfortable Place...And Leaves You There

November 16th, 2012 12:15pm EST
Sometimes a serious case of authenticity can take a basic premise and bring things up a notch. This is especially the case when the film in question is a genre picture – always a sure fire sign of ratcheting up the intensity. A new horror thriller infuses such a personal device by inflicting the lead character with a severe and crippling case of agoraphobia, all the while being terrorized by a gang of thugs outside that are out for blood – welcome to "Citadel."

Tommy Crowley is a quiet man who lives with his pregnant wife in a decaying apartment complex. One day she’s attacked by a gang...

Review: Sweet Starting 'Starlet' Ruined By Cheap Stunt Disguised As Meaningful Subtext

November 6th, 2012 11:00am EST
Some movies start out one way and evolve into something else. A midway story turn can either be an effective device that adds layers or a mindless mind trick employed for shock value. "Starlet" is a classic case of the latter, a film that starts out in a very subtle, sassy and even sweet way and then proceeds to hit the viewer with an unneeded 2x4 twist in the name of being clever.

Jane is an aspiring actress who has just moved into an apartment with her drug and alcohol addled friends Melissa and Mikey. The gang spends most of their time getting high, playing video games and hanging ou...

'The Bay' Will Make You Afraid Of The Water Again

November 2nd, 2012 12:30pm EDT
Though we, as humans, have always been frightened of the unknown, a potentially more terrifying and disturbing element of life is when the familiar becomes strange. Steven Spielberg’s genre-defining film Jaws perfectly exemplified this facet of the human experience because, for the first time, we were shown a reason to be afraid to go into the water that was, previously, benign as far as we were concerned. Horror films have historically relied on serial killers with supernatural powers (Jason or Freddy, for example), but isn’t it more unsettling to see a brilliant psychologist turn to canni...

'The Sessions' A Moving True Story With Oscar Worthy Performances by Helen Hunt & John Hawkes

October 19th, 2012 10:40am EDT
The Sessions
Every so often a film comes along that lifts your spirits and makes you feel that anything and everything is possible.

'The Sessions' starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt is just such a film.

This is the true story of a man named Mark O'Brien, who lived in Berkeley CA in the 1980's.

Mark is different from most people. He contacted polio as a child and is confined to an Iron Lung. The only part of his body that isn't paralyzed is his head, which he can move slightly to the side. He is also dependent on a breathing tube and a caregiver.

But this isn't the tale of a disabled dude that lie...

Screamfest LA 2012 Review: Aussie Import 'Crawlspace' A Surface Story Affair

October 19th, 2012 10:00am EDT
Looking fabulous no matter what the budget, there is both good and bad as far as the indie Aussie import "Crawlspace" goes. On the good side there is enough style and sizzling visuals to put even an attention to detail master like Ridley Scott to shame. But on the bad side of things, "Crawlspace" suffers from a stern case of popcorn fluff and movie recycling, leaving a lingering been there done that vibe firmly on the palate.

A squad of elite soldiers is making their way to Pine Gap, a military compound far out of reach. Seems that there’s been trouble from unknown forces and their miss...

Screamfest LA 2012 Review: Thrilling 'Thale' Is Lovingly Mired In Mood

October 18th, 2012 10:00am EDT
It’s amusing that some judge horror solely on blood and guts quotient, as if the mere sight of it can make up for a myriad of less than stellar qualities. By gore hound standards Norway import "Thale" is more a thriller then a horror film and its all the better for it. A lush film that dares to take its time, "Thale" is a real story slow burn that is lovingly mired in mood. It doesn't attack - it engrosses.

Leo and Elvis crime scene clean up men who come in to do the nasty part of the job. Cleaning up blood, brains, bones and bodies are everyday tasks, though newbie Elvis remains a tad...

Screamfest LA 2012 Review: 'American Mary' A Seriously Savory Mind Job

October 15th, 2012 12:00pm EDT
American Mary
Does anyone remember watching early work by odd auteurs like David Cronenberg or Dario Argento and having an epiphany moment of ‘here is a talent not to ignore’ – welcome the Soska Sisters. The vibrant young duo and their perversely and passionately abnormal movie "American Mary" is film unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. A wonderfully insane conundrum of horror, drama, revenge and the effect power has over people – in other words a seriously savory mind job.

Mary Mason is a hard working med student with equal parts potential and accruing debt. In order to facilitate her aspirat...

Screamfest LA 2012 Review: Clever Gets Killed In 'The Collection'

October 15th, 2012 10:00am EDT
The Collection
In the movie world, the sequel is a tricky thing. Trying to emulate what made a film memorable in the first place is a difficult task and almost always misses the mark. "The Collection" is a film that carries over the famed traps, blood and gore and funhouse feel of the original "The Collector" and certainly ups the ante. Problem is the other half, the man vs. man skill set that gave "The Collector" its leg up from standard torture porn fare is nowhere to be found – clever has been killed.

When we left thief Arkin he was being collected by the infamous serial killer and dragged off to w...

Review: Andrea Arnold Uses A Visceral Visual Palate For Her 'Wuthering Heights'

October 12th, 2012 9:55am EDT
Wuthering Heights
A story told many times over, what makes Andrea Arnold’s "Wuthering Heights" such a standout is her sheer affinity for real emotion. In the world of all things Arnold love and pain go hand in hand and by focusing on the raw elements of Emily Bronte’s novel, never has a book been more befitting of a filmmakers’ cinematic style. Told almost as a cautionary tale against infatuation, her story is at times arduous to get through – and I adored every lovingly painful minute.

The film follows young Heathcliff, a black child who gets taken in by a caring Yorkshire farmer. He has a son Hindley, ...

Review: With Tribeca Twosome "Hollow" & "Grave Encounters 2" You Get What You Pay For

October 11th, 2012 10:00am EDT
It’s funny how the first person or found footage horror craze began with flicks like the Sundance hit "The Blair Witch Project" and has evolved into a virtual cavalcade of forgettable doc style terror tales. "Hollow" is one such tale. It’s an uninspired film desperately trying to evoke scares with little mayhem, slight visual candy, but a ton of shaky camera and high-pitched screams – not a recipe for the horror hall of fame.

In a small, remote village in Suffolk, England there’s a local legend surrounding an old monastery that has haunted the town and it’s people. Four friends decide t...