Larry Fessenden on Frankenstein, art, and Universal's Dark Universe: "They don't understand horror"

Larry Fessenden’s name is pretty much inextricable from independent horror cinema at this point. Over the course of the past few decades, he’s become not just an omnipresent indie character actor (turning up in everything from You’re Next to Session 9 to Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out The Dead), but through his…

The Relaxer crew picks the 5 movies it would take into its post-apocalyptic bunker

Relaxer—one of the “grossest movies of the year”—follows unemployed slacker Abbie (Joshua Burge) who’s given a challenge: he is not allowed to leave the couch until he beats level 256 of Pac-Man. In honor of the film’s release today, we sat down with Joshua Burge, Andre Hyland, and director Joel Potrykus to talk about…

Wonder Woman crashed the boys’ club of superhero cinema, saving the DCEU in the process

There’s a moment in 2017’s Wonder Woman that’s so inspiring, and so largely unprecedented, that it literally brought audiences to tears. It happened so many times that it became its own meme. It became a part of the experience. It’s the scene where Wonder Woman vaults out of a World War I trench and charges straight…

This week, and maybe any other, the terrorist-attack docudrama Hotel Mumbai is a grueling watch

C

Hotel Mumbai, a brutally realistic dramatization of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, can’t help but inspire some thorny ethical questions. It arrives in theaters exactly one week after the nightmare in Christchurch, New Zealand—apparently, distributors are now resigned to every date on the calendar being in close…

Mel Gibson is a cop on the edge in the equally queasy and thrilling Dragged Across Concrete

B

In more ways than one, and true to its title, Dragged Across Concrete is abrasive. It comes from the mind of S. Craig Zahler, whose last grisly, leisurely, and evocatively named genre experiment, Brawl In Cell Block 99, climaxed with some rather literal abrasion: a face being loudly scraped against the hard floor of a…

The director of the Oscar-winning Son Of Saul dives back into the disturbing past with Sunset

B+

Three years ago, something rather extraordinary happened: A Holocaust drama won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. That in itself is nothing unusual, of course—when in doubt, while filling out your Oscar pool, always pick the movie involving Nazis (assuming there’s only one, that is), and you’ll rarely…

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre and Matthias Schoenaerts on how The Mustang avoids genre clichés

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s directorial debut The Mustang follows a convict in a rural Nevada prison who, as part of his state-mandated social rehabilitation, joins a wild horse training program. Ahead of its premiere, we spoke with Clermont-Tonnerre and star Matthias Schoenaerts about the film, and how it avoids the…

For one brief, wonderful moment, Eddie Murphy reinvented himself as a romantic-comedy star

Eddie Murphy is kind of a dreamboat. That can be hard to remember after the decades in which he settled into (or perhaps settled for) a career in broad comedic roles in lackluster family films. Indeed, it can be especially hard to remember if, like me, you were part of the generation that knew Murphy as the Nutty…

With Ash Is Purest White, one of the world’s greatest filmmakers cuts together his greatest hits

B+

Just shy of an hour into his new movie, Ash Is Purest White, the great Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke offers up a truly ingenious, discombobulating callback. The setting, momentarily, is 2006. On the deck of a ferry approaching the banks of the Yangtze River, Jia’s longtime muse and spouse, Zhao Tao, surveys the…

The Hummingbird Project could have used some of the crazed vision of its computer-age bandits

C+

Benjamin Franklin’s well-worn adage that time is money has led us, some centuries later, to the business of high-frequency trading, or HFT. Shares are bought and sold by algorithms in the blink of an eye for fractional profits that accumulate into millions—a mind-boggling business whose theoretical limits are the laws…

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