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Sugar

Sugar Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck Miguel “Sugar” Santos (Algenis Perez Soto), aspiring Dominican baseball star, is the focus of the sophomore effort from Half Nelson writer-director team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, a film long on empathy but short on revelation. Santos is eventually picked to play for a minor-league team in …

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Hostel, Torture Porn, and the Blood Worship Doctrine

Cult Cinema: Volume 8 At their best, horror films hold society up to a funhouse mirror, providing a grotesque yet revealing reflection of cultural concerns, values, and above all, fears. And then there’s torture porn, in which the only insights are gained from peering deep into the vivisected ruins of a woman’s genitals. The term …

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The Muscles from Brussels

Although he was born in Berchem-Sainte Agathe, Belgium, with the name of Jean-Claude Van Varenbeerg, Van Damme once called himself “Frank Cujo” when he first moved to Hollywood in 1981. When he couldn’t find work as an actor the former European Professional Karate Association’s middleweight champion decided to take English classes while working as a …

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16 Blocks

16 Blocks 2006, USA Directed by Richard Donner Written by Richard Wenk Starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Jenna Stern I broke a promise today. Long ago, I swore that should I ever again stumble upon a film that uses a hand-held tape recorded as a deus ex machina plot device, I would douse …

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A Love Letter to Count Dracula

Body Count: Volume 3 Vampires are starting to make a come back, in case you haven’t noticed. Teenage girls seem to be swooning at the thought of gentlemanly “vegetarian” vampires that sparkle in the sunlight that should be burning their wretched husks to a crisp. A little while back, I did an article studying the …

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Begotten

Upon viewing Begotten for the first time, one could easily mistake it for an archaic silent film made by a seriously deranged director on crack (or whatever popular drug they used a hundred years ago). Low and behold, this is a movie from 1991 by 45-year old Edmund Elias Merhige (Suspect Zero, Shadow of the …

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Session 9

Although Brad Anderson’s career as a feature-film director spans less than a decade, the American director has consistently satisfied audiences with his own peculiar brand of supernatural tales. Happy Accidents, Session 9, The Machinist and Transsiberian all have their own following by people who enjoy an alternative to the mainstream “thrillers” we’ve been inundated with …

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Top 6 Ghost Films

1. The Shining Jack Torrance only kills one person yet he is the monster of the film. No one ever questions Wendy, who not only repeatedly hits Jack over the head with a baseball bat, but also lashes after him with a knife, finally leaving him to die of hypothermia. Clearly the so-called “victim” in …

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Academy for Tarantino-Guided Imagery

Cult of the Week: Volume 5 Quentin Tarantino is every video store clerk’s idol, and every film critic’s nightmare. Venerated by midnight movie buffs and Blockbuster cashiers for his unadulterated love of cult cinema, Tarantino has proved that a film school education is no match for passion, creativity, and kinetic energy. Unfortunately for film critics, …

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Introducing…Body Count

Body Count: Volume 1 Horror. The much maligned, hard partying, estranged uncle of cinema. Being the reasonably presentable professional that I am by day, it often shocks people that I, a man in his thirties of above-average intelligence devotes such a large portion of his free time mentally cataloguing some of the worst movies ever …

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Eraserhead

On a dark and rainy night a few years ago I attended an 11pm screening of Eraserhead at Cinema du Parc, my favorite source for late night cult classics. Afterwards I popped into the bathroom with a full bladder and made my way into one of the stalls. Two guys walked in while I was …

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Adventureland

Adventureland 2009, USA Directed by: Greg Mottola Written by: Greg Mottola Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kirstin Stewart, Bill Hader, Kirstin Wiig, Martin Starr, Michael Zegen Based on his own real life experience working summers at an amusement park in Long Island, NY, Greg Mottola’s follow up to last summer’s sleeper hit Superbad is a poignant and …

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The International Society for Lynchian Consciousness

Cult Cinema: Volume 4 David Lynch films are a litmus test of intelligence. You don’t have to like them to prove that your cinematic IQ is above the level of a mouth-breather with a Vin Diesel DVD collection. But you do have to realize the films’ artistic merit. And then give lengthy interpretations of their …

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2009, A Year in 3-D

My Bloody Valentine 3D, released in early January of this year, was just the first of a parade of 3D films to be released in 2009. The remake of the 1981 cult classic with a budget of $15 million went on to gross over $67 million at the box office. Although the film received mixed …

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William Castle, Auteur.

Cult Cinema: Volume 3 In the 1950s, a group of French writers revolutionized film criticism with the magazine Cahiers du cinéma. By re-evaluating the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, and John Hughes, among others, the critics gave birth to a grand unified ‘auteur theory,’ which positions the director as the ultimate creative force behind …

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Top 5 Horror movie remakes

5 – The Ring (2002) Considering I didn’t find the original scary, it’s impressive that I was thoroughly creeped out by the nearly shot-for-shot remake. There is always something a little more interesting in the exploration of the unknown, so if your senses have been dulled by the formulaic slasher film, then its quieter take …

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