I have some glaring blind spots when it comes to the work of Frank Borzage, and after revisiting Moonrise, one of the few films of his I had seen, on the new Criterion Blu-ray, I intend to rectify that as soon as possible.
The winner of the first Academy Award for Best Director (for 1927’s 7th Heaven), the filmmaker is known for creating complex, relatable characters navigating various distresses. 1948’s Moonrise is certainly no different, though it’s more brooding than Borzage’s other well-known films. The psychological journey is fascinating, all if pristinely captured on the new Criterion disc.
Avengers: Infinity War changes everything…maybe.
Ten years and 18 films of world-building – the best of which, like this year’s Black Panther, focused more on characters than broader connectivity – have led to this grand crossover culmination that poses like an audacious turning of the page in the MCU. It’s a little tough to buy the boldness, however, considering there’s another Avengers coming out 13 months from now (shot at the same time as this one) that could easily undo many of the shocks of Infinity War. This could, it seems, go on forever.
Watching Traffik is a bit like being stuck in rush hour congestion. You’re bored; you begin to question the decisions that led you there; and you’re just waiting to get through it.
Incremental bits of simple, mostly unnecessary exposition are doled out in arduous fits and starts through the film’s first half. When some suspense is finally delivered, it comes with an uncomfortably artless depiction of human trafficking. Serious soundtrack selections and severe posturing border on irony in a final act that neatly races through plot points of a disturbing real-life scourge.
Of all the movies for Blumhouse to put their name on. Whether as a marketing tool or a way to distinguish its film from others with the same title, the production company that brought us the great Get Out and the very good Happy Death Day just last year, is flaunting ownership of one of their worst movies. Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare is an excruciatingly bland, scare-and-fun-free exercise that has difficulty conveying even the simplest ideas of its serviceable high concept.
Any movie that opens with the great Brad Dourif telling a creepy folktale is bound to grab your attention. Fritz Böhm’s Wildling certainly does; it just can’t keep it. The concept of the fable – and the film – are intriguing. Despite some seriously bizarre developments and gory violence, this narrative is flat, and technical deficiencies make it difficult to engage with to any extent. Dourif’s story is well-told; Wildling isn’t.
The fringe abstractions and inherent creepiness of cults make them a popular hook for genre thrills. We’ve seen many horror and suspense films with cults as the backdrop, either on-site at a commune or pulling strings in some shadowy or supernatural way, but there’s never been one quite like The Endless from directing duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. It contains several recognizable characteristics of unconventional sects, only to destabilize our expectations and beliefs about where things are headed.