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Sunday, September 17, 2017


A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream), mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in this riveting psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice.'.

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Release Date: Sept 15, 2017

Genres: Drama, Horror

Rated R for strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language


Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! is sure to be a divisive film especially anybody who goes in expecting a straight up horror film.  It’s anything but a straight up horror film.  Aronofsky’s film is pretentious arthouse fodder that doesn’t tell a straight forward story.  If anything it’s an extended allegory, about climate change or the creative process depending on your point of view, which works more often than not once you wrap your mind around what’s going on.  It’s a visually impressive film that leads you down the rabbit holes subtly at first until it pulls the rug out from under your feet.  Jennifer Lawrence is front and center throughout and she does a fine job in the role even if it’s not her best work.  It’s not really her fault though as the film seems a bit restrictive due to its nature.  Bardem suffers a similar fate but they both give the film a strong energy that centers it’s.  Mother! is a self important piece that’s undeniably pretentious but that’s not to say it’s an impressive cinematic feat. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cindy Prascik is Takin’ it to the Sewers: It

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the first big-screen stab at Stephen King's It.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know or have guessed from the trailers.
A group of young outcasts faces off with an ancient evil that haunts their town.
Disclaimers: While I am a fan of both the book and the original TV mini-series adaptation of It, I'm many moons removed from revisiting either, so you'll find little by way of comparison here. Also, for the record, I like clowns.
Regular reader(s) may recall I don't have much love for modern horror. Mostly I find it a series of cheap startles and gross outs. I have four cats, so I needn't pay for either; I can step out of bed into a hairball any o'l time. It has a fair bit of blood and guts and some of the effects are lame enough they could be right out of the film's late-80s setting, but it is much more than just a horror movie.
As with the earlier TV version, 2017's It has an air of melancholy that reaches to the very depths of the story, the town, and the characters. It's not just about missing children; it's about an unhappy home life and not fitting in and, from an adult standpoint, those childhood connections that invariably fade and disappear with time. The movie's visual tone beautifully conveys the uneasy mood, along with some legitimately great acting by the young principals. It's a common complaint of mine that kid actors, even when they're good, are generally "good for kid actors," but these kids are GOOD, and that's to a person, not one weak link. As for Pennywise himself, filmmakers have worked to make him as horrific as possible, but the frights are mostly down to to timing, makeup, and effects rather than to Bill Skarsgard's performance. (Editorial note: Incessant drooling is not scary and I'm not a fan.) It is smartly-crafted enough to more than make up for any small complaints, though, a suspenseful thriller highlighted by outstanding performances and enough gore and jump-scares to keep horror fans happy.
It clocks in at 135 minutes and is rated R for "violence/horror, bloody images, and language."
Send in the clowns! Of a possible nine Weasleys, It gets eight and a half.

Fangirl points: Keep those ears open for pieces of Anthrax' Antisocial and XTC's Dear God!
Until next time...


Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare -- an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town's children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise.

Director: Andy Muschietti

Cast: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

Release Date: Sept 9, 2017

Genres: Drama, Horror

Rated R for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language


I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen King for most of my life.  Strangely though 2 of his books really never connected with me, The Dark Tower series and IT.  The latter I tried to make it through before just giving up.  Ultimately, clowns just never scared me much, I actually like clowns, so maybe the scares never landed as intended.  This new film version suffers, just a tad, from the same effect.  Bill Skarsgård is great as Pennywise, even though it feels a bit more like old school Freddy Kruger more often than not, but I was ever really scared throughout the film.  That’s not to say it’s a bad film, far from it, IT just isn’t very scary.  That being said, a big chunk of the credit for the film’s success has to go to director Andy Muschietti and his preteen cast.  Muschietti directs a well crafted, borrowing bits and pieces from the best King adaptor Frank Darabont, piece that captures that all important feel of King’s works.  There’s a slight Stand by Me feel to the proceedings even though the film is set in the late 80’s.  The cast delivers excellent performances throughout, making you care about each character’s journey.  Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis in particular stand out for the authenticity of their performances.  IT is an excellent film even if it doesn’t make you hide under your covers after you see it.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Wind River & Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Dearest Blog: Thanks to an extra-long holiday weekend, yesterday I was able to enjoy a Fantastic Friday Double-Feature.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda, a visit to Marquee Cinemas to see early awards hopeful Wind River.
When a young woman's body is discovered on a Native American Reservation, an FBI agent recruits the local game tracker to assist in the investigation.
Wind River is a somber, inspired-by-true-events tale that sheds some light on a violent reality faced by Native American women, a sad reality-check sold as a movie thriller. The picture is suspenseful and intense, with quiet power underscored by majestic winter scenery. A perfect cast is headed by Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, supported by Graham Greene, Julia Jones, The Magnificent 7's Martin Sensmeier, and Gil Birmingham in what may be my favorite performance of the year so far. 
There is a profound moment between two grieving fathers that, with zero showboating, is the best thing I've seen at the movies in 2017. (And I spend a lot of moments at the movies, so that's saying something.) Wind River's only fault is that that most of Jeremy Renner is mostly covered by a snowsuit for most of the time. It's worse than when whoever dresses the Avengers decided it was a good idea to put sleeves on Hawkeye. Hrmph.
Wind River runs 107 minutes and is rated R for "strong violence, rape, disturbing images, and language."
Wind River is a smart, moving film that will be on your mind long after you leave the cinema. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Wind River gets eight and a half.
Next on the docket, a home screening of Goon: Last of the Enforcers.
Doug "The Thug" Glatt mounts a comeback amidst mounting challenges on and off the ice.
Like the first Pirates of the Caribbean and Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the original Goon surprised movie-goers by being much more than they expected, a legitimately solid picture that wasn't just good for a comedy or good for a sports movie or good for what you'd expect from the creative team in question. Incapable of duplicating that element of surprise, even a good sequel naturally feels diminished, but I am pleased to report that Goon: Last of the Enforcers still has a great deal going for it.
Getting my petty quibbles out of the way first: Last of the Enforcers is amusing throughout and has moments of hilarity, but the humor is nowhere near as consistent as the original. The movie also goes overboard in its depiction of hockey violence. The best comedy is rooted in reality, and too many liberties are taken here, particularly during the climactic bloodbath. That out of the way, Goon 2 is a funny film that retains all the heart of its predecessor. It's bittersweet catching up with the old crew, several of whom have taken on new roles in the time meant to have passed between pictures. It goes without saying that more Liev Schreiber is always better than less Liev Schreiber, but being a supporting player does nothing to dim his brilliance; his aging tough guy Ross "The Boss" Rhea is again the very best thing about the movie. New characters serve their purpose well enough, but never manage to drum up a fraction of the affection I have for even the most minor players from the first film. Jay Baruchel doubles as director on this outing, so his screen time as Glatt's profanity-spewing best friend is limited, and the brilliant Kim Coates also feels underused. Returning Highlanders, though they probably have no less screen time than the first time 'round, sometimes feel pushed aside for the new guys, but the movie does give each his moment. Perhaps more importantly, it also does a great job of showing how they've grown together as a team. That, coupled with Doug's new life as husband and father-to-be, is really what makes Last of the Enforcers a great sequel that's well worth your movie dollar.
Goon: Last of the Enforcers clocks in at 101 minutes and is rated R for "pervasive language, crude sexual content, and bloody sports violence."
The original Goon was great enough to rob even the best sequel of the element of surprise, but Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a solid comedy with well-played, heartfelt moments that ultimately win the day. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Goon: Last of the Enforcers gets eight.
Until next time...

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