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Grizzly II: Revenge

The best thing about Grizzly II: Revenge is how its hilarious marketing completely blindsides the audience.  The lost 80s sequel to 1976’s thriller Grizzly has been promoted as a vicious horror starring a young George Clooney, Laura Dern, and Charlie Sheen.  Those Oscar winners, and Charlie Sheen, certainly show up within the first few minutes to only be mauled by a man-eating grizzly bear by the following scene. 

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Stars Fell on Alabama

The most interesting scene in Stars Fell on Alabama involves the lead couple participating in a complicated line dance to a country cover of “Gives You Hell” by the All American Rejects while they squabble over hurt feelings.  The scene is vaguely surreal and doesn’t make a lick of sense, but at least its absurdity is moderately compelling to watch, which is more than I can say for the rest of this bland and charmless…

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Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula

Filmmaker Yeon Sang-Ho established an extremely dangerous threat with Train to Busan, his crowd-pleasing zombie movie which has since been claimed as a contemporary horror classic.  His follow-up, Peninsula, continues the story of the deadly virus that continues to sweep South Korea through a team of characters who are all desperate for a new beginning.  They believe their new future awaits them if they help retrieve $20,000,000 left in Incheon – a sum that will…

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Honest Thief

Liam Neeson has been playing a variation of the same soft-yet-secretly-badass character since 2008’s Taken, and Mark Williams’ action-thriller Honest Thief is no exception.  Neeson treads well-worn ground as Tom, a former marine-turned-bank robber who wants to turn himself in and start a new life with his girlfriend, Annie (Kate Walsh).  His attempts to make amends don’t exactly go as planned when the FBI agents sent to take him in decide to keep the money…

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Modern Persuasion

I can’t comment on whether Modern Persuasion is an adequate adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion because, as someone who is shamelessly not a reader, I’m unfamiliar with the original literature.  However, just as I did earlier this year with Emma, I can give the perspective of a viewer who is going into the movie cold, looking for something sweet to curl up with.  Even though it starts out strong, I’m afraid Modern Persuasion just doesn’t…

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Stardust

Stardust has a really good idea for a movie: the rise of an insecure musician who strives for fame but, at the same time, is scared of how his lack of identity will ruin him.  If the movie was about an ambiguous celebrity, director Gabriel Range (Death of a President) could’ve had a lot of room to explore the anxieties of fame.  Unfortunately, he’s desperate to crowbar these dilemmas into an unqualified and unauthorized biopic…

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Songbird

For a movie to be inspired by or use a real-life tragedy as a primary factor in its story, the filmmakers have to justify their utilization well.  Not only does Songbird fail to do this, a film using an ever-evolving case of COVID-19 as its crux, but Adam Mason’s movie proves that there shouldn’t be a film centring around this pandemic (or something like it) for a very, very long time.  Educational tools (Totally Under…

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Love, Weddings & Other Disasters

Romantic comedies can get away with just about any sort of off-the-wall, clichéd nonsense as long as the film sports genuine charisma.  The power of uplifting attitudes and chemistry can help viewers go along with unusual plots and characters, and also convince the audience to root for silly love stories. 

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Beyond the Woods

By: Jolie Featherstone Brayden DeMorest-Purdy’s feature film debut, Beyond the Woods, is a mind-bending, slow-burning crime drama where lost and troubled individuals burn like smoking flames flickering against the bitter-cold, snow-capped landscape that threatens to consume them.