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Thriller

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The Tax Collector

Filmmakers like to carve out their niche.  For instance, George A. Romero had the horror genre and, more importantly, he clung on to zombie culture.  He was always experimenting with the undead.  If his ideas didn’t pan out, he moved on to the next project with more ambition than before.  In a similar vein, writer/director David Ayer (Suicide Squad, Bright) likes the action genre and, more importantly, he’s clung on to gang culture and its…

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Ravage

Ravage is essentially a campfire story for mature audiences: there’s a lot of build up, an unsettling suggestion of what could happen, and then a freaky follow through.  What we learn throughout the film, however, is that writer/director Teddy Grennan and the film’s nincompoop producers are incapable of closing their set-ups.  This is demonstrated by some earlier mini murders, making us apprehensive about its grand finale when a ludicrous torture chamber is invented and utterly…

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Parallel Minds

Benjamin Ross Hayden’s futuristic sci-fi Parallel Minds begins with the invention of Red Eye 2, an improved ocular device that allows you to relive precious memories and record new ones.  As the launch approaches, Red Eye researcher Margo (Tommie-Amber Pirie) works closely with the product’s head developer.  In a shocking turn, the developer turns up dead;  prompting a withered detective, Thomas (Greg Bryk), to look for answers behind the alleged murder.  Margo assists him because,…

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Target Number One

Daniel Roby’s deftly directed thriller Target Number One fictionalizes the true story of a Quebecois drug addict who was imprisoned in Thailand as a result of a set-up by Canadian intelligence in the 1980s.  Taking some of its procedural cues from Spotlight, Target Number One is a kinetic, uncompromising look at the impacts and importance of journalism on the overreach of power in counter-intelligence.

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Unhinged

Russell Crowe gives an absolutely terrifying performance in Unhinged.  The film is a high-octane, single day thriller, but there are times when Derrick Borte’s movie is a straight-up horror because of Crowe.  As the story’s antagonist Tom Cooper, Crowe ditches his inhibitions.  He’s purposely underdeveloped to build an aura of mystery and terror.  The audience is given minor clues of who Tom could be, but he still resembles a stranger;  someone who could break under…

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She Dies Tomorrow

The title She Dies Tomorrow refers to a line spoken by the film’s lead character Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) to her sister Jane (Jane Adams) early on in the movie.  Jane shrugs it off, but then slowly becomes obsessed by the possibility that she too could die tomorrow.  She goes to a birthday party where she passes on her distressed theory to a group of four (Chris Messina, Katie Aselton, Jennifer Kim, and Tunde Adebimpe),…

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The Burnt Orange Heresy

“Soapy” is usually a word with a negative connotation, but The Burnt Orange Heresy seems to challenge that. The film is a to-do list of soapy thematic tropes, such as using sex, deception, and even murder to drive its story, yet director Giuseppe Capotondi, screenwriter Scott B. Smith, and a great cast get away with it because the central drama is so interesting and the characters are so beguiling.