New Releases

Get Out (2017)
The Horror of Race Relations

Most horror movies are merely a sequence of events, a clothesline on which to hang pop-out scares, tense build-ups, gore effects, death scenes, or some combination of all of the above. Get Out is one of the rare horror movies that doesn’t leave it at the level of a technical exercise, that’s actually about something.
Assembling Another Disappointment

I don’t know at what point an hour and a half of near constant hyperactivity suddenly qualified as storytelling, especially in regards to family films. But whenever it happened, the makers of 2014’s The Lego Movie, and now those of 2017’s The Lego Batman Movie, have hopped onto that bandwagon and are milking it for everything it’s worth.
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James Baldwin in His Own Words

Raoul Peck’s documentary I Am Not Your Negro, which has secured an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, is said to be based on an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript, namely for Remember This House, a memoir in which he was to have reminisced about his relationships with slain civil rights leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers.
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Please Tell Me This Isn't the Start of a Franchise

With Split, a thriller about the controversial mental illness known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), writer/director M. Night Shyamalan rather unfortunately reveals that he doesn’t know the difference between a film that’s complicated and a film that’s confusing.
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Not Your Capraesque American Dream

On a visual level, Ben Affleck’s Live by Night has everything we want and have come to expect from Depression-era crime dramas: Seedy speakeasies; sultry Latin clubs; sweaty jazz musicians; gangsters with Tommy guns; explosions in bars; brutal, graphic mobster hits in full view of the public; beatings in dark alleys; men in suits and fedoras obscuring their faces in fogs of their own cigarette smoke; conversations between shady people in quiet backrooms.
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Real Life Lessons from a Fantasy Creature

The standards of American culture wouldn’t allow J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls to be considered a family film. Generally speaking, it’s assumed that our younger audiences, particularly adolescents, aren’t prepared for films about life and humanity unless they’re sanitized to some degree. The other assumption is that they wouldn’t be interested in such films at all, and so they’re instead condescendingly peddled nothing but comic book adaptations and action extravaganzas.
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Early, Early, Early Risers

Passengers, which isn’t to be confused with Rodrigo Garcia’s God-awful 2008 film of the same name, is a 3D, effects-laden science fiction drama that, like an underachieving high school student, doesn’t live up to the potential it so clearly had.
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Another Franchise Spins Off

I never thought I’d see the day when the Star Wars franchise would branch off from periodic episode installments into a series of spinoff films. True, 2008 saw the release of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but it was such an underwhelming effort that I didn’t think anything more would come of it.
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A Musical Valentine to the City of Angels

La La Land had to have been a major risk for writer/director Damien Chazelle. Everything about it flies in the face of today’s blockbuster driven, comic book-obsessed Hollywood. It doesn’t pander. It’s doesn’t condescend. It doesn’t bombard our senses with explosions or fight sequences or overactive CGI. Instead, it combines the innocence and imagination of old-time romantic musicals with contemporary settings and themes.
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Disney's Polynesian Fairy Tale

Moana is a wonderful new entry in Disney’s long line of animated films, although it did repeatedly make me think of the people that love to hate Disney movies on general principles. That’s because it’s not merely a fairy tale; like 1995’s Pocahontas, it draws inspiration from real-life indigenous culture, tradition, and myth – from Polynesia, in this case – while never losing sight of the fact that, as a family film, details are freely altered and, to an extent, lightened up.
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From The Movie Vault Archives


Labyrinth (1986)
Henson's Puzzling Coming-of-Age Story

In 1982, Jim Henson made The Dark Crystal, a film brought to life with puppetry and yet was distant from the fun, lighthearted innocence of his previous Muppet films and TV shows. Now he has made Labyrinth, and while it once again relies on puppets that look and sound nothing like their Muppet cousins, it relies a lot on very Muppet-like moments of levity, from slapstick physicality to witty bits of dialogue, the latter undoubtedly because of a screenplay by Monty Python alum Terry Jones.
The Horror of Race Relations
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Assembling Another Disappointment
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James Baldwin in His Own Words
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Please Tell Me This Isn't the Start of a Franchise
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Not Your Capraesque American Dream
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Real Life Lessons from a Fantasy Creature
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Early, Early, Early Risers
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Another Franchise Spins Off
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A Musical Valentine to the City of Angels
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Disney's Polynesian Fairy Tale
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Henson's Puzzling Coming-of-Age Story
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This Is Not a Muppet Movie
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The Tagline Is Absolutely Correct
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So Simple, It's Scary
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All Wrapped Up with No Place to Go
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The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again (2016)
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Why we should never judge a film, remake or otherwise, before actually seeing it
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San Diego's Biggest Convention as Seen Through the Eyes of The Massie Twins
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The reasoning behind my review of Act of Valor, supporting our troops, and the meaning of real patriotism
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Chris Pandolfi predicts the winners and shares his thoughts on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. Did your favorite make his list?
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