Number 37 (2018) [Fantasia Fest 2018]

I’ve seen the frame work for “Rear Window” tacked on to a lot of genres, from murder mysteries, vampire movies, werewolf movies, Bigfoot movies, and so much more. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” turned in to a gangster thriller before. Director Nosipho Dumisa definitely has her eyes aimed at Alfred Hitchcock’s murder mystery masterpiece, but thankfully while the film is pretty much an homage (or remake, perhaps?), “Number 37” definitely manages to stand on its own as a stellar thriller in its own right.

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Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

I can safely say that among the long running action franchises out there, “Mission Impossible” might just be my favorite. Not only has the series managed to re-invent itself time and time again, but Tom Cruise continues to impress and compel as series hero Ethan Hunt. He is a classic hero, a man who is bound to his work, or else the world literally falls apart at the seams. He’s a daring, bold, and clever force of nature, but he’s also one chained forever to the IMF, forced to confront not only terrorist threats, but the fall out of his past enemies that have come back to finally haunt him.

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The First Purge (2018)

I’ve come around on “The Purge” movies in 2018. What I once thought of as goofy exploitation movies, are now goofy exploitation movies with a point. They’re exploitation we need right now, they’re kind of angry diatribes about society that I’ve come to respect. Stuff about the white privileged banking off of the purge, the purge becoming an industry on to itself, “The Purge” posing as an alternate universe tale where the female candidate for president reigned supreme, and now where “The First Purge” begins as an “experiment.”

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You Have to See This! Cool World (1992)

“Sweetheart, I’m the biggest ripped-off cartoonist in the history of the world, and that’s all I’m going to say.” – Ralph Bakshi

Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World” is a movie without a specific audience in mind, and doesn’t seem to know who it’s appealing to. It’s too dark and adult to be considered another “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and much too juvenile to be taken as an adult film. I vividly remember collecting comic books as a kid and seeing full page ads for “Cool World” in every single issue I bought, and yet the movie clearly was not intended for a nine year old, and was too underground for teenagers. In a decade where everyone was trying to be Disney, I doubt many audiences were in the market for a dark erotic animated neo-noir satire involving an animated seductress trying to have sex with her creator so she can become a human.

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Flower (2018)

Probably the most disappointing movie I’ve seen all year, I probably would have shut “Flower” off midway were it not for the great turn by Zooey Deutch. Deutch has become a rising star in film, never failing to be charming, charismatic, funny, and beautiful. She’s one of the survivors of Disney television whose managed to convey some genuine humanity and appeal in a variety of roles ever since. It’s just a shame she got saddled with such a mean, vicious, and despicable dark drama romance that’s about as demented as it gets. “Flower” feels like the writers tried to combine Diablo Cody and Larry Clarke in to one twisted freak of a film, and man does it suck.

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Skyscraper (2018)

I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson. What ever he’s in, I’m automatically going to watch no matter what as he packs a star quality that’s been missing in movies for fifteen years. I guess with every action star, it’s an oath they take that they must have their own “Die Hard” in their repertoire, and “Skyscraper” is that inevitable point in Dwayne Johnson’s career as a big screen hero prone to playing men staring down impossible odds. I’m sad to see that “Skyscraper” is about as bland and forgettable a vehicle as it gets, which is a shame since the premise has at least some potential to be quite an exciting twist on a creaky, worn formula turned sub-genre.

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Aragne: Sign of Vermillion (2018) [Fantasia 2018]

Saku Sakomoto’s “Aragne” is a real stab at anime horror that embraces its nonsensical story, and never actually delivers a narrative at any point during its run time. “Aragne” is thankfully a merciful hour long film, but one that’s a disorienting, and incoherent experience. And not in the artistic way. More in the realm that Sakomoto seems to have half assed a lot of the film and kind of took it in to the realm where he makes it looks intentional the whole way through.

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