A Ghost Story (2017)

Many filmmakers have spent decades examining the meaning of life and the state of existence, but we don’t often get the chance to explore the idea of existence after life. True, films like “Ghost” and whatnot have taken a more dramatic idea toward existence after existence, but what if the after life is nothing? What if there is no darkness or hell or heaven? What if there is simply the essence of what we once we lingering on and on after we reach some kind of conclusion and then cease to be for all eternity? Much of what David Lowery wants us to focus on is only important within the context of where the ghost of our protagonist is and what he chooses to focus on. A lot of M’s life is left for the character within the narrative to deal with and to hold on to, all the while Lowery focuses on the now.

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The Shape of Water (2017)

What “The Shape of Water” ultimately amounts to is Guillermo Del Toro’s own adoration for monster and romance cinema. Del Toro constantly evokes shades of “The Creature Walks Among Us,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” while also channeling Woody Allen’s “Purple Rose of Cairo.” Much like the latter, “The Shape of Water” depicts a somewhat whimsical romance in a world filled with misery and darkness at every corner. Del Toro has a lot to say about the ugliness of humanity and the ideas of what monsters truly are in this world and others.

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Another WolfCop (2017)

If you loved the out there nature of “WolfCop,” you’ll be happy to know that director Dean Lowell rewards fans for their long wait for a sequel with “Another WolfCop,” a sequel that is so far out there, it’s surreal at times. Director and writer Lowell channels a lot of classic films once again, centering on our vigilante WolfCop as he protects his small town in the most violent methods, all the while concocting a premise involving the furry vigilante that feels like an amalgam of “Halloween III,” “V,” and “Howling II,” if you can believe it. That’s not where the wheel stops spinning though, as director Lowell deals his furry crime fighter a new villain that is beyond anything he’s ever experienced.

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Darken (2017) [Blood In The Snow 2017]

After trying to help a fallen warrior, a young woman falls into a dark world where people are seemingly stuck against their will under the rule of a ruthless woman.

Written by RJ Lackie and directed by Audrey Cummings, Darken creates a complex world with a lot of characters that feels like the start to something like a tv pilot or the first in a series. This means that the film sets up quite a few characters and a world of its own for them to evolve in. The film does good work creating that and introducing plenty of characters before killing quite a few off for the story to move forward and the other characters to have a reason to go on their quest. The film is entertaining while it does this and the characters are varied to add to this.

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“Warlock” Collection [Vestron Video Collector’s Series] [Blu-Ray]

It’s ironic, and perhaps not incidental, that Vestron would release the entire movie series for “Wishmaster” and “Warlock.” They’re two weak attempts at movie maniacs in a pretty stale decade for horror, and deep down while they have potential to be menacing and terrifying horror villains, they’re poorly realized, and potentially trail off in to absolute nothingness. “Warlock” is not as bad a slope as “Wishmaster,” as it managed to gain some momentum in the nineties, even sporting a Sega Genesis video game in 1995 which involved platforming, and fighting off zombies and demonic beasts with magic spells. 1989’s “Warlock” is a tonally confused movie that wants sorely to be a horror film, but ends up sliding in to dark fantasy territory by the time it draws to a close.

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Kong: Skull Island (2017)

What I love about “Kong: Skull Island” is that while it’s essentially a good old fashioned matinee monster movie at heart, it’s also a pretty clever take on the Vietnam war. “Kong: Skull Island” implements the classic trope from the classic giant monster movies taking a group of armed men and women in to the wilderness, and uses that as an allegory for the Vietnam war. Like the aforementioned war, US soldiers storm in to a wilderness they were unprepared to do battle with, except they face an unparalleled force of nature. Also very effectively setting up a cinematic universe, Jordan Vogt-Roberts aspires for a lot, and succeeds as a simple and harrowing adventure with big monsters, and menacing creatures far and wide.

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Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (2017)

Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!” was one of the banner animated series from the heyday of the 1990’s. It was a subtle, sweet, and often funny coming of age show with a lot of heart and some brilliantly memorable moments that evoked pure emotion from its audience. Despite ending in 2004, Nickelodeon gave the series a final send off in 2002 with a flimsy and absolutely wretched big screen film that did nothing to close the world we’d come to love. Most of all, it did nothing for the story arc of main character Arnold, who spent a majority of the series under the care of his elderly eccentric grandparents.

Mid-way through the series, we learned that Arnold’s parents were explorers who spent their days traveling, and the last they ever saw of him was before they left for one last adventure to help a village suffering from a mysterious illness.

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Blood Child (2017) [Blood In The Snow 2017]

Following a miscarriage, a woman plays with forces she does not quite understand in her quest to have a child to love and care for.

Written and directed by Jennifer Phillips with story editor Emily Schooley, Blood Child is based on a true story, but how much of it is left here is not easily found with a quick Google search. Here the story is taken in a very supernatural way so the belief in whether or not it’s fully based on a true story will depend on the viewer’s level of belief in the supernatural. Nonetheless, the story is well written and takes the beliefs it plays with seriously while also adapting them to the screen. The characters feel like they are perhaps not developed at their best or the performances for them is what causes this lack of care for them from the viewer. The lead is interesting, but her husband comes off as unlikable, her best friend comes off bitchy, while the housekeeper comes off as a cliché complete with an accent that can only be fake (and if it is not, apologies to the actress).

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