The Last Thing Mary Saw (2021) [Fantasia Film Festival 2021]

Writer/director Edoardo Vitaletti’s debut feature, The Last Thing Mary Saw is a horror drama that promises to be one of the most polarizing films of the year. It’s a return to the rising resurgence of folk horror much in the vein of “The Witch” and “Midsommar” but explores the more relevant ideas about religious oppression, sexual oppression, and the perils of the love between two young girls, which becomes increasingly dangerous over the course of the narrative.

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Baby, Don’t Cry (2020) [Fantasia Film Festival 2021]

Director Jesse Dvorak’s crime drama is a bit problematic in that it’s a film that constantly jumps from theme to theme and never quite decides on what kind of story it wants to tell. It’s both about the immigrant experience in America, followed by culture shock often experienced by main character Baby. Most of the time she struggles with what she thinks are the norms for American culture, and this amounts to a script that’s never quite focused and feels ultimately under cooked.

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Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Director Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” movie series has been very good so far. What’s kept the series from being great is the films’ lack of really interesting super villains that can make Diana’s heroic quest difficult. “Wonder Woman 1984” is a very good movie that has its sights set on paying tribute to the iconic heroine, and in those respects it’s a very good follow up to the original film—save for some glaring flaws that keep it from being a great follow up.

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You Have to See This! The Wraith (1986)

“A wraith, man! A ghost! A evil spirit – and it ain’t cool!”

The Wraith” is one of those B movies from the eighties that is so inexplicable and so bizarre, but so damn satisfying. When I was a kid I spent a lot of my time watching antenna TV (Grade A TV Junkie right here!) and whatever movie was on that peaked my interest, even a little, I would be there front and center. “The Wraith” is one of the movies that caught my attention right away (showing prominently on WPIX Channel 11). It wasn’t only for the revenge tale involving an undead anti-hero, but also for the titular Wraith, who just looks so bad ass

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Flight to Mars (1951): Special Edition [Blu-Ray]

Well, say what you want about “Flight to Mars” (reaching its 70th anniversary this year) but damn it, they make good on their promise in the title. There is definitely a flight to mars. It’s just a long, drawn out, monotonous, tedious flight to mars involving four boring male characters and one woman whose duties involve getting aggressively hit on by the spaceship’s captain, taking notes, and making the men coffee.

In Sp-a-a-a-a-ce!

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Fear Street, Part 3: 1666 (2021)

Director Leigh Janiak’s creation of the “Fear Street” trilogy has to be one of the most impressive cinematic accomplishments this year. It’s tough to find a horror trilogy where every film feels different, but clicks together like a puzzle, so seamlessly. “Fear Street” had every chance of being a complete mess, especially with how it goes backward in time to fill in the gaps in its narrative. Not to mention the fact that it trusts audiences will return is ambitious and often impressive.

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The Dead Zone (1983): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

Some of the best Stephen King book to screen adaptations has been television mini-series. That’s fascinating as “The Dead Zone” often feels exactly like a television mini-series. Despite David Cronenberg’s solid direction, “The Dead Zone” is often very episodic. It doesn’t have one streamlined narrative so much as it has vignettes that lead to what you could call the series finale. In retrospect after my first viewing, it’s not at all a surprise that the premise inevitably led to a television series.

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The Time Guardian (1987) [Blu-Ray]

Brian Hannant’s “The Time Guardian” is about as vintage straight to video science fiction as it can get. It’s a low budget, serviceable genre entry with a hodgepodge of (what feel like) recycled concepts that never quite gel together, and sadly never comes together even by the time the climax rolls around. It’s “Back to the Future,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Wars,” and “Terminator” all rolled in to one big Ozploitation mélange. At its best it’s only kind of charming in fleeting moments; at its worst, it’s absolutely dull late night cable fodder.

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