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    David Cronenberg’s “MAPS TO THE STARS” (TIFF Movie Review)

    I’ve said this before, but to fully appreciate and embrace the work of mad Canadian movie maverick David Cronenberg, you must view his films as an arc—a trajectory of obsession that begins with his earliest shorts like CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, to his first features like SHIVERS and RABID, continuing with less fantastical but no less visceral fare SPIDER, CRASH and COSMOPOLIS and climaxing (literally in some sequences) with his latest immersion into weird human behavior, the malevolent Cannes hit MAPS TO THE STARS.

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    “THE REACH” (TIFF Review)

    THE REACH is a great work of pulp delirium masquerading as accessible mainstream entertainment. Starring, as it does, the son of Spartacus himself, legendary actor Michael Douglas (who also produced and developed the project) and baited for the ladies with youthful hard bodied hunk Jeremy Irvine (WAR HORSE), THE REACH exceeds its potentially pedestrian lure and conventional set-up and ends up being something far more daring and aesthetically evolved. An existential, bizarre western/horror hybrid, it plays like an expanded ROAD RUNNER short by way of Werner Herzog’s FITZCARRALDO and THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, peppered with macho swagger and a distinctly European sense of operatic grandeur.  And like the similarly testosterone-soaked thriller THE GREY, if marketed right THE REACH could—and should—find its cult very quickly.

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    “SHREW’S NEST” (TIFF Movie Review)

    One of the most cost effective ways to anchor a low budget feature is in emphasizing claustrophobia; making a virtue of a single location and turning it into a strength rather than cost-cutting hindrance. George Romero did it, Roman Polanski nailed it, Sam Raimi made it a cartoon, and now the Spanish directing team of Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel have made it their own.

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    “TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY” (Blu-ray Review)

    When CBS and Paramount Pictures teamed to bring TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY to Blu-ray this summer, there was no question as to whether or not this would be the definitive home release of the series and prequel film, FIRE WALK WITH ME. The concept of a definitive set pales in comparison to the reality: a massive 10-disc set that felt as physically dense as the content it held within. In an age where physical media is being given the short shrift time and time again, TWIN PEAKS: THE ENTIRE MYSTERY is any tried-and-true genre fan’s golden ticket.

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    “THE DAMNED” (Movie Review)

    Why would an inn located in the deepest, remote wilds of Colombia have the very American-Southwest name of Gallows Hill? Perhaps that concern led GALLOWS HILL to be retitled THE DAMNED, or maybe that generic new moniker was chosen to reflect the familiarity of the movie itself, a smattering of creatively creepy moments notwithstanding.

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    “THE QUIET ONES” (Blu-ray Review)

    Follwing their comeback in 2008, Hammer Films has certainly aimed to live up to their legacy of horror with dignity. In the tradition of their classics, the company set its mind on films that didn’t focus on body count as much as they did on the actual story. It was befitting that their first endeavor would be an impressive remake of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, entitled LET ME IN, and would find their greatest success in the incredibly creepy adaptation of THE WOMAN IN BLACK.

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    “DYS-” (Fantasia Movie Review)

    The title of Maude Michaud’s DYS-, as defined in an opening text screen, is meant as a diminutive of “dysfunction,” of which there is certainly plenty on screen. But where the film’s central relationship is concerned, the movie could easily be called DIS-, for “dismissive” or “disassociate.”

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    “RAGE” (Movie Review)

    RAGE’s hook is in its title. Yes, that hook is obvious in that it rhymes with the surname of its star. And that’s no coincidence. Cage signed on to RAGE when it was called TOKAREV, a name that suits its story best and yet would no doubt be a nightmare to market (a Tokarev is a Russian handgun). So instead, the middle-management suits retitled it RAGE to cater to the ever-expanding Nicolas Cage internet-based cult, directly alluding to the web meme that sees Cage channeling Billy Corgan.

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