New Releases

Moana (2016)
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.
A New Era in Rowling's Wizarding World

David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a glorious, exciting, insightful spinoff of the wizarding world J.K. Rowling introduced to the public nearly twenty years ago. In much the same way as the the Lord of the Rings saga, Fantastic Beasts and the original eight Harry Potter films aren’t self contained fantasy adventures but two offshoots of an entire universe so fully realized that adaptations and sequels could theoretically be made for years to come.
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An Alien Story About Humanity

Under the guise of a science fiction alien invasion thriller, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival tells an intelligent, insightful, poignant, and refreshingly optimistic story not at all about aliens, but about humanity. As the characters scramble to communicate with an alien species that has landed oblong spacecrafts all over the world, we’re made to take notice of the ways in which we communicate with each other – or, more accurately, how we often fail to communicate.
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The Universe Is Too Big for Comic Books

Doctor Strange, the fourteenth entry in the seemingly never-ending saga that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is founded on an intriguing premise and gets off to a decent start, but there comes a point when it loses its way, and by the end, it devolves into pure silliness.
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Preach, Gibson, Preach!

It was said that Desmond Doss, who served in World War II without weapons due to his pacifist Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs, turned down all book and movie requests about his war experiences, wary of the possibility that his life and faith would either be inaccurately portrayed or used for sensationalistic reasons. Despite this, his story has been dramatized in Hacksaw Ridge, Mel Gibson’s first directorial effort in a decade.
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Boy, Can That Savant Kill!

The Accountant is a reprehensible film that regards Asperger’s Syndrome not as a genuine, complex developmental disorder but as a quirk that can be molded and channelled towards becoming an indestructible killing machine. Such was the fate of the title character (Ben Affleck), whose actual name is never given but is known as primarily as Christian Wolff, one of many aliases based off of famous mathematicians.
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Oversimplifying a Complicated Issue

Illegal immigration is a complicated issue, not just politically, but socially, economically, and morally as well. The great failure of Desierto, one of the most brutal and unpleasant thrillers I’ve seen in a long time, is that it oversimplifies the issue to the extent that I wouldn’t be surprised if it offended people of both liberal and conservative persuasions.
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X-Men, Dark Fantasy Style

In the months leading up to its release, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been described, somewhat deridingly, as an imitation of the X-Men franchise. To an extent, this is correct; both stories are about people with superhuman abilities, and in both cases, they have safe havens away from the scorn of everyday people.
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The Dirty Dozen, Comic Book Style

David Ayer’s Suicide Squad is an uneven, overstuffed, ugly film punctuated by individual scenes that actively held my interest. That isn’t much of a compliment, I know, but it’s the best I can manage for a comic book adaptation that, despite its warped undercurrent of humor, shows little interest in the “comic” part of the equation, since many of the characters and situations are so noxious that the intention seems to have been not to entertain, but to make one’s skin crawl.
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Exactly How Does It Go Beyond?

It’s bad enough having to see Star Trek Beyond with a heavy heart, the deaths of Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin casting shadows that make getting into the film difficult. But it’s even worse that their legacies are irrevocably tied to a rebooted franchise in which Gene Roddenberry’s utopian, socially aware vision of the future is stripped away and replaced with action sequences and special effects.
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From The Movie Vault Archives


Halloween (1978)
So Simple, It's Scary

The greatness of Halloween, a horror film about a masked killer stalking a group of babysitters on Halloween night, lies in its simplicity. It’s not a character study. It’s not a profound statement on the human condition. It’s not even a veiled examination of hatred or revenge, politics or war, science or technology. Instead, it’s a technical exercise.
Disney's Polynesian Fairy Tale
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A New Era in Rowling's Wizarding World
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An Alien Story About Humanity
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The Universe Is Too Big for Comic Books
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Preach, Gibson, Preach!
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Boy, Can That Savant Kill!
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Oversimplifying a Complicated Issue
Read More!
X-Men, Dark Fantasy Style
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The Dirty Dozen, Comic Book Style
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Exactly How Does It Go Beyond?
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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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This Is Why B-Movies Develop Cult Followings
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New Adaptation, Old-School Tricks
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A Plant Sings for Its Supper
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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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Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Best Films of 2012. See his full list of favorite films right here!
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Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Worst Films of 2012. See the full list of dispicable films right here…
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Chris Pandolfi Talks with the Author of Enemies, A Love Story
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