Malignant (2021)

WB

Over the years, James Wan has grown to become a household name associated with a string of highly successful and sustainable genre properties. Interestingly, since his auspicious debut Saw, whose success was in no small part helped by Wan’s collaborator Leigh Whannell, the audiences have come to recognize his works as original brands, even though they were heavily steeped in nostalgic winks and nods to movies Wan likely grew up with or held up as inspirational to his development as a filmmaker. Franchises like SawInsidious and The Conjuring have quickly become self-identifiable.  

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The Wes Craven Retrospective: Summer of Fear (1978)

Not everyone knows that apart from writing and directing theatrical features that greatly influenced the development of genre filmmaking, Wes Craven ventured outside this bubble in search for other opportunities. In fact, right after making The Last House on the Left he ventured into hardcore pornography (allegedly because indie filmmaking wasn’t exactly lucrative) and those skilled in the art will be able to find some of his work online without much ado. Though, a fair warning to anyone brave enough to do so that to call some of these movies unwatchable would be a compliment. In addition, Craven ended up branching out to make TV movies as well (of the non-adult variety) and over the course of his entire career he would come back periodically to direct something explicitly designed for the small screen.  

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Minari (2020)

A24

Every year there’s at least one movie that will touch me personally and force me to reflect upon my own life experiences: films like The FarewellMid90sSoul, or The Big Sick. Although they often don’t act like a full-blown mirror I can see myself in, I do end up latching onto very specific aspects of their stories, some characters, themes, ideas or elements of tone. And consequently, these movies linger in my head. They linger. And linger.  

Minari is one of those movies that linger.  

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The Uncut Gems Podcast – Episode 32 (A Good Year)

In this episode of the show we took a little break after a long string of talking about genre movies and talked about Ridley Scott’s A Good Year, which is incidentally symmetrical to what Ridley Scott did. After all, he also – following such movies as Kingdom of Heaven, Hannibal and Black Hawk Down – figured out he wanted to do something else and maybe start directing comedies.

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SPIRIT UNTAMED Is a Tool to Find Intelligent Critics

Dreamworks

The more I think about it, films specifically aimed at children can be useful tools sometimes, but not in any way related to the idea of providing the youngest audiences with entertainment. Movies like Spirit Untamed are a great litmus test to find out which film critics are worth reading and engaging with, and which ones clearly have no idea what they’re doing.  

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Candyman (2021)

MGM

If I remember correctly, and you will have to forgive me if I don’t because when I last read Clive Barker’s The Forbidden people were obsessing over tamagotchi and the Y2K bug, the character of Candyman wasn’t originally tied to any race, nor did it have an origin story of any kind. Only after Barker’s novella was adapted for the screen by Bernard Rose, who moved the setting to America and turned what essentially was a shapeless ghoul into a symbolic manifestation of America’s history coming back to haunt it, complete with a hook for a hand, bees and Tony Todd’s deep voice coming at you from all directions, it became a cultural phenomenon.  

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The Night House (2020)

Searchlight Pictures

Warning! There is absolutely no way I could write anything I’d be remotely happy with without ruining the experience of watching this film. Proceed at your own risk. 

On its surface, the David Bruckner-directed The Night House presents itself as a conventional play on a ghost story with a compelling mystery propelling the story along. However, there’s quite a bit more to it than meets the eye.  

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