Films

by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, April 2 | Posted in Film

It Follows is a horror film that, while filled with classic themes of the genre, interprets them in a contemporary way, unhindered by the trappings of reverence and dependence on the styles of previous decades — particularly the 1970s and '80s, which has become so repellently prevailent these days — and its ability to go its own way in excellent fashion is what really makes it a fresh and vital film.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, April 2 | Posted in Film

Let's see what the movie studios landed on the Recycled Comedic Premise Wheel of Redundancy for this week's review. Ah-ha, looks like we have a pairing of Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in an outing that deals with an upcoming prison incarnation (directed by never-directed-anything-before director Etan Cohen), and how Ferrell has to spend that 30-day waiting period to deal with life in the slammer with the help of Hart, which of course, sets up various prison rape jokes.

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by Jeremy Webster | Friday, March 27 | Posted in Film

Insurgent — the second book-to-film adaptation from Veronica Roth's apparently quite popular Divergent trilogy of young adult novels — is, essentially, a massive, leaden blob of CGI effects after heavy saturation of adolescent hormones. Which, if you're into that sort of thing, you'll probably find enjoyable enough.

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by Dan Kampling | Friday, March 27 | Posted in Film

It's hard to imagine a time when comic book adaptations were rarity in cinemas. When they first appeared on screen, they were merely treated as matinee draw for the kids and rarely paid attention to the source material. However, the efforts of Universal Pictures' trilogy of serials based on the Flash Gordon comic strip broke that mold and went on to became memorable pieces of the genre. Their influence played an important part in the creation of the science fiction film genre, notably for Star Wars.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, March 19 | Posted in Film

Chappie is the sort of science fiction film that is able to both exhilarate and frustrate viewers — sometimes doing both at the same time.

This third feature from District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp is, like both films before it, concept-heavy from the get go, with Blomkamp exploring the nature of artificial intelligence and, ultimately, consciousness.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, March 19 | Posted in Film

Perhaps the most charming aspects of visiting one of the various Disney theme parks is getting the opportunity to meet the various characters in person. Sure, to an adult it is understood that they're just actors in costumes representing their cartoon incarnations, but the sheer delight of the setting and witnessing the exuberant level of delight on children's faces while they treat them like they're real make Disney live up to its reputation.

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Blade Runner and Wrath of Kahn hit the silver screen this week.

by Dan Kampling | Thursday, March 12 | Posted in Film

The summer of 1982 proved to be a milestone in science fiction film history. Not just for the fact that Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial went on to become the highest grossing film of all-time, but 1982 also saw the release of a slew of influential films, whose impact on the genre still carries on over 30 years later. Two of these such films, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Blade Runner, will be playing here in Wichita on big screens over the next four evenings as the inaugural screenings of Warren Theaters' "Return of the Cults" series.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, March 5 | Posted in Film

Like most disposable, second-tier horror cheapies, The Lazarus Effect is a film where its nuggets of goodness float in a sea of trite mediocrity at best. These sorts of films try to give a few good scares before the end credits run, but they do not deliver The Exorcist- or Rosemary's Baby-level quality.

In the case of The Lazarus Effect, the film does have a few strong to middling ideas at play along with consistently excellent cinematography, but none of them ever gels together to create a coherent experience.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, March 5 | Posted in Film

The Wichita Alternative Film Series will be presenting the documentary Culture High on Friday, March 6, at 7 p.m. at the Murdock Theater, 536 N. Broadway.

Described as "an amusing yet insightful portrait of cannabis prohibition and the grasp it has on society," the film tears into the current marijuana debate with arguments from both supporters and opponents of existing marijuana laws.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, March 5 | Posted in Film

This year's Oscars were appropriately distributed to their worthy applicants. What was remarkable this year was the differentiations between all of the major awards. Not one film swept the categories, thus presented a fair balance of the wide category of films of the previous year. The Best Actress Academy Award winner for Julianne Moore in Still Alice has finally arrived, a deserving award win for a deserving film chronicling the onset of Alzheimer's disease and its effect on everyone involved.

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by Jeremy Webster | Wednesday, March 4 | Posted in Film

When asked what movie I watched more times than any other as a child, my answer isn't Star Wars. It isn't one of the Star Trek entries. Nothing Disney's ever produced even comes close.

It's Terry Gilliam's 1981 film, Time Bandits.

Part of this is due to the fact that, throughout the '80s and early '90s, the thing was a constant staple of HBO, but, honestly, I didn't have to watch it — I always came across it and stopped on it.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, February 26 | Posted in Film

Imagine the negotiations to get Jeff Bridges into his latest film Seventh Son. It probably started with a phone call that went to his answering machine stating, "The Dude is not in. Leave a message after the beep." The representative tells Bridges that he has an "Obi-Wan Kenobi" type of role in a potential franchise, where his character is a witch-hunting knight who gets to take an apprentice. He'll even get to unite with his Big Lebowski co-star Julianne Moore as a black-magic woman that's got a spell on him.

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by Mike Marlett | Thursday, February 19 | Posted in Film

The public has been whipped into a frenzy with the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie version of the 2012 New York Times No. 1 Best Seller. It has completely dominated the box office on its opening weekend, but many people are thrashing it on the grounds that they believe that it supports domestic violence.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, February 19 | Posted in Film

Kingsman: The Secret Service is a rare film for a few reasons. For one thing, the trailer by no means spoils how truly awesome the finished product is. For another thing, while it's both a parody of and an homage to classic spy films of old, it is most certainly its own awesome, spectacle-filled beast, balancing thrills and laughs while building up to its next outrageous setpiece.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, February 12 | Posted in Film

Let it be known that, in the ratio of unintentional hilarity to outright pain, Jupiter Ascending — the latest special effects extravaganza from Andy and Lana Wachowski — definitely skews to the side of pain.

And yet… well, these are the Wachowskis, man. These are the people that captured an entire generation's imagination and revolutionized special effects with The Matrix some 16 years ago.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, February 12 | Posted in Film

It should go without saying that New York City during the 1970s and 1980s was a bona fide Hell on Earth. During that time, The Big Apple carried a heavy stigma for a crime-ridden city with its high rates of drugs, criminals and corruption. Writer-director J. C. Chandor utilizes this bad memory as the backdrop for the critically acclaimed film, A Most Violent Year, which excellently visualizes and personalizes this point in history while delivering stellar performances from the cast.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, February 5 | Posted in Film

English-Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour's debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night has been called, "the first Iranian vampire Western."

A seemingly strange mishmash of words strung together into a description, true, but it's not an inaccurate statement. The black and white production — which also boasts Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings, the Maniac remake) as a producer — is something akin to a loose cousin of Let the Right One In interpreted through the minds of Sergio Leone, Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch.

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by Dan Kampling | Thursday, February 5 | Posted in Film

Once in a while, there comes a movie that appears to have been made under the "I think I can" mantra from The Little Engine That Could. What writer-director Richard Linklater thought he could do was to make a film over 12 years, which would be the most accurate cinematic portrayal of a coming-of-age story. He aptly titled his project Boyhood.

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by Jeremy Webster | Monday, February 2 | Posted in Film

Every good horror film gets a sequel. But what about screenings?

After successful turnouts last Friday and Saturday, the Australian horror phenomenon The Babadook will be returning to the Palace Theatre for a weeklong run starting this Friday.

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by Jeremy Webster | Thursday, January 29 | Posted in Film

The Babadook, the No. 1 rated horror film of 2014, will be creeping into the Palace Theatre Friday and Saturday to scare the socks off Wichita audiences.

The Australian film, which holds an impressive aggregate critic score of 97 percent on www.rottentomatoes.com, not only scored as the best reviewed horror film of 2014, but also rates as the fifth best rated film of all films released in 2014.

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