The Great McGinty (1940)
Written & Directed by Preston Sturges
We begin at a bar in a banana republic where a forlorn and suicidal American banker is stopped from ending things by the bartender. The bartender is also an American, Dan McGinty, who tells his patron that he was once governor of a state in the U.S. From there we flashback to the story of McGinty’s rise and fall to power. During the Great Depression, he’s another jobless schmoe who is coerced into a voting fraud scheme for two bucks. He ends up showing an impressive level of moxie, and a local mob boss decides to use McGinty in his plans. He starts out as an alderman before moving to mayor and eventually governor of an unnamed state. But, as the film’s opening prologue tells us, one moment of good will topple McGinty back to the bottom.
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Black Mirror: Hang the D.J. (2017)
Written by Charlie Brooker
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Amy and George live inside The System, a walled-off community of singles who are paired off by an artificial intelligence known as Coach. The pairings are used to gather data on a person’s preferences in a partner so that they can one day be given their perfect match. The length of the pairings is seemingly random, with some lasting a couple days to others going on for an entire year. Amy and George are each other’s first date in the System, and they are only together for 12 hours. However, even after being paired up with other people, they feel a pull towards each other.
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The Transfiguration (2017)
Written & Directed by Michael O’Shea
Milo is an orphaned teenage boy living in New York City. He lives with his Army veteran brother who is unable to get a job, never explained but implied by either physical or mental injury. Milo has a secret though, he is a vampire. Or Milo believes he is a vampire and has marked out on his calendar the nights he will feed. He’ll stalk bathrooms or hang out in Central Park late into the night, using a secret pen knife to slit his victims’ throats and then lapping up their blood. In the midst of this very dark existence, Milo meets Sophie, a girl who has just moved into his apartment building. They strike up a friendship that becomes a relationship, and Milo attempts to keep his secret from Sophie while fighting his urge to feed on her.
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The Untamed (2016)
Written & Directed by Amat Escalante
In a cabin in the woods, far from the city, live an old scientist and his wife. Inside their barn, they house something fantastic and terrific. But if that’s where you think the film will spend most of its time, then you are wrong. After a teasing opening sequence, shot with beautiful horror, we follow Veronica, a young woman enthralled with the thing in the barn. Veronica is injured after an encounter and meets nurse Fabian. She introduces Fabian to this same object of pleasure and revulsion. Fabian’s sister, Alejandra is married and dealing with the increasing drudgery of domestic life and the distance of her husband Angel. Angel is secretly having an affair with Fabian behind his wife’s back, but the latter breaks it off after feeling his devotion grow to the thing. It becomes very apparent that this story will only end tragically.
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JSA by Geoff Johns Volume 1 (2017)
Written by Geoff Johns, David Goyer, & James Robinson
Art by Stephen Sadowski et al.
Reprints JSA Secret Files #1 and JSA #1-15.
Three generations of DC’s superheroes are thrust together when the dark sorcerer Mordru sets out to kill the next Doctor Fate. Old vets like Alan Scott (the original Green Lantern) and Jay Garrick (the original Flash) join with Black Canary, Starman, Hourman, and others to usher in the newest incarnation of their old friend. From there they face a myriad of evil forces: Black Adam, the terrorist cult Kobra, and the reality manipulator Extant. Along the way, their bonds not just as a team, but as a family strengthen and they become one of the great highlights of DC Comics in the 2000s.
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The Shape of Water (2017)
Written by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Elisa Esposito lives in Baltimore circa the early 1960s. She is mute since birth and works as a cleaning woman at a government laboratory. Her only friends are Zelda, a fellow cleaner, and Giles, her neighbor who is a closeted gay man. One night while working, a new specimen is brought into the lab by Colonel Strickland. The creature was discovered in the South American rainforest and is a humanoid fish person. Elisa feels a connection to this poor animal and worries as Strickland oversees his torture. A plan begins to develop, and Elisa becomes determined to help her new friend escape this nightmare existence.
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I, Tonya (2017)
Written by Steven Rogers
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Everyone has particular images and ideas when they hear the name “Tonya Harding.” In 1994 she was one of the most infamous people in the media. Her story has all the right hallmarks of the bizarre and tragic to make her the sort of person the news gobbles up. A figure skater from the “wrong side of the tracks” who didn’t mesh with the traditional prettiness of the skating establishment. Married to an abusive man who didn’t seem to have any direction in life. The two of them intermingled in a seeming conspiracy of the stupid to take out her rival for the Olympics, Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya maintained she had no idea what was going on, but husband Jeff Gillooly kept insisting she was aware. A sort of practice run for the O.J. Simpson media circus.
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