Movie Review – First Reformed

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First Reformed (2017)
Written & Directed by Paul Schrader

first reformed

Reverend Ernst Toller is dying. He doesn’t know what is killing him yet, but he knows he only has a short time to live. He is the head of The First Reformed Church in upstate New York, which has become a tourist attraction because of its pre-Revolutionary construction and role in the Underground Railroad. The only thing keeping First Reformed afloat is the megachurch Abundant Life, headed by Pastor Jeffers. After a service, Toller is approached by Mary, a young pregnant woman who is worried about her husband, Michael. Michael is a radical environmentalist who is falling into darkness over what he sees is the inevitable destruction of the planet. Toller is spun into a crisis of faith after speaking with Michael, trying to grapple with the actions of the system that keeps his church operating and what is being done to God’s creation.

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Movie Review – They Remain

They Remain (2017)
Written & Directed by Philip Gelatt

they-remain

Keith and Jessica are sent for an extended research assignment to study nature. This isn’t your typical assignment because the plot of land they are visiting is the site of ritualized murders committed by a Manson-style cult decades before. The private interest backing the expedition wants to know if such acts of depravity and evil have left a mark on the environment. Keith goes out each day, placing cameras and gathering samples. Jessica stays in their geodesic dome headquarters processing samples, looking for some elusive unknown. Keith encounters a wild dog that seems to be leading him through the woods, and both researchers begin to experience hallucinations and dreams about the dark acts performed on this land. Something evil lurks in the darkness and is slowly luring two more victims to it.

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Movie Review – Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories (2017)
Written & Directed by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

ghost stories

Professor Phillip Goodman has made a career out of being a skeptic of all things supernatural and mystic. When we catch up with him, he’s exposing a medium that preys on grieving parents. Out of nowhere, Goodman is contacted by presumed dead paranormal investigator Charles Cameron, an inspiration to Goodman. Cameron claims that he had a crisis of faith and discovered three cases that he could find no rational explanation for. Goodman takes these three cases with the intent of doing his investigation and proving them hoaxes. However, as the good professor explores each incident and speaks to the people who witnessed each one he finds strange coincidences that hint at something more sinister behind these events.

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Movie Review – Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)
Written & Directed by Tony Gilroy

roman j israel

Roman J. Israel is a lawyer that hasn’t seen the inside of a courtroom in years. While he types up the briefs, his partner William Jackson makes the court appearances and argues for their clients. Jackson drops from a heart attack, and Roman learns that the firm is on the verge of financial collapse. For the last few years, they’ve had cases tossed to them by George Pierce, a costly and lucrative lawyer. Seeing potential in Roman and feeling pity for him, Pierce brings Roman on to handle small, hard to win cases. The pressures of modern life begin to take their toll on the aging former civil rights activist and Roman starts to question the very nature of his ideals.

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Movie Review – The Endless

The Endless (2017)
Written by Justin Benson
Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

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Justin and Aaron are brothers who escaped from a UFO death cult a decade ago. While they toil away as professional cleaners day to day, Aaron starts to wonder if life back with the cult would be better. They receive a videotape in the mail that appears to be a farewell message from one of the cult members. The two men finally decide to return to the rural campground where the cult operates from and finds none of them remember sending any tape and are just happy to see their old friends back. Strange phenomena begin to happen around the camp and the two men figure out that the very fabric of reality is breaking down around them.

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Book Review – The Grip of It

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The Grip of It by Jac Jemec

the grip of it

Julie and James feel a strong need to leave their urban apartment and purchase a home in the suburbs. They find a large house that is surprisingly affordable but even during their first walk through something is off. There is a hum coming from somewhere beneath them, inside the walls, never becoming too loud but always ringing in their ears. The couple shakes it off and goes on with moving in and making this home their own. Things just get worse though, rooms that didn’t exist before suddenly appear, stains appear on the walls that won’t seem to go away, and even the neighbor and boys playing in the woods nearby start to become figures of menace and dread. James and Julie start lying to each other which only increases their paranoia and disconnect, leading to a horrific conclusion.

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Movie Review – Loveless

Loveless (2017)
Written by Oleg Negin & Andrey Zvyagintsev
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

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Zhenya and Boris are in the final days of their acidic and hateful marriage. When they are forced to be around each other in their Moscow apartment, they fill the bitter silence with mouthfuls of venom spewed at each other. One thing that is agreed upon is that their twelve-year-old son Alyosha is going to be sent to a “boarding school” that will primarily act as an orphanage. Zhenya wants to move on with to her new life with an older, wealthy and established man while Boris has already gotten his twenty-something girlfriend pregnant. Alyosha is destined to be forgotten. One morning, Zhenya discovers that their son hasn’t been to school in two days and appears to have not been in the apartment during that time either. They realize he is missing and contact authorities. The subsequent search forces these two hate-filled people to spend hours together, but don’t expect a reconciliation.

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