Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

Director Zelda Williams and Diablo Cody’s “Lisa Frankenstein” doesn’t just wear its influences on its sleeves, it bedazzles those influences and flashes its sleeves around proudly. “Lisa Frankenstein” watches as if Diablo Cody pitched: “Remember “Edward Scissorhands”? What if “Edward Scissorhands” but in the 80’s?” All the cards are set up from minute one, from the Gothic animated opening sequence, and the pastel photography, while Kathryn Newton and Cole Sprouse do their very best Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp impersonations.

Mix in “Heathers,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and “Warm Bodies” and we’re given what is essentially a ton of talent with no place to go.

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Darkman (1990): Collector’s Edition [4K UHD/Blu-ray]

The one thing about Sam Raimi’s movies is that good or bad, very few of them age poorly. Even for a movie made in the early nineties at an age where every studio were seeking to duplicate the success of “Batman,” Raimi makes “Darkman” his own movie. It’s a superhero movie in the horror vein where our masked dark avenger is also a deformed an unhinged Frankenstein monster. Something in the vein of Brundlefly, Liam Neeson really does offer up a wildly unique and off the rails performance.

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Love and Work (2023) [Slamdance 2024]

The Slamdance Film Festival runs Digitally and In-Person from January 19th to January 28th.

Much as I tried I just couldn’t click in to Pete Oh’s world that he painted for the audience. Everything about his movie is a science fiction dystopia centered on the irony that everyone loves to be subjugated and work themselves to the bone. With the whole reversal of the concept of the working class, as well as the central plot of the narrative of two people accidentally learning what pleasure and relaxation feels like, I was relatively bored most of the time.

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Marie (2014)

Director Alfredo Tanaka’s short film is more about the experience and technical prowess he presents than about the narrative. The narrative, to its credit, feels a lot like some kind of contemporary folklore that breaches the ideas about tragic love and living up to the wealthy and elite. “Marie” is a weird and absolutely bizarre movie, but one that works well thanks to the pretty great direction, top notch editing, and just bang up make up effects.

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The Allnighter (2022)

I’ll admit, I didn’t think I would like Aimee Graham’s arthouse drama, mainly because the premise is kind of bizarre. It begins as this kind of weird night out with two random people, then devolves in to a car theft and odd detours, and then transforms in to this pretty hypnotizing drama about two kindred spirits. Despite the narrative that feels like it goes literally everywhere, “The Allnighter” is thankfully not hindered by this one caveat. Truth be told, “The Allnighter” is altogether pretty stellar, and it’s a film that kept me hooked right through the very end.

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Poor Things (2023)

Emma Stone is an actress that has continued to challenge herself time and time again with roles that we’d never expect her to take on. Originally beginning her career in a teen comedy, she’s managed to really escape pigeonholing by exploring new and interesting roles. Bella Baxter is probably one of the best performances of her career, one even better than her turn in “Birdman.” As Bella, Stone is remarkable in the way she evolves, and develops and grows in to something that we never quite recognize when the film has ended. Although “Poor Things” will get so many interpretations, I pegged Yorgos Lanthimos’ film primarily as a statement about the illusion of bodily autonomy.

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Maestro (2023)

Bradley Cooper’s film about the life of Leonard Bernstein is why I’m firm in my opinion that pretty much most music biopics are just terrible. Bernstein is an interesting figure that we learn almost nothing about by the time the movie ends. We explore his torrid private life, sure, but Cooper opts to kind of step back from the artist that was Bernstein in favor of the person. That’s understandable considering “Maestro” is a pitch for an Oscar from the starting gate.

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Elemental (2023)

People gave “Wish” a lot of guff for feeling like an AI generated movie, but I think when it comes down to it, “Elemental” is so much more guilty of this claim. “Elemental” is one of the laziest and more lethargic Disney films ever produced from Pixar and Disney. It’s such a dull concept that’s overcome by social commentary that literally clubs us over the head every chance it gets. “Elemental” is about immigration and the immigrant experience. Element city is America, or The Land of opportunity. We’re told that a least thirty times over the span of ninety minutes.

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