Stopmotion (2024)

In Theaters Today before it makes its way to VOD on March 15th and then the Shudder Streaming Service on May 31st.

There’s a scene in Robert Morgan’s “Stopmotion” where protagonist Ella is discussing with her mother, another animator, how she’s handling her puppets. Her mother corrects her in a menacing tone that she is the actual puppet. When it comes to art, the artist tends to submit themselves to a certain kind of madness that becomes a part of the process of creation and death. Robert Morgan’s horror thriller is a brilliant look in to the creative process and the often maddening process that can come with being an artist. In particular, Morgan focuses on the grueling task of stop motion animation and writes a film that’s both a love letter and dire warning to any artist that gives themselves over to the art form.

It’s bound to inspire much analysis from its audience.

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Trunk: Locked In (2024)

The tough thing about making a thriller centered entirely around a confined setting is that you have to kind of build something new with every plot beat or else it wears thin easily. While “Trunk: Locked In” could be confused with the previous year trunk-centric thriller “The Call,” Marc Schießer’s “Trunk” is much more about the victim within the trunk of a car. The majority of the movie’s script spends time only only trying to figure out the hows but the whys and inevitability of what might happen in this circumstance all the while she’s stuck in a trunk forced to deal with a faceless entity that has in their clutches.

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Madame Web (2024)

In Sony’s quest to maintain the Spider-Man trademark, they continue milking whatever character from his universe that they can, no matter how irrelevant or nonsensical they may be. In the now established “Don’t Say Spider-Man” Spider-Man Movieverse, S.J. Clarkson directs what is essentially “Donnie Darko” but with a heavy theme about Spiders. The writers do everything they can to allude to Spider-Man and Peter Parker but, I’m assuming because of contractual stipulations, not once do we ever get to see Peter Parker or Spider-man, nor do we ever hear his name uttered. Uncle Ben does play a big role, though, because he is not canon in the MCU.

It’s all so tricky.

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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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No Way Up (2024)

It seems like not many remember what a good survival film is, anymore, and while so many present prime opportunities for knuckle biting tension, often times they tend to fall so flat. Claudio Fäh’s “No Way Up” is a great idea for a survival thriller where the odds are deliriously stacked against a group of people. It’s just shocking that so much of this opportunity is wasted in favor of what is mostly a flat, redundant, and dull thriller. I don’t know how you take a great idea like “No Way Up” and leave it feeling like nothing is ever really fleshed out or fully developed.

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Last Night at Terrace Lanes (2024)

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

An obvious but loving ode to “Assault on Precinct 13,” Jamie Nash’s horror survival comedy is probably one of the more entertaining indie films I’ve seen in a while. It’s a movie that is obviously small in budget, but makes the most out of a single setting horror film through the end. I was surprised by how much director Jamie Nash was able to pull out of this premise as they’re able to really justify why the film is confined to one place and is set during one night rather than multiple days. “Last Night at Terrace Lanes” is that classic siege horror film but with a dose of familial drama and coming of age.

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