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Amanda Fuller

Film Review: Engrossing ‘Cheap Thrills’ Bets on Men’s Desperation

Cheap Thrills

CHICAGO – “Cheap Thrills” is a case study in human desperation and depravity. It’s a sick and twisted film, but it goes about it in a most absorbing albeit uncomfortable way. It’s one of those films that forces the viewer to place themselves in the protagonist’s unpredictable position, asking a question like, “What would you do for money?” Once you do it, what else are you willing to do for more and then, “How far is too far?” 

DVD Review: Embarrassingly Bad ‘Creature’ Fails to Terrify, Titillate

Creature DVD

CHICAGO – After a particularly long work day, I often find it difficult to coax my mind to sleep. That’s when I turn to Video On Demand for some free and immediate assistance. Most moviegoers would probably search for a familiar comedy or predictable romance to help their eyelids grow heavy in the wee hours of the morning. Yet my insomnia-remedy of choice will always remain FEARnet.

DVD Review: ‘Red White & Blue’ Plays on the Mind, Not the Gag Reflex

Red White & Blue

CHICAGO – There are few modern horror films that possess the power to shock an audience into a state of dazed, mouth-gaping awe. Audiences of increasingly young ages are well-accustomed to copious amounts of blood and gore. The excess of violence quickly and irrevocably numbs the senses. That may be why Simon Rumley’s “Red White & Blue” works so well. It plays on the mind rather than the gag reflex.

Interview: Simon Rumley Shocks the Senses in ‘Red White & Blue’

Simon Rumley Interview

CHICAGO – The scariest aspects of a Simon Rumley picture aren’t in the form of ominous monsters or buckets of blood. They are instead hidden within the corners of a tormented human psyche. It’s the impulse for destruction that haunts every one of his characters in “Red White & Blue,” a deeply unsettling drama that transforms into a galvanizing horror film during its final act.

Film Review: Unsettling ‘Red White & Blue’ Creeps Under the Skin

Red White & Blue

CHICAGO – “Red White & Blue” is a deviously effective horror film precisely because it doesn’t appear to be one. There are subtle stylistic hints here and there, but nothing that truly signals the horrors to come. They emerge not from left field, but out of the character’s own pent up rage, and their increasing desire to inflict pain upon the world that has failed them.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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