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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

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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