Blu-Ray Review: The Purge: Election Year

★★☆☆☆ – The latest Purge offers nothing new or interesting, instead spewing out confused moralistic standpoints dressed up in a distracting aesthetic.

The latest, but certainly not greatest, installment to hit screens from director James DeMonaco came just in time for this years hot-button topic of the American election – but sadly isn’t quite as scary as Trump being in power. Regurgitating a tired and poorly explored parallel universe once more, The Purge: Election Year seems to confuse itself with the moral highground it tries to take.

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Review: Blair Witch

★★★★★ – Blair Witch is a new standard for found footage horror. Successfully entwining a solid narrative, horrifying visuals, and mastering the concept of ‘less is more’ – this year’s ‘evil in the woods’ is the most frightening yet.

Wingard and Barrett come to the franchise with a host of excellent collaborations already in place. The slasher-hit You’re Next, and fan favourites A Horrible Way to Die and The Guest inspired great excitement that the duo would be taking the helm on this risky throw-back, bringing the grandmother of found footage horror to modern screens. The excitement was well judged – as the two have hurtled The Blair Witch Project into the modern dimension in a way most would have doubted possible.

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Review: A Hologram for the King

★★☆☆☆ – Tom Hanks’ latest nice-guy endeavour falls flat in Tom Tykwer’s A Hologram for the King.

Aiming for a lot and achieving little, the culture clash of America and Saudi Arabia – whilst interesting at first –  doesn’t feel like anything new. Visually stimulating but with little to back this up, it feels fair to say that whilst there are a few redeeming moments to pull the film together; the final product still feels intensely average.

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Review: Lights Out

★☆☆☆☆ – A cheap imitation of an original idea.

It feels sad to say that the same director of the short film Lights Out (2013) has put his name to this year’s feature length release. The original spark that the first boasted has well and truly being snuffed, leaving only a few saving graces in place. Trivialised by a weak back story, less-than-average acting, and a reliance on cheap jump scares – it really is a case of no like-y, no light-y.

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Review: An Entanglement

★★★★☆ – Sanford’s short thriller is a punchy exploration of life and death, taught with suspense.

Dylan Sanford’s latest short film, An Entanglement, is a tense exploration of the human psyche. Starring Shiri Appleby (of UnREAL) and Gary Wolf (The Nice Guys) as the married couple whose relationship has turned sour – Sanford has created a mysterious, stylish piece that raises as many questions as it answers. Currently running the festival circuits, the short has already won the Silver Award at the 2016 L.A. Neo Noir Novel, Film, and Script Festival and the Best Editing award from 2016 Melbourne Indie Film Festival; amongst a host of other nominations.

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Sydney Film Festival 2016 Review: Everybody Wants Some!!

★★★★★ – With a permeating sense of nostalgia and a whole lot of fun coursing through Linklater’s latest release, Everybody Wants Some!! is what every American sports comedy hopes to achieve.

Richard Linklater’s latest film is a whimsical exploration of what it means to be a teenager, piling together a top notch cast in a care-free ode to the summer vacation. Everybody Wants Some!! is another example of Linklater’s impeccable style – drifting through three days of pre-college freedom with measured, gentle steps; he has easily reached an impressive peak in his career. As he utilises a countdown until college begins as the main meter of action, it would be easy to argue that nothing really happens for the duration of the movie – but that’s exactly the point. Epitomising the ‘everything and anything’ opportunities of the college-free period, Linklater produces a heady concoction of nostalgia, laughter, and most importantly: fun.

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Sydney Film Festival 2016 Review: Weiner

★★★★☆ – A solid and hilarious take on the political world, Weiner is a great example of when documentaries can be as fun as they are informative.

JoshKriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s award winning documentary, Weiner, follows the controversial Anthony Weiner as he runs for mayor of New York – releasing his side of the story on the notorious sexting scandal (or should I say, scandals) that define his political career. With a name that screams innuendo and a penchant for saucy pics, Anthony Weiner is the perfect tool for a hilariously on-beat comedy; more of a caricature of a real man than anything else. Kriegman and Steinberg flawlessly highlight his highs and his lows, and edit seamlessly between the sombre conflictions and sassy snap-backs of this man on the edge. Witty, fun, and painfully sharp – Weiner is one of those documentaries where you don’t even realise you’re learning, as you’re just having too much fun.

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