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    The Originals: "Fright Night" Is Just Right for a Remake

    The originals is a regular column where we look at material being remade, adapted or otherwise recycled, particularly if the source was unfamiliar to us before announcement of the new version. This week we caught up with the original 1985 "Fright Night" in anticipation of Craig Gillespie's redo, out...

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    "Your Highness" Fails the Fantasy Fan, So Why Set It In That Genre?

    What a perfect week for "Your Highness" to arrive on home video and remind us what a failure it was. James Franco stars in this past weekend's box office champ ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes"), which grossed nearly six times as much, while Danny McBride has a new movie out Friday ("30 Minutes or Less") that's getting pretty decent first marks. Meanwhile, indie debut "Bellflower" is a greater heir to a throne once sat in by David Gordon Green. Evan Glodell's gorgeously shot romance-turned-thriller is like "All the Real Girls" with bigger balls and a much darker outlook. Cynically speaking, Glodell may one day be directing period-set pot come...

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    "Paul" Is a Road Comedy with Some Extraterrestrial Attitude

    This review was originally published March 18, 2011. It has been reposted for its home video release.

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    Urban Folklore Explosion With New Trailers for Docs "Resurrect Dead" and "Shut Up Little Man!"

    Two like-minded documentaries premiered at Sundance this year -- both unfortunately without a lot of buzz -- that look into fascinating tales of urban myths. "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles" is about an enigmatic phenomenon involving tile-based street art -- or is it less art, more a message for the future? "Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure" is a comparatively grounded journey back into the analog days of viral and memetic media to show how long it took for someone to become an underground, accidental celebrity in the days before YouTube. Each deals in pre-Internet materials like zines, cassette swaps, pirate radio,...

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    "Koran by Heart" Offers So Much More Than the Usual Competition Documentary

    Greg Barker's "Koran by Heart" is the latest in an ongoing stream of competition documentaries out this year. But calling it "'Spellbound' in Arabic," as Variety's John Anderson has done, is way too simple and obvious. Anderson does at least acknowledge in his review that the comparison, quoted slightly out of context for the marketing of the film, is indeed only the "shorthand" response. Even Barker claims it is "a competition film, first and foremost," but his doc goes above and beyond that genre, providing audiences with much to consider about the transnational compass of Islam, the followers of which are united by a religious text but may...

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    Documentary Classics: "Tarnation" is Better Appreciated With Age

    When I saw Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation" for the first time (my Netflix history shows it as rented in June 2005), I found it to be a useless collage of self-indulgence and student-film artiness. I wasn't aware back then of the whole range of nonfiction film, that autobiographical documentary is such a populous genre and apparently enough people are interested in nobodies who make movies about their depressing lives. And admittedly I was probably a bit jealous. Why hadn't I thought to make an avant-garde memoir about my family that would simply involve editing home movie footage together on a gifted Mac? I love talking about myself, I had so...

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    "Hobo with a Shotgun" is a Fun, Satisfying and Comically Violent Urban Western

    This review originally appeared as part of Spout's 2011 Sundance coverage, where it shared a post with "The Mill and the Cross." It is being re-posted now that it's on DVD

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    "Eat the Sun" is an Extremely Fascinating Doc About the Unebelievable World of Sungazing

    Here's an idea for Steven Spielberg: the next "Indiana Jones" movie follows the iconic archaeologist into a new phase of his life where he's founded a sect of Christianity based in part around "sungazing," an ancient practice of staring into the sun daily for an extended period of time as a source of biological and spiritual nourishment. And maybe he's also completely given up eating. Sounds wackier and more unlikely than the fridge-nuking scene, or anything else, in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," right? But truth is of course stranger than fiction, and this is actually part of the amazing new documentary "Eat the Sun,"...

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    On DVD: "The Wild Hunt" Entertains, Disturbs, and Will Have You Begging for More

    “The Wild Hunt” is a film so creatively conceived and hauntingly executed it will stick with you long after the first viewing. I caught it on the big screen over a year ago in Canada and have been waiting for a good opportunity to share it with American friends ever since. The film is available on DVD starting this week and I’m back in the US, so it seems a good a time as ever to rave. It’s also an oddly appropriate week to bring up “The Wild Hunt” due to the opening of “Trollhunter” in theaters. They’re both wildly entertaining and oddly compelling mash-ups of a number of different genres, unexpected thriller/comedies with singularly inventi...

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    "Sanctum": Spelunking for James Cameron

    This review was originally posted February 4, 2011. It has been reprinted for the film's home video release.

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