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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.

Jed Mayer

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    Kubrick in Reverse: The Earthly Pull of GRAVITY

    Far from being a mere homage to Kubrick's "2001," Cuarón's "Gravity" offers an ingenious and moving revision and critique of its predecessor, one that begins in the stars but returns us to our own earthly soil.

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    VIDEO ESSAY: My Life as a Chick Flick

    That’s me up there. See? That nine-year-old boy cheering on Lexie Winston to victory? No, actually I can’t see me up there either. But I was there, along with hundreds of other lucky people who managed to get spots as extras on the set of "Ice Castles."

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    INSIDIOUS, CHAPTER 2: The Haunting of the American Male

    The Insidious films take place in an America haunted by faded dreams of a prosperity provided by a loved and respected father. In James Wan’s vision this patriarchal figure has been replaced by a maniacal presence brooding in the dark corners of a house where women are the strongest presence and me...

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    Kill the Rich: YOU'RE NEXT and the Discreet Charms of the One Percent

    In its by turns disturbing and hilarious portrayal of a privileged family’s reunion gone horribly wrong, You’re Next gives us what is perhaps this year’s most trenchant commentary on an America increasingly riddled by narcissism and greed.

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    The Summer of the Sharknado

    This year we were subjected to one bloated action film after another, all of which treated their subject matter with the kind of ponderous gravitas usually accorded to European art films. Who can save our popcorn fare from this inflated sense of self-importance? Forget Wolverine, Iron Man, and Tho...

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    THE CONJURING and the Specter of the Seventies

    James Wan’s "The Conjuring" is that rare thing: a contemporary horror film that doesn’t suck. Critics and audiences seem to agree on this point, and I hope that the film’s minimal use of digital effects and focus on good acting, effective story-telling, and dramatic mood-setting will be imitated by...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Siding with the Victim, Part 3: We Are All Meat

    Trapped. Tortured. Hunted. Slaughtered. This is the way of life, and death, for most animals. We’d like to forget this, but the horror film never forgets. It reminds us that, like the over 50 billion animals killed every year for human consumption, in the end, we are all meat.

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Horror Films and the War on Women (Siding with the Victim, Part 2)

    Horror movies tell us tales of defeat, usually involving women. Most people would say that horror films are generally anti-feminist, even misogynistic. But the stories of victims are just as important as those of victors. The war on women has been going on for many years, and the stories of its vic...

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    VIDEO ESSAY: Siding with the Victim, Part I: THE SHINING: Death in the Family

    From the time we are little children we like hearing scary stories. Some psychologists claim it’s because we use these stories to work through our anxieties. Maybe there’s another explanation to why we like scary stories. Perhaps we don’t identify with the victors so much as the victims.

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    TRAILER: SIDING WITH THE VICTIM: A Video Essay Series

    During July, Press Play will be presenting a three-part video essay series called "Siding with the Victim," about the ways in which identifying with the hapless ones in horror films, the ones who go into the basement/behind the creaky door/into the woods without a flashlight/into the attic, is a cru...

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