Posts by Justin LaLIberty

THE OTHER LAMB Review

Ever since the great pandemic of 2020 started taking shape in the US, I have been fetishizing the idea of escaping into the woods. This is far from a realistic, practical, or even safe thing for me to do under the current circumstances, but watching Małgorzata Szumowska’s religious cult horror/drama, I found myself making the journey for ninety-seven minutes without leaving my living room. The Other Lamb takes a page from several other cult pictures – Martha Marcy May Marlene is perhaps the most obvious jump-off point – and then brings it to nature, earning comparisons with Jennifer Kent’s brutal wilderness-set revenge
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FAIL-SAFE Criterion Collection blu-ray Review

By the time Sidney Lumet’s taut nuclear war drama Fail-Safe was released in US theaters in October of 1964, the world had already been treated to Stanley Kubrick’s wry comedy about the very same topic, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Both films were made by New York born filmmakers, then in their thirties, with acclaimed bodies of work already amassed (with Lumet coming off of The Pawnbroker and Kubrick off of Lolita). And despite the similarities of their creators, the films couldn’t be more different even if their ultimate messages are aligned.
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The Dardennes’ YOUNG AHMED Review

Awards darling Parasite may have walked away with the Palme D’or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival but the Best Director award didn’t go to festival fave Bong Joon-Ho, it was awarded to long time Cannes favorites – and multiple award winners, including two Palme D’ors – the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc. And not without controversy. Not unlike Fatih Akin’s recent, also Palme D’or nominated, In the Fade which profiled real-world extremism in a humanist light, Young Ahmed sees the Dardennes’ handling the subject matter of homegrown Islamic terrorism through the use of brainwashed children. On its own, this
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Yves Boisset’s DOG DAY blu-ray Review

One of the final films that Lee Marvin acted in before his death in 1987, Yves Boisset’s Dog Day (aka Canicule) is a dark humor-tinged crime film that has more in common with low budget genre cinema of the 1970s than anything that was being released alongside it at the time. Based on the novel by Jean Herman and directed by French crime mainstay Boisset, neither of whom made much of a splash in the states. Yet, Dog Day feels far more American than European, and with this recent blu-ray from Kino, is ready to be discovered by an American
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José Ramón Larraz’s EDGE OF THE AXE blu-ray Review

Back in the spring of 2019, Arrow released Blood Hunger: The Films of José Larraz to unfortunately little fanfare. It was a cause for celebration to me and, seemingly, merely a handful of others. Larraz is far from a household name, even in the more niche horror and genre circles, but seeing Arrow bestow such a nicely designed box set on the filmmaker made me think that 2019 would mark the year that Larraz earned the credit he has deserved for so long, yet continuously evaded. But even nearly a year later, the limited edition box is still available new
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Burt Reynolds’ and Elmore Leonard’s STICK Blu-ray Review

By the time Stick hit cinema screens in 1985, Elmore Leonard was far from the household name he had become in the mid 1990s. Up until that point, most of the screen adaptations of his work had been in the western genre thanks to films like Hombre and The Tall T in the 1960s. But as the 70s came, Leonard wrote an original screenplay for the Charles Bronson action film Mr. Majestyk and supplied the source novel for the failed Robert Mitchum thriller The Ambassador, which would serve as the first adaptation of 52 Pick-Up (and would get a much
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Special Delivery: DELIVERY BOYS Blu-ray Review

What do you get when Chuck Vincent produces, Larry Revene shoots and the guy who inspired the Ken doll directs an 80s sex comedy? You end up with the type of movie that features breakdancing musical numbers, boner gags and Mario Van Peebles grill wearing, shrunken head carrying, voodoo baddie. I’m not quite sure who this was made for back in 1985, but thirty years later, I can safely say that it’s for me. Delivery Boys was released just a year after Breakin’ and Beat Street took breakdancing to the big screen and, like those films, it is also set
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Inspiration, Creation and Sharing: VARDA BY AGNES Review

At the start of Agnes Varda’s final film, Varda By Agnes, she sits before a captive audience and lists off the three words that “guide” her life and work: Inspiration, Creation and Sharing. Even if you’re coming to her work for the first time with this film, it’s easy to see where each word fits into her body of work as well as her spirited and humbling outlook on life. Assembled through footage from a series of live audience talks that Varda gave regarding her career as well as numerous clips from her films and other fun surprises, Varda By
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Cine-Ween: Sequel Harvest: The CHILDREN OF THE CORN Series

Following the successful 1984 theatrical release of the Stephen King short story adaptation Children of the Corn, which earned nearly 15 million dollars domestic on an eight-hundred-thousand-dollar budget, we were treated to an onslaught of sequels, the majority of which were released direct-to-video. By a wide margin the longest-running feature film series based on King’s work, even the first film was not highly regarded by critics or even fans at the time of release. Still, its box office success would lead to one more theatrically released film in Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice before another seven direct-to-video
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