[Fantastic Fest] LEVEL 16 Review: Friendship in Darkness

By: Emily von Seele

Level 16 1

One of my favorite films to come out of this year’s Fantastic Fest was the sci-fi tale of friendship and resilience, Level 16. Set in the Vestalis Academy for girls, the film focuses on Vivien (Katie Douglas) and Sophia (Celina Martin), two girls who have spent years living and being trained in the institution. The prison-like school adheres to a strict code of conduct, preparing girls for eventual adoption by wealthy families. The girls are being trained to be perfect daughters and young women — they obey a strict set of rules, striving to be obedient, sweet, and clean.

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[Fantastic Fest] Review Round-Up: HALLOWEEN (2018), THE PERFECTION, BORDER

By: Nolan McBride

Halloween 2018 2

There are so many movies to see at this year’s Fantastic Fest and only so much time to write about them, so rather than trying to review them all, I am going to cover the movies about which I was most passionate or those I want to make sure everyone puts on their radar. In this edition, it’s the much-anticipated sequel to John Carpenter’s seminal slasher, an unexpected roller coaster of a thriller, and an emotional, fantastical tale about outsiders finding their place in the world.

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[Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival] THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW Review: White Lies

By: Nolan McBride

The Witch In The Window 1

The Witch In The Window cast its spell upon me almost immediately. Though it plays in familiar territory — (part of) a family is (temporarily) living in a new house rumored to be haunted by a former inhabitant — it distinguishes itself thanks in large part to the strength of its core relationship and emotional arc. Rather than diminishing returns, it provided a breath of fresh air, similar to that experienced by the characters as they venture away from the troubles of the fraught modern world.

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[Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival] BRAID Review: The Dangers of Make-Believe

By: Paul Farrell

Braid 1

People are puzzles. Riddles. Identities which have to be deconstructed and put back together again as we transition from child to adult; the fractured pieces of our past offering only the vaguest clues as to who we are, instead of the concrete evidence we’d like them to be. These strands, comprised of all we know and have experienced, are then bound together to make a whole that is altogether different than any one of its parts.

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[North Bend Film Fest] PROFILE Review: Going Undercover Online

By: Emily von Seele

Profile

Based on a true story, Profile is the latest “Screenlife” film to hit the public consciousness. Rather than a traditional approach, “Screenlife” tells an entire story through numerous windows and apps on a computer screen. The concept has previously been seen in Nacho Vigalondo’s Open Windows, and both Unfriended and Unfriended: Dark Web; in Profile, Timur Bekmambetov works to stretch the approach to tell a story over the course of several weeks, rather than in real time over the course of a couple of hours. It’s a successful illustration of the concept, seamlessly bridging multiple video chats and calls with a series of messages, video clips, and other media to tell a complex and tense story.

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