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Fantastic Fest 2012

‘Tower Block’ Review

'Tower Block' review
Surya Productions

'Tower Block' is about the last residents of a condemned housing project in London, who are riding out the final days before a government eviction kicks them out of their homes. One seemingly random morning, they wake to find themselves under fire from an unseen sniper, picking off as many of them as he can. The survivors regroup in the hallway, and realize their predicament: though they're safe as long as they stay out of sight, whoever is firing at them has blocking their phones and internet. He's booby-trapped the exits. They have nowhere to go and they're sitting ducks.

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Scott Adkins Interview: ‘Universal Soldier,’ Fighting Van Damme, and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Scott Adkins interview
Foresight Unlimited

If Scott Adkins isn't the biggest action star in the world in five years, we as a society have failed.

Over the last half decade, Adkins has become a dependable stunt performer (he was Weapon XI at the end of 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine') and supporting baddie (he fought Matt Damon in 'The Bourne Ultimatum' and played Jean-Claude Van Damme's toadie in 'The Expendables 2') in mainstream films. His work harkens back to the action genre's bygone glory days, when special effects and computer imagery took a back seat to raw physicality and brute force. Sadly, his only leading roles to date have been relegated to the direct-to-DVD bin, where he's excelled in lean, low-budget martial arts flicks like 'Undisputed III: Redemption.'

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‘The American Scream’ Review

The American Scream
Magic Stone Productions

"When you are scared, you are more alive," says Victor Bariteau, the central subject of 'The American Scream,' Michael Paul Stephenson's follow-up documentary to 'Best Worst Movie.' The quote, a nothing special bit of pop psychology ubiquitous in any discussion of "the horror industry," comes as our hero is preparing to make a scary career change, and lands with an unexpected gravitas. Indeed, the final 20 minutes of this very micro documentary, which has less production value than your average episode of 'Ice Road Truckers,' is surprisingly emotional, as it celebrates the triumphs and agonizes over the burden of dreams. It slowly evolves from a quick expose on neighborhood kooks into something truly touching.

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‘Lee’s Adventure’ Review

Lee's Adventure
Desen International Media

Everyone has regrets. Despite the time-shifting mixed-media razzle dazzle of Li Yang and Guo Fan's ambitious and exuberant film 'Lee's Adventure,' this universal truth can't be ignored. The attempts to change the past can sometimes consume an entire life, and exposing this in a grand, heartbreaking scale is what makes this film so unexpectedly tender and wise.

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‘Memory of the Dead’ Review

'Memory of the Dead' review
Findling Films

Horror movies don't necessarily need rules, but if they're going to go to the trouble to establish some, they might as well follow them... at least for a little while. The Argentine ghost slasher gorefest 'Memory of the Dead' sets up this whole conceit about a Satanic ritual and the dead rising from their graves, and it makes a big stink about how everyone will be safe from the ghouls as long as they stay inside their house. But no sooner have they laid all this out than they immediately throw it out the window. No one goes outside, but the ghouls get in anyway. So why bother explaining it if it doesn't actually matter?

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‘Holy Motors’ Review

'Holy Motors' review
Pierre Grise Productions

Leos Carax's 'Holy Motors' is the best dream you'll ever have without actually falling asleep. It's a blast of pure, unbridled subconscious -- or maybe superconscious -- and a brilliant and melancholic love letter to movies, the craft of acting and life itself, which, 'Holy Motors' argues, are all kind of the same thing anyway.

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‘Graceland’ Review

'Graceland' review
Imprint Pictures

We'd all like to think that if our backs were up against it and we had to fight for our loved ones, we'd all become Liam Neeson in 'Taken.' Of course, not everyone has "a particular set of skills." Or maybe your skill is to try and appease everyone as chaos escalates around you, praying that, somehow, everything will work out if you just keep bluffing? That would appear to be the strategy of 'Graceland's' Marlon, a recently fired corrupt politician's chauffeur whose daughter had just been kidnapped.

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‘Besties’ Review

3rd Steer Productions
3rd Steer Productions

14 year old Sandy worships next door neighbor and senior classmate Ashley like the Earth worships the sun, she says. But when the two girls accidentally off one of Ashley's ex-lovers, the two become closer than either of them ever imagined in 'Besties,' a small scale coming of age story from writer and director Rebecca Perry Cutter.

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‘The ABCs of Death’ Review

The ABCs of Death
Drafthouse Films

G is for Gimmick

But gimmicks are not necessarily a bad thing. 'The ABCs of Death' (which could also be called '26 Ways to Barf') is the mother of all horror anthologies, collecting 26 short films, each from a different director, all representing a different way to bite it.

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‘Here Comes the Devil’ Review

Here Comes the Devil
MPI Media Group

There are some films that choose to tell their story in a somewhat obtuse manner, staying one step ahead of the audience, making them work a bit to piece tother the logic of the story. Then there are others that just like to throw a bunch of crap up on the screen and hope it all comes together in the wash. (The wash being editing, music, sound design and special effects.) After a few hours of chewing on 'Here Comes the Devil,' the latest from Argentinian genre director Adrian Garcia Bogliano, I'm still not too sure into which category this film fits. I can say, however, that it is entertaining, even enjoyable in a twisted manner. This is a hardcore midnight cult WTF-fest that's odd, noisy and weird.

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