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Showing posts from December, 2018

The Ritual (2017): Review

David Bruckner's The Ritual (2017) is a movie about wrong-turns. Yes, it largely involves four men who get themselves increasingly lost while hiking in Sweden. This is undoubtedly a wrong-turn, but not the first. When four was five, two of the group, at the end of a guy's night out, decide to walk into a liquor store. There are misgivings: Luke is on a bender of sorts; the others want to go home to their wives and jobs. So Robert narrowly joins him inside, a go-between for Luke and the others, alienated by the former's incessant party antics... Disclaimer: Before you proceed, I wholly recommend watching the movie first!  Inside, the two men convene, their hushed debate cut short when they spot the cashier. Beaten supine, she gawks wordlessly at them. Robert freezes; Luke takes cover, hearing the assailants return. Enter two junkies, armed and belligerent. They spot Robert and corner him, demanding all he has. Refusal to hand over his wedding ring nets him two healthy bl

Murder Party (2007): Review

Though relatively new compared to journeyman directors, Jeremy Saulnier is hardly a novice. It might seem otherwise; ten-plus years have seen him produce only four feature-length films. Three of them succeed; one does not. The focus of this review is not to attack the one that fails, but celebrate his earliest,  Murder Party  (2007). First, however, I'll need to explain my viewing history of Saulnier's canon, starting with  Blue Ruin   (2013) and leading up to  Hold the Dark  (2018). I want to explain how the latter misfired, encouraging me to sit down and watch  Murder Party  (2007). Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair—I stumbled upon  Blue Ruin  several years back, and immediately fell in love with both men; they operate in tandem, much of what they deliver working through a constant, healthy partnership. For example, the stark conclusion, of the suicidal revenge plot, is realized by a shrunken, speechless Blair (a directorial talent in his own right:  I Don't Feel at Ho