APORIA (Fantasia Fest 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Aporia functions most compellingly as a kind of ethical family melodrama with a scifi twist, focusing the bulk of its attention on precisely how lives are impacted as a result of the tinkering with time that lies at the heart of its scifi premise. Aporia is a family melodrama with a scifi edge rather than vice versa, but if you are open to the bringing of these two generic strands together it is a satisfying watch.

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Women at Fantasia International Film Fest 2023 – Alexandra Heller Nicholas reports

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival returns from 20 July to 9th August this year with an exceptional array of films showcasing the international work of women in genre cinema both in front and behind the camera. The opening night film – Pascal Plante’s Les Chambres rouges – kicks off the fest’s focus on women with Juliette Gariépy starring as a serial killer obsessed young woman who gets close to the subject of her fascination. Fantasia will also host the world premieres of Mark H. Rapaport’s Hippo starring Berlinale Silver Bear winner Lilla Kizlinger, as well as two films with horror icon Barbara Crampton: Joe Lynch’s Suitable Flesh, and the world premiere of Larry Fessenden’s Blackout.

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GRINGA – Review by Liz Braun

Steve Zahn and Jess Gabor are two good reasons to see Gringa, an otherwise formulaic father-daughter/coming-of-age/ young-love/ Mexican-American/ fish-out-of-water/ surf & soccer/ kind of drama. This is the sort of movie critics shun and audiences love. Co-directors Marny Eng and E.J. Foerster keep a light touch throughout, and that’s a bit of a balancing act, as some of the material is quite dark. Luckily, the magic of movies permits life-altering trauma — parental death, alcoholism, bulimia — to vanish in the twinkling of a beautiful sunset.

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HALLOWEEN ENDS – Review by Susan Kamyab

Sadly, Halloween Ends is easily the worst film of all the movies that have been made since 1978. It’s been four years since the second installment of the newest Halloween trilogy. Michael Myers was last seen murdering Laurie Strode’s daughter and has now gone into hiding. And instead of truly continuing Michael and Laurie’s story, audiences are forced to endure an hour and 40 minutes of some random young man named Corey with a haunting past.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 25, 2022: FAMILY SQUARES

In a pandemic-weary world where pretty much everyone is suffering from Zoom fatigue, it’s notable that Stephanie Laing’s Family Squares makes the experience of watching people interact via little boxes on one another’s computer screens both entertaining and genuinely engaging. It helps, of course, that they’re played by the likes of Ann Dowd, June Squibb, Henry Winkler, Margo Martindale, and Judy Greer — if only all virtual gatherings could be so star-studded!

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FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

For writer-director Stephanie Laing, her wry comedy Family Squares, is highly personal since it was inspired by the loss of her mother back in 2019. It’s also a love letter to her family that is stacked with an outstanding ensemble cast who use Zoom to communicate with one another while occupying virtual cubicles.

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FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Leslie Combemale

It is Stephanie Laing’s sophomore film as director, but much of the power of Family Squares is in the story. She co-wrote the screenplay, which was conceived as a COVID film, channeling experience from loss in her own life. It was originally called Spring Hope, after the small town near her family farm, and was based on a farm visit with her kids to say goodbye to her dying grandmother. Cut to a few years later when she was sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner in New York. She got a call from LA that her mother was dying, and had to said goodbye over FaceTime. These elements came together during the pandemic. Laing was considering the fact that over 200,000 Americans had died without being able to spend the last moments with each other in person, and found a way to tell all these emotional stories while keeping it real and funny and relatable.

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FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Liz Whittemore

Family Squares resonated with me on a very personal level. Everything from the weeping to inside jokes about which family members didn’t know how to locate the mute button made me smile. Writer-director Stephanie Laing understands the complexities that exist within a family unit. This massive all-star cast includes Henry Winkler, June Squibb, Ann Dowd, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Elsie Fisher, Casey Wilson, Bill Magnussen, Scott MacArthur, Sam Richardson, Zoe Chao, Timothy Simons, Jessica Miesel, and Maclaren Laing. Four generations of actors come together for one joyous and funny film.

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HALLOWEEN KILLS – Review by Rachel West

One thing Halloween Kills gets right is showing Michael Myers as a brutal, sadistic killing machine. He is utterly relentless when it comes to butchering people in gruesome and blood-soaked ways that will make slasher fans squeal with delight. The first half of the film features some of the franchise’s more-inventive kills before the story gets muddled with too many unmemorable characters, side plots, and drama.

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LADY OF THE MANOR – Review by Susan Granger

Since filmmaking brothers Justin and Christian Long are from Fairfield, Connecticut, friends and neighbors have expressed interest in their wannabe buddy comedy, set in Savannah, Georgia. The story ostensibly revolves around Hannah (Melanie Lynskey), a crass, weed-smoking slacker who drops a drug delivery in the wrong residence, a house that’s been set to trap a child-molester.

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