PFS Review – Mississippi Grind


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By Don Malvasi

Originally posted on

See it at the Roxy! copyA couple of apparent losers get acquainted during a poker game in some godforsaken Iowa town. One, Gerry (a terrific Ben Mendelsohn), is a fascinating degenerate gambler who probably couldn’t stop if someone told him the world would end tomorrow if he didn’t. The other player, Curtis (an equally good Ryan Reynolds), is like-able although swaggering and outgoing to the point of badgering. He is also hard to figure out. Curtis gambles, too, although more on the people in his life, strangers included, than on actual games.

Pleasantly Plot-light and atmosphere-heavy through most of its 108 minutes, Mississippi Grind turns the tables and indulges in a flurry of dramatic twists in its final quarter. Most of them work but chiefly as exclamation points on an unnerving, intimate character study. As Curtis is quick to point out during the twosome’s road jaunt through St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans, it is the journey that counts not the destination.

Film 101 – Slashers


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By Andrea Selitto

With Halloween rapidly approaching, the time has come to bring back a popular fall tradition: the scary movie. Whether you’re the kind of movie-watcher who enjoys a good scare, or one who always hides behind the couch, there’s no doubting that there’s something thrilling about a scary film. While there are a wide variety of horror films to choose from for your Halloween viewing, perhaps some of the most iconic characters are from a particular segment of the horror genre: the slasher. Few other films have inspired so many sequels, remakes, and spin-offs as slashers have. Whether you love them or hate them, no one can deny the impact that slasher films have made on popular culture, especially around this time of year. Here are a handful of films that have made the genre what it is today; if you’re looking for something scary to get you into the Halloween spirit, they’re certainly worth watching… if you dare.

PFS Interview – Richard Gere & Oren Moverman // Time Out of Mind


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By Alex Gibson

When most people see the title of Richard Gere’s latest film, they will undoubtedly recall the Bob Dylan album of the same name. However, the phrase “Time Out of Mind” did not originate with Dylan, according to director Oren Moverman.Like all great Dylan, [it] comes from Shakespeare, from Romeo & Juliet…and then it turns out it was also rooted in British law.  It means a time in memorial…something that exists beyond memory, beyond time…” Moverman went on to say this idea closely described how he saw Time Out of Mind’s main character.

In the first scene of Time Out of Mind, we find a well-known face – one that has graced the screen and lived in our hearts  as a knight, an officer, a gentleman, a gigolo, and dozens of other characters. Though his face is engrained in our memories, when Richard Gere first appears in Time Out of Mind, there is something harshly unfamiliar about him, with his shabby clothes, scruff, and a curved scar on his scalp. Rather than the debonair character he usually portrays, this time Gere plays George Hammond, a meandering homeless man who spends his days wandering the streets of New York City.

So Bad It’s Good – Grease 2


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By Andrea Selitto

The fact that I lived well into my teen years without knowing that there was an actual sequel to the 1978 movie-musical Grease is either an extraordinary blessing or a horrible tragedy. I prefer to think of it as a tragedy. Director/choreographer Patricia Birch’s Grease 2, released in 1982, is so awful that it doesn’t merely miss the mark for a successful movie sequel, but it actually manages to fly straight past the mark, into the upper atmosphere, eventually escaping the Earth’s gravitational pull and launching itself directly into the Sun; where it ends in a massive, fiery explosion. Put simply, this movie is an abomination. And I love it.

And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! – Pulp Fiction


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By Kyrie Fisher

Last year, my sister surprised me with a book she knew I had been eyeing up—1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. A varied assortment of films, the works included in this encyclopedia-sized collection were chosen for many reasons; whether for influence on early cinema, groundbreaking cinematic style, or impact on pop culture. A recent reassessment of the boxes I’ve yet to check caused me to notice I have never watched a film by Quentin Tarantino from start to finish. Of the various bits and pieces of his films I have seen, I was unable to stomach the fetishized violence and offensive dialogue long enough to become invested in the plot and see it through. Classmates and friends who are fans of Tarantino’s work have often expounded on the brilliance of his films—but all I saw were brutal displays of blood, violence, and foul language. Still, in my quest to check off all 1001 films of the collection (and, perhaps to also stop hearing, “What do you MEAN, you don’t like Tarantino?!”) I decided to catch up with the rest of the cinematic world and finally watch Pulp Fiction.

PFS Rapid Recommendation – Trainwreck


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By Amber Maiden

What can I say about Judd Apatow’s new film Trainwreck? With comedic leads of Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, along with the hilarious acting by John Cena and Lebron James, this film keeps you laughing from start to finish. It shows the ups and downs of modern dating and the fear of monogamy. With the well-timed jokes and relatable characters, you have to check this movie out before it leaves theaters.

The Essentials 2.0 – Pan’s Labyrinth


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By Andrea Selitto

I sometimes find it difficult to recommend a foreign language film to others; the prospect of reading subtitles has been known to turn potential viewers away from a movie that was filmed in a language other than their own. However, for those willing to overcome this bias, there is (quite literally) a whole world of remarkable films waiting to be discovered. El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth) is one of these movies. This spectacular Spanish-language film has not only more than earned its place amongst my favorite films, but, I would argue, it has also earned a place in the new cannon of essential films.

Film 101 – The Films of Alfonso Cuarón


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By Kyrie Fisher

Modern Hollywood is an industry dominated by auteurs with very specific styles—think Quentin Tarantino’s exaggerated violence, Wes Anderson’s quirky comedy, or Christopher Nolan’s existential mind benders. But Alfonso Cuarón is different. Most known for last year’s box office juggernaut Gravity, Cuarón is perhaps one of the most versatile directors working today. He often explores ideas about the human experience, a theme that spans across all of his work. Three particular films—A Little Princess, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Y Tu Mamá También—would, at first glance, seem incomparably different. But a closer look shows their commonality as stories about crossing the line from childhood innocence into adult experience.

And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! – Sophie’s Choice


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By Andrea Selitto

Most people who know me also know that I have what must be the world’s longest Netflix queue. I’ve kept films on there for years, revising the order of the DVDs to be sent by mail, sifting through the various movies available for streaming, adding more as new releases become available. Over time, I’ve amassed quite a collection; among them, a multitude of film classics I always find myself scrolling by and mumbling, “I really should watch that sometime.”

One of these films, which I still can’t believe it has taken me until recently to finally get around to, is Sophie’s Choice. Released in 1982, the film was received favorably by critics and earned a multitude of award nominations. Most notably, Meryl Streep’s performance in Sophie’s Choice won her both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for best actress. The film has gone on to become a cultural touchstone; one of which I’d had second-hand knowledge, but had never actually seen, until now.

So Bad It’s Good – Vampire’s Kiss


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By Dominic Vadino

Sometimes you see a terrible movie and after watching it, you think to yourself: “Wow, I am never going to watch that again.” That thought process is justified by the time wasted watching some films. Other times you find yourself a gem that is so bad, that you actually enjoyed it. I’ve found a gem.

Vampire’s Kiss (1988) is the film where you’ll see Nicolas Cage at his core. In this film you’ll get to see Cage put on this really strange, unidentified accent, while making himself believe he is truly turning into a vampire. He plays the part perfectly!