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The Next Marathon will be held Presidents' Day Weekend 2018 at the Somerville Theater, Somerville Massachusetts.
It will be preceded by the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival at the same venue.


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IT COMES AT NIGHT (2017) dull post-apocalypse tale (Read 103 times)
Jun 12th, 2017 at 2:05pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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IT COMES AT NIGHT is another in a long, long line of 'survivors
struggling after an apocalypse' tales. They reach back at least as far
back as Oboler's FIVE and Corman's THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED, and then on
to ON THE BEACH, THE DAY AFTER and up to the recent 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
and TV's The Walking Dead. It's decently acted and some suspense is
built, but, in the end, it contributes nothing new to the sub-genre and
wastes the good cast with a negligible payoff. Odd too, that for a
movie set in modern times, there is no attempt to show an outside
world, nor any visible effort by our characters to use technology to
get info. Even in the Corman cheapie, there was at least a radio. Now
in a world with smart phones and all kinds of non-electric gadgets we
are to believe that the entire planet has been silenced all at once
except for our core characters? As with his overpraised debut movie
KRISHA, Writer-Director Trey Shults seems more interested in stringing
together a bunch of bravura scenes, than telling a complete story. At
least KRISHA had a scene-chewing lead performance by Krisha Fairchild
to galvanize the proceedings; Here the cast are left to competently,
but, glumly, get on with the business.

With no explanation given as to what is going on, and with only the
most minimal contact with anybody outside the 9 people in the cast
(but, hey, there's a dog!), we are left to bide our time waiting for
the minimalist drama to play out. One might be tempted to say that IT
COMES AT NIGHT is a post-apocalyptic drama with all the good parts cut
out, especially during a time where you can flick on a TV or internet
connection and tune into a Walking Dead (not to mention all the far
superior films on the subject). Perhaps the most interesting thing
about the release of IT is the disconnect between Critics and
Audiences. Inexplicably, IT has (as of this writing) an 88% Positive
score on Rotten Tomatoes among their Top Critics. On the more
level-headed Metacritic it still has a very good 79 (higher than WONDER
WOMAN!). Yet, on Cinemascore, audiences gave it a dreadful "D". The box
office was also weak, and will almost certainly crater as the wretched
word of mouth spreads. I'm usually one to side with the critics, but,
audiences have it right this time. It sounds like a case where too many
critics have been wowed by Shults' tricks and 'potential' (as they were
with KRISHA).

IT COMES AT NIGHT isn't awful. As I noted, the acting is good and there
is some drama, but with precious little else to recommend. You're much
better off watching one of the dozens of earlier examples.
 
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Reply #1 - Jun 12th, 2017 at 3:43pm

Jay Seaver   Offline
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Somerville, MA

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I don't so much mind that it doesn't do anything new - this sort of movie can thrive on pure execution, though you'd like the script to be a bit less basic - so much as how I think The Walking Dead has killed this form of post-apocalyptic story for me.  Not because it's so good, but because by making it such a regular thing, the irony of the survivalist types being one's best hope and the hand-wringing drama of having to put down one's loved ones for the greater good become default positions.  And screw that.  I'm done with it.  Horror stories are at their best when giving us a chance to confront our fears, either by bringing them into sharp relief or giving us a chance to overcome them, and while It Comes at Night does a bit of a better job at the first than some, it often seems to be accepting the premise more than recoiling from it, and I think we need to recoil for horror to be not just effective, but useful.
 
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Reply #2 - Jun 14th, 2017 at 1:26pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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I wouldn't necessarily something new from any genre outing. But, as I wrote, having decent acting a modicum of suspense isn't enough either -- absent somethin original g to grab on to. Of course, at this point, it may be difficult to do something ground-breaking in this sub-genre. The last one I can think of that did was probably Marathon fave THE QUIET EARTH with its metaphysical trappings.

Some are calling the fact that IT COMES as having no explanation for what is going on a novel twist, but there are tons of examples of an 'unseen force' scenario. Heck, we say it at the 'thon with NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH this February. I wasn't the biggest fan, but, there was a lot more intrigue and layers in NEITHER than IT COMES.
 
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