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NEW THIS WEEK
'71 4
Everly 4
la Mala, A 4
Wild Canaries 3.89
Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal 3
Maps to the Stars 2.75
Focus (2015) 2.38
Ejecta 2
Farewell to Hollywood rate me!
Ana Maria in Novela Land rate me!
Vatican Tapes, The rate me!
Lost Soul - The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau rate me!
Young Bodies Heal Quickly rate me!
Lazarus Effect, The rate me!
Eastern Boys rate me!
Bluebird (2015) rate me!
Hunting Ground, The rate me!
Deli Man rate me!
My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn rate me!
Out of the Dark rate me!
Salvation, The rate me!
ALSO IN THEATERS

COMING NEXT WEEK
4-Mar Lesson, The (Urok)
6-Mar Bad Asses on the Bayou
6-Mar Buzzard
6-Mar Chappie
6-Mar Faults
6-Mar Kidnapping Mr. Heineken
6-Mar Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest, The
6-Mar Merchants of Doubt
6-Mar October Gale
6-Mar Road Hard
6-Mar Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The
6-Mar These Final Hours
6-Mar Two Men in Town
6-Mar Unifinished Business
6-Mar X/Y
6-Mar Year in Champagne, A

DVD RELEASES
24-Feb Beyond the Lights  
24-Feb Big Hero 6  
24-Feb Horrible Bosses 2  
3-Mar Better Angels, The  
3-Mar Foxcatcher  
3-Mar Humbling, The  
3-Mar Innocence (2014)  
3-Mar Last of Robin Hood, The  
6-Mar Hunger Games, The: Mockingjay, Part 1  

TOP 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
Jackpot 5
What We Do in the Shadows 5
Timbuktu 5
Like Father, Like Son (2014) 4.75
Duke of Burgundy, The 4.71

BOTTOM 5
MOVIES IN RELEASE
TITLE RATING
DUFF, The 1
Boy Next Door, The 1.13
Running Man 1.63
Fifty Shades of Grey 1.88
Mortdecai 1.89

2012 Tribeca Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Your Sister's Sister 3.71
Hysteria 3.11
Fourth Dimension, The 4
Revenge for Jolly! 1
All In (La suerte en tus manos) 5
MORE MOVIES

2013 Fantasia International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Hentai Kamen: Forbidden Superhero 3.6
Dirties, The 4
Secretly Greatly 3.8
Last Tycoon, The 4
Grand Heist, The 4.14
MORE MOVIES

2013 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Night Moves (2014) 4.63
Parkland 3
Fading Gigolo 3
Last of Robin Hood, The 1.57
Starred Up 3.33
MORE MOVIES

2013 New York Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Square, The (2013) 4.89
About Time 2
Captain Phillips 4.08
Omar 4.5
Stranger by the Lake 4
MORE MOVIES

2013 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Big Bad Wolves 4.38
12 Years a Slave 3.46
Despite the Gods 4
Fifth Estate, The 2
Labor Day (2013) 1
MORE MOVIES

2015 Sundance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
'71 4
Tribe, The (2014) 5
Knock Knock 4
Wild Tales 2
Girlhood (Bande de filles) 2
MORE MOVIES

2014 Toronto International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Black or White 2
Men, Women & Children 2.14
Hill of Freedom 4
It Follows 4.63
Drop, The 3
MORE MOVIES

2014 Chicago International Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
In Order of Disappearance 5
Alleluia 5
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem 5
Timbuktu 5
Dear White People 3.5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Telluride Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Imitation Game, The 3.91
Rosewater 3
Two Days, One Night 4
Birdman 3.95
Madame Bovary (2014) 4
MORE MOVIES

2014 Denver Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Midnight Swim, The 3
Two Days, One Night 4
'71 4
Wild 4
Alleluia 5
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2014 AFI Fest MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Tribe, The (2014) 5
Homesman, The 3.44
Most Violent Year, A 4.86
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem 5
Timbuktu 5
MORE MOVIES

2014 Polish Film Festival in America MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Ida 4.78
Immigrant, The 4.11
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2015 Slamdance Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Asco 5
I Am Thor 5
MORE MOVIES

2015 Berlin Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Selma 5
Fifty Shades of Grey 1.88
MORE MOVIES

2015 Palm Springs Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Tribe, The (2014) 5
In Order of Disappearance 5
Two Days, One Night 4
Helicopter Mom 5
Selma 5
MORE MOVIES

2015 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Dr. Who and the Daleks 3
Alien Outpost 2
2001: A Space Odyssey 4.25
Moonraker 3.22
Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two 4
MORE MOVIES

2015 European Union Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Soul Boys of the Western World 3
Waste Land (2014) 2
Tip Top 4
Li'l Quinquin 5
MORE MOVIES

2015 Cinequest Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Astraea 5
MORE MOVIES

2015 Sun Valley Film Festival MOVIES
TITLE RATING
Imperial Dreams 5
Cut Bank 5
Midnight Swim, The 3
MORE MOVIES

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BITCHSLAP STATS
Movies Listed: 27842
Total Ratings: 245765
Total Reviews: 26599
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SPOTLIGHTED FEATURES REGULAR COLUMNS
Films I Neglected To Review: Engang I Amerika!
DVD/Blu-Ray Reviews For 2/24: "If It Weren't For Venetian Blinds, It'd Be Curtains For Us. . ."
Short Stuff: The 2014 Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Shorts
Short Stuff: The 2014 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts
Interview: Richard LaGravenese on "The Last Five Years"
Short Stuff: The 2014 Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts
Victoria Film Festival Interview: GRANNY POWER director Jocelyne Clarke
Victoria Film Festival Interview: B FOR BOY director Chika Anadu
Victoria Film Festival Interview: EVERYTHING WILL BE director Julia Kwan
Victoria Film Festival Interview: THE INFINITE MAN director Hugh Sullivan
Victoria Film Festival Interview: THE 50 YEAR ARGUMENT director David Tedeschi
Victoria Film Festival Interview: THE VALLEY BELOW director Kyle Thomas
Victoria Film Festival Interview: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD director Suzanne Crocker
Victoria Film Festival Interview: A DIFFERENT DRUMMER: CELEBRATING ECCENTRICS director John Zaritsky
Victoria Film Festival Interview: I AM BIG BIRD directors Dave LaMattina & Chad Walker
Victoria Film Festival Interview: PORCH STORIES director Sarah Goodman
Victoria Film Festival Interview: THE LODGE director Terril Calder
Victoria Film Festival Interview: BRAHMIN BULLS director Mahesh Pailoor
Victoria Film Festival Interview: THE AMBASSADOR TO BERN director Attila Szasz
Victoria Film Festival Interview: TRUNK director Martin de Valk
Victoria Film Festival Interview: SUNSHINE SUPERMAN director Marah Strauch
Victoria Film Festival Interview: ECCENTRIC ELECTRIC director Nika Belianina
Victoria Film Festival Interview: SUME director Inuk Silis Hoegh
Interview: Gabe Polsky on "Red Army"
The 14th Annual eFilmCritic Oscar Pick 'Em (WIN 50 DVDS & BLU-RAYS!)
Criticwatch - The 2014 Quote Whores of the Year
Criticwatch - The Quote Whore (Runners-Up) of 2014
Criticwatch Presents: Pete Hammond (The 2014 Retrospective)
Criticwatch Presents: Peter Travers (The 2014 Retrospective)
The Oscar Eye (2014 Awards Tally) (UPDATED 2/9 w/BAFTA)
Celebrity Exclusive Interviews
Film Festivals of the World
Criticwatch
Rants and Raves
Court of Public Opinion
DVD Reviews
Movies & Money with Erik Childress (WCIU-TV)
The HBS/EFC Hall of Fame
The Oscar Eye
Films I Neglected To Review with Peter Sobczynski
Short Stuff
WGN Radio's Midnight Movie Reviews Podcast (w/ Nick Digilio, Erik Childress & Collin Souter)
DVD/Blu-ray Schedules
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LATEST REVIEWS
MAPS TO THE STARS
"Should have stayed off the map."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Hollywood stories can be self-indulgent or snide, depending on what sort of axes the people making them have to grind, rarely managing to hit the sweet spot in the middle. What they seldom are, though, is extraneous, but that's what happens with "Maps to the Stars" - there's one track that's a nifty little story with some potential. Whenever it gets into stuff that's specifically about the movie business, on the other hand, one can't help but be reminded that David Cronenberg used to make things far more original than this." (more)
SNOW GIRL AND THE DARK CRYSTAL
"I'm not sure what's going on here, but it looks great."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Maybe the best way to describe "Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal" (to give it the full name that appears on-screen) is to imagine if Ray Harryhausen had been born in China, making the sort of weird fantasies that were popular in Hong Kong in the 1970s, only he had access to twenty-first century CGI and performance capture. It's rough and all over the place, but also a fair amount of fun." (more)
LA MALA, A
"Cute, not cruel."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There are a lot of romantic comedies that start from from premises as ludicrous as that of "A la Mala", but few of them do as well in selling that starting point. It's a goofy little thing, but it's got a cute couple at the center and makes enough nimble steps along the way to be a great deal of fun." (more)
FOCUS (2015)
"No "Maudlin's Eleven""
2 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... ""Focus" is a film in which Will Smith plays an ultra-slick con man who embarks on an elaborate scheme to relieve someone with more money than common sense of millions of dollars utilizing charm, bluster and a story that even the most gullible of individuals might find themselves questioning at times if it was put forth to them. (No, there is no truth to the rumor that it was originally intended to be titled "The Making of After Earth.") In theory, this sounds like it might have the makings for a reasonably diverting night at the movies but somewhere along the lines between conception and execution, something clearly went horribly wrong because the end result is a smug, soulless and deeply annoying contraption that spends too much time trying to throw its increasingly implausible narrative curveballs at the audience and not nearly enough time giving them a story or characters that they can invest enough interest in so that they can at least be somewhat surprised by the relentless rug-pulling on display." (more)
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
"Lads At First Bite"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Even though I had been hearing nothing but good things about it for a while, I still found myself filled with trepidation as I sat down to watch "What We Do in the Shadows." For one thing, it is a vampire comedy, a concept that pretty much hit its high-water mark a half-century ago with Roman Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers" and which, with one or two exceptions (such as the hallucinatory Nicolas Cage vehicle "Vampire's Kiss"), has been on the downslide ever since thanks to the increasingly tired likes of "Love at First Bite," "Dracula--Dead and Loving It" and the indescribably awful "Vampires Suck," a movie so bad that the title is the funniest thing about it. For another, it is a mockumentary, another sub-genre that has also grown somewhat tiresome thanks to its overuse by people who don't understand how to make it work both comedically and cinematically. Finally, it is the product of co-writers/directors/stars Jermaine Clement and Taika Waititi, a duo who previous collaborations include "Eagle vs. Shark" and the TV series "Flight of the Concords," projects that are venerated by some people that I know but which have thus failed to inspire anything remotely resembling a laugh. The only thing that kept me from abandoning it altogether was the knowledge that no matter how bad it might be, it could hardly be worse than "Mortdecai," "Fifty Shades of Grey" or any of the other bits of nonsense I have endured in the last few weeks." (more)
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
"Empty suits."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Comic book writer Mark Millar has come up with a good racket in recent years; he may be far from the best storyteller in the medium, but he's unmatched in pitching ideas (usually "familiar concept with a twist that makes it more violent") and self-promoting in a way that gets both readers and Hollywood to buy in early, especially since he's had enough prior success to attract talented collaborators. What comes out the other side is generally good-looking but cynical junk, and "Kingsman" - talented director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of "The Secret Service", a comic Millar did with talented artist Dave Gibbons - doesn't buck the trend by much." (more)
TIMBUKTU
"Noteworthy for more than just being a first."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It's a bit odd that the first film from Mauritania to be nominated for an Academy Award is about Mali, but this isn't the sort of movie that a country generally makes about itself until much later in its history. We're lucky that "Timbuktu" is getting that extra little bit of attention and wider theatrical release that comes with being an Oscar nominee, at least, as it's a terrific little movie. The combination of earnest tragedy and achingly painful absurdity can be hard to stomach, but it's harder still to look away." (more)
TRIUMPH IN THE SKIES
"Well, at least break-even in the skies."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There's a shiny new Shaw Brothers logo among the vanity cards before "Triumph in the Skies", likely because it's a spinoff of a TV show that ran on Hong Kong's TVB network, which was also founded by the late Sir Run Run Shaw, about ten years ago. It's the furthest thing from the grindhouse action that the name conjures for Western audiences, a slick modern-day drama that plays well enough for those who haven't seen the series and probably a bit better for those who have." (more)
MORE REVIEWS

LATEST FEATURES
CRITICWATCH - QUOTE WHORES COME INTO FOCUS IN 2015
by Erik Childress
"Will Smith is back in theaters this weekend after almost two years off - not counting his career-defining cameo as Satan in last year's Winter's Tale. Criticwatch is also back after a rather slow 2014 on the article front but just a couple of months off since announcing last year's quote whores of the year and offering another retrospective on why Peter Travers and Pete Hammond should not be read, heard or seen in any capacity. Especially when they are using their words. More on them at another time. This week though we are on alert about this week's ads for Focus which once again sees the same ol' whores up to their same 'ol tricks." (more)
FILMS I NEGLECTED TO REVIEW: ENGANG I AMERIKA!
by Peter Sobczynski
"Please enjoy short reviews of "The Salvation," "Waves" and "Wild Tales"" (more)
DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS FOR 2/24: "IF IT WEREN'T FOR VENETIAN BLINDS, IT'D BE CURTAINS FOR US. . ."
by Peter Sobczynski
"In this latest roundup of new DVD/Blu-Ray titles available to buy or rent, you can find this year's big Oscar winner as well as a couple of interesting obscurities, a couple of really awful comedies and a bit of titillation for good measure. ​" (more)
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