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Room 237 (#110 of 12)

SXSW 2015: The Nightmare, God Bless the Child, & Sailing a Sinking Sea

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SXSW 2015: <em>The Nightmare</em>, <em>God Bless the Child</em>, & <em>Sailing a Sinking Sea</em>
SXSW 2015: <em>The Nightmare</em>, <em>God Bless the Child</em>, & <em>Sailing a Sinking Sea</em>

Those who found Room 237 a bit too reliant on the ramblings of its narrator subjects will only find more ammunition with director Rodney Ascher’s latest documentary, The Nightmare, which trades verbose movie nerds for lifelong victims of sleep paralysis. On the surface, this still-unsolved phenomenon—in which sleepers find themselves unable to move or make noise as shadow phantoms approach them—is a fascinating topic, and apparently a more common issue than many might assume, but his subjects are, frankly, not eccentric or engaging enough to warrant the carte blanche granted to them.

Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2013

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Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2013
Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2013

From Budd Wilkins’s introduction to Slant Magazine’s Top 25 Films of 2013: “Reports of cinema’s demise, as it turns out, have been greatly exaggerated. Granted, celluloid is about as dead as the dodo, and delivery systems are in flux (pretty soon, audiences will be as likely to catch the latest Hollywood tent pole streaming on their wristwatches as in a multiplex), but the century-old urge to dream another life within the four edges of a frame, to transmute image and sound into something more potent than either alone, remained refreshingly untrammeled. Given the precarious position of the medium, beholden to the ever-shifting tectonics of finance, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many films took the constituent building blocks of their own construction as their theme.” Click here to read the feature and see if your favorite films of the year made our list. And see below for a list of the films that just missed making it onto our list, followed by our contributors’ individual ballots. Happy reading.

Fantastic Fest 2013: Coherence, Patrick, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, & The Congress

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Fantastic Fest 2013: <em>Coherence</em>, <em>Patrick</em>, <em>Why Don’t You Play in Hell?</em>, & <em>The Congress</em>
Fantastic Fest 2013: <em>Coherence</em>, <em>Patrick</em>, <em>Why Don’t You Play in Hell?</em>, & <em>The Congress</em>

This year, the ever-anarchic and genre-heavy nerd Valhalla known as Fantastic Fest delivered more blood-soaked, supernaturally tinged cinematic offerings from around the globe and advocated a distinct devil-may-care endorsement of debauchery. As the saying goes, “chaos reigns.” This cheeky slogan was eagerly adopted by the film festival’s organizers as an unofficial motto, derived of course from Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, which screened at the festival in 2009. From opening-night premieres of loud, big-budget, guns-a’-blazin fare like Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills to non-cinematic, Texas-style, off-site savagery such as outings to hunt wild hogs from helicopters (seriously!), it’s in many ways difficult to believe that this year’s Fantastic Fest was both real and somehow completely legal.