Screened Out – Krampus

By : Stephen Miller
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Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Krista Stadler

There are probably hundreds of reasons for landing on Santa’s naughty list. One is not living up to potential – that note many of us got on our grade school report cards. This darkly comic horror flick also gets that comment.

The legend of Krampus is a little-known Slavian mythology that faded in the early 1900s. In that story, terrible kids don’t just get coal in their stockings at Christmas; they get dragged to Hell. Krampus – Google him, really, it’s worth it – is this super creepy black demon who punishes the brats. He beats them with sticks, he stuffs them into his basket, and he takes them to the underworld. In Hades, these rotten children are slaves for a year, or they’re burnt in eternal flames, or they just get eaten by long-tongued Krampus. Their fate depends on which version of the myth you like best.

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Screened Out – Black Mass

By : Stephen Miller
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Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll

In Catholic parlance, a Black Mass is a satanic inversion of the Holy Mass, where one sacrificed others instead of oneself, and no good can come of it. The metaphor fits this dark, slow, unforgiving film – a mob biopic about James “Whitey” Bulger. It’s a cold, methodical, violent piece about a cold, methodical, violent character.

With this as a theme, Black Mass is watchable, but it never illuminates Bulger to us – specifically, why he does what he does. He’s one note: just pure evil. People are loyal to him and we never find out why except for fear.

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