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Cinefiles

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Phenomena (NR)
Anchor Bay Entertainment / Release date: May 27
The first and last word on Italian horror has to belong to Dario Argento, the dark genius who has unleashed some of the most frightening images that have ever been displayed on any movie screen. Argento is a true master of horror, and what better way to introduce a new fan than with the special-edition release of one of his best, Phenomena. It stars a young Jennifer Connelly as a student living abroad who, in addition to having the power to control insects, must confront a brutal slasher who has been murdering local schoolgirls. Phenomena offers a kitchen-sink approach to terror film, mixing giallo murder-mystery with a bizarre sci-fi angle, and it's the best sampling yet of Argento's incredible work. Released to coincide with his new film Mother of Tears, Phenomena is available by itself or as part of the Dario Argento Collection box set. Louis Fowler


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The Lather Effect (NR)
Anchor Bay Entertainment / Release date: May 27
To quote the Who's Pete Townshend, "I hope I die before I get old." Or, even better, I hope I die before I become a self-obsessed, whiny, overgrown adolescent who laments the death of my youth with all my loser classmates at my 20th(!) high school reunion. Because that is exactly what this film, directed by Sarah Kelly, is an hour and a half of pathetic pining accompanied by a kickass '80s soundtrack. With the actors' self-indulgent histrionics, it's reminiscent of The Big Chill. Eric Stoltz, "playing" a stoner, and where-are-they-now relic Ione Skye, playing a narcissistic swinger, are so off-putting that it's hard to like anyone who attended this high school. Though some might fear the film will stain the filmographies of all involved, this cast is probably happy just to be working. If you Lather, rinse, and don't repeat. Louis Fowler


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Lost Colony: The Legend of Roanoke (PG-13)
Allumination Filmworks
I know this probably won't be in any official history textbooks, but if we are to believe this immensely entertaining film from Matt Codd, the first settlers to form an American colony in 1587 were constantly harangued by the bloodthirsty ghosts of dead Vikings. Hey, I'll buy it! Led by Highlander's Adrian Paul, our take-no-guff forefathers battle diabolical demons with steel and magic, albeit with surprising consequences that remain unexplained to this day. Based on a (kinda) true story, this made-for-cable movie is really quite fun. It deftly mixes historical epic with cheesy B-movie, effortlessly combining great production values with comically bad CGI. To top it off, the film actually got me to look up the true story of the colony and read a book about it. You hear that, teachers? Louis Fowler

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