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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

    January 2024
    Virtual Sundance Film Festival 2024
    Including: Good One, Handling the Undead, Ponyboi, A Real Pain, Dìdi, Exhibiting Forgiveness, Between the Temples, Realm of Satan, Love Me and Thelma.

    January 2023
    Virtual Sundance Film Festival 2023
    Including: Cat Person, Run Rabbit Run and Theater Camp.

    January 2022
    Virtual Sundance Film Festival 2022
    Including: Watcher, Master, Fresh, Resurrection, After Yang, Speak No Evil, Alice, Dual, Emily the Criminal, Hatching, Piggy, God's Country, Nanny, and Cha Cha Real Smooth.

    December 31, 2019
    My Top 10 Horror Films of the Decade (2010-2019)
    On this, the final day of 2019, I would like to commemorate my favorite films of the decade which I feel fall within my favorite genre. Plus, Honorable Horror Mentions.

    December 23, 2019
    The Year in Review: 2019's Best and Worst
    Don't let the cynics fool you; every year is a great year for cinema when you know where to seek out the right films. 2019 was no exception.

    December 21, 2018
    The Year in Review: 2018's Best and Worst
    Another exciting and eclectic year for cinema, and, if my near-weekly discoveries of greatness from all decades in celluloid history are any indication, there is no doubt plenty more for me to discover from 2018 in the months and years ahead.

    December 21, 2017
    The Year in Review: 2017's Best and Worst
    2017 was a banner year for cinema, the wealth spread widely between lavish big-budget features, mid-level studio fare from chance-taking auteurs, and independent and art-house pictures of an intimate, character-rich nature.

    December 23, 2016
    The Year in Review: 2016's Best and Worst
    Don't trust the cynics and pessimists who claim movies aren't as good as they once were. Hopefully there will be something (or a lot) here for everyone. If you feel as if film isn't what it used to be, look harder. Chances are, you'll be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

    January 21-28, 2016
    2016 Sundance Film Festival
    I dreamt about one day traveling to the small, snowy mountain town of Park City, Utah, where, for a week and a half every twelve months, cinema is rapturously celebrated. In January 2016, I finally made good on my promise and attended the Sundance Film Festival. Thanks for joining me on this special trip.

    December 23, 2015
    The Year in Review: 2015's Best and Worst
    As 2015 draws to a close and we look toward 2016, the sheer amount of features made each year allows all of us (the most staunch cinephiles included) the chance to revisit our favorites while uncovering hidden gems and underseen beauties we may have missed along the way. A film lover's work is never done, and thank goodness for that.

    December 23, 2014
    The Year in Review: 2014's Best and Worst
    2014 went by in a veritable flash, but in between this short January-to-December timeframe there was a lot of pure excellence to go around—cinema that was original and sensitive and unsettling and moving, a rich reassurance to film enthusiasts that this glorious art form is worth still getting excited over.

    September 5, 2014
    Book Review: Travelogue of Horror by Tony Urban
    Fans of horror films, true crime and/or the paranormal, brace yourselves; one of the quintessential books of the fall season has arrived!

    August 27, 2014
    Book Review: The Art of John Alvin
    In celebration of John Alvin's life and work, Titan Books has released The Art of John Alvin. This gorgeously illustrated hardcover book chronicles the career of this fantastically creative artist.

    December 26, 2013
    The Year in Review: 2013's Best and Worst
    If 2013 is any indication of the turning tides of the motion picture business, of the willingness to break free from copycats and convention and explore originality for a change, then there is quite a bit to look forward to in 2014.

    December 26, 2012
    The Year in Review: 2012's Best and Worst
    If we're going strictly by numbers, 2012 was the best year for cinema in at least a decade. This was a deeply reassuring year at the movies, and one can only hope this mini-resurgence of inspiration will continue into 2013.

    December 30, 2011
    The Year in Review: 2011's Best and Worst
    I'm going to have to be careful not to blink so much anymore. Every time I do, another year seems to zip by. There might have been some very, very bad films this year, but there seemed to be as many, if not more, genuinely good ones—and some better than that. Bring it, 2012!

    July 14, 2011
    Harry Potter and the Decade of Cinematic Magic
    It seems fitting that I celebrate the 10th year of my site's operation with the conclusion of a film franchise that I have been covering here since that first year.

    December 23, 2010
    The Year in Review: 2010's Best and Worst
    Middle-of-the-road would probably be the best way to describe 2010's crop of cinematic releases. Yes, film critics have to sit through a lot of truly miserable movies, but there always seems to be that special few waiting in the wings to reignite one's passion and make the bad experiences worth it.

    December 31, 2009
    The Year in Review: 2009's Best and Worst
    In the future, 2009 will be better known as the last year of the twenty-first century's inaugural decade than for any of the films released within that twelve-month span. With 2009 over and a new decade before us, I can't wait to see what cinematic surprises the new year may have in store.

    December 31, 2008
    The Year in Review: 2008's Best and Worst
    What films should be sought out immediately and what films should be used as this winter's kindling are mere moments away. Until next December, have fun at the movies!

    October 2008
    Dustin's October of Horror!
    In October 2008, I turned into a month-long ode to Halloween and the horror films that, for various reasons, I hold near and dear to my heart. Featuring 57 brand-new reviews of horror movie classics, hidden gems and childhood favorites!

    January 1, 2008
    The Year in Review: 2007's Best and Worst
    This year, instead of mourning the dirge in cinematic originality—and make no mistake, with scarcely a week going by without a sequel or a remake, creative innovation was in short supply—I am going to try to put a positive spin on things. You can only withhold a cranky outlook for so long, especially when you love film in general as much as I do.

    November 10-11, 2007
    After Dark Horrorfest 2007
    My coverage of this small, but very cool national horror film 'festival.' Eight films in two days — some good, some bad, and one very ugly.

    December 31, 2006
    The Year in Review: 2006's Best and Worst
    Time sure does fly. It was exactly one year ago that I mourned the decrease in creativity and overall quality in regard to the cinematic offerings released in 2005. Now that another twelve months are behind us, I am sensing a severe case of déjà vu, and it has nothing to do with the recent Denzel Washington thriller.

    April 3, 2006
    Special Notice: Little Manhattan
    Now that "Little Manhattan" is available on DVD, this is my plea: do whatever you can to make sure this masterpiece does not pass you by again.

    December 31, 2005
    The Year in Review: 2005's Best and Worst
    Hollywood hasn't learned. That's the predominant thought running through my head as 2005's year in film goes bye-bye and 2006's cinematic offerings rear their heads. Whether these heads are ugly or not has yet to be seen, but if the past twelve months were any indication, Hollywood is in desperate need of a creative recharge.

    January 1, 2005
    The Year in Review: 2004's Best and Worst
    Special recognition to those performances that stood out, followed by the year's most overrated and underrated features, and end things with a rundown of the 10 best and worst motion pictures of the entire calendar year. The walk down memory lane, for better and worse, begins now.

    May 25, 2004
    Jena & Macaulay Get Saved!'s Patrick Jennings talks with Jena Malone and Macaulay Culkin about their new movie, "Saved!"

    January 12, 2004
    The Year in Review: 2003's Best and Worst
    Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper enthusiastically praised 2003 as a banner year for the cinema, so good that it had reclaimed their hope for the future of film. Not only do I strongly disagree with such a statement, I would go so far as to say that 2003 was the worst year the cinema has seen for the better part of a decade.

    February 3, 2003
    A Few Minutes with...Dustin Putman
    An interview with the Online Film Critics Society Newsletter. "Dustin is a fairly busy man (besides running his online magazine, he is a senior at American University in Washington, DC, majoring in Visual Media and aiming to graduate this fall), he had time to speak freely and frankly about his work in online film journalism."

    January 3, 2003
    The Year in Review: 2002's Best and Worst
    Well, another year of movies gone by and another is upon us. Is it just me or is time moving at an alarmingly fast rate these days?

    October 21, 2002
    The Truth About Charlie, Demme, & Thandie's Patrick Jennings talks with Academy Award winning director, Jonathan Demme, and Beloved star, Thandie Newton, talk about their new movie The Truth About Charlie.

    January 2, 2002
    The Year in Review: 2001's Best and Worst
    Say what you will about the movies released in 2001, but this was statistically the best year in film (for me, at least) since 1996. So, without further adieu, I give you my personal 2001 picks.

    December 30, 2001
    Human Nature On the Waterfront
    The movie has a happier ending than the one Kazan was appointed in his own life, and this was a purposeful decision. Ultimately, On the Waterfront stands as a powerful testament to the faith Elia Kazan has concerning the beauty of positive human nature.

    December 30, 2001
    Easy Rider : A Historically American Classic
    With an unforgettable soundtrack of classic '60s music, including Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" and The Band's "The Weight," Easy Rider is probably as close to the truth of being a rebel in 1969 as any one movie could be. It reflected and defined a moment in history, and it is remains a vivid record of a period of dynamic social change.

    May 29, 2001
    Interview with Writer/Director Tommy Faircloth
    Dustin chatted with Columbia, South Carolina native Tommy Faircloth on May 29, 2001, as he discussed his film inspirations, background, two films ("Crinoline Head" and "Generation Ax"), and look towards the future.

    May 15, 2001
    The Motion Picture Association of America
    What once was supposed to simply be a guideline to the material in any given movie has now become a ludicrously harsh crusade that gives the MPAA power to overrule the real guardians of children: the parents.

    January 15, 2001
    The Best Films of 2000
    My choices for the "Top Ten Films of 2000" are an admittedly eclectic mix, but they are all deserving in my eyes, for one reason or another, of special notice.

    November 8, 2000
    Contemporary Horror Classics: The Same or Different?
    Take a walk through the horror section of any video store in the world, and you will consistently see Friday the 13th and Halloween placed next to each other on the shelf. If you are in the mood for a horror movie, either one will suffice, but it is the level of craftsmanship that differs.

    October 20, 2000
    Hollywood's Theories on Movie Release Dates
    With the spring being such a slow financial time at the movies, and with the summer being the most prosperous, and the fall the most critically strong, Hollywood has settled into a yearly pattern that works for them, and in the process, so has the American moviegoing public.

    January, 2000
    Top Overlooked Films of '90s
    May not have topped the box-office... but they really deserve a second look.

    January, 2000
    The Best Films of 1999
    1999 was the year, I believe, in which filmmakers broke out and were willing to try something new—something that either hadn't been done before, or hadn't been tried in quite the same manner.

    December, 1999
    The 1990s: The Decade in Film
    With the 1990s coming to a close and 2000 upon us all, film critics inevitably will be devising lists of "The 100 Films of the Century" or "The Best of the Decade," as they attempt to put the vast array of motion pictures they have seen into some sort of practical order.

    March 6, 1999
    The Cruel Intentions of Teenage Audiences
    Ever since about 1991, I have been a fairly frequent filmgoer, even more so as the years have passed. Because of this fact, as any other avid movie fans can attest to, you are bound to occasionally be stuck with an audience of people whom you would like to personally get up and strangle to death.

    February 28, 1999
    The Best Films of 1998
    There was a pattern, I noticed, looking back on it now, for the 175+ motion pictures I saw in 1998. Movies were either very good or very bad. I'm not sure the cause of this odd and peculiar pattern, but it just seemed like filmmakers were either immeasurably intelligent or jaw-droppingly brainless.

    October 7, 1998
    A Night to Remember...Uh, I Mean Forget
    As we walked out of the building, I realized that practically half the audience was leaving. It was obvious everyone felt the same way we were feeling, which was cheated. I took a look at my admit ticket and it read, "No refunds or exchanges." Go figure.