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Welcome to another horror/thriller round-up. This time around, we have details on who will play Death-Head in Rob Zombie’s 31, an update on the Tomb Raider reboot, and a look at The Crest of Westwood's tribute schedule for the legendary samurai film director Akira Kurosawa.
Rob Zombie's 31: Via his Instagram account, Rob Zombie revealed that Torsten Voges will play the villain Death-Head in his upcoming Halloween-set film, 31. Voges, who previously had a role in The Lords of Salem, is the first announced cast member for 31, which is currently available to fanback. For those unfamiliar with the film, here's the synopsis from Zombie:
"Welcome to my next film. It is called 31. It is the story of five random people kidnapped on the five days leading up to Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World. While trapped inside this man-made Hell they must fight to »
- Derek Anderson
Tour of Duty: Boorman Returns to Autobiographical Elements
Now at 82 years of age, British auteur John Boorman returns with Queen and Country his first feature since 2006. It is a follow-up to one of the director’s most cherished titles, Hope and Glory (1987), which documents war-torn England through the eyes of a child as his family survives the blitz. Though it’s been nearly thirty years, Boorman sets this follow-up chapter only nine years in the future, leaving behind the horrors of WWII for the Cold War ethics of the Korean conflict. Much like he managed with the film’s predecessor, Boorman achieves success by making the film a personal, insular story about a small group of characters’ experiences. The powerful emotional possibilities of the child’s perspective is left behind, now a young man discovering who he wants to be and what values he wishes to cherish. This makes for a more reserved, »
- Nicholas Bell
Mission: Impossible 5: Tom Cruise stars in the upcoming Mission: Impossible 5, which recently had its release date moved forward to July 31. But does the action thriller need a new ending? A recent report claimed production shut down for "a week or so... because the film's ending was deemed unsatisfactory," adding that writer/director Christopher McQuarrie would be working "with a writer friend whose identity remains a mystery." However, McQuarrie himself appeared to quash the rumor via social media. [The Hollywood Reporter/Twitter] The Magnificent Seven: Haley Bennett has landed the female lead in The Magnificent Seven, the upcoming new version of the 1960 original, itself an unofficial remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Bennett will reteam...
- Peter Martin
Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington are teaming up again for MGM's long-in-development remake of "The Magnificent Seven" (the 1960 American western directed by John Sturges, which was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai"). As recently as 2012, Tom Cruise was attached to star in the remake, although, at the time, there was no director attached. It was said that Cruise had long been interested in saddling up for a "Magnificent Seven" remake, but was not in his then immediate plans. "The Magnificent Seven" starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst »
- Tambay A. Obenson
After securing Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt for their remake of the Western classic The Magnificent Seven, MGM has brought on Haley Bennett to play the female lead. Deadline reports she beat out several other actresses in what is being described as a "starmaking role." The actress will play the widow of a murdered man, who lives in a gold mine town that has been taken over by a baron and his thugs. She hires a bounty hunter to get rid of these evil men, giving him enough money to hire six other gunmen to help their cause.
The original Western The Magnificent Seven debuted in 1960, starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz as the seven gunmen, with Eli Wallach portraying the villainous Calvera, who terrorizes a small Mexican fishing village. The Western, directed by John Sturges, was itself a loose »
How many greats have found themselves on the short end of Oscar glory after being nominated for Best Director? Frankly, some of the greatest filmmakers of all-time: David Fincher, Gus Van Sant, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Pedro Almodóvar, Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Terrence Malick, Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman and Mike Leigh, among others. We're personally hoping that eventually "Birdman's" Alejandro G. Iñárritu, "Boyhood's" Richard Linklater and "The Grand Budapest Hotel's" Wes Anderson make it off that list, but only one will join the winner's club Sunday night. Last year the Academy faced a similar quandary between the incredible work of Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity") and Steve McQueen ("12 Years A Slave"). Eventually, Cuarón distanced himself from his contemporary and his win was "expected." That's truly not the case this season. Linklater has earned raves for his 12-year journey making "Boyhood" since it debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival over a year ago. »
- Gregory Ellwood
The Criterion Collection refurbishes its previous release of Yasujiro Ozu’s 1962 swan song, An Autumn Afternoon for a new digital restoration Blu-ray transfer. The auteur, often described as the ‘most Japanese’ of directors, is a prominent cinematic figure (which explains his heavy presence in Criterion’s vault), ranking alongside the likes of Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi. Yet Ozu was a much more subtle, even methodical filmmaker in comparison, reveling in the depiction of everyday life acted out amongst traditional (some would say banal) activities, meant to reflect the changing cultural landscapes that often place its inhabitants at uncomfortable odds.
An aging widower, Shuhei Hiroyama (Chishu Ryu) lives with daughter Michiko (Shima Iwashita) and a younger son. Michiko tends to her father and brother, and it seems a happy existence for all, but now at the age of twenty-four, outsiders are beginning to question why her father hasn’t arranged for her to be married. »
- Nicholas Bell
8 Actors Who Can Be The Next Spider-Man
We’re not even a year removed from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and already Sony and Marvel are exploring new options on who could be the next webslinger. And we already have some insight that the next Spider-Man is going back to high school, and Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Logan Lerman (Fury) are on Sony’s short list… read the full article.
Five Film Composers that Hollywood Needs Back
Hollywood has no shortage of talented composers crafting mostly serviceable tunes for the next young adult literary adaptation or prestige awards tearjerker. But for every auteur like Hans Zimmer and John Williams, you have musical yes men pounding out ominous notes in anticipation of the next horror movie jump scare or making ratatat noise to underscore a superhero chase scene. The film world screams for diverse sounds, but is often left »
Aliya tackles Akira Kurosawa's Something Like An Autobiography in this month's non-fiction Den Of Geek Book Club selection...
What makes a great film director?
I'm not sure there's an answer to this question, but if you're interested in throwing out ideas, then Kurosawa's autobiography is a great place to find inspiration. Kurosawa is one of those figures who can lay claim to being a visionary. His films are meticulous, involving and intelligent, and his writing style is much the same. There's something about the way he puts words together that reminds me of his movies.
The preface starts with a traditional Japanese home remedy for treating burns and cuts. A toad would be placed in a box lined with mirrors, and the sight of its own reflection would bring the toad to an oily sweat, that would be collected and simmered for 3,721 days to make a potion. Kurosawa »
Written by Akira Kurosawa and Tomita Tsuneo
Directed by Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s feature length debut opens with a wandering young man named Sanshiro Sugata (Susumu Fujita) arriving into town where he aspires to earn a place under the tutelage of a great jujitsu master. Shortly thereafter Sanshiro learns first-hand that his would be instructors are perhaps not all they are cracked to be. Their attempt to rustle a rival sensei’s feathers, Shogoro Yano (Denjiro Okochi) is ill fated, as Yano handles each attacker with the greatest of ease. Much to Sanshiro’s surprise, the victor of the contest practices judo rather than jujitsu. Under the auspices of Yano’s strict but just guidance, as well as through the trials and tribulations and a martial arts tournament, that Sanshiro will learn to control his bustling energy, channeling it to become a better, more composed human being. »
- Edgar Chaput
Two bad, two good this week as I went to the theater to see and review Jupiter Ascending (read the review here) and Seventh Son (read the review here) and we all know how that turned out. However, at home I was inspired by Tony Zhou's recent video essay to watch Akira Kurosawa's The Bad Sleep Well for the first time. So I fired up the Hulu and gave it a spin. Very good movie with a rather dark ending as not only do the bad sleep well, but the bad defeats good... at least in this instance. Finally, I also watched the Oscar-nominated documentary Last Days in Vietnam as it was available for free over at PBS's website at the end of the week. Solid doc and one some are trying to say is sneaking up on Citizenfour at the Oscars for Best Documentary. As much as I »
- Brad Brevet
Now this is a list that could result in a lot of fascinating dissection and thanks to HitFix it comes to our attention almost three years after it was originally released back in 2012, celebrating the Motion Picture Editors Guild's 75th anniversary. Over at HitFix, Kris Tapley asks, "Is this news to anyone elsec" Um, yes, I find it immensely interesting and a perfect starting point for anyone looking to further explore the art of film editing. In an accompanying article we get the particulars concerning what films were eligible and how films were to be considered: In our Jan-feb 12 issue, we asked Guild members to vote on what they consider to be the Best Edited Films of all time. Any feature-length film from any country in the world was eligible. And by "Best Edited," we explained, we didn't just mean picture; sound, music and mixing were to be considered as well. »
- Brad Brevet
A random bit of researching on a Tuesday night led me to something I didn't know existed: The Motion Picture Editors Guild's list of the 75 best-edited films of all time. It was a feature in part celebrating the Guild's 75th anniversary in 2012. Is this news to anyone else? I confess to having missed it entirely. Naturally, I had to dig in. What was immediately striking to me about the list — which was decided upon by the Guild membership and, per instruction, was considered in terms of picture and sound editorial as opposed to just the former — was the most popular decade ranking. Naturally, the 1970s led with 17 mentions, but right on its heels was the 1990s. I wouldn't have expected that but I happen to agree with the assessment. Thelma Schoonmaker's work on "Raging Bull" came out on top, an objectively difficult choice to dispute, really. It was so transformative, »
- Kristopher Tapley
I've seen plenty of Akira Kurosawa's movies, but I have not yet seen his 1960 feature The Bad Sleep Well, which I could easily resolve in the next two and one half hours over at Hulu. But for the purpose of this post, whether you've seen the film or not doesn't matter, as Tony Zhou (yes, the same Tony Zhou from the Drive video) takes a look at Kurosawa's movie in relation to the way he stages his scene and offers it in conjunction with clips from two of this year's Oscar-nominated features, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything. This is a wonderful example of what staging can do to turn a rather traditional scene into one that's far more engaging. Granted, the scene Zhou has chosen to focus on is far more exciting than the expository example used from Imitation Game, but the point remains that as »
- Brad Brevet
In his latest “Every Frame a Painting” series, Tony Zhou takes generic, ensemble coverage to task. Pitting rigid Hollywood biopic fare against the geometric blocking of Akira Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well, Zhou considers why dynamism comes through movement and not necessarily edits. As the characters shift about the room, tracing lines of triangles and squares, Kurosawa uses full-bodied actors — not close-ups — to draw your attention to a given object. »
- Sarah Salovaara
It's difficult for me to put my finger on why, exactly, I ultimately didn't like this book. The prose is decent, some of it is quite funny, and no one could ever accuse it of not being unique. Those are all things I usually love in entertainment. Several twists genuinely surprised me and I found all the central characters to be likeable to some degree.
I guess my problem is with David, in his capacity as an unreliable narrator.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against having an unreliable narrator wholesale; sometimes it works in interesting ways and makes for a better story. I think my problem is the specific brand of unreliable narration David is guilty of. He admits to Arnie at one point that he »
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture: Coming this March, Lego's Avengers S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier play set, which comes with mini-figs for Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Nick Fury and Maria Hill (via Live for Film): Learn about the geometry involved in the films of Akira Kurosawa via the underrated The Bad Sleep Well and a brief video essay by Tony Zhou (via Devour): Learn why the Lord of the Rings trilogy is so much more satisfying than the Hobbit trilogy, via this video essay by Sean Hickey (via Filmmaker Iq): Now we just need some little purple costumes to put on the birds who frequent this The Grand Budapest Hotel...
- Christopher Campbell
“It’s like a lot of films one sees today. Not that I see very many, but to me they are what I call ‘photographs of people talking.’ It bears no relation to the art of the cinema, and the point is that the power of the cinema in its purest form is so vast because it can go over the whole world,” Alfred Hitchcock once said. That dissatisfaction with seeing modern-day directors simply shooting actors and cutting between a multitude of shots is what motivated the fine folks over at Every Frame A Painting to take a closer look at Akira Kurosawa’s visual style in a new short video essay. Running just over three minutes, “The Geometry of a Scene” focuses on a scene from Kurosawa’s 1960 corruption drama “The Bad Sleep Well,” and deconstructs how Kurosawa is able to derive tension from a relatively simple scene without cutting between multiple shots: instead, »
- Cain Rodriguez
When Adam Sandler secured his lucrative deal with Netflix, it was unclear what the first project from this groundbreaking union would be. Well, The Wrap is reporting that the first film will be Sandler's long-gestating western comedy "Ridiculous 6." What's more, the site is reporting that Sandler has lined up an all-star cast. Apparently, with his first Netflix outing, Sandler wants to go big.
"Ridiculous 6," co-written by Sandler and regular collaborator Tim Herlihy, will star Blake Shelton, Whitney Cummings, Luke Wilson, Steve Zahn, Nick Nolte, Danny Trejo, Chris Parnell, Lavell Crawford and returning Sandler favorites Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider (so I guess he patched up whatever beef he had with Sandler that kept him out of "Grown Ups 2"), Dan Aykroyd, Nick Swardson, Terry Crews, John Lovitz and Vanilla Ice. Whew, that's a lot of people.
What's somewhat more iffy about the project is the fact that it's a comedic western, »
- Drew Taylor
Everyone knows Woody Allen. At least, everyone thinks they know Woody Allen. His plumage is easily identifiable: horn-rimmed glasses, baggy suit, wispy hair, kvetching demeanor, ironic sense of humor, acute fear of death. As is his habitat: New York City, though recently he has flown as far afield as London, Barcelona, and Paris. His likes are well known: Bergman, Dostoevsky, New Orleans jazz. So too his dislikes: spiders, cars, nature, Wagner records, the entire city of Los Angeles. Whether or not these traits represent the true Allen, who’s to say? It is impossible to tell, with Allen, where cinema ends and life begins, an obfuscation he readily encourages. In the late nineteen-seventies, disillusioned with the comedic success he’d found making such films as Sleeper (1973), Love and Death (1975), and Annie Hall (1977), he turned for darker territory with Stardust Memories (1980), a film in which, none too surprisingly, he plays a »
- Graham Daseler
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