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Writer/director Jim Mickle rocked the indie genre film world last year with his domestic horror film "We Are What We Are," and now he has done it again with his throwback thriller "Cold in July," starring Michael C. Hall. Watch the official trailer below. It's 1989 and in the balmy, unforgiving land of Texas, Richard Dane (Hall) becomes a small town hero after shooting a petty burglar. But his so-called act of heroism yields some dark and dangerous consequences when the burglar's father (played by Sam Shepard), who has a haunted past of his own, rolls into town with an appetite for revenge. Mickle and scribe Nick Damici -- who also cowrote "We Are What We Are," about the mundane life of a family of cannibals -- adapted the film from Joe R. Lansdale's grizzly 1989 mystery novel. Based on this tense trailer alone, Mickle's seems to be harking back »
- Ryan Lattanzio
In the mid-1970s, there were few American filmmakers riding as high as William Friedkin. The French Connection swept the 1971 Academy Awards, nabbing Friedkin a Best Director statuette. The Exorcist, released two years later, broke box office records to become one of the top grossing films of all time. Boasting creative power and freedom that most directors could only dream about, Friedkin opted to film an updated version of French auteur Henri-Georges Clouzot’s classic The Wages of Fear (1953).
The result, 1977’s Sorcerer, became one of the most notorious box office bombs of the decade. Its dark, unrelenting tale of four desperate, disparate men (Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou) who undertake a suicide mission by driving truckloads of nitroglycerine across the rugged South American jungle wasn’t what the changing tide of audience tastes were buying then, »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
(The Criterion Collection)
Two Gems From The 50s
Two new releases from The Criterion Collection spotlight low-budget filmmaking in the 1950s—American and European—and couldn’t be more stylistically and thematically diverse. And yet, there is a personal stamp on the pictures that is very similar. Both films also tackle social problems with brutal frankness and feature anti-heroes as protagonists.
Riot in Cell Block 11 was produced by longtime Hollywood independent producer Walter Wanger (he was also responsible for two earlier Criterion releases, Stagecoach and Foreign Correspondent) as a hard-hitting, gritty, realistic picture depicting the inequities and maltreatment prisoners receive in American prisons. Wanger had a personal reason to make a film like that. He had barely missed spending some time in one. He’d caught his wife with another man, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
So, last week I watched the Keanu Reeves abomination that was 47 Ronin and this week I took it upon myself to watch the 1941 original, The 47 Ronin, available on Hulu Plus and it's rather astonishing the differences between the two. Of course, the original doesn't have magic, monsters or the Reeves character and those are the immediate differences, but what's even more fascinating is to compare the way the two films approach the story and what is considered important. The first difference is in the approach to the story. Even though the '41 film runs 223, versus the 118 minutes that make up the 2013 remake, it wastes no time getting started. A little on screen text and immediately we see Lord Asano attack the court official Kira Yoshinaka. Due to the injection of Reeves' character into the remake it takes forever to get to this moment and by that time it's already »
- Brad Brevet
Chicago – When traveling on a Nicolas Cage trip, it’s best to buckle up. Director David Gordon Green collaborated with Cage on the new film, “Joe,” and actor Tye Sheridan (“Tree of Life,” “Mud”) was Cage’s teenage co-star. Cage portrays the title character, a reformed hellraiser who can’t help but have sympathy for a lost soul.
Sheridan portrays Gary, a itinerant teen whose family life is pretty much destroyed. His father Wade (Gary Poulter) is an unapologetic drunk, and Gary turns to Joe to both get some employment and some guidance. The result from David Gordon Green (“George Washington,” “Snow Angels”) is a gritty story of accidental mentorship, contained in a simmering context that only Nicolas Cage can generate.
Photo credit: Roseside Attractions
Both Green and Tye Sheridan came to Chicago for a press tour, and talked »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Mary Anderson dead at 96; also featured in Alfred Hitchcock thriller ‘Lifeboat’ Mary Anderson, an actress featured in both Gone with the Wind and Alfred Hitchcock’s adventure thriller Lifeboat, died following a series of small strokes on Sunday, April 6, 2014, while under hospice care in Toluca Lake/Burbank, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Anderson, the widow of multiple Oscar-winning cinematographer Leon Shamroy, had turned 96 on April 3. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1918, Mary Anderson was reportedly discovered by director George Cukor, at the time looking for an actress to play Scarlett O’Hara in David O. Selznick’s film version of Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller Gone with the Wind. Instead of Scarlett, eventually played by Vivien Leigh, Anderson was cast in the small role of Maybelle Merriwether — most of which reportedly ended up on the cutting-room floor. Cukor was later fired from the project; his replacement, Victor Fleming, »
- Andre Soares
Let’s face it: being bad is always so much more interesting than being good. Much of my early years were spent in a small church, filled with many youth sleepovers in which a young Jerry would get scared shitless by people saying that Satanists were kidnapping and killing kids everywhere and that I would burn in hell if I listened to metal or watched horror films. Bummer for those folks, because talks of cults and the devil and metal and horror films only led to what ended up becoming an obsession, due to those subjects being so “bad” and taboo.
I grew up with an obsession and adoration of horror films involving cults, the devil and witches, and since April is Icons of Fright’s 10-year anniversary, we wanted to provide a nonstop assault of fun, original content, all written in our own respective voices. When thinking of that, »
- Jerry Smith
Plot: Months after an elite team of DEA agents executes a successful raid on a drug cartel, they find their number dwindling under gruesome circumstances. It can't be said Sabotage is a good movie, exactly, but I wonder if it strives to be one. Made up of healthy doses of profanity, booze, blood, macho posturing and violent nihilism, the David Ayer film positions itself as a modern day Sam Peckinpah tale, where vulgar men with guns live and die by them and there is no such thing as true »
- Eric Walkuski
An Oscar winner, a major Oscar nominee, two more pieces of Oscar bait, and a few movies that never got anywhere near Oscar. Welcome to What to Watch. We don’t play favorites. Oh, wait, yes we do. You should definitely rent or buy the titles on this first page. The second page is more optional.
Photo credit: Disney
The best Disney movie since “The Lion King” (Disney, not Pixar), “Frozen” gets the lavish Mouse House treatment. There’s no better studio for family releases and they’re not about to slack on one of the biggest moneymakers of their existence. We are Just getting started with “Frozen”. You know how “Beauty & The Beast” and “The Lion King” became industries unto themselves? Spawning Broadway musicals, theme park rides, new shows, straight-to-dvd sequels, etc.? “Frozen” will end up the same way. If you have a kid, you won’t »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
Written by Leigh Brackett
Directed by Howard Hawks
When El Dorado was first shown in 1966, the Western in its classical form was beginning to disappear from American cinema. John Ford, synonymous with the genre, released his last feature that year, and El Dorado would be the second-to-last film by its own legendary director, Howard Hawks. The Western was evolving and its old masters were giving way to modern innovators. The stylishly self-conscious films of Sergio Leone first signaled the shift (the films of his “Dollars Trilogy” came out in 1964-1966), and it was certified by the critical, ominous, and violent The Wild Bunch, directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1969. Hawks decried the slow-motion bloodletting of Peckinpah. He argued that he could kill four men, get them to the morgue, and bury them before this newcomer could get one on the ground.
With this as the context of its gestation, »
- Jeremy Carr
Blu-ray Release Date: March 11, 2014
Price: Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Twilight Time
Reviled on its release in 1974, Sam Peckinpah’s (The Wild Bunch) nihilistic yet poetic action-accented crime drama Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia is today considered to be a masterwork of the filmmaker and leading man Warren Oates (Badlands).
Oates portrays Bennie, a wastrel sometime piano player lost in the wilds of Mexico. He and his beautiful, tragic lover Elita (Isela Vega) stumble across one last, perilous chance at happiness: in order to claim more money than they’ve ever dreamed of, all they have to do is retrieve the head of a wanted man. But the path to their ultimate escape is littered with dangers—some, of course, of the fatal variety.
Special features on the Blu-ray release of this cult favorite include an isolated soundtrack »
Television and film writer-director S. Lee Pogostin died following a long illness on March 7, one day before his 87th birthday.
Pogostin won a Writers Guild Award and was nominated for an Emmy for his original teleplay “The Game,” for the anthology series “Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre.” Though Pogostin lost, director Sydney Pollack and actor Cliff Robertson won Emmys in 1966 for “The Game,” and actress Simone Signoret also won that year for another Pogostin-scripted Chrysler segment, “A Small Rebellion.”
Pogostin’s other feature credits as a writer were “Pressure Point” (based on his teleplay “Destiny’s Tot”), starring Sidney Poitier and Bobby Darin; “Synanon”; “Nightmare Honeymoon”; “Golden Needles”; and “High Road to China.” He also wrote telepics, including the acclaimed “The UFO Incident, »
- Variety Staff
Moviefone's Top DVD of the Week
What's It About? Folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) has a guitar, a dream, and a big orange kitty cat. He's looking for his big break in New York City, but he's too busy being a bit of an aimless schmuck to do anything great. Inspired by the '60s folk scene in Greenwich Village, this comedy/drama has a whole lot of good music performed by stars Isaac, Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Adam Driver.
Why We're In: The Coen brothers, a fantastic soundtrack produced by T-Bone Burnett, and one cool cat that rides the subway? We're in.
Moviefone's Top Blu-ray of the Week
"George Washington" (Criterion Collection)
What's It About? Writer/director David Gordon Green's feature-length debut is about a group of tweens in North Carolina, and the very bad thing we know they did one summer.
- Jenni Miller
It's the kind of thing that only the madcap movie world of the 1970s produced. Because what else could explain a sci-fi/horror movie that's led by John Huston—playing an intergalactic warrior!—and features Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Franco Nero and Sam Peckinpah? (Yes, that Sam Peckinpah). It's the stuff that cult movies are made of and that's just what happened, and now it's coming back to theaters thanks to the folks at Drafthouse Films. Giulio Paradisi's film is now hitting screens restored and presented uncut theatrically for the first time ever in the U.S., bringing the story of a space warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl, and her pet hawk, while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. And yes, the film is as awesomely bonkers as that sounds, with lots of psychedelic imagery, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. The Visitor John Huston and Jesus Christ (Franco Nero) are in a never-ending war with Satan, and their latest battleground is Atlanta, Ga, where the soul of a child holds the key to saving the universe. Probably. Lance Henriksen, Glenn Ford, Shelley Winters, and Sam Peckinpah join in the fun as Huston struggles to stop the girl’s descent into evil and tendency towards causing bodily harm. It’s hardly news to say that this thirty four year old movie is a mental fingerbang that bends genres and somehow teases both brilliance and stupidity, but I’m saying it anyway. Both highly derivative and wholly original, the film cherry picks elements from The Omen, The Fury, Phantasm, and more, and then swirls them together in a psychedelic mélange of horror, sci-fi »
- Rob Hunter
The strangeness that is The Visitor is now on Blu-ray, and we have your chance to score a copy on us! Believe us - you Need this film in your life. It's that damned wacky! Read on for details.
To enter for your chance to win, just send us an E-mail Here including your Full Name And Mailing Address. We’ll take care of the rest.
This contest will end at 12:01 Am on Wednesday, March 19, 2014.
Drafthouse Films, in conjunction with Cinedigm, is bringing the wildly ambitious and neglected sci-fi/horror epic The Visitor to Blu-ray and DVD Today, March 4 .
Incredibly ambitious but derided and largely neglected upon its initial release in 1979, The Visitor is an unforgettable assault on reality, a phantasmagoric sci-fi/horror/action hybrid. From writer-producer Ovidio G. Assonitis (Tentacles) and director/actor/body builder Michael J. Paradise (aka Giulio Paradisi - Fellini's 8½), the film artfully fuses »
- Uncle Creepy
As we continue to move forward through the list, let us consider: how do you define an original screenplay? In theory, everything is based on something. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine is basically a modern A Streetcar Named Desire. But, somehow, Jasmine is classified as an original screenplay. When a film is wholly original, nothing like it had been done before, and others have tried to copy it since. Plenty of original screenplays (some in this list) take on tired genres, but flip the script. But the ones that really catch the audience by surprise are the ones that feel imaginative, creative, and different.
40. Spirited Away (2001)
Written by Hayao Miyazaki
That’s a good start! Once you’ve met someone, you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.
- Joshua Gaul
One of the grimmest episodes of the second world war is recreated as special-effects kitsch
This Russian 3D spectacle comes preceded by an Imax trailer that blares: "Mind-blowing Images! Earth-shattering Sound!" – which I dare say accurately describes one of the grimmest episodes of the second world war.
Made by the director of 2005 Afghanistan war drama The 9th Company – and a leading Putin supporter – this account of the Battle of Stalingrad spares no expense, or CGI firepower, to tell the tale of five brave soldiers and a plucky lass (Maria Smolnikova) who stand alone between the German army and the Volga. Bizarrely framed by an episode about the Japanese tsunami relief, this visually murky, narratively clunky drama feels like a throwback to the Soviet cinema of the 60s, with a splash of Sam Peckinpah and the odd Matrix-style flying-bullet effect. Stalingrad is certainly watchable in its overwrought bombast, but it's less »
- Jonathan Romney
They’re all filmmakers who made their reputations by taking the movies to new places, to worlds and ideas they hadn’t visited either by the helmers’ cinematic approaches or by embracing material that didn’t conform to the “commercial” film business of their times.
Despite their different nationalities, wildly disparate techniques and wide range of genres they worked in, they were all innovators.I think the Oscar race of 2013, a contest characterized by boldness and daring, might impress cinema’s great risk-takers.
Fritz Lang would be intrigued by “Gravity’s” mix of sci-fi and metaphysics. Stanley Kramer’s social conscience would be touched by “Philomena.” Road movie pioneer Wim Wenders could see a lineage to “Nebraska.” Preston Sturges would laugh and admire the inventive antics of “American Hustle. »
- Steven Gaydos
“I don’t like to think of myself as a sound person who works in film,” says veteran production sound mixer Chris Munro. “I think it’s better to consider yourself a filmmaker who specializes in sound.”
“On ‘Gravity’ we matched the breathing with Sandra (Bullock),” says Munro, who recorded Bullock’s breathing separately so it could be treated like dialogue. “We’d record her through the microphone you see in the shots and one hidden on her head, then play it back for her before she started the next scene so the rhythm would be consistent.”
Munro learned to focus on those kinds of details from »
- Karen Idelson
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