13 items from 2016
After watching Gus Van Sant’s The Sea Of Trees, I’m convinced that composer Mason Bates was shown a completely different movie to score. How else can you explain the gentle woodland nymph-y aesthetic that Bates favors as Matthew McConaughey stumbles frantically around Aokigahara, otherwise known as The Suicide Forest?!
Last time I checked, suicide forests weren’t happy-go-lucky camping sites, and actor Ken Watanabe wasn’t a magical forest creature. The Sea Of Trees is such a strange, bi-polar fever-dream, far beyond Bates’ ill-fitting – and never ceasing – musical accompaniment, but it’s a damn good place to start. Then we can get to how a famed location known for unspeakable sorrow is barely characterized and defined, as yet another movie wastes Japan’s deadliest landmark.
McConaughey plays Arthur Brennan, an adjunct college professor who buys a one-way ticket to the Aokigahara forest. Arthur can’t bear to live another day alone, »
- Matt Donato
Few films in recent history have gotten off to as rough a start as Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees.” The drama starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts was loudly booed following its premiere at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it scored a 0.6 out of 4.0 on Screen’s festival jury rankings, the lowest score in 12 years. IndieWire’s chief film critic Eric Kohn called the movie a “stunning misfire” and Van Sant’s worst film.
Based on a spec script from Chris Sparling (“Buried”), the movie follows a suicidal widower (McConaughey) whose plan to end his life in the forest near Mount Fuji is derailed when he encounters a Japanese businessman lost in the same woods and close to death.
“The Sea of Trees’” disastrous introduction to the world »
- Graham Winfrey
We’re now deep into the McConaissance folks. Yes, in the last few years, we’ve seen Matthew McConaughey really make the leap to the next stage of his career, shaking up the industry in the process. With this week marking the release of his new film The Sea of Trees, I wanted to take a look at his best work to date. Even before I started tackling heavier fare, he was someone I enjoyed, but that’s only grown these days. Whether in supporting or lead roles, he’s a unique and talented actor with a lot to offer. The years to come will be very exciting, both for us and for him… The Sea of Trees is a drama about a pair of suicidal men looking for a way out of a forest in Japan. One is Arthur Brennan (McConaughey), the protagonist, while the other is Takumi Nakamura »
- Joey Magidson
The screenplay for The Sea Of Trees, penned by Chris Sparling (Buried), is one of those narrative Rube Goldberg machines where everything falls into place in the unlikeliest, corniest, and worst possible way. Its protagonist is Arthur Brennan (Matthew McConaughey), a science adjunct who buys a one-way ticket to Japan so he can kill himself in Aokigahara, the notorious “suicide forest” at the base of Mount Fuji, only to have his plans upended by Takumi (Ken Watanabe, miscast), a magical salaryman who stumbles out of the bushes with slashed wrists and a bad case of second thoughts. So off they go, the two would-be suicides, trying to find a path out of the dark wood on an odyssey of bad monologues, misguided contrivances, and lengthy flashbacks about Arthur’s alcoholic wife, Joan (Naomi Watts). As it turns out, there is something worse than Nicholas Sparks, the king of morbid romantic »
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
The line-up for the 17th annual Frightfest has been announced, read on for more…
We’ve barely recovered from last year’s event but Frightfest is almost upon us again. The world of horror will descend on the British capital from Thursday 25th August, running until Monday 29th August. This year the event moves out of the London West End for the first time in its history, and will instead take place at the Vue in Shepard’s Bush. The move is primarily motivated by building work at the original location, but does mean that there will be a lot more space, and more space means more films.
Last year’s event showcased 76 of the best new genre films on the market, a very impressive number. Never ones to rest on their laurels, the Frightfest organisers have an enormous 62 films on display this year, giving the audience a little more space to breathe, »
- Kat Hughes
London-based genre festival to feature 19 world premieres and 35 UK & European premieres.
Horror Channel FrightFest has unveiled the line-up for its upcoming 17th edition, taking place at its new home of the Vue Shepherd’s Bush from Aug 25-29.
Sean Brosnan’s revenge thriller My Father Die [pictured] receives its European premiere as the opening film, while the UK premiere of Sang-ho Yeon’s Cannes title Train To Busan closes this year’s festival.
In total, the 62-strong feature line-up includes 19 world premieres and 35 UK & European premieres. Ivan Silvestrini’s Monolith, Tricia Lee’s creepy chiller Blood Hunters and Nick Jongerius’ gory The Windmill Massacre are among the world premieres.
Meanwhile, Adam Wingard’s eagerly anticipated The Woods will receive its European premiere in the Main Screen strand, playing alongside the likes of Stephen King adaptation Cell, Italian box office hit They Call Me Jeeg Robot and Cody Calahan’s Let Her Out.
Other Main Screen »
- email@example.com (Ian Sandwell)
Independent cinema is the clear focus at La Film Fest. This doesn’t mean they’re completely clear of the sort of pre-packaged, studio-lite fare that tends to climb awards-season ladders into our multiplexes – this year’s festival featured films starring Chris Messina, Idris Elba, Alfred Molina, Gemma Arterton, Gael Garcia Bernal, Gillian Jacobs, and Topher Grace, plus The Conjuring 2, an outright studio film. And even those films without such attachments are not entirely free from the influence, following familiar beats and a sort of glossy presentation in an attempt to “fit in” with the big boys. The extent to which these films could truly be called “independent” is thus debatable, and lends a sort of discomfort to aligning them with truly adventurous voices. That disparity is most evident in four thrillers that played at the festival, which range from practically begging to be let in to actively refusing any sense of acceptance. »
- Scott Nye
The 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday, June 1st, and this year’s Nightfall lineup looks to be yet another strong selection of genre films set to thrill festival-goers night after night.
For those of you in the southern California area, the 2016 Laff runs through Thursday, June 9th and is calling the ArcLight Culver City Cinema home this year. Here’s a look at what we’re anticipating once the Laff begins later this week, and for more information on the festival, please visit:
Full disclosure: Abattoir was edited by my significant other, so I am certainly biased, but my enthusiasm for the film comes from my excitement to see Bousman return to the hardboiled world of horror after working on The Devil’s Carnival musicals and his comedy-infused segment in last year’s Tales of Halloween anthology. »
- Heather Wixson
A new horror film is coming your way via Xyz Films. Titled Mercy, the film involves a dying mother and a possible contested inheritance. The film's first trailer shows several masked characters attempting to kill a fractured family. Starring Constance Barron, Michael Donovan and Caitlin FitzGerald, this feature will be at the La Film Festival, in early June. As well, the film will show on Netflix later this year. A preview for Mercy is hosted here. The official synopsis reveals more about the film's central conflict. Four estranged brothers reunite to say good-bye to their dying mother. While at her home, they are attacked by a mysterious group, who hounds their isolated home. Director Chris Sparling has written screenplays for other thrillers. Sparling wrote the script for Buried (2010) and the more recent slasher Atm (2012). With a background in the genre, Sparling's latest looks like a must-see title, with more to come on Mercy. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Allen)
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Chris Sparling (Buried, Atm) returns with a new horror film called Mercy. The film, produced by Xyz Films (The Raid), was picked up by Netflix last year, which is awesome because that means we won't need to jump through hoops to find it when it finally comes out.
Netflix's last major horror acquisition was another home invasion thriller, Hush which premiered on the streaming service last month.
When four estranged brothers return home to say their last goodbye to their dying mother, Grace, hidden motivations reveal themselves. The family’s alr [Continued ...] »
“We are the weirdos, mister.” Nancy, Bonnie, Rochelle, and Sarah from Andrew Fleming’s The Craft will put a spell on you with these new shirts by Cavity Colors. Also: Freddy in Space’s Fright Flicks candles and magnets sold by Horror Decor, a trailer / L.A. Film Festival premiere details for Mercy, and, lastly, a new clip from Season 1, Episode 9 of Syfy’s Wynonna Earp.
Cavity Colors’ The Craft Shirts: From Cavity Colors: The Coven Shirt: “Join The Coven…
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After The Time Period Has Passed, This Design Will Vanish Forever.
Also available on: Girls Shirts ($25) / Tanktops ($25) / Baseball Tees ($35)
Quantities / sizes are limited, so don’t miss out!
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The Weirdos Shirt: “Available For 72 Hours Only! »
- Tamika Jones
The LA Film Festival has announced its competition lineup of 42 world premieres with 43% of the films directed by women and 38% of the films by people of color.
“Curating films for La audiences is so special because Angelenos have a uniquely homegrown love of cinema,” said Creative Director Jennifer Cochis. “It’s with true film lovers in mind that we program: from political theater to musical theater, we’re highlighting storytelling in all its forms.”
Festival director Stephanie Allain said the diversity numbers have risen from the 2015 festival. “It’s very much our mission to discover new voices and support diversity,” she added.
Director of programming Roya Rastegar told Variety, “We were looking above all for stories with a sense of urgency to them. »
- Dave McNary
“Intrusion,” which is out to directors, centers on a woman who moves with her husband to a small town in Maine after a cancer scare and becomes the victim of a strange home invasion. She begins to uncover a darkness underneath her seemingly idyllic new life.
Alexandra Milchan (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Russell Hollander (“Valentine’s Day”), Josh Weinstock (“Nightingale”) and Sparling are attached to produce. Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake will serve as executive producers.
Sparling just wrapped writing and directing “Mercy” for Netflix, and wrote and produced Gus Van Sant’s “Sea of Trees,” which »
- Dave McNary
13 items from 2016
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