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Sundance 2013 Review: The Rambler Wanders into Disorientation and Madness

3 February 2013 2:37 PM, PST

If David Lynch and David Cronenberg teamed up with Werner Herzog early in their careers and made a movie together, it would have been Calvin Reeder's The Rambler. Wherever you stand with these three auteurs, that's either a big, big compliment, or it's quite the opposite. I proudly stand on the former side of the fence, so this review is going to say some flattering things about The Rambler, a mixture of unhinged brilliance, idiocy, unsettling confusion, and a whole lot of chaos.The Rambler opens with its titular character (Dermot Mulroney) being released from jail. We're not sure why he was in jail, and it definitely wasn't to ride ponies, but from the look of his welcome home party -- full of miscreants -- it's...

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Review: Kadal Is A Subpar Mani Ratnam Film That Still Outshines Just About Everything There Is

2 February 2013 8:00 PM, PST

2013 is shaping up to be a year of high profile Indian directors making so-so films. A few weeks ago, I reviewed Hindi auteur Vishal Bhardwaj's Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, a film with such a schizophrenic structure that it was hard to tell which emotions I was supposed to feel. Last night I caught Mani Ratnam's Kadal (The Sea), which is certainly much more focused and linear than Bhardwaj's film, but takes a glorious first half and squanders it on terribly predictable and overwrought melodrama before the final frames flicker across the screen.I hate for this review to sound negative. I really enjoyed Kadal. A bad Mani Ratnam film is better than 99% of directors on their best day; however, with Ratnam looking in...

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Mad Cowgirl Director Returns With Blue Dream

2 February 2013 11:00 AM, PST

Director Gregory Hatanaka is, to put it mildly, a madman. His films are wild concoctions of disparate influences jammed together with an urgent energy, the sorts of things that seem steeped more in experimental theater than they do with any sort of mainstream film culture. He first came to attention here thanks to his 2006 effort Mad Cowgirl and he's back now with Blue Dream.James Duval, Dominique Swain, Pollyanna McIntosh, Kayden Kross, Noah Hathaway, Walter Koenig, Sal Landi and Richard Riehle star in the story of a news writer who finds himself caught up in a world of sex, drugs and corporate takeovers as he tries to solve a series of murders. This, of course, only scratches the surface of what Hatanaka is up to....

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First Shot From Amer Directors' Latest The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears

2 February 2013 10:00 AM, PST

The directing duo of Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani created quite a stir with the release of their debut feature, Amer, in 2009. A gorgeously rendered tribute to the giallo films they adore the film was a hit on the festival circuit and has left the duo's fans anxiously waiting for more. We got at least a taste with their contribution to The ABCs of Death anthology, where they turned in the astounding O Is For Orgasm, but the real deal comes soon with the arrival of their second feature, The Strange Colour Of Your Body's Tears. The duo have this to say about the project:The Strange Colour is the story of a man who investigates the weird conditions of his wife's disappearance. It's a...

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Katana Means Japanese Sword! Samurai Cop Restored And Headed To DVD!

2 February 2013 9:00 AM, PST

What's that? You've got a gang of Japanese criminals invading your city and you need a specially trained crime fighter trained by the authentic martial arts masters of Japan to deal with them? Have no fear! The Samurai Cop is coming!Amir Shervan's 1989 cult hit - very much of the 'so bad it's good' variety - has been newly restored from the original 35mm negative and is headed to DVD from Cinema Epoch. What wonders await? Check the trailer below....

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Kickstart This! Ralph Bakshi's Last Days Of Coney Island

2 February 2013 8:00 AM, PST

Ralph Bakshi - the iconic cult animator responsible for Fritz The Cat, Coonskin, Cool World, Fire And Ice and the animated Lord Of The Rings - is getting back in the saddle and he needs your help to - as he puts it - do something for animation that isn't motivated by making you happy or stupid.It's called Last Days Of Coney Island and he's looking for your financial support on Kickstarter.In my films I have always discussed America: who we are, what we are, for better and worse, and the ridiculous.  I'm here on Kickstarter asking for your support for my newest project, Last Days of Coney Island.It's a series of shorts set against the strange backdrop of Coney Island and all its weird...

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Sundance 2013: Twitch Wraps It Up

1 February 2013 4:57 PM, PST

Sundance has come and Sundance has gone, but the reviews just keep on rolling in. While there will be a couple last reviews that trickle in this weekend, most eyes are already looking towards Berlin and SXSW as the festival season keeps on steaming on. So it's time to call things wrapped on Park City's big indie extravaganza, and take a look back at the fest that was. 10 to Watch Before the Fest Series 10 Films to Watch Before The Fest - Dramatic Competition Edition 10 Films to Watch Before The Fest - Documentaries 10 Films to Watch Before The Fest - Best of the Rest Previews The Competition Slates Dramatic and Documentary Premieres Midnight, Next, Spotlight, and New Frontiers Features & Interviews...

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Watch Nash Edgerton's Bear!

1 February 2013 12:15 PM, PST

We are big fans of Australian actor / director Nash Edgerton around these parts and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his Cannes selected short film Bear online so that we can finally have the chance to see it. And now - thanks to new Vice backed YouTube channel Vice Shorts - we can.A companion piece to Edgerton's earlier Spider this showcases the blend of humor, technical ability and character that makes Edgerton so unique. Watch the full short film below!...

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New Spring Breakers Trailer Wants To Show You James Franco's Shit

1 February 2013 11:30 AM, PST

Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers is a strange one, no doubt about it. A weird sort of fever dream of American excess and aimless youth populated by former Disney girls and an utterly mad James Franco it is a film that many will likely hate but which I personally absolutely adore, one of the fun parts for those of us fortunate enough to have seen it already is getting to watch the marketers turn themselves in knots figuring out how to sell it to people. The recent American trailer for the film got this largely wrong by trying to pack what I'm increasingly convinced is a very smart bit of satire into a box shaped exactly like what the film is satirizing but this new French...

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Break Out Your Twenty Sided Die And The Trailer For SXSW Selected Comedy Zero Charisma

1 February 2013 10:00 AM, PST

Michael Paul Stephenson is on a roll. Once a trivia answer amongst cult film buffs thanks to his childhood acting role in Troll 2 - considered by many to be the worst movie ever made - Stephenson turned that notoriety into an asset when he made his directorial debut in 2009 with Best Worst Movie, a documentary about Troll 2's enduring cult. And then last year he proved it was no fluke, returning to screens as director of acclaimed documentary The American Scream. And now Stephenson is diversifying, serving as producer on SXSW selected comedy Zero Charisma, a picture co-directed by Best Worst Movie and The American Scream cinematographer Katie Graham and editor Andrew Matthews.Metal-loving gamer geek Scott Weidemeyer lives with his ornery grandmother and...

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Black Movie 2013 Wrap: Sex, Death And Nuclear Disaster

1 February 2013 10:00 AM, PST

These are the three subjects I thought about most during the Black Movie festival, which finished last weekend in Geneva. True, many think about sex and death pretty often without provocation, but the films of the festival made me continually re-examine each subject, and almost always from a different angle. As for nuclear disaster -- well, I'll get to that at the end. I'm not sure why almost every film I happened to see and love at the festival fell into one of these categories. With an eclectic program of around sixty films from literally all over the world -- from South Korea to Russia to Africa to Europe to Mexico -- I am positive that there were many films to see which didn't deal...

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Fantastic First Image From Emily Hagins' SXSW Selected Grow Up, Tony Phillips

1 February 2013 9:30 AM, PST

Austin based filmmaker Emily Hagins occupies a somewhat unique space in the American indie film scene. Completing her first film - Pathogen - when she was only twelve years old, Hagins was embraced by the Austin based blogging community as a young phenom. She didn't have much in the way of resources and, sure, there were edges that needed smoothing out but people recognized a spark there. Seven years and four films later it is abundantly clear that Hagins is no mere novelty act. Her latest effort - Grow Up, Tony Phillips - maintains its connections to the local scene (star Tony Vespe is brother to Aint It Cool writer Eric Vespe) while also adding established actors such as Aj Bowen and will soon take...

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Have Sex. Save The World.

1 February 2013 9:00 AM, PST

Fresh off appearances at the Warsaw and Rotterdam film festivals and on its way to SXSW, Michal Marczak's documentary Fuck For Forest is sure to raise eyebrows for its racy subject matter.Berlin's Fuck For Forest is one of the world's most bizarre charities. Based on the idea that sex can save the world, the Ngo raises money for their environmental cause by selling home-made erotic films on the internet. Meet Danny, a troubled soul, as he accidentally discovers this exuberant, neo-hippy world where sexual liberation merges with global altruism, and joins their already colourful operation. From the streets of Berlin to the depths of the Amazon, together they are on a planet-saving mission to buy a piece of forest and save the indigenous peoples from...

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Sometimes All It Takes Is A Title. Meet The Toilet Zombies Of Stalled.

1 February 2013 8:00 AM, PST

Soon to pop in at the European Film Market, Christian James' Stalled is proof that sometimes all you need to sell a movie is a good concept. And a man fighting off zombies while trapped in a women's toilet stall is just pretty damn funny.It's Christmas Eve, and a soon-to-be-shit-canned maintenance gopher (Dan Palmer) is changing light bulbs and cleaning toilets instead of drinking egg nog and making out with drunk receptionists at the annual office party. Unfortunately for this forlorn floor-sweeper, he chooses to use the ladies restroom the very second a zombie outbreak occurs! Will he bowl us over and flush away the undead or (like in his pre-apocalypse life) simply remain ...Stalled? Watch the trailer below....

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Exclusive: First Trailer for Chilling Serial Killer Doc The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

1 February 2013 7:00 AM, PST

Want to know how to make a barrel look frightening? Put it in the hands of a notorious serial killer. We're proud to premiere the trailer for The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, which debuted last year at SXSW. Our own Scott Weinberg opined that the film "whittles a massive, disturbing story down to its essence. ... From the memories, insights, and anecdotes of Pamela Bass, Pat Kennedy, and Dr. Jeffrey Jentzen, we learn all we need to know about Dahmer's repulsive activities. If you're looking for a documentary that focuses on Dahmer's childhood, his psychoses, or the media frenzy surrounding his arrest, look elsewhere. This film is, to its credit, focuses mainly on the days before and after the cannibal's arrest." Here's the official synopsis: What...

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TV Review: House Of Cards S1E01, Chapter 1 (Or, Kevin Spacey Will Eat You Alive)

1 February 2013 2:01 AM, PST

Only David Fincher could compel me to stay awake until 02:00 a.m. in order to watch the debut of House of Cards, a new original series on Netflix. I was rewarded with the sight of Kevin Spacey killing a dog in the very first scene. Spacey plays Francis, the Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives, a veteran politician from South Carolina who has been promised a nomination as Secretary of State after the Presidential election. Francis soon learns, however, that the President-Elect has other plans for him, and that prompts Francis to make plans of his own. House of Cards, the first original show made expressly for Netflix *, is inspired by a 1990 BBC TV series that followed the machinations of a...

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Review: Warm Bodies Underplays the Zombie Thing With a Charming Romance

31 January 2013 9:01 PM, PST

A sweet yet innocuous romance steeped in both Shakespearean motifs and shoegazing tropes, the saving grace of Warm Bodies (Aka 'the emo zombie film') is that it's quite charming, never completely falling into a farcical take on the subject matter. We meet "R" (Nicholas Hoult) shuffling through an airport, intoning via a melancholy, sardonic voiceover about his days spent in utter banality, suffering from the condition of being undead. It's a highly literary device -- no surprise, since the movie is adapted from a novel by Isaac Marion -- and, done badly, it would have set the film adrift. Hoult's reading, however, immediately hooks the audience. After an outing in search of brains to munch upon, he stumbles on Julie (Teresa Palmer), who he falls...

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Review: Lost In Thailand Worked at Home but Doesn't Travel Well

31 January 2013 8:00 PM, PST

Comic actor Xu Zheng's directorial debut broke a slew of box office records to become the most successful Chinese language film of all-time on home soil. But despite slick production values and a strong cast, Lost in Thailand is a private joke, funny only to a 1.3 billion-strong home crowd. Xu Zheng made a name for himself as part of director Ning Hao's comedy ensemble, appearing in the smash hit caper movies Crazy Stone (2006) and Crazy Racer (2009), as well as Ning's still unreleased Western Sunshine (aka No Man's Land). Last year, Xu appeared in Pang Ho Cheung's Hong Kong hit Love in the Buff as Miriam Yeung's rich new boyfriend, but all of that is now firmly in his past, and he is likely to...

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Iffr 2013 Review: The Complex Gives A Decent Fright

31 January 2013 7:30 PM, PST

The International Film Festival Rotterdam is no longer the go-to event in The Netherlands when it concerns genre films from Asia. When the Iffr abolished its "Rotterdammerung" section, that honor went to the Imagine festival in Amsterdam and Camera Japan in Rotterdam. Still, each year the Iffr manages to get at least a few anticipated genre titles in its line-up, and this year it is no different. Case in point: last Sunday, Rotterdam had the world premiere of the J-horror title The Complex, attended by its director Nakata Hideo. And while the film may not be the classic that his The Ring was, Nakata once again shows he knows what makes the genre tick. The Story: Young student nurse Asuka and her family move into...

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The Raid 2: Berandal Starts Shooting (And Punching And Kicking) In Indonesia!

31 January 2013 7:00 PM, PST

Get ready action fans, because Iko Uwais is coming back to screens. Production has begun on the second Raid film in Jakarta, Indonesia, The Raid 2: Berandal bringing back together writer/director Gareth Huw Evans and rising action talent Iko Uwais. Joining the cast are some familiar faces from other local films: Alex Abbad was in Merantau and Julie Estelle was in the Mo Brothers' Macabre. There will be more casting announcements as production moves along and I assure you there are more surprises to come.The story in the second film takes place shortly after the end of The Raid: Redemption; you will find a short synopsis in the third paragraph. And after the lengthy press release some shots from the production shall be your reward. Los...

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