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Playing a public figure is always a big gamble, and a Kennedy — with those faces, those jaws, that peculiar accent that’s so easy to exaggerate — has long been a waystation for actors looking to prove their chops. In John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick,” Jason Clarke opts for a more low-key approach to Teddy Kennedy, eschewing a big accent or showy mannerisms, and fully disappears into the role. It’s his finest work yet, and proof of his ability to excel given the right material.
And what material he’s got, thanks to a tight script from Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan that dramatizes the events surrounding the fatal 1969 event that took place on the Martha Vineyard’s peninsula from which the film derives its title. Compellingly directed by Curran, “Chappaquiddick” takes place over the course of a single week, following a young Senator Kennedy before, during, and after the car »
- Kate Erbland
As words like film, negative, celluloid, unspool, and reel become increasingly archaic, even the venerable Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences realizes that it needs to evolve. At the Telluride Film Festival, I sat down with new Academy president John Bailey to discuss what he has in mind. Here’s what we can expect from the 75-year-old cinematographer of “The Big Chill” and “Groundhog Day,” who is proud to be the rare filmmaker representing the Academy board.
(Re)Define the motion picture
Bailey is a realist as much as a cineaste. At Telluride, he appreciated Paul Schrader’s well-reviewed “First Reformed” — but fully supported the possibility that the film would go to Netflix. “It’s very unlikely the studios would pick it up,” said Bailey. “In reality, Netflix and Amazon have now become the studios that have the courage to make the film nobody else would make.”
Similarly, while »
- Anne Thompson
A wave of pure VHS-era nostalgia – with all the associated benefits and drawbacks – awaits in this 1989 sequel to the 1984 B-movie, which was itself a solidly silly monster movie with a great cast (John Heard, Daniel Stern, Kim Greist et al) and charmingly lousy special effects.
This time, the inner city setting is gone in favour of a typical Midwest small town, and the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers are about to run amok at the teenagers’ Halloween Dance. Not that the CHUDs spend any time underground this time around. As the flimsy franchise leans hard into farce, any semblance of the original film’s social satire is forgotten in favour of smart-ass quips and fish-out-of-water comedy.
- Rupert Harvey
Haugesund, Norway — Director Joachim Trier’s “Thelma,” which opened the 45th Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund on Aug. 20, won the Norwegian Critics’ Prize, one of the top awards at the event which wrapped on Thursday night with the closing night screening of Finnish director Dome Karukoski’s “Tom of Finland.”
Lionized by Norwegian critics – one announcing “a new triumph for Trier”- the director is now bound for Toronto for the film’s international premiere.
Of further big winners at this year’s Haugesund Festival, Swedish director Jesper Ganslandt “Jimmie” – represented by Swedish producer Hedvig Lundgren – took the €50,000 ($59,000) Eurimages Lab Project Prize.
First seen at Goteborg, “Young Dreams,” from Sweden’s “Rojda Sekersöz, about a young woman ex-con’s battle to go straight despite peer pressure and a hostile society, took the Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics’ Prize.
“Artistically we could not have had a better start than ‘Thelma,’ but »
- Jorn Rossing Jensen and Annika Pham
See if you can survive five whole nights at Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria while playing the Five Nights at Freddy's board game from Moose Games. Also in today's Horror Highlights: a Lifetime Scary Movie DVD set and the lineup for the 2017 Twin Cities Horror Festival.
Five Nights at Freddy's Board Game Release Details: "Five Nights at Freddy's Board Game: "(Moose Games; Ages 8+; August 2017; $24.99) Five Nights at Freddy’s from Moose Games is the first licensed, non-digital game to bring the popular entertainment property from Scottgames to life. The jump/scare-style game tests players’ nerves and adrenaline levels as they try to collect the most pizza game pieces without waking Freddy Fazbear.
Game play is as simple as it is scary! Each player takes a chance spinning the spinner board and collecting the required number of colored pizza pieces from Freddy’s pizza tray. The player that awakens the included animatronic Freddy, »
- Tamika Jones
After recently celebrating the world premiere of her thought-provoking thriller Never Here at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival, Daily Dead had the opportunity to catch up with writer/director Camille Thoman to discuss her approach to the project and the inspiration behind her debut narrative feature, working with her talented ensemble, which includes Mireille Enos (World War Z, The Killing), Sam Shepard (Blackhawk Down, The Right Stuff), Vincent Piazza (Rescue Me, Boardwalk Empire), and Goran Visnjic (ER, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and much more.
You did a really amazing job with the story, so congrats to you. I wanted to go back a little bit before working on this film, because I »
- Heather Wixson
There are days when it seems that “Game of Thrones” could sustain its own separate internet.
Scour the one we do have and you can find behind-the-scenes photos of characters in different shooting locales, plenty of confirmed and unconfirmed fan theories, and enough character history to populate more than just the four spinoffs that HBO announced back in early May.
With all that information to sift through, we thought it might be helpful to pick out some vital tidbits that we need to know before heading into Season 7. Given that this series is facing a level of scrutiny unprecedented in TV history, we’re not counting out the idea that some of those set photo leaks might be fiendish misdirection. Therefore, we’re going off of verifiable reports and the words of the creators and stars themselves. They might not be giving us a ton of information, but at least »
- Steve Greene
Premiering tonight as part of the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival is Sam Patton’s Desolation, which follows a grieving mom named Abby (Jaimi Paige), her teenage son, Sam (Toby Nichols), and their friend Jen (Alyshia Ochse), who head out to the woods in an effort to honor Abby’s deceased husband’s wishes and spread his ashes, only to come across a mysterious loner who begins following their every move. The trio must find a way to elude their woodland stalker before he can make them his next victims in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Daily Dead recently had the chance to speak with Patton about his first time at the helm of a feature film, and he discussed how his time working at Blumhouse helped prepare him to take the directorial reins on Desolation, working with his cast, and more.
Great to speak with you, Sam. I noticed on your résumé on IMDb that you've been working in different facets of the film industry for a while, and I noticed specifically that a lot of those happen to be with Blumhouse Productions. Because I know Jason Blum and their mantra in terms of making films on a smaller scale, do you feel like being in that environment and being involved with projects on that level helped prepare you for when it was time for you to go out and make your first feature?
Sam Patton: Oh, one hundred percent. A thousand percent, even. I got my start in Hollywood as an intern at Blumhouse, and within a few months was getting paid to work on their movies and I love all the folks over there. I've got a couple of mentors in that organization and it was just a great crash course. I started working with them when they were still in little offices on the Paramount lot, right after Insidious, which was really their first home-grown movie, because Paranormal Activity was an acquisition.
So, I watched them go from being a little company to a really big company making tons and tons of films, and I got to be part of a lot of them. So, it was a crash course in learning how to make a movie for a small amount of money in a contained environment with a small cast, and still tell great stories that deserve an audience. I could talk for an hour just about all the lessons I learned there.
And it was actually after a few years there when the opportunity came to make this movie, and I wanted to go for it. I don't think I would have been nearly as confident that it could be done for so little, for a modest budget, if I hadn't been coming straight from doing so many movies there.
Was there something in particular about this script, because I know this was co-written by Matt Anderson and Michael Larson-Kangas, that made you go, "Yes, this is absolutely the project I want to be out there making for my debut,"?
Sam Patton: Well, it was two things. It was the characters, which I fell in love with. The son is named Sam, which was the case when I read the first draft of the script, but it's made for plenty of jokes about what a traumatic childhood I must have had, and how this movie is autobiographical.
I was going to ask [laughs].
Sam Patton: No, no, that was in the first draft I read [laughs]. But it was the characters that jumped off the page immediately to me. I felt for them. I felt for their situations. The closest comparison to their situation in my life that I have experience with was when my grandmother passed away when I was nine. She was only 60, which is young, right? And all of her children and my grandfather all had really strong relationships with her and not that they had bad relationships with each other, but they all related through her. And so when she was gone, they had to sort of figure it out. She was the one that brought them all together for family things.
And so now, Abby and Sam, it's not that they don't love each other, they just don't get each other at all. But now they're all they have, and so they need to come together. And that character struggle was what drew me in. When I went looking for a contained environment horror film to make, the producer in me was looking for something small and doable on a small budget, but this was one of the first scripts I read. I fell in love with it, but I thought, "No, you can't make the first script you read." And I read more scripts, but came back to this one because it was so great.
And then the second part of it that made this script so important to me, it has this mirror element where it’s not quite an allegory—it's not like Metamorphosis with Kafka, where it's straight allegory—but there are parallels in the external story to the internal story, and I just thought that was really good storytelling and I wanted to bring it to the screen. And I thought we could do it.
For me, though, I have to find a point when it has to be made. It has to be now that we make a movie, and then we do it. So, that personal urgency is something I always try to find in every project, or else, how are you going to put two, three years into a movie, if you're not passionate every day about it?
Because you were working with basically four actors in this movie, was it conscientious on your part that you were trying to really keep this intimate and contained in terms of both the story and these characters?
Sam Patton: Definitely. There was at least one draft that had flashbacks to Michael in the hospital and we definitely discussed other scenes where there were park rangers finding a dead body, too, and an action opener. There were a lot of things discussed and I kept coming back to this idea that the movie should start and end in the woods, and it should be about these four people, and we should believe in the world they talk about, but you don't have to see it. Because to me, that's almost more real.
One example I give to people when I try and explain the right way to do it is, in the first Star Wars film, they blow up Alderaan. They blow an entire planet out of the sky. And we don't see anybody on Alderaan, but we see an old Jedi clutch his heart and sit down, and then we know something really terrible happened. You don't need to see the Marvel-level movie destruction of Alderaan to get it. You need to see a quiet moment, you know what I mean? So, yes, to answer your question, definitely for me it was important to keep it small and intimate.
And also—this is something I definitely discussed a lot with my cinematographer—we tried to challenge ourselves to do everything with less. If we thought a scene needed four setups, could we do it with two? Could we do it with one? Could we do a scene with one setup? If so, we're doing it with one setup, so how do we keep it interesting? And so that was sort of a challenge all the way through. It's like, "We don't need that. What's the fewest number of characters we need? What's the fewest number of locations?"
So, I like to think of working in a box as a really creatively liberating thing. Limitations, I like them a lot, because it gives you somewhere to start, it gives you a frame of reference. Some people don't always embrace that as a creative tool, and I think people should when they're making movies, small movies especially, that don't have the benefit of big budgets or stars to carry them.
- Heather Wixson
As the summer continues to roll on, that means we have another great week of horror and sci-fi home entertainment releases to look forward to. The folks at Scream Factory are keeping themselves plenty busy this Tuesday, as they’re resurrecting both The Lawnmower Man and Island of Terror on Blu-ray, as well as their high-def The Paul Naschy Collection, and Arrow Video has put together an incredible two-disc limited Blu-ray set of Dario Argento’s directorial debut, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, that any fan of the Master of Horror will want to add to their collections. And, if you missed it in theaters, the horror/sci-fi thriller Life will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD formats, too.
- Heather Wixson
When Joe Dante was asked about supporting the effort to secure a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Jerry Goldsmith, the director – who had worked with the respected composer on nine films over 20 years – said he was “flabbergasted” to realize Goldsmith didn’t already have one.
On May 9, the Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer of such classics as “Chinatown,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Patton” and dozens more will receive his star, posthumously, on Hollywood Boulevard just east of Highland Avenue. Goldsmith died in 2004.
Few filmmakers would disagree. Paul Verhoeven, who did “Total Recall,” “Basic Instinct” and “Hollow Man” with Goldsmith, recalls: “Every film was a new adventure, as Jerry was able to adapt to the most diverse narratives and styles. He never repeated himself, always looking for new, »
- Jon Burlingame
For a while, we wondered if Chris Pine would ever be able to escape the shadow of Captain Kirk. Before he starred in J.J. Abrams’ first “Star Trek” film, Pine was mostly known for tween fare like Lindsay Lohan vehicle “Just My Luck” or “The Princess Diaries 2.” Pine proved to be perfect casting in the role that was created by William Shatner, but subsequent starring vehicles didn’t often work: for every “Unstoppable,” there was a “This Means War,” or a “Rise Of The Guardians,” or a “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” or a “Horrible Bosses 2.”
But Pine’s been having a better run of it recently.
- Oliver Lyttelton
The Detour closes out its sophomore run with a new episode tonight at 10/9c, followed by a super-sized season finale, which will be presented with limited commercial interruption at 10:30.
“Season 2 has been so smart, hilarious and wrong,” TBS Svp Thom Hinkle said in a statement. “And from the early nuggets I’ve gotten from [creators] Jason [Jones, who also stars] and Sam [Bee], Season 3 is going to be even more effed up.”
Armory Films, Union Entertainment Group and Pegasus Pictures announced today that Mads Mikkelsen (Dr. Strange, Star Wars, The Hunt) is starring in the survival thriller Arctic, directed by Joe Penna. Co-written by Penna and Ryan Morrison, the film is being produced by Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros of Armory Films and Noah C Haeussner of Union, and is being executive produced by Martha De Laurentiis, Einar Thorsteinsson and Cassian Elwes. The film also marks the first re-teaming of Mikkelsen and De Laurentiis since NBC’s “Hannibal.” Production is currently underway, with Xyz Films handling international sales.
The story surrounds a man (Mikkelsen) stranded in the Arctic, who is finally about to receive his long awaited rescue. However, after a tragic accident, his opportunity is lost and he must then decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his camp or embark on a deadly trek through the unknown for potential salvation. »
- Tom Stockman
April's Blu-ray and DVD releases are kicking off in a big way, as we have a lot of great genre releases to get excited for this week. Mike Mendez’s Don’t Kill It arrives on both formats April 4th as well as the cult classic Invasion of the Bee Girls, which makes its HD bow courtesy of Scream Factory. Mill Creek has put together a triple dose of terror with their Psycho Circus Triple Feature Blu-ray set, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is keeping busy with their releases of Ghost of New Orleans, A Room to Die For, and We Go On this Tuesday.
Other notable home entertainment titles arriving this Tuesday include The Evil Within, Tank 432, Don’t Hang Up and the DVD set for Medium: The Complete Series.
Don’t Kill It (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Blu-ray & DVD)
When an ancient demon is accidentally unleashed in a »
- Heather Wixson
Mark Ramsey knows that it’s sometimes best to hide the star of the show until the moment is absolutely right. It’s why, in the first episode of “Inside Psycho,” a new six-part series about the birth, production and aftermath of the 1960 horror classic, you won’t hear the words “shower” or “Leigh” or “Hitchcock” or “Universal.”
It’s a particularly striking debut, not just because of the delayed introduction of the expected cast of characters. In opening this “Psycho” origin story with a 25-minute overview of the life and crimes of Plainfield, Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein, Ramsey makes an early case that the best path to understanding the film is via a circuitous route, one with an ever-changing narrative perspective. And plenty of “Mother.”
This trail, particularly in its opening salvo, is unapologetically soaked in goo and gore. (“The following contains mature content,” Ramsey explains at the top of the premiere. »
- Steve Greene
Aside from the guaranteed global behemoth F8 of the Furious, a.k.a. Furious 8, a.k.a. All in the Fambly, this April is conspicuously blockbuster-lite. (Unless you count Smurfs: The Lost Village, and we do not.) No better time, then, to do a bit of exploring around the indie fringes. Offbeat genre pictures are abound this month, from a sleazy revenge picture to a slippery character study/kaiju movie combo to a virtuosic opera of gunfire. Elsewhere, Tom Hanks tackles a technothriller, Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson venture into »
Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out. And if you're into box office and how movies might do, come play some of the box office games at EZ1 Productions including their new Pick 5 game!
This Past Weekend:
As expected, Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island won the weekend, and honestly, the Weekend Warrior’s original prediction of $61.6 million was pretty darn close to the movie’s opening weekend which ended up at $61 million. (Unfortunately, I chickened out on Thursday because my prediction was so much higher than all others and lowered it to $58 million, which was Still closer to than every other prediction last weekend.) Also, as expected (at least by me), Hugh Jackman’s Logan took a 2nd weekend tumble as has been the case with most X-Men movies, »
- Edward Douglas
The beauty of being a high school senior in your second semester is that it can seem like nothing matters for a minute. Friendships have been sealed, college applications have been submitted, and everyone is fully aware that the end of summer is going to shake things up like an etch-a-sketch, forcing them to start over from (what feels like) scratch. For a lot of teens — particularly the privileged ones — that brief period of time is a perfect storm of personal agency and emotional recklessness. Never again will they have so little responsibility, either to themselves or to each other.
It’s enough to make someone feel invincible, enough to make them feel like things are going to be this way forever.
- David Ehrlich
The film follows Abbie and Sam, soul mates who were destined to be together until death got in the way.
Mbatha-Raw has a busy year ahead of her, starting with Disney’s highly anticipated, live-action “Beauty and the Beast” reboot, which opens on March 17. She will then appear in the untitled “Cloverfield” sequel “God Particle” — opposite David Oyelowo — and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” adaptation. Mbatha-Raw was most recently seen in the gun-control film “Miss Sloane” with Jessica Chastain.
Huisman cut his teeth on the TV circuit, »
- Justin Kroll
The International Film Music Critics Assn. has announced nominations for the 13th annual Ifmca Awards for excellence in musical scoring in 2016. Leading the pack are Michael Giacchino and Justin Hurwitz with five nominations each, and Abel Korzeniowski, with four.
Giacchino is nominated for his work on comic book fantasy film “Doctor Strange” and the socially conscious box office hit “Zootopia.” In addition, his song “Night on the Yorktown” from “Star Trek Beyond” is up for film music composition of the year. A 36-time Ifmca Award nominee, Giacchino previously received score of the year honors in 2004 for “The Incredibles,” and in 2009 for “Up.”
Hurwitz’s “La La Land” work has already been a force this season, taking home two Golden Globes among countless other prizes. The contemporary homage to Hollywood movie musicals earned him Ifmca noms for score of the year, comedy score, and film music composition of the year. Hurwitz »
- Dani Levy
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