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Managing to avoid an air of overt exploitation despite considerable lurid content, writer-director David Burkman’s “Haze” is a fictional portrait of particularly abusive fraternity and sorority hazings at a nameless American university. The filmmaker’s debut feature is a somewhat pulpy drama, but it’s effective nonetheless.
While most movies addressing Greek life have been comic (from “Animal House” to “Neighbors”), there have been a fair number that have treated related bullying issues more soberly, from 1977 B-pic “The Hazing” to 2008 trash-horror delight “Frat House Massacre,” not to mention serious-minded recent Sundance breakouts “Goat” and “Burning Sand.” “Haze” lands in the upper-middle of that pack, mixing pseudo-documentary elements with a bacchanalia of staged excesses that sometimes seem to drive the film more than its fairly strong narrative arc. Yet despite some passages that are hyper-edited a little too much a la “MTV Spring Break,” the film has an admirable confidence and credibility.
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- Dennis Harvey
Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson will go up against a sadistic serial killer known as The Snowman in the Universal Pictures' movie of the same name later this month, and to celebrate the release of the new thriller, we've been provided with one The Snowman prize pack (which has some awesome tie-ins to the film) to give away to one lucky Daily Dead reader in today's second Horror Highlights, which also includes a look at the immersive The Snowman blog app, an exclusive clip from the college-set drama Haze, and a trailer for the new horror film Apocalypse Cult.
The Snowman Contest: "The Snowman, a terrifying thriller based on the novel by Jo Nesbø is being released on Oct 19th. A sociopath who calls himself “The Snowman Killer” has targeted the one person for whom he wants to showoff his methodical, unthinkable skills: the lead investigator of an elite crime squad. »
- Derek Anderson
One of the most underrated films by one of America’s most underrated filmmakers just arrived on Blu-ray in the form of Warner Archive’s 25th-anniversary release of John Landis’ Innocent Blood. To call Landis underrated might seem perverse given that he’s directed some of the most successful and enduring movies of the late 1970s and early 1980s – National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places, Coming to America – but I still think his body of work has never quite gotten its critical due in this country, partly because his movies are so damn […] »
- Jim Hemphill
Chewy has gone from having “no other option” to embracing a brand new start.
In July, the tiny Chihuahua was abandoned in a bathroom at Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport with a note that read:
“Hi! I’m Chewy! My owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford me to get on the flight. She didn’t want to leave me with all her heart, but she has no other option. My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet. I love Chewy sooo »
- Kelli Bender
The bonus features for the long-awaited Blu-ray release of The Poughkeepsie Tapes are included in today's Horror Highlights, which also features a deleted scene included on The Mummy Blu-ray, clips from Die Laughing and The Lodgers, the trailer and poster for Haze, and images from Restricted Area.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes Blu-ray: Press Release: "From the filmmakers that brought you Quarantine and As Above, So Below comes a descent into the twisted crimes of a serial killer! Long sought-after by horror enthusiasts after its original 2007 theatrical release was infinitely delayed, this highly anticipated documentary-style thriller has never before been officially released on home entertainment formats. Making its Blu-ray and DVD debut October 10th, 2017 from Scream Factory, The Poughkeepsie Tapes also includes new interviews with writer/director John Erick Dowdle, writer/producer Drew Dowdle and actress Stacy Chbosky, as well as the original theatrical trailer as bonus features. Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory. »
- Derek Anderson
He made John Belushi spit mashed potatoes out of his mouth in Animal House. He crashed dozens of cars in Chicago for a musical pile up in The Blues Brothers. He united The Three Amigos. He helped change the make up effects industry forever in An American Werewolf In London. He blew up Don Rickles in Innocent Blood. He let Eddie Murphy play half the cast of Coming To America. He’s John Landis, one of the greatest comedy filmmakers of his or any era. The guy is legend and oddly enough even all these years later his most iconic … »
- Phil Brown
Probably best-known for her turns in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the “Christmas Carol” retelling “Scrooged,” Karen Allen has been working regularly since her 1978 debut in “Animal House.” She serves as a theater actor and director in addition to acting onscreen in projects like “In the Bedroom,” “Law & Order,” and “Blue Bloods.” Allen recently made her directorial film debut with “A Tree a Rock a Cloud.” The short is adapted from a Carson McCullers story about a random, but significant, conversation between a boy and an older man. Allen’s latest project is Alexander Janko’s “Year by the Sea,” a portrait of a newly single woman rebuilding her life in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The film is based on Joan Anderson’s bestselling memoir of the same name.
We sat down with Allen to talk about her connection to Anderson and the book, the way Hollywood treats women over 60, and why she decided to try her hand at film directing.
“Year by the Sea” opens in New York September 8 and in Los Angeles September 15. A national theatrical release will follow.
This interview has been edited. It was transcribed by Lyra Hale.
W&H: I really wanted to ask you how you became involved in the film?
Ka: I was just at home and I got the screenplay, which was sent to me, and I read it and thought, “I didn’t know Joan’s work,” which is odd because we have a lot of similar pathways in our lives. It’s kind of surprising that we never met each other, that the book never came into my world. But I finished reading the script and I went right out and got the book and I sat with the book and I thought the book was quite courageous.
This was a woman who had reached a crisis moment in her life, who was taking a very clear tough-minded look at herself, and had made some decisions about just wanting to get to know herself. She was interested in that authentic self underneath all the things that she had piled onto herself over the years in terms of other people’s expectations and she just wanted to somehow — instinctively she knew in order to survive, and in order to really find herself, she was going to have to figure out how to let a lot of that fall away, go back, and really get to know herself again.
I found that very inspiring and moving. I went to meet the director and I was very open about how much I would love to play the role and about a week later they offered it to me. I met Joan and I spent some time with her, and we had a wonderful connection, which has stayed to this day.
I had a great time making the film. She was there but she didn’t interfere in any way at all. She let us do our thing. And I was playing her 25 years before the time period where I met her, so I wasn’t really playing the woman I was meeting. I was playing a woman who was at a much different part of the journey than she’s on right now.
W&H: I felt like this journey was about how women take on other people’s baggage and lose their own selves. It’s kind of a very common theme with women as they get older. So I would imagine that this would resonate a lot with women.
Ka: With women and certainly with anybody who’s ever been a parent. We don’t mean to do it, we don’t necessarily aspire to do it, but we fall in love with our children and we want to care for them, support them, educate them, and help them, in every way we can.
They become this daily rhythm and part of our lives and when they suddenly grow up and leave you feel this huge piece of yourself is missing because you really have adapted, grown, changed, and become a person who is a caretaker.
In spite of everything, you really do feel — and unlike Joan, I worked all through the raising of my child. I made tough decisions about what kind of work I would do and I stopped doing some of the really far-flung travels that I had been doing earlier in my life because it began to feel very unfair to pull my son out of school for three or four months and take him to somewhere where he would sit in a hotel room with a tutor or babysitter while I went off and worked 14 hours a day, six days a week. It just didn’t seem like a way of life that I wanted to embrace or that I wanted him to have to embrace. So I made choices that I felt were in support of him in terms of my working life.
And I think in Joan’s case, she’s a published writer, and she just put that on hold to raise two children and had a husband was very much involved in his work. She took on the role of parent and looking after their world. It’s an important role but it’s a role that ends at a certain point. It’s not a role that you’re going to have for life.
W&H: Hollywood has so many issues with women who are over 40 and here is a movie with women who are over 60 embarking on exciting things in their lives, and I’m just wondering what it felt like for you to be in a movie with women who are 60?
Ka: Well, I was thrilled because there just aren’t just that many films that come around. If I read a script with a role for a 60-year-old woman, it’s usually in some capacity of a grandmother, a mother, or a boss. They’re not fully realized characters. To have the opportunity to play a role like Joan Anderson, work with Celia Imrie, and Epatha Merkerson, as my two co-stars, and Michael Cristofer — all of us being over 60 — it just seemed like such a rare experience to have.
W&H: Well, it is. How many scripts do you actually get from your agents, to read?
Ka: I have scripts that come to me from all over the place. I just directed my first film and I’ve been out at film festivals with it.
From my agents, in the course of a year, in a good year, there could be 30 and a tough year maybe half that. Many of them are not ones I would really consider very seriously just because I don’t think they’re particularly film worthy. I work a lot in the theater, both directing and acting, and in the theater very rarely does the play end up on a major stage unless it’s really remarkable. So you don’t kind of have that same dilemma in the theater.
I come from, I feel like, a very real and extraordinary generation of actresses. And I’ve grown up with them all. I was in New York at the age of 25 and I pretty much know, if not know them well or personally, I certainly have met most of the actresses of my generation at one point or another, or had the pleasure of working with them. It’s a wonderful large and fantastic generation of actresses and I don’t see nearly enough of them on screen. It actually breaks my heart how I can think of 40 names right now who I just feel like I don’t get to see anymore.
W&H: Let’s talk a little bit about why you ventured into film directing. You said you’ve done a lot of theater, and why were you tempted into making the film that you did?
Ka: I’ve been directing in the theater for awhile and a producer who I had to work with in New York, who had produced play I had directed, that won an Obie [Off-Broadway Theater Award], was sitting with me one day and he said, “Why not film? Why have you kind of shied away from directing a film?” And I said, “I don’t know that I’ve shied away from it. It just seems to me like I’ve spent my adult life on film sets and I can’t for a second fool myself or be naive enough not to know what a large undertaking it is to make a film.”
For a director it can be two to three years really committed to one project. And as an actor I’m at times committed for three to four months, but that’s usually the longest. So it’s another way of approaching a project. It’s like saying, “Gee, I’m going to be doing this for 3 years.”
So he and I continued to talk and I said, “If I were going to do a film I would want to be wise and do a short film. I would want it to be a certain kind of film that I felt I could really do well, that would play on all my strengths so that I would really have a positive experience making it and not go into it feeling completely overwhelmed.”
I have seen many first-time directors with that deer-in-the-headlights look. I’m very familiar with it. I’ve worked with a lot of first-time directors in film. So we continued with that conversation and he finally said, “If you were going to do it, what would it be? And I said, “There’s a story of Carson McCullers’ that I’ve thought about for 40 years.”
It’s just been something that had sat there in my head for a very long time. And he said, “I would love to help you do this.” And then we brought on another producer, Diane Pearlman, who was with me in Cannes, who I don’t know if you’ve met her, she runs with Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative in Western Massachusetts. Then we moved forward and just decided to do it. And it has taken three years.
We’re still working on it and I was able to bring many, many women onto the crew of our film. I had a female first A.D. [assistant director], a female production designer, and a female costume designer. We were female rich, which was a great joy.
I decided to open up my world to directing about 10 years ago because I don’t want my creative life to be limited by whether there’s an interesting role for me at 65. I love telling stories and I love developing projects and I don’t see any reason why I’d have to be in them for me to be involved.
So it makes for a very enriching experience for me to also embrace working as a director because, you know, particularly in the playwriting world there are so many plays that I love, so many playwrights whose work I love, where there isn’t a role for me.
W&H: What did you learn as an actor working with first-time directors, that you took into being a director?
Ka: One of the main lessons is preparation, preparation, preparation.
If you show up on the set the first day and you have really done the work; have a sense of how you want to shoot the film, know the material, chosen the right actors, and you know your actors and you have done the work with them to know you’re on the same wavelength. If you’ve done the work then you can actually be very calm, clear-minded, and put your attention where it needs to go when you’re actually shooting.
I somehow felt like those were lessons that I had gathered over my 35 to 45 years of being on sets. And it seemed to me like the sets that were successful and the people who were really able to bring out their best, came from that kind of calmness in the director, because they knew what they were doing, they knew where they were going. They had a shot list, they knew how they wanted to shoot a scene, and yet they were prepared and open. Prepared and yet open. And I think actually to be open you need to be prepared.
So I tried to emulate that, and I actually feel I was quite successful at it, that I was a bit of a whirling dervish for about four months during preparation. And probably drove everybody crazy because I was into so much of the minutiae and I just wanted to make sure everything was explored and every decision was sort of looked at from all different angles.
It paid off in spades when I got on set with my actors.
W&H: That’s good advice. I would imagine that you have gotten the bug now and you want to direct more film?
Ka: Well, I’m really willing to take it a little bit at a time. At Cannes I had three scripts that were sent to me after people saw my film that were in various phases of development. None of them are fully funded.
The more my film gets out there into the world — we’ve been going to film festivals, we’ve won a number of awards — and the more that the film is being seen by people, the more attention I am getting as a director.
So it feels as though if I do want to do that, I could move in that direction, which is great. It’s lovely to feel like there’s a door opening up for me. So I’ll just see. One of the most difficult aspects of making this short film was that we raised the money ourselves. And it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I don’t think I’m particularly skilled at it.
W&H: Last question: You’ve been in movies that have been so seminal to so many people. I was just wondering, what does it feel to be in films that have had such profound effects on people?
Ka: You know, that’s such a hard question to answer. It feels like often it just feels like such a privilege to have had a chance to work in the film world and to be hired to do all these wonderful roles. I had this wonderful period in my life, maybe for 15 years, where I was really working in an ongoing way, being offered really wonderful projects that I just loved every minute of. And now to still be doing it.
I don’t get offered all the great projects. I’m not on anybody’s A list for the next whatever. But I still keep working in independent films and in the theater. I’ve started to direct a couple films and you know it’s been such an incredible journey and I don’t know what it feels like for other people and their experiences. I know sometimes people are just, they love some of the films so much — “Starman” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
It comes back to me sometimes in the most surprising ways and I can’t imagine having done anything else in my life. And certainly the first 22 years of my life I couldn’t have imagined anything like this was possible. I’d never met an actress or seen a play. I’d seen films. I loved films. I love to watch films. That world seemed a million miles away to me.
“Year by the Sea” Star Karen Allen on Joan Anderson’s Book, Directing, and Roles for Women Over 60 was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »
- Melissa Silverstein
In today’s film news roundup, thriller “Three Seconds” gets distribution through Aviron, Samuel Goldwyn buys “Saturday Church,” Gravitas picks up frat thriller “Haze,” and the fourth “Insidious” movie gets a new title.
Kinnaman plays a reformed criminal and former special ops soldier who, in order to free himself from jail, has been working undercover for crooked FBI handlers (played by Pike, Common, and Owen) to infiltrate the Polish mob’s drug trade in New York.
- Dave McNary
Just after 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, a jet parked in a hangar at a New Jersey airport with a very special delivery on board — 60 homeless dogs from an animal shelter in San Antonio, Texas.
The canines were flown north so they could move into St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, and several other Northeast shelters, and make room for the the scores of pets displaced by Hurricane Harvey.
“The feeling when you hear the plane land and pull into the hangar — my heart swelled when I heard those dogs barking. It’s so incredibly meaningful for all of us, »
- Diane Herbst
After polling critics from around the world for the greatest American films of all-time, BBC has now forged ahead in the attempt to get a consensus on the best comedies of all-time. After polling 253 film critics, including 118 women and 135 men, from 52 countries and six continents a simple, the list of the 100 greatest is now here.
Featuring canonical classics such as Some Like It Hot, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Duck Soup, Playtime, and more in the top 10, there’s some interesting observations looking at the rest of the list. Toni Erdmann is the most recent inclusion, while the highest Wes Anderson pick is The Royal Tenenbaums. There’s also a healthy dose of Chaplin and Lubitsch with four films each, and the recently departed Jerry Lewis has a pair of inclusions.
Check out the list below (and my ballot) and see more on their official site.
- Jordan Raup
Almost 40 years ago, the Ivan Reitman/Bill Murray film Meatballs set the standard for summer-camp comedies. Murray was a new Saturday Night Live member, and Reitman took on directing his first mainstream movie after John Landis turned him down in favor of The Blues Brothers. Some more members of the successful crew from National Lampoon’s Animal House bonded together to make the film, most notably Harold Ramis, who needed his $1,700 screenwriting fee to buy some furniture. The team of Reitman, Ramis, and Murray would go on to even greater cinematic success in Stripes and Ghostbusters, but Meatballs was their breakthrough film.
For some reason, Vanity Fair is celebrating “summer of ’78” in 2017, and is featuring an oral history of Meatballs. As you might expect, there were a lot of hijinks both on and off camera. The filmmakers convinced an actual camp in Ontario to let »
- Gwen Ihnat
Jules-Pierre Malartre Jun 28, 2017
A little less than a year ago, in the wake of Jerry Doyle’s passing, Babylon 5 creator J.M. Straczynski made a passionate plea to the universe; too many B5 alumni had died already. Following the untimely deaths of Michael O’Hare, Richard Biggs, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and more recently Jerry Doyle, Straczynski was “goddamned tired of it” and he asked the universe to “knock it off for a while”.
Most will remember Furst as lovable Kent 'Flounder' Dorfman in the 1978 cult classic Animal House, but to sci-fi »
Actor, director and voiceover artist who played Flounder in the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House
Flounder, the hapless fraternity student in the 1978 film National Lampoon’s Animal House, was Stephen Furst’s signature role, and one that Furst, who has died aged 63 of complications from diabetes, was typecast into recapitulating for much of the rest of his career. It’s Flounder (aka Kent Dorfman) who is told by Dean Wormer (John Vernon) that “fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son”. It’s Flounder who, after his friends have trashed his brother’s cherished car, hears Otter (Tim Matheson) explain: “You can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes. You fucked up. You trusted us.”
But the sensitivity Furst brought to Dorfman, who gets into the frat only because, as Stork points out, “we need the dues”, made Flounder real and popular: he had a naive innocence, an unawareness of his physical appearance, and a caring sense of humour. Audiences could imagine him growing into the role of a kinder, gentler version of fellow student Bluto (John Belushi).
Continue reading »
- Michael Carlson
0:00 – Intro 9:45 – Review: It Comes at Night 35:10 – Headlines: Rip John G. Avildsen, Phil Lord and Chris Miller Exit Han Solo Movie 50:00 – Other Stuff We Watched: Rough Night, Cars 3, Raw, The Lego Batman Movie, Animal House, Role Models, 23 Paces to Baker Street, The Belko Experiment, Mike and […] »
Rapper Prodigy, one-half of the New York hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, died from "complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis," the rapper's rep confirmed to Et. He was 42.
The rapper, whose real name is Albert Johnson, had battled sickle cell since his birth, and was in Las Vegas, Nevada, for a performance.
Related: Stars We've Lost In Recent Years
"It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep," Prodigy's rep said in a statement. "Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Las Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family's privacy at this »
Director John Landis has been stepping up on his soapbox a lot as of late. Last week he trashed the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now he's set his crotchety sights on Universal Picture's Dark Universe. Landis has directed some of the most iconic movies in recent history including Animal House, American Werewolf in London, and The Blues Brothers, just to name a few. In addition, he also directed Michael Jackson's groundbreaking Thriller and wrote a book called Monsters in the Movies in 2011, making him the go to monster aficionado.
Jonathon Landis' passion for monsters was brought up when Entertainment.ie asked him for his thoughts on Universal's new The Mummy movie, which is also the first movie for the Dark Universe. Landis did not hold back and let his monster passion take over him. First, Landis drops some knowledge on the subject of monster movies. Read Landis' comments below. »
19 June 2017 1:32 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »
Tim Matheson, who played Eric "Otter" Stratton in 1978's Animal House, really didn't care for Stephen Furst when the two men first met just prior to shooting the comedy classic. The problem: The Kent "Flounder" Dorfman actor was just too damn nice. However, the pair would go on to become good friends and work together on a couple of films, including 1984's Up the Creek. Furst died Saturday at the age of 63. Here, Matheson remembers his beloved Delta Tau Chi brother whom Otter fought for.
It always cracked me up that for two days before we began shooting in the fall of »
- Tim Matheson, as told to Ryan Parker
Stephen Furst died on Friday at the age of 63. The actor was best known for playing Kent “Flounder” Dorfman in 1978’s Animal House. Furst died in his California home from complications with diabetes. His son, Nathan Furst, announced the tragic news on Saturday. “It was from complications from diabetes,” he said. “Over the last several years […]
- Aleks Simeonova
Legendary writer-director John Landis can be a divisive figure, but when it comes to ‘monster movies,’ his expertise is beyond reproach. Not only is he a world authority on the subject, but he also has a long-standing professional association with Universal, which is currently building its Dark Universe around monster movie remakes and re-imaginings. So, when John Landis says these films are disrespectful to their monsters, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
In his younger days, Landis worked his way up from the 20th Century Fox mailroom to become a director in his own right – making his debut in 1973 with Schlock, which was an homage to ‘monster movies.’ His long association with Universal began in 1978, with National Lampoon’s Animal House, and went on to include titles such as The Blues Brothers, Into The Night, Amazon Women On The Moon, Blues Brothers 2000 and An American Werewolf In London. »
- Sarah Myles
The actor passed away at his California home from complications due to diabetes, his sons confirmed on Facebook. He was 63.
Born in Norfolk, Virgina, the late actor had a life-long history with the disease. He lost both his mother and father to complications from diabetes when he was just 16 years old. Within weeks of each other, Furst’s father and mother died from heart disease and leukemia, respectively.
Furst would later discover he also had diabetes weeks after his father’s death but »
- Ale Russian
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