10 items from 2015
You love the horror, suspense thriller, action and science fiction films that make up the world of Canadian cult cinema affectionately known as Canuxploitation.
Yet your hunger for Canadian genre film productions and co-productions cannot be satiated.
To aid you in your deeper exploration of the field, following is a chronological look at a number of Canadian genre films that simply don’t get enough attention.
- Terek Puckett
Creating cool fight scenes has never been easier in the current age of filmmaking. Special effects have evolved to the point where the eye can rarely discriminate between what is real and what isn’t, while choreography is much more sophisticated than it was in the past, and there’s no shortage of cash to throw at action films to get everything done just right. So with all of these advances going in modern film’s favor, why aren’t more fight scenes memorable?
Rumors swirled around the Toronto International Film Festival as Eastern Promises debuted in 2007, with word that director David Cronenberg had introduced perhaps the most perplexing fight scene into the collective consciousness of movie fans everywhere. No, I’m not referencing the opening to the film, where a graphic throat-slashing takes place, but a brutal knife fight that takes place later on. A film ostensibly about the »
- Colin Biggs
There are scads of scabrous inside-Hollywood psychodramas, but never a festering pyre on the order of David Cronenberg and Bruce Wagner’s Maps to the Stars. What a hyperfocused duo of ghouls! Their collaboration is a portrait of inbreeding—metaphorical and literal—in which a seemingly starstruck, fresh-off-the-bus young woman (Mia Wasikowska) becomes a catalyst for carnage, the nihilism so thick that it’s intoxicating, like that rank Icelandic rotten-shark dish that makes even the most hardened culinary daredevils retch. Please don’t bore me by complaining that the characters are “unlikable.” The defense admits that the movie is indefensible. Just breathe in the aroma of decay and howl like a banshee.Heading the central family is a Hollywood self-actualization guru (John Cusack) with a faint resemblance to the doctor at the center of Cronenberg’s early horror flick The Brood (still my favorite of his films, however crude). He »
- David Edelstein
What’s the Matter with Havana?: Cronenberg’s L.A. Story a Hot Mess of Tangled Ideas
Couched within its episodic instances of harpooning Hollywood stereotypes, there is a rather interesting tale in Maps to the Stars contending as a wobbly family saga of vacuous types tainted by their desperate attempts to maintain a certain visibility within celebrity culture. But it’s an idea lost in its own maddening attempt at actually engaging in the mythos pointedly laid out in its own subtext as pertains to provocative motifs like incest, nepotism, and (literally) ghosts from the past. The result is a maudlin brew of wacky circumstances and over-the-top flourishes that sometimes work, but, more often than not, fall flat the longer running the time wears on. While it very much feels like a Cronenbergian endeavor, its pointed critique of a particular empty headed culture ends up feeling like a series of wink-wink potshots, »
- Nicholas Bell
David Cronenberg. From “Stereo” to “The Fly” to “Crash” (no, not that one, the one from 1996), to “A Dangerous Method” and beyond, it’s hard to argue that the (sometimes) writer, (more often) director has had an eclectic career. And with his first credited short nearly fifty years ago, perhaps that isn't surprising. Vimeo user Shaun Higgins (d.b.a. Hello Wizard) has paid homage to the uniquely varied director via a new seven-minute tribute supercut. The short splices shots from 21 of Cronenberg’s films together, lending some semblance to what defines a Cronenberg picture. In chronological order, going all the way back to 1969 and up through the present, Higgins includes: “Stereo,” “Crimes of the Future,” “Shivers” (a.k.a. “They Came From Within”), “Rabid,” “Fast Company,” “The Brood,” “Scanners,” “Videodrome,” “The Dead Zone,” “The Fly,” “Dead Ringers,” “Naked Lunch,” “M Butterfly,” “Crash,” “eXistenZ,” “Spider,” “A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises, »
- Zach Hollwedel
Sigmund Freud would have surely had a field day with writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein, who has now devoted not one but two movies to women with metaphorical steel traps between their legs. In Lichtenstein’s 2007 debut, “Teeth,” the woman in question was a sexually curious teen suffering from an acute case of vagina dentata. In Lichtenstein’s latest, “Angelica,” the focus is on a wife and mother whose fragile health demands that she abstain from all pleasures of the flesh — a dietary restriction that leads to many strange bumps (and humps) in the night. The result is a looney psychosexual potboiler with one foot in “Masterpiece Theater” finery and the other in outre camp abandon, never fully satisfying on either count, but at least partly redeemed by a finely calibrated star turn from Jena Malone. Lacking the shock scares needed to sate the mainstream horror crowd, the film’s commercial prospects are decidedly limited. »
- Scott Foundas
1. Dead Ringers
Two Jeremy Irons doing anything would be scary: his turn in 1988’s Dead Ringers as good gynaecologist, bad gynaecologist is truly terrifying. Irons plays identical twin doctors Beverly and Eliot Mantle with dizzying ease and effect: you give up looking for the special effects, because you forget there are any. Genevieve Bujold’s Claire gets far more than she bargained for: sinister is heaped upon tragic when she goes to their clinic because of her infertility and is drawn darkly downhill into the brothers’ world of women-sharing, paranoid delusions, assault against patients and an abundance of prescription drugs. Beverly and Eliot’s souls are so close that they have grown interdependent and tangled, like the branches of trees planted too close together. Body horror is given a stark slant when Beverly attacks a patient with a specially-made medical tool, and the spectre of partly hidden female genitalia hangs »
- Juliette Jones
Out of all the films created by David Cronenberg, perhaps the two most vividly disturbing entries are 1981’s Scanners and 1979’s The Brood. These cinematic offerings from Cronenberg still haunt viewers today with their palpable practical effects, thought-provoking psychic themes, and skin-crawling scores by Howard Shore, which will be newly released on vinyl tomorrow by Mondo.
Mondo’s Scanners / The Brood 180 gram vinyl will be available for $30 beginning tomorrow at a random time. Side A of the vinylc consists of nine pieces from the Scanners soundtrack, while Side B comprises a 12+ minute song from The Brood. Sam Wolfe Connelly created the new packaging artwork as well as multiple colorway options. Stay tuned to Mondo’s Twitter for the big announcement:
From Mondo: “Tomorrow, in collaboration with Howe Records, we’ll be releasing a special “two cover” LP for director David Cronenberg’s classic mind and body-bender »
- Derek Anderson
Mondo, the Alamo Drafthouse’s collectible arts arm, dips further into vinyl this week with a two-cover LP edition of Howard Shore’s Scanners and The Brood scores. Mondo announced today: Tomorrow [January 13th], in collaboration with Howe Records, we’ll be releasing a special “two cover” LP for director David Cronenberg’s classic mind and body-bender films Scanners…
- Samuel Zimmerman
Criterion has revealed their latest New Year's teaser art, hinting at what's to come in 2015 and the boys at the CriterionCast have offered up several ideas as to what each clue is hinting at, but for me the most interesting is at the very top. We have two suns and a moon... Could this actually be a hint that Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight are coming to the collection in 2015c The CriterionCast guesses do believe the two suns hint at the first two Before films, but they speculate the moon rising tease hints at Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom... Hmmmmmmmmm. Other possibilities the CriterionCast gang speculates includes Edward Yang's A Brighter Summer Day, Two Days, One Night, Terrence Malick's The New World, David Cronenberg's The Brood, Speedy, Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Abel Gance's Napoleon, Inside Llewyn Davis, A Master Builder, »
- Brad Brevet
10 items from 2015
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