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Though widely considered a classic of sci-fi/horror, “The Thing” was hardly greeted as such when it first came out in 1982. John Carpenter’s best film — which is saying a lot, considering he’s also directed “Halloween,” “Assault on Precinct 13” and “They Live” — made just under $20 million domestically against its $15 million budget, a disappointing result that couldn’t have been helped by “E.T.” hitting theaters two weeks earlier. In a new making-of documentary, Carpenter and his collaborators both in front of and behind the camera take a deep dive into the cult classic.
Carpenter speaks about his first exposure to Howard Hawks’ “The Thing from Another World,” which came out when was a small child, while star Kurt Russell (who went on to collaborate with the writer/director several more times) fondly recalls scenes in which »
- Michael Nordine
In Rob Zombie’s latest horror film “31,” a group of carnival workers are traveling through the country in an Rv on Halloween night in 1976. On their trip, they’re stopped and attacked with only six of them taken alive. Soon, they’re taken to a strange building where three strangers in aristocratic garb force them to play a survival game: For the next 12 hours, they must wander through a maze of rooms evading murder and torture the entire time. If they survive for the full 12 hours, they’ll be set free, but if not, they’ll join their carnival friends in the grave. “31” stars Malcolm McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange”), Sheri Moon Zombie (“The Lords of Salem”), Richard Brake (“Game of Thrones”), E.G. Daily (“Rugrats”), Meg Foster (“They Live”), Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (“Cooley High”), and more. Watch the trailer for “31” above.
Rob Zombie rose to fame as the founding member of the ’80s heavy metal band White Zombie. They released four albums between 1987 and 1995; their debut record “Soul-Crusher” was particularly acclaimed, especially by musicians like Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. He briefly focused on his solo work before shifting his attention to directing horror films. Some of his previous credits include “House of 1000 Corpses” and its sequel “The Devil’s Rejects,” the remake of “Halloween” and its sequel “Halloween II,” and “The Lords of Salem.”
“31” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It will be released on VOD platforms on September 16th and in a limited theatrical release on October 21st.
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- Vikram Murthi
Annecy — Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrik stole the show at the Cannes Festival’s presentation of DreamWorks Animation’s musical comedy ‘Trolls,’ dueting its finale song “True Colors” in the Palais des Festivals, with Timberlake on acoustic guitar.
At the Annecy Animation Festival on June 14, the central stage belonged to DreamWorks’ trolls themselves, six-inch-high forest folk with pudgy faces and an obelisk of straight-up hair the color of tropical dyes.
In an 80-minute presentation, featuring a continuous 17 minutes of fully-lit final footage, Kendal Cronkhite, “Trolls’” production designer, talked at length about how through film’s interplay of theme and craft contributed towards embodying its directors’ vision. Made up of mostly young animators, many from French animation schools, the sometimes dazzling show of artistry played to an appreciative audience.
An original story directed by Mike Mitchell (“Shrek Forever After”) and Walt Dohrn, a story artist on “Shrek 2” and “Madagascar,” “Trolls” turns on “finding one’s true self and true happiness, which is all inside,” Cronkhite commented at Annecy. The trolls themselves seem to have mastered that life art. Poppy (Anna Kendrick), “Trolls” heroine, has a slightly hippy air with her straight-up red hair topped off in a pony tail and a blue headband bedecked in green flowers. She scrapbooks, has sleepover parties, and wears a wrist watch which blossoms and lights up every half hour, reminding her to hug all her fellow trolls.
From the extended sequence shown at Annecy, it’s clear that those who could do with more happiness training, are the Bergens – monster urban human-scale trolls who, in a ‘70s retro touch, wear polyester, consume fast food and are pale, poor and miserable. They are only content one day a year, at Trollstice, when they feast on the mini troll folk. Doing so, they experience fleeting joy.
Also in need of a crash course in happiness is Branch (Justin Timberlake), who’s about as downbeat as mini-Trolls get, a near curmudgeonly loner who lives in a bunker, fearing imminent Bergen attack. When the Bergens capture her 12 best friends, Poppy sets out to rescue them. Plucked from “Trolls’” late second act, the 17-minute sequence at Annecy took in Poppy trying to persuade Branch to accompany her to Bergen Town. He refuses. On the way, Poppy sings an anthem, “Get Back Up Again,” as her environment, designed by Cronkhite, goes through 27 fantasy locations.
“Poppy” is a super-positive, happy loving personality,” Cronkhite said, though the near psychedelic environments she encounters on her way to Bergen Town really kick her butt, whether gummy sugar candy geysers or a knit macrame snake that chases her through the jungle of its body, or a hill creature whose mouth she falls into, or popping balloon eyeballs. But Poppy doesn’t lose one ounce of optimism. Branch, a Bergen expert, reluctantly catches up with her to take her into Bergen Town.
Cronkite also showcased the various stages of production. Using a sequence where Poppy sings Simon and Garfunkel classic “The Sounds of Silence” to Branch, Cronkhite broke down the film into a progression reel – a four-panel split-screen – of b/w storyboard drawings with soundtrack; lay-out of sets and characters’; animation, with the characters acting in the scene; and the final surface-light pass. All parts played simultaneously. The demonstration was a testament to the skill of the story artists whose tight work matched pretty closely the end result.
Designing the look of a film, the characters and environments, a production designer boards early on and works in tandem with the head of story, writers and directors and editors, Cronkhite said.
A DreamWorks veteran – she art designed “Antz,” DreamWorks Animation’s first CGI movie – Cronkhite’s challenge was to transfuse “Trolls” informing themes into the look of the movie. Her aim was to create “a very fuzzy, fibre-art inspired world” in CG, she explained.
Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam carved the first troll doll in 1959. The first part of “Trolls’” process was to take the character and break it down, according to Cronkhite. DreamWorks kept the trolls’ hair and the “stubby, fat, rounded fat language of the troll,” she added.
Cronkite had a “lightbulb moment,” she said, when she wondered “if the whole Troll world could be wool. Because of their positive nature, diversity and their communal lifestyle, it made sense that their environment should reflect them,” she added.
“Since we were going with a fiber-felted world, we decided to do the same with the characters.”
For Cronkhite, the ‘70s was an important inspiration. “That’s when the doll became very popular. We decided that the trolls would be our hippies of the ‘70s. They live in nature. They macrame. They’re probably vegetarians.”
DreamWorks hired Portland-based Sayuri Sasaki Hemann, a fabric, fibre and encaustic paintings artist, to take early development drawings from the film’s stylist, Amelie Flechais, a French comic and children’s book illustrator, and build a fibre, six-feet model world.
The Trolls always have a song on their lips. Indeed, the comedy highlight of the 17-minute continuous footage shown at Annecy was Poppy singing “The Sounds of Silence” to Branch, backed up by a forest creature chorus. In one of the film’s latest talent announcements, Crondhike’s Annecy preview comes as DreamWorks Animation has officially confirmed that Christophe Beck (“Frozen,” “The Hangover”) will serve as “Trolls’” composer. Justin Timberlake is executive producing “Trolls’” entire soundtrack, and has written four original songs for the film, including “Can’t Stop the Feeling” which, released on May 6, has topped charts in the U.S. and U.K. As “Frozen” suggested, Beck is adept at working in such a structure.
“We are delighted to be working with Chris; he is masterfully unifying our patchwork tapestry of song cues from many eras and giving our film an emotional and harmonious sophistication,” said “Trolls’” producer Gina Shay.
From a screenplay by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who co-penned “King Fu Panda 3,” “Trolls” is slated for a Nov. 4 release from Fox becoming Dwa’s second-half 2016 title, before DreamWorks’ “Boss Baby,” another Annecy sneak-peek, bows in the U.S. on March 10, 2017.
- John Hopewell
John Carpenter’S Iconic Masterpiece The Thing 2-disc Collector’S Edition Blu-ray™ Set Arrives September 20, 2016 In 1982 legendary genre filmmaker John Carpenter (Halloween, They Live) unleashed The Thing–a chilling sci-fi thriller that raised the bar on shocking special effects and terrified movie audiences worldwide. On September 20, 2016, the Scream Factory™ home entertainment brand is …
Scream Factory Reveals Features/Pre-Order for The Thing Blu-ray In 1982 legendary genre filmmaker John Carpenter (Halloween, They Live) unleashed The Thing–a chilling sci-fi thriller that raised the bar on shocking special effects and terrified movie audiences worldwide. On September 20, 2016, the Scream Factory home entertainment brand is proud to present this landmark horror film…
- Max Evry
Scream Factory has revealed the special features list and cover art for their Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of John Carpenter’s The Thing, due out on September 20th with a new 2K scan of the film’s inter-positive, a new audio commentary with director of photography Dean Cundey, and much more:
Press Release: In 1982 legendary genre filmmaker John Carpenter (Halloween, They Live) unleashed The Thing–a chilling sci-fi thriller that raised the bar on shocking special effects and terrified movie audiences worldwide. On September 20, 2016, the Scream Factory™ home entertainment brand is proud to present this landmark horror film in a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release which includes a brand new 2K scan of the film (supervised by Director of Photography Dean Cundey) and over 5 hours of extras.
- Derek Anderson
Kenya Barris and Alan Yang have never worked together, but they have played together. The breakout comedy showrunners first met in a regular pickup basketball game organized by ABC exec Cort Cass. At the time, Yang was on staff at NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” and Barris was establishing a resume including Bet’s “The Game” and TBS’ “Are We There Yet?” Now, they’re running their own series: Barris is prepping season three of ABC’s “Black-ish” and Yang is at work on season two of Netflix’s “Master of None.” Fresh off Peabody wins for their acclaimed half-hours, Variety spoke with the pair about the upside of awards, TV’s diversity boom and why it’s a great time to be working in comedy.
Congratulations to you both on your Peabody wins. Having just experienced that, what are your feelings on awards?
Alan Yang: You don’t »
- Geoff Berkshire
Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were both hired for “Saturday Night Live” on the same day in 1995, but no one could have predicted the wildly successful partnership that would ensue. Though Ferrell has built an empire on playing over-the-top, out-there characters, his natural demeanor is, by his own admission, much more mild-mannered. “I’m not cracking jokes all the time. I like to gauge a temperature of a room,” the actor says.
In fact, McKay, who would stay with “SNL” for six years, including three seasons as head writer, initially thought Ferrell would take on more sober parts. “You always need a straight man, a decent-looking guy to play leads,” he says. “But we go into our first read-through, and this guy uncorks four of the funniest characters you’ve ever seen in your life. We all walked away going, ‘Where did that come from? He seemed so normal!’ We »
- Jenelle Riley
When I sit through a film such as Zootropolis, Rango, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Eddie The Eagle or Coraline, I can’t help but be thankful somebody has bothered. As a parent as well as a movie lover, I’ve grown to really dislike family movies that just turn up to act as a surrogate babysitter for 90 minutes, with no intention of becoming anybody’s favourite film. The films I'm going to talk about are the family movies therefore that I think both try and do something a bit more, yet continue to fly under many people's radar.
A bonus mention before we get going, and number 26 in the list, much to my surprise: Alvin & The Chipmunks 4. I was expecting next to zero from it, courtesy »
Properly moody, The Ones Below brews up a strong cup of neighborly paranoia. It's a familiar story. Kate (Clémence Poésy) and Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) live in a lovely flat in a lovely building in a lovely London suburb. Kate is pregnant and they couldn't be happier. They live upstairs and are curious about their new downstairs neighbors, Theresa (Laura Birn) and Jon (David Morrissey). Their impressions are generally positive as far as the somewhat tremulous Theresa is concerned. She too is pregnant, though she is quite anxious about it, since she and her husband have already suffered through unsuccessful attempts to have children. Kate and Justin invite the couple upstairs for a meal, where they finally meet the bombastic Jon. Theresa starts sneaking alcohol,...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
John Carpenter's simple, legendarily creepy Halloween theme is one of the most immediately-recognizable movie themes of all time, and the horror master himself played it live for the first time during a concert (his first ever!) at Los Angeles's Bootleg Theater over the weekend -- not to mention his themes for 1976's Assault on Precinct 13, 1980's The Fog, 1979's Escape from New York, 1983's Christine, 1986's Big Trouble in Little China and 1989's They Live (the latter four of which were co-composed with Alan Howarth). I can only imagine that seeing this live and in person was a religious experience for Carpenter fanatics. "I direct horror movies," said the writer/director/producer before jumping into Halloween. "I love horror movies. Horror movies will live forever." Carpenter also performed tracks from his albums Lost Themes and Lost Themes II. You can watch Carpenter perform all of the above-mentioned themes »
- Chris Eggertsen
John Carpenter is widely known as one of the most celebrated genre filmmakers of all time, directing classics such as Halloween, Escape From New York, The Fog and so many more. What some might not realize is the filmmaker is also an accomplished musician, who actually composed the scores and theme songs for most of his movies. The filmmaker hasn't directed a feature since 2010's The Ward, but over the weekend, the filmmaker took to the stage for a live retrospective of his music, performing several of his iconic theme songs from his hit horror movies.
The concert took place this past Friday at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles, where the director performed the theme songs live for hits such as Halloween, They Live, The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13 and Christine. In case you couldn't make it to this event, videos of these performances recently surfaced on YouTube, »
Anyone who knows me knows that if a movie stars a professional wrestler, I’m immediately happy as a film fan. Yeah, I’m probably easily impressed, but still, whenever I see my favorite WWE (or otherwise) superstars make the leap to the world of feature films, it makes my inner child giddy. As a kid, it was the reason I first rented They Live, it was the reason I begged my mom mercilessly to see No Holds Barred in theaters, and when I learned in late 1986 that Jesse “The Body” Ventura was going to be co-starring in Predator, the next summer could not get here fast enough.
Even as an adult, I’m always a big fan of seeing wrestlers transition to movies, and that has a lot to do with my soft spot for Gregory Dark’s See No Evil. It features Glenn Jacobs (also known as “Kane »
- Heather Wixson
On a visual level, Alice Through The Looking Glass is a stark contrast to director James Bobin’s previous two films, The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted. Where his Muppets work relied mostly on practical effects and furry cast members, this sequel to Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland is a festival of stunning CGI.
But you can spot Bobin’s eye for comedy (he directed TV’s The Ali-g Show and co-created Flight Of The Conchords before transitioning to cinema) all over Alice Through The Looking Glass. Particularly in scenes where his old chum Sacha Baron Cohen steals the show as the villainous personification of time itself.
Mr Bobin - a Hampshire native who's since moved to the States - was in London recently to promote this new movie, »
Blue Ruin wasn’t Jeremy Saulnier’s first feature film (that was 2007’s Murder Party), but it was the one that saw his career roar off into the stratosphere. Made on a tiny budget, the intimate, exquisitely-shot revenge thriller caused a sensation following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Suddenly, Saulnier found his film, funded via a mixture of loans, credit cards and Kickstarter, thrust onto the world stage as it racked up rapturous reviews and even a couple of independent movie awards.
Three years later, and Saulnier’s back with another thriller which, as he says himself, is both bigger and smaller than Blue Ruin. Green Room has a cast of familiar faces (Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots) and a larger »
Don't let your boss see this movie, it'll give them ideas. Writer-director Kaneto Shindo reduces the human drama to its basics, as an isolated family endures a backbreaking existence of dawn 'til dusk toil to eke out a living. It's a beautiful but humbling ode to adaptability and human resolve. And the show has no conventional dialogue. The Naked Island Blu-ray The Criterion Collection 811 1960 / B&W / 2:35 widescreen / 94 min. / Hadaka no shima / available through The Criterion Collection / Street Date May 17, 2016 / 39.95 Starring Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto. Cinematography Kiyomi Kuroda Film Editor Toshio Enoki Original Music Hikaru Hayashi Produced by Eisaku Matsuura, Kaneto Shindo Written and Directed by Kaneto Shindo
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Writer-director Kaneto Shindo started his own production company in the 1950s earning critical attention but not great success with pictures on topical themes -- the legacy of Hiroshima, the story of the fishing trawler irradiated by a hydrogen blast. »
- Glenn Erickson
This one will get to you. Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven takes on a difficult subject -- the terrible treatment of young girls by relatives enforcing conservative moral prerogatives. Sidestepping issues of religion, she makes a powerful case for the rights of women, with the help of five marvelous young actresses; her show is funny, scary and thoroughly compelling. Mustang Blu-ray The Cohen Media Group-Entertainment One 2015 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 97 min. / Street Date May 10, 2016 / 39.98 Starring Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Elit Iscan . Cinematography David Chizallet, Ersin Gok Film Editor Mathilde Van de Moortel Original Music Warren Ellis Written by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Alice Winocour Produced by Charles Gillibert Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Perhaps this is a "Little Women" for the millennium. I can't say that Turkish filmmaking is better than ever because that this is the first film I've seen by a Turkish director. Deniz Gamze Ergüven »
- Glenn Erickson
When thinking about the great flying pictures of Hollywood’s Golden Age, many would immediately turn to war films containing dogfights, high political drama and the sense that all the death we see onscreen is somehow noble because it’s for the causes of peace and freedom. But perhaps the greatest of these pictures, Only Angels Have Wings, isn’t a war movie and doesn’t contain a single dogfight. It’s an altogether smaller story than those sweeping dramas, and all the more powerful for it.
When Jean Arthur’s chorus girl, Bonnie, gets off a steamer at the fictional South American port of Barranca, she expects to see the sights (comprising a bustling market, a couple of dive bars and a rickety open-topped »
- Mark Allen
David Lynch today unveiled the full cast list for his upcoming Showtime Twin Peaks follow-up — and is it a doozy. Two hundred and seventeen actors are credited, with both newcomers and returning thespians. Previously only Kyle MacLachlan had been confirmed as FBI Agent Dale Cooper.
Will Agent Cooper use a smartphone?
Let’s check out some of the more interesting names on the list, shall we?
Michael Cera: The erstwhile Scott Pilgrim has been keeping busy since his breakout role as George Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, but he usually sticks with comedy (Year One, Superbad). It’ll be interesting to see him tackle something so dark.
Will this hair get frizzier in perpetually damp Twin Peaks?
Trent Reznor: The Oscar-winning composer and Nine Inch Nails wizard has only two credits under his belt (aside from three video shorts): a 2000 Swedish thriller called Recycled and the 1987 Michael J. Fox »
- Harker Jones
Last week, actress Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) asked her Twitter followers, “Can anyone recommend a film that will persuade me to move to New York?” Most people answered with Woody Allen films, Meg Ryan romantic comedies and Ghostbusters. I personally suggested the recent Frederick Wiseman documentary In Jackson Heights, because why not be truthful in a great way? Some people named Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which could have been a joke, or those people could have worked for the city’s tourism board. NYC & Company, the organization in charge of marketing the Big Apple as a tourist destination, has named the Tmnt characters as the “Official NYC Family Ambassadors.” Technically it has nothing to do with the movies, instead being more tied to the current Nickelodeon animated series, but it’s no coincidence that this decision arrives at the same time the “Heroes in a Half Shell” also have a new live-action theatrical feature, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows »
- Christopher Campbell
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