1-20 of 29 items from 2014 « Prev | Next »
It represents the culmination of his 16-year, six-film J.R.R. Tolkien marathon — an outsized success in duration, execution, visual-effects wizardry and overall popularity. No director in history has maintained tighter control over the creative direction of a global film franchise, which so far has amassed close to $5 billion in ticket sales alone.
But after bringing his Middle-earth spectacles to the masses, the world’s most famous Kiwi is ready to downsize and return to his low-budget roots: The 53-year-old director-producer-screenwriter is working on adapting several true stories about his native country, with his longtime partner Fran Walsh, that he says will be similar in tone and scope to his 1994 murder tale, “Heavenly Creatures.”
“We really feel a bigger urge now to not continue with another Hollywood blockbuster for a while, »
- Brent Lang and Tim Gray
Despite the admirable Martin Freeman, this last film of a bloated trilogy offers few departures from a tried and tested formula
And so, in the end, we find ourselves once again at the beginning, having travelled there and back again in the company of elves, dwarves, dragons and hobbits – a journey which started 13 years (and more than 17 screen-hours) ago with the unveiling of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in December 2001. Back then, the scope and scale of Peter Jackson’s visual imagination was breathtaking. Animators like Ralph Bakshi had taken a crack at Tolkien’s weighty tomes before, but Jackson was making game-changing use of computer graphics to blur the line between the “real” and the “imagined”. Having never cared for the source novels, I found myself wholly transported to Middle-earth, swept away by the sheer cinematic force of Jackson’s vision. How long ago that all seems now. »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
Reviewed by Jonathan Weichsel
A Grim Becoming, a strange little horror comedy directed by Adam R. Steigert, has five credited writers on IMDb, something which every film critic knows is almost always a bad sign, however the strongest thing about A Grim Becoming is its freewheeling script.
In terms of tone, the closest thing A Grim Becoming could be compared to is Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. Like that classic horror film, A Grim Becoming features a plot that goes off on random tangents that have little to do with the main story, characters behaving in ways that don't make logical sense, jarring tonal shifts, and situations that aren't the least bit plausible.
That’s the title of Jackson’s ultra-low budget 1987 directorial debut, but unless you’re a hardcore fan, you’ve probably never seen the bizarre sci-fi gross-out comedy about aliens looking to turn humans into low-calorie delicacies for an intergalactic fast food chain.
In addition to directing, Jackson served as writer, producer, cinematographer, co-editor and the head of makeup and special effects. On top of all that, he cast himself in two leading roles: nasty alien Robert (who has a beard) and human extraterrestrial-buster Derek (sans facial hair). In one memorable sequence, Robert pushes Derek off a cliff. (He survives, but cracks his skull and tries to prevent his brain from leaking out for the rest of the film.)
Jackson made the film on weekends over a four-year period, while »
- Geoff Berkshire
Top 100 horror movies of all time: Chicago Film Critics' choices (photo: Sigourney Weaver and Alien creature show us that life is less horrific if you don't hold grudges) See previous post: A look at the Chicago Film Critics Association's Scariest Movies Ever Made. Below is the list of the Chicago Film Critics's Top 100 Horror Movies of All Time, including their directors and key cast members. Note: this list was first published in October 2006. (See also: Fay Wray, Lee Patrick, and Mary Philbin among the "Top Ten Scream Queens.") 1. Psycho (1960) Alfred Hitchcock; with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam. 2. The Exorcist (1973) William Friedkin; with Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow (and the voice of Mercedes McCambridge). 3. Halloween (1978) John Carpenter; with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Tony Moran. 4. Alien (1979) Ridley Scott; with Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt. 5. Night of the Living Dead (1968) George A. Romero; with Marilyn Eastman, »
- Andre Soares
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Re-Animator, another obscure zombie flick, questions scientific advancements by revealing potential consequences and effects to the people around us. This last Tombstone Tuesday could have easily been given to Army of Darkness by Sam Raimi, Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero, Shaun of the Dead by Edgar Wright, Dead Snow by Tommy Wirkola, or maybe even Dead Alive by Peter Jackson. But Re-Animator offers something beyond braining eating and strange noises. Re-Animator is a non-traditional classic that is centered on an underlying message of whether or not science is going too far.
- Samantha Ladwig
Home is Where the Horror Is: Johnson’s Ozzie Horror Tickles Rather Than Chills
Fans of Peter Jackson’s early works of zany, comedy horror will most likely revel in Gerard Johnstone’s debut, Housebound, as this sometimes feels like a distant cousin to 1992’s Dead Alive. Never very horrific in its haunted house cum hider in the house scenario that recalls Wes Craven’s most enjoyably camp film, The People Under the Stairs (1991), Johnstone gets a lot of mileage out of a pair of entertaining characterizations that tend to override its rather glum and inexpressive visual palette. Those that tend to shirk away from high doses of goofiness in their genre films will certainly find this a bit too saccharine, especially as it never registers any strength as either a horror film or effective comedy in its hybrid scenario.
After running into the law a few too many times, »
- Nicholas Bell
Well this years Frightfest is over and I’ve had a week to digest everything – it’s safe to say this year was… interesting. The move from the Empire to Vue West End, whilst not without the odd teething problem, was a success. Yes, the atmosphere had changed a little, at least in terms of experiencing a film with hundreds of people instead of thousands, but the positives of the move truly outweighed any negatives. My personal positive? The wide range of films on show this year and that fact there was No problems getting into the Discovery Screens this year – which in my own case, was where I saw some of the best films of the festival.
Speaking of films, whilst there was no outstanding, totally blown me away, movie this year, there overall standard was Very high, with only one real dud of the entire week (and I »
- Phil Wheat
It’s the third day of shooting the low budget horror ‘Tonight They Come’ on location in the wilds of New Zealand. The director is already beside himself having to work with a self-obsessed leading man and a bimbo actress when into his line of fire comes a new runner, wannabe screenwriter Wesley Pennington. An accident-prone nerd, Wesley tries his best to fit in with the crazed cast and demented crew while falling head over heels for Susan, the set caterer. But something nasty has entered the local water supply and suddenly the zombie extras start acting like genuine members of the living dead, gore stunts looks even more authentic and actual severed limbs fly. “Reel life” turns real life as Wesley attempts »
- Phil Wheat
Permanently pissed-off Kylie Bucknell is, after a bungled robbery, forced by the courts to return to her family home when she’s given an eight-month home detention sentence. Her punishment for a botched Atm raid is made all the more intolerable by the fact she has to live with her over-bearing motor-mouth mother Miriam who’s convinced the house is haunted. But after dismissing Miriam’s superstitions, rebellious Kylie too starts hearing unsettling whispers in the dark, creaking floorboards and strange bumps in the night. Has she inherited her mother’s overactive imagination or is there indeed evil afoot between the windows and doors?
- Phil Wheat
As obsessed with bodily fluids as it is with social awkwardness, The Inbetweeners, be it on TV or the big screen, determinedly sets out to make viewers laugh until a bit of lung comes out. And with The Inbetweeners 2 now taking the boys, ahem, down under for more sexual shenanigans in Australia, the gross-out levels are set to soar (or plummet, depending on your viewpoint).
But making audiences squint, wince and fight their gag reflexes has always been a part of cinema. Sometimes it's done for belly laughs (Cameron Diaz styling her hair with Ben Stiller's homemade gel in There's Something About Mary), sometimes to elicit feelings of shock or revulsion (Ray Liotta forced to dine on his own brain in Hannibal). And sometimes it does all of the above at once (an army of zombies being cut to dripping ribbons with a lawnmower in Peter Jackson's splatstick horror »
It’s another 13th of the month. Here’s our top 13 list of unconventional murder weapons. All contributions are by the staff and listed as such.
Deadly Friend Death by Basketball
by Mike Hassler
Deadly Friend is not a good movie. At all. Wes Craven’s really hit or miss, in case you didn’t already realize this — for every Last House on the Left there’s a Vampire in Brooklyn, and for a Nightmare on Elm Street there’s a Shocker. His 1986 cheese-tastic gem Deadly Friend is quite a fun watch just for it’s terrible nature. The preposterous plot is of a young man implanting a computer chip into the girl next door’s brain which then gives her superpowers and causes her to go homicidal. The best moment? When our cybernetically altered hottie Samantha (Kristy Swanson) chucks a basketball at Anne “Mama” Ramsey’s head, which literally »
- Andy Triefenbach
The line-up for this year's Film4 FrightFest in London has just been announced – and boy, is it a doozy! Sporting a record-breaking 38 UK/European premieres and 11 world premieres, this August is going to be an exciting time in the genre calendar.
Check it all out right here, including lots of new images!
This year Film4 FrightFest will be moving from its previous home at Leicester Square's Empire Cinema to the nearby Vue Cinema (also on Leicester Square), prompting an ingenious reshuffle of the screening arrangements.
All main screen films will be presented at different times across three different screens, with two extra screens reserved for single-slot screenings of the various films hitting this year's Discovery Screens.
Here's the full list of goodies:
Main Screens (5, 6, 7)
Thursday Aug 21
Opening Night Film - The Guest (UK Premiere)
- Gareth Jones
Film4 FrightFest 2014, returning for its 15th year, unveils its biggest line-up ever. From Thurs 21 August to Monday 25 August, the UK’s leading event for genre fans will be at the Vue West End, Leicester Square, to present sixty-four films plus twenty shorts across five screens. There are sixteen countries representing five continents with a record-breaking thirty-eight UK or European premieres and eleven world premieres.
Are you ready for a monstrous and memorable mayhem of killer claws, cannibalism, cult classics, murderous musicals, chiller thrillers, graphic novel action and sick celluloid masterpieces? Then prepare yourself for the biggest, strongest and most eclectic must-see programme in Film4 FrightFest’s history.
From the opening night turbo-driven thrill-ride The Guest to the UK premiere of the closing night mesmeric sci-fi fantasy The Signal, FrightFest has netted the latest works from genre big-hitters such as Eli Roth (The Green Inferno), Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins (Show »
- Phil Wheat
It's the first day of summer, and we know you're ready to hit the great outdoors, but first we want to make you aware that Horror Decor is releasing another Horror Buddy. If you're a fan of old school zombies - zombie babies to be exact - take a moment to check out their latest.
From the Press Release:
We here at Horror Decor are ready to reveal the latest member of our Horror Buddies family, The Baby. This cute but disgusting little guy wants you to be his new friend! The artwork has once again been provided by the now Horror Buddy expert Matt Ryan.
His height is approximately 21”; he's priced at $50 plus shipping and will be available for purchase Monday, »
- Debi Moore
They're talented, individual, but could, possibly, do with a bit of editorial guidance. Could these directors use a boss, we wonder?
In truth, we're a bit frightened about this one. Several times in pub/coffee shop/cider drinking in the park conversations, we've chatted about film directors who perhaps have got too powerful, that they seem to be able to get their own way without having someone to call bullshit on them - be it a good boss, or a very good friend that they trust and listen to.
This can be a very good thing. After all, we want film directors to be free to tell their stories. We don't want studio suits calling the shots. And some directors use their independence wondefully well, without losing what bought it to them in the first place (so, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Robert Zemeckis and such like).
BookExpo America is a massive event, hosting nearly every publisher on the planet. To walk into it and say, "I've got it easy... I'll just be covering horror and spooky-themed titles!" is Laughable. Team Dread hit the show hard this year, determined to squeeze it for all it was worth...
It took us two days to walk every aisle of the Javits Convention Center in the heart of New York City and find those 5,000 new zombie books you'll see on the shelves later this year. Yeah, zombies are still hot.. with no signs of cooling down anytime soon. I bet you're shocked.
We came back with over 100 images (shot by the ninja-like Galaxia Siandre), and so the challenge became how to present this pile to you in a way that will satisfy hard-core bibliophiles but won't give our editors night terrors for the next three weeks. So we've posted the crème de la crème here, »
It’s Friday the 13th and a full moon tonight so we let the crazies loose and are bring back one of our favorite staff posts, The Thirteen! If you aren’t familiar with The Thirteen, it was initially conceived to be a Top 13 list of films about a certain topic. Sadly, we started it last September and it fell by the wayside. Read our past two posts:
13 Songs Used in Films That Take On a Haunting Feeling
13 Female Villains & Anti-Heroes in Film
contribution by Jeremy Jones
A young boy sees his dad abducted by some unseen force. Three years later a meteor hits in the middle of the woods and brings something icky. Written, directed and scored by Harry Bromley Davenport, Xtro is a demented labor of love. The first twenty minutes are the most chunk blowing worthy moments. Including perhaps the grossest thing ever, walking in on your parents having sex. »
- Andy Triefenbach
★★★★☆A perfect antidote to the weighty, sociopolitically savvy undead allegories of George A. Romero, Stuart Gordon's Re-Animator (1985) receives a welcome Blu-ray release this week in all its unrated glory. That's not to say that the video store R-rated cut doesn't have it's fair share of slop and viscera - it certainly does - but the dark, necrophiliac undercurrents of the censored version are here pushed right the the limits of audience 'stomachability'. An enjoyably effluent-heavy partner piece to Raimi's The Evil Dead cycle and its Kiwi counterpart, Peter Jackson's Braindead (aka Dead or Alive, 1992), Re-Animator gave H.P. Lovecraft's ghoulish short story the schlocky, big screen rendering it deserved. »
- CineVue UK
Horror genres tend to get sillier over time as we get more comfortable with our fears. Frankenstein eventually meets Abbot and Costello. Night of the Living Dead shambles inexorably to Dead Alive and Shawn of the Dead.
With Rigor Mortis, Juno Mak tries to put that engine in reverse, attempting to breathe grim life into the geung si (Chinese hopping vampire) genre, traditionally spooky slapstick. The resulting creep show has some frantic action scenes, but never quite enough spring in its step.
A despondent actor — '80s geung-si star Chin Siu-ho, playing a version of himself — moves into a relentlessly gray Hong Kong apartment building to end it all. (The bleak setting emphasizes Ho's mood, but also presumably makes it easier on t »
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