7 items from 2013
Tiff’s Midnight Madness program turned 25 this year, and for two and half decades, the hardworking programers have gathered some of the strangest, most terrifying, wild, intriguing and downright entertaining films from around the world. From dark comedies to Japanese gore-fests and indie horror gems, the Midnight Madness program hasn’t lost its edge as one the leading showcases of genre cinema. In its 25-year history, Midnight Madness has introduced adventurous late-night moviegoers to such cult faves as Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. But what separates Midnight Madness from, say, Montreal’s three and half week long genre festival Fantasia, is that Tiff selects only ten films to make the cut. In other words, these programmers don’t mess around. Last week I decided that I would post reviews of my personal favourite films that screened in past years. And just like the Tiff programmers, »
Entrusted with delivering both an eight-hour TV miniseries and a feature film in “1864,” the most expensive Danish production ever, one can forgive director Ole Bornedal for wishing at the time that he were on an island in the Baltic Sea.
The scale of the enterprise was daunting. Major battle sequences in the film, about the war between Denmark and Prussia in 1864, required 270 extras, who, all told, clocked 18,000 hours on set. One day, a downpour caused some walls on the set to collapse. On the day that Variety visited the shoot in the Czech Republic, the heat caused a score of extras and crew members to faint.
“The logistics of doing war movies, with so many hundreds of extras, is difficult and sometimes nerve-racking,” Bornedal says, suddenly longing for the smaller, inward-looking films of fellow Scandi filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. “Bergman called in Liv Ullmann and Bibi Andersson to film on his island, »
- Leo Barraclough
Potter was a screenwriter on “Diary of a Car Salesman,” “The Most Haunted House in England” and a remake of “The Boys from Brazil.” Before that, he was a senior VP at Miramax as head of the story department of Dimension Films, where he oversaw “Scream,” “Scream 2,” “The Faculty” and “Nightwatch.”
Relativity’s upcoming slate includes “Paranoia” (opening Aug. 16), Luc Besson’s “Malavita” (Sept. 20), “Out of the Furnace” (Oct. 4), “Don Jon” (Oct. 18) and “Free Birds” (Nov. 1). Relativity is also in production on the thriller “Three Days to Kill” with EuropaCorp. »
- Dave McNary
Exclusive: Acclaimed Danish director Ole Bornedal has signed with ICM Partners. Bornedal has directed several award-winning European films including Just Another Love Story, which was nominated for the Sundance 2008 Grand Jury Prize, and his acclaimed feature debut Nightwatch, which he remade for Miramax Films starring Ewan McGregor and Josh Brolin. He also produced the Guillermo del Toro-directed Mimic for Dimension. Most recently, Bornedal directed last summer’s box office hit The Possession, scripted by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White for Lionsgate, and produced by Sam Raimi. Bornedal moves from Wme. He is managed by Thruline Entertainment and attorney Andrew Hurwitz. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
A Planet Fury-approved selection of notable genre DVD releases for the month of January.
Effects guru Robert Hall’s semi-autobiographical film about a small town teen (Reaper's Bret Harrison) who has aspirations to become a special effects artist. An opportunity to manage the town’s local haunted house is thwarted by his alcoholic stepfather and the staunchly religious views of the surrounding population. The solid supporting cast includes That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon, Hellraiser’s Ashely Lawrence and Kevin Gage. Written and directed by Hall, it’s an affectionate coming-of-age drama that works in spite of an uneven narrative that falls apart in the final half hour. Hopefully this new extended cut will remedy the scripting problems of the original release.
Special Features include:
* Never-before-released extended cut of the film.
* Making-of Featurette
* Audio commentaries with the writer/director and cast. »
- Bradley Harding
According to David Cronenberg's epochal Videodrome, there's nothing more dangerous than "a philosophy", an adage that applies to life in general and horror cinema in particular. Stepping up a gear from their altogether more generic feature debut Dead Hooker in a Trunk, the "twisted sisters" Jen and Sylvia Soska hit their stride with American Mary (2012 Universal, 18), a film that, despite its tight production constraints, wields its ideas like weapons and packs more of a punch than many of its more bloated competitors.
Centring on a young surgeon (Ginger Snaps star Katharine Isabelle) who turns the tables on her abusive professional elders through amateur experiments with a scalpel, this wincingly bloody satire delves deep into the fringe world of body modification, becoming a sadomasochistic companion piece to Crash with real underground bite. Adhering to the Roger Corman principles of exploitation cinema »
- Mark Kermode
Divorced Clyde and Stephanie Brenek see little cause for alarm when their youngest daughter Em becomes oddly obsessed with an antique wooden box covered with arcane Hebrew inscriptions she purchased at a yard sale. But as Em’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, and she starts to indulge in violent acts, the couple fears the presence of a malevolent force in their midst, only to discover that the box was built to contain a dibbuk, a dislocated spirit that inhabits and ultimately devours its human host. Can the Brenek’s find a way to end the curse upon their child before it’s too late?
7 items from 2013
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