Why I (We) Need Horror Films

The question “why horror?” has been answered again and again. Studies have shown that, for willing participants, the voluntary release of fear is a healthy thing. What I have to say will not apply to everyone, then, because not everyone wants to be frightened. Many of us have recently been frightened, in a new, giant, eclipsing way. Those of us who love horror, then, have a greater need for it now.

For centuries, horror has been used as a spurning, inspiring emotion in art. Euripides uses terrifying imagery and events in two landmark works: ­ the Oresteia, an examination of how a democratic justice system can conquer chaos, and The Bacchae, a bleakly violent warning to Athens as it approached catastrophic war. Far before such issues were accepted in public discussions, Oscar Wilde wrote of the fear of sexual aberrance in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle
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Sam Mendes: life is sweet

Sam Mendes on making Bond, coming home and turning Charlie And The Chocolate Factory into a musical

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has taken five years to become a stage musical, for reasons logistical – Sam Mendes, the director, was out for three of them doing Skyfall – and practical: the book is a tricky one to adapt. There are the kids; the old folks in bed; the pyrotechnics of the chocolate factory. There is the ambiguous character of Willy Wonka himself. And there is the question that hangs over the entire production: what on earth to do about the Oompa-Loompas. "It's big," Mendes says of the task before him. "Christ, it's so big."

We are in a rehearsal space in south London, where the company is going through its paces before moving to Drury Lane. Anticipation for the show is feverish, thanks to the success of Matilda, another Dahl adaptation, and Mendes's post-Bond nuclear glow.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The top plays for spring

From Lorca and Euripides in a festival of chaos to breathtaking circus in a cathedral, our critics pick the best theatrical experiences of the spring

A Marvellous Year for Plums

Long before Iraq, Britain's 1956 invasion of Suez divided the nation and destroyed the reputation of the Pm. In those days it was Sir Anthony Eden, described by a colleague as "half mad baronet and half beautiful woman" and now played by Anthony Andrews in a new piece by Hugh Whitemore. Mb Chichester Festival theatre (01243 781 312), 11 May to 2 June. cft.org.uk


Time should have given new traction to Laura Wade's play about an elite Oxford dining club filled with arrogant young toffs who presume they are born to rule. First seen at the Royal Court shortly before the last election, it was thought by some to offer an exaggerated portrait of upper-class swagger. Now Lyndsey Turner's production, with many of the original cast,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, and Frances Fisher star in the poignant period drama ‘Any Day Now’

HollywoodNews.com: Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, and Frances Fisher star in the poignant period drama Any Day Now, written, produced and directed by filmmaker Travis Fine (The Space Between). The film recently completed principal photography in Los Angeles and is currently in post-production. Produced by Kristine Hostetter Fine (The Space Between) and Chip Hourihan (Frozen River), the film is executive produced by Anne O’Shea (The Kids Are Alright) and Maxine Makover (The Space Between.

Set in the 1970s and inspired by a true story, the film chronicles a gay couple who take in a teenage boy with Down Syndrome who has been abandoned by his drug addicted mother. As the teen discovers the strong bonds of family for the first time in his life, disapproving authorities step in to tear the boy from the only stable environment he has ever known. As the gay men fight to adopt this extraordinary special needs child,
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

Michael Cacoyannis obituary

Director best known for the visually splendid and energetic Zorba the Greek

Although the first Greek films appeared in 1912, long periods of war and instability crippled any attempts at forming a national film industry. This meant that few features were produced until the 1950s, when the director Michael Cacoyannis, who has died aged 90, became the embodiment of Greek cinema, giving it an international reputation which reached a peak of popularity with his Zorba the Greek (1964).

Based on Nikos Kazantzakis's novel, the film burst on to the screen with extraordinary energy and visual splendour. It brilliantly combined the rhythmic music of Mikis Theodorakis and the Oscar-winning black-and-white cinematography of Walter Lassally with indelible performances by Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas and Lila Kedrova (who won the Oscar for best supporting actress).

The film celebrated joie de vivre, yet there was an underlying pessimism and an echo of Greek tragedy
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ask the Flying Monkey: Can a Movie Made by a Gay Artist be Homophobic?

This week: Does it matter if negative portrayals of gay people are created by gay people themselves? Plus, is Bugs Bunny bisexual?

Have a question about gay male entertainment? Contact me here (and be sure and include your city and state and/or country!

Q: What do you think is the worst portrayal of gay folks by a gay artist? – Milo, Indianapolis, Indiana

A: Oh, man, that is one serious can-o-worms! But I also think it’s an absolutely fascinating question, because of how the idea of social or “gay” responsibility clashes with the notion that artists have a personal responsibility to tell the truth as they see it. After all, it’s not the job of any artist to create propaganda or “sanitize” the truth.

But what if I think a project by a gay or bisexual artist portrays gay people in an inaccurate, stereotypical, or offensive way? If we’re both gay,
See full article at The Backlot »

Viennale 3: John Ryan's Express

  • MUBI
Above: Larry Cohen on the set of It's Alive (1973).

Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.


From Euripides to Larry Cohen may seem like a considerable jump, but the more one looks into the careers of the seminal Greek dramatist (480-406 BC), author of Andromache, The Trojan Women and The Bacchae, and the exploitation-savvy New York-born writer/director (b. 1941) responsible for Q - The Winged Serpent, The Stuff and Black Caesar, the more certain parallels start to insistently emerge.

Both men revitalised existing genre "tropes" via the use of audaciously sharp satire—often aimed at authority-figures and/or conventional society's idea of "heroes"—alongside unexpected psychological depth in terms of characterisation (for both male and female roles).

And, just as in his lifetime Euripides lagged in terms of awards and critical acclaim behind the other two main tragedians of classical Athens—Aeschylus and Sophocles—likewise Cohen has often been overlooked
See full article at MUBI »

Anthony Mackie is Bewitched On Stage, Bothered On Screen

If you happen to be in NY this weekend, this is your last chance to see the latest free Shakespeare in the Park production, Euripides' The Bacchae. (Common wisdom says these free shows are always sold out but I had no trouble getting in so try it, especially if it's wet outside) The greek tragedy plays like a slightly gender-fucked avant garde musical in this particular production. I had seen it once before 13 years ago and the only thing I remembered about it was the absolutely sick gory finale. It's still disgustingly bloody.

Jonathan Groff (Spring Awakening) goes for a smeared lipstick rock god style Dionysys. His nonbeliever victim is none other than familiar screen actor Anthony Mackie.

One could argue that both actors are having a great summer. See also: Taking Woodstock (Groff) and The Hurt Locker (Mackie).

I know I haven't given The Hurt Locker enough play this summer at the blog.
See full article at FilmExperience »

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