7 items from 2017
Writer-director Ben Young is back in Australia for a short break and Q&A screenings of his debut feature 'Hounds of Love' after wrapping principal photography in Serbia on Universal.s sci-fi feature 'Extinction', which stars Michael Peña and Lizzy Caplan. If puts some questions to him.
Hounds of Love has had rave reviews since the premiere at the Venice Film Festival and has been invited to screen at 30 film festivals around the world. But the film is only playing on six screens here and has grossed about $130,000. .Were you hoping for more or is that the best you could expect with a limited release?
It.s done very well on a per-screen average but the disappointing thing is that it is not an easy film to find. People read a review or they see a media spot on TV and think they would like to see it and they look at the big cinemas. websites and it.s not there so they forget about it. It.s pretty much what I expected. Australian films don.t have a tradition of doing incredibly well in their own country, which is a shame.
Congratulations on the Awgie Award nomination for best original feature film. You are up against Hacksaw Ridge. How do you rate your chances?
If I was a betting man I think it would be about 1,000 to one against me..
Sometimes the underdog gets up, so the odds may not be that long.
I have seen Hacksaw Ridge and it.s a very fine film. Just to be nominated against that is a huge honour and privilege.
I wasn.t very happy about that because Emma has been one of my best friends for about 20 years. Her agent talked her around but by then we had a list of great people we were considering so we asked her to test for it and she genuinely won it.
Playing a serial killer was quite a departure for Stephen Curry, who is one of Australia.s funniest actors. Why him?
One of my favourite films is One Hour Photo where Robin Williams takes a very dark turn. It is so much creepier in so many ways when a comedic actor makes a dark choice. It made a lot of sense because I had one big doubt, .What if the audience doesn.t buy that Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings) gets in the car with this couple?. So I thought who in Australia would not get into a car with Stephen Curry?
The violence in the film prompted some walk-outs. You expected that?
I knew some people would react. I saw Snowtown in a general session and some people walked out. In some ways what we suggested was even more confronting. If you don.t know what it is before you buy the ticket that.s a bit strange.
You just finished shooting Extinction, the saga of a guy who tries to save his family from an alien invasion. .How did you get the gig?
The day after the Venice premiere my phone exploded. I ended up with a fantastic agent in UTA and management in La in Thruline. .UTA organised two or three private screenings to which they invited Hollywood big wigs. I got a bunch of offers and Extinction was one of the scripts in which I saw the most potential. The producers liked where I wanted to take the draft and I did have some dramatic ideas about the changes I was fairly insistent would happen. We were all on the same page and it all happened really quickly.
How did you handle the transition from an ultra-low budget Australian film to a studio feature which cost $US20 million?
The filmmaking process is exactly the same but it.s just a lot bigger. There are nine producers and there were more assistants on the set than the entire crew of Hounds of Love. You are a lot more supported because they have a lot more money. .The biggest learning curve for me was that it is not my film. It is a product that I am being employed to make with the idea of making someone some money one day. It felt somewhere between directing Hounds of Love and directing a television commercial. Dealing with the studio was a lot easier than I expected..
But you got your own way on the film you wanted to make?
It.s 90 per cent there. There were some things they would not let me do but that was fine and there were other things they did let me do. I was working with really smart producers who had strong arguments as to why. .But we did have a three and a half hour phone call about whether Michael Peña should have his sleeves rolled up or down. That.s the nature of working in America.
You will do post on Extinction in L.A. Is that your base now?
I have a two-year visa so I will be there until Christmas but I will definitely be back for Christmas. There is a film I want to do with an Australian production company in Victoria next year. .I am talking to a big American company about a one-for-you, one-for-me deal where they would finance a smaller idea of mine if I did a bigger idea of theirs. .It.s a matter of going wherever the people I can work with are. I have to hope that people continue to want to work with me. It can all happen for you overnight and go away overnight. .
Sydney - Friday 23 June at 6.30pm at Dendy Newtown
Melbourne - Saturday 24 June, 4.15pm at Cinema Nova
Perth .- Sunday 25 June, 4.50pm at Luna Leederville »
- Don Groves
While Gal Gadot is undeniably the star of Wonder Woman (it's right there in the title), another Amazonian goddess may catch your eye in the new superhero film. Hippolyta is queen of the Amazons, and she's very protective over her daughter, Princess Diana. Her steely stare could turn an ocean into a series of icebergs, and she's played by a women who you've very likely seen elsewhere. Actress Connie Nielsen hails from Denmark. She got her start in the late '80s, making the transition from Danish TV to American films in the '90s. She scored a smaller part in 1997's The Devil's Advocate, but she probably first caught your attention as Mrs. Calloway in Rushmore, Lucilla in Gladiator (pictured below), or Nina in One Hour Photo. However, if you're like me, you know her best as Dani Beck, the detective who momentarily replaces Olivia Benson as Elliot Stabler's partner on Law & Order: Svu. »
- Maggie Pehanick
A curious thing has happened to indie movies since the year 2000. In the ’90s, practically all the heroes were hit men. Now, they hold some of the quirkiest jobs imaginable — baking specialty pies (“Waitress”), building bathtubs (“The Voices”), writing greeting-card poetry (“500 Days of Summer”), etc. — in movies where a quirky profession serves as a stand-in for an actual personality.
The title character in Dito Montiel’s “The Clapper” takes the cake: He makes a living as a professional audience member, popping up in countless infomercials too “ooh” and “aah” and occasionally ask questions like, “Are you trying to tell me with no money down I can get a house?” Unlike the hundreds of would-be actors who move to Los Angeles every year with dreams of becoming stars, Eddie Krumble (Ed Helms) and best friend Chris (Tracy Morgan) are content to be invisible, doing their best to look nondescript, while mixing »
- Peter Debruge
If you look at any list claiming to rank the best horror movies of all time, there's a good chance that you'll see director Stanley Kubrick's 1980 classic The Shining either at or near the top of that list 37 years after it hit theaters. The film is still considered a horror classic to this day, with Warner Bros. even developing a Shining prequel entitled The Overlook Hotel, which has Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) attached to direct from a script by Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead). While we don't have any updates for that prequel, original Shining producer Jan Harlan and screenwriter Diane Johnson, who co-wrote The Shining with director Stanley Kubrick, shed some light on some of the alternate ending ideas the director had during production. And they were dark.
The film is based on Stephen King's best-selling novel of the same name, and fans of the book »
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, James Frecheville, Anna Friel, Stefanie Scott, Jason Barry, Brian F. Mulvey, Martin Hindy, Clare-Hope Ashitey, David McSavage | Written by Dan Kay, William Wisher | Directed by John Moore
When his daughter complains about their home’s dodgy Internet connection, high-flying executive Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan) brings in I.T. guy Ed (James Frecheville). Overestimating the breadth of their friendship – by assuming that they have one – the spurned tech guy turns stalker, using his computer skills to infiltrate and attack the family on every level. They’re gonna need a better firewall.
It may have a grizzled, craggy former James Bond as the lead, but this is no Taken riff. In spite of its ultra high-tech trappings, I.T. is a remarkably old-fashioned stalker movie, reminiscent of the likes of Prey, Pacific Heights, One Hour Photo or, um, The Cable Guy. It’s the sort of thing you might see Nicolas Cage »
- Joel Harley
In a wide-ranging In Conversation session at the Glasgow Film Festival, producer Christine Vachon revealed a surprising truth about Killer Films, the New York City-based company she set up in 1995 alongside Pamela Koffler: Still Alice is the first and only of their productions to return a net profit to the company.
Vachon had previously confirmed the same in her 2006 book A Killer Life: How An Independent Film Producer Survives Deals And Disasters In Hollywood And Beyond.
Even in the tough world of independent film, that admission raised eyebrows given Killer’s role in films including Boys Don’t Cry (1999), which won Hilary Swank the best actress Oscar, Todd Solondz’s Happiness (1998), Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo (2002) and Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven (2002).
Vachon has subsequently produced a string of critical hits, including Haynes »
The organizing starts around Thanksgiving and doesn’t let up through the New Year. For Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, the co-founding producers of the indie powerhouse Killer Films, the Sundance Film Festival is an annual trek through the snow that dates back three decades. The duo have sold 25 films here, from the 1995 Todd Haynes drama “Safe” starring Julianne Moore to 2002’s “One Hour Photo,” featuring an eerie turn from Robin Williams.
To listen to them reminisce about their memories from past visits to Park City is to step into a time capsule. “I definitely have the nostalgia stories of bringing physical cans of film,” says Koffler. “My hands were cold and the metal was cold as I put it on the luggage belt. It was a physical experience that has disappeared.”
This year, Killer Films came to Sundance with four more titles that capture the New York-based production company »
- Ramin Setoodeh
7 items from 2017
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