20 items from 2008
Coming up on the new year, it's interesting to see which films we had thought would've been released by this point. In the summer of 2007, I recall myself and several colleagues showing up for a press screening of Jonathan Levine's lauded slasher, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, only to discover it was canceled just that morning and the film had been sold from the Weinstein Company to Senator that afternoon. (The film has since landed at Sony, whose indie arm, Sony Classics, already saw Levine's follow-up, The Wackness, to a proper theatrical reception.)
At least the Weinsteins gave something up for a change. The oft-shuffled Killshot and Fanboys are tentative January and February releases at the moment, respectively, and I just want to see for myself if The Poughkeepsie Tapes has been worthy of its modest reputation following a Bnat '07 screening -- the same Bnat that featured »
- William Goss
It's hard to tell if Abundant Sunshine is yet another boring and redundant trip into cinéma-vérité land or an actual disturbing piece of cinema documenting the works of a dedicated family man who spent ten years living a double life as a serial killer. You see, he videotaped all his crimes, always a good idea, and when the police find the tapes, all the truth comes crashing down.
While it may seem like a slightly more narrative version of The Poughkeepsie Tapes, not that anyone’s seen that yet, Abundant Sunshine gives me the impression that it might be something more.
Quiet Earth got the full synopsis and you can see the trailer below. Keep it here for more as we learn it! During 1987 through 1997 a serial killer terrorized the community of Beaumont, Texas. On February 28, 1997, at 9:15 Am an anonymous tip was received by the Beaumont Police Department, leading »
- Johnny Butane
Back in July it was announced here that M. Night Shyamalan would be producing a trio of thrillers over the next three years. The series is going under the name Night Chronicles as Shyamalan will create the stories and ideas for the films and pick the writers and directors. Although we've yet to find out the plot or the title for the first film, we did learn at the Scream Awards this weekend that John and Drew Dowdle (Quarantine, The Poughkeepsie Tapes) are lined up to write and direct the first project. We'll get back to you guys with more information when something becomes official. »
Quarantine is a mostly effective movie whose achievements are nonetheless hard to quantify. Specifically, it’s difficult to judge the achievements of its makers, because they’re such a direct echo of someone else’s work. Shot for shot, if not line for line, Quarantine is almost entirely a replay of [Rec], last year’s genuinely terrifying vérité shocker by Spain’s Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza that sent a two-person TV crew into an apartment house of horrors, with the entire story told from their camera’s vantage point. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, who scripted with his brother Drew following the festival success of their as yet unreleased, similarly reality-themed The Poughkeepsie Tapes, the English-language redux adopts the same visual tack and follows the same path into an identical setting (an La residential building with remarkably Spanish-looking interior architecture), making just a handful of tweaks along the way.
Despite having previously established my feelings about this weekend's Quarantine, I must confess a new willingness to give it a fair shot later tonight. Regardless, this week's Cinematical Seven is all about first-person horror movies, with a couple of oh-so-subjective stipulations:
We're leaving The Blair Witch Project (1999) out of this. It might not have been the first of these movies, but it was undeniably the most successful and influential. There are only seven slots here, and I feel like everyone has already made clear whether they find this scary or just stupid (I fall in the former grouping, though I say this having not seen the flick since my teens). If you still feel the need to take Bwp to task, comment away. Also omitted will be The Last Broadcast (1998), which drew mild controversy at the time of its release for its similarity to Blair Witch. I'm only not writing »
- William Goss
We present you with three clips from "Quarantine" starring Jonathon Schaech, Jennifer Carpenter, Columbus Short, Martin Hinkle, Jay Hernandez, Rade Serbedzija, Denis O'Hare, Steve Harris, Joey King and Steve Harris. Screen Grems distributes the horror/thriller helmed by John Eric Dowdle who also writes alongside his brother Drew. The duo wrote another recent horror in "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" starring Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer and Samantha Robinson. The film tries it's luck this weekend on its release on October 10th. »
By Neil Pedley
With the fall season's heavy hitters already starting to make an appearance, this week's feast of indie offers some calm before the big studio storm. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Celebrated Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai gathered together lost and damaged footage to painstakingly rework his only martial arts epic, first released in 1994, into a fresh, definitive edition (complete with an all new score from Yo-Yo Ma). With a blindingly colorful palette, Wong paints a looping, stylized portrait of an embittered agent Ouyang Feng (the late Leslie Cheung) who channels the unbearable pain of a broken heart into commissioning bounty hunters to commit acts of vengeance. Tony Leung Ka Fai, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau and Jacky Cheung round out the still-impressive cast.
Opens in New York and Los Angeles.
"Body of Lies"
In terms of the global espionage thriller, orange is the new »
- Neil Pedley
Take a bite out of these new images from Sony Screen Gems' QUARANTINE, which arrives in theaters October 10th. Inside you can check out a batch of new stills from the quasi-zombie film, which feature some of the first real "infected" shots from the film brought to you by the Dowdle bros. (The Poughkeepsie Tapes). QUARANTINE is a remake of the Spanish film [REC], whcih already has a sequel in development. Television reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) are assigned to spend the night shift with a Los Angeles Fire Station. After a routine 911 call takes them to a small apartment building, they find police officers already on the scene in response to blood curdling screams coming from one of the apartment units. They soon learn that a woman living in the building has been infected by something unknown. »
Back in July, Twitch announced the Comic Con panel on indie genre film organized by Pop Skull producer Peter Katz. The panel—moderated by Drew McWeeny “Moriarty”, screenwriter and West Coast editor of AintItCoolNews—included the Dowdle Brothers (co-writers/director of The Poughkeepsie Tapes and Quarantine); Steven Schneider (producer of Paranormal Activity); Jacob Gentry and Dave Bruckner (co-writers/co-directors of The Signal); Eric Zala (director/actor) and Chris Strompolus (producer/actor) of The Raiders of the Lost Ark:The Adaptation; Adam Wingard (co-writer/director/producer of Pop Skull); and Chad Feehan (producer) and Thomas Hammock (production designer) of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. That panel has now become available through four informative YouTube segments; links provided below.
Cross-published on The Evening Class.
- Michael Guillen
According to the theatrical release page on Box Office Mojo, several high profile genre movies have shifted release dates. Final Destination 4 (in 3D!) will now open on August 21st, 2009 rather then the originally planned August 14th. Directed by David Ellis from a script by Eric Bress, Final Destination 4 stars Nick Zano, Krista Allen, Andy Fiscella, Shantel VanSanten, Bobby Campo, Haley Webb, Justin Welborn, Mykelti Williamson & Richard T. Jones.
The Dowdle (John Erick & Drew) brother's feature The Poughkeepsie Tapes has been pushed to "2009". Their remake of the Spanish flick [Rec], Quarantine (starring Jennifer Carpenter, Jay Hernandez & Johnathon Schaech) is still set for October 10th, 2008.
Richard Kelly's latest The Box starring Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella & James Marsden is set for a March 20th, 2009 release date. (Kelly's previous directing credits include cult favorite Donnie Darko and Southland Tales)
Get ready for a slew of new release dates that just went out this afternoon. First, New Line Cinema has moved Final Destination 4 3D back a week to an August 21, 2009 release. Good news for you Richard Kelly fans out there as Warner Bros. Pictures has moved The Box - an adaptation of the short story "Button, Button" - from a September 11, 2009 release all the way up to March, 20, 2009 (finally one in our favor!). On to the bad news as MGM has removed the Dowdle brothers' The Poughkeepsie Tapes from their slate and will release on an undetermined 2009 date. Lastly, in an odd move, Eli Roth's Trailer Trash has been placed under N/A... has this project been cancelled? We'll find out more. Click any title above for more info on each film. »
New York -- As the Tribeca Film Festival unveiled lineups for its Midnight, Restored/Rediscovered and new Encounters sections Tuesday, co-founder Jane Rosenthal explained the downsizing of her star-filled slate.
"Everyone told us there was so much to choose from last year, so hopefully this raises the bar for pictures and allows us to be a bit more selective," said Rosenthal, recovering from a flu that left her virtually unable to talk Monday. "Our curatorial program is a stronger program for it."
Organizers on Monday had announced the elimination of two NY/NY sections and plans to screen 159 features this year, down from 174 in 2006 (Hr 3/13).
Rosenthal added that the number of screening venues, which increased and expanded uptown last year, will increase and allow for more screenings of each film. The AMC Loews Kips Bay 15, AMC Loews 72nd Street 1 and Clearview Chelsea West will be added.
She seemed most enthusiastic about DJ Spooky's "Rebirth of a Nation," a "remix" of D.W. Griffith's 1915 epic "The Birth of a Nation" that deconstructs the controversial film. In an equally unusual event, film archivist Paolo Cherchi Usai will screen historical films to the "Passio of Arvo Part" music at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Trinity Church.
The new Encounters program -- developed by festival executive director Peter Scarlet, managing director and programmer Nancy Schafer and senior programmer David Kwok -- will "focus on people stretching themselves, either the subjects or the filmmakers," Rosenthal said. The 23-film slate will include world premieres from actors-turned-producers Rosario Dawson ("Descent") and Benicio Del Toro ("Lovesickness") and actors-turned-directors Mary Stuart Masterson ("The Cake Eaters"), James Franco ("Good Time Max") and Diego Luna ("Chavez").
Other features in the new section are "The Air I Breathe," featuring five actors (Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Andy Garcia and Kevin Bacon) as characters in life-altering situations; Italy's Ellis Island-themed Oscar entry "Golden Door" (Nuovomondo); and "Suburban Girl," Marc Klein's adaptation of the best-selling novel "The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing."
Martin Scorsese and Scarlet have curated Restored/Rediscovered, preserving and presenting rare films. Cinda Firestone's prison riot docu "Attica," Grigori Chukrai's post-Stalin-era Russian love story "The Forty-First" (Sorok Fervyi) and actor Gerard Blain's 1973 French directorial effort "The Pelican" (Le Pelican) made this year's cut.
The 11-film Midnight program follows the offbeat, more commercial taste of similar late-night fest sections. Films include Michael Addis' fame docu "Hecklers," featuring Jamie Kennedy; Jim Hickey's gross-out comedy "Dirty Sanchez," featuring the eponymous U.K. comedy troupe; and John Erick Dowdle's serial killer thriller "The Poughkeepsie Tapes."
The entire 2007 Tribeca slate encompasses 244 films, including 75 world, 32 North American and 18 domestic premieres. Some 4,550 films were submitted to the fest, including 2,250 features. »
- By Gregg Goldstein
Last week we had breakfast with John and Drew Dowdle to chat about their forthcoming studio horror film, Quarantine, which hits theaters October 10th. The conversation was short so we hit 'em up later with a few other questions. First, there is still not solid talk about Quarantine becoming a franchise, we'll have to see how this one does first. MGM is still saying they'll be releasing The Poughkeepsie Tapes in mid/late November. Lastly, the brothers still would like to turn Tapes into a franchise, once again pending on how well the initial release is. Click the title for more info on both films. »
Since interviewing producer-brother team Evan and Peter Katz earlier this year when Pop Skull screened at San Francisco’s IndieFest, I’ve kept in touch with Peter regarding Pop Skull’s festival trajectory. Pop Skull went on to play at the Boston Underground Film Festival (where it won a special jury prize); the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival; the Indianapolis International Film Festival (where it won a grand jury prize and where teammate Collin Armstrong expanded Twitch’s existing coverage); and Toronto’s Over The Top Fest. A pending distribution deal for Pop Skull awaits finalization.
Never one to sit still, Peter Katz has organized a panel for San Diego’s upcoming Comic Con on the art of making independent sci fi, horror, and adventure movies, to be held Friday, July 25th, 3:00-3:45Pm, in Room 26Ab. The panel will be moderated by Drew McWeeny “Moriarty”, screenwriter and »
- Michael Guillen
Now, while I’m not one of those fans out there who have anointed Spanish zombie flick [Rec] one of the greatest horror films ever - seriously, the hyperbole on this one gets kind of silly - I do rather enjoy it. It’s a taut, lean and mean little picture, very well executed. And so it has of course had a remake prepared for the Us market as quickly as humanly possible. That remake is Quarantine, it comes from the team behind The Poughkeepsie Tapes and we’ve got the trailer in the Twitch Player below the break. Watch and discuss amongst yourselves.
- Todd Brown
Shock Till You Drop is reporting that Quarantine has been pushed up from October 17th to October 10th, 2008, no doubt to give the flick some distance from Saw V's October 24th release. Quarantine, directed by the Dowdle Brothers (The Poughkeepsie Tapes) and starring Dexter's Jennifer Carpenter and Hostel's Jay Hernandez is an American remake of the Spanish flick [Rec]. (See previous post about that Here!) Looking forward to this one!
My cousin just got an import copy of the Spanish flick [Rec] and swears its one of the best horror films he's seen in years. (We're watching it together this weekend, so hopefully I'll agree!) Its no surprise then that Hollywood has already commissioned an American remake of [Rec] since... well, the majority of you don't like reading subtitles! Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose) and Jay Hernandez (Hostel) star in Quarantine, directed by the Dowdle Brothers (The Poughkeepsie Tapes) and due out in theaters October 17th, 2008! The teaser poster is below, along with 5 images from the flick. You can check out the trailer to Quarantine, as well as the original [Rec] at This link!
We heard rumblings that there was some new footage being shot for John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle's "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" , which was acquired by Mgm for release sometime this year. Drew wrote us back confirming what we heard was true. "We're shooting an extra scene for the unrated extended DVD," he continues, We're not changing anything in the movie, just adding another scene from the tapes." John adds, "We're just adding another little creepy moment to the movie give the DVD watchers a special treat... the theatrical film will remain the same." »
While on the set of Sony Screen Gems' Quarantine a fews months back, we had the chance to talk to John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle, the duo behind the remake of the Spanish horror film [Rec]. The duo explained to B-d exclusively that Mgm has big plans for The Poughkeepsie Tapes, with ambitions of creating a franchise around the first film. When asked if they'd return to write and direct a sequel, they both exclaimed "yes!" Watch for more soon, including a release date for the long-awaited film which follows the aftermath of a serial killer who terrorized upstate New York in the '90s. »
When "The Blair Witch Project" came out in 1999 with its scratchy "lost video tape" aesthetic and went on to gross $140 million, the industry braced itself for a wave of movies looking like they were made by the weirdo-wannabe-filmmaker-kid-next-door.
It never happened.
Even the sequel to "Blair Witch", 2000's "The Book of Secrets: Blair Witch 2," reverted to a more standard Hollywood format.
But with this weekend's release of "Cloverfield", which recounts a Godzilla-style attack on New York as told from the perspective of a young man with a camera, the "point of view" film wave finally is here. The Paramount pic took in an estimated $41 million.
The new wave of POV movies is part of the proliferation of cameras and the YouTubing of America. Back in the "Blair Witch" days, the justification for the cameras was that the characters were film students. But now cameras are ubiquitous throughout society -- and so is sharing what you shoot.
"This is now an aspect of people's lives," "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves said. "When your phone is also your camera, and it's with you 24 hours a day, it's a way that people now process the world. It's a way to take it and share it. So it makes sense that there would be a sudden surge of movies from this point of view because it so connects to people's experience."
This year will see the arrival of no fewer than five POV films, up from last year's zero, including MGM's "The Poughkeepsie Tapes" in the fall, Screen Gems' "Quarantine" in October and "Paranormal Activity". Even renowned horror director George Romero got on the bandwagon with February's "Diary of the Dead", which explores a zombie outbreak from the first-person perspective.
Artier movies are getting in on the act, too.
Brian De Palma's "Redacted" used various POV techniques, including security cameras and film crews, to create a sort of faux documentary about soldiers in Iraq. Even the French-language "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" takes a modified first-person approach. Although it doesn't use a gimmick like "Cloverfield"'s hand-held videography, the first section of the film, as well as subsequent installments, are photographed from the point of view of the movie's stroke victim. »
20 items from 2008
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