10 items from 2013
★★★☆☆ Created just as the vogue for the trials and tribulations of vampirism exploded onto both cinema and television screens in the tail end of the last decade, Scott Leberecht's debut feature Midnight Son (2011) is a twisting and non-glamorous study of the loneliness and isolation that comes with keeping a dark secret from those around you. Made for just over $3 million and produced by The Blair Witch Project's (1999) Eduardo Sanchez, Leberecht's film is economically made and high on ideas, boosted as they are by its conscious tendency to shift focus away from heightened visions in favour of something more realistic, believable and ultimately macabre.
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- CineVue UK
With the plethora of vampire films out there, it’s a brave debut director indeed to tackle one of the most well trodden genres of recent small and big screen offerings. However, Scott Leberecht’s debut feature Midnight Son toys with the genre and portrays it as an affliction or aliment in his low-budget film – and it has a refreshing and intimate take made all the better for its sound directing and casting of exciting, relative newcomer Zak Kilberg as the afflicted.
Kilberg plays Jacob, a young nightshift security guard who lives his life in the shadows after being isolated by a rare skin disorder that means he cannot expose himself to sunlight. Having recently witnessed a dramatic increase in hunger, Jacob cannot understand what is happening to him. Only after a cup full of animal blood from the local slaughterhouse can he quell his strange hunger pangs.
His world »
- Lisa Giles-Keddie
It’s Monday, so we all know what that means! Yes, it’s time for another rundown of DVDs and Blu-ray’s hitting stores online and offline this week. It’s a very light week this week, so let us breakdown the new releases and highlight what you should – and shouldn’t – be buying from today, February 11th 2013.
Pick Of The Week
Desperately in need of a best seller to revive his struggling career, true crime writer Ellison (Ethan Hawke), moves his family to the scene of his most recent story; the unsolved, gruesome murder of a loving, happy suburban family. Shunned by the local community and strained by his obligations to his family, the discovery of a batch of home movies in the attic offers Ellison shocking proof to the crime he is investigating and the terrifying realisation that his investigation may be putting his family in mortal danger. »
Given the huge popularity of the long-running London stage show, commercial expectations were always high for the film adaptation of Les Misérables. But a UK opening of £8.13m is certainly at the top end of the range of industry forecasts. The previous best debut for a movie musical stood at £6.59m – for Mamma Mia! – but that tally included previews of £1.38m; over the comparative Friday-Sunday period it earned just £5.21m. Les Misérables is an impressive 56% ahead of Mamma Mia! pace. Backers Universal also announced the film as the biggest opening for a January release, beating 2005's Meet the Fockers. The King's Speech, Les Misérables director Tom Hooper's previous film, debuted exactly two years ago with £3.52m (including £227,000 in previews).
Les Misérables isn't setting a »
- Charles Gant
It’s not often that I get much feedback on the reviews I contribute to this site, but when I do, it’s always appreciated (unless I’m being accused of being a ‘blog worm’). As such I was particularly surprised when Kat forwarded me an email from none other than an actor in a film I’d recently reviewed. Jo D. Jonz stars in Midnight Son as the sinister medic Marcus. He was kind enough to not only read my review but offer some insight into his actor’s process after I’d slightly glibly pondered how his method acting prepared him for the role of a vampire. Here then, are Jonz’s thoughts on his process and some views from the set of Midnight Son.
“For me as an artist, it is imperative to connect with the character and try to understand as much as I can about »
- Jack Kirby
Les Misérables (12A)
The King's Speech director plus the globally adored musical: it's a match made in commercial heaven, a third-hand version of a 19th-century French saga, and the most epic celebrity karaoke session ever filmed. The fact that it's entirely sung, "live" on set, supposedly communicates more "emotion", but this is already oversaturated with so much melodramatic incident, the effect is numbing.
Gangster Squad (15)
Brolin's under-the-radar police squad guns for Penn's La mobsters in this exuberantly violent, but disappointingly straightforward 1940s thriller, derived more from modern videogames than vintage film noirs. Action definitely speaks louder than words here.
American Mary (18)
- Steve Rose
★★☆☆☆ Scott Leberecht's lo-fi horror Midnight Son (2011) follows Jacob (Zak Kilberg), an anaemic young man with a problem - no matter what he eats he is always starving. Added to that is the fact that he is plagued by a condition which causes his skin to burn upon contact with sunlight. "It's like you're a vampire," says a girl he meets, Mary (Maya Parish), which sets him to thinking of a possible solution. Because of his aversion to daylight, Jacob works the night shift as a security guard and lives in isolation in his basement flat, where he paints pictures of a sun he never sees and attempts to satisfy his hunger with junk food and - increasingly - blood.
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- CineVue UK
Director: Scott Ledberecht
Running Time: 105 minutes
Synopsis: Confined to a life of isolation due to a rare skin disorder, Jacob begins to drink human blood for sustenance to cope with the disease, leading the police to suspect him in a series of grisly murders…
Midnight Son was officially released in 2011 for limited screenings in the Us and Canada (‘Toronto After Dark Film Festival’ and ‘Fantasia Festiva’l) and labelled as “indie vamp horror”. Most people seemed to have steered clear, which is totally understandable given the current deluge of new-wave Gothic horror films we’ve had in the last few years. However, stick with us for this one, as happily there are no over CGI’d actors.
Midnight Son begins by showing the life of Jacob who has a mysterious skin disorder, which forces him to lead his lonely life »
- Matilda Dunning
Vampires! Bloody vampires! Are they still cool? As I’ve mentioned in many a review for this site, we just can’t seem to get enough of them. Every other film, book or TV series seems to be about vampires these days. I had thought this fad would have passed by now. Isn’t time some other monster got some screen time? How about a tween romance featuring fishmen? Or a sexy TV series starring a group of mummies? I guess the reason why vampires remain so popular is obvious really. As I once wrote in an essay, wonderfully entitled, ‘Pair a literary work and a film and analyse how each represents ‘gender’ and ‘sexuality’; Compare and contrast how each accomplishes this task in the specific medium, »
- Jack Kirby
It was less than ten years ago, but already the Indian Ocean Tsunami has passed from a documentary subject to disaster-movie material. To injurious timing, though, this epic adds the insult of assuming we're only interested in how it affected white people. It's firmly focused on the plight of a British family, separated by the disaster. It's based on a true story, and impressively mounted, but that's no excuse for the myopic tastelessness.
Theatricality is built into Hoffman's directing debut, a gentle senior-centric comedy set in a country home for retired musicians. Opera diva Smith's arrival ruffles feathers and stirs up ancient memories.
- Steve Rose
10 items from 2013
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