19 items from 2011
Want to make something brilliant? Take actor and rising director Kieran Darcy-Smith and accomplished actor Felicity Price; add the producer for incredible award-winning short films Crossbow and I Love Sarah Jane, Angie Fielder; add a dash of Blue Tongue Films genius (Animal Kingdom, The Square) then cast fast-rising actors Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer. And stir. With all that talent you're bound to make something pretty amazing. Okay. Want to launch it directly into the indie film stratosphere? Premiere it at Sundance. Not just that; open the world dramatic competition at Sundance. Yeah, the section that your colleague David Michôd won two years ago with Animal Kingdom, before taking it straight into the heart of awards season and critics' best of year lists. You know, no pressure. That's exactly what director »
With the past few years seeing a huge resurgence in Australian cinema, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed with how this looks. Considering the same productions companies behind The Square and the awesome zombie short I love Sarah Jane produced it, I was expecting something grittier. Even with Joel Edgerton starring, it looks like director Kieran Darcy-Smith's first feature is using the same polish Hollywood does.
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Like many filmmakers trying to break through in Hollywood, writer-director Spencer Susser began his career by making short films. Like many excellent filmmakers, those short films became long films, and Spencer Susser made his feature directorial debut with the fantastic indie Hesher, which hits the shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on September 13. Hesher is still one of my favorite movies of the year thus far, centering around a grieving, broken family (Rainn Wilson, Devin Brochu, Piper Laurie) whose lives are given a bizarre jolt when a mysterious long-haired rocker named Hesher (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) makes his way into their lives... and their garage. I recently had the chance to speak with director Spencer Susser (who co-wrote the script with Animal Kingdom writer-director David Michôd) over the phone to discuss his directorial debut. »
Though Hesher is Spencer Susser’s feature debut, his directing career really began in 2008 with an impressive short film called I Love Sarah Jane. The short drew acclaim from all kinds of festivals and – more importantly – paved the way for his involvement with soon-to-be producer Natalie Portman; Susser sent her Sarah Jane and [...]
Read similar posts to Review: Hesher at Filmonic »
Also Reveals 'Star Wars'-Assisted Birth Of Australia's Blue Tongue Films Collective While watching the bizarrely confrontational "Hesher," opening this Friday in limited release and starring an electric Joseph Gordon-Levitt (alongside Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson), you might think to yourself--who the hell made this thing? Well, that would be co-writer/director Spencer Susser, who makes his feature debut with "Hesher" after directing music videos, commercials, and crafting the acclaimed zombie short film "I Love Sarah Jane," which starred a then-little-known Mia Wasikowska before she blew up with Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland." In this interview, conducted at this year's SXSW Film… »
Hesher screened at Austin’s SXSW film fest a few months ago and writer/director Spencer Susser took the time to sit down with me to discuss his film. We also spoke about his upcoming feature-length zombie apocalypse/romance film based on a short of his called I Love Sarah Jane. In Hesher, we follow an unstable drifter who violently inserts himself into a grieving boy’s life and home. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman star in this indie drama heavy on character studies, light on plot. Gordon-Levitt proved himself as an actor of some caliber. Veering away from his usual comedic role, Gordon-Levitt nailed the role of Hesher, providing a necessary depth to the unlikable, sometimes uncomfortably brutal psychopath. Susser had nothing but good things to say about Gordon-Levitt. “He’s just an amazing actor, he’s like a chameleon. He really is able to become someone else, »
- Amy Curtis
With writer/director Spencer Susser's Hesher getting released this weekend, I recently got to speak with the filmmaker about directing his first feature after spending the last decade directing shorts. Before going any further, if you haven't seen the trailer, I suggest watching it here. While the summer is filled with huge explosions and movies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, I promise you…none of them feature a main character as crazy as Hesher. Playing the lead is Joseph Gordon-Levitt and it's an awesome performance. The film also stars Rainn Wilson, Natalie Portman, and Devin Brochu. Definitely recommended. During the interview, Susser and I talked about the challenges of getting his film made, how did he land Metallica and why did he want their music, the editing process, casting the movie, and reveals he's writing his short film, I Love Sarah Jane, as a feature. Hit the jump to watch. »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
Why Watch? There is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting a flaming arrow at a zombie to blow it up. There’s also nothing wrong with Spencer Susser’s short film I Love Sarah Jane. Especially since there’s nothing wrong with Mia Wasikowska dropping F-bombs a lot. I mean, a lot. There are a lot of instances and colorful uses of the word Fuck here. The gore is particularly gruesome with some droolingly uneasy wounds and creeping zombie make-up as the bloody cherry on top. Thanks, Australia! What Will It Cost? Just 12 minutes of your time. Does it get better any better than that? Check out I Love Sarah Jane for yourself: I Love Sarah Jane (2008) Directed By: Spencer Susser Written By: Spencer Susser & David Michod Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Brad Ashby, Beau South, Vladimir Matovic, and Peter Yacoub Trust us. You have time for more short films. »
- Cole Abaius
Writer/director Spencer Susser first popped up on our radar with his “young romance amidst the zombie apocalypse” short film I Love Sarah Jane, which has garnered a huge amount of buzz since its release in 2008.
Susser recently celebrated the premiere of his latest flick, Hesher, during the South by Southwest Film Festival a few weeks back in Austin. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who should most definitely be on the Oscar radar for his jarring performance as the titular character), Rainn Wilson, Oscar-winner Natalie Portman, Piper Laurie and newcomer Devin Brochu.
Even though Hesher is not exactly horror (it’s got a lot of intensely dark humor and a few really messed-up scenarios thrown in there though), Dread Central jumped at the opportunity to chat with Susser in Austin to talk about what a disturbed and twisted character like Hesher represents to him, how he assembled an all-star cast »
Writer/director Joshua Hull is quickly making a name for himself within the horror genre in a very short time. His first feature, the zombie comedy Beverly Lane, debuted this past October to sell-out crowds and he’s currently gearing up for his next project Idiot Gore, which is set to start filming soon. Hull, who decided to use an unprecedented approach to his latest project by letting fans compete to create his killer, is keeping that collaborative spirit alive and will be filming scenes from Idiot Gore during the upcoming Days of the Dead convention.
Check out Hull’s five favorite indie genre projects below!
1. Scalene (Directed by Zack Parker)
Zack is good friend and I was lucky enough to attend the private screening of Scalene a few weeks back. It's not a horror film, it's a perceptual thriller starring Margo Martindale, Hannah Hall and Adam Scarimbolo. I had »
Just last month we got a look at the first trailer for the Sundance selected, chaotic drama Hesher starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Now it looks like director Spencer Susser will return to his roots for one of his next projects. The Age (via The Playlist) reports Susser is in the midst of adapting his short film I Love Sarah Jane (watch it below) into a feature length film. Though the title implies a simple romance, the story actually follows love in the midst of a zombie-infested, post apocalyptic world. There's nothing quite like embracing and sharing a kiss while a horde of zombies claws and staggers your way wanting your love stricken hearst and brains. The film is almost four years old now, but features a now recognizable name in Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) along with relatively unknown talents like Brad Ashby, Valdimimir Matovic, Beau South and Peter Yacoub. The »
- Ethan Anderton
The collective, made up of six Aussies and one American, hit a high point this past Sunday when Jacki Weaver, star of Blue-Tongue member David Michod’s Animal Kingdom, was among the nominees for Best Actress at the Oscars. Formed by seasoned stuntman Nash Edgerton, his actor brother Joel, and Kieran Darcy Smith, Blue-Tongue began as a group of friends who could turn to each other for guidance and inspiration in all their various film projects. It seems to be working. Last year, member Luke Doolan’s short, Miracle Fish, was nominated for an Oscar and the Brothers Edgerton collaboration, The Square, raked in a bevy of Australian film awards. Now, the collective, which Film Comment hailed as “the next New Wave,” is focusing their attention on Say Nothing, a psychological thriller that is currently shooting in Cambodia under the direction of Darcy-Smith. Lone American member and self proclaimed “wannabe »
 Ever since we first  came across Spencer Susser's wonderful short film I Love Sarah Jane in 2008, we've been following the young Australian filmmaker's career with great interest. We featured  another short by Susser, A Love Story, in 2010, and Peter Sciretta gave Susser's feature film debut Hesher a positive review  at last year's Sundance. Now it seems that Susser will be going back where he started, and turning his I Love Sarah Jane into a feature length film. The movie takes place in a post-zombie-apocalypse universe, and centers around a 13-year-old boy named Jimbo (Brad Ashby) who is nursing a crush on the no-nonsense Sarah Jane (Mia Wasikowska before she fell down that rabbit hole ). Watch (or rewatch) the short film after the jump. Australia's The Age  (via ThePlaylist ) reported Susser is currently working a screenplay for the feature-length adaptation of I Love Sarah Jane. Although I find the short »
- Angie Han
Last year right before Halloween we shared with our readers a pretty cool Aussie short film entitled "I Love Sarah Jane". What does that have to do with the Oscars? In a round-about way Natalie Portman's win for Black Swan and Jacki Weaver's nomination for Animal Kingdom could help the filmmaking collective known as Blue-Tongue Films finance a feature-length version of Spencer Susser's zombie-themed short.
As IndieWire's The Playlist blog explains it, among the gestating films from the [Blue-Tongue] team is one from [director] Spencer Susser — the man behind the upcoming Hesher starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, [Best Actress Oscar winner] Natalie Portman, and Rainn Wilson — and it will see him adapt his acclaimed post-apocalytic zombie short “I Love Sarah Jane” into a full-length feature film. No word on if the project will be Susser’s next, but with zombies all the rage at the moment, there’s probably never been a better time for him to tackle it. »
- The Woman In Black
While Natalie Portman is also producing Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the actress-turned-producer's name could help bring a zombie short to the big screen. According to Indiewire, Spencer Susser is adapting his zombie-apocalypse short I Love Sarah Jane into a feature length film. Susser looks to gain a lot of attention with the release of Hesher, which stars both Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Could this garner him enough attention to snag a budget for his zombie uprising? The short film was released back in 2007 starring a pre-fame Mia Wasikowska along with Brad Ashby, Vladmimir Matovic, Beau South and Peter Yacoub. Its a simple story of young love in a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic world. Despite the low budget and already dated SFX, the mood and tone created by Susser and the performances by leads Ashby and Wasikowska result in a cute, compelling piece of work »
Posters for Rubber, Super, Insidious, Winnie the Pooh and Green Lantern.
"Universal Pictures has acquired domestic distribution rights to Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of John Le Carre's "Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy" and is is eyeing a November or December release for the picture..." (full details)
"Jimmi Simpson ("Date Night," "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia") has joined the cast of Timur Bekmambetov’s "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". Simpson play Lincoln’s right-hand man..." (full details)
- Garth Franklin
The filmmaking collective known as Blue-Tongue Films are slowly but surely embedding themselves into Hollywood with their recent string of films--"Animal Kingdom," "Hesher," "The Square"--raising eyebrows around town. The main project in the works at the moment from the production shingle is Kieran Darcy-Smith's debut with psychological thriller "Say Nothing" but among the gestating films from the team is one from Spencer Susser--the man behind the upcoming "Hesher" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson--and it will see him adapt his acclaimed post-apocalytic zombie short "I Love Sarah Jane" into a full-length feature film. No word on if the… »
An Oscar nomination carries more weight than you'd think.
Like magic, the honor helps unearth projects that have been lying dormant for years. Such is the case with "Hesher," a film that debuted at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and is finally nearing the end of the tunnel: a proposed theatrical release in April.
The sudden release isn't surprising - with Best Actress nominee (and frontrunner) Natalie Portman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt of "Inception" in the cast and hitting the peak of their buzz, it's the perfect time for a smaller film like "Hesher" to hit public eye. Especially a movie as offbeat as "Hesher."
Directed by Spencer Susser, whose previous work consists of the zombie young love short film "I Love Sarah Jane," "Hesher" revolves around a boy and his depressed father (played by "The Office"'s Rainn Wilson), who encounter the greasy, off-kilter, pyro Hesher (Gordon-Levitt) and become sucked into his world of madness. »
- Matt Patches
We didn't expect to hear anything about this for a while, but it looks like this is hitting theaters in April, so here's a (likely unofficial) trailer from YouTube (via The Playlist) to introduce you to it. Hesher is the first feature from Spencer Susser, director of that zombie short I Love Sarah Jane, and it has an impressive cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson and Devin Brochu, also from I Love Sarah Jane. But... it's not that good. I saw it at Sundance and didn't care for it at all, in fact, it's a film that I suggest staying away from, despite how badass/crazy it may look here. Check it out, but that's my warning. Watch the first (unofficial) trailer for Spencer Susser's Hesher: Hesher is a loner. He hates the world and everyone in it. He has long hair and tattoos. He's malnourished and smokes lots of cigarettes. »
- Alex Billington
19 items from 2011
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