15 items from 2015
Despite her Oscar-winning comeback in The Canyons, Lindsay Lohan is still pretty much a Hollywood punch line; so, presumably, no one thought it was a big deal when Jennifer Lawrence said, “I get Lindsay Lohan–grade exhaustion, but without any drugs or alcohol," on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert earlier this week. Well, at least everyone without the surname Lohan found it innocuous. Aliana "Ali" Lohan, Lindsay's younger sister, tweeted at Lawrence: "I never breathe life into negativity but I stand by my family. Disappointed in Jennifer Lawrence. You lost a fan." She also included her sister's handle in the tweet, so Lindsay, who has nearly 9 million more followers, could bring it to the media's attention. Aliana later deleted the tweet and amended it: Still, however, the damage had been done. Lindsay found the tweet and responded to Lawrence with her own special brand of clapback: a Maya Angelou poem. »
- Ira Madison III
Lohan began her career as a child fashion model, then featured on the soap opera "Another World".
With the release of "Mean Girls" (2004), another critical and commercial success, followed by Disney's "Herbie: Fully Loaded" (2005)...
...Lohan became a teen idol sensation, a household name and a frequent focus of paparazzi and tabloids.
Click the images to »
- Michael Stevens
James Deen, the adult film star who romped with Lindsay Lohan in the 2013 movie “The Canyons,” apparently confused real life with his art. Ex-girlfriend and adult actress “Stoya,” accused him of rape in a series of shocking Tweets yesterday. Coincidentally, she revealed in a separate post that she has a new book coming out this month, titled “Coming Out Like a Porn Star.” ...Read More »
- TheImproper Staff
The former child star has been sharing photographs on Instagram from the set of her new venture, her first film after Paul Schrader’s critically panned La neo-noir
The former child star took to Instagram to share a photograph from her third day on set, in which she appears in character on a bed adorned with pristine white sheets. Lohan’s last full-length feature was the critically panned 2013 thriller The Canyons, directed by American Gigolo’s Paul Schrader and written by the novelist Bret Easton Ellis.
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- Ben Child
“Dog Eat Dog” is based on the book of the same name by Eddie Bunker. Matt Wilder and Schrader adapted the script about a trio of ex-cons, deep in the underbelly of Los Angeles, who are hired for a kidnapping. When the botched abduction goes awry and gets completely out of control, the cons find themselves on the run.
Arclight Films is handling international sales at the American Film Market. The producers introduced the project with Cage attached at Cannes.
- Dave McNary
Every day, more and more films are added to the various streaming services out there, ranging from Netflix to YouTube, and are hitting the airwaves via movie-centric networks like TCM. Therefore, sifting through all of these pictures can be a tedious and often times confounding or difficult ordeal. But, that’s why we’re here. Every week, Joshua brings you five films to put at the top of your queue, add to your playlist, or grab off of VOD to make your weekend a little more eventful. Here is this week’s top five, in this week’s Armchair Vacation.
5. The Overnight (VOD)
I’m just going to come out and say, modern comedy more often than not does not do it for me. With most modern comedy pictures taking the route of least resistance, offering up exponentially more cheap, dim witted gags than anything resembling an actual joke or rewarding sketch bit, »
- Joshua Brunsting
Big-time TV shows and movies are, more and more, making it standard procedure to cast porn stars to fulfill the duties of intimate body doubles, seedy characters, and sexy cameos, L.A. Weekly notes in a new Porn Valley-meets-Tinseltown report. Titles ranging from Game of Thrones and Ray Donovan to Sons of Anarchy and The Canyons, have welcomed the likes of Sibel Kekilli, Tori Black, Jenna Jameson, and James Deen, among many others, to the mainstream Hollywood stage because "many actors find nude and simulated-sex scenes morally objectionable and/or feel they hinder mainstream aspirations," according to the Weekly. Credit is due here to adult casting expert Howard Levine and his ilk, porn industry-ites who moonlight as L.A. and New York porntractors and who have closed the chasm that separates traditional acting from pornographic acting."Working with adult performers is easier, for nudity aspects, because they have no inhibitions »
- Sean Fitz-Gerald
Thirty years ago, Marty McFly was riding high with the smash hit Back To The Future, while Sylvester Stallone enjoyed his most successful year yet with the one-two punch of Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV. It was an era of family sci-fi and teen comedies and bullet-spraying action, where The Breakfast Club and Teen Wolf rubbed shoulders with Death Wish 3 and Commando. Then there were low-key dramas like Out Of Africa and The Color Purple, which were both awards magnets at the Oscars.
Away from all those big hits, 1985 saw the release of a wealth of less successful movies, some of which found a second life on the then-huge home video circuit. Here's our pick of 20 underappreciated films from the year of Rambo, »
Teenage Wasteland: Ellis & Martini Join Forces for Derivative Teen Angst
Check your expectations at the opening credits with The Curse of Downers Grove, a muddled teen scream mix of urban legend meets self-fulfilling prophecy metaphor. Many will be unable to bypass taking a look, however, upon learning the schlocky titled genre effort was penned by Bret Easton Ellis, his first cinematic project following the infamous and ultimately ill-fated Paul Schrader/Lindsey Lohan experiment The Canyons (2013). An ambitious thread of something greater sometimes resonates in this adolescent angst tale spiked with violence and a smattering of watered down sexuality (at least compared to what we know Ellis can imagine), but is ultimately lost in the tonally awkward jumps between genre elements and out-of-touch flourishes as concerns law-enforcement and teenagers.
The eponymous suburb of Chicago is the home of a deadly curse, or at least that’s the urban legend of the »
- Nicholas Bell
There is no doubt that Bret Easton Ellis has a distinct voice. We've seen his characters come alive in "American Psycho," he's brought his own worldview to movies like "The Informers" and "The Canyons," and his latest script is for the horror flick "The Curse Of Downers Grove," and today we have an exclusive peek at the film. Read More: Watch The Trailer For Bret Easton Ellis-Penned 'The Curse Of Downers Grove' Starring Bella Heathcote Starring Bella Heathcote, Lucas Till, Penelope Mitchell, Tom Arnold, and Kevin Zegers, with Derick Martini ("Lymelife," "Hick") directing, the story is set in the titular suburb where every year, someone from the graduating high school class meets a gruesome death. Chrissie Swanson fears she might be next, but as you'll see in this clip, she's also got other things on her mind. "The Curse Of Downers Grove" opens on August 21st and hits VOD on September 1st. »
- Edward Davis
Through numerous adaptations of his work, such as Less Than Zero, American Psycho, and The Rules of Attraction, novelist Bret Easton Ellis has become a familiar name to film fans over the years. In 2008, however, the novelist stepped into the film realm himself, co-adapting his book The Informers for the big screen. He followed it up with an original screenplay in 2013 for The Canyons, and his next foray into features will see him adapt another person’s novel.
Titled The Curse of Downers Grove, the screenplay is adapted from the Michael Hornburg novel Downers Grove. Ellis co-wrote the screenplay with Derick Martini, and the latter takes the directing reins for the feature, whose synopsis can be read below.
A teen angst thriller at a high school gripped by an apparent curse that claims the life of a senior every year. Story follows a senior, Chrissie, who is skeptical, and another, »
- Deepayan Sengupta
Veteran director and screenwriter Paul Schrader will receive the San Francisco International Film Festival's Kanbar Award for storytelling. He will be honored alongside fellow Sfiff awardees Richard Gere and Guillermo del Toro on Film Society Awards Night, which goes down Monday, April 27 at The Armony on Mission Street. Schrader's long and storied career began with writing Sidney Pollack's 1974 "The Yakuza" before Martin Scorsese's Palme d'Or winner "Taxi Driver." As a director his films have included "American Gigolo," "Affliction," "Auto Focus, "Light of Day" and more recently "The Canyons," written by Bret Easton Ellis and starring Lindsay Lohan, and "The Dying of the Light," which the director washed his hands of after losing final cut. Read More: Warning: "Dying of the Light" Is Not a Paul Schrader Movie Paul Schrader will also be honored at An Evening with Paul Schrader at the Sundance »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Directed by French composer turned filmmakers Cyril Morin, this unique romance had it's market debut in Berlin at the European Film Market. The film was produced by Paris-based company Media in Sync. Rights for all territories are still available.
Here is the official synopsis:
“Hacker’s Game” is a love story between two hackers, Soyan and Loise. Like many other hackers, Soyan works for a company he previously hacked. This “online security” firm runs covert activities for high-profile clients around the world.
Loise is a cyber-detective who investigates war crimes for a human rights organization. Obsessed with the truth, she also has spent years searching for an unknown person. The two hackers meet on a rooftop and bond together through a virtual chess game. But Soyan’s employer, Russell Belial, has asked him to protect the same arms-dealer that Loise is determined to help to capture.
Who will call the game now? What is Soyan’s real goal? The pair embarks upon an intense but dangerous romance, playing an elaborate game of deception. After being in a virtual world, will Soyan and Loise risk everything for true love?
Here is a recent interview with director Cyril Morin
How did you develop the story for "Hacker’s Game"?
After I shot my first feature film, The Activist, which took place in 1973, I wanted to direct a contemporary story with young people trying to connect emotionally in the wired world of Internet and smartphones. I wanted to do something with timely significance just a couple years in the future.
I also was following how the media depicts hackers. The most common news story revolves around whether they are heroes or traitors. However, I was more interested in their motivations. What drives an intelligent young person to spend all his time hacking into a top-secret database to reveal something to the public? Why have several young hackers died just before they planned to release information?
Is the film a techno-thriller or a love story?
The film is a love story at first. The “techno thriller” is more the background of the film. However, technology plays a big part in the love story. It is the only means for Loise and Soyan to come together. They have difficulty expressing their feelings directly because computers mediate everything they do.
So they use technology as a shield to hide behind, staying on the Internet to avoid the real world. Their relationship begins as a sort of game as they court each other through a virtual chess simulator. Real love is a new feeling for them. Soyan and Loise eventually break through into reality and discover themselves. But it might be too late…
How does your view of the Internet shape the film?
As with many people, the Internet has become a basic part of my life. However, I am not unaware of how it can distort reality. Online information can be faked and manipulated. How do we believe what we are reading? I am suspicious of anything I can’t confirm from multiple reliable sources.
Nowadays, there is a lot of controversy about how big companies like Google or Facebook spy on their users and this is quite an important theme in the movie.
I am scared about a future where facts can be changed for political gain or to manipulate people. We already know how leaders rewrite history quite willingly.
Tell us about the look of the movie.
I decided from the very beginning never to put a computer display on screen. By not providing that visual aid, the viewer is forced to focus on the characters and everything that is happening offline. Visually, I represent the Internet with sequences in the film in which terabytes of data flow through cables. We also have graphics that represent data clouds when text messages are sent. These elements show how technology has become more virtual than ever.
I experimented with black light during certain sequences where Loise and Soyan put on these virtual reality cyber-glasses. I wanted to set apart these scenes in a tangible way for the audience. We don’t know what they are seeing through the glasses. It could be a battlefield, an erotic game, or both.
The look is styled like a comic book with a more digital, futuristic edge. With Pitof, we experienced with a lot of innovative visual textures for the movie during post-production.
How did you work with the actors?
It was a very interesting process. Though I wanted to work again with actors I worked with before, the biggest challenge was finding the leads for Soyan and Loise. After completing the script, I found Soyan among 2500 headshots. With Chris Schellenger (from Paul Schrader’s "The Canyons"), we did a lot of workshopping to develop the character of Soyan.
For Loise’s character, I looked at some French actresses in Los Angeles but none of them quite worked for various reasons. It drove me crazy. Then, by chance, I met Pom Klementieff (Old Boy, Spike Lee) at a friend’s dinner party. It took only a few days for me to come back and cast her. Then I discovered her own biography was very close to that of Loise’s character. When I put Chris and Pom together to rehearse a scene, I knew I had my couple.
I spent three months on pre-production so we could do a lot of rehearsals. Then I rewrote a lot of the script based on it. Actually, that was a benefit for the crew on the shoot because we already figured out the scene through the rehearsal process.
Tell us about shooting "Hacker’s Game. "
I feel I didn’t shoot a movie as much as I hacked a movie. Movies usually involve a heavy footprint. But digital technology is changing everything. We had a small crew that took on an ambitious shooting schedule. Mobility was key because we had such a crazy schedule (we shot around seven scenes a day). Besides an efficient team, the Canon C300 camera helped a great deal. It works in low light so we didn’t need a lot of huge lighting gear.
How did you work with the crew?
Romain Wilhelm is a young talented Dp. Hacker’s Game was his first feature film. It was important to me to have a lot of young people in the crew so they could be on the same wavelength with the story. It was a bit of a “rock’n’roll” set and we had a lot of laughs as well as some tense moments.
The crew also was geographically diverse. Besides Americans, we had people from France, Japan, Romania, Belgium, Israel, Korea, etc... Just like the Internet, there were no borders. Amza Moglan, the second unit camera on the film, finished the edit after some difficulties with the first cut. Amza got all the emotional textures I wanted in the film and knew all the shots perfectly since he was on set for the entire shoot.
What about the music? You are also a film composer.
From the very beginning I planned to use music from a Los Angeles band “Seven Saturday.” I needed a fresh sound and real songs to go to with the love story. I remixed their songs to fit with the soundtrack and I did the rest of the score myself. It took me a long time to find the right feeling for the soundtrack. You know what an orchestra will sound like but you have to invent all the sounds with electronic music. I had a very precise idea how to mix those sounds with electric guitars. But there is no code and no rules. I had to reinvent my own music.
“I feel I didn’t shoot a movie as much as I hacked a movie”.
About the Director
Cyril Morin became a director on the side of a successful international career as a film composer with almost 100 soundtracks to his name. His music has won awards at numerous festivals and received acclaim from the international press. Among many honors, he was a nominee at the European Film Awards, the World Soundtrack Award and recently at the Jerry Goldsmith Awards.
He naturally became familiar with how films are produced and directed. He produced music videos before proceeding to direct his first short film Homere (1995) with footage from film archives. He also co-wrote and produced a documentary The Spirit of the Water (1995), a tribute to the Surfrider Foundation.
In 2011, he directed the short film The Application Cafe. Shot in the Californian desert, the sci-fi drama is a mythological interpretation of America.
In 2012, he wrote and directed The Activist, a thriller about political unrest by Native Americans at Wounded Knee. With nods to Brando, Nixon, and Vietnam, the film recreates the paranoid culture of the 1970s. This movie has already screened at festivals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stuttgart, Sedona and Byron Bay, Australia.
He recently completed his second feature film, "Hacker’s Game" (2013), a love story between two cyber-adventurers, starring Pom Klementieff (Spike Lee’s "Old Boy") , Chris Schellenger (Paul Schrader’s "The Canyons") and King Orba ("3:10 to Yuma").
"Hacker’s Game" / Feature Film, 2014, France/U.S.A. (Director, Writer, Producer)
"The Activist" / Feature Film, 2013, France/ U.S.A. (Director, Writer, Producer)
Festivals: American Indian Film Festival/ USA (Best feature film & Two Best Actor Nominations) - Valley Film Festival, North Hollywood/ USA - Das Nordamerika Film Festival - Stuttgart/ Germany (Best feature film nomination) - Sedona Film Festival, USA - Byron Bay Film Festival, Australia
"The Application Cafe" / Short Film, 2012, U.S.A. (Director, Writer, Producer)
Festivals: USA Film Awards, Dallas (Finalist) - Holly shorts Film Festival, Los Angeles - Short Film Corner, Cannes Film Festival - »
- Peter Belsito
Dying of the Light, 2014.
Written and Directed by Paul Schrader.
Burned out CIA operative Evan Lake (Nicolas Cage) is forced into early retirement due to a degenerative medical diagnosis. Aided by an up and coming field agent Milton Schultz (Anton Yelchin) he uses his limited time to track down an old adversary.
Given what has been made of the latest Cage-rage low budget effort in many quarters you could be forgiven for thinking this’ll be on a par with that The Wicker Man remake for overall- albeit hilarious- lameness.
In truth, it’s not quite as bad as all that. It’s just a bit weird really, with Schrader and the cast recently disowning the finished product and claiming something of a studio takeover from the creatives in control. »
- Robert W Monk
Paul Schrader’s latest directorial effort is a solemn CIA tale, with darker undercurrents lost in a woolly cut
Paul Schrader has a hell of a pedigree: screenplays for Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, a director’s filmography that includes gems like American Gigolo and Mishima, and an occasional sideline as an erudite film historian. But his career has languished in the doldrums of late, and his follow-up to The Canyons, his Lindsay Lohan–starring semi-succès de scandale, sees him coming a cropper. It’s an espionage thriller about a CIA man (Nicolas Cage) dashing from Bucharest to Mombasa in pursuit of the terrorist who tortured him years earlier. At one time mooted as a project for Drive man Nicolas Winding Refn, who now has an executive producer credit, the film was reportedly recut by its backers, with Schrader’s intended expressionistic colour scheme massaged down to a drab functionality. »
- Jonathan Romney
15 items from 2015
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