Video Sundays: Cronenberg, Controversies, and "Crash"

In March, Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg participated in this delightful discussion following a screening of Crash at the Tiff (Toronto International Film Festival) Bell Lightbox. Released in 1996, Cronenberg's Crash (based on the novel by J.G. Ballard) follows a sleazy producer who joins a group of thrill-seekers whose particular fetish involves near-death, vehicular accidents with a streak of exhibitionism. Throughout the talk, Cronenberg shares his initial response of repulsion towards Ballard's clinical and humorless approach to such a "medical sensuality," and his sudden, impulsive decision to make the film. "I was more depressed by [Crash] than impressed," says Gene Siskel, in a heated debate with Roger Ebert during their show At the Movies. Siskel insists that the film is plainly idiotic; Ebert recognizes that the film is "too tough" for audiences to take, accusing Siskel of bringing no sympathy to Cronenberg's attempt to make "pornography without pornography." David Cronenberg on the
See full article at MUBI »

Thom Yorke Discusses Anxious, Dystopian New Solo LP, ‘Kid A’ Anniversary Plans

Thom Yorke Discusses Anxious, Dystopian New Solo LP, ‘Kid A’ Anniversary Plans
Thom Yorke has revealed the sound and themes of his upcoming solo album in a cover story for Crack magazine. The album is reportedly being released by Xl Recordings. It will be the Radiohead frontman’s third proper solo LP, and his first since 2014’s Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes.

In a wide-ranging Q&A, Yorke described the new record as an anxiety-fueled electronic nightmare of a dystopian world — in other words, a Thom Yorke album. Author J.G. Ballard, avant-garde musician Scott Walker, and the improvisatory live shows of Flying Lotus all came up as influences,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

The Current Debate: "Avengers: Endgame" Wins Over Skeptics But Causes Concern

The Marvel film cycle that began in 2008 with the first Iron Man movie, Marvel Studios’ first film, is coming to an end. This article avoids major spoilers, but let’s just say that death is the catalyst for this change. Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or the McU), the movie universe inhabited by Marvel Studios franchise characters like Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and too many others to list them all.The main things to know before watching the new movie is that in Endgame’s predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War, the supervillain Thanos destroyed half of the universe in order to save the other half from overpopulation, which stretches the universe’s resources too thin. (I’m going to give these movies the benefit of the doubt and assume this sounds less ridiculous in context than it
See full article at MUBI »

Video Essay. Anaphora: David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis"

  • MUBI
Anaphora is an on-going series of video essays exploring the neglected films by major directors. David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis (2012) is showing November 24 – December 23, 2018 on Mubi in the United Kingdom. For the first two decades of his career David Cronenberg was an aerodynamic funnel for an iconoclastic spin on gender, sexuality, media and economic theory. He had the white, North American Homo sapien down to a science. He knew us. Each of his fiction works were a little window under flaps of skin that the forces of capitalism wanted cauterized shut. If we ever pried up the scar tissue we’d become aware of the implanted narratives that drive us. Spend, produce, reproduce. Long before John Carpenter gave us glasses to see the subliminal purpose of capitalism Cronenberg was ripping those messages out from our veins and presenting them to us like a lounging cat, seemingly above our most hideous desires.
See full article at MUBI »

Lff: ‘Happy New Year, Colin Burstead’ Review: Dir. Ben Wheatley (2018)

Happy New Year Colin Burstead review: Ben Wheatley’s feature output has been nothing but unpredictable in the last number of years. From gritting crime-horrors early in his career with the likes of Kill List, through to the likes of J.G. Ballard adaptations with High Rise, and then the slightly more mainstream, though equally explosive Free Fire a couple of years back. His next film is another cinematic curve-ball – a family drama bordering on farce – a very pleasing, and laugh-out-loud funny feature set across one eventful evening on England’s south coast on New Years Eve.

Happy New Year Colin Burstead review

One of the similarities between this and Wheatley’s early work is its excelling cast. Led by earlier collaborator Neil Maskell (so brilliant as Jay in Kill List) as the titular Colin, along with the likes of I, Daniel Blake’s break-out Hayley Squires, Free Fire alumni Sam Riley
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Film Review: ‘Happy New Year, Colin Burstead’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘Happy New Year, Colin Burstead’
Reboot” is a word bandied about so much in the film industry these days that its meaning has become entirely elastic, referring to anything from a sequel to a remake to a mildly delayed franchise chapter. A lo-fi, high-volume original character piece from Ben Wheatley, “Happy New Year, Colin Burstead” is none of these things — and yet, in the sense that a reboot describes a freshly started system following technical complications, it feels like one for this genre-roaming writer-director. After mixed returns for the dizzy formal chaos of his J.G. Ballard adaptation “High-Rise” and the vapid shoot-’em-up varnish of “Free Fire,” Wheatley’s restless study of a dysfunctional family reunited for a prickly New Year’s Eve party is a back-to-basics affair that rewardingly sets him back in the seasick domestic space of his debut “Down Terrace,” albeit with words as its only weapons this time.

Working without his usual writing partner Amy Jump,
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Venice Honors David Cronenberg, an Artist Who Likes to Make Waves

  • Variety
Venice Honors David Cronenberg, an Artist Who Likes to Make Waves
When David Cronenberg accepts his Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Film Festival, the occasion will be marked by a screening of one of his 21 films. Cronenberg’s selection? “M. Butterfly,” his 1993 adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s Tony-winning play, about the decades-spanning love affair between a cross-dressing Chinese opera singer and the French diplomat unaware of his lover’s gender identity.

It’s a surprising choice, but then surprises are to be expected from the 75-year-old Canadian auteur, who has consistently evaded predictability across a five-decade career. “M. Butterfly” is rarely spoken of by critics as one of Cronenberg’s essential, or indeed quintessential, works: Reviews at the time were cool, and the film hasn’t built much of a revisionist following since. Yet Cronenberg is said to consider it among his most personal films. On closer inspection, you can see why. In an oeuvre that has
See full article at Variety »

Pulp (1972) Starring Michael Caine Available on Blu-ray December 12th from Arrow Video

Pulp (1972) Starring Michael Caine will be available on Blu-ray December 12th from Arrow Video. In Pulp, Caine plays Mickey King, a successful pulp novelist responsible for such titles as My Gun Is Long and The Organ Grinder, who is invited to ghost-write the autobiography of a mystery celebrity. His client turns out to be a former actor, played by Mickey Rooney, well-known for his gangster roles and real-life gangster connections – but death is around the corner, and King finds his commission to be a lot more complicated than he first imagined.

A year after they’d created one of the defining British gangster pictures with Get Carter, three Michaels – writer-director Mike Hodges, producer Michael Klinger and star Michael Caine – reunited for another crime picture, albeit with a more oddball flavor…

Caine plays Mickey King, a successful pulp novelist responsible for such titles as My Gun Is Long and The Organ Grinder,
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Tiff’s Platform Selection: How the Festival’s Buzziest Slate is Pivoting After Launching ‘Moonlight’

Tiff’s Platform Selection: How the Festival’s Buzziest Slate is Pivoting After Launching ‘Moonlight’
The Toronto International Film Festival is often seen as a launchpad for major Oscar contenders, but when “Moonlight” premiered there in the fall of 2016, few deemed it a frontrunner for best picture. That was partly because the movie premiered in Tiff’s Platform section. The two-year-old, tightly-curated selection of a dozen auteur-driven works was designed to highlight a range of international filmmakers, which strikes a sharp contrast to the flashy gala premieres; it’s also the festival’s sole juried competition section.

But those prestige factors ultimately helped “Moonlight” stand out in the crowded fall season, and as Platform enters its third year, the movie’s track record has inevitably raised expectations for its potential.

Read MoreTIFF Announces Platform Lineup, Including ‘The Death of Stalin,’ ‘Euphoria,’ and ‘Brad’s Status’

However, even as the section’s third edition features a range of promising films, artistic director Cameron Bailey emphasized that
See full article at Indiewire »

Free Fire

Have an itch to see a movie about a gunfight, the whole gunfight and nothing but the gunfight? Search no more, for Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump have the movie for you: twenty minutes of angry crooks in conference, and then seventy minutes of non-stop shootin,’ with no annoying plot context or character depth to get in the way. Just say ‘Bang Bang I shot you down,’ and then play it in a loop, ad infinitum.

Free Fire



2017 / Color / 2:39 widescreen / 90 min. / Street Date July 18, 2017 / 24.99

Starring: Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Babou Ceesay, Noah Taylor, Jack Reynor, Mark Monero, Patrick Bergin, Enzo Cilenti, Tom Davis.

Cinematography: Laurie Rose

Film Editors: Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley

Original Music: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury

Written by Amy Jump, Ben Wheatley

Produced by Andy Starke

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Many critics fairly well loved Ben Wheatley
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

‘Citizen Jane: Battle for the City’ Director Matt Tyrnauer on Urban Planning, Syd Mead, and More

Debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016, Matt Tyrnauer‘s Citizen Jane: Battle for the City has received rave reviews across the country as it opened in limited release last month. Centering on Jane Jacobs — a journalist, author, and activist — the film showcases the problems inherent to how urban planners in the mid-twentieth century worked.

One of the key proponents of this movement to teardown what he deemed “slums” for new, mammoth housing projects of concrete erasing the very communities they sought to “save” was New York’s Robert Moses. His power and reputation allowed him to force his ideas through the legislature for decades until Jacobs caught wind professionally and personally (he would eventually target her neighborhood). She ignited to take a stand and share her own beliefs in writing and via protest on city living, safety via “eyes on the street,” and the notion that cities are defined by its people,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Newswire: Ridley Scott and Netflix to adapt J.G. Ballard’s post-apocalyptic Hello America

According to Deadline, Netflix has picked up the adaptation rights to Hello America, J.G. Ballard’s 1981 sci-fi novel about a group of explorers rediscovering the ruins of the United States a century after the country collapsed and most of the citizens evacuated to Europe and Asia. Along the way, they face the sort of dangers you’d expect to find in a post-apocalyptic version of America, including a “charismatic leader” calling himself President Charles Mason who controls an arsenal of nuclear weapons. Basically, Netflix could just make the movie version into a documentary if it waits long enough.

The Hello America movie is being produced by Ridley Scott and his Scott Free production company, making this his second Netflix deal after the Tom Hardy-starring War Party. A director and cast for Hello America have not been announced yet.
See full article at The AV Club »

The Erotic, Dangerous Pleasures of David Cronenberg’s ‘Crash’

On David Cronenberg‘s birthday earlier this year, many were sharing their favorite films from the Canadian director, so I chimed in, naming his 1996 erotic drama Crash as his greatest work. The controversial J.G. Ballard adaptation follows a group of people who are consumed with their fetishes for car crashes. Quite divisive upon release, over twenty years later, a new video essay now makes the case that it’s one of Cronenberg’s best.

Created by our friend Scout Tafoya over at, the piece explores how the director captures our pre-occupation with technology and how it may destroy us, and how the film’s characters find dangerous ecstasy in their desires. To wrap up, Tafoya says the film marks the “strongest, freest, and most giving chapter” of Cronenberg’s career, a sentiment I’d certainly agree with.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, we’d encourage one to seek it out,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Ben Wheatley, Quentin Tarantino, And The Reverse Whodunit

On ‘Free Fire’ and ‘The Hateful Eight.’

The murder mystery is a well-worn genre, as comforting as slipping into a warm bath with a toaster that’s conveniently placed for a staging. There’s Clue, Murder on the Orient Express, Gosford Park — the list goes on. Notably, the first two of those examples have remakes upcoming, and the last is maybe the ultimate homage to the genre; despite the fact that each has cemented enough of a place in the pop cultural eye for all of us to know who committed the murder where and with what, a fascination with the whodunit persists. And why wouldn’t it? Caging a group of people in one place is the easiest way to ramp up tension; throwing in a murder to solve is the cherry on top of the cake. There is, however, an easy way to further up the ante.

Quentin Tarantino and Ben Wheatley’s most recent
See full article at FilmSchoolRejects »

Free Fire: Director Ben Wheatley On His Feature-Length Shoot-Out

For many years, director Ben Wheatley has been one of Britain’s top genre exports from his early supernatural crime-thriller Kill List to the dark comedy Sightseers and the trippy war movie, A Field in England. Last year, he even took on the difficult task of adapting J.B. Ballard’s High-Rise, starring Tom Hiddleston, a crazy movie that also paid homage to another great British filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick. (All of these movies were either written, co-written and/or edited by Wheatley’s long-time silent partner, Amy Jump.)

Wheatley’s new movie Free Fire features an amazing ensemble cast that includes Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Michael Smiley and more, as it sets up a gun deal that goes wrong and turns into a violent shoot out inside an abandoned warehouse.

The movie shows the amazing skills of Wheatley and Jump with terrific dialogue and some of the most insane action scenes,
See full article at LRM Online »

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth


Warner Archive Collection

1970 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 100 96 min. / Street Date February 28, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Victoria Vetri, Robin Hawdon, Patrick Allen, Drewe Henley, Sean Caffrey, Magda Konopka, Imogen Hassall, Patrick Holt, Jan Rossini, Carol Hawkins, Maria O’Brien.

Cinematography: Dick Bush

Film Editor: Peter Curran

Visual Effects: Jim Danforth

Original Music: Mario Nascimbene, Philip Martell

Written by: Val Guest, J.G. Ballard

Produced by: Aida Young

Directed by Val Guest

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth didn’t get much attention when released here early in March of 1971. Only film fanatics obsessed with special effects had much to say about it. Cinefantastique magazine showed a still photo or two of dinosaurs on the rampage, and told us that stop-motion effects notable Jim Danforth, who we knew from mentions in Famous Monsters, was attached. We also learned that an animator named David Allen had worked on one sequence.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Train Your Sights On New Batch Of Character Posters For Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire

Half a decade has passed since British auteur Ben Wheatley broke into the relative mainstream with Kill List and in that time, the astute filmmaker has carved out a jet-black, intelligent troupe of features. There was Sightseers, a dark romantic thriller that’ll put you off any pencil museums this side of the Atlantic; then there was arguably his most high-profile to date, High-Rise, an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s equally dark novel.

Next up? Free Fire, a wildly stylish ensemble thriller that imagines a posse of gangsters, all housed up in an old Boston warehouse circa 1978, that turn on one and other when an arms deal goes south. If you’ll recall the blistering first trailer (see above), it’s shaping up to be an edge-of-your-seat white-knuckle ride – one with a cast to match.

Before the bullets start flying and a desperate fight to the death ensues, Free Fire
See full article at We Got This Covered »

‘Free Fire’ review [Tiff ’16]

Free Fire review: An assault on the senses, Ben Wheatley goes gung-ho for his Tiff ’16 crowd-pleaser.

Free Fire review by Paul Heath, Tiff ’16.

Midnight Madness is something to be experienced at Toronto. The film’s ten-day programme contains a variety of different movies from many genres and films like The Raid and Green Room have played in the past . Opening the section this year is Ben Wheatley‘s assault on the senses Free Fire, a film which will also close this year’s BFI London Film Festival in October.

Set in one location and in real-time, the film revolves around a gun deal between two parties in a warehouse somewhere in 1970s Massachusetts. On the one side you have a group of Irish men, led by Cillian Murphy‘s moustached Chris, as well as Sam Riley‘s hapless junkie Stevo and Michael Smiley‘s intense Frank. Selling them the guns
See full article at The Hollywood News »

‘Free Fire’ Review: Brie Larson Stars In the Craziest Shootout of All Time

‘Free Fire’ Review: Brie Larson Stars In the Craziest Shootout of All Time
Once the guns start blazing in Ben Wheatley’s “Free Fire,” they don’t really stop. Prolific British director Ben Wheatley’s massively entertaining recovery from the messy J.G. Ballard adaptation “High-Rise” is a more controlled form of chaos, a chamber piece in which no chamber stays empty for long. Almost exclusively set in the confines of a small warehouse, Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump deliver the craziest movie shootout of all time by making an entire movie out of it. The cheeky dialogue and relentless violence leans heavily on the influences of Sam Peckinpah and “Reservoir Dogs,” although in this case the comic mayhem of the protracted battle amounts to little more than a lengthy gimmick. But a what fun gimmick: Less bullet ballet than bullet drum solo, Wheatley’s zany 90-minute set piece borrows the right ingredients to put on a good show.

Ever since his debut “Down Terrace,
See full article at Indiewire »

Blair Witch, The Bad Batch and more: Our top picks from today's #TIFF16 announcement

  • Cineplex
Blair Witch, The Bad Batch and more: Our top picks from today's #TIFF16 announcement Blair Witch, The Bad Batch and more: Our top picks from today's #TIFF16 announcement Adriana Floridia8/9/2016 11:55:00 Am

Horror fans were in for a treat this morning when the Toronto International Film Festival unveiled its Midnight Madness line-up, which is the best ticket to a horror film that you can get, well, pretty much anywhere.

Whether you're attending the festival or not, it's still exciting to see what new films will be gracing a theatre screen sometime in the near future, but if you are able to attend, seeing the world premiere of a new horror flick in a crowd of die-hard horror aficionados at midnight is truly an experience not to be missed.

Today Tiff announced their line-ups for Midnight Madness, Vanguard (which is kind of like Mm's younger sibling, still including bizarre, daring,
See full article at Cineplex »
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