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Archive for May, 2009

***Spoilers Abound***

69197307_afIf there’s a more devastating film focused on the anticipatory anxiety of losing one’s virginity out there than this, I defy anybody to name it. Fat Girl, a 2001 study of teenage alienation and sexual coming-of-age from French filmmaker Catherine Breillat, is a film that gives the impression that it’s all on the surface, but then yanks the rug from underneath the viewer’s toes in its final five minutes of ultra-shock, revealing a hidden context to nearly every line of dialogue from the first scene onward. A vastly impressive feat, one that has divided film lovers while conquering those clearest of thought.

Fat Girl (the English translation of A Ma Soeur!) incubates in the brain once the last freeze-framed close-up of its titular character hits. Once a watcher’s  jaw is lifted off the floor, endless analysis of the film’s themes and seemingly, yet not at all, random conclusion are inevitable.

[Full assessment after the jump] (more…)

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I rewatched Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake the other night, and **ducks plastic machetes being hurled by horror diehards** all of the furious anger hurled its way now feels more unfair than justified. Instead of appreciating Zombie’s valiant attempt to both honor John Carpenter’s original while still injecting his own ideas, the haters spit in Zombie’s direction. Put Halloween side-by-side with this year’s Friday the 13th revision, however, or Zombie’s film looks like a flawless masterwork.

Sure, the second half is a far-too-condensed copycat of John Carpenter’s entire original, full of character names that we recognize but don’t give two shits about in their physical forms. Even a couple of the kills are identical to those seen in the OG. Yet, the first half of Zombie’s flick, where he infused his own ideas rather than rehashing Carpenter’s, is brutally wicked. If only he would’ve stuck with that script for the film’s entirety.

zombieh2

The more I read about and see of August 28’s H2 (Halloween 2 may be the title now, though), the better the sequel looks. Zombie is clearly abandoning everything that we know about Carpenter’s mythology and overdosing on his own affinity for naturalistic depravity.

As long as its understood that Rob Zombie cooked this one up exactly how he wanted to, H2 will live or die on its filmmaker’s shoulders. The following behind-the-scenes footage, featuring some new clips from the film itself, surfaced on Youtube today, courtesy of Dimension Films. It’s easily the coolest piece of pre-release fodder released so far: (more…)

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For a while there, I doubted this one. Jeremy Piven‘s first lead in a comedy since PCU had been establishing permanent residence within the IMDB webpages for what feels like two years now. A number of release date pushbacks, a fear that it’d go straight-to-DVD or get dumped into only 100 theaters before dying a quick demise. The “Used Cars meets Semi-Pro” premise isn’t exactly a slam dunk, but a Piven and Will Ferrell team-up inherently has promise. So what gave?

thegoodsov4Produced by Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions (remember when they were called Dirty Sanchez?), The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard finally has a firm drop date: August 14, placing it in competitive heat with the fourth Final Destination time-killer (in 3D….meh) and the sure-to-be-better District 9. Unless The Final Destination (do you promise?) shocks and awes, I’d imagine that Jeremy Piven has the weekend pretty much on lock.

The trailer (included after the jump) is good, not great. Starts off slow with the Ari-Gold-ish monologue on the airplane, but gains momentum once the man Ken Jeong pops up (the “male Asian” Jane Lynch, he’s becoming). The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard has potential, but damn if Piven can only play Ari variations. Enough’s getting to be enough.

The film’s first-time director, Neil Brennan, is the man who co-commandeered The Chappelle’s Show, so he should certainly know hiw way around the funny. At least one would hope.

This’ll be a comedy that telegraphs its laughs one-by-one, cheap thrill on top of earned belly-chuckle. Sometimes, though, this kind of junk food totally hits the spot: (more…)

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I’ve waited too damn long to experience a new EC Comics horror-show on the big screen. Truth of the matter is, I’ve actually never had the pleasure. Too many of the EC-inspired anthology films that I’ve loved over the years were released before my theater-going time:  1982’s Creepshow, and the British dynamic trio of 1972’s Tales from the Crypt, 1973’s Vault of Horror, and 1972’s Asylum. When not only available in video stores, the works of this ilk have been stuck on television’s miniscule screen—-HBO’s Tales from the Crypt, for instance. As a massive lover of those old EC horror comics, I’ve longed for the day to come.

dmthposterThanks to Sam Raimi, the wait is finally a wrap. Drag Me To Hell, the beloved writer-director’s glorious return to slapstick horror, plays like the best EC Comic story that the company never published. I’m not saying that you have to appreciate the old EC sensibility to love Drag Me To Hell, but it’d sure help a ton. The pitch-black humor mixed with genuine terror moments, all being handed on a bloody platter to a poor main character who is feeling evil’s wrath as a form of comeuppance. Raimi clearly understands the visceral impact that those EC tales packed—–there’s no greater joy for open-minded audiences than bouncing back and forth from shrieks to laughter outbursts.

dragcorpse

The use of that ’80s-era Universal Pictures logo before the movie begins says it all, really. While writing and then making this, Sam Raimi had every intention to splash modern-day mainstreamers in the faces with old-school horror fun. As if you can’t tell by now, the man has succeeded tendold. [Assessment continued after the jump] (more…)

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Yes, whoever would actually take offense to Quentin Tarantino’s excessive Nazi-killing. If you fit that bill, go to Heil.

dead-snow-poster1Opening in limited capacity at the IFC Theater in lower Manhattan on June 19 is Dead Snow, a all-bets-are-off zombie action flick from the shores of Norway. Dead Snow gathered some positive buzz at the Sundance Film Festival this recent January, and every clip and trailer that I’ve seen thus far exhibits tons of Army of Darkness-esque horror glee.

The anorexic plot follows a group of dimwitted youngsters that, while vacationing in a secluded cabin, fall prey to an army of supercharged Nazi corpses. Chainsaws, limb-severing battles, and dark humor follow. Hitler’s helpers attempt to flesh-eat their way to revenge, giving Quentin Tarantino’s film the rotting middle-finger-you along the mission.

This film had me at “zombie Nazis.” [Domestic trailer after the jump] (more…)

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Original's poster

Original's poster

Everything about Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans has led me to write if off as a lamebrain project up until now. First off, it’s borrowing a title from Abel Ferrara’s stellar case study in drug-induced psychosis, 1992’s Bad Lieutenant. Herzog is dubbing it as an indirect sequel/reboot, taking the central premise of “shady law officer on a delinquent downward spiral” and relocating from Manhattan to New Orleans, with a plan to shoot future installment in a different major cities. Not the worst idea ever, but then he cast Nicolas Cage, a decision that nearly sunk the ship. Cage hasn’t made a great movie since…..2005’s The Weather Man? Then it was said that the film is to co-star Xzibit, and Val Kilmer. Not exactly a Murderer’s Row of hot actors.

director Werner Herzog and company, including fine-as-all-hell Eva Mendes

director Werner Herzog and company, including fine-as-all-hell Eva Mendes

Yet, something out of the blue has taken place. After watching this unintentionally-leaked trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, I’m suddenly interested. In fact, I think the film could turn out to be deliciously sleazy and bent. Cage comes off much funnier than expected, and the bits with the iguanas and the soul “still in the room” left me grinning.

Fuck, now I have to anticipate this one. [Trailer after the jump]:  (more…)

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UPDATE (6/1/09): News was reported today revealing that Carl Rinsch’s Alien project won’t be a remake, but a prequel to Ridley Scott’s original film. Which is cool news, obviously, but it pretty much makes the following “new Ripley casting choices” obsolete. Fuck it, though—–gave me a reason to post those eye-massaging pics, right? 

Alien_movie_posterYesterday brought forth an official announcement that a remake of Ridley Scott’s phenomenal classic Alien (1979) is being developed, news that initially pissed me off. Per usual whenever a new pointless take on a cherished genre film is discussed. If something is perfectly great the way it is, why tarnish the name with a too-stylized new spin? Look deeper into this news, however, and some anger gives way to slight optimism: Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Braveheart), along with his brother Tony Scott (director of True Romance, Domino, and next month’s The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) are two of the remake’s producers, so there’s at least a chance of the original’s essence and good name remaining intact.

Carl Erik Rinsch

Carl Erik Rinsch

The most intriguing element of this announcement, though, is the director they’ve tapped: commercials director and first-time feature filmmaker Carl Erick Rinsch. The good peeps over at /Film have compiled Risch’s best commercial spots, and the good news is that they’re all quite visually impressive. A strong portfolio that no doubt shows that the Scotts have good instincts. I’d much rather see a fresh talent give a remake a shot—-sadly, tackling remakes seems to be the only way for unestablished filmmakers to show and prove, and there’s nothing wrong with flowing some new blood into the game. I’m all for seeing what Rinsch can do with Alien. Of course, if the remake ends up being a pile of excrement, then I’ll swear Rinsch off into cinematic purgatory and chuckle at his name.

charlize-theron-esquire-sexy-03The next pertinent order of business: casting this generation’s “Ripley,” Sigourney Weaver’s iconic heroine of the Alien series. I have to top choices: first, the prestige call…..Charlize Theron. Why, you may ask? Because I haven’t been seeing enough of her lately, and Ridley Scott’s involvement justifies an A-list actress.

evangeline-lilly-picture-2Second pick: a lesser-known but inspired selection….Evangeline Lilly. Aside from Lost and a blink-and-you’ll-overlook-it cameo in Kathryn Bigelow’s awesome new The Hurt Locker, Lilly has yet to cross over onto the AMC sites. Becoming the new Ripley feels like a fine way to kickstart the transition.

Let’s just hope they don’t skew this one to a younger demographic and hand the ranks over to, say, Gossip Girl‘s Leighton Meester. The Carl Erik Rinsch-fueled good will would dissipate in a millisecond.

Give Carl Erik Rinsch’s commercials posted at /Film a gander, by clicking on the link below. The first one, “Evolution of Technology,” proves that the guy has a nice command of special effects and creature designs.

Link: The Commercials of Carl Erik Rinsch

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