Neill Blomkamp‘s next film, Chappie, doesn’t have a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, but if this year is proving anything, it’s that panels aren’t the only way to raise awareness for a project. Sometimes something as simple as an evocative poster will do the trick. That’s exactly what Sony used in the case of Chappie, which stars Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Sharlto Copley. Check out the first Chappie poster below.
Thanks to Collider for these images. The poster/banner is apparently massive, so it’s broken down into a few sections.
See more images at the above link.
Scheduled for release March 6, Chappie is about a boy who is kidnapped and later adopted by a loving family. They realize he’s incredibly gifted and smart. The only problem is, he’s a robot. The above banner really gets that point across in an interesting way, don’t you agree?
One of a series of articles looking at comics making their debut at this week’s San Diego Comic Con, What they are, who they are by, what they are about and how to find them!
Vampire Boogie (Limited Edition Preview) from the 7-nation-British army of Corey Brotherson (writer), James Daniels (artist) and Mike Stock (letterer and designer), with a little help from Improper Books editor and MULP co-creator Matt Gibbs.
Yes, we’re aware that there aren’t seven of us, nor are we an army, but we’re definitely British.
…Look, it sounded less average at the time, alright?
O-08 in the Small Press area. We’re not hard to spot. I guarantee that we will be the only two black gentlemen with funny accents and wearing (painfully) itchy tweed in the whole of Comic-Con.
A 22-page preview of the forthcoming mini-series Vampire Boogie, including a 12 page sample of issue one, and in-canon sketchbook/profile book, which was inspired by Tobin’s Spirit Guide from the Ghostbusters.
It’s $2 (or free with a copy of Magic of Myths: Omnibus Edition, another fine book we’re selling), including a free digital copy and the chance to get your face drawn in the series! Get yourself eaten by a grumpy Australian vampire, pissed off that ‘Twilight’ exists! Or maybe even BE that vampire! U (won’t) decide!
Mixing savage horror, dark humour and a light bite of satire, Vampire Boogie explores what happens when classic vampire myths, social media and modern day vampires clash, in a mini-series full of murky mystery, blood soaked twists, and sarcastic hashtags.
Sure, the explosive, extended trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy was great, but sometimes you want to enjoy the mellower side of being on the far side of the universe.
Released over the weekend, this “Galaxy Getaways” trailer shows how our Terran vacation destination ain’t nothin’ when compared to some of the far-flung galactic Club Meds out there. The promo offers up some quick snippets of new footage from Guardians of the Galaxy, including a slightly longer look at Knowwhere, the community built inside of the severed head of a floating Celestial. Also: Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) get some time at the gambling tables.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on August 1, 2014.
So any sights and strange points of interest you wish you could hit up in a hypothetical tour of the galaxy? Let us know in the comments below!
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David, Devindra, and Jeff discuss Bong Joon-Ho’s latest film, Snowpiercer, plus correct some of their past mistakes. Also, David’s stupidity almost prevents the /Filmcast from being recorded, and everyone learns an important life lesson as a result. Be sure to check out Matt Reeves’ remarks on Andy Serkis’ comments, Indiewire’s interview with Harvey Weinstien, and why we waste $162 billion on food each year.
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The first round of Star Wars casting was a male-centric lineup of talent, with only Carrie Fisher and newcomer Daisy Ridley balancing out the guys. But Star Wars Episode VII has added a few other women to the fold over the past few weeks: Lupita Nyong’o, Christina Chong, Crystal Clarke, and Gwendoline Christie have all signed on.
We don’t know much about the roles played by any of the women other than Fisher, but some really interesting new details have emerged about Gwendoline Christie’s possible role. We’ll keep all the spoilers after the jump, but fans of Christie’s Game of Thrones character Brienne of Tarth won’t be disappointed.
Again, possible spoilers ahead for Episode VII, and not only for Christie’s character.
So the first big plot reveal for Episode VII said that the movie kicks off with a lightsaber falling into the hands of a struggling character played by John Boyega. If the new information from Badass Digest is correct, Gwendoline Christie comes into the picture as a person who is hunting the guy played by Boyega.
More potential spoilers coming up.
The details get sketchy from there, with the main report being that she’s an Imperial officer on the hunt for Boyega after he deserts his post as a Stormtrooper. There are tales that she could be the Chrome Trooper of which there have been rumors, or even that (even more potential spoilers ahead, swipe to read) Christie’s character may wield a lightsaber, and could even be a Sith. (End swipe.)
As far as we know, this character was written as a gender-neutral figure, but there’s some speculation that Christie now has the role that was once offered to Benedict Cumberbatch. There’s also some question about the source of details for this character reveal: are these notes all from the early Michael Arnt draft, or do they carry forward into the current shooting draft? Lots of uncertainty here.
Regardless, this is a very tantalizing development, and an awesome idea. There’s no question that Christie could knock action scenes out of the park, and we know she can excel as a tenacious hunter/warrior. If all this is true it’s the sort of material that would end up in the first big trailer for the movie, so we’ll know more well before Episode VII opens on December 18, 2015.
The post Gwendoline Christie Rumored to be a Tenacious Officer in ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ appeared first on /Film.
Though it’s not the first time Boom! have worked with Mr Morrison. In that they reprinted his Steed And Mrs Peel comics based on the original Avengers TV show, and originally published by Eclipse.
I should know, I helped Boom! figure out how to pay Grant by putting them in touch with him. Seems like they have continued that relationship rather nicely…
Masters of Sex, Season 2, Episode 2: “Kyrie Eleison”
Written by David Flebotte
Directed by Michael Apted
Airs Sundays at 10pm ET on Showtime
In case you haven’t already scuttered over to Google for quickie research, “Kyrie Eleison” means “Lord have mercy” in Greek. A bit of an on-the-nose name for an episode about people having to put up with all manner of off-kilter bullplop, but it works. While steeped in an unfortunate sophomore episode downturn after the premiere, this was still a good week. The show is still shifting gears as it maneuvers the leads into the place they’ll need to be to re-start the sex study.
The episode opens by signaling that we’re not there yet, as Gateway Memorial isn’t willing to take Gini on as an equal lead on the study. She can’t even come on as Bill’s secretary, since one’s been provided for him (Betsy Brandt!), but that’s fine by her, since her secretarial days are well behind her. Unfortunately, the rest of her story in the episode is a comedown from her assertion of her own independence at its start, as she keeps inflicting well-meaning but drastically miscalculated pushes on Lillian. First there’s the disastrous PSA shoot, and then there’s her insistence that Lillian get a test which confirms what she already knew: her cancer has metastasized.
The running theme to this episode is how people battle to assert that they know what’s best for others. It’s the concern of its central story, in which Bill butts heads with a woman who believes that sterilizing her teenage daughter is a surefire way to “cure” her rabid sexual appetite. It’s also the focus of Libby’s b-plot, in which she chafes against the new nanny (Keke Palmer!) when the latter proves to know a few things more than Libby does about caring for infants.
That subplot brings out a side of Libby that we’ve never seen before — her inner Betty Draper. Coral effortlessly calming the colicky baby and humiliating Libby in front of Bill leads to Libby nastily “correcting” Coral’s elocution. It’s a horridly effective scene, Libby’s coldness boosted by a deeply uncomfortable flavor of racism. As Libby confessed in an earlier, friendlier exchange with Coral (the fact that they started off on good terms makes the degeneration all the worse), she expected the baby to “fix” things with Bill, but she’s now realizing that’s just not happening. And it’s starting to crack her spirit.
Other characters run through their own disappointments. Gini’s appointment with Dr. Ditmer, so promising when they set it in the previous episode, turns to rot pretty quickly, as she realizes that his interest in the workings of Ulysses is much more puerile than professional. Her drubbing continues with an unfortunate confrontation with Vivian (between that scene, her confession to Bill, and her dressing-down of Dr. Langham, Rose McIver was on fire this episode). Bill learns the truth about Scully, which both sends him into an emotional down and strengthens his resolve that his mission to bring sexual practice into the light of day is an important one.
In his one big contribution to the episode, Dr. Langham gives Gini a brief but strangely enlightening lecture on “turning into the skid” when bumps in the road come around. We see that in practice with Betty, who goes through the charade of getting fertility treatments from Bill, even though everyone except Pretzel King knows that’s not going to help anything. But Betty also gets to deliver a refutation to everyone who erroneously thinks they know best, telling Rose, the girl over whom Bill is fighting an ethical battle, about her own slut-shaming mother. She admits that half-blinding her mother was perhaps a step too far, though.
The terms that Bill, Dr. Greathouse, and Rose’s mother throw around in regards to Rose illuminated their drastically different perspectives on her “condition.” Bill and Greathouse even directly square off on the subject of people who don’t act in accordance with society’s mores: “nymphomaniacs, fetishists, and homosexuals” says Bill; “sluts, perverts, and queers” says Greathouse (which is rich, given that an earlier conversation about the particulars of the study suggests that he has some “perverted” interests of his own). Greathouse is far more beholden to the accepted views, while Bill, though not quite right in his assessment (he’s still pathologizing behavior that we are now fine with (or, okay, are more fine with than we used to be)), is more compassionate and scientific. And his approach bears out, as he manages to talk Rose out of a hysterectomy and introduce her to the IUD. “You’re not your worst part” he tells her. It’s the one big win in an episode that mostly kicked the characters down (or had some of them do some kicking).
Gini and Bill are together only at the beginning and the end of “Kyrie Eleison,” with a whole lot of trouble in between. It emphasizes how they’re both floundering without each other. Hopefully the show soon gets back to some good old-fashioned sex science again, because it is sorely missed.
- Dan Schindel
The post Masters of Sex, Ep. 2.02: “Kyrie Eleison” continues to shift the show’s gears appeared first on Sound On Sight.
This Friday will see the release of The Rock’s (None of this Dwayne Johnson nonsense, he’s The Rock) newest action tentpole Hercules, with him playing the historic hero. You’ve probably already made up your mind if you’re going to see this film or not, you’re not anxiously waiting on the fence. You probably haven’t given a second thought to Hercules. But I have, and for the first time in a long time, I’m worried about The Rock.
When you really stop to think about it, The Rock has built a career becoming one of the most unlikely box office superstars. In 2013 Forbes named him the highest grossing actor of the year with his films that year bringing in $1.3 billion. But I say box office superstar with a caveat: He only smashes numbers when he’s part of an ensemble. Put the guy in an ensemble cast and he’ll rake in big bucks for you. But have him headline a film? That hasn’t proven the same box office results. He’s not necessarily abysmal on his own, but the question remains, is he finally at the point in his career where he can smash the box office by himself?
Wrestlers have always faced a bizarrely unexplainable but clearly existent glass ceiling in the film world. Behind The Rock, Rowdy Roddy Piper is perhaps the 2nd most well-known wrestler turned actor. But even though he has one of the most memorable and beloved fight scenes of all time, even he could never advance to more prolific levels. Just think about it, before The Rock, They Live was probably the farthest a pro wrestler had gotten in Hollywood.
The Rock’s entry point into films was essentially a one-off gimmick playing the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. And then that one-off gimmick turned into it’s own film with The Scorpion King the following year. And then before you knew it he was in other films that weren’t The Scorpion King sequels/prequels and he was advertising his films under a bizarre name of Dwayne Johnson. Did anybody else not know that his real name wasn’t The Rock before any of this? No? Just me? To be fair I was only 10-12 years old when this was going down.
The Rock began to carve out a name for himself in the action genre. He followed up The Scorpion King with The Rundown and Walking Tall, both competent and enjoyable action films – but neither made any money. Walking Tall barely made back its budget, while The Rundown didn’t meet its budget. Despite being classified as failures, there was something about The Rock that stood out and made you take notice. He had the makings of a truly great action star. He had the physique, you believed he could beat anyone up, and he had a real charisma about him on screen. Unfortunately, neither of his first two outings as a legitimate action star paid off, and he went into a spiral of bad filmmaking.
Up until 2010, it was a dark time for The Rock and his fans. He was doing a bunch of supporting roles and headlining terrible Disney films. It wasn’t just that these films weren’t blowing up the box office like the executives wanted them to, it was that these films were putting The Rock to waste. None of them –besides some glimmers of what could be in his silly performances in Get Smart and even more so in The Other Guys – really understood how to utilize The Rock. There is something so watchable about the guy, the problem was that he was making unwatchable films.
You know that feeling of euphoria, life-affirmation, gratitude and renewed belief of the possibility of world peace we all felt when Lebron announced he would return to Cleveland? I had that same feeling when The Rock returned to action films. When Faster came out, I made sure to see it opening weekend to support and sustain The Rock’s return to action. It was a pretty underrated action thriller bolstered by an amount of character depth that not even myself knew The Rock had in him. Unfortunately it didn’t do well at the box office, only nominally surpassing its $24 million price tag. Fortunately, great things were just around the corner, and The Rock began to prove his stellar value as a franchise utility man. The bizarre reinvention of The Fast & the Furious franchise that was Fast Five was successful in no small part thanks to the addition of The Rock, with the film doubling it’s worldwide intake from the next highest grossing film in the franchise with a whopping $626 million intake. He lent his newfound power to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which grossed $100 million worldwide than the previous film. G.I. Joe: Retaliation managed to be an unlikely success with the inclusion of him, besting the previous film with an additional $75 million worldwide. And so began the age of The Rock.
As previously mentioned, his 4 films in 2013 grossed a collective $1.3 billion dollars making him the highest paid actor of the year. In that year he released G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Fast & Furious 6, Snitch and Pain & Gain. Here’s the thing though, just over $1.16 billion of that collective gross came from G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast & Furious 6. Neither Snitch nor Pain & Gain grossed $100 million worldwide – in fact neither cracked $50 million domestically, even though both featured The Rock’s best acting efforts (It should also be noted Pain & Gain isn’t an action film, and Snitch barely is, but you get the point). His franchise ensemble efforts – something he has become bulletproof at landing – carried almost all the weight of his box office success that year.
Naturally there is some apprehension as to whether or not Hercules can make the impression he wants it to. It’s putting itself in a summer full of indistinguishable blockbuster attempts like it, and also putting itself in the same year as another Hercules film (The Legend of Hercules). Granted that film sucks, but it is also part of a trend this year where 3 swords and sandals flicks have been released (The Legend of Hercules, Pompeii and 300: Rise of an Empire) with 300 the only one to not fail at the box office. Is The Rock too late to the party? At the same time though, there has never been a better time to bet on The Rock than now. That $1.3 billion speaks volumes of his box office reach, and The Rock will promote his films with an enthusiasm and vigor that few others can. If you follow any of his social media accounts, you no doubt have seen dozens upon dozens of reminders/updates about Hercules, Fast & Furious 7 and his upcoming San Andreas – because the dude posts only a few different types of photos: Promo material, gym photos, photos with fans, a varying mix of each of them, and just things of pure beauty and wonder. Here’s the thing, 37+ million people are going to see each one of his promo posts, his fanbase making him a safer bet for studios than he was pre-social media. His supporters are more visible now than they were a decade ago, all that remains is that they be more visible at the box office. The Rock is cooking like he never has before, but will anyone show up to the barbecue?
The Rock is on the cusp of becoming a true action star. Action hero is an elusive title to hold, as so many varying categories of requirements play into how valid of an action star you are. It’s also very hard to predict an action star, we usually only realize when someone has ascended to that level in the moment. One thing is for sure, to be an action hero you have to be able to open up an action film on your own to winning numbers. This is the challenge The Rock will face come Friday. Hercules – based on the trailers – depicts the title character as one who is coming face to face with who he truly is and what his abilities truly are. I can’t help but feel that the film holds a similar importance for The Rock. We’ll know for sure when the numbers come in on Sunday.
Box office numbers via Box Office Mojo.
The post The Rock: Always The Rocksmaid, Never The Rocksgroom appeared first on Sound On Sight.
Robert Bresson’s is one of the great singular visions of the cinema. Like Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky, Bresson’s output was relatively minimal — 13 features over the course of 40 years — but it is likewise instantly recognizable. Though it’s something of an auteurist cliché to say that one can identify a given director’s work by just a single scene or even a single frame, in this case, the declaration holds true. Bresson’s work is so distinct, so deceptively simple, so regimented in its formal construction, that to see one of his films is to witness an exceptional directorial style, one consistently employed throughout an artist’s body of work. With this consistency comes the subsequent creation of one extraordinary film after another, each similar to the previous, with reoccurring imagery, themes, and performances, but each, at the same time, notably unique. Bresson directed several films that could be considered his greatest, and while Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) puts up the strongest fight, a good case could be made for Pickpocket, from 1959, as the inimitable filmmaker’s finest achievement.
Though there are others in the film, Michel (Martin LaSalle) is the titular thief of concern. Michel is, in James Quandt’s words, a “walking semiotic system of alienation.” LaSalle’s blank slate of a face allows the audience to project any number of emotions and thoughts onto this young man, but such associative engagement is sheer speculation, for rarely are we afforded any overt suggestion of true feeling. His self-imposed isolationism keeps him at a distance from society, for which he seems to care little, and from family and friends. Jeanne (Marika Green), his teenage neighbor who cares for his ailing mother (Michel would rather give his mother a wad of cash than visit with her), and Jacques (Pierre Leymarie), his sole friend, offer a way out from the solitary existence, a path of intimacy and amity, but Michel greets this closeness with trepidation. Though the three do socialize on occasion, Michel’s public presence is awkward to say the least.
Adding to his social discomfort is his disconcerting worldview, his take of what is right or wrong and his questioning of morality and appropriate justice. With Jacques and the police officer who is suspiciously on his trail at all times, Michel daringly lays out his philosophical stance when it comes to the justification of certain crimes if committed by gifted men, men better than others, men above the law, “supermen” operating autonomously from societal structures. Such a duel (dis)regard for certain people and not others is manifest in Michel’s visually evident and even stated appreciation for his chosen craft and those craftsmen who so expertly execute the crime. (Real-life pickpocket Kassagi appears in the film and acted as a technical advisor for the production, lending the criminal methodology shown considerable authenticity.) The ambiguous awe with which Michel sometimes examines the other pickpockets gives credence to some of the psychosexual readings that have been assigned to the film; they’re perhaps not what first comes to mind watching the movie, but once the suggestion has been made, as Quandt does make, it’s hard to shake the theory.
Michel meticulously practices his thieving routine, and once successfully put into action, the anxiety gives way to euphoria; watching Michel enact his felonies is truly a sensual experience. The same goes for when we see Michel and his fellow pickpockets stage elaborately designed joint thefts. The bravura sequence at the train station is a wonderfully shot and arranged display of intricate collaboration. Such careful commitment to a crime is, it must be admitted, rather admirable and impressive. But of course, that doesn’t make it right, and on the flip side of this is the omnipresent potential for apprehension. The police are also competent figures in Pickpocket. There are officers doing their own work, and frequently succeeding. What emerges is a sort of professional tête-à-tête of contrasting and competing occupational proficiency.
Known for his austere and stripped down treatment of imagery, Bresson here reveals a notable stylishness, with a smoothly flowing camera and outstanding montage sequences — Pickpocket is also perhaps less rigorous due to its rapid pace and its condensed runtime (about 75 minutes). While it is a brisk film, Bresson nevertheless allows for certain formal features more synonymous with his cinema: extreme, perfectly composed close-ups of small details and abstract body parts; lingering shots of halls and doorways, transitional places maintained in the frame before or after a character has moved through them; and the integration of a complex soundtrack as a way to establish and enlarge off-screen space. Paul Schrader, in his introduction to the film that accompanies the recently released Criterion Collection Blu-ray, discusses these and other unique Bresson approaches to filmic guidelines. His decisions when it comes to editing tempo, genre convention, shot size, and pacing are most unusual, and yet are highly effective in terms of narrative progression and the general impression of the film. This impression, as Quandt mentions in his commentary, is one marked by the “everyday transfigured by Bresson’s strange attentiveness.”
Schrader, who calls Pickpocket the most influential film on his own career (with allusions most clearly in Taxi Driver and American Gigolo), considers Michel as a soul floating around. Much of this detached sense is a result of Bresson’s use of actors (or, as he would sometime refer to them, “interpreters” or “models”). Like automatons that have not yet developed an emotive aptitude, the performers here and in other Bresson films are in a perpetual state of lethargic restraint and sobriety, only occasionally countered by outbursts of passion. Bresson cast “non-actors who non-act,” as Schrader puts it, but interestingly, given the director’s penchant when it comes to performances, their impact operating in this unorthodox style is always a lasting one.
It is stated at the film’s opening that this will not be a thriller, and with regards to that designation’s standard definition, this is obviously true. But Pickpocket is thrilling. Though we are oftentimes left to infer as much as we are actually shown, this omission of various elements is more captivating than it is distancing. And despite the intentionally stilted performances, we are genuinely concerned about these people and wonder how they will ultimately turn out. When it’s revealed that the morally superior Jacques is not all he seemed to be, the suggestion that perhaps Michel can also change gives the film a previously lacking optimism. His respite from crime may be short-lived, but there is still by film’s end a glimmer of hope. It was a “strange path” Michel traveled, but the destination appears to have been worth the trip. “Appears to” being the key here, for rarely in the film are motivations and outcomes made unequivocal, which was always part of Bresson’s intent. As he puts it, “I’d rather people feel a film before understanding it.”
Since gaining both the G.I. Joe and Transformers licenses, IDW Publishing has done an effective job of carving out a nice little family of titles for both properties, mixing series grounded in their respective pasts with series that move both franchises forward in new and different directions. Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 marks the first time IDW has brought these properties together (itself something of a tradition, having been done by most of the major previous license holders, though this is the first time this concept has been applied to an ongoing series). The end result is the first part of a story that, at least initially, appears to be, above all else, a celebration of both G.I. Joe and Transformers and the kind of madcap energy that comes from mashing together two fondly-remembered toy franchises.
Written by John Barber and Tom Scioli, the plot, picking up where the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue left off, is a fairly standard “first encounter” story, the kind that would be right at home in earlier iterations of this mash-up, though the final pages suggest an interesting twist on the old standard (and one which makes it clear this series is set firmly in its own continuity, independent of both previous iterations of this concept and of the concurrent G.I. Joe and Transformer titles published by IDW). Barber & Scioli, stated fans of both the comic book and cartoon versions of these characters, write them as an effect amalgamation of both iterations, and deserve credit for dusting off some deep cuts, character-wise, for this first issue, and leaving some of the major players on the bench initially. Joe standard bearer Snake-Eyes, of course, plays a role, but Generals Flagg and “Iron-Butt” Austin are hardly marquee Joe names, while Optimus Prime, Bumblebee and Megatron are, initially, nowhere to be found. While these characters are likely to show up eventually, their exclusion at the start suggests the writers have a bigger story to tell featuring more than just the usual “go-to” characters from each property.
Scioli also doubles up and provides the art for the book, and his work may prove to be divisive amongst readers. At times, it seems overly simplistic, particularly in some of the figure work, and at other times, such as in the panel layouts and page constructions, it possess an almost Kirby-like level of energy, with characters almost leaping off the page. That disconnect can be off-putting at times, but overall Scioli’s art succeeds both in the fun little details (like tinting pages in red while the G.I. Joe team is at red alert) and by capturing and synthesizing the aesthetic look of the comics, cartoons and toys. Just as the story manages to meld both iterations of the properties into one, so too does the art manage to look at once like an issue of a comic book, an episode of a cartoon, and the live action play of children mashing action figures together, an impressive feat that smooths over some of the disconnects elsewhere in the art.
This issue wraps up with a text piece from the authors and annotated notes on the creation of the issue, and if the story itself wasn’t proof enough, this makes it clear just how excited they are to be creating this series, while the annotations make for a fun behind-the-scenes look at their creative process. This backmatter alone is enough to make picking up subsequent issues worthwhile, so hopefully it’ll continue at least through the initial story arc.
All told, while the unique art style may take some getting used to, the biggest takeaway from Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 is that the creators genuinely love these properties, and are having a blast telling a story that brings them together. Anyone with similar affections should have no problem sharing their enthusiasm, and becoming engrossed in the narrative universe they’re creating.
The post ‘Transformers vs. G.I. Joe’ #1 An Energetic Love Letter To Both Properties appeared first on Sound On Sight.
What is it about foreign horror films that makes them more interesting than so many English language horror films? You would have to think that the language barrier makes it more terrifying; people screaming is already difficult, but speaking a language you don’t understand can only make it worse. So, why are the remakes typically so bad? On this portion of the list, we are treated to a few of the more upsetting films in the canon – one movie I wouldn’t wish for anyone to see, a few that blazed the trail for many more, and one that I would elevate above the horror genre into its own little super-genre.
30. Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003)
English Title: A Tale of Two Sisters
Directed by: Kim Ji-woon
Another excellent Korean horror film America had to remake to lesser results. 2003′s A Tale of Two Sisters is just one of many film adaptations of the folktale, involving two sisters who return home from a mental hospital and begin going through strange experiences with their stepmother. Birds die, people aren’t who you expect, and ghosts appear, all taking their cues from the broken relationship between the girls – Su-Mi and Su-Yeon – and their seemingly wicked stepmother. This highest grossing Korean horror film of all time is also the first to be screened in American theaters, grossing just under $75,000 in limited release. The film was remade in 2009 as The Uninvited, a film that lacked the twisted, surreal nature of the original. The major strength of A Tale of Two Sisters is the unexpected, somewhat unintelligible shifts of perspective, moving between typical shock horror and psychological horror seamlessly. Of the late 90′s/early 00′s Asian horror film boom, A Tale of Two Sisters stands out as an example of how to turn what could have been a ridiculous film into a true thriller.
29. La maschera del demonio (1960)
English Title: Black Sunday, The Mask of Satan, Revenge of the Vampire
Directed by: Mario Bava
Hey – it’s Mario Bava again. This time, it’s his directorial debut (or, the first one that put his name on it). Black Sunday was incredibly gruesome for its day and age, receiving a ban in the UK until 1968. In the 1600′s, a witch named Asa (Barbara Steele) and her lover are put to death by Asa’s brother, but not before Asa puts a curse on her brother’s descendants. 200 years later, Asa is revived thanks to some stray blood – mayhem ensues. Steele also plays a young woman named Katia that Asa (also Steele ) is trying to take life/youth from, which makes for a nice dichotomy. The eventual American version cut all the fun stuff out: a mask of nails hammered into Asa’s face, an “S” being branded into her, an eyeball impalement, and burning flesh being peeled off. It’s a clear influence on directors from Tim Burton to Francis Ford Coppola and serves as one of the original films to make its imagery as horrifying as it’s unseen moments.
It’s the gold (steel?) standard of Japan’s underground cyberpunk movement of the 1980′s, delivering industry-fueled visuals and a narrative structure that makes little sense. Tetsuo starts with a bang – a man (he’s never named) cuts his leg open and shoved metal wiring into the open wound. Naturally, the wound gets infected, causing the man (Tomorowo Taguchi) to freak out and get hit by a car. The driver and his girlfriend dump his body in a ravine, only resulting in the driver to morph into a weird human/scrap metal combination. Meanwhile, the Metal Fetishist (Taguchi) starts inhabiting bodies and appearing to the driver through various means. This movie is bonkers. It’s less horror than it is crazy technology thriller, but the underlying theme of body horror makes the film feel like a low-cost Cronenberg picture. Clocking in at just over an hour, Tetsuo never turns down the intensity and manages to twist the genre on its head.
Warning: This description may cause bodily harm. Jörg Buttgereit’s controversial West German film took on most of the film taboos that had yet to be approached. Nekromantik centers on Rob (Dakarti Lorenz), a clean-up specialist for fatal accidents. It’s a perfect gig, Rob being a necrophiliac and all. He and his girlfriend Betty (Beatrice Manowski) have Ana apartment filled with blood, body parts, and various other traditional decor. This eventually leads to him bringing a whole corpse home, allowing he and Betty to engage in some three-way fun. But, just like every other film involving an open relationship, Betty begins to prefer the company of the outlier (so cliche). So, she leaves with the corpse to start a happier life with him. From there, Rob is a broken man – sex in a graveyard can’t even cheer him up. So, in the strict West German state of the mid-80′s, this tiny film with no budget, untrained actors, and terrible special effects, caused a bit of a stir. Buttgereit didn’t submit it for review, attempting to show it in only adult theaters on his own. It’s a freaking mess. It really is. But it’s also a benchmark of foreign independent cinema, a proud member of the cult canon of the last 30 years, and a horrifying precursor to the torture porn and even more sadistic sub-genres of today. Forgive me – I’m off to shower.
The modern Mexican horror master Guillermo del Toro has improved his craft since, but his first groundbreaking work came with 1993′s Cronos, the story of a device that gives eternal life (with a few side effects). Of course, it’s resurfacing brings with it great power, leading to a dying millionaire to search for it, sending his nephew Angel (Ron Pearlman) to find it, bringing him to shop owner Jesus (Frederico Luppi), who after his death at the hands of Angel, activates the device’s power. He finds his youth returning, only to find with it a new thirst for blood. Del Toro has shown brilliance in his methods of bringing what can be defined as “adult fairy tales” to life – those fantastical stories with a strong moral message, but littered with plenty of sadness, pain, and death. Cronos is no exception – an early look at a filmmaker that had yet to meet his full potential. It was enough to get his next project funded – the English language suspense film Mimic, which del Toro was unhappy with, since his directorial cut was not the released version. Still, Cronos is a good first effort from a man who would only get better, as you’ll see later on this list.
In between all his existential films touching on religion and self-exploration, Ingmar Bergman made a quiet psychological horror film. Hour of the Wolf is broken into two parts (the title isn’t shown until the transition between the two parts). Part one focuses on a flashback through the eyes of Alma (Liv Ullmann), who informs us that her husband has disappeared. She and her painter husband Johan (Max Von Sydow) are living on a secluded island while Johan recovers from an unspecified crisis. He is regularly visited by strange people who he believes are demons. Alma learns that Johan is also haunted by the voices of his ex-lover, who materializes herself in part two. Hour of the Wolf has the typical Bergman atmosphere, but with a much darker, intense feel. The psychological interplay between Ullmann and von Sydow is remarkable, only heightened by the fourth wall breaking monologues of Ullmann in certain moments. We learn that the time defined in the film’s title is detailed as the brief window where the most births and deaths occur from Johan, in between his many stories which may be memories or dreams. It’s dark. It’s creepy. It’s simple, effective horror.
One of Argento’s most commercially successful films, Opera took a much more straightforward approach, focusing on one young opera singer named Betty (Cristina Marsillach) and her nightmare of a debut on stage. Unexpectedly, she is pulled in to lead Verdi’s Macbeth for her first performance. But, during that performance, a murder takes place in one of the opera boxes (as is oft to happen). Betty is then stalked by the killer, as she watches all the people around her die and, eventually, comes face to face with the killer and the dark secret of her past. Of Argento’s catalog, it’s not his most effective and doesn’t do anything different than what his other films have done, but where Argento elevates Opera is the inventive nature of the murder sequences, which includes the memorable use of tape and pins to hold someone’s eyes open (an idea that was pitched as a joke by Argento, who hated that people looked away during the graphic moments of his films). It’s far from forgettable, but Opera simply loses impact when compared to the rest of the master’s filmography. Doesn’t mean it’s not scary as Hell.
Jodorowsky’s style is not an easy sit, but those familiar with what he typically does will find this trippy horror film a delight. Santa Sangre is the visionary story of a young man named Fenix (Axel Jodorowsky) stuck in a mental ward, which is broken into a flashback and a flash forward. We learn of the horrors Fenix went through as a child, traveling with his family of circus performers. He witnesses his mother’s arms being removed by his fanatical father, who then commits suicide. The jump forward shows Fenix trying to reconnect with his now limbless mother, eventually becoming her unsuspecting slave in a quest for vengeance. Rated NC-17 upon its release, Santa Sangre depicts incredibly grisly violence, even for a time when violence on screen was becoming a commonplace thing. But, just as Jodorowsky’s films tend to, it contains an intense surrealism to it that is even more unsettling. After his failed attempt to adapt Dune to the screen, he took nearly 20 years to bring another film to the screen and this was it. What results is a haunting tale of psychological horror that may truly be the one honest “art horror film” on the list. It’s on this list, but it’s not really a horror film. It defies genre in a way that films never do. It’s sadomasochistic and unnerving and any further exposition wouldn’t do it justice.
Japanese for “Demon Hag,” Onibaba is both a horror film and a historical drama, set during the country’s civil war of the fourteenth century. As the war rages, the wife (Jitsuko Yoshimura) and mother (Nobuko Otowa) of a soldier are left on their own, scraping together a living by killing warriors that come near their property and selling their belongings to a merchant. When a soldier comes looking for a lost friend, the wife finds herself drawn to him, forcing the mother to give in to her jealousy and fear, slowly plotting her revenge. The catch: the mother has also decided to begin wearing a demon mask she found on one of their victims. Much like with Kuroneko (also on the list), Shindô takes a female perspective as he tells his story of horror and loneliness, focusing much more on the ambiance of his location and setting than the actual violence. Onibaba relies heavily on the relationship between the two women in the film, a collective need for love and attention, while at the same time a stronger need to survive. When one begins to move in an unexpected direction, we see the rift starting, a chasm widening between the two, and the beginnings of what would eventually become a terribly effective atmospheric horror film. Plus, that mask is freaky.
21. Sei donne per l’assassino (1964)
English Title: Blood and Black Lace, Six Women for the Murderer
Directed by: Mario Bava
After his previous two films were such worldwide successes, full control was given to Mario Bava on 1964′s Blood and Black Lace, where he was originally expected to create a simple serial killer mystery. Clearly, he decided that would be too easy, so he pushed a much heavier focus on the actual pursuit and murder of the victims in the film, moving further and further away from what could have been a boring “whodunit.” Blood and Black Lace is basically just kill after kill, all of the victims being scantily clad models at the mercy of a masked murderer. It’s simple, yet aggressive plot served as one of the most important early giallo films, as well as a go-to template for all the repetitive slasher films of the 80′s. The keys: for the most part, the victims all live in the same house; the murderer is looking for a diary with incriminating facts in it; the murderer tends to be creative with the ways he kills everybody. In the end, a film that could have functioned as a boring “detective looking for a serial killer” film ended up being one of the most important films in Italian horror history because the great Mario Bava decided he didn’t feel like following the rules.
The post The Definitive Foreign Language Horror Films: 30-21 appeared first on Sound On Sight.
CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH” SOUNDTRACK FINALLY GETS OFFICIAL LP RELEASE – NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER!
The OST of yesterday, now available for the youth of today!
New York, N.Y., July 22, 2014 – The Ship to Shore Phonograph Company announced today that the soundtrack to the Troma classic Class of Nuke ‘Em High will finally get an official release, something fans have been waiting for since 1986! In conjunction with Troma, Ship … Continue reading
A new, persistent web-tracking technology developed has been used to track web users across many of the world's most popular websites, including those of the White House and even wholesale smut platform YouPorn.
The canvas fingerprinting technique was described in 2012 by University of California researchers (PDF) as a means to silently track the web sites users visit. Surveilled users watched over by canvas attacks cannot defend themselves by clearing the tracking mechanism by normal browser flushing nor guard against infection using apps like AdBlock Plus.
If you use AddThis in any of your websites, make sure you remove it ASAP. This is nasty stuff if you care at all about your privacy (or the privacy of whoever visits your site). Also, check out Ghostery, a browser plugin that blocks widgets like this.
I've been going to Comic-Con since maybe 2000, and much has changed over the years. Notably, that what I used to call "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" has become the thing I stress out about the most. I started just writing about it on my personal blog, managed to get a cover story about it in the OC Weekly, and for five years, reported on it for top online movie trade site Deadline. The first year, I was told, "What you're interested in, we're interested in." The last year, "Beat our competitors to the movie news."
In 2013, I tried using my Deadline training to beat even the big sites to the news, and found it to be much harder without the kind of access the big-name outlets can get you. Six hours in line for Hall H, all day. No thank you. Back when print newspapers weren't in danger (yes, I remember such a time), I thought the best way to cover Comic-Con would be to send a team of ten, to cover ALL the panels, including not just big movie news but all the weird, quirky stuff that makes up the celebration of fandom.
Continue reading "Overnight Open Thread and Post Advisory - Comic-Con Preview Edition" >
As weird as a show like Louie can get, FX isn’t necessarily TV’s main home for cool and out-there stuff. The network has aired about a thousand episodes of Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management, after all. Now, further dashing the hopes and dreams of cool and out-there TV viewers, FX has taken a look at the pilot for Charlie Kaufman’s How And Why and responded with a resounding “c’mon, some of us have work in the morning.” In other words, the pilot won’t be getting a series order at FX.
This comes via Deadline, which reports that the series would have starred Michael Cera, Sally Hawkins, and Catherine Keener, and it would’ve focused on a guy “who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is clueless about life.” Apparently the higher-ups at FX were turned off by How And Why’s ...
Aaron Haaland of A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida, writes:
Hey Fandom! I’m on my way to San Diego Comic Con, but first I talk about this week’s New Comics Now on A Comic Show!
Batman #33 was the finale of Zero Year, and it was super satisfying. Snyder should be damn proud of his run. Batman & Robin is the first part of Robin Rises, here we find out who’s joining Bats as he voyages to Apokalypse. And it’s Batman Day July 23rd, 75 years of the Dark Knight! Johns and JR JR continue to save Superman. Marvel’s Storm #1 by Greg Pak made the personal political and her title both fun and relevant. Over in Amazing Spider-Man Slott used Original Sin to introduce Silk, and it worked. Saga is still the best book on the stands. Doctor Who has two new books, one for both the 10th and 11th Doctors, and Doctor Who Day is Saturday the 26th. And if you try one new book this we, make it Transformers vs GI Joe #1! This books has passion and verve, and it make the 80′s cooler than they actually were!
I on the other hand like characters who can get into trouble on their own, and audiences who can suggest exciting trouble into which characters can get. Nothing is more entertaining than having someone say, "Hey, there's a six-foot-wide mud puddle over there," and the main character goes, "Nah, I'd rather burn down the barn instead." Or whatever.