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INTERVIEWS

Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
Boo Junfeng (The Apprentice
Gianfranco Rosi (Fire At Sea)
Chris Kelly (Other People)
NWR (Neon Demon)

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Thursday
Sep102015

Interview: The Filmmakers Behind 'Goodnight Mommy' on Working with Children, the Horror Genre as a Mirror, and Hopes of Oscar

Jose here. In the terrifying Goodnight Mommy, two angelic twin brothers named Elias and Luke (played by Elias and Luke Schwarz respectively) become convinced that their mother has been replaced by someone else after returning home from a stay at the hospital. And who can blame them? Their mother (Susanne Wuest) returns wrapped in Franju-esque bandages that only show her eyes, and she seems to have lost her good temper, patience and tenderness. Terrified of this unknown person, the twins proceed to torture her in order to get to the bottom of things. Directed and written by the team of Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, Goodnight Mommy is the kind of horror film that creeps under your skin because of how committed it is to its aesthetics and points of view.

There is not a single body-horror line Franz and Fiala are unafraid to cross, and the film features torture involving everything from superglued eyes to bondage by bandage; however, there is not a single moment in the film that feels gratuitous, and just like a song would serve a musical, the torture we see onscreen serves the story because it makes sense that these children would be terrified of someone they believe to be a total stranger, and if anything Goodnight Mommy has more in common with Home Alone than with Saw, if not in tone, at least in its intentions. The film has been selected to represent Austria at the Academy Awards and opens in the States on September 11. I had the chance to sit down with the filmmakers to discuss their techniques and tips for working with children, their favorite horror movies and what AMPAS members they wish to scare the most! Read the interview after the jump. 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep102015

Michael Snowbender

David here with some festive casting news.

It won't look anything like this.

Variety reports that the ever-present Michael Fassbender is in talks to star in The Snowman. I know what you’re thinking, but no, this isn’t Fassy’s Jack Frost. He’ll star as Harry Hole, in the adaptation of the seventh entry in Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbø’s book series. It’s a chilly series from Scandinavia, which has been owning the crime drama – mainly on TV – for the past half a decade at least, with massive successes like the original The Killing.

You may have heard talk about the series for a few years now – Working Title optioned the rights a while back, with the original intention to create a series akin to the Alex Cross films (Along Came a Spider, etc.), and it even had none other than Martin Scorsese mooted as a director at one point. He’s since moved into an exec producer role, leaving the director’s chair open for a more suitable candidate: Tomas Alfredson, whose next move we’ve been awaiting since Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and whose global breakout Let the Right On In shows exemplary form for bringing the Scandinavian cool to the screen.

Hole (that’s pronounced “Hoola”, according to Nesbø) is standard detective stuff, the “stereotype of the hardboiled, troubled maverick”: abrasive, heavy smoker, alcoholic, and – naturally - an unusually perceptive detective. With Fassbender’s strong, ruminative presence bringing Hole to life, and Alfredson’s detached, observant style, this hopefully makes for a crime drama with all the bracing chill of the books.

What do you reckon? Christmas cheer or a snow-go?

Thursday
Sep102015

McDreamy is Bridget Jones' Baby

Here's Murtada with some casting and sequel news.

Patrick Dempsey is joining Bridget Jones’ Baby, the third movie about the charming British singleton played by Renee Zellweger. Is this the first announcement about his movie? Filming starts pretty soon, October 2nd to be exact. Did we miss something? Is Zellweger returning to major movies and the headlines are about McDreamy? Both Zellweger and Colin Firth are expected back but not Hugh Grant hence Dempsey. Although there are no details yet on who Dempsey is playing, it’s clear from the casting this may be another love triangle.

Zellweger aside, are we ready for for Bridget to come back? It’s been more than a decade since the last movie. Are people really going to see this? From the recent long-after-first-few reboots and sequels people really wanted to see Jurassic World  while no one cared for the Terminator reboot. Like the latter the last Bridget was in the mid-aughts. Not a good sign. People who loved it at the time might not feel nostalgic for it yet while younger audiences wouldn’t care.

The first film, Bridget Jones’ Diary (2001), is a romantic comedy gem that came at a time when those were made regularly and some were made well. The book which of course came before the movie was a phenomenon. We loved Bridget’s self deprecating voice and wanted her to have the Elizabeth Bennet fantasy she dreamed of. Zellweger was aces in the part calming down everyone who was mad an American was cast as this quintessentially British woman. The second film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) followed shortly. In addition to the preposterous title, it's a trifle. Coming with an unnecessary sojourn into a Bangkok prison (is this a remake of both Bangkok Hilton and Brokedown Palace?) it presented nothing new. Just went on repeating all the best beats of the original including the fun and childish rivalry between Mark Darcy (Firth) and Daniel Cleaver (Grant). Let’s just forget about it and watch that fight scene from Diary again.

Is Dempsey over Grant an upgrade? If we’re being shallow and judging just by how they look today Dempsey wins. However he’s not the caddish charmer that is Grant as Daniel and that's was proven way sexier. Remember his seduction of Bridget and the way he said “absolutely enormous panties”. Can Dempsey match that? Dempsey’s charm is different. Blandly handsome with no gravitas, i.e. the perfect foil for a Disney princess like he was for Amy Adams in Enchanted. He could lay on that wholesome charm but we all know everyone likes the bad boy more.

It’s clear where we stand on the Grant/Dempsey debate but tell us where you are and why.

Wednesday
Sep092015

Belated Thoughts / Wide Eyes: Mad Max Fury Road's "Best Shot"

Nathaniel, reporting, one sleep before TIFF screenings drag me into the darkness and swallow me up...

one of the scariest images ever onscreen. one of the best title card intros, too.

Have you finished reading the previous choices for Mad Max Fury Road's "Best Shot" in the visual index? It's one of most perfect subjects for this series we've ever chosen, in no small part because the movie's gargantuan pleasures stem so specifically from the visual storytelling, rather than from dialogue, performance or sound --though those bring their own pleasures, of course. In fact, there is not a lot of dialogue in the film. Neither is their any exposition for expositions sake. The story is all there in the imagery, a grand adventure which can be enjoyed on multiple levels, provided you're really looking at it. Unlike many fine films we see each year, it's impossible to imagine this one in another form. It's neither a novel with pictures nor possible to conceive of as a stage play; Fury Road is pure cinema. 

For this, we cinephiles, must raise our hands in that pyramid shape the War Boys are so fond of and pay respects. Not to Immortan Joe who claims himself the "Redeemer" who saved his slave-like masses but to director George Miller and his cinematographer John Seale who are saving the action picture. (At least for now. Miller, like fellow rare action genius James Cameron, works too infrequently to actually do permanent rescue.) More... 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep092015

The Best Part of That 'Our Brand Is Crisis' Trailer

Glenn here, asking if you have watched the trailer for Our Brand is Crisis? It's the new Sandra Bullock movie that was meant to be the new George Clooney movie that, somewhat infamously, came to be after the gender was flipped on the lead character. Bullock plays a political strategist who gets hired to spearhead the campaign of a contender in the 2002 Bolivian government elections and finds herself battling against both rival Billy Bob Thornton and the native language. What a predicament!

The film is based on a 2005 documentary of the same name and is directed by David Gordon Green who, let's be honest, is peculiar. His whole career is made up of peculiar choices so we'll go with it for now.

The trailer is... interesting. It certainly presents as being in the same vein as Argo, a movie that is quite largely name-checked, albeit perhaps a bit more overtly comedic in tone. It's also got more than a hint of the "nice white lady" routine that made Bullock's 2009 Oscar-winning vehicle The Blind Side such a lightning rod. It is great to see the likes of Anthony Mackie and Ann Dowd with such (apparently) prominent roles, although I would have preferred more than just a passing glance of my beloved Scoot McNairy (he's there at the one-minute mark).

Consider this another BYOYNMS (remember, we introduced that new blog acronym last week) and pipe up in the comments about what you think.

I did, however, want to make mention of what is clearly the best moment in the trailer. It comes right at the start and actually made me scream with glee. Can you pick it by watching the trailer?

Why yes, they have used an old screenshot of The Net to represent Bullock's character in the '90s as a whiz! The Net! The 1995 Irwin Winkler-directed cyberspace thriller starring Sandra Bullock that is, just quietly, one of the most pleasurable of guilty pleasures. Mozart's Ghost, man! Pi! Praetorian! Mainframes and the world wibe web! I'd recognize that shot of Bullock frantically reaching for her floppy disc as she hacks anywhere.

How deliciously ridiculous. We should all see Our Brand is Crisis just because they were inspired enough to include that in the trailer.