In 1982, director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass collaborated on the masterful documentary Koyaanisqatsi, an art film that combined Reggio’s beautiful visions with Glass’ haunting music. The pair would team up again in 1988’s Powaqqatsi and in2002’s Naqoyqatsi. Now, in 2014, Reggio and Glass have once again created a stunning marriage of sound and picture with the much more pronounceable Visitors.
The works of certain horror writers just beg to be turned into motion pictures. The classic works of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft make great movies, as do the books of more modern scribes like Richard Matheson and Stephen King. And then there’s Henry James. Often thought of as the father of the psychological ghost story, James didn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed into writing strictly horror. Because of this, he is not generally thought of as being an icon of the genre, but his The Turn of the Screw is inarguably one of the most frightening tales ever committed to paper. The novella has been filmed numerous times since its 1898 publication, but the most memorable adaptation is the 1961 version directed by Jack Clayton (Something Wicked This Way Comes), simply called The Innocents.
Horror movies are built on the fear of the unknown, and a big part of that unknown is the “thing that lurks in the dark.” However, some horror films can be just as effective in the harsh light of day. The first half of John Carpenter’s Halloween takes place in broad daylight, just as much of Jaws does, and those two films are considered two of the scariest classics ever made. In 1971, before both Jaws and Halloween, sci-fi/fantasy director Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green, Fantastic Voyage) made a bright film with a dark side called See No Evil that featured a protagonist who was blind, living in darkness even in the daylight.
Nowadays, the big gimmick at the cinema is 3D. From silly monster movies like I, Frankenstein and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to Oscar-bait films such as Gravity and Avatar, seemingly every modern big-budget movie gets a 3D release. Hollywood even trips over itself to re-release hits like Titanic and Jurassic Park in 3D in an effort to squeeze additional revenue out of existing titles. Classic 3D horror films may not have been as slick as modern ones, but they were just as much fun for audiences. As early as the 1950s, 3D could be found wowing theatergoers in films like House of Wax and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Released in 1961, a little Canadian film called The Mask added an interactive element to the technology, simultaneously amazing and horrifying viewers in the process.
The word phantom can mean several things. It can be another name for a ghost. It can represent anything that is imaginary. It can also denote something that is difficult to attain. Cinematically, the term has been used in movie titles about both superheroes and submarines, and that’s not even including variations on the name such as The Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Paradise, or Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In 1931, before all of these (okay, well not before the original silent The Phantom of the Opera), another film used the name The Phantom, and it’s easy to see why it has been lost in the shuffle.
An unprecedented event took place a couple of weekends ago in the Masonic Lodge of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It was a celebration not of specific timing, yet long-overdue, coming about for no particular reason, other than acquaintance and willingness on the part of all those involved. Nonetheless, it is hard to believe that no-one before now has invited or managed to persuade Warhol Superstar "Little Joe" Dallesandro to attend a retrospective tribute to the trilogy of roles he played for Paul Morrissey in Flesh (1968), Trash (1970) and Heat (1972).
The X rating is a double edged sword. For adult films, the X is a badge of honor; it’s the rating for which they strive. For a mainstream film, it can be the kiss of death. There have been several mainstream films that have gone on to great success, both critical and commercial, despite being initially given an X rating. Classics like Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead began their cinematic lives with X ratings. John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy even won the best picture Oscar in 1969 with an X. But not all mainstream X films are so lucky; in 1971, writer/director Ken Russell (Tommy, Altered States) made The Devils, a film which many consider to be the best picture of the director’s career. Despite heavy editing, it was slapped with an X rating and, therefore, Russell’s original vision of The Devils has never been properly released.
Here they are, the top ten horror movies of 2013...and a few honorable mentions too.
Chistian Porumboiu ups the formal rigour of his last, Police, Adjective (2009), with a film composed of 17 shots, most capturing conversations for a full reel's 11 minutes, and filmed with an almost entirely static camera. His subjects are film director Paul and his actor and new bedmate Alina, rehearsing, eating, discussing the restraints (those 11-minute reels) of film versus digital, or how national cuisines developed according to the utensils used. They contrast in his shlubby demeanor and her careful, dancer-like movements; they misunderstand one another over dinner; and he wearily humors her working over the fine details of a scene, in order to achieve his aim of getting her naked onscreen.
Like Asghar Farhadi's previous film, A Separation (2011), Le passé (The Past) is a superb feat of narrative construction and mise en scène, keeping three to four characters at the centre of attention, and balancing their motives and desires with careful equanimity. The problem is that there's little more to recommend the film than this cleverness, since none of the characters are especially interesting or likable, and the third act develops into a twist-too-far detective story, before ending on a note that, albeit presumably not deliberate, is a thudding sequel set-up, and for a far more lively film to boot.
It’s understandable that Alain Guiraudie won the best director of Un certain regard at Cannes this year, since for the most part L’inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake) is a very tight piece of work, effectively exploring the time and place of a single location and milieu, charting the uncertainties that blossom as a new relationship deepens, unfussily depicting the mores of a gay lakeside cruising ground, and building with a skillful slow-burn to a long final shot of excellent tension.
Wunderkind Xavier Dolan never seems to make it to the AFI festival because he's always off shooting his next movie (four movies by the age of 24 and Cannes prizes galore). He was in production on this one when last year's Laurence Anyways screened, a continuation and expansion of the high-pitched emotional drama of his first two films. Whether these were conceived as a triptych or not, Dolan switches tack for his fourth, adapting a play by Michel Marc Bouchard, and serves up a high-pitched psychological thriller that frequently borders on Grand Guignol.
Vic + Flo Saw A Bear is something like an expansion on Denis Côté's last, the strictly observational non-documentary Bestiaire (2012), although that in turn was a distillation of his favoured practice of looking at slightly odd characters shut away from the world. In Curling (2010) and Carcasses (2009), for example, it was by their own volition, as distinct from the animals of Bestiaire, and in Vic + Flo Saw A Bear the same is true, although rather weighted since both women are not-long released from prison.
Agnès Varda has cited Documenteur as her favourite of her own films, presumably because even more than The Beaches of Agnes (2008), it is her most personal and most emotional. She was apart from her husband Demy on her second trip to Los Angeles, at the start of the ‘80s, to develop a script (turned down), deciding instead to make her documentary Mur Murs (1981) on the city's mural art. During this time she was inspired both by her sadness of separation and by the sense of disenchantment and exile she found in Venice, to make a film that fully justifies its subtitle of an “emotion picture.”
The title R100 is a joke on the ratings system because director Matsumoto (Big Man Japan, 1997) claims that no-one who has not lived a century will understand this film. Such a pronouncement is in keeping with the striving absurdity of the movie, which is frequently funny, but overall a slightly laboured litany of craziness.
Jafar Panahi continues to defy the 20-year ban on film-making imposed on him by the Iranian government with a new feature, co-directed and starring his colleague and frequent collaborator Kambozia Partovi, and it is an intriguing magnification of his last illicit achievement, This Is Not A Film (2011). That title was wittily, bitterly disingenuous, whereas Closed Curtain specifically evokes the shut-in existence both of the writer protagonist of the film’s first half, and that of the film-maker himself. There is an opposite sense as well, however, since more even than the previous experiment, this film both opens itself to what kind of cinema can be made under such straitened circumstances, and opens the consciousness of its writer-director; and, despite his palpable anguish, the curtain of possibility remains open at the end.
The sound of bones crunching against a tree, as a man's body tumbles down an unforgiving hill; not once, but twice. This is the sound that haunts you after watching Lone Survivor, superseding the gunfire, explosions, helicopter propellers, and painful screams of four men being ambushed in Afghanistan by Taliban forces. It could easily go unnoticed, this sound, if it were not blatantly on display, or if the scene was anything less than horrific. The success of displaying the carnage, the way in which each man's body was pummeled, bruised, battered, and riddled with gunfire, is to show the perseverance they displayed, the outward courage of these Navy SEALs, that takes on an entirely new level of empathy from the viewer.
While the first Thor – released in 2011 – was a suitable introduction to the Marvel Comics character Thor, it was also a fairly tepid approach to what is one of the more cosmic members of the Avengers team. Up until that point, moviegoers had been treated to a Marvel world that existed in a realm where most of the superheroes seemed plausible, if not completely believable. Iron Man was a guy rich enough to build himself a super suit, the Hulk a man who was caught on the wrong end of Gamma radiation, Captain America a super soldier, and so on. Thor, on the other hand, is the God of thunder, and literally occupies a completely different realm from those previously mentioned characters.
In the sporting world, there are a handful of elite athletes who were able to rise head and shoulders above their competition. In the NFL, Jerry Rice not only still holds just about every major receiving record worth holding, but holds them all by such a huge margin that many will most likely never be broken. In the NHL, Wayne Gretsky was so dominant that the entire league, not just the teams for which he played, retired his number 99 jersey. The NBA’s Michael Jordan was a player who, every time he touched the ball, seemingly held the defense at the mercy of whatever it was that he wanted to do with it. These athletes had something special, something for which they have each been memorialized forever within their respective sports. Lance Armstrong had it, too. At least, that’s what everyone thought.
Alfred Hitchcock may be the most recognizable name in suspense, but there is one man who certainly gave Hitchcock a run for his money. Henri-Georges Clouzot was a master of suspense in his own right, and as a contemporary of Hitchcock, became a great rival and influence. His most frequent themes dealt with the moral corruption of individuals and communities. Films such as Le corbeau and Quai des Orfèvres depict a very cynical assessment of humanity while showcasing Clouzot’s immense talent for suspenseful filmmaking. His best film – and the one he is best known for – is undoubtedly Les Diaboliques, a noir adaptation of a Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac novel. Hailed by some as "the French film noir to end all French film noirs," Les Diaboliques turned noir convention on its head and provided one of the best examples of a noir thriller with horror overtones.
As the years go by it seems ever more likely that Dario Argento will never rescale the inspired heights of his '70s output, the hysterical horror and steely set-pieces that more than make up for wooden acting, distracting dubbing, and leaden exposition. Mother of Tears had its moments and gave one cautious hope in 2007; Giallo (2009) was familiar enough to be comforting; but while Dracula 3D feels reassuringly like an Argento film on plenty of occasions, it fails to play to his strengths, hamstrung by half-hearted literary faithfulness, strangely perfunctory in its murders, and unbalanced by far too much downtime.
In some regards, film noir was a genre that came full circle, from the darkly brooding French films that inspired American tales of ill-fated, morally corrupt characters and back again to the French who coined the very term “film noir” and celebrated its impact as a genre. Late 1930s French cinema saw an influx of films whose pessimistic themes earned them the name “poetic realism.” From directors such as Jean Vigo, Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné, and Jean Renoir came films that sought to depict life in all its gritty realism and characters who lived on the margins of society – the working class and even criminals. One of the most celebrated films of the poetic realism movement is Marcel Carné’s Le jour se lève (1939). The third in a trilogy of fatalistic dramas, Le jour se lève is less a story about crime and more of the doomed love triangle that ruins a humble working man’s life. A deeply claustrophobic film, its emphasis on disillusionment and imprisonment within society are clear precursors to classic film noir.
The World's End is a film that cannot be summed up succinctly or without meandering off into a tangent or two. A face value it's a story about reuniting with old friends and squashing, or rehashing, decades-old squabbles, but just underneath the surface is an homage to the body-swapping flicks of the '50s. Buried even deeper, almost as a meta film, The World's End is the final piece of "The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy," a loosely connected series of films that started with Shaun of the Dead (2004) and continued with Hot Fuzz (2007).
Blackfish is documentary filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s disturbing look into the capture and treatment of orcas, or killer whales, in aquariums and marine theme parks. Specifically, the film deals with those whales that snap, attacking their trainers. Even more specifically, the film centers mostly around one particular animal: Tilikum, a male orca who has been involved in the deaths of no fewer than three people (two of his trainers and one knucklehead who snuck into the park after hours and decided to go for a swim). Blackfish chronicles Tilikum’s entire life as an exhibition animal, from his capture, to his training at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada and his transfer to Sea World in Florida and, ultimately, the detailed accounts of the incidents that resulted in the deaths of his trainers.
Leave it to Hammer Films, renowned for their contributions to the horror genre, to bring forth some undeniably creepy motion posters for the upcoming The Quiet Ones. There are three motion posters, each featuring one of the main characters in the film; have a look, if you dare.
Darren Aronofsky still has time before he has to start promoting Noah around the world (opening in the U.S. March 28, 2014). That does not mean he is not focusing on Noah, as a character and story, in other artistic mediums. The "Fountains of the Deep: Visions of Noah and the Flood" art exhibit has officially opened in New York City at 462 West Broadway.
Think Like A Man was never reviewed on FilmFracture, and I whole heartedly regret overlooking the movie in 2012. The movie was funny, good natured, sentimental at times, featured a great cast full of chemistry, and most importantly, it was entertaining from start-to-finish. The sequel, Think Like A Man Too will release in theatres June 20, 2014. This time around, it will not go unnoticed. For now, enjoy the trailer for Think Like A Man Too, because the gang is headed to Vegas; and we all know what happens in Vegas.
What would you do if your double appeared in front of you, on the TV screen? For Enemy's Adam (Prisoners' Jake Gyllenhaal), you track him down, no matter the consequences. Go behind the scenes with Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon (A Dangerous Method), and director Denis Villeneuve (director of Prisoners) to uncover "the web of his mind" in a brand-new featurette.
Call it a remake, a reboot, or whatever else you can come up with. Any way you put it, there is a new Annie movie, and the first trailer and poster have been released. Annie is part of a political game...she does not have red hair...and where is the dog? No matter how many changes have been made, or liberties, the sun will still come out tomorrow.
Just how did Darren Aronofsky build Noah's ark? Well, the brand-new featurette for Noah just may hold the answer you seek. Watch it now and discover Noah's ark.
A new extended trailer for Oculus, the new movie from director Mike Flanagan (Absentia), has just been released, and it looks creepy. Starring Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), Brenton Thwaites (Blue Lagoon: The Awakening), Rory Cochrane (Argo), and Katee Sackhoff (“Battlestar Galactica”), Oculus tells the story of a mysterious mirror that seems to bring death upon everyone who owns it. Oculus opens in theaters on April 11th. Until then – check out the trailer and teaser.
The first trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction, the fourth movie in the popular series, was unveiled this week. With the welcoming of new stars Mark Wahlberg (Ted), Nicola Peltz (“Bates Motel”), Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), and Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”), the film feels more like a reboot than a sequel, but director Michael Bay blows up enough stuff to keep franchise purists happy. It looks like there are even a few robot dinosaurs to capitalize on the (hopeful) success of Godzilla. Transformers: Age of Extinction hits theaters on June 27.
Have a hankering for some Captain America: The Winter Soldier goodies? You are in luck, as a new TV spot has been released called "Defend." Here it is for your viewing pleasure.
"We don't need another Transformers movie," said everyone when the fourth installment of the franchise was announced. Did we need a third Jurassic Park? Or a fourth Indiana Jones? (Okay, we needed a fourth Indiana Jones, just not that one). A franchise can only survive for so long before it becomes tired, pushed to its story limits, and just plain loses interest from viewers. Michael Bay does not care that this is the case with the Transformers franchise. Instead, a mere few years since the shameful Transformers: Dark of the Moon, he is "rebooting" the franchise and starting anew. The one thing Transformers: Age of Extinction has going for it is Mark Wahlberg is now the lead character--and thank the heavens for that. No one wants to sit through another 2 1/2 hour movie starring the whining Shia LaBeouf. Without further commentary, here is the new poster for Transformers: Age of Extinction, featuring Mark Wahlberg.
Last week we had the opportunity to check out the villains of 300: Rise of an Empire. Now it is time for the heroes to have their time in the featurette spotlight. Behold, the heroes of 300: Rise of an Empire!
Fans of 300 are in for a treat on March 7, 2014 when 300: Rise of an Empire releases in theaters. Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel "Xerxes", 300: Rise of an Empire features the same cinematic style of 300, but features a new story taking place on the see where Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) battles the Persian army led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (the always stunning Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy. It is always fun to root for the good guy, but the villains can be much more entertaining. A look at the villains of 300: Rise of an Empire is here for your enjoyment.
The teaser trailer was not enough. The roar soundbite only a tease. Now, without any further impatient waiting the first full length trailer has arrived for 2014's Godzilla. Long live the lizard!
This ain't the Beastie Boys' song. Sabotage is a bloody and violent story as only writer/director David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch) would be capable of telling. A new red band clip proves the point because Arnold Schwarzenegger is kill-crazy...and everybody dies.
Today just got better for fans of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies. The Walt Disney Studios has launched the 'Disney Movies Anywhere' digital movie service and app. Debuting with iTunes as its exclusive launch provider, the digital movie service and app, is a way to keep your entire digital collection of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies in one place via your iPhone, iPad, iPad touch and on the web.
The trailer is not enough to keep us satiated until Godzilla hits theatres on May 16, 2014. How about we hear him roar? Yes, please. Listen now to the roar that will infiltrate theatres this Summer.
The first trailer for Guardians Of The Galaxy was released earlier this week and now it is time to meet each of the character's individually. Images, video, it is all here so you can get yourself acquainted with the new action-comedy-superhero team of Summer 2014.
The Marvel universe is expanding past The Avengers by bringing audiences into the world of the Guardians Of The Galaxy. The first trailer has arrived for all to enjoy. Guardians Of The Galaxy will be released in theatres August 1, 2014.
Melissa McCarthy is quickly becoming the comedy "IT" girl to partner with in movies. Her next victim, so to speak, is the great Susan Sarandon in Tammy. Keeping with the not-so-lucky persona McCarthy does so well, in Tammy she plays a woman who has just lost her burger joint job, had her car clunk out on her, and found her husband sleeping around with the neighbor. Oh, the hits just keep on coming. A road trip with her grandmother, played by Sarandon, is just what she needs--or is it?
The sequel to last year’s The Purge has a teaser trailer now, and it looks promising. It's called The Purge: Anarchy and, this time, it’s Kiele Sanchez (A Perfect Getaway) and Zach Gilford (Devil’s Due) against the one-night mob of lawlessness, and it appears that there is no place for the couple to hide this time. The film is again written and directed by James DeMonaco (Assault on Precinct 13) and hits theaters on June 20th.
It did not take long for The Expendables 3 to go into production after the huge success of The Expendables 2. Audiences love the band of aging action heroes the movie's present to us on a shiny, silver platter of pastiche and brilliant comedic timing mixed with action galore. Watch the first trailer for The Expendable 3 now; laugh about the music they chose to use, and delight in seeing the entire cast of favorite's line-up at your attention.
Charlton Heston famously proclaimed, "Take Your Stinkin' Paws Off Me You Damn Dirty Ape," in Planet Of The Apes (1968). He probably would have thought twice about it had he encountered king-ape Caesar in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the much anticpated sequel to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. A new trailer has been released and all there is to say is...wow, humans have quite a battle ahead of them (and I think the apes are going to win).
Science Fiction narratives are popular once again, thanks to the slew of great films that have come out over the past couple of years, includeing Gravity, Prometheus, Ender's Game, and Europa Report. The summer of 2014 promises to usher in another fantastic science fiction narrative, from the creative minds of Lana and Andy Wachowski--you know, the team who brought The Matrix into your world. Jupiter Ascending looks to be full of action, romance, danger, and a mysterious power held by a woman. Oh my, how the mind races with excitement over seeing the movie in its entirety. Watch the first trailer for Jupiter Ascending, starring Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, now...
The hilarious minions, that audiences around the world have grown to love for their hijinks in the Despicable Me movies took over Manhattan on November 25, 2013. Take a look at the images from their fun-filled day, and watch the sizzle reel to join in on the madness.
Aaron Paul may no longer be cooking up meth on "Breaking Bad" but that does not mean his career of getting high off dangerous doings is over. Paul can be seen in Need For Speed, from Dreamworks Pictures, arriving in theatres March of 2014. Watch the first trailer from the film, and prepare for speed, lots of speed.
The new poster for How To Train Your Dragon 2 has been released, and the excitement has only built up for one super fan of the first film. Yes, that super fan is yours truly, and I am not ashamed to admit the fact. I may be an adult, I may not have children, and I am surely not the target demographic for the movie but none of the aforementioned changes the fact that How To Train Your Dragon 2 is my most anticipated film for 2014. I fell in love with the first one, and not just because it featured dragons (a mythical creature I cannot resist, even in a movie like Reign of Fire). I even felt it should have won the Academy Award for best animated feature over Toy Story 3--shocking, yes, but completely warranted. Come June of 2014 I will finally get to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 and the anticipation has now only built up to an extreme level. Until then, the poster will have to suffice, until the first trailer is released.
The day just got a whole lot better because Darren Arnonofsky's Noah has its first trailer. Everyone knows the story, obviously, but in Aronofsky's hands this is not going to be the old testament's Noah, oh no. Watch the trailer now, and prepare for the flood March 28, 2014.
Sleeping Beauty has an entirely new problem, Maleficent is no longer animated, and she's downright scary. Take a look at the new poster for Disney's live-action Maleficent, to see Angelina Jolie at her witchy nastiest.
Horror fans that have been critical of the recent rash of classic remakes may have a dilemma on their hands. According to his Facebook page, Clive Barker is working directly with Dimension pictures on a Hellraiser remake. The original 1987 film marked Barker’s feature-length directorial debut, introducing the Hollywood horror world to the prolific genre writer. Details are sketchy at best right now, so there’s no telling if it will be a complete reimagining or a pointless rehash, but with Barker at the helm, the project should at least attract plenty of attention.
Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger teased audiences with their buddy-esque chemistry in The Expendables 2, and now they are together as an unlikely pair of convicts who must work together in order to escape an unescapable prison in Escape Plan, in theatres October 18, 2013. They both sat down for an interview to discuss Escape Plan; the story, the work environment, why it took so long for them to star in a movie together, and how their characters in Escape Plan combine their separate genius to make the impossible, possible.
Disneynature's upcoming release Bears has its first trailer and the editors behind-it knew exactly what to include in order to get you excited to see Bears--adorable baby bear cubs. Seriously, your heart will melt at the cuteness, and oh those little paws, its too much! Watch the trailer now and prepare to see Bears in theatres on April 18, 2014 (that's so far away!).