Tuesday, July 29, 2014
The wasteland that is Trailer Park Tuesdays is about to get its shit rocked. . .
Over the weekend at the annual Comic Con in San Diego, California the trailer for the new Mad Max film premiered. It justifiably set a buzz on the internet. This movie was long rumored before going into a long production with reshoots and etc, etc., but HOLY SHIT DOES IT LOOK AMAZING!
I was already very much looking forward to this movie. Now I'm convinced Mad Max: Fury Road might very well be THE movie of summer 2015. Feast!:
Some quick takeaways:
Tom Hardy looks cool and suitably badass. Looks like Max is having a rough time in this one.
Also, I've read that he only has 19 lines of dialogue in the entire movie. Very badass.
Lots of cool cars, cool car stunts, and crazy looking freaks. Also, it's dusty, deserty, and apocalyptic.
Basically everything a Mad Max should have and be.
Whoa, check out Charlize Theron!
Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played Toecutter in the OG Max, here plays a new character and he looks CRAZY!
There's some CGI stuff in there, we'll see how that goes, I'll keep an open mind, 'cause..
HOLY SHIT! This looks good.
Mad Max: Fury Road squeals its tires into theaters May 17th, 2015. . . .Not soon enough.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Welcome to part four of The Howling Series Retrospective Review.
Check out the previous installments:
Howling II: Your Sister Grew a Beard
The Marsupials: Howling III: Pouch Babies
It seems like after the all-out wackiness of the previous two sequels, the decision was made to reel it back in for the next installment in the Howling series, Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (1988). A new filmmaking team was brought in and they decided to go back to Gary Brandner's original source novel and readapt it (with changes of course) and make a more "serious" and character driven werewolf story.
It turns out Marie's visions are related to some deadly goings-ons that happened in a small town called Drago. Of course, this happens to be exactly where her husband Richard (Michael T. Weiss) has coincidentally booked the two of them a nice stay at a remote country cabin.
Drago is your typical small, rural community, the kind that hides a dark secret. Marie keeps having visions (of the nun, of the old couple that used to live in her cabin) and weird things keep happening (her dog disappears, she hears a "howling" at night) so of course she eventually begins to investigate what is going on with the nun, the old couple, and exactly what the deal with Drago is anyway.
Richard isn't much help. He seems more interested in being a dick and wearing shirts that show off his manly chest hair regions (also note his fine 80s MacGuyver coif):
It turns out that Janice is a former nun who knew the nun from Marie's visions. Her name was Sister Ruth (an homage to Black Narcissus ?) and, as it turns out, she went crazy and died after visiting the small town of Drago.
All this mystery and investigation takes up the first hour of the movie. There's not really any scares (other than when she finds her dead dog) and Marie's dream-visions are more moody and atmospheric than they are startling. She does at one point dream some poltergeist-like activity in her cabin, chairs and tables flipping and smashing, and that was kinda neat, but it doesn't really supply what a werewolf movie should: and that's werewolves.
She's an ethereal, eerily beautiful type, so you could argue that she seduces him magically, but it seems to me that Richard is all too willing to jump all over her and get busy.
While they're trysting in the woods, Eleanor wolfs-out (briefly seen) and bites Rich, sending him running back home to get patched up by Marie. The next day, of course, everything is fine with Richard and he claims to have just "fallen down a gully."
Richard's transformation scene has got to be the sloppiest, gooiest, grossest werewolf transformation scene ever to be featured in a movie. It looks like goopy, melty chocolate syrup is dumped all over him while he dissolves into a puddle. It really is an impressive special effect, which is good because it takes up a lot of screen time.
Overall though, Howling IV: The Original Nightmare is a subpar werewolf movie. As far as the Howling series itself, this is a middle-of-the-road entry. None of the acting is good enough to be noteworthy, nor is it terrible enough to be mistaken for interesting. There's too much foggy dreaminess and suspenseless mystery, not enough fangs, claws, and hairiness (other than Richard, of course).
Other Notes and random things:
If you rent a remote cabin in the woods, and when you get there you notice that there are strange, giant claw marks on the door, maybe you should think about rescheduling your stay? Just sayin'...
|"Let me give you a ride."|
"Hey thanks, for your help (Marie) but my Chevy Camper is parked nearby."
Director John Hough also directed one of my favorite haunted house movies, The Legend of Hell House (1973), as well as Escape to and Return from Witch Mountain (1975/1978), The Watcher in the Woods (1980), and American Gothic (1988), a film I've never seen but the video cover of which is forever burned into my brain.
Screenwriter Clive Turner would also write Howling V: The Rebirth (1989) as well as write and direct The Howling: New Moon Rising (1995).
Howling IV feels like a remake of the first film, but really it's just a readaptation of Gary Brandner's original novel (for some reason all three of his Howling novels get a "based on" screen credit in this).
Changes made to the story include all the character's names and adding the stuff about the nun. Also, the character of Max Quist, who assaults the main character in the novel, sending her on the need for a retreat, is taken out of this version of the story entirely (he was repurposed in the original film by director Joe Dante and writer John Sayles).
For what it's worth, Fangoria gave the film its 1988 Golden Chainsaw award for Best Direct-to-Video Feature.
When released on DVD in 2004, the back cover of Howling IV featured scenes from Howling III. :(
Here's some behind-the-scenes footage, courtesy of the YouTube and William Forsche, featuring the werewolf suit used in the film (specifically the werewolf the town doctor turns into). The special effects crew also discuss Dunhill cigarettes and shooting in South Africa.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Trailer Park Tuesdays, a place that seems tailor-made for a creep like the BORGMAN.
Borgman is a Dutch thriller that looks guaranteed to be creepy, a bit off-kilter, and darkly comic. This is a combination that I approve of. Here's the official synopsis:
"A dark suburban fable exploring the nature of evil in unexpected places, BORGMAN follows an enigmatic vagrant who enters the lives of an upper-class family and quickly unravels their carefully curated lifestyle.
Charming and mysterious, Camiel Borgman seems almost otherworldly, and it isn't long before he has the wife, children, and nanny under his spell in a calculated bid to take over their home life. However, his domestic assimilation takes a malevolent turn as his ultimate plan comes to bear, igniting a series of increasingly maddening and menacing events."
Sounds like a winner. The comparison films being mentioned are Dogtooth (2009) and Funny Games (1997) . That's pretty good company. Check out the trailer below. Some of these images are amazing. The shot of people with buckets on their heads in the lake is a knockout:
Also, that shot of him eating in the bathtub reminds me of Gummo (1997).
Borgman screened at Cannes last year and was immediately snatched up by Drafthouse Films. It's playing right now in select cities and should be out on VOD, Blu-ray, and DVD before year's end (I'd imagine).
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Trailer Park Tuesdays: Back open for business.
This week's trailer is for an indie sci-fi mind-bender.
Here's the official synopsis:
On the night of an astrological anomaly, eight friends at a dinner party experience a troubling chain of reality bending events. Part cerebral sci-fi and part relationship drama, COHERENCE is a tightly focused, intimately shot film that quickly ratchets up with tension and mystery.
Sounds good, right? This looks to be one of those low budget, puzzle box kind of movies. It has been getting some good press after doing the festival circuit earlier this year and, to me, this is one to definitely check out. I'm always looking and rooting for an underdog picture to come out of nowhere and knock it out of the park (or at least solidly entertain). Is Coherence one of those movies? Maybe.
Check out the official movie trailer:
Yeah. I'll see that.
For further evidence of the film's mood and premise, here's a teaser clip:
Coherence was written and directed by James Ward Byrkit, who has been working with Gore Verbinski for a number of years in a conceptual consultant capacity (he also has co-story credit on Rango ). This was his first feature film.
The cast includes Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling (Homeland), Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Elizabeth Gracen (Marked for Death), Lauren Maher (Scarlett in the Pirates movies), Hugo Armstrong, Lorene Scafaria, and Alex Manugian (who also conceived of the story for Coherence).
Coherence is being released by Oscilloscope Laboratories and will be playing select cities (LA and NY) starting June 20th before spreading out elsewhere along the west coast (it opens in my neck of the woods July 11th).
For everybody else, the film is also available on VOD. Check out the official website for more info.
Here's the one-sheet. It's rad: