‘Maps To The Stars’ International Sales Trailer

As I understand it, this isn’t the actual trailer for David Cronenberg’s upcoming “Map To the Stars,” but one cut for the purpose of international sales.  I stumbled upon it–with more than a little help from “The Wrap”–though it makes me wonder why Cronenberg continues to work with Robert Patterson.  If their last film together, “Cosmopolis” was any indicator, we shouldn’t be at all surprised if he delivers a somewhat wooden performance.

Then again, I get the feeling that–as far as Cosmopolis goes–that that was exactly the performance that Cronenberg wanted from him, which is at least reason for some optimism as regards Patterson’s acting chops.

 

 

‘Contracted’ Review

Contracted

“Irrelevant Details Mar What Could Have Been A Been An Excellent Example Of The ‘Body Horror’ Genre.”

Eric England‘s “Contracted” isn’t a bad movie by any stretch.  It looks good, is well-acted, and competently shot.

It’s also damned irritating.

“Contracted” is in the vein of David Cronenberg‘s ‘Body Horror’ films, such as “Scanners,” “Videodrome” and “The Brood” though not as imaginative.  Things revolve around Samantha, who happens to be a lesbian.

I mention her sexual preference because the film does often enough, though I have always been of the opinion that if you have to spend all your time talking about being gay, you’re probably not.   In any case, it’s not particularly relevant to the character.  It’s kind of weird in that I don’t necessarily expect Samantha to walk around like she’s auditioning for “The L Word, though I did expect the character being gay to somehow matter.

And I know I am not speaking from experience, but I would hope that being a lesbian is not defined by a hatred for men.

And speaking of homosexuality, a film that does a much better job of dealing with it is Paul Etheredge-Ouzt’s 2004 horror movie “Hellbent,” which revolves around some gay guys attending a carnival in LA.  It’s an interesting movie, though I mention it because the characters being gay is an essential part of the story, and helps to define them as people.

While attending a friend’s party Samantha gets drunk, then roofied by some guy, who they takes her to his car and has sex with her. I don’t know if it’s rape or not, because Samantha–though drunk–seems complicit in what’s happened to her.

Or maybe we’re watching a commentary by director Eric England on the malleability of sexual mores, or even a dislike of women–straight or gay–but it doesn’t exactly help to clarify matters.  

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‘Antiviral’ Review

Antiviral

“Antiviral” is worth seeing, though it’s too cold, distant and clinical to be called enjoyable.”

I really want to believe that that “Antiviral” had something to say about the nature of fame, and its costs.

But, as the saying goes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

The film, the first by Brandon Cronenberg (the son of David Cronenberg) is visually interesting, and reminds me what a horror movie would look like if the production design were by Jony Ive (all white, clean and extremely sleek).

As I said, I wanted to believe that it was trying to say something profound or at least interesting, but the harder I looked, the less I saw.

What’s interesting is that it’s not a particularly violent film, though it is particularly repugnant at times, with the insertion of various objects – such as syringes – into places they don’t traditionally go.

Not without a fight, at any rate.

The movie revolves around Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) and his unusual line of work.

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X-File A Day – “Eve”

X-Files Opening LogoWhat is it about identical twins – as opposed to fraternal – that makes them so creepy (I mean the type that doesn’t seem to understand that, despite looking alike, that they are two separate individuals)?

These twins – that seem to exist only exist only in movies, like David Cronenberg’s excellent “Dead Ringers,” – act as if they’re the same person, finishing each other’s sentences and other strange and mildly unearthly behaviors.

If you feel as I do, episode 11, “Eve,” isn’t going to reassure you.

It begins with a death under very unusual circumstances – an exsanguination – in Greenwich, Connecticut of a Mr. Simmons, who happens to be survived by his daughter, Teena (Erika Krievins).

Mulder immediately assumes aliens are involved, till another little girl, Cindy Reardon (Sabrina Krievins) – who looks exactly like Teena Simmons – has her father die in exactly the same way, at the same time, on the other side of the country, in California.

Later, Teena is kidnapped by an unknown assailant.

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Poltergeist

I wrote in October of last year that Sam Raimi was planning a remake – a term that’s always synonymous with*maximum suckage – of Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist.”

That’s still happening, though Raimi is producing, not directing.

That job will be handled by Gil Kenan.  Prior to this gig, he helmed “Monster House” and “City Of Ember.”

It goes without saying that there’s no reason that they’re remaking “Poltergeist,” other that what I suspect is a cynical money grab.  Seriously, if you’re under 35 you probably haven’t even heard of the film (and if you haven’t you need to see it.  It’s that good.  And to be clear:  By ‘good’ I mean atmospheric and creepy, with potentially the scariest clown in movie history).

I have included the trailer for the original film, because I have a feeling that things aren’t going to get any better than this.

*There are good remakes.  For instance, David Cronenberg’s ‘ Fly’ reboot is pretty excellent, as is Chuck Russell’s “The Blob” remake.  And Breck Eisner’s reboot of George Romero’s “The Crazies” was entertaining, as was “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (Phillip Kaufman’s version of Don Siegel’s original, not the multitude of others).

But other than those four films, all remakes suck.

‘Trance’ Trailer

Finally a ‘Red Band’ trailer that justifies the name!

I am a huge Danny Boyle fan.  Even when his films don’t quite strike the right tone, such as “A Life Less Ordinary,” “Sunshine,” and I would argue, “The Beach,” they’re still worth watching.  His “Trainspotting” is perhaps the best film that I have ever seen about drug usage because it accepts a basic tenet:  Namely that people primarily use drugs because they feel good.  That’s not to say that they result in successful outcomes, or that it even makes sense to do them.

That being said, it’s sometimes hard to argue with feeling good.

“Trance” seems to involve an art heist, hypnosis, and some imagery straight out of David Cronenberg‘s ‘body horror‘ days.

Good stuff.

‘John Dies At The End’ Review

John Dies At The End

“Here’s to all the kisses I snatched, and vice versa.”

—Fred Chu

Think about it for a moment, you’ll get it.

One of Marvel Studios’ Phase Two projects is a feature film version of Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. I still think that Ioan Gruffudd should play Strange, though who should direct?  On the strength of “John Dies At The End” (never mind his rather bizarre filmography) it should be Don Coscarelli.

The reason being is that the movie takes some really odd subject matter, and not only makes it approachable, but fun.  When I heard that this film was coming out a few years ago, I picked up the book by David Wong, so that I would go into the movie with some idea of what’s going on.

I enjoyed the read, but beneath the weird chocolately coating lies a somewhat conventional center.

What Coscarelli did was bring the most interesting, stranger parts of the novel to the screen, while de-emphasizing the conventional elements.  What’s left is a movie that plays like David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” with its reliance on mainly practical special effects, while unlike that aforementioned film actually makes sense.

What “John Dies At The End” also reminded me of the Hardy Boys.  On acid.

And apropos of Doctor Strange, wouldn’t Clancy Brown be an awesome Baron Mordo?

I am also resisting the temptation to reveal more about the movie–Trust me.  My restraint has been admirable–but the actors that play John and David Wong, Rob Mayes and Chase Williamson, are a great bit of casting.

I referred to Clancy Brown earlier, though he rounds out a remarkable cast that includes genre veterans like Angus Scrimm, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones and Paul Giamatti (who also executive produced).

Though all is not rosy because “John Dies At The End” deserves a nationwide release, as opposed to the limited one that it actually got.  I live in Washington, DC, and unlike Michael (thanks for reminding me that it was available online) over at Durmoose Movie Musings, I didn’t have the benefit of seeing this awesome movie in a theater.

Pity, that.

Videodrome

Excuse me for a moment.

That’s better.  Now that I found a little release, I can ask the question I find myself asking way more often that I would like lately, which is:  Why in (insert perferred deity here) name are they remaking David Cronenberg’s “Videodrome?”  Cronenberg himself attempted, not nearly as successfully, to revisit similar topics with “eXistenZ.”

Are they going to somehow make it more creepy?  More subversive?  Are they going to replace the television with the Internet, and call it innovative, despite “Pulse” beating them to the punch?  Are they going to make it PG-13, because there’s no way that if it’s even half the film that the original is that it should be rated no less than a hard R.

I am not optimistic.  Not at all.

‘The Possession’ Trailer

Sometimes it’s difficult to be a horror fan because, to paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield: “We don’t get no respect.”

I don’t know what what other conclusion to reach when studios are turning out drivel like “Hellraiser: Revelations.”

We want nuance. We want character development.  We want pathos.  And sure, we want some gore and violence accompanying that nuance and character development, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t want substantial, weighty movies (at least sometimes).

And there are directors out there that know what we want, and take us seriously.  A few personal favorites are Stuart Gordon, Ernest Dickerson, George Romero, David Cronenberg, and Frank Darabont.

And while it’s too early to tell if Ole Bornedal will join such august company, at least his latest film, “The Posession,” looks like it at least has the potential to generate a few scares.

Even if it doesn’t, at least it has Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who’s a great character actor and isn’t afraid to tackle genre (which is why it surprises me that “The Resident” was barely watchable despite Morgan AND Christopher Lee in the mix).

Why “At The Mountains Of Madness’ Is, By Design, Difficult To Film

I have been re-reading H.P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains Of Madness,” and–as much as I hate to say it–I am somewhat glad that the powers-that-be at Universal pulled the plug (Sure, for all the wrong reasons, but whatever).

Don’t take that to mean that Guillermo Del Toro couldn’t have made an engrossing and terrifying film; I think the man could make a horrifying movie based upon the content of a telephone book.

My problem lies not with Del Toro’s abilities, than the material itself.

A lot of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos revolved around the concept that we shouldn’t be ignorantly venturing into the vast unknown, because if we have no idea what terrors, in our naiveté, lie in wait for us.

This unknown is exemplified in beings like Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, among others, who once held dominion over this world, and wait patiently to reclaim that which was once theirs.  We measure time by the clocks of our relatively short lives, while for Lovecraft’s creations, millennia are barely the blink of an eye, or the beating of a heart from one frenzied moment to the next.

And that which can eternal lie can afford to be patient.

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