Archive for June, 2007

Paris Hilton Claims She Has Two Films Lined Up

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Filed under: , , ,

Okay, so who watched Paris Hilton on Larry King Live last night? It's okay to raise your hand, we won't judge. Heck, even more pathetic than Hilton attempting to re-invent herself as a bible-reading, anti-substance abuse spokesmodel was the fact that I actually taped the program. Yes, I attended a private screening of Danny Boyle's Sunshine last night and was unable to catch the show at its usual time. So what did I do? I taped it. [Stands up] Hello, my name is Erik and I'm obsessed with watching Paris Hilton embarrass herself. "Hi Erik!" Anyway, I still haven't had time to watch said show, but apparently Hilton mentioned that she has lined up two movie roles for herself this summer. Two! (As I wrote that, I could sense a group of struggling actors throughout the world silently beginning to plot the girl's demise.)

Two weeks in a minimum security resort was apparently "the most humiliating experience of my life," according to Hilton. A fascinating answer, considering she made a name for herself off a sex tape that spread faster than (insert your own dirty joke here). No word yet on which two films she's lined up (or when we can expect them to go straight to DVD), but she can next be seen as Christabelle Abbott in The Hottie and the Nottie. That film apparently revolves around a hottie girl (please don't say Hilton) who refuses to get married until she can find a perfect match for her ugly best friend. Aww, so sweet. Perhaps Hilton can next take the film around to various schools and talk about how ugly people deserve to have sex too. Call it community service ... Hilton style!

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Die Hard 4-Live Free Or Die HardThere is one small element in the Die Hard franchise that has led to my overall reluctance to embrace the new film. Sure enough, like the previous picture, Die Hard With A Vengeance the absence of Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is felt, dismissed with our working class hard-to-kill cop John McClane as just coming off a divorce. Now, considering the first two films, it’s a tough pill to swallow. In the last film, the end showed John reconciling on the phone. With all the near-death expierences, I suppose it is too much excitement for some women to handle. Sadly, the worst part of Live Free deals with the kidnapping of John’s hard- edged daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) so late in the film, it not only appears desperate, but also the idea that Lucy has merely switched places with dear old off screen mom isn’t lost on me. (more…)

Dead Silence (2007)

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Dead Silence (2007) I’m not quite sure the obsession James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the creative duo behind Saw have with dolls and puppets. I suppose under the right conditions of thunder and lightning, they can look a bit spooky. Just see Tobe Hooper’s Poltergiest. But not content to stop there, the team also creates up an evil ghost in Mary Shaw, a ventriloquist who wanted to create a perfect puppet, and who killed little kids in order to do it. Inspired possibly by A Nightmare On Elm Street the townsfolk of Ravens Fair hunt her down and maim her. She swears revenge from beyond the grave. Does she get it: if you scream when you see her, she’ll supernatually rip out your tongue and, while it isn’t said, the tonsils go too. (more…)


Wednesday, June 27th, 2007


Thanks to Movie City News for turning me on to this fascinating, too-much-detail-but-really-not-enough article on "The Wilhelm Scream," which was first heard in 1951's "Distant Drums" and has since popped up in "Star Wars" movies, theme parks, video games, and a lot of Peter Jackson and Quentin Tarantino movies. Make sure you hit the link to the sound clip.

Also screaming is director Tarsem Singh, who made the 2000 Jennifer Lopez horror oddity "The Cell," then spent several years of his life making "The Fall," a very strange, gorgeously shot fantasy film (see photo above) that got critically drubbed at Toronto last fall and has since failed to pick up a distributor. The L.A. Times' Patrick Goldstein has the story, and you have to feel for the filmmaker, who made an uncategorizable movie in a category-obsessed time. Though who says "Pan's Labyrinth" fits in a neat box? "The Fall" at times plays like a much lumpier version of the Guillermo del Toro cult fave, but when I saw Singh's film at the fest, I found it oddly bewitching, even when it patently didn't work. It deserves to be seen, warts and all.

The Horror Shake-up Begins: Fox Atomic Scales Back, ‘Prom Night’ Remake Dials Down the Gore

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Filed under: , , , ,

The horror debate has been simmering for a while now, not just between movie bloggers and fans, but amongst bigger names in the biz. Earlier this month, Joe Carnahan threw up a big ol' rant about torture porn on his website. Then Stephen King added his two cents to the discussion, and said of a BTK Killer film*: "It makes me feel creepy just to think about it. It's almost like exploiting murder for the sake of murder." Finally, the other day, Ryan posted about Eli Roth's MySpace rant that R-rated horror was in danger. Now the simmer is becoming a full-fledged boil, and we've got news about the increasing backlash.

First, the Hills Have Eyes' studio Fox Atomic is apparently taking a step back from the horror biz. B-D says that the only horror flick that is currently being made by the company is a PG-13 remake of The Entity -- an interesting choice for youth-friendly fare, as it's a supposed-to-be-true story about a woman tormented and sexually molested by an invisible demon. BD speculates that no one should hold their breath to see the next 28 Days Later installment, which was planned to work up to 28 Years Later.

But that's not all: B-D also points to a recent chat between MTV and Brittany Snow, the Hairspray actress who just shot a remake to Prom Night -- or rather, a re-invention: "It's just taking the same name as Prom Night the original, but it's a different script. It's actually more in the vein of Fear, with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg." Yeah, yeah. But here is the kicker: "It's more of a thriller. There's no blood, guts or gore." On the one hand, I could ask why they'd bother to refer to it as a remake of the 80's slasher film, when there's no blood and an entirely different script. On the other -- is this backlash going overboard? And what does this mean? Will the victims fall all old-school cowboy style, with a grimace and an exaggerated collapse?

I'm all for a radical shakeup and rethinking of horror -- in a way where women aren't tortured captives, and with blood and guts that's a little more subdued. Or heck, revive the heyday of fake blood and guts. Instead of insisting everything looks completely real, there's something fun about the Kill Bill 'geysers of blood' style of gore.

*Thanks to Anthony for the correction. The quote wasn't directly about Captivity.
Read | Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

The Book of Peace & Tolerance

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

The Koran is composed of 114 chapters, each of which is called a Surah.
“The Unbelievers spend their wealth to hinder (man) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend; but in the end they will have (only) regrets and sighs; at length they will be overcome: and the Unbelievers will be […]

Beware the Ministry of Information’s “Fairness Doctrine”

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

This past Sunday, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, we had this little moment of candor from Diane Feinstein, someone who would have no problem at all with trying to engineer the marginalization of conservative talk radio. It would all be done through that King of Euphemisms: the so-called “fairness doctrine”.
WALLACE: Do you have […]

First Big Wave Of Iraqi Refugees Heads For The U.S.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

From the Christian Science Monitor:
In February, the US agreed to accept 7,000 Iraqi refugees this year, a large jump over the fewer than 700 Iraqis accepted by the US in the first three years of the war but a drop in the ocean when measured against the estimated 2 million Iraqis who have fled the […]

Summer Sundance, part two

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

questionmarkWhat exactly do you discuss at Sundance? They’re entering with completed scripts, which I assume are perfect to them at the beginning, so where to next? And if you participate in the Screenwriting Lab are you automatically given a Directors Lab spot, if that is what you so choose to do with your completed work?

– Christina Shaver

The scripts the Fellows are bringing to Sundance are completed drafts, but they’re still works in progress. The advisor meetings aren’t notes sessions, but rather a chance to talk through ideas with experienced writers, whose fresh eyes can identify problems and opportunities. It’s like therapy for your script.

Over the last two days, I met with Braden King and Dani Valent, whose script HERE is a road movie set in Armenia, and Sophie Bartes, whose COLD SOULS is an existential comedy.1 Both projects went through the Directors Lab, so the filmmakers had a chance to see how the scenes worked when put up on their feet, which left them with new questions and ideas.

Over the course of the lab, each writer has five meetings with different advisors. In some meetings, I’ve gone page by page with the fellows, looking at how this line on page 19 is setting up an expectation that never really pays off. In other meetings, I’ve left the script in my backpack, instead talking in broad terms about character POV, balancing tones, and the rewriting process. It’s a conversation, and all based on what the Fellow needs. One of the smartest innovations in the Sundance Labs experience is that the advisors meet each morning to talk through the previous day’s sessions, thus building on each other’s work.

I screened THE NINES last night for the group. It was strange to see it in one of same theaters as January, but with a completely different crowd and set of expectations. (And a new, vastly better digital projector.) Atom Egoyan had screened THE SWEET HEREAFTER the second night, and it was terrific to finally be able to ask him questions about his movie and his process.

Sundance doesn’t change much year-to-year, but there have been a few adjustments this time:

  • There’s a documentary lab running concurrently, so we’ve gotten to mingle with some editorially-oriented folks.
  • There’s wireless, and thus blogging.
  • In an effort to reduce waste, they handed out water bottles and coffee mugs upon arrival to use instead of paper cups and disposable bottles. It’s been remarkably effective. Because you’re at altitude, you have to drink a lot of water, and having a container with your name on it makes it simple.2
  • They got rid of wine at dinner, but added receptions to (partially) make up for it. Again, you’re at altitude, so it doesn’t take much.

  1. My final project is Richard Montoya’s WATER AND POWER, adapted from his acclaimed play. I lucked out this year in that all of my assigned projects feel like Actual Movies I Would Pay to See.
  2. We recently banned bottled water at home. Our water cooler was using $145 worth of electricity each year, and that’s not counting all the energy wasted packaging and delivering the giant bottles. It’s surprisingly easy to adjust.

Great experiments over at Quadroplastic

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Great experiments over at Quadroplastic