Sunday, June 29, 2008


THE RUINS
(Review)

Four young American tourists are on a Mexican vacation, when a chance encounter with German Mathias (Joe Anderson, from Control and Across The Universe) sends them on a trek to an ancient Mayan temple, one that isn’t even on the guide books. This being an R-rated horror movie, it should come as no surprise then that there is something in the temple, an insidious, persistent horror that will put these pretty young things in terrible jeopardy.


Based on a Scott B. Smith novel, The Ruins is a crackerjack exercise in shudder-inducing horror with a commendable cast that includes two of young Hollywood’s dependable performers, The Black Donnellys’ Jonathan Tucker and Donnie Darko’s Jena Malone, as Jeff MacIntyre and girlfriend Amy.
There’s also some good work in here by Laura Ramsey (as Amy’s best friend, Stacy) and, as her boyfriend Eric, Shawn Ashmore, the younger Ashmore twin who plays Iceman in the X-Men franchise, not the one who plays Jimmy Olsen on Smallville (that one’s Aaron).
I’m particularly impressed with Ramsey, whose past work has been in some less-than-stellar fare like The Covenant and She’s The Man. She does a number of things in The Ruins I hadn’t thought her capable of, based on what I’d seen of her before.
If there’s an aspect of one performance here that could be a tad dodgy, it’s Anderson’s accent. But in the end, I’ve heard far worse, and for all I know, it could just be me, and Anderson’s accent is spot on.


At any rate, it’s partially to the credit of these young actors, who place believable characters before us, that the film works as well as it does, since—unlike in many a lesser horror film—we actually care if these kids live or die. There’s something very natural about the performances and the rapport between these characters that puts us in the middle of events as they unfold, that makes us sympathize with the dire situation they find themselves in.
And while Malone and her fellow actors rope us in and hold out attention, director Carter Smith and the other, apparently unrelated Smith (the writer, who adapted his own novel, though is credited without his middle initial as the film’s screenwriter) put all involved—particularly the audience—through a nasty cinematic wringer, the sort that makes you squirm and cringe, in very nice horror movie ways, mind.


It should also be noted that there’s some interesting work here by frequent Peter Jackson collaborator, production designer Grant Major, as well as some good cinematography by ace shooter Darius Khondji, who’s been DP for directors like David Fincher (Se7en and Panic Room), Danny Boyle (The Beach), and for the Caro-Jeunet tag team (Delicatessen and La cite des enfants perdus), as well as Jeunet in solo mode (Alien: Resurrection).
Think what you may of some of the films I’ve just mentioned (personally, I’m not a very big fan of Panic Room, The Beach, or Alien: Resurrection), but it’s hard to deny that they look good.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this ‘round these parts before, but I’ve always felt there are four saving graces in The Beach: 1) Tilda Swinton; 2) Robert Carlyle; 3) Virginie Ledoyen; and 4) Khondji’s cinematography.
Now, admittedly, The Ruins doesn’t have as potent a visual signature as some of the above films, like Se7en, for example. Nonetheless, it’s a well-shot horror film that actually does it work, and Khondji’s a part of that success.


As for anyone who isn’t familiar with the story’s premise, I’d prefer not to spoil the nature of the temple’s threat here, so I’ll just say this: if you, like little old me, love your horror, treat yourself to a walking tour of The Ruins.
Fun, fun, fun!!!

I’ll also leave you with this…
The Ruins has, as one of its executive producers, Ben Stiller.
Yes, that Ben Stiller. Derek Zoolander.
Now that, in itself, is a scary thought.*


Parting shot: Scott B. Smith also wrote the novel A Simple Plan, which, likewise, has a very good film adaptation directed by Sam Raimi.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s one of Raimi’s best.
In fact, why not make it a Scott B. Smith-adaptation double feature…

* Just for the record, I love Zoolander. Thus, when I think “Ben Stiller,” nasty, R-rated horror is the farthest thing from my mind…

(The Ruins OS courtesy of impawards.com [design by Ignition Print]; images courtesy of filmz.ru.)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008






AFTERTHOUGHTS (81)
HITCHHIKING TO SATURN 2008 (2)

So this year’s Saturns (held last night at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City) have come and gone, and the notable wins are:

300:
Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
Best Direction (Zack Snyder)

Blade Runner:
Best Special Edition DVD Release (5 Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

Cloverfield:
Best Science Fiction Film

Dexter:
Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series

Eastern Promises:
Best International Film

Heroes:
Best Television Series on DVD (Season 1)

Lost:
Best Network Television Series
Best Actor on Television (Matthew Fox)
Best Supporting Actor on Television (Michael Emerson)
Best Supporting Actress on Television (Elizabeth Mitchell)

The Mist:
Best Supporting Actress, Film (Marcia Gay Harden)

No Country For Old Men:
Best Supporting Actor, Film (Javier Bardem)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street:
Best Horror Film
Best Costume (Colleen Atwood)

Twin Peaks:
Best Retro Television Series on DVD (The Definitive Gold Box Edition)

I’m happy for Lost, naturally, though Elizabeth Mitchell’s win for Best Supporting Actress on Television was actually a tie with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ Summer Glau.
For my money (and the tremendous work she’s put in on Lost), Mitchell should have taken the category, lock, stock, and barrel.
And, as with any other awards night, there were the disappointments: El Orfanato, Stardust, Battlestar Galactica, and Pushing Daisies, all getting shut-out, as well as a bunch of other criminal calls (Jennifer Love Hewitt over Anna Friel and Evangeline Lilly?!), but hey, there’s some awfully neat stuff up there, so I’ll just accentuate the positive…
Oh, and aside from Guillermo del Toro receiving the George Pal Memorial Award for his “visionary genius,” Matt Reeves was also recognized with The Filmmakers Showcase Award, for directing Cloverfield.

To all the nominees and winners at this year’s Saturns, congratulations. (You can find a complete—and downloadable—list of winners here.)

Parting shot: Reviews of 300, Cloverfield, Eastern Promises, The Mist, No Country For Old Men, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, can be found in the Archive, along with episodic recaps/reviews of Dexter, Heroes, and Lost.

(Images courtesy of impawards.com [Lost]; bloody-disgusting.com [Cloverfield OS]; ew.com [Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men]; filmz.ru [Marcia Gay Harden in The Mist]; and empireonline.com [Guillermo del Toro].)


AFTERTHOUGHTS (80)
STAN WINSTON’S LEGACY

The news of Stan Winston’s passing was saddening, as his contribution to imaginative cinema is massive, and from the outpouring of fond, loving remembrance at the AICN tribute, it also quickly became apparent that he was as inspiring a person as he was an artist.
So it was with a certain sense of hope that I saw that the Stan Winston Studio would indeed continue on in his spirit, albeit under a new name.
The studio will now be called The Winston Effects Group, and will be a partnership between Shane Mahan, Lindsay MacGowan, John Rosengrant, and Alan Scott.

In continuing Winston’s legacy, MacGowan had this to say to Quint of AICN: “We have all been taught by Stan, and to try and do something that wouldn’t honor the work that we had done in the past, it’s just not something that we would do. We are completely committed to continuing doing as much groundbreaking work as Stan had done in the past and we will continue doing it.”

That’s a nice ray of hope in the sad wake of his passing…

(Image courtesy of empireonline.com.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008






AFTERTHOUGHTS (79)
THE FLY THE OPERA

The world premiere of the LA Opera/Théâtre du Châtelet-produced opera of David Cronenberg’s The Fly—first mentioned ‘round these parts in an Afterthoughts past—is set for July 2, 2008, at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet, with subsequent performances on July 5, 8, 11, and 13.
LA Opera will then present The Fly in Los Angeles on September 7, at 2:00PM, for a month-long run at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, officially opening the Company’s 2008/09 Season.

Directed by Cronenberg, the opera is composed by long-time collaborator Howard Shore, with a libretto by David Henry Hwang.
The opera also serves to reunite the director with other long-time collaborators, sister Denise (Costume Design) and Stephan L. Dupuis (Makeup and Creature Design). Handling Makeup, Creature and Puppet Fabrication is Mark Rappaport’s Creature Effects, Inc. Before establishing Creature Effects, Inc., Rappaport worked as a puppeteer on the Chris Walas-directed The Fly II, when he was a mechanical engineer for CWI.
Set design is by veteran production designer Dante Ferretti.

Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch plays the title role of Seth Brundle, Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose plays Veronica Quaife, and Tristan und Isolde lead Gary Lehman plays Stathis Borans; Okulitch and Donose are making their LA Opera debuts.
The Fly will be conducted by LA Opera Broad General Director, Plácido Domingo.

Of The Fly, Domingo had this to say: “… there is no scientific formula for commissioning [an opera] but only one’s instinct when one listens to a composer’s already existing works. I have heard many of Howard Shore’s scores for such films as The Lord of the Rings and, of course, The Fly and knew that here was a musician who should write an opera. That feeling became a reality when The Fly was chosen as the subject, the acclaimed David Henry Hwang came aboard as librettist and David Cronenberg said yes to recreating his film.”
On Shore’s part, there is this: “I always believed The Fly to be a classic opera story. It’s a tale of love and death, true love surviving in the face of physical decay and ultimate sacrifice. To bring this work to the opera stage has been a longtime dream. I am very proud to be working with these fantastic collaborators in the realization of this dream.”
And from Cronenberg himself: “To be involved in this opera of The Fly is, for me, to travel back not only in time, but to another dimension. It’s a magical re-living of a part of my life, this time playing a completely different role in the creation of a very different animal. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Neither can we.
I can still recall seeing The Fly for the very first time over two decades ago, and being absolutely blown away by it. Being the Cronenberg diehard that I am, I’ve naturally seen it quite a number of times since then.
Never once did I imagine it would become an opera…
It’s such a magnificently surprising world, isn’t it?

For more details on The Fly, you can visit the opera’s official website.

Parting shot: Reviews of a number of Cronenberg films can be found in the Archive.

(Images courtesy of howardshore.com and theflytheopera.com.)



reVIEW (49)
THE BROOD

As I mention elsewhere in the Iguana, I first discovered David Cronenberg via Scanners. Fascinated by anyone who would put an exploding head on the big screen, I played Betamax Detective and quickly immersed myself in two of his earlier films, Rabid and The Brood.
Journeying ever deeper into Cronenbergia, 1983’s
Videodrome saw me as a full-fledged citizen, and though the place isn’t quite as disturbing as it once was, I believe I’ll forever be a happy resident.

Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed), author of The Shape of Rage and head of the Somafree Institute of Psychoplasmics, believes that rage is an emotion which must be externalized so that his patients can properly deal with their psychological problems. And when his theories find their perfect vessel in Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar), murder and mayhem, Cronenberg style, ensue.

The Brood, David Cronenberg’s fourth feature, explores the idea of will—specifically rage—sublimating into physical form, how pent-up emotions can trigger physiological changes in one’s body. In zeroing in on the troubled marriage between Nola and Frank (Art Hindle), and (through her role-playing sessions with Raglan) Nola’s relationship with her estranged parents (Henry Beckman and Nuala Fitzgerald), Cronenberg also explores how a family’s dysfunction can be passed on from generation to generation, how the scars—physical, psychological, or otherwise—can be handed down from mother to daughter to daughter’s daughter.
(It’s interesting to note that Cronenberg has attributed the inspiration of the film partially to the experience of a painful custody battle with his ex-wife over their daughter Cassandra.)

With an interesting visual echo of Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, Cronenberg’s The Brood is a disturbing piece that boasts fine performances from Eggar and Reed.
The film also has import beyond itself, in that it signaled the beginning of a long-term—and extremely fruitful—collaboration with composer Howard Shore.

The Brood is horror with significant subtext, and in light of news of an impending remake, I’d be remiss in not directing you to the real thing.

(The Brood OS courtesy of impawards.com; DVD cover art courtesy of amazon.com.)

(Thanx go out to the J&R Travel Agency, for arranging my renewed access to the Somafree Institute.)

Monday, June 23, 2008





BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Season 4 Episode 3
“The Ties That Bind”
Written by Michael Taylor
Directed by Michael Nankin
(WARNING: SPOILERS)

Twelve Cylon models
Seven are known
Four live in secret
One will be revealed

Lords of Kobol, this one had some pretty evil reversals in its climax…

The Road to Earth.
It turns out that amongst the crew of the Demetrius (on its 22nd day of transit), are Helo, Athena, Toaster Sam, Seelix, and Gaeta.
All is not well on the creaky, smelly ride though, as Kara seems to be flailing about trying to get her bearings and find the correct course to Earth. Most of the others are beginning to doubt and grumble, though Sam ends up having a bout of anger-turned-into-passionate-sex (you know the type) with Kara…

West Wing in Space.
So President Roslin is covering for the Demetrius’ absence while having to deal with her cancer treatments.
And apparently, turning into a tyrant…
VP Zarek hands a Classified file to newly appointed Quorum member, Lee, which seems to indicate that Roslin is laying down the architecture for a government that will be beholden to the power of its President, namely her.
It also quickly becomes apparent that she hasn’t forgiven Lee one bit for his betrayal of her during Baltar’s trial (thus making my hope for a Roslin-Lee Moment last episode naively premature).
Man, she’s turning out to be a cold-hearted hard-a$$ this season, though I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt and hoping this is all fallout from the cancer (and not Toaster Tory manipulating her somehow; see later).
At any rate, Lee ends up blowing the whistle on the Classified file’s contents in front of the entire Quorum, forcing Roslin’s hand in making the proposal common knowledge, as well as pissing her off real good.

Cylon Coup.
When Cavil returns in a new body, he opens up talks with Natalie, and is apparently willing to listen to their demands now, if only to restore unity.
The demand to stop the Raider lobotomies is accepted, though the move to de-box the Threes is put to a vote.
At first, Cavil claims that the vote passed, but later on, when the ships make a jump, the Resurrection Ship doesn’t. A number of the base ships led by Cavil’s then open fire on the ships containing Natalie and the other dissidents.
Cavil tells Boomer (who he’s apparently being really chummy with these days; the topless dancing last episode was just the start!), Remember, they started this.
Boomer of course, emphasizes the consequences of the Resurrection Ship’s absence: if Natalie and the rest of the Sixes, and the Eights, and the Twos die, they’re dead for good…

The Secret Cylons.
With Toaster Tyrol’s frequent absences recently, Cally hasn’t been getting much rest or sleep, having to take care of Nicky all by her lonesome.
Fatigue and anti-depressants do not, a pretty mix make, and when she catches the Chief and Toaster Tory (let’s call her T2) at a table in Joe’s Bar, she conjures up a non-existent affair. (Though to be fair, T2 did seem to have turned into CyberSlut, which is, I suppose, what you get when you have the pain in the a$$ epiphany that you’re a Cylon and you’re made to sleep with Baltar. Anyway, T2 was stroking Toaster Chief’s elbow. Or was that all in Cally’s head?)
Convinced her husband is boinking the President’s assistant, Cally’s futzing around their quarters, gathering up her meds, and I’m thinking, Okay, crazy, drugged-up woman’s about to off herself, isn’t she?
But, she inadvertently finds a message for the Chief which indicates a place and time. Thinking it’s from her husband’s floozy, she shows up there and sees Tigh, Tory, and the Chief gather for some secret rendezvous. (What did she think? There was gonna be a threesome?)
Cally eavesdrops and hears something she really shouldn’t have: these three are Cylons!
Poor woman probably sailed right off the edge at that point.
Cally makes a little racket from her hiding place, but the only one to notice something amiss is Toaster Tory.

Back at their quarters, Toaster Tyrol is telling her once again that there is no affair going on, and that he’s really gonna try and be there for her and Nicky.
But Cally’s lost it and swings a wrench at Toaster Tyrol’s noggin, knocking him out. She takes Nicky and a key from her husband’s pocket…
As Cally makes her way to an outer hatch, I’m thinking, Oh, no, not with the kid. I’m thinking, No wonder Moore and Eick and company were saying in interviews that they may not be able to get around to exploring Nicky’s half-human/half-Cylon heritage. ‘Cause the poor kid’s gonna get snuffed by his crazy-a$$ momma!
And I’m thinking, Holy crap. They’re really gonna kill the kid?! And I recall that in the original mini-series—was it the first episode?—they actually did kill a baby, when Caprica Six snapped its neck. Damn you baby killers!!!
But who should show up but Toaster Tory, who seems to want to talk Cally down from her suicidal urges. T2 is even apparently willing to risk her life to try and save Cally from doing this awful, awful thing.
And I think to myself, Huh. T2 may not be so bad after all.
Which is basically what T2 says to Cally, as she takes little Nicky from his crazy-a$$ momma, that she may be a Cylon, but she’s still the same person she’s always been. That she isn’t evil.
Right before she backhands Cally and leaves her in the airlock. Before she uses the key and jettisons poor Cally into outer space.

Damn you, Moore and Eick (and Michael Taylor, for writing this evil and oh-so-effective reversal)!
I’ve never really warmed to Tory (thus the reveal that she was a Secret Cylon didn’t really have the same sort of impact as with the other three), but this just sealed the hate, people.
As much as this reminds me of Lost and Michael shooting Ana-Lucia and Libby, this is, in many ways, so much worse, as Tory really does seem to be a cold-hearted b!tch (as opposed to Michael’s dunder-headedness).
Ugh. The woman is evil. All Cally ever really wanted was to be a dentist! Now I feel stupid for feeling sorry for Toaster Tory when she was made to sleep with Baltar.
Go, evil toaster! Sleep and cry with that deluded egomaniac!
Go! And get your stinking hands off the Chief!
(And yes, I realize she’s actually a skin job, but calling the Secret Cylons “toasters” is so much more fun!)

This does beg the question though.
If Tory is capable of this heinous act, are the other three Secret Cylons also potentially murderous toasters?
Or is there truth to her claims to Cally, that she really still is the same woman she was before the epiphany? That she has been, all this time, a murderous harridan?
Or was that the pressure and anxiety of the possibility of being caught out? That she felt she couldn’t let Cally live, since Cally knew the truth about her?

Also, the episode closes with a broken-up Toaster Tyrol in his quarters with Adama. There’s no sign of little Nicky.
Could T2 have spirited Nicky away, and made it seem as if Cally committed hari-kiri along with her baby? I hope not…

I say again, Damn you, Moore and Eick!
Gods, can this show get any better?

R.I.P. Specialist Callandra Henderson Tyrol

COUNTDOWN: 17.

(Images courtesy of SCIFI Channel, twitchfilm.net, and chron.com [Cally].)

Sunday, June 22, 2008






AFTERTHOUGHTS (78)
SATOSHI KON:
BEYOND IMAGINATION

For those of you down New York way, June 27 to July 1, 2008, will see a mid-career retrospective of Satoshi Kon’s anime work.
All four of Kon’s animated feature films (Perfect Blue, Sennen Joyu, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika) as well as sections of TV series Moso Dairinin (Paranoia Agent), will be screened at the Walter Reade Theater.

Kon will take part in an onstage conversation with the Lincoln Center’s Film Society program director Richard Peña, following the 6:15PM screening of Paprika on June 27, Friday.
Kon’s artwork will also be on display in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery, adjacent to the Walter Reade Theater lobby, from June 27 through July 15.

Needless to say, I am envious of all you Big Apple Kon die-hards…
You can go here for more details, and to purchase tickets online.

Parting shot: A review of Paprika can be found in the Archive.

(Images courtesy of perfectblue.com; animeshade.com [Millennium Actress]; impawards.com [Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika OS’s]; and paranoiaagent.com.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008






AFTERTHOUGHTS (77)
NEIL’S NEW CLASSIC MONSTERS

Amidst all the “New Classic” craziness currently going on at ew.com, Neil Gaiman has a list of his choices for 10 New Classic Monsters. (And by “New Classic,” they mean anything that saw the light of day from 1983 till the present.)
Among Neil’s choices:

9. The Pale Man from Guillermo del Toro’s El Laberinto Del Fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth)

7. The Nightbreed, from Clive Barker’s Nightbreed

6. Eugene Tooms, from The X-Files episodes “Squeeze” and “Tooms”

5. Grendel, in Gaiman’s words, “The first and the best,” seen most recently in Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf (which Neil co-scripted)

4. Hannibal Lecter (though Gaiman specifies the Lecter from Thomas Harris’ novels Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs, “… back when he wasn’t quite human and was all the scarier for it.”)

2. Max Schreck, as portrayed by Willem Dafoe in E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire

And at the top spot…

Swamp Thing. As Neil puts it, “The 1984-87 Alan Moore/Steve Bissette/John Totleben revival. The best muck-encrusted monster in the best comics.”

You can find the entire list here.

Parting shot: Reviews of El Laberinto Del Fauno, Beowulf, and Shadow of the Vampire, can be found in the Archive.

(Images courtesy of bloody-disgusting.com [El Laberinto Del Fauno and Shadow of the Vampire]; amazon.com [Clive Barker’s The Nightbreed Chronicles cover art]; fredfarm.com [The X-Files]; and dccomics.com [Swamp Thing Vol. 1: Saga of the Swamp Thing cover art].)





AFTERTHOUGHTS (76)
BARKER’S TRAIN NEEDS A PUSH

After getting its release date repeatedly pushed further and further down the line, Ryuhei Kitamura’s adaptation of Clive Barker’s The Midnight Meat Train will reportedly his theatres on August 1st, in a very limited release of approximately 100 screens, apparently only to fulfill contractual obligations, before being shuffled off to DVD.
It’s a sad move, given the recent resurgence of R-rated horror at the box office. The success of both M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening and Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers has, at least for the moment, put the kibosh on the industry thinking that only PG-13 horror could turn a profit.
The Midnight Meat Train could very well be a hit as well, if it actually reaches a wide enough audience.
To that end, Barker himself has released this statement:

“As you may or may not have heard, due to certain politics, Midnight Meat Train is in danger of Lionsgate not giving it a wide release. I’m asking you to please help spread the word in order for all to enjoy this film. I want to passionately encourage everybody who cares about my work to use this chance to change the minds of the folks at Lionsgate.
“Anything any of you can do—be it e-mails, web postings, word of mouth and the like—to help encourage this movement would be deeply appreciated. The film is worth the effort in my mind, and I do not want to see my work fall by the wayside.”

The “certain politics” Barker makes mention of apparently refers to the recent studio regime change at Lionsgate. The changing of the guard at studios always causes upheaval, and sadly, some films get caught in the backwash.
It seems The Midnight Meat Train could end up as one of those films.

So, you heard the man.
Head on over to Revelations, and help get the Train into theatres where it belongs.

Parting shot: The Midnight Meat Train, based on the Books of Blood short story, stars Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Roger Bart, Brooke Shields, and the one and only Vinnie Jones. And it’s shot by the excellent Jonathan Sela (DP on Martin Weisz‘s Rohtenburg and John Moore‘s redux of The Omen), so it should also look spectacular.
The film enjoys its World Premiere at this year’s FanTasia Film Festival in Canada; see Afterthoughts (75) in the Archive.

(The Midnight Meat Train OS courtesy of twitchfilm.net; images courtesy of shocktillyoudrop.com.)

Thursday, June 19, 2008






AFTERTHOUGHTS (75)
FANTASIA 2008

Canadian genre fans have the distinct pleasure of going whole hog from July 3-21 as this year’s FanTasia Film Festival (“North America’s Premier Genre Film Festival”) gets underway, with a lotta titles to go rabid for.

Among them: Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza’s [REC]; Tomas Alfredson‘s Tribeca champ, Lat den ratte komma in (Let The Right One In); Ryuhei Kitamura’s adaptation of Clive Barker’s The Midnight Meat Train; Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee‘s adaptation of Jack Ketchum’s Red; Dario Argento’s La Terza Madre (Mother of Tears); Jonathan Levine‘s All The Boys Love Mandy Lane; Daniel Myrick’s The Objective; Nacho Vigalondo‘s Los Cronocrimenes (Timecrimes), Jim Isaac’s Pig Hunt; Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom‘s Faet (Alone); Hideo Nakata’s Death Note spin-off, L: Change The World; Phedon Papamichael’s From Within; Ole Bornedal’s Vikaren (The Substitute); and Yam Laranas’ English-language remake of his own Sigaw, The Echo.
Both The Midnight Meat Train and The Echo are getting their world premieres at FanTasia 2008.

And, to the delight of Balaguero fans (like myself), FanTasia will also be screening his entry from the Spanish TV production, Películas para no dormir (Films To Keep You Awake), Para entrar a vivir (To Let). Another Pelicula para no dormir getting the big screen treatment at the festival is Alex de la Iglesia’s La habitación del niño (The Baby’s Room).
Sadly though, I can’t do the bilocation thing, so I’ll miss all the fun (Balaguero or otherwise)…
Sigh.
But for all you Canadian horrorheads, have a blast!

Parting shot: Reviews of Balaguero’s Los sin nombre (The Nameless), Darkness, and Fragiles (Fragile); Nakata’s Honogurai mizu no soko kara (Dark Water) and The Ring Two; Argento’s Suspiria and Inferno; Isaac’s Skinwalkers; Pisanthanakun and Wongpoom‘s Shutter; and Shusuke Kaneko’s Desu noto (Death Note), can be found in the Archive.

(OS’s courtesy of shocktillyoudrop.com [[REC] and Let The Right One In], twitchfilm.net [The Midnight Meat Train], bloody-disgusting.com [The Objective], and impawards.com [Timecrimes].)






AFTERTHOUGHTS (74)
EDINBURGH 2008

Breaking off and getting a jump on the annual Edinburgh arts festival in August, the 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival kicks off June 18, 2008 and winds up on the 29th of the month.
Among the films and events of note during this year’s EIFF are:

Spike (Directed by Robert Beaucage)
World Premiere (June 20)

Izolator (Warsaw Dark) (Directed by Christopher Doyle)
World Premiere (June 21)

Cinematographers Roger Deakins (long-time Coen brothers DP, who also shot Sam Mendes’ Jarhead and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village) and Seamus McGarvey (The Hours) in conversation
(June 22)

Jason and the Argonauts (Directed by Don Chaffey; stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen)
(June 24)

Ray Harryhausen explains his craft
(June 25)

Transsiberian (Directed by Brad Anderson)
UK Premiere (June 27)

For more information on the 62nd EIFF, check out the official website.

Parting shot: Reviews of Brad Anderson’s El Maquinista (The Machinist) and his Masters of Horror entry, “Sounds Like,” as well as the Deakins-shot No Country For Old Men, can be found in the Archive.

(Images courtesy of spikemovie.net [Spike]; twitchfilm.net [Izolator]; ew.com [Roger Deakins]; and rayharryhausen.com [Ray Harryhausen]; Transsiberian OS courtesy of impawards.com.)





AFTERTHOUGHTS (73)
ANNECY 2008

Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues and Bill Plympton’s Idiots & Angels (both mentioned in Afterthoughts past) took home the Cristal award for Best Feature and an award for Special Distinction respectively, at the recently concluded 32nd Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival.
Congratulations to Paley and Plympton and all the other winners and nominees this year. (Check the official Annecy website for more information.)

In the wake of the global animation boom in recent years, Annecy increased the number of possible feature films in competition from five to a maximum of ten, in 2006.
This year, nine feature films were chosen for competition from a field of nearly 50. Among the nine were Shinji Aramaki’s Ekusu makina (Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina, Adria Garcia and Victor Maldonado’s Nocturna, and Masayuki Kojima’s Piano no mori (Piano Forest).

(Sita Sings the Blues OS courtesy of ninapaley.com; image courtesy of sitasingstheblues.com [art for both by Nina Paley]; Idiots & Angels images courtesy of idiotsandangels.com [art by Bill Plympton].)