Month: December 2014

“THE LIVING” Is Independent Cinema At It’s Very Finest

The Living is one of those films that doesn’t waste anytime establishing the storyline. After the opening credits roll accompanied by a beautiful and haunting track “The Werewolf Song” by Michael Hurley we meet Teddy, who wakes from a heavy night of drinking. He is surrounded by the aftermath and carnage from the night before, the room is trashed and he has bloodied knuckles, but has no recollection of what happened. He searches the house for his wife, Molly, but she ain’t nowhere to be seen. He gets in the pickup and heads towards his in-laws. His wife is there, but Molly’s mother is hostile and threatens Teddy with a shotgun if he doesn’t get off the premises . Molly then comes out of the house, bruised and beaten. Teddy has no memory of what happened but it’s soon clear that in his drunken, animalistic state he has savagely beaten his wife.

The first 10 minutes of the film made me realise how relevant the opening track to the movie was. Teddy wakes up and has no memory of what happened, he turned into a monster, which in a way was like David from American Werewolf In London waking up in the zoo, having no memory of what happened, not realising that he has torn people to pieces. So The Werewolf Song was a perfectly fitting opening track that quickly set the mood for the film.

Later that day, Molly’s brother,Gordon, is working at the local supermarket – his friend tells him that he knows of someone that could take care of Teddy – Gordon doesn’t have much cash, but this hitman comes cheap enough..

And from this another plot is born and we get introduced to ex-con, Howard the hitman played brilliantly by Brian Mulkey. When Howard arrives on the scene I had no idea where the story was going to go, from that moment on, I was kept guessing right up to the end.

That’s all I’ll say about the plot of the movie. This was one of the best independent films made in 2014. We have two stories that meet at the start and then go their separate ways, then cross paths again at the end.

The acting and character development was fantastic. Everyone involved had an important role to play, and story to tell, and everyone did it with striking realism. The story played really well as a realistic drama that focuses on the effects of domestic violence, and then we meet ex-con, Harold, and a beautifully crafted thriller is born with both stories playing brilliantly into each other.

Director/writer Jack Bryan created something really special with this film, it just goes to show you just what can be done if you have a a solid story, powerful script, good direction, and the acting talent to bring it all to life. The movie was shot for an estimated $500.000 and on the scale of things that’s not very much. This is a prime example of classic independent cinema – absolutely fantastic filmmaking in every sense of the word.

The movie stars Fran Kanz (The Cabin In The Woods, Training Day, Donnie Darko, The Village, Dollhouse), Jocelin Donahue (The House Of The Devil, The Burrowers, Insidious Chapter 2, Summer Camp), Kenny Wormald (clerks 2, By The Gun, Footloose, Kid Cannabis) Chris Mulkey (Rambo: First Blood, Captain Phillips, Mysterious Skin, The Purge, Boardwalk Empire) and Joelle Carter ( Justified, Jessabelle, American Pie 2, new tv show Constantine)

The movie produced by Shooting Films, and if this is the caliber of movies that will be getting released via this company, then we’re gonna have to keep a close eye on all upcoming releases. No doubt Shooting Films is a name to watch out for.

NIGHTCRAWLER – A MOVIEHOOKER REVIEW

This is another film that I feel that I’ve been following forever. As soon as the first stills surfaced of Jake Gyllenhaal screaming into a mirror, I just knew deep down that this was gonna be his best performance to-date. No matter if you’re a fan or not of Jake Gyllenhaal there is no denying he has been growing into a fine actor with some memorable recent performances in movies like End Of Watch, Prisoners, Enemy
IMG_7302.JPG

Although the film didn’t play out exactly how I imagined, I have to say that I was genuinely frightened of Gyllenhaal. There was just something about him that made your skin crawl and you constantly feel that he could explode and start murdering people at any stage of the film.

My brother pointed out to me last night that his character Lou Bloom was based on a Marvel character. He was fucking right!! From what I’ve read, Lou Bloom is a character called Nightcrawler from the X-men universe but i think it stops there, the similarity is just the name.
IMG_7301.JPG

Gyllenhaal plays a petty thief who stumbles on a freelance news team filming a car crash so they can sell to the news stations. Lou Bloom says something like “does someone pay you for this stuff?!” And the cameraman replies “if it bleeds, it leads!”.

The next day Lou Bloom gets his hands on a camera and a police scanner, and starts up his own freelance business. He sits in his car at night, listening to the police scanner – when a crime or accident is called in, he tries to make it on the scene before anyone else. Not to help in anyway but to take footage of the injured or dying so he can make some easy cash. It’s not long before his thirst for blood and carnage starts to spiral out of control and takes over. He plays an absolutely fantastic sociopath who is genuinely unpredictable, you just never know how far this guy is willing to go.

IMG_7305.JPG

As I said, the film didn’t play out like I imagined it would, but in saying that I was still blown away by both the writing and Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance . I wanted blood and guts and murder and was expecting it to be vicious as hell. By the end of the film I had completely reset my expectations and took it onboard as a dark drama which deals with the fear of God that the media pumps into you!!!

Very relevant in this day and age if you ask me.

Defo one of the best films of this year!!

Kevin Bacon Has An Uzi And One Hell of A Moustache In first Stills From New Action/Thriller COP CAR

Seems that every time we’ve seen Kevin Bacon in recent years was on tv playing cop Ryan Hardy in The Following. When I first heard the premise for The Following I got real excited. kevin Bacon playing a cop hunting a serial-killer. But I couldn’t even make it through season one, I really wanted to like it but there was just something about it that didn’t click. Kevin Bacon was great, as expected, but i felt the show just didn’t have any depth, it seemed shallow and hollow, but that’s just my opinion. So if you ain’t a fan of The Following then Kevin Bacon has been pretty much non-existent.

A few stills have surfaced from new action/thriller starring Kevin Bacon called Cop Car which will have it premiere at next months Sundance Film Festival

The only available premise at this time is “Two-10-year old boys steal an abandoned cop car”

So who knows what the fuck it's going to be about. Kevin Bacon could be hiding in the trunk, high on drugs with loaded automatic weapons, or…. there could be loads of drugs in the car left by crooked cops and kevin Bacon is the pickup guy… or maybe Kevin Bacon just has a thing for cop cars and the boys won't sell him the one they found so he decides to break out the automatic weapons and go on a rampage until he gets what he wants.

The one thing we do know is that Kevin Bacon has an Uzi one hell of a serious looking moustache!! Thats enough for me… Im sold!!

IMG_7290.JPG

Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “IT” preps for 2015 shoot

After the news emerged that Cary Fukunaga (True Detective, Sin Normbre) was attached to direct the reboot of Stephen King’s classic It things have been very quiet.

In a recent interview producer Dan Lin confirmed that the project was still very much alive and that shooting will begin sometime in the summer of 2015. And people can put their minds at ease as Cary Fukunaga is still very much involved and has been developing the film for years.

“The idea is to start official prep in March for a summer shoot. Cary likes to develop things for a while, and we’ve been with this for about three or four years, so we’re super excited that he stayed with it. You guys are gonna be really excited.” Lin said to Vulture

Even the people I know that aren’t fans of reboots or remakes are still very excited to see Fukunaga take the directors seat for this project. What he did with True Detective was astonishing and I think that look and feel of TD would transfer beautifully into King’s adaptation.

The movie will be released in two feature-length parts just the same as the TV movie from the 90’s. No cast has been confirmed but I’m sure whoever he gets is going to be fantastic.

This is a film I’m super excited for.

More updates to follow.

Christmas Cruelty – A Moviehooker Review

Firstly I’d like to explain a little bit about the movie, this is a low-budget independent feature made by a handful of people in a small rural town in Norway. Just so you can get to know who these guys are – here is a sort of Bio from the official press release from Christmas Cruelty

Magne Steinsvoll isn’t only an actor in “Christmas Cruelty!”, he was also one of the writers, one of the directors, one of the producers, he made most of the music, worked on the sound and engineered most of the camera rigs used in the film. As if he didn’t have enough jobs in filmmaking, he’s also an electrician and musician.

Per-Ingvar Tomren is the other director, one of the screenwriters, an actor, made the special effects and worked as a stuntman in “Christmas Cruelty!”. Per-Ingvar has Brittle Bone Disease, which probably isn’t the smartest combination with stunt work. During the production of “Christmas Cruelty!” he fractured two ribs, a lot of fingers, toes, small bones, his jaw and sustained a skull fracture, which led to internal bleeding and a permanent brain damage.

Raymond Volle is responsible for the beautiful camerawork in “Christmas Cruelty!”, which was his first feature length film as a Director of Photography. He became director Per-Ingvar Tomren’s closest collaborator, and they are currently working on several new projects together.

Christmas Cruelty is a daring movie, to say the least. The movie comes with a warning sign, and that was a pretty good idea if you ask me.

When watching something like Christmas Cruelty (or any independent low-budget feature) I would always leave any budget issues at the door. I would always think, ok, right!! What if these guys had total control and freedom to make the feature that they wanted to make. What if money wasn’t an issue, what film would we see then? Don’t get me wrong, the movie looked really good, it had a real 70’s gritty Grindhouse sort of feel to it .

I always look on the bright-side of low-budget cinema. If the film has potential (and this one certainly does) and the acting is decent, and we have some nice camera work, then it’s only a matter of time before someone notices that and paves a path for them to continue to make bigger budgeted and better features.

And I have to say that I have a lot of respect for this movie and how vicious it actually is. Let’s face it, if they toned down the movie and gave it a more festive certificate and made it suitable for a wider audience, then it would more than likely increase the profit, but they didn’t, they went for a sinister approach that is very much targeted at hardcore horror fans, and I’ve nothing but total respect for that. But I do have to reiterate, this is quite gruesome and is defo not for the faint hearted. It may be low-budget, but it still packs quite the fucking punch.

There is an obvious talent behind the direction of the movie, and the cinematography was very impressive. I’ve been watching fucked up movies all my life, but I have to say, some of the scenes in this film fucked with my head a lot more than some of the big budgeted shockers, and the first scene is about 2minutes into the film….so you don’t have that look to wait before the madness begins.

The strong references to all our favourite horror movies is strongly present throughout the film. When I spotted my first, they just kept coming and I enjoyed spotting them all. This was due to a lot of the movie being shot in Per-Ingvar’s apartment, and it was a nice touch to the fim. This was obviously a horror movie, made by hardcore horror fans, for hardcore horror fans.

The humour is actually very good, I’ve said in many a post that if you laugh out loud at a movie when you’re watching and reading subtitles at the same time, then the humour has to be well written. Unfortunately sometimes when watching a subtitled comedy you loose some of the punch.. But thankfully this is not the case. Per-Ingvar and Magne sort of reminded me of a Norwegian Tucker & Dale .

Although I liked about 90% of the soundtrack, there was one song that I wasn’t really a fan of. I thought that the scene in question would’ve been more suited to a different type of vibe. Not that it was a bad song or anything, it just wasn’t my bag, and that’s just my own musical preference and has nothing to do with the movie.

The serial-killer doesn’t fuck about, he is as vicious as they come. When he isn’t murdering entire families and committing unspeakable acts on them, he’s at home with his family, playing the loving father. I have to say this was a daring role for any actor to take on, so I’ve total respect for that also. I am sure he is a lovely man in real-life, but he really does suit that dark and deranged role

Here is a little bit about the serial-killer from the official press release.

Tormod Liens portrayal as vicious serial killer is a huge departure from the roles he usually plays. He is probably most famous for playing the character, Jakob Vassvik in “Jakob – mannen som elsker Jack Nicholson” (2007) and “Jakob og campinglivets farer” (2007). Jakob is a very loveable and sweet role from two very family friendly movies, so the contrast to the villain Tormod plays in “Christmas Cruelty!” is enormous. But Tormod Liens life have always been filled with large contrasts, he’s gone from prison employee to prison inmate, from mental worker to mental patient and now from a servant of God in real life to a real devil in this movie.”

I recently found out that Tormod was getting criticism when he attended his local church for the role he played in the film. Which I find a little bit petty, ain’t church-goers meant to forgive? But thankfully we have the complete opposite, he’s also earning himself quite the name in the independent horror scene. So I wouldn’t worry too much about them, Tormod. Stick to the horror, man!

I also have to mention the female lead in the movie Eline Aasheim. She fitted in perfectly with Per-Ingvar and Magne, there was a nice natural chemistry between them all. But agiain, this was a challenging role for any actress to take on so I’ve also got total respect for that, she done such a good job. I really hope to see Eline in more Norwegian horror movies, I think she could be a big name in the horror scene.

Here is a little more about Eline from the official press release

“Leading lady, Eline Aasheim, has been praised in several reviews for her daring and brave acting in this movie. “Christmas Cruelty!” is her first feature length movie, but already in her early teens she got known for a Norwegian audience through the TV-series, “Fangstfamilien på Svalbard“. A mini series that followed Eline and her family, as they lived one year in a small cabin in the wilderness of Svalbard. This documentary featured exciting episodes with polar bears and other adventures the small family had to deal with, isolated in this cold and unforgiving landscape. When directors Per-Ingvar Tomren and Magne Steinsvoll first met Eline, there was absolutely no doubt that she was the perfect choice for the main character. Her natural talent and beauty far surpassed their hopes for this role.”

OVERALL
Christmas Cruelty is a film that isn’t frightened to go straight for the Jugular, both shocking and entertaining, this was a great first feature from some new and promising names in the independent horror scene.