Live Chat with “The Woman” Director Lucky McKee Tonight

To celebrate the release of The Woman to DVD and Blu-ray, Bloody Disgusting is hosting a live chat with director Lucky McKee TONIGHT. He will be answering and offering up an exclusive clip from the film, all on Bloody Disgusting’s Facebook page at 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST

I was fortunate to be able to catch The Woman during its theatrical run in the fall, and really really dug it. It’s a smart, darkly-comedic film that doesn’t follow the typical horror path. If you haven’t seen it yet, get on it.

Synopsis: A domineering, upper-middle class father abducts a feral woman while out on a day-long hunting trip. With his twisted set of ideals, he decides to embark upon a deranged project – to “civilize” her – a decision that he and his family will soon regret. Tearing apart the image of the all-American family, director Lucky McKee and writer Jack Ketchum unleash a savage depiction of the war of the sexes and nature versus civilization. Labeled one of the most controversial films of the year, The Woman is a must for all fans of horror.

Matthew Vaughn Signed for X-Men: First Class Sequel

Deadline is reporting that Matthew Vaughn has closed a deal with Fox to direct the upcoming sequel to X-Men: First Class. The new film will be produced by Bryan Singer and written by Simon Kindberg. Kindberg served as producer on First Class, and has a number of scripts under his belt, including Sherlock Holmes and the upcoming Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (though he also penned X-Men: The Last Stand, which I consider to be a strike, but am more than happy to pin on Brett Ratner).

Review: The Grey

Just got back from The Grey. I really dug it, but be warned – it is not all about wolf-punching. It is not merely a man against nature story. This is well-written, well-paced thriller that is more about the people involved in the story than what they actually do.

Equal part character study and survival film, The Grey follows the surviving members of an oil drilling group in Alaska left alive after a sudden plane crash. Ottway (Liam Neeson) quickly emerges as the leader of the group. With hope for a rescue slim, their only chance for survival is to gather up as many supplies as they can and try to get back to civilization.  A bad situation naturally turns worse when the group of wolves begins stalking the survivors.

The wolves are terrifying. They are a constant threat and source of tension throughout the story. Even if they are not actively going after our characters, we know they are close by, and we never know where they are going to come from or how they will attack. The harsh conditions of the Alaskan wilderness are equally monstrous. The roaring winds and the immense, bleak landscape beg for this to be seen on a big screen – your living room simply will not do it justice.

The thriller aspects all work, but it’s the human moments and the characterization that really make The Grey shine. We are literally dropped into this horrific situation with these characters less than 10 minutes into the film. Our first significant meeting of the cast occurs only after the plane crash, as the survivors are painfully trying to get their bearings and figure out what to do next. If trials allow us to see the real person underneath all of the bullshit, I can’t think of anything more trying than being stranded in the Alaskan wild, post plane crash. We don’t have any sort of a backstory to go on with any of these men, but we still know exactly who they are.

The actors were all great – frankly, they had to be. The only way for this story to be carried off was for everyone in that cast to know exactly who they were playing. It would have been so easy for this to turn into one of Michael Bay’s casts, where dudes just show up and read their lines, resulting in a boring-ass movie. But there is some great talent in this group, and they were able to handle the subtleties of the script and turn in very nuanced performances. You are inside their heads without even knowing how you got there.

Joe Carnahan’s direction is spot on – with both the story of the characters and the story of their ordeal.  Each aspect of the film enhances the other beautifully. He interweaves very tense, suspenseful scenes with sudden moments of shock, and stripped-down moments of pure humanity. It really lends a balance to the story, and each individual aspect is stronger for it. 

This isn’t a film where you get to know your characters and then watch what life throws at them. It’s about
getting to know the REAL them once the situation is already upon them – and The Grey does it very well.

…Once more into the fray…

V/H/S Picked up by Magnolia

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the much talked-about horror film V/H/S will soon be making its way to theaters and VOD, thanks to Magnolia pictures. The found footage horror anthology has been one of the most talked-about films at Sundance, and is the first genre title to be acquired for distribution.

Synopsis: When a group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.

The film was co-directed by Adam Wingard, Ti West, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Joe Swanberg.

Word on the street is that V/H/S breathes new life and a whole lot of fun into the found footage genre, and reactions from the festival have been very positive – an audience member even left the theater and fainted during one of the screenings.

So psyched that this will be seeing distribution soon. Can’t wait to see it!

Watch The Human Centipede II with Director Tom Six

….kind of.

This Friday, Facebook will be hosting a virtual screening of the controversial/loved/reviled Human Centepiede II, and Director Tom Six will be available to chat with fans during the film. You can pre-order a ticket and view via Facebook’s new Social Cinema. Screening and chat will begin this Friday at 7:00 EST.

Love them or hate them, Six has made his own impact with the Centipede films, and this event is bound to be an experience…of some sort…

Oscar Nominations Are In

I don’t really know what to say about the Oscars. Every year I am completely indifferent (the Oscars tend to target one type of film, and aren’t as nearly wide-reaching as I would like them to be), and then the list comes out and I get sucked in. I always wind up pissed off and moaning “What was the Academy thinking?” Which is about where I am today. I haven’t seen everything on the list, but I can say the The Artist was incredible and deserves every nomination it got. I’m all pissy that Drive was completely ignored, when it was one of the best films I have seen all year. I had thought that this would be the year that Andy Serkis was finally recognized for his amazing talents, but he was shunned as well. And Michael Fassbender was incredible in Shame.

So here’s a list of the majors. Full list can be found here. I’ll probably be pissed off for another 20 minutes or so, then go back to my indifference until Oscar night, when I will probably get sucked back in once more.

Oh, Oscars, thou art a devilish train wreck that I can’t NOT watch.

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Artist (2011): Thomas Langmann
The Descendants (2011): Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011): Scott Rudin
The Help (2011): Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan
Hugo (2011/II): Graham King, Martin Scorsese
Midnight in Paris (2011): Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum
Moneyball (2011): Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt
The Tree of Life (2011): Nominees to be determined
War Horse (2011): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir for A Better Life (2011)
George Clooney for The Descendants (2011)
Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)
Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Brad Pitt for Moneyball (2011)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Viola Davis for The Help (2011)
Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011)
Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (2011)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn (2011)
Jonah Hill for Moneyball (2011)
Nick Nolte for Warrior (2011)
Christopher Plummer for Beginners (2010)
Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo for The Artist (2011)
Jessica Chastain for The Help (2011)
Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids (2011)
Janet McTeer for Albert Nobbs (2011)
Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011)

Best Achievement in Directing

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris (2011)
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist (2011)
Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life (2011)
Alexander Payne for The Descendants (2011)
Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011/II)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

The Artist (2011): Michel Hazanavicius
Bridesmaids (2011): Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo
Margin Call (2011): J.C. Chandor
Midnight in Paris (2011): Woody Allen
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Descendants (2011): Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash
Hugo (2011/II): John Logan
The Ides of March (2011): George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Moneyball (2011): Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011): Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughan

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

A Cat in Paris (2010): Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico & Rita (2010): Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011): Jennifer Yuh
Puss in Boots (2011): Chris Miller
Rango (2011): Gore Verbinski

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Bullhead (2011): Michael R. Roskam(Belgium)
Footnote (2011): Joseph Cedar(Israel)
In Darkness (2011): Agnieszka Holland(Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (2011): Philippe Falardeau(Canada)
A Separation (2011): Asghar Farhadi(Iran)

Red Lights Clip

Red Lights premiered at Sundance this weekend to rather mixed reviews. Directed by Rodrigo Cortez (Buried), Red Lights stars Robert De Niro as Simon Silver, a legendary psychic, perhaps the most famously gifted of all time, who returns after thirty years of mysterious absence to become the world’s greatest challenge to orthodox science and professional skeptics.

Meanwhile, paranormal fraud investigator Tom (Murphy) begins to develop a dense obsession Silver, whose magnetism is enhanced dangerously with each new manifestation of inexplicable phenomena.

The film co-stars Cillian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen and Sigourney Weaver. Early word from the festival indicates a pretty solid film with a really rocky ending. Check out the footage and the teaser trailer below.

Production to Begin on Last Exorcism Sequel Next Month

Deadline is reporting that Ashley Bell will reprise her role as Nell Sweetzer in the upcoming sequel to The Last Exorcism. Ed Gass-Donnelly will be directing a script penned by Damien Chazelle, and Eli Roth will once again produce.

The studio has announced that they are intentionally going for an R-rating, as opposed to the PG-13 earned by the original film.

No word on whether or not the sequel will continue the found footage perspective of the original.

Review: The Innkeepers

Last night I had the pleasure of watching The Innkeepers on X-box VOD. Thumbs up – lots of fun. The story follows two employees of the Yankee Pedlar Inn during its last weekend of operation. With few guests and little to do, the two would-be ghost hunters spend their downtime exploring the legend of Madeline O’Malley, the Inn’s resident ghost.

Ti West is a fascinating filmmaker, and I can’t wait to see what else he brings us. He really has a head for story and pacing, and it is just as evident in The Innkeepers as it was in House of the Devil – but in an entirely different way. House of the Devil followed babysitter Samantha through several hours in one night. We watched her explore the creepy ass house she was staying in, and baby step by baby step, the tension was brought up, so slowly that you didn’t really notice that it was happening.

The Innkeepers follows a similar principal, but expanded over a period of an entire weekend, so the tension goes through builds and lulls as the protagonists experience creepy paranormal events, and everyday occurrences thrown into the middle. It gives it a realistic feel – you go from a scary event to having to go back to dealing with the customers and then it’s time for lunch. If you were working the desk in a haunted hotel, every minute would probably not be devoted to ghost adventures, would it? I’m thinking no.

The setting is perfect – the hotel that is the appropriate amount of old; not crappy, necessarily, but you can totally buy the fact that it is going to be torn down soon. It wears its age elegantly, but everything is colored very drably, and it doesn’t carry the level of antique-y magnificence that you expect out of an old hotel.

West really knows how to write characters – he spends time developing them, rather than taking the cheap (and all too often abused road) of just dumping them into a scary situation 5 minutes into the film. He gives the audience the opportunity to get to know them first, which really works to his advantage. The characterization in The Innkeepers was perfect. Claire (Sara Paxton) is an adorably spazzy geek, and Luke (Pat Healy) is a tired, but likeable cynic. They play perfectly off one another, and Paxton and Healy play them to perfection. Kelly McGillis (where the hell has she been, anyway?) is fantastic as the semi-kookie, Shirley McClaine-style actress-turned-psychic. Never goofy – just weird enough, and never over the top. Everyone in this film is a real person, and you are excited to spend the duration of the film with them.

The Innkeepers is a very fun film – creepy, yet light-hearted. It doesn’t follow the typical, well-worn ghost story track, so it probably won’t have mass appeal, but genre fans should definitely check it out, either during its limited theatrical run coming up next month, or On Demand.

The Stand May Have Found a Writer

Vulture is reporting that the upcoming Warner Bros. adaptation of the Stephen King classic The Stand, which is to be directed by Ben Affleck, may have found its writer. It sounds like David Kajganich has been hired to turn the gigantic novel into a shoot-able script. Kajganich recently turn in a version of It (another King tale) that execs seem to be crapping themselves over. Both projects are being produced by Roy Lee and Doug Davidson.

The Stand is the ultimate story of good vs. evil after a weaponized flu virus wipes out most of the population of the United States. It was turned into a mini-series in 1994 that did its best, but couldn’t quite capture the vast story on its minuscule budget.

The Stand is one of my all-time favorite books, so I will be very interested to see how this project comes together.