Monday, September 1, 2014

SPRING: Top 5 Promo Videos from Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

How cool would it be if two funny, talented filmmakers created a series of videos to chronicle their whirlwind tour of the festival circuit? Resolution's Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead did just that over the last few years. From Tribeca to Fantasia to PiFan to Toronto After Dark, these guys documented their gratitude in hilarious, clever ways.

Now that their latest cinematic effort, Spring, is hitting the Toronto International Film Festival's Vanguard programme, they have created yet another awesome video to promote their new movie. We're so lucky!

Here are our Top Four Resolution promo videos, plus the exclusive premiere of the new promo video for Spring.

5. Resolution inking for Fantasia: Justin and Aaron take tattoos very seriously.

4. Aloha Toronto: Tarpon Springs Represent!

3. The Devil's Backbone in the Nameless Faun Orphanage: "Your were born in the '80s."


2. New Year's Resolution: The Bonestorm 

1. Spring heads to TIFF, our cameraman heads to...Jupiter?

To check out all of Justin and Aaron's Resolution promos, visit Aaron's Vimeo channel and the pair's YouTube channel. We'd remind you to watch Spring at the Festival, but after you read this blog post, we know that's a given.

SPRING screening times:
Fri., Sept 5th, 6:00 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept 7th 7:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 4
Sat., Sept 13th, 3:15 PM, SCOTIABANK 3

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY: Takashi Miike TIFF Retrospective

Over Your Dead Body is Miike's first movie to play the Vanguard program, but Miike's films have been screened at TIFF before--in the Midnight Madness program. And Miike has met Vanguard/ Midnight Madness programmer Colin Geddes' parents. True fact.

Takashi Miike is insanely prolific director with 94 credits at IMDb since he first began directing in 1991. A good part of Miike's career has focused on genre-bending, weird, funny and extremely violent films. Miike plays successfully with generic conventions and blows them way past camp into The Miike Zone. But recently he's been making art house films strongly influenced by classic Japanese cinema.

Fudoh: The New Generation (1997) was the first film Miike screened at TIFF and Midnight Madness. Son of a powerful and violent Yakuza boss, Riki Fudoh (Shosuke Tanihara) makes his high school his turf and takes revenge for his brother's death. He begins assassinating yakuza members with the help of his fellow students, including his female assassin/bodyguards, one of whom shoots darts from an unexpected place--but not all that unexpected because this is Miike.

Say what you will about yakuza bosses, they do love to laugh.

Miike returned to Midnight Madness with City of Lost Souls , aka, The Hazard City (2000).  Brazilian-Japanese gangster Mario (Teah) and illegal Chinese immigrant Kei (Michelle Reis) are on the run from Triad boss Ko (Mitsuhiro Oikawa) and on their way to Australia. But there are complications including a little girl and a suitcase full of cocaine. City Of Lost Souls also captures some of the experience of being marginal and other in Japan.

Do not confuse City of Lost Souls with City of Lost Souls
even though there is star-crossed love in both. Thank you.

In 2001 Miike returned to Midnight Madness with his harrowing, brutal, gorgeous and darkly comic film, Ichi The Killer. Ichi (Nao Ōmori) is a hitman and a sadist who dreams of a willing victim while taking contracts from Jijii (MM Alumnus Shinya Tsukamoto, director of Tetsuo (1989) and Nightmare Detective (2006)). Meanwhile, the flamboyant and extremely masochistic yakuza lieutenant Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) searches for the man who killed his boss. Also, really, really brutal, but somehow Miike successfully subverts the homoeroticism of so many yakuza and crime movies.

Oh, Tadanobu Asano, you're so dreamy... Wait, what did you do to your face?!

I remember Colin warning the Midnight Madness audience that Gozu (2003) was a departure from Miike's previous yakuza movies. He told us it was weird. He told us that there was lactation involved. And he was right. Gozu--or my preferred title, Yakuza Horror Theater: Cow's Head--is deeply weird and almost feverish. In Gozu, yakuza soldier Minami (Yuta Sone / Hideki Sone) is supposed to drive his yakuza brother and friend Ozaki (Shō Aikawa) to Ozaki's execution. On the trip, Ozaki disappears. Minami begins searching for Ozaki in what might be a descent into insanity or a series of almost mythical phantasmagoric labors.

The Minotaur was not expecting company.

Then there are three films I'm quite fond of, but fans who were looking for dependable wtf yakuza films often do not enjoy so much.

Zebraman (2004) took Midnight Madness by surprise with its story of Shinichi Ichikawa (Shō Aikawa) a school teacher who dreams of being Zebraman, a television masked superhero whose show was canceled after only a few episodes. Then, one day, aliens invade and Japan needs Zebraman. Striping Evil! Zebraman is a children's film, but it is a Miike children's film.

What am I doing? Why do you ask?

The Great Yokai War (2005) is a children's film and a homage to Daiei Studio's fantasy/horror trilogy: Yokai Monsters: Spook Warfare (1968); Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters (1968); and, Yokai Monsters: Along With Ghosts (1969). In The Great Yokai War, Lord Yasunori Kato (Etsushi Toyokawa) uses all the power of his misanthropy and harnesses the resentment of discarded objects to create an angry demon. Only Tadashi (Ryunosuke Kamiki), a little boy chosen to be the Kirin Rider at a local shrine festival, can stop him--with help from yokai spirits and creatures like a kappa, the River Princess, a tengu and the Azuki Bean Counter. I have a sensitivity to storylines about chosen boys, but I didn't mind this at all. And yokai just make me happy.

Yokai always make up for Chosen Ones.

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) is Miike's first sort of chanbara (Japanese swordfighting/samurai) film as well as his first Western. Plus, an adaptation of Django (1966). And his first adaptation of Shakespeare. And his first English language Japanese movie. As Miike told the audience in a specially filmed message shown before Sukiyaki Western Django: "Of all the English language Japanese Westerns in the festival this year, I hope this will be one of your favorites."

Oh it is.

Yoshitsune and the Genji Clan are casually homicidal

13 Assassins (2010) was Miike's first film to screen outside of Midnight Madness at TIFF. It's Miike's remake of Eiichi Kudo's classic 1963 film, Thirteen Assassins. Set during the late Tokugawa Shogunate, thirteen samurai are assigned to assassinate a vile lord who abuses his authority and is, unfortunately, the Shogun's nephew. Miike follows Kudo's original fairly closely--sometimes almost shot for shot--but adds some Miike touches including some digital effects and some elaboration of the lord's villainy. Once you've seen both versions, you might be interested in this comparison of the movies at Wildgrounds.

Seriously, this is a Miike film.

And Miike remade another chanbara classic, Masaki Kobayashi's Harakiri (1962) with Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011). Kabuki star Ebizo Ichikawa takes on the role Tatsuya Nakadai played in the original. A poor samurai (Ichikawa) approaches a wealthy lord for permission to commit suicide at the lord's estate. He is told the story of a samurai who had done the same, and, having pawned his sword, was forced to disembowel himself with a bamboo practice sword. Miike focuses more on melodrama, violence and gore, but not nearly as much as many of his other films. In a very Miike touch, Hara-Kiri played Cannes in 3D. And it's scored by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

As bad a situation as it looks.
Ebizo Ichikawa returns in Over Your Dead Body as Kousuke Hasegawa, the actor who portrays Tamiya Iemon in the play-with-a-film production of Yotsuya Kaidan. Miike's blurs the line between reality and fantasy, theater and mundane life as a theater company rehearse an adaptation of Yotsuya Kaidan, a story of betrayal, murder and supernatural revenge. While fans of Miike's extreme cinema might find it too restrained, it is a stunningly gorgeous film.

Ebizo Ichikawa as Iemon wearing Tatsuya Nakadai's 'do.

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY screening times:
Thurs., Sept. 11, Ryerson 6:00 PM
Fri., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
Sat., Sept. 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 6:30 PM

Sunday, August 31, 2014

HYENA: Actor Profiles

"I actually wouldn't have minded hearing a rap. What a let down..." 

After our director profile last week, we have to say we're even more excited to see what Gerard Johnson has in store for us with Hyena. To get you even MORE excited (if such a thing is possible), we're going to break it down with a rap. Not actually. But we will highlight a few of the actors appearing in Hyena. (Trust us, this is preferable.)

"Peter who?" 
Hyena stars acclaimed actor Peter Ferdinando. You'd be lying if you said you recognized him from Midnight Madness/Vanguard darling Ben Wheatley's A Field in England (we're still recovering from that crazy awesome trip) because Ferdinando is such a chameleon from role to role. His portrayal of a 17th century war-deserter is absolutely fantastic.

How do we even describe A Field in England? Well, there's a field. And some war-deserters. And an alchemist. And, hm, might as well watch the trailer embedded above because it all gets a little (read: a lot) stranger after that. Wheatley and Ferdinando fans can rejoice, because they'll both be together again in Wheatley's upcoming High-Rise, which also stars dreamy Tom Hiddleston. Not that we care or anything. Ahem.

If need to get your Ferdinando fix sooner, check out Starred Up in the trailer above. It's a gritty, amazingly acted prison drama. Ferdinando, again nearly unrecognizable has a smaller—yet still memorable—role as the "head-honcho" (very technical term, trust us) inmate and he doesn't take shit from anybody. 

"No, afraid I don't know of any Peter."
And, of course, we couldn't end our profile of Peter Ferdinando without mentioning the other Gerard Johnson film he starred in: Tony. Now Tony is worthy of writing a completely separate post about (stay tuned!) but we will say that again Ferdinando completely embodies his character, this time that of a rather odd serial killer. 

"Sigh, I kinda miss my old-timey hat."

Now, a film and its star are only as good as their co-stars. Lucky for Hyena and Ferdinando, he's got an amazing supporting cast. Take Stephen Graham, for instance. He is probably most recognizable for playing the young Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire but you might also recognize him from his roles in This is England, Gangs of New York, Snatch, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. From skinhead to pirate to gangster, we're mighty impressed with Graham's body of work and ability to transform himself into pretty much anything on screen.

"I'm just a regular hit-man and this is totally just your run-of-the-mill hit-man movie. Promise." 

Ferdinando and Neil Maskell can be part of a rousing game of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" as they not only appear in Hyena together, but they've both also starred in Ben Wheatley films. Maskell shocked and delighted Midnight Madness audiences in 2011 with his role as a hitman in Kill List, another nearly indescribable genre-bending film from Wheatley. Maskell has a role in Wheatley's upcoming High-Rise, so him and Ferdinando will be together on screen again (awwww). Maskell was also a part of The ABCs of Death, where he briefly appeared in, you guessed it, Wheatley's segment "U is for Unearthed."

"Yeah, I'd rather not talk about that vampire movie..."

We're really on a roll with these Johnson/Wheatley film crossovers because MyAnna Buring not only appears in Hyena but also stars opposite Neil Maskell in Kill List where she holds her own as his wife, struggling to wrap her head around his job as a hitman. It makes us pretty much forget about the time she was a sparkly vampire. Don't worry Downton Abbey fans, we haven't forgotten about you: Buring plays maid Edna Braithwaite, who (according to the internet because this author doesn't watch Downton Abbey, oops) is basically there to stir shit up. And also find a husband. Get it, girl. 

This film is sure to be an electrifying film, given director Johnson's considerable filmmaking talents along with the combined talents of all of these seasoned actors. Screening times can be found below—mark your calendars!

Hyena is screening as part of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in the Vanguard Programme. Check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website.

HYENA screening times:
Sunday, Sept 7th  6:45 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Tuesday, Sept 9th 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 12
Friday, Sept 12th 12:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

Saturday, August 30, 2014

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY First Look: Poster and Trailer

Prolific horror auteur Takashi Miike (AuditionIchi the Killer, Thirteen Assassins) returns to the festival with Over Your Dead Body, his latest in his massive body of work to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival. A theatre troupe staging one of Japan's most famous ghost stories, Yotsuya Kaidan, find life imitating art as the ghost story's themes of murder, betrayal and revenge play out off the stage. As you can see from the trailers and teaser photos, Over Your Dead Body follows in Miike's very bloody footsteps.

Below is the poster, short English subtitled trailer and longer non-subtitled trailer for Over Your Dead Body, which plays this year's Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Over Your Dead Body can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the film's website (Japanese) and Twitter account (Japanese).

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY screening times:
Thurs., Sept. 11, Ryerson 6:00 PM
Fri., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 9:00 PM
Sat., Sept. 13, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 6:30 PM

SHREW'S NEST First Look: Poster and Trailer

Midnight Madness favourite Álex de la Iglesia (Accion Mutante (1993), The Day of the Beast (1995), Perdita Durango (1997), Witching & Bitching (2013)) has turned from director to producer for Shrew's Nest, the feature film debut from Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel. Set in 1950s Spain, an irresponsible neighbour (Hugo Silva) trips down a stairwell and finds himself taken in as a nurse by two recluse sisters (Macarena Gómez and Nadia de Santiago), bringing their psychological childhood trauma to the forefront at the expense of their injured guest. With shades of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Misery, this horror thriller's finale is sure to be one that will be hard to forget.

Below are the poster and trailer for Shrew's Nest, which plays this year's Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Shrew's Nest can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the film's website, IMDB page and Twitter accounts for directors Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel.

SHREW'S NEST screening times:
Thurs., Sept. 4, Scotiabank 2 8:45 PM
Fri., Sept. 5, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 3:00 PM
Sun., Sept. 14, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2 6:30 PM

GOODNIGHT MOMMY Second Look: two short clip, new images, and poster!

"Two clips released, you say?! I'll be right out."

Whoa, whoa, whoa kids. Have we got exciting news! Not long after after posting our initial First Look post for the dark and foreboding Goodnight Mommy did Indiewire exclusively release the first clip. Thank you, o' mighty Indiewire gods for providing us with this bounty. This chilling and fearful bounty. (We just wish it would embed, but alas you will all have to click on the link.) Gotta say, we don't really blame those kids for being so wary of their mum.

Twitch also released a different clip. It's starting to feel like Christmas over here on the Vanguard blog. But unfortunately that won't embed either so head on over to the website and prepare yourselves to never want to to fall asleep near children who have access to cockroaches ever again!

And that's not all, because soon after we uncovered a film poster and some seriously disturbing new stills. Like the one above. Nightmare fuel, that is. Check it all out below and get even more excited (and disturbed) for this movie.

Okay, this one isn't so bad. Look how cute they are!
Um, maybe go lie down, Mommy. You look...tired?
Okay, now the masks aren't so cute anymore.

Goodnight Mommy is screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Vanguard Programme. Check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website.

GOODNIGHT MOMMY screening times:
Monday, Sept 8th, 7:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Wednesday, Sept 10th, 9:30 PM SCOTIABANK 14
Friday, Sept 12th, 3:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

HYENA: Poster and Clip

Writer and director Gerard Johnson follows up his 2009 serial killer comedy-drama Tony with Hyena, a British crime thriller about an undercover cop, Michael (Peter Ferdinando), who skims profits from the drug traffickers he's been sworn to take down. Michael's life begins to quickly change as his side gig is threatened of becoming exposed by an internal investigation and the arrival of two Albanian thugs shake up his crime world alliances.

Below are the poster and a short clip for Hyena, which plays this year's Toronto International Film Festival within the Vanguard programme.

Further information about Hyena can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the film's IMDB page and director Gerard Johnson's Twitter account.

HYENA's screening times:

Sun., Sept. 7, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:45 PM
Tue., Sept. 9, Scotiabank 12 9:00 PM
Fri., Sept. 12, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 12:00 PM