Sunday, August 31, 2014

HYENA: Actor Profiles

"I actually wouldn't have minded hearing a rap. What a let down..." 
[Updated: Sept 3, 2014]

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."

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." [Update: It was brought to our attention (uh, totally not by Gerard Johnson because wouldn't that be embarrassing) that due to an oversight we failed to mention Neil Maskell's appearance in the aforementioned Tony.  This is not just great because Maskell is great and Tony is great and Gerard Johnson is great, but also because it further perpetuates the amazing crossover love-fest going on with the cast of Hyena. Please all keep making movies together.]

"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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Festival Trailer Mash-Up 2014

Vanguardians, prepare your minds for the awesome power of five hours of festival trailers condensed into a beautiful three minutes and five seconds by super videographer Aaron Van Domelen.

Are you ready?

Here we go....

ALLELUIA: Director Profile + 5 Questions with Fabrice du Welz

Belgian director Fabrice Du Welz studied at the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Liege and at INSAS, a film school in Brussels. But his deep, abiding love of horror movies might be more relevant to his work as a filmmaker than any formal training. A look at his career is definitely in order since his new film Alleluia will be playing at the Toronto International Film Festival's Vanguard programme.

Laurent Lucas wonders how he's going to get all that mud off his clothes.
With his explosive, controversial debut film Calvaire (2004), Du Welz was unfairly lumped in with the subgenre of "torture porn" by a few unimaginative critics. Strongly influenced by both Psycho and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Calvaire is a "very strange fairy tale," a dark, grotesque psychological thriller that defiantly transcends genre conventions. In it, Laurent Lucas portrays Marc Stevens, a traveling chanteur who finds himself trapped in the midst of the lonely Belgian countryside when his van breaks down a few days before a Christmas gala at which he's scheduled to perform. Unfortunately for Marc, the people who come to his aid have some serious unresolved issues and he suffers unimaginably as a result.
Emmanuelle Béart wonders if Laurent Lucas has any laundry tips.
Although Du Welz's second feature, Vinyan (2008) is far less gory than Calvaire, it is still dark and psychologically disturbing. Rufus Sewell and Emmanuelle Béart play Paul and Jeanne Bellmer, a couple who lost their only child, Joshua, in the 2004 tsunami. While watching a video of children being held captive in Burma, Jeanne becomes convinced that one of them is her son. She and Paul embark upon a dangerous mission to find him, and in the process their sanity unravels. Vinyan is a stunning accomplishment with incredible production and sound design and a gorgeous score from François Eudes (À L'Intérieur).

Du Welz's latest, Alleluia, is his cinematic interpretation of the lives of real-life murder couple Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, but set in Brussels. Like he did in Calvaire, Laurent Lucas stars. We wanted to find out what inspires du Welz, so we asked him.
Probably not a laundromat.
1. You've said that your first love is horror, but that you don't like the mainstream Hollywood horror movies or those horror movies that "close doors." What are some of your favorite recent horror films that you feel allow the audience to explore their imaginations?

Honestly, with time it's very difficult for me to be surprised and thrilled about modern horrors films today. Last time I've been impressed by horror was with Kill List by Ben Wheatley, Antichrist by Lars von Trier, or Under The Skin by Jonathan Glazer. Those films provoke you and I love to be challenged by films. [All of these films screened at TIFF!]

2. The director of photography on Alleluia is Manu Decosse, who filmed Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani's Amer and The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears. Are you a fan of the Giallo genre and if so, which movies are your favorites?

I love Bruno and Hélène's films. They are friends. Manu Dacosse is a very gifted DOP and he'll be very present in the future. Of course I love the Giallo genre even though my cinema is very different from B&H's work. Some aspects of Alleluia could be related to Giallo but it's not Giallo.
Black hides bloodstains very well.
3. As a director who believes in strong characters in films, who are some of your favorite film characters and why?

I always prefer strong female characters. We have so much to learn from women... I do, at least...

4. Are there any films that people might be surprised to find out that you like or which have influenced your own work?

So many films influenced my personal work. Before being a filmmaker I am a cinephile. I had always watched loads of films. I cannot mention here all the films I love. All I can say is during Alleluia's production I watched and rewatched Zulawski's Possession a lot... 

It's not blood, it's raspberry preserves, I swear!
5. Alleluia is part two of your Ardennes trilogy (with Calvaire being part one). What are your plans for part three?

Yes, we have plans and Vincent Tavier and I are working on the script at the moment. I cannot tell you more right now.

There's just enough time to catch up on du Welz's cinematic influences as well as his own filmography before Alleluia premieres, so head to your favorite cool local video store and get some popcorn ready.

ALLELUIA screening times:
Tues., Sept 9th, 10:00 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Thu., Sept 11th, 3:00 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sat., Sept 13th, 9:15PM, SCOTIABANK 13

Thursday, August 28, 2014

HYENA: Director Profile of Gerard Johnson

There's just something dangerous and seductive about damaged cops. In Pieter Van Hees's Waste Land (also playing at the Festival), Leo Woeste becomes embroiled in a bizarre murder case and his world starts to fall apart. In Hyena, cop-on-the-take Michael Logan prowls the mean streets of London, boozing and drugging until his job and personal life collide with disastrous, dangerous results. The film receives its international premiere at the Festival's Vanguard programme, so we thought we'd fill you in on its director Gerard Johnson.

Despite no formal film training, Johnson went to the "watch as many films as you can" school and was encouraged to discuss cinema by his equally film-obsessed family. Influenced by European art house films, as well as British classics like The Wicker Man and Peeping Tom, Johnson wrote and directed the short film "Tony." After Shameless creator Paul Abbott caught a screening of the short he asked if the director would be interested in expanding it into a full-length feature. Naturally, Johnson jumped at the chance.

Scary men brooding, part one.
Shot on real film and for only £40,000, 2009's Tony was partly inspired by real-life British serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who confessed to killing 15 men and boys over a five-year time span. Johnson intended the film to be character study and one "that summed up the London [he] knew." He describes Tony as not a horror movie but a "social-realist black horror comedy," one in which the titular character is portrayed as monstrous but sympathetic.

The thematic similarities to Taxi Driver are not accidental, as Scorsese's 1976 film is Johnson's favorite of all time. Tony was a critical favorite, being described as "a masterclass in psychological horror" by the Mirror, with special attention being paid to lead actor Peter Ferdinando's career-making performance as Tony.

Scary men brooding, part two.
Johnson's latest feature, Hyena, which once again features the mesmerizing, chameleonic Peter Ferdinando as the lead and another hypnotic, yet low-key score from Matt Johnson (The The). Talent clearly runs in Gerard Johnson's family: Peter Ferdinando is his cousin and Matt Johnson is his older brother.

If you'd like to explore the seedy underbelly of London without buying a plane ticket (or putting yourself in mortal danger), then you should attend a screening of Hyena.

HYENA screening times:
Sun., Sept. 7th, 6:45 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Tue., Sept. 9th, 9:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Fri., Sept. 12th, 12:00 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

SHREW'S NEST Producer Profile: Álex de la Iglesia

She's excited on the inside that Shrew's Nest is being produced by Iglesia.

If you've been reading up on Shrew's Nest, you might recognize the name of one of the producers: Álex de la Iglesia. And if you don't, shame on you! He's only the absolutely fantastic director and writer of last year's Midnight Madness sensation Witching and Bitching and the 2010 Festival's The Last Circus. And, real talk, anything that the creator of these bad-ass movies deems worthy to produce is good in our books. Need more convincing? Fine.

"What do you mean you haven't seen Witching and Bitching? A hex on your family."

If you missed Witching and Bitching last year, that's okay. Thanks to the powers of the internet, we can relive it right here, right now. (What a time to be alive.) The film absolutely delighted Midnight Madness audiences and reviewers alike. And if there's one thing it taught is to RESPECT YOUR ELDERS. Because you may get eaten. (Or worse, expelled.) For real. Like, actually. This isn't a metaphor. This is not a drill. Check out the trailer for Iglesia's signature style of insanity:

In 2010, we were treated to another twisted, delirious tale except this time replace witches with clowns. (Ugh, clowns, why did it have to be clowns?) Except not just any clowns: angry clowns. With weapons. If you skim reviews, words like "zaniness," "over-the-top," and "strickingly surreal" will jump out at you, so you know you're in for a ride. But just because you really didn't want to sleep tonight anyway, might as well watch this trailer too: 

Like we said before, if the mind behind these films is the producer of Shrew's Nest, it's going to be ah-freaking-mazing. We want Iglesia to help us pick out all of our movies from now on. Get your tickets, call in sick to work if you have to, and make sure you're at a screening. 

Shrew's Nest is screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Vanguard Programme. You can check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website

SHREW'S NEST screening times:
Thursday, Sept 4th 8:45 PM SCOTIABANK 2
Friday, Sept 5th 3:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sunday, Sept 14th 6:30 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2

THE VOICES: First Look and Poster!

"What do you mean my bed is now a giant litter box?"

We couldn't be more excited that the Canadian Premiere of Marjane Satrapi's The Voices will be at this year's Festival. How do we even begin to describe this movie? Well, there's Ryan Reynolds (of course). And he's a little awkward (awww, poor guy). He's got a cat named Mr Whiskers and a dog named Bosco who he talks to sometimes (don't we all?). Except they talk back (wait, what?). Also: psychotic episodes, murder, violence, some really sharp knives, blood, so much blood, and doing a conga line at work. ("Horror-comedy," guys. Comedy.)

"Don't worry, they say this is a comedy! I just need to stab you a few times first."

We don't really want to say too much about the film because it's better to go in somewhat cold and be absolutely mind-boggled. This author saw it it Sundance and thought it was the best movie of the year. And then the credit sequence started and she nearly collapsed from delight. The woman to her right thought it was equally outstanding; the woman to her left couldn't decide whether she wanted to throw up, cry, or both.

How could you NOT want to see a movie like that? Check out maybe the raddest movie poster ever and the screening times below.

The Voices 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.

THE VOICES screening times:
Thursday, Sept 11th 9:00 PM RYERSON
Friday, Sept 12th 6:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

LUNA First Look: Trailer and Poster

Dave McKean, best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman on Sandman, Hellblazer, and Arkham Asylum, follows up his 2005 fantasy film MirrorMask with Luna. Struggling after a major death in the family, Grant (Ben Daniels) and Christine (Dervla Kirwan) visit an old friend Dean (Michael Maloney) and his new girlfriend Freya (Stephanie Leonidas) at their cottage by the sea. Over the course of a long weekend, the four experience a series of hallucinatory dreams and visions, gorgeously envisioned and brought to life by McKean.

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

Further information about Luna can be found on the Festival website, as well as on the film's official website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

LUNA's screening times:
Sat., Sept. 6, The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema 6:30 PM
Mon., Sept. 8, AGO Jackman Hall 9:00 AM
Sun., Sept. 14, Scotiabank 9 8:45 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WASTE LAND: Director Profile of Pieter Van Hees

Flemish genre movies are somewhat uncommon, but Pieter Van Hees joined the ranks in 2008 with his feature Left Bank (Linkeroever) a witchy tale about an archer who finds out her boyfriend's apartment complex was built on a pagan burial site, including a sacrifical pit called "The Devil's Vagina." (I'm not making this up.) Left Bank is a moody, creepy slow build of a movie, which evokes a lot of unanswered questions throught its body horror and scary imagery. Van Hees has stated that his generation is "influenced by Flemish theater" in which case, we should all probably find out more about Flemish theater.
The Devil's WHAT?!
Comparisons to Nicolas Roeg and Roman Polanski would make any director feel overwhelmed, but Van Hees did not let that deter him In 2009, he directed Dirty Mind, which screened at the Karlovy Vary Festival in the Czech Republic. In this film, shy outcast and stunt technician Diego suffers a brain injury that leaves him with something called Frontal Lobe Syndrome. Although the doctors want to reverse his condition, Diego isn't interested as the accident has transformed him into the fearless, glib, womanizer he always wanted to be.

Tony T works his magic on the ladies.
Now Van Hees has a new film at the Toronto International Film Festival's Vanguard programme. Waste Land is the third movie in a trilogy about "love and suffering." He says that it's "loosely based" on the T.S. Eliot poem of the same name, but transported from London to modern Brussels. In Waste Land, homicide detective Leo Woeste leads a gritty, grimy life investigating crimes in the criminal underworld but shares his personal life with his partner Kathleen and her young son. At the same time Kathleen discovers her pregnancy, Woeste is tasked with a bizarre murder case and finds himself being drawn into a sinister subculture.
You'd be glum, too, if you just missed the last bus.
If this twist on film noir, intrigues you (and it should), it's probably best to check out a screening of Waste Land.

WASTE LAND screening times:
Sat., Sept. 6th, 9:30 PM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Mon., Sept. 8th, 4:30 PM, TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2
Sat., Sept. 13th, 6:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

SPRING: Director Profile + 5 Questions for Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Spring receives its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival's Vanguard programme, but why exactly should you care? Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, that's why!

Fresh ta def!
Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead met as lowly interns at Ridley Scott's production company and almost immediately became friends and creative collaborators. Although Aaron went to FSU's film school and Justin went to UCLA, they discovered that they had a lot in common and enjoyed working together. Aaron is a director/DP and Justin is a writer/director, but there is a lot more symbiosis in their collaborative efforts than those titles might indicate.

Their first feature, Resolution (2013), has attained the unique honor of a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but if you've seen it, you'll know it's completely deserved. Resolution, which is perhaps the ultimate found footage movie, begins when Mike travels to a ramshackle cabin in the SoCal woods to stage an intervention for his meth-addicted friend Chris, but soon turns into a wholly different beast. It's hilarious, bizarre, and genuinely scary, and one of the most original movies to skirt the edges of the horror genre in quite some time. This is partly because Benson and Moorhead believe in prominent character drama over genre restrictions and partly because they're just that talented.

Benson and Moorhead aren't just interested in horror movies as their taste in film varies wildly from Danny Boyle, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Linklater, Amy Seimetz, and Ben Wheatley to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars to recent genre fare like Citadel and American Mary. They're also exceedingly witty (as you can tell from their interviews and Twitter accounts).

We put forth five questions for them to answer and here's what they said.

Can you hand me a towel?
1. Can we expect the same kind of genre bending in Spring that we got in Resolution?

Aaron: Spring won't be nearly so hard to define as our last: it's a mystery with romance (instead of Resolution's bromance), and this time we show a lot more of the visceral imagery than we imply. You can expect the film to deliver the same things Resolution did, but on a significantly larger scale. And at its core, preemptively recognizing the pitfall of sounding like every director on the planet, character always always always comes first.

Justin: Tough one because I'm not sure if our movies are "genre-bending", we've certainly never consciously "genre-bended" anyway. Comparing ourselves to Spielberg here ONLY in terms of ingredients, you could argue Resolution and Spring use roughly the same proportions of character drama, levity and visceral thrills as Jaws, but most people simply call Jaws a horror movie. At least when I was little that was the section of the rental store it was in.

2. What's the funniest and/or craziest thing that happened to you when you were filming in Italy?

Justin: When everyone was thinking we'd be rained out and put two days behind schedule, a "man of the sea" went to the top of a building at some Roman ruins being used for our climactic end scene. He took one wise look at the sky, and told us precisely the rain would stop in 30 minutes. He was exactly correct. The Old World, right?

Aaron: Our practical makeup FX was done by MastersFX in LA, and they created all the molds out here in California. But when it came time to ship them, Italian customs agents held them from us for DAYS for further inspection. Meanwhile, we needed them desperately to shoot. They let one box (of four) had a fake headless cat in it. THAT was the one they were cool with. I don't even want to know what our Italian producer Luca had to do to get the rest of the boxes on time--and we got them hours before we needed them to shoot. Luca looked... tired.

3. I know you're huge movie nerds so what are some recent movies that you loved and why?

Aaron: Don't put me on the spot like this, dammit. Very recently I re-re-re-rewatched Perfume: Story of a Murderer, Children of Men, and The Assassination of Jesse James (all with rich, monumentally mythic storytelling matched by cinematography that will never be topped). I also just finished my first run at Twin Peaks, which frankly couldn't be more different from those and still perfect in its own right, how plot matters so little when the characters and surreal flourishes keep you perpetually entranced. And then the little film that could, Short Term 12, reminds me that minimalist indie films don't all say the same thing, they can really hit as hard as the big ones.

Justin: I'm gonna be punk rock and say TV shows here. True Detective, Breaking Bad, Rectify... shit... those actually aren't punk rock at all are they? I'm going to make Aaron watch the director's cut of Almost Famous with me and report back.

4. When are you going to do the film adaptation of Preacher?

Justin: How do you know we haven't already? We have a T2i, David Lawson, our computers are pretty good, and Aaron found Seth Rogen's address.

Aaron: ...
Just waiting for the Celestial Messiah to land his vessel.
5. What's next after Spring?

Justin: I'm taking a break from the third draft of a rad movie about Aleister Crowley to do this interview. So, probably that, or whatever ceremonial magick curse via the wrath of Egyptian Gods is beget for writing that script... Maybe just play Mortal Kombat X for the next six months? Make one of the other few feature scripts we have chillin' in the ol' top drawer? Make the TV show that we wrote over the last few months that's a coming of age story about a kid growing up in San Diego seeking a mysterious supernatural McGuffin? Wanna democratize this and vote on it fools?

Aaron: And while we're on the film festival circuit this year we have this insane plan to make a scrappy feature that is about the UFO cult members from Resolution (us) traveling the world, "seeking ascension" through debauchery and learning life lessons. You think I'm joking. I'm not. If you want to be in it, just ask.

Justin: We'll buy a whiskey for anyone who adds Untitled UFO Cult Comedy to our IMDB pages.

Sign me up for the UFO cult member movie! You think I'm joking. I'm not In the meantime, here are the screenings for Spring.

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

TIFF Asian Film Rundown

Kanako is working out which movies she wants to see at TIFF

Kaiju Shakedown's Grady Hendrix has the skinny on the Asian movies playing TIFF this year. The rundown is just after an excellent look at the influence of Hong Kong filmmaker and star Patrick Lung Kong, which we really recommend reading.

Hendrix covers 38 films from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, China, India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. Fancy directors include: Ann Hui, Zhang Yimou, Johnnie To, Peter Chan, Sion Sono, Takashi Miike, Tetsuya Nakashima, Andrew Lau, Shinya Tsukamoto, Im Kwon-taek, and Tsai Ming-liang. And there are two Studio Ghibli films this year.

"Did you say two Studio Ghibli films?" Oiwa asks.

Hendrix talks about this year's City To City sidebar:
Toronto’s focus on another city, this eight-film sidebar of movies set in or around Seoul has some of the most interesting films in the line-up. There’s Cart a sort of retail Silkwood by Boo Ji-Young, one of Korea’s few female directors. A Hard Day about a cop who tries to cover up a hit-and-run accident, became a word-of-mouth hit at Cannes, where Film Comment called it a “rollicking thriller . . . carefully orchestrated, beat for beat” and Variety called it “…taut…elaborate…near-faultless…” You can see the trailer and make up your own mind.
He recommends The World Of Kanako--and director Tetsuya Nakashima:
The World of Kanako (Tetsuya Nakashima, Japan) The first film in four years from Tetsuya Nakashima, probably Japan’s smartest director (Kamikaze Girls, Memories of Matsuko, Confessions). Who cares what it’s about? Just go see it.

And he recommends Sion Sono's Tokyo Tribe, which opens this year's Midnight Madness program:
Tokyo Tribe (Sion Sono, Japan) The director continues to validate his existence by making some of the world’s most exciting movies. The only Asian movie in the Midnight Madness line-up—just look at the trailer and try to resist its anarchic pull.

Click through for the whole rundown. And, seriously, take a few minutes to read about Patrick Lung Kong.

TOKYO TRIBE screening times:
Thu. Sept. 4th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Fri. Sept. 5th, 10:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:30 PM, LIGHTBOX 3

WORLD OF KANAKO screening times:
Sunday, Sept. 7th, 9:15 PM ISABELLA BADER THEATRE
Tuesday, Sept. 9th, 11:30 AM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Saturday, Sept. 13th, 9:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

OVER YOUR DEAD BODY screening times:
Thursday, Sept. 11th, 6pm RYERSON
Friday, Sept. 12th, 9pm THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Saturday, Sept. 13th, 6:30 TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2

THE WORLD OF KANAKO First Look: Trailer and Poster!

What do you mean it's more bracing than Confessions?! 

When a filmmaker issues a statement saying he is "sorry if the film is too grotesque," you know it's got to be very special. (Maybe special means something different to you, but for us it means crazy and violent. Deal.) World of Kanako (Kawaki) is based on a best-selling novel by Akio Fukamachi some considered too gruesome to ever be a film. Tetsuya Nakashima took that as a challenge and crafted an over-the-top, violent revenge thriller. If any of you are familiar with 2010's Confessions then you know what we're talking about. If you aren't, take our word for it: this might not be the flick to see with your grandma. (No, really.)

Don't be fooled by the pink colour. 

Already a hit in Japan, garnering fans and critics alike, World of Kanako is sure to positively shock, probably disturb, and maybe even offend Vanguard audiences this Festival. Check out the trailer below for a little taste of the cah-razy film experience waiting for you:

World of Kanako is screening at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Vanguard Programme. You can check out more Vanguard films on the official Festival website

WORLD OF KANAKO screening times:

Tuesday, Sept 9th 11:30 AM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Saturday, Sept 13 9:00 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA

Monday, August 25, 2014

WASTE LAND: First Look and Trailer!

If that intense, tortured stare featured in the still above is any indicator, you can probably guess that Waste Land, directed by Pieter Van Hees, isn't going to be a lighthearted romp through homicide detective Leo Woeste's life. Sure, he just found out that his partner is unexpectedly pregnant, and yeah, he promises that this case will be his last. Except this one last case drags him into a dark and unsettling underworld. Woeste's fears of becoming a father fully manifest as he struggles to keep his sanity and solve the case.

The thought of parenthood makes us want to wander the streets at night too.

If you're lucky enough to understand French or Flemish, you can also fully understand this trailer, instead of just appreciating—and being slightly disturbed by—the mood and sound and cinematography like this author. (Okay, she understood "un, deux, trois" but that was it.)

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

WASTE LAND screening times:
Saturday, Sept 6th, 9:30 PM THE BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Monday, Sept 8th, 4:30 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2
Saturday, Sept 13, 6:30 PM SCOTIABANK 13

THEY HAVE ESCAPED First Look: Trailer and Poster!

How can we get invited to their parties? 

They Have Escaped (He ovat paenneet) comes to us from the brilliant mind of Finnish director JP Valkeapää. This ain't your typical "boo-hoo, troubled youth, let's talk it out to an indie soundtrack" sort of film; nah, instead Valkeapää crafts an intense and at times troubling story of two teens who set out on a sometimes rambling, sometimes crazed journey through Finland after escaping from their halfway house.

Grocery cart: the best way to travel.
We know this intimate yet disruptive story coupled with gorgeous cinematography of Finland and intriguing main characters puts it at the top of your Vangaurd list. But if you needed any more convincing, here's a first poster and trailer.

They Have Escaped 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.

THEY HAVE ESCAPED screening times:

Monday, Sept 8th, 9:45 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Wednesday, Sept 10, 4:00 PM SCOTIABANK 14
Saturday, Sept 13, 10:00 PM SCOTIABANK 8