Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for March, 2012

Dark Shadows – Poster Art

Nine new Dark Shadows posters were released last week, just got around to posting them… expect a flood of promo material between now and the release date. Great stills HERE.

Nagisa Ōshima 大島 渚

Nagisa Ōshima (大島 渚, born March 31, 1932, Kyoto) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter, best known for his 1983 movie Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, starring musicians David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto. After graduating from Kyoto University Oshima was hired by film production company Shochiku Ltd. and quickly progressed to directing his own movies, making his debut feature A Town of Love and Hope (愛と希望の街; Ai to kibō no machi) in 1959.

Ōshima’s cinematic career and influence developed very swiftly, and early watershed films Cruel Story of Youth (青春残酷物語), The Sun’s Burial (太陽の墓場) and Night and Fog in Japan (日本の夜と霧) all followed in 1960. Due to the political controversy surrounding the latter film, Ōshima left Shochiku and directed The Catch (1961), about the relationship between a wartime Japanese village and a captured African American serviceman. The Catch introduced a thematic exploration of bigotry and xenophobia, themes which would be explored in greater depth in the later documentary Diary Of Yunbogi, and feature films Death By Hanging and Three Resurrected Drunkards.

Ōshima produced a series of documentaries; notably among them 1965’s Diary Of Yunbogi. Based upon an examination of the lives of street children in Seoul. He followed with Band of Ninja (1967), Ninja Bugei-chō (1967), Diary Of A Shinjuku Thief and Boy (both 1969).

The Ceremony (1971) was a satirical look at Japanese attitudes. However, Ōshima is best known for In the Realm of the Senses (Ai no korīda; 愛のコリーダ 1976), a film based on a true story of fatal sexual obsession in 1930s Japan. Ōshima, who was openly a critic of censorship and his contemporary Akira Kuosawa’s humanism, was determined that the film should feature unsimulated sex and thus the undeveloped film had to be transported to France to be processed and an uncensored version of the movie is still unavailable in Japan.

His follow-up and 1978 companion film to In the Realm of the Senses, Empire of Passion (Ai no bōrei; 愛の亡霊), Ōshima took a more restrained approach to depicting the sexual passions of the two lovers driven to murder, and the film won the 1978 Cannes Film Festival award for best director.

In 1983 Ōshima had a critical success with a film made partly in English, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (known as Furyo in several countries), which is set in a wartime prison camp, and features rockstar David Bowie and electronic musician Ryuichi  Sakamoto, alongside future director Takeshi Kitano, as examples of Western and Eastern military virtue. Furyo, as the movie is known in Europe and many other non-English speaking countries, has long since become a cult classic. Max, Mon Amour(1986), written with Luis  Buñuel’s frequent collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière, was a comedy about a diplomat’s wife (Charlotte Rampling) whose love affair with a chimpanzee is quietly incorporated into an eminently civilised Ménage à trois

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, he served as president of the Directors Guild of Japan. (He actually won the inaugural Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award in 1960.)

In 1996 Ōshima suffered a stroke, but he returned to directing in 1999 with the period piece Taboo (Gohatto), featuring Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence actor Takeshi Kitano and music by co-star and composer Ryuichi  Sakamoto. Oshima has since suffered two more strokes, so future films are unlikely. Nagisa Ōshima currently lives in Fujisawa in Kangawa Prefecture.

A collection of Ōshima’s essays and articles was published in English in 1993 as Cinema, Censorship and the State. A critical study by Maureen Turim, The Films of Oshima Nagisa: Images of a Japanese Iconoclast appeared in 1998

ANOH – Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

That time of year again, six friends and myself attended the ‘Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!’ short film night at the 6th Annual A Night of Horror film festival. The festival this year is being run in conjunction with Fantastic Planet, therefore there are more films and shorts, however they are an equal mix of Sci-Fi and Horror. The shorts program we attended consisted of ten short zombie flicks of varying length and quality.

As with last year, rather than review them all and give you my opinion I decided to poll my friends to get a more balanced response to the screening… this is the result of that poll. The originally programmed final short was the fantastic Play Dead (See the trailer HERE), however due to a delivery delay it was replaced at the last moment by Brutal Relax which was a favourite from the H. P. Lovecraft session.

Year of the Child (Dir: Adam Simpson / 7m / NZL / 2011) 2/5 Stars A paint-sniffing teenager races home to save his sister from some extremely fast, zombie like crazy people. Frenetic chase movie, however most of the crowd were underwhelmed.

Bats in the Belfry (Dir: Joao Alves / 7m / PRT / 2010) 2½/5 Stars Animated cowboys & vampires as an homage to Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns and bloodsucking monsters. Nice style, very much in the same vein as Samurai Jack.

Rotting Hill (Dir: James Cunningham / 4m / NZL / 2011) 3½/5 Stars Rotting Hill is an excellent short film about love and zombies! Parody of the famous movie “Notting Hill” but this time with living dead, this zombie short film was completed in twelve weeks by the students of the Media Design School. Awesome short film, very funny and nailed some great zombie touchstones.

Zombirama (Dir: Ariel Lopez and Nano Benayon / 7m / ARG / 2011) 3½/5 Stars Ariel Lopez Zombirama is a 7-minute “whimsical” mash-up of animation comedy and horror featuring potato-faced zombies that go around doing zombie stuff. Delivered in an early 80’s VHS style. Great fun, got better as it went on, more than could be said for…

Just Say No (Dir: Abiel Bruhn, John Rocco / 22m / USA / 2011) 2½/5 Stars Darius stumbles upon two mangled corpses and a 2 pound bag of pot, apparently the remnants of a drug deal gone wrong, he swallows his morals and steals the drugs, planning on flipping them and leaving town with his girlfriend Vanessa in one short night. But after he gets his clients amassed for an impromptu party, he quickly finds out that the weed has some rather harsh side effects – loss of motor function, pale or clammy skin, and the insatiable hunger for human flesh… way too long.

Early Evening of the Meth Head Hipsters (Dir: Jonny Fleet / 7m / CAN 2010) 2½/5 Stars A Whistler couple’s trip to the city takes an unfortunate turn when they run into a bicycle gang of meth head hipsters with a taste for blood. Can they be saved? Well, we hope not.. stared well and featured some nice bloodletting.

Fitness Class Zombie (Dir: Chris Walsh / 1m / CAN / 2011) 1½/5 Stars According to the director Chris Walsh, this short animation addresses a serious issue that our society faces today- growing undead obesity. A fun one-note short.

Hell Blaster Bastards (Dir: Gabriel Bouvier, Remi Bouvier / 9m / JPN / 2011) 1½/5 Stars In the deserted island, the man is buried in the sand up to his head. Four shadowy figures emerge, the bloody bastards of the title… Cannibal, Brain crushing, Japanese tits out, mental short film… Overlong and pointless but elicited the odd laugh throughout the crowd. The only short to receive a couple of ‘0’ scores.

Dead Friends (Dir: Stephen Martin / 11m / CAN / 2011) 3¼/5 Stars Nine year old Lola Turtle is an odd and lonely little girl whose only companion is her treasured and tattered stuffed bunny, Mister Wimperbottom…until she finds a way to grow her very own ‘DEAD’ best friend. It’s a bedtime story filled with blood, guts, and gardening… Really well done, excellent make-up and effects.

Brutal Relax (Dir: David Munoz, Adrian Cardona and Rafa Dengra / 15m / ESP /2010) 4/5 Stars Mr Olivares has already recovered, but now he needs a vacation. To go to some heavenly place where he can relax and blithely enjoy himself. However, when a group of blood-thirsty (LoveCraft style) monster-aliens appear and kill everyone on the beach, Mr Olivares takes matters into his own hands. Best kills of the night, using a bloodied childs corpse as a bludgeon… best audience response.

Overall a fun evening, however the shorts on display weren’t as good as the best of last year, there was nothing as good as The Living Want Me Dead. We had a laugh. Two notes for the organisers, most of these shorts are almost 1 year old now and readily available on YouTube, also most of the films were too dark, washed out and had little to no sound level control. I realise that the quality of the movie files aren’t high end, however cutting them together with an audio pass isn’t difficult to do.

Snow White and the Huntsman – Trailer

Here’s the TV spot for the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman, the reimagining of the classic fairy tale from the producer of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice In Wonderland’, Joe Roth. Starring Kristen Stewart of ‘Twilight’, Chris Hemsworth of ‘Thor’ and ‘The Avengers’, and Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron. Very different in tone to the other Snow White feature, Mirror, Mirror.

Charles Manson

Charles Milles Manson (born November 12, 1934) is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Tate/LaBianca murders carried out by members of the group at his instruction. He was convicted of the murders through the joint-responsibility rule, which makes each member of a conspiracy guilty of crimes his fellow conspirators commit in furtherance of the conspiracy’s object.

Manson believed in what he called “Helter Skelter,” a term he took from the song of the same name by The Beatles. Manson believed Helter Skelter to be an impending apocalyptic race war, which he described in his own version of the lyrics to the Beatles’ song. He believed his murders would help precipitate that war. From the beginning of his notoriety, a pop culture arose around him in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre. The term was later used by Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi as the title of a book he wrote about the Manson murders.

At the time the Family began to form, Manson was an unemployed ex-convict, who had spent half of his life in correctional institutions for a variety of offenses. Before the murders, he was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson, founding member and drummer of The Beach Boys. After Manson was charged with the crimes he was later convicted of, recordings of songs written and performed by him were released commercially. Artists, including Guns ‘N’ Roses, White Zombie and Marilyn Manson, have covered his crap songs.

On March 29, 1971, a Los Angeles, California jury recommended the death penalty for Manson and three female followers. Manson’s death sentence was automatically commuted to life imprisonment when a 1972 decision by the Supreme Court of California temporarily eliminated the state’s death penalty. California’s eventual reinstatement of capital punishment did not affect Manson, who is currently incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison.

Chloe Moretz is Carrie

Chloe Moretz tweeted today: Never been so happy in my life! Thank you Kim Pierce and thank u MGM for the chance of a lifetime I will never forget!

MGM, Screen Gems and director Kim Peirce have made their decision and made the formal offer today to Chloe Moretz to play the title role in the remake of the Brian DePalma original that was based on the 1974 Stephen King bestseller (King has had his say HERE). She’s expected to play the shy high school student Carrie White, who is raised by a nightmarish religious fanatic mother, and comes to grip with devastating telepathic powers just as she reaches puberty. She eventually uses those gifts for lethal means when fellow classmates use the prom as an excuse to humiliate her before the entire school in a parable about bullying. Sissy Spacek played the character in the first movie, with Piper Laurie playing her mother, and Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, John Travolta, Betty Buckley, William Katt and PJ Soles rounding out the cast. Both Spacek and Laurie got Oscar nominations for their work in the 1976 film.

The studio and Pierce have been meeting with actresses for the past two weeks. Word all along was that while names like Dakota Fanning were circulating, Peirce and the studio had an eye on Moretz. The studio denied it at the time, but what actually happened is, Moretz didn’t meet with Peirce until last weekend. She got the job immediately. Moretz, who first came on with performances in Kick-Ass, (500) Days Of Summer and Let Me In, is at the top of the crop of young actresses. Coming off Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, her next major film is the Tim Burton-directed Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp.

Insiders said that once they make Moretz’s deal, they will focus on landing the psycho mom and supporting cast and they will shoot this year.

Quentin Tarantino – Poster Art Part 3

Last post featuring more poster art inspired by the films of Quentin Tarantino.

Quentin Tarantino – Part 2

Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized “revenge flick” in the cinematic traditions of Wuxia (Chinese martial arts), Jidaigeki (Japanese period cinema), Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror. It was based on a character (The Bride) and a plot that he and Kill Bill’s lead actress, Uma Thurman, had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction. In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes, where he served as President of the Jury. Although Kill Bill was not in competition, Vol. 2 had an evening screening, while it was also shown on the morning of the final day in its original 3-hour-plus version with Quentin himself attending the full screening. Tarantino then went on to be credited as “Special Guest Director” in Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 neo-noir film Sin City for his work directing the car sequence featuring Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro.

The next film project was Grindhouse, which he co-directed with Rodriguez. Released in theaters on April 6, 2007, Tarantino’s contribution to the Grindhouse project was titled Death Proof. It began as a take on 1970s slasher films, but evolved dramatically as the project unfolded. Ticket sales were low despite mostly positive reviews.

Tarantino’s 2009 film Inglourious Basterds is the story of a group of guerilla U.S. soldiers in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Filming began in October 2008. The film opened on August 21, 2009 to very positive reviews and the #1 spot at the box office worldwide. It went on to become Tarantino’s highest grossing film, both in the United States and worldwide.

In 2011, production began on Django Unchained, about the revenge of a slave on his former master. The film stemmed from Tarantino’s desire to produce a spaghetti western set in America’s Deep South; inspired by the 1966 film Django, directed by Sergio Corbucci.  Tarantino has called the proposed style “a southern”, stating that he wanted “to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to”. Tarantino finished the script on April 26, 2011, and handed in the final draft to The Weinstein Company.

Agency William Morris Endeavor reported Christoph Waltz was cast to play a German bounty hunter, with Stacey Sher, Pilar Savone, and Reginald Hudlin producing. Although Will Smith and Idris Elba were heavily rumored to be up for the title role, Jamie Foxx has since been confirmed to play Django. Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson will play Stephen, a house slave. Leonardo DiCaprio has also been officially cast in the role of Calvin Candie, the primary antagonist in the film. Kevin Costner had been cast as Ace Woody, a “vile and sadistic trainer of slaves who are forced to fight in death matches for a plantation owner (DiCaprio)” before he later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, and has been replaced by Kurt Russell. Kerry Washington has been cast as Broomhilda, the “long-suffering slave wife of Django.” Other cast members include Dennis Christopher as Candie family lawyer Leonide ‘Leo’ Moguy, Laura Cayouette as Candie’s sister, Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, M. C. Gainey and Tom Savini as Big John and Ellis Brittle, two of the slave owners who separate Django and Broomhilda, Anthony LaPaglia and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Australian brothers, Jano and an unnamed character, respectively, who encounter Django while escorting slaves to a fight. However, Gordon-Levitt has not fully committed to the film, due to possible scheduling issues, and Gerald McRaney and Michael K. Williams in unknown roles. Tarantino-collaborator RZA was cast as a slave named Thadeus. According to various Tarantino websites, Sacha Baron Cohen was cast in the role as gambler Scotty Harmony who wishes to purchase Django’s wife from Calvin Candie. James Remar is also involved in the film, as is reportedly, Tarantino is also interested in including Lady Gaga in the film to some degree. The film is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2012.

Quentin Tarantino – Poster Art Part 2

More Quentin Tarantino inspired poster artwork…

Quentin Tarantino – Poster Art Part 1

The first of a few random postings of poster art from Quentin Tarantino films…

Quentin Tarantino – Part 1

Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence. His films include Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (2003, 2004), Death Proof (2007), and Inglourious Basterds (2009). He has earned an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA and the Palme d’Or, as well as Emmy and Grammy nominations. His movies are generally characterized by stylistic influences from grindhouse, kung fu, and spaghetti western films. Tarantino also frequently collaborates with his friend and fellow filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.

Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician who was born in Queens, New York, and Connie McHugh, a nurse. He was raised by his mother, as his parents separated before his. When he was two years old, he moved to Torrance, California and later to the Harbor City neighborhood where he went to Fleming Junior High School in Lomita and took drama classes. He attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City for his freshman year before dropping out of school at age 15, to attend an acting class full time at the James Best Theater Company in Toluca Lake.

As an employee of the Video Archives, a now-defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach. he and fellow movie enthusiasts, including Roger Avary, discussed cinema and customer video recommendations at length. He paid close attention to the types of films people liked to rent and has cited that experience as inspiration for his directorial career. Tarantino has been quoted as saying, “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.'”

After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged him to write a screenplay. Tarantino directed and co-wrote a movie called My Best Friend’s Birthday in 1987. The final reel of the film was almost fully destroyed in a lab fire that occurred during editing but its screenplay would form the basis for True Romance. In January 1992, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs screened at the Sundance Film Festival and was an immediate hit. The film garnered critical acclaim. Reservoir Dogs was a dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films. Tarantino wrote the script in three and a half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to funding, taking a co-producer role, and a part in the movie.

Tarantino’s screenplay for True Romance was optioned, directed by Tony Scott and eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit, and wished the film well. Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed and Men in Black. He instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction. He directed Episode Four of Four Rooms, “The Man from Hollywood”, a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock  Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms was a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell and Robert Rodriguez. The film was very poorly received by critics. He appeared in and wrote the script for Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk till Dawn, which saw mixed reviews from the critics yet led to two sequels, for which Tarantino and Rodriguez would only serve as executive producers.

Tarantino’s third feature film, and in my opinion his best work, was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard. A homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pan Grier, who starred in many of that genre’s films of the 1970s. He had then planned to make the war film provisionally titled Inglourious Basterds, but postponed it to write and direct Kill Bill

Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Simon Nimoy (born March 26, 1931) is an American actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer. Nimoy’s most famous role is Spock in the original Star Trek series (1966–1969), and in multiple film, television, and video-game sequels.

Nimoy began his career in his early twenties, teaching acting classes in Hollywood and making minor film and television appearances through the 1950s. In 1953, he served in the United States Army. In 1965, he made his first appearance in the rejected Star Trek pilot, “The Cage”, and would go on to play the character of Mr. Spock until 1969, followed by seven feature films and guest slots in various sequels. His character of Spock had a significant cultural impact and garnered Nimoy three Emmy Award nominations; TV Guide named Spock one of the 50 greatest TV characters. After the original Star Trek series, Nimoy starred in Mission: Impossible for two seasons, hosted the documentary series In Search Of… (TV Series), and narrated Civilization IV, as well as making several well-received stage appearances.

Nimoy’s fame as Spock is such that both his autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1977) and I Am Spock (1995) detail his existence as being shared between the character and himself. He is the only original cast member to make an appearance in the J. J. Abrams reboot.

Cosmopolis – Trailer

COSMOPOLIS is one of the most buzzed about films of the latest years being chosen by millions of MTV viewers as the most expected film of 2012.

SYNOPSIS: New York City, not-too-distant-future: Eric Packer, a 28 year-old finance golden boy dreaming of living in a civilization ahead of this one, watches a dark shadow cast over the firmament of the Wall Street galaxy, of which he is the uncontested king. As he is chauffeured across midtown Manhattan to get a haircut at his father’s old barber, his anxious eyes are glued to the yuan’s exchange rate: it is mounting against all expectations, destroying Eric’s bet against it. Eric Packer is losing his empire with every tick of the clock. Meanwhile, an eruption of wild activity unfolds in the city’s streets. Petrified as the threats of the real world infringe upon his cloud of virtual convictions, his paranoia intensifies during the course of his 24-hour cross-town odyssey. Packer starts to piece together clues that lead him to a most terrifying secret: his imminent assassination.

Director David Cronenberg revisits subjects that fascinate him: how the organic and the psychological are inextricably intertwined, society’s anxieties and phobias, and letting repressed impulses and paranoia run wild. COSMOPOLIS is a culmination of his masterpieces that addresses the alarming global financial crisis of today’s world. Check out the website HERE and trailer below.

Dad of the Dead – Poster Art

Cool fake film poster for Tom Savini’s ‘Dad of the Dead’ a George Romero biopic. This incredible piece of artwork is by concept artist Pascal Witaszek. Check out his online portfolio HERE for more fake posters.

Simone Signoret

Simone Signoret (25 March 1921 – 30 September 1985) was a French film actress often hailed as one of France’s greatest movie stars. She became the first French person to win an Academy Award, for her role in Room at the Top (1959). In her lifetime she also received a BAFTA, an Emmy, Golden Globe, Cannes Film Festival recognition and the Silver Bear for Best Actress.

Les Diaboliques, released as Diabolique in the United States and variously translated as The Devils or The Fiends, is a 1955 French black-and-white feature film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, starring Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot and Paul Meurisse. It is based on the novel Celle qui n’était plus (She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The story blends elements of thriller and horror to great effect, with the plot focusing on a woman and her husband’s mistress who conspire to murder the man; after the crime is committed, however, his body disappears, and a number of strange occurrences ensue.

Clouzot, right after finishing Wages of Fear allegedly snatched the screenplay rights from master of suspense, director Alfred Hitchcock. This movie apparently helped inspire Hitchcock’s Psycho. Robert Bloch himself, the author of novel “Psycho”, has stated in an interview that his all-time favorite horror film is Diaboliques.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

LEGO Batman 2:  DC Super Heroes is due out on June 1, 2012. For updates, hit their official site.

R. Lee Ermey

Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944) is a retired United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, Drill Instructor and actor.

Born in Emporia, Kansas, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1961. Ermey was a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California, and Parris Island, South Carolina from 1965 to 1967. In 1968, Ermey arrived in Vietnam where he served for 14 months with the Marine Wing Support Group 17. He then served two tours of duty in Okinawa, Japan, during which he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) and was medically discharged in 1972 for several injuries incurred during his tours.

Ermey was cast in his first film while attending the University of Manila in the Philippines, using his G. I. Bill benefits. He first played a Marine drill instructor (SSgt Loyce) in the 1978 Vietnam-era film The Boys in Company “C”, which brought Ermey to the attention of Stanley Kubrick in later years. Ermey then played an Air Cavalry Officer in Apocalypse Now, doubling as a technical advisor to director Francis Ford  Coppola. He also served as Louis Gossett’s technical advisor for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. For the next few years, Ermey played a series of minor film roles until 1987, when he was cast as tough drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s  Full Metal Jacket.

Initially he was intended to be only the technical advisor. Kubrick changed his mind after Ermey put together an instructional tape, in which Ermey went on an extended hair-raising drill instructor tirade towards several extras, convincing Kubrick he was the right person for the role. Seeking absolute military authenticity for the film, Kubrick allowed Ermey to write or edit his own dialogue and improvise on the set, a noted rarity in a Kubrick film. Kubrick later indicated that Ermey was an excellent performer, often needing just two or three takes per scene, also unusual for a Kubrick film. Ermey’s performance won critical raves and he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor. He later played a tough drill instructor in the pilot episode of Space: Above and Beyond and ghost of a drill instructor in the film The Frighteners, both similar to his character in Full Metal Jacket.

Ermey has often played the roles of authority figures, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning, plastic army men leader Sarge in the Toy Story films and more recently as the terrifying Sheriff Hoyt in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and it’s prequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.

He has appeared in approximately sixty films, including The Siege of Firebase Gloria, Dead Man Walking, Se7en, Fletch Lives, Leaving Las Vegas, Perfontaine, On Deadly Ground, Toy Soldiers. As well as the Toy Story films, Ermey also lent his voice to The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, as well as Roughnecks and X-Men 3. He usually appears in a commanding military role, for shows such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Kim Possible, Miami Vice, House, Scrubs, and Invader Zim, in addition to hosting the documentary series Mail Call and Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey, which focused on the development of different types of weapons.

Funny Games – Poster Art

Cool poster art, including the remake shot of Naomi Watts, for Michael Haneke’s Funny Games.

Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke (born 23 March 1942) is an Austrian filmmaker and writer best known for his bleak and disturbing style. His films often document problems and failures in modern society. Haneke has worked in television, theatre and cinema. He is also known for raising social issues in his work. Besides working as filmmaker he also teaches directing at the Filmacademy Vienna.

Haneke was born in Munich, Germany, the son of the German actor and director Fritz Haneke and the Austrian actress Beatrix von Degenschild. Haneke was raised in the city Wiener Neustadt. He attended the University of Vienna to study philosophy, psychology and drama after failing to achieve success in his early attempts in acting and music. After graduating, he became a film critic and from 1967 to 1970 he worked as editor and dramaturg at the southwestern German television station Sudwestfunk. He made his debut as a television director in 1974.

Haneke’s feature film debut was 1989’s The Seventh Continent, which served to trace out the violent and bold style that would bloom in later years. Three years later, the controversial Benny’s Video put Haneke’s name on the map. Funny Games in 1997 brought him to a wider audience. A psychological thriller directed and written by Haneke; the plot of the film involves two young men who hold a family hostage and torture them with sadistic games. Haneke made an American shot-for-shot remake of Funny Games in 2007.

Haneke’s greatest success came in 2001 with his most critically successful film, the French The Piano Teacher. It won the prestigious Grand Prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and also won its stars, Isabelle Huppert and Benoit Magimel, the Best Actress and Actor awards. He has worked with Juliette Binoche (Code Unknown in 2000 and Cache in 2005), after she expressed interest in working with him. Haneke frequently worked with real-life couple Ulrich Muhe and Susanne Lothar – thrice each.

His latest film, The White Ribbon, premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The movie is set in 1913 and deals with strange incidents in a small town in Northern Germany, depicting an authoritarian, fascist-like atmosphere, where children are subjected to rigid rules and suffer harsh punishments, and where strange deaths occur. The Cannes jury presided by Isabelle Huppert and including Asia Argento, Hanif Kureishi and Robin Wright Penn awarded Haneke’s film the Palme d’Or for the best feature film. The film also the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 67th Golden Globe Awards.

Akira Kurosawa 黒澤 明

Akira Kurosawa (黒澤 明, March 23, 1910 – September 6, 1998) was a Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. Regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 years.

Kurosawa entered the Japanese film industry in 1936, following a brief stint as a painter. After years of working on numerous films as an assistant director and scriptwriter, he made his debut as a director in 1943, during World War II with the popular action film Sanshiro Sugata (a.k.a. Judo Saga). After the war, the critically acclaimed Drunken Angel (1948), in which Kurosawa cast then-unknown actor   Toshirō Mifune in a starring role, cemented the director’s reputation as one of the most important young filmmakers in Japan. The two men would go on to collaborate on another 15 films.

Rashomon, which premiered in Tokyo in August 1950, and which also starred Mifune, became, on September 10, 1951, the surprise winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and was subsequently released in Europe and North America. The commercial and critical success of this film opened up Western film markets for the first time to the products of the Japanese film industry, which in turn led to international recognition for other Japanese film artists. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Kurosawa directed approximately a film a year, including a number of highly regarded films such as Ikiru (1952), Seven Samurai (1954) and Yojimbo (1961). After the mid-1960s, he became much less prolific, but his later work—including his final two epics, Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985)—continued to win awards, including the Palme d’Or for Kagemusha, though more often abroad than in Japan.

In 1990, he accepted the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Posthumously, he was named “Asian of the Century” in the “Arts, Literature, and Culture” category by Asian Week magazine and CNN, cited as “one of the [five] people who contributed most to the betterment of Asia in the past 100 years”.

Kurosawa is also remembered for the cinematic term, the Rashomon effect, the effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection, by which observers of an event are able to produce substantially different but equally plausible accounts of it… or more plainly, an unreliable version of events. It is named for Kurosawa’s film Rashomon, in which a crime witnessed by four individuals is described in four mutually contradictory ways. The film is based on two short stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, “Rashōmon” (for the setting) and “Yabu no naka”, otherwise known as “In a Grove” (for the story line).

How to Make a Horror Movie

Hilarious flowchart explaining how to make a horror movies… more accurate than any execs would admit. Click on the poster to see 4 more showing how to make an Action, Animated, Short and Porno.

William Shatner

William Alan Shatner (born March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, author and film director. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the science fiction television series Star Trek from 1966 to 1969, Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1973 to 1974, and in seven of the subsequent Star Trek feature films from 1979 to 1994. He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also authored a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television.

Shatner also played the eponymous veteran police sergeant in T. J. Hooker from 1982 to 1986. Afterwards, he hosted the reality-based television series, Rescue 911 from 1989 to 1996, which won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Dramatic Series.

He has since worked as a musician, author, producer, director and celebrity pitchman. From 2004 to 2008 he starred as attorney Denny Crane in the television dramas The Practice and its spin-off Boston Legal for which he won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Russ Meyer – Poster Art

Cool poster art for 6 Russ Meyer movies… although they’re good, I prefer the tacky originals.

Russ Meyer

Russell Albion “Russ” Meyer (March 21, 1922 – September 18, 2004) was an American movie director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, actor and photographer. Meyer is known primarily for writing and directing a series of successful low-budget sexploitation films that featured campy humour, sly satire and large-breasted women.

Russ Meyer was born in San Leandro, California. His parents divorced shortly after he was born, and Meyer was to have virtually no contact with his father during his life. When he was fourteen years old, his mother pawned her wedding ring in order to buy him an 8mm film camera. He made a number of amateur films, and served during World War II as a U.S. Army combat cameraman for the 166th Signal Photo Company. Much of Meyer’s work during World War II can be seen in newsreels and in the film Patton (1971).

His first feature, the nudist comedy The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959), cost $24,000 to produce and eventually grossed more than $1,000,000 on the independent/exploitation circuit, ensconcing Meyer as “King of the Nudies.” Over the next decade, he made nearly 20 movies with a trademark blend of odd humor, huge-breasted starlets and All-American sleaze, including such notable films as Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) and Vixen! (1968). Russ Meyer was a true auteur who wrote, directed, edited, photographed and distributed all his own films. He was able to finance each new film from the proceeds of the earlier ones, and became very wealthy in the process.

Meyer’s output can be divided into several eras. Earlier works like The Immoral Mr. Teas, Eve and the Handyman (1961), and the Western-themed Wild Gals of the Naked West (1962) were stylistically similar to the nudie cutie fare of the era, though separated from the pack by their superior color cinematography. 1964’s Lorna saw the ever-economical director revert to black-and-white; with this change came a greater emphasis on storyline, almost theatrical violence, domineeringly psychosexual women, and their insipid male counterparts. The “Gothic” period (as it was termed by Meyer) reached its apex with the commercially underwhelming Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, which would eventually be reclaimed as a cult classic. It has a following all over the world and has inspired countless imitations, music videos and tributes.

After producing the popular mockumentary Mondo Topless (1966) with the remnants of his production company’s assets and two mildly successful color melodramas, Meyer made headlines once again in 1968 with the controversial Vixen!. Although its lesbian overtones are tame by today’s standards, the film — designed by Meyer and longtime cohort Jim Ryan as a reaction to provocative European art films — grossed millions on a five-figure budget and captured the zeitgeist just as The Immoral Mr. Teas had a decade earlier.

After the unexpected success of Easy Rider and impressed by Meyer’s frugality and profitability, 20th Century Fox signed him to produce and direct a long-proposed sequel to Valley of the Dolls in 1969, fulfilling his longstanding ambition to direct for a major Hollywood studio. What eventually appeared was Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), scripted by film critic (and Meyer devotee) Roger Ebert and bearing no relation to the novel or film’s continuity. Many critics perceive the film as perhaps the greatest expression of his intentionally vapid surrealism — Meyer went so far as to refer to it as his definitive work in several interviews. Others, such as Variety, saw “BVD” “as funny as a burning orphanage and a treat for the emotionally retarded.” Contractually stipulated to produce an R-rated film, the brutally violent climax (depicting a decapitation) ensured an X rating (Later reclassified to NC-17). Though disowned by the studio for years to come and amid gripes from the director after he attempted to recut the film to include more titillating scenes after the ratings debacle, it still earned over $6 million domestically in the United States on a budget of less than $1 million.

After making his most subdued film, a commercially unsuccessful adaptation of the popular Irving Wallace novel The Seven Minutes (1971) for Fox, Meyer returned to grindhouse-style independent cinema in 1973 with the Blaxploitation period piece Black Snake, which was dismissed by critics and audiences as incoherent. In 1975, he released Supervixens, a return to the world of big bosoms, square jaws, and the Mojave desert that earned $17 million on a shoestring budget. Meyer’s theatrical career ended with the release of the surreal Up! (1976) and 1979’s Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, his most sexually graphic films.

In 1977, Malcolm McLaren hired Meyer to direct a film starring The Sex Pistols. Meyer handed the scriptwriting duties over to Ebert, who, in collaboration with McLaren, produced a screenplay entitled Who Killed Bambi? According to Ebert, filming ended after a day and a half when the electricians walked off the set after McLaren proved unable to pay them. (McLaren has claimed that the project actually died at the behest of main financier 20th Century Fox, under the pretext that “We are in the business of making family entertainment.”) The project ultimately evolved into The Great Rock & Roll Swindle. 

Despite the fact that hardcore pornographic films would overtake Meyer’s softcore market share, he retired in the late 1970s a very wealthy man. Russ Meyer died at his home in the Hollywood Hills, of complications of pneumonia, on September 18, 2004. He was 82 years old. Meyer’s grave is located at Stockton Rural Cemetery in San Joaquin County, Stockton.