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

Posts tagged “Inglourious Basterds

R.I.P. Rod Taylor

Rod-Taylor_The-Time-MachineRod Taylor, the Australian-born film and television actor who appeared in Inglourious Basterds and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, died of natural causes Wednesday, several sources confirmed. He was 84.

Taylor appeared in more than 50 films and dozens of TV shows over the course a decades-long career. In the ’50s, he appeared in such television shows as Studio 57and western Cheyenne, and guest-starred in an episode of The Twilight Zone (“And When The Sky Was Opened”) in 1959.

His first leading role in a feature film was in 1960’s Time Machine, George Pal’s adaptation of the science-fiction classic by H. G. Wells. Taylor played a time traveller who, thousands of years in the future, falls for a woman played by Yvette Mimieux.

Taylor segued back and forth between film and television roles in the 1960s, landing a starring role in Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds as Mitch Brenner, whose home and town came under a menacing attack by birds.

He took on more tough-guy roles toward of the end of ’60s in films such as Chuka, Dark Of The Sun, Nobody Runs Forever and Darker Than Amber.

Taylor turned again to television in the ’70s, appearing in Bearcats! (1971) on CBS and in The Oregon Trail (1976) on NBC. He also had a regular role in the short-lived spy drama series Masquerade. His later TV credits included Falcon Crest, Murder She Wrote and Walker, Texas Ranger. His most recent film appearance was in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, playing Winston Churchill in a cameo.


Samuel Leroy Jackson

Samuel L Jackson_movie bannerSamuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. Initially intent on pursuing a degree in marine biology, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. After joining a local acting group to earn extra points in a class, Jackson found an interest in acting and switched his major. Before graduating in 1972, he co-founded the “Just Us Theatre”.

Pulp Fiction_Samuel L Jackson movie posterJackson began acting in multiple plays, appeared in several television films, and made his feature film debut in the blaxploitation independent film Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York City in 1976 and spent the next decade appearing in stage plays. Throughout his early film career, mainly in minimal roles in films and various television films, Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play A Soldier’s Play, Jackson was introduced to director Spike Lee who would later include him in small roles for the films School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989). He also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards.

Pulp Fiction_1994_wallpaperAfter gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever (1991), he appeared in films such as Patriot Games (1992), True Romance and Jurassic Park (both 1993). In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Directed in a highly stylized manner by Quentin Tarantino, who co-wrote its screenplay with Roger Avery; the film is known for its rich, eclectic dialogue, ironic mix of humor and violence, nonlinear storyline, and host of cinematic allusions and pop culture references. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture; Tarantino and Avary won for Best Original Screenplay. It was also awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. A major critical and commercial success, it revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who with Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, received Academy Award nominations.

Pulp Fiction_Vincent Vega_Jules Winfield_John Travolta_Samuel L JacksonPulp Fiction connects the intersecting storylines of Los Angeles mobsters, fringe players, small-time criminals, and a mysterious briefcase. Considerable screen time is devoted to conversations and monologues that reveal the characters’ senses of humor and perspectives on life. The nature of its development, marketing, and distribution and its consequent profitability had a sweeping effect on the field of independent cinema (although it is not an independent film itself). Considered a cultural watershed, Pulp Fiction’s influence has been felt in several other media.

The Avengers_movie wallpaperJackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, Unbreakable, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Shaft, Deep Blue Sea, Snakes on a Plane, 1408, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Tarantinos’ Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds. 

The-Avengers-Nick-Fury-posterMore recently, he played Nick Fury in the Marvel films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Avengers, the first five of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson’s many roles have made him one of the highest-grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. He is next up in another Tarantino movie, Django Unchained, and in the ever-delayed remake of Robocop.


Roger Avery for Castle Wolfenstein

DEADLINE: Panorama Media and Samuel Hadida announced that they will produce an action-adventure film inspired by the World War II-set video game franchise. Pulp Fiction writer Roger Avery will write and direct the flick, described as in the vein of Captain America and Inglorious Basterds, about a young U.S. Army Captain and a British Special Agent on a top-secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein where Hitler will be for the unveiling of a new secret weapon. After reaching the castle, the heroes are confronted with Himmler’s SS Paranormal Division and must fight not only for their survival but for a mission that could alter the course of the war. “I’ve been playing the Wolfenstein games since I was a kid, and feel that their outlandish sensibility has deeply influenced my own writing and directing throughout my career”, said Avary. “I have always thought Wolfenstein, transformed and opened for the screen to wider audiences not familiar with the games, would be a major cinematic experience, which is why I introduced it to Samuel”.

Hadida, whose list of credits include the Avary-produced and -directed Killing Zoe and The Rules Of Attraction, will produce through his Davis Films Productions. Global sales will be handled by Panorama’s Marc Butan and Kimberly Fox. Talks with U.S. distributors are underway, and Panorama is licensing distribution rights at AFM. Said Fox: “Both Samuel and Roger bring a really fun sensibility to the screen, and Wolfenstein gives them the perfect opportunity.”


John Dykstra

John Charles Dykstra, A.S.C (born June 3, 1947 in Long Beach, California) is an Academy Award-winning special effects supervisor and pioneer in the development of the use of computers in filmmaking.

After studying industrial design at California State University Dykstra landed a job working with Douglas Trumbull on Silent Running (1972) filming model effects.

When George Lucas was recruiting people for the special effects work on Star Wars, he approached Trumbull (who was working on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind), who pointed him towards Dykstra. Dykstra led the development at Industrial Light & Magic of the Dykstraflex motion-controlled camera, which was responsible for many of the film’s groundbreaking effects. The system was made possible by the availability of off-the-shelf integrated-circuit RAM at relatively low cost and second-hand Vision Vision cameras.

However, there was tension between Dykstra and Lucas, who later complained that too much of the special effects budget was spent on developing the camera systems and that the effects team did not deliver all the shots that he had wanted. These tensions would reportedly culminate with Dykstra’s dismissal from ILM following Lucas’ return from principal photography in Tunisia. Regardless, following the release of Star Wars, Dykstra secured his status in the industry with Academy Awards for best special effects and special technical achievement, and having completed a number of scenes which appeared in the final edit.

Dykstra had a Production credit for the television series Battlestar Galactica (1978), and contributed to the series’ effects. Around the same time, Dykstra was a target of Lucas’ legal ire. His fledgling visual effects house, Apogee, Inc., consisted of several ILM employees who did not want to relocate to San Francisco from Van Nuys, and used whatever equipment Lucas had left behind. Lucas attempted to get an injunction against Apogee to prevent the company from using what he considered to be his equipment to work on a project that was in direct competition to the Star Wars films. Several members of Apogee, including Richard Edlund and Dennis Muren, would return to ILM.

Dykstra also worked on the effects for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), with some of his effects being recycled in subsequent films. Dykstra’s next major achievement was the effects work on the Clint Eastwood movie, Firefox (1982). Here, he took on the same challenge that Lucas had set with The Empire Strikes Back of combining miniature effects with actual backgrounds and matte work on white backgrounds using reverse bluescreen. The film secured further awards but was only a modest box office hit.

Dykstra was worked on the effects crew for Tobe Hooper’s Lifeforce (1985), and Invaders from Mars (1986) before becoming supervisor for the special effects on My Stepmother is an Alien (1988), Batman Forever (1995), and Batman & Robin (1997). He was also Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for Stuart Little (1999). Dykstra was Visual Effects Designer on the first two Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man films, and was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his efforts on Spider-Man 2 (2004).

He also acted as Visual Effects Designer on Hancock (2008), Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) and X-Men: First Class (2011).

Check out this excellent article HERE from 1977, written by Dykstra for American Cinematographer.


Eli Roth to direct The Green Inferno

After a few years producing and acting, Eli Roth is finally returning to the directors chair with The Green Inferno. Described as a horror-thriller, details surrounding the project are scarce; however, given the title and the South American shooting location that inspired it, there’s a good chance it will be related to cannibals.

The title is actually directly lifted from the most notorious cannibal film, Cannibal Holocaust, which featured a movie within its own narrative called The Green Inferno, so named after the region being explored by a doomed fictional documentary crew. A late ’80s cannibal film called Natura Contro also carried the ‘Green Inferno’ moniker in some territories, and, interestingly enough, some distributors re-branded it Cannibal Holocaust II despite having no real connections to the original.

Roth’s use of the title implies he’ll be attempting to reinvigorate the relatively short-lived cannibal genre that had its roots in ’60s “mondo” documentaries that captured third-world savagery. In the ’70s, Italian filmmakers especially started taking crews to jungles to make exploitation films that have achieved cult status.

Cannibal Holocaust represented a culmination of the cycle, and it’s now regarded as Italian exploitation filmmaker Ruggero Deodato’s masterwork in third-world horror. After “Holocaust’s” success, the genre began to fizzle out and has mostly lain dormant. Deodato’s film obviously resonated with Roth on some level, as he featured the cult director in Hostel 2, where Deodato played a cannibal himself.

It’s also worth noting that Deodato’s film is one of the earliest examples of found footage. One has to wonder if Roth will attempt to employ that technique with “Green Inferno” as well.

Roth’s return to directing should be a welcome one for horror fans who looked to him as one of the genre’s fresh new voices of the last decade. He exploded onto the scene with notorious films like Hostel and Cabin Fever, and, while he’s discussed directing projects, Roth has spent the last five years producing films like The Last Exorcism and acting in Inglourious Basterds for good friend Quentin Tarantino.

If Roth’s comeback feature is indeed a cannibal film, I would expect him to make waves. His first three features are infamously violent and splattery, and I can’t wait to see what this genre will bring out of him… although, please, no animal cruelty.


Eli Roth

Eli Raphael Roth (born April 18, 1972) is an American film director, producer, writer and actor. He is known for his role as Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds for which he won both a SAG Award (Best Ensemble) and a BFCA Critic’s Choice Award (Best Acting Ensemble).

Roth began shooting films at the age of eight after watching the Ridley Scott classic Alien (1979). He made over 50 short films with his brothers Adam and Gabe before graduating at Newton South High School and attending film school (the Tisch School of the Arts) at New York University, from which he graduated in 1994.  By the age of 20, and while still a student at NYU, Roth ran the office of producer Frederick Zollo, eventually leaving to devote himself to writing full-time.

Through his internship with producer Fred Zollo in years prior, Roth met David Lynch and remained in contact with him over the years, eventually producing content for Lynch with his fledgling website in the late 1990s. Roth moved from NYC to LA in 1999; shortly thereafter he wrote, directed, edited, produced, animated, and provided voices for a series of animated shorts called Chowdaheads for Manderlay Sports Entertainment.

In 1995, a year after graduating from NYU, Roth cowrote Cabin Fever with his roommate and friend from NYU, Randy Pearlstein. Roth based the premise of the script on his own encounter with a skin infection he contracted while training horses at a farm in Selfoss, Iceland, in 1991. Much of the script was written while Roth was working as a production assistant in 1996 for Howerd Stern’s movie Private Parts.

Cabin Fever was made in 2001 on a budget of $1.5 million raised from private investors. Roth sold the film to Lionsgate at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival for $3.5 million, the biggest sale of the festival that year. The film was released in 2003 and was Lionsgate’s highest grossing film of the year, earning $22 million at the U.S. box office and $35 million worldwide. The film made Roth a new star in the horror genre. In his 2004 Premiere Magazine interview for Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino called Cabin Fever his favorite new film and Roth “the future of horror.”

Roth’s second feature film, Hostel, was made in 2005 on a budget of a little more than $4 million. It opened to No. 1 at the box office in January 2006, taking in $20 million over its opening weekend. It eventually went on to gross $80 million worldwide in box office, and more than $180 million worldwide on DVD. The movie plot is said to take place in Slovakia, however, all the exteriors were shot in the Czech Republic. The story line is naively simple – three friends are lured to visit a hostel in which they think that all of their sexual fantasies will come true. Instead, they drop into the clutches of an international syndicate offering a first-hand torturing and killing experience to the sadistic pleasure of rich tourists. The film was voted the No. 1 scariest movie moment on the Bravo TV special 30 Even Scarier Movie Moments. Empire Magazine readers voted Hostel the Best Horror Film of 2007.

Roth reportedly turned down numerous studio directing jobs to make Hostel. He took a directing salary of only $10,000 on Hostel in order to keep the budget as low as possible so there would be no limitations on the violence. In January 2006, film critic David Edelstein in the New York Magazine credited Roth with creating the horror sub-genre ‘torture-porn,’ or ‘gorno,’ using excessive violence to excite audiences like a sexual act.

In the country supposedly depicted in the movie, the Slovak Republic, it generated unanimously indignant reaction in general public and official representatives. The artistic qualities of the movie aside, the very story is said to have slandered Slovakia, a country mostly unfamiliar to the non-European audience. Roth argued that he selected Slovakia as a setting for the picture to show Americans’ lack of knowledge. “Americans do not even know that this country exists. My film is not a geographical work but aims to show Americans’ ignorance of the world around them.”

In 2007, Roth directed the faux trailer segment Thanksgiving for Grindhouse in addition to appearing in Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino’s segment of the film.

Roth made a Hostel sequel in 2007, Hostel: Part II opened in sixth place with $8.2 million and went on to total $17.6 million by the end of its theatrical run. The film cost $10.2 million and made $35 million dollars worldwide and another $50 million on DVD and pay television.

In 2009, Roth co-starred with Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, playing Donny Donowitz, a.k.a. “The Bear Jew.” He also guest directed the Nazi propaganda film-within-the-film, Nation’s Pride

Roth, through his company Arcade with Eric Newman and Strike producer Marc Abraham, produced the horror film The Last Exorcism, (originally titled Cotton) which was directed by Daniel Stamm. The Last Exorcism, which cost $1.5 million to produce, opened to over $20 million dollars in the U.S., and earned the #1 opening spots in Canada and the U.K. It earned over $40 million dollars at the U.S. box office, totaling $70 million worldwide. Roth has also produced Hostel: Part III. He is currently working on The Man with the Iron Fists and Endangered Species.


Quentin Tarantino – Poster Art Part 3

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