Though Westerns are generally not my thing (I consider the genre’s zenith to be 1988’s Young Guns, which is effectively an issue of Tiger Beat in Stetson hats), I was drawn to Martin Koolhoven’s Brimstone on the strength of the cast and early buzz that its extreme content would fit appropriately in TIFF’s audacious Midnight Madness programme, if not for its sprawling running time. In both cases, I wasn’t disappointed. Koolhoven’s script is as heartbreaking and well-acted as it is uncompromisingly brutal and terrifying, and his cast, led by Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce, execute the difficult material perfectly.
When the best thing you can say about a film is that “it’s not quite as transphobic as people are saying”, you know that film has major issues.
We’re halfway through 2016 and it’s already been a pretty good year for horror. Films like Robert Eggers’ The Witch, Mike Flanagan’s Hush, and anthology horror Holidays have already given us our fix to get us through the winter, but the second half of the year has some of the horror releases I’m most excited for.
I thought I caused the 2003 blackout.
It was the end of a day at work, and just as I hit “save” on the document I was working on so I could leave for the day, everything went dark.
I think most of us are familiar with the “Wikipedia hole,” where you’ll go to the site to look something up and find yourself entangled in a long series of links to related-but-unrelated entries, only to forget what you came for in the first place. A rabbit hole like this is the only way I can describe Tickled, because it’s a documentary that begins with the most benign and banal of subjects and ends up as a three-continent-spanning pursuit of, well, I’m still not sure. The characters along the way have a Lynchian surrealness to them, never as repulsive and pitiable on the surface as they are under the skin, which is really saying something because some of them are pretty gross externally, too.
The new Turkish movie by Can Evrenol, Baskin, is one of the best horror movies of the decade so far. It intrigues, it horrifies, it disgusts, but it is never anything but an excellent example of how to make nightmares come to life on screen.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Noomi Rapace movie in theaters. She co-starred in last year’s excellent The Drop with Tom Hardy, while another film with Hardy, Child 44, seemed to come and go with nary a whisper, unless you count the dreadful 24 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Kickstarter has become the great bazaar for creators, all of them camped out under their virtual canopies, hands open, hoping visitors will stop and just look at their wares. Yet like any bazaar, the buyer should beware. It can be a strange and dangerous marketplace, and one doesn’t want to toss their money about blithely. If you can find an amazing concept, with some great people behind the scenes, odds are you’ve made a fine Kickstarter decision.
Please allow me to make a strong suggestion.
Although horror is often considered a masculine domain, there are many female horror fans who can quickly disprove that stereotype. One is photographer Ashlea Wessel, who is currently working on her short film debut, Ink. As a huge fan of monster movies, Ashlea always wanted to make her own movie; such cinematic ideals have frequently seeped into her photographs over the years.
When I first heard about the upcoming horror movie, Found Footage 3D, I immediately got on Twitter to make fun of it. Oh, don’t act like you’re shocked. The real surprise for me happened when the director of the movie, Steven DeGennaro, saw my tweet and engaged me in a civil conversation. That’s the inherent joy and terror of Twitter; you never know who’s reading. After talking to Steven for a while, I moved out of mockery mode and into curiosity. That led to research.
Steven DeGennaro previously directed the short film, First Date. For his new movie, he is working closely with horror icon Kim Henkel, co-writer of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. That certainly intrigued me. Then, I had the opportunity to talk to Steven DeGennaro at the end of last month.