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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.
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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding Valentine’s Day starring every safe, boring white actor ever, that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.

In 1986, a supernatural moto-fantasy about a murdered bro who returns via a phantasmic, black stealth race car to kill his killers was released on Earth and no one gave a shit. More than two decades later, The Wraith, though forever without a wet ‘stache lick from Peter Travers, is cult-minted for being memorable-enough ’80s-ploitation. Next month sees the release of a Special Edition DVD that adequately recognizes and explores the movie’s legacy and history with commentary courtesy director Mike Marvin and featurettes on the film’s semi-iconic Dodge racer and co-star Clint Howard (who, if not semi-iconic himself, sported a semi-iconic wig inspired by Eraserhead for the film).

Revisiting The Wraith, what’s interesting is how this derivative hybrid of genres and classic revenge films—Marvin references High Plains Drifter and The Road Warrior—remains sublimely adolescent but in an inherently cold and detached way. Stranger still is how this suits the film’s undead hero, vehicle, and hints of an afterlife with a decidedly mechanical bent. And before viewing the S.E. I had no idea a crew member died and many others were injured in a chase scene gone awry. One stunt coordinator recounts how a grip fell 60-feet down a rocky embankment and was only found knocked-out but okay hours later. Nor did I know (or need to) that a sunbathing scene with lead star Charlie Sheen as the titular, ghostly hero and co-star Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart) was shot on a “near-freezing” day. Hearing these stories, I wonder now if the troubles of the production didn’t contribute to the overall tone. And looking back at the film itself, which was released the same year as Top GunFerris Bueller, and Blue Velvet, might The Wraith, however unintentionally, deserve to be called Lynchian?

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding Valentine’s Day starring every safe, boring white actor ever, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.

The first half-hour of Police, Adjective features several long takes following an expressionless young detective as he walks and walks Romanian streets in silence, occasionally bending to pick up and examine a roach of hashish recently discarded by high schoolers. Watching the scenes, I began to think about the resilience of the never-ending yet naive affair between indie films and patience, or boredom, that plays out in front of modern audiences. Weeks before seeing this much-praised import, I had estimated, however cynically, that the mere inclusion of Adjective in its title had daisy-cut its potential audience stateside; add in all of this walking and creeping—and we’re talking more than in Ti West’s The House of the Devil—and my imagined demographic for the film outside of the indie faithful became commercially bleak.

But I also sensed in these long takes that writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu was consciously going against-the-grain, staging mundanity in real-time with jestful purpose. I decided to trust the instincts and stay with it. It turned out to be one of the best and more profound films I’ve seen in 2010 thus far.

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding The Tooth Fairy starring The Rock, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or…”what do you mean Merlin wasn’t real?! Attention hosers: it’s the return of FUBARAnd much more after the jump in this double-deep installment…

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding The Tooth Fairy starring The Rock, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview.

It’s rare when the marketing campaign for an indie movie has a celebratory feel, clearly organized by a team as psyched on the feature as they hope the recipient will be. Soon after learning of Black Dynamite last year, several packages arrived at my home/office in correlation with its theatrical release. They contained quality tees—one read “Fight Smack In The Orphanage” in bold-ass white-on-black CAPS—along with a high concept soundtrack and a media kit ribboned and accented with a syringe pen. For months thereafter, director and co-writer Scott Sanders seemed to personally and tirelessly push Dynamite to every white sucka on Internet Geek Street. It was admirable, considering that his second feature film was indeed a pretty fun, meticulously designed hat tip to the Afro-Fu era of Dolemite.

The film is also a stable showcase for Sanders’s pal Michael Jai White (SpawnThe Dark Knight) to launch a renewed case for chiseled action stardom, and a welcome invite for underseen talents like Tommy Davidson and Arsenio Hall to get retarded. Oh, and if you ever wondered about the true origin of chicken and waffles? That’s in there too. During an absurd week that saw oversensitive Twitterers erupt over the existence of soul food, what better film and DVD to welcome Black History Month? Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness asked Sanders a few questions about Dynamite’s future as a CIA agent-cum-VietNam veteran-cum-inner city exterminator of “jive ass” dummies. (Note: NSFW movie stills after the jump.)

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding The Spy Next Door and The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment, new trailers and a review of the Red Riding Trilogy, a noirish triptych of serial killer dramas imported from British television and being released stateside in February by IFC Films.

During a screening of the entire Red Riding Trilogy, with one intermission allotted for lunch, I found myself pondering the irony in three directors, one screenwriter, one author, tens of actors and three separate crews realizing a project that depicts humanity and bureaucracy at its most foul and irreversibly corrupt. A recent poster for the trilogy forebodingly reads, “Evil Lives Here,” a tagline that would serve most of the work that exits Stephen King’s skull; instead the “here” in Red Riding is Northern England in the ’70s and early ’80s, when a serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper carved a trail of female victims and set a mood and mythos ripe for social reflection.

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment: the perverse and obscure ’60s thriller, Who Killed Teddy Bear?, being shown tonight at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives; the doc, Nick Nolte: No Exit, which finds good ol’ Nick candidly Q&Aing himself on topics ranging from god to drugs. For a special Weekend Weirdness posted yesterday about the imaginative skateboarder fantasy Machotaildrop, click here.

Photographed above is a real deal, shrink-wrapped, limited-edition VHS for The House of the Devil, promoting its release on DVD/Blu-Ray early next month. It’s one of the coolest pieces of swag I’ve received for this column thus far; to my knowledge only a few peeps were sent one, including Devil-supporter Drew McWeeny at HitFix. And even fewer peers have watched the tape. Some are scared, others are sans VCR. I’ve seen last year’s best horror flick at least thirteen times now, so I’d rather keep it sealed. Similar to the wizard-bong approved THotD poster design by Kellerhouse last year, the VHS packaging has faux rental scruffs, in addition to a retro “new release” starburst. A disclaimer on the back reads, “Caution: This film contains Satanic references and graphic violence.” Haters would add: “…and so much pointless walking.”

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview…

For all of the world’s fireplaces used to stack skateboard videos and DVDs, it’s increasingly strange how few, if any, feature films exist to directly reflect the ubiquity of the sport and lifestyle in pop culture. The new indie film, Machotaildrop, might be the only across-the-board example. Not only does it have a skateboarder named Walter (played by skater/actor Anthony Amedori) as its main character, the movie’s plush fantasy world serves as a metaphorical backdrop for a modern skater’s journey from passionate amateur to paid-and-jaded pro. After Walter is recruited to the hedonistic dream estate of a major skateboard corporation called Machotaildrop, he’s soon ordered by its shady overseer, The Baron, to tour the base of an outlaw skater gang called the Manwolfs. Herein lies a moral dilemma and awakening: help Machotaildrop establish its kooky skater theme park on the Manwolfs’ sacred turf and “fulfill the dream.” Or bail.

Machotaildrop is already stirring curiosity online for its attractive cinematography and for surreal imagery that evokes the prim-and-proper stylings of Wes Anderson, the offbeat humor of Spike Jonze, and the acid-tab abstraction of Alejandro Jodorowsky. Accessible to fans of those directors, Machotaildrop still glows with the esoteric yet stonerish attitude synonymous with a lot of skate culture. Veteran and current pro’s like Steve Olson (as a baker-skater) and Rick McCrank (as a snobbish, injured icon) get laughs in supporting roles and the plot lends itself to well-shot bouts of skate tricks. I interviewed writers/directors, Corey Adams and Adam Craig, about what they wanted to accomplish, their film’s themes, and all of the skater-and-cineaste history that inspired it. Trailer and images included after the jump.

Hunter Stephenson: We are seeing skate video culture assimilated into indie films more and more, as seen in the work of directors like Spike Jonze and Jody Hill. Do you agree? And what discussions did you and Alex have before making the film in regard to contributing to this cinematic/cultural bridge?

Corey Adams: Well the one discussion we kept having was that we didn’t want the film to look anything like a skateboard video, that all the skateboarding we shot in the film was done so in a way that it didn’t over glorify it. No wide angle lenses or handheld shots—except for some of the skateboard video elements, which we had no control over as it was all actual footage from the kid.

Alex Craig: Even though we both come from a skateboarding background, it was always our intention to approach this project cinematically as opposed to using skate video conventions. I think it would have been foolish to try and recreate a skate video vibe in the film mainly because it wasn’t appropriate to our idea but also because we could never do it justice. We wanted the film to stay in a farcical world.

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, sans The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or this…

Variations on the utterance, “I wish there was something to do,” number in the hundreds to thousands daily in New York City. It’s a minor grumble that can be overheard even as many a boredom-stricken city dweller is in a bout of multi-tasking worthy of a wintery-layer-obsessed Inspector Gadget. These frequent sentiments both ignore and are at the source of the unbridled creativity occurring around them: somewhere in the city, people are launching unrelated search-and-destroys on boredom in new ways. In the case of a determined 20something actor and filmmaker named Zachary Oberzan, it was via a feature-length adaptation of First Blood…set entirely in a 220-square-foot Manhattan apartment and starring himself as roughly two dozen male and female characters. The resulting film—which cost $96, was made over seven months, and was edited by Oberzan in Final Cut Pro—is called Flooding with Love for the Kid.

In the role of iconic Vietnam vet John Rambo, Oberzan ostensibly fought the law and the law won. Which means Oberzan still won, because they are one in the same and so forth. In a superlative scene in Flooding, Oberzan is show on screen as six different armed men firing shotguns at Rambo in a display of deliberately amateur but charming effects. That the scene, like most of the film, is set deep in a Kentucky wilderness conveyed by makeshift twigs and grimy urban brick should be a lame or childish sight to the grown viewer. Instead, the scene is genuinely suspenseful, partially due to the claustrophobic restraints, and packs just enough Dogme-esque realism to earn a smile. Flooding is currently a subject of fun chatter in NYC, and has even been intensely praised by Rambo’s creator, First Blood author David Morrell.

Unlike Sylvester Stallone‘s 1982 classic actioner, Oberzan made use of Morrell’s original ending, in which Rambo and the relentless sheriff on the hunt for him both die. /Film chatted with Oberzan about the multiple meta meanings at the heart of Flooding‘s faithful conclusion and about many other aspects of his memorable, irony-free creation. A clip from the film and the interview after the jump…

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