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Drafthouse Films has been on a roll out of Cannes. The relatively new distributor bought both Nothing Bad Can Happen and the very weird, appealing Borgman (trailer here) at the festival.

Now Drafthouse has partnered with Films We Like to pick up North American distribution rights to Ari Folman‘s The Congress. The film stars Robin Wright as a version of herself; in the film she’s an actress who sells her digital likeness to a movie studio. The film opens with live-action scenes, but quickly goes into animated flights of wild imagination. Paul Giamatti, Jon Hamm, Kodi Smit-McPheeHarvey Keitel and Danny Huston also star.

Drafthouse will handle the film in the US and Films We Like will take care of Canadian distibution. Sadly we have to wait until 2014 for the theatrical and VOD release. Check out the trailer below.  Read More »

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I know no one who has emerged unscathed from The Act of Killing. The film might be one of the strangest ever made, as it forces men to confront their actions by recreating them in movie form. But these aren’t just any men — they’re guys like Anwar Congo who, as death squad leaders during the “Thirtieth of September Movement,” staged a coup d’etat in Indonesia in 1965, and then committed genocide through an anti-Communist purge.

Estimates of the death toll vary widely, from 80,000 to one million. By any standard, these are heinous crimes. ”War crimes are declared by the winners,” Anwar Congo says, before happily proclaiming “I’m the winner!”

Today Anwar and other death squad leaders have not been tried as criminals; rather, they hold positions of some social standing. The Act of Killing features their full cooperation. It invites the death squad leaders to recreate their actions as genre movies — westerns, musicals, and so on — and in so doing bring their past back to life. The trailer below shows you some of the effect, and even in this abbreviated form it is deeply chilling. Read More »

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Ben Wheatley hasn’t been making features for very long, but he’s sure good at making his time count. In the four years since his first, Down Terrace, he’s managed to direct three more, each one wonderfully dark and twisted in its own special way.

His black romantic comedy Sightseers is still in theaters over here in the U.S., but there’s already a new trailer for his follow-up release, A Field in England. Even by Wheatley’s standards, this one looks pretty unusual. Set in 1648 during the English Civil War, it follows a group of deserters who get captured by an alchemist and descend into a psychedelic trip. Check out the video after the jump.

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Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace, Kill List) is making some of the best, smartest, and weirdest genre films going right now. His terrific black comedy Sightseers opens in some US theaters and on VOD this week, and now his follow-up effort has a distributor. Drafthouse Films has just announced the acquisition of A Field in England, which is being described as “a psychedelic trip into magic and madness.”

What kind of madness? Get a load of the plot description: “a group of English Civil War soldiers in the 17th century are captured by an alchemist and led into a vast mushroom field, where they fall victim to violent and nightmarish forces.”  Yes, please, let’s see that now. OK, we can’t see it now, exactly, but, Sightseers won’t be Wheatley’s only theatrical release in 2013. Drafthouse Films plans to have A Field in England out this year as well.

We don’t yet have a trailer to share, but in addition to the new image above, you can see the film’s poster below. Read More »

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There’s a quality to the most recent films from Quentin Dupieux, Rubber and Wrong, that I find approachable and endearing, even comforting. Dupieux rejects standard storytelling rules and structure, but follows a perceptible internal logic that holds his tales together.

He injects stories with seemingly meaningless elements, but there is a method by which they are then incorporated into the world. The forces at play in Dupieux’s films are not always positive ones, but once unleashed they are taken in stride. The strangest surprises of life — a killer car tire, a pet kidnapper, a horrible disfigurement — are not rejected. They’re not things that “can’t be.” They’re accepted, and dealt with, and life goes on.

Dupieux creates images that have a colorful, even lurid appeal. But he offers them in the same matter-of-fact manner that characters in his films exhibit. I’ve read many interviews with Dupieux where he evades questions of interpretation and meaning. So for our relatively short chat, I focused on process. We spoke of his aims in creating a script, his working method, and the fact that a film like Wrong would likely not exist if he had only 35mm film as a medium.

What I found, in conversation with the director, is that the spirit of his films — that matter-of-fact acceptance of the unusual — is very much present in the man himself.

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The film I Declare War, in which a group of kids play capture the flag in the woods, with imagined weapons seen as real tools of war, and the consequences rendered dire personal terms. The concept is good and directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson execute it well; the film took the Audience Award after playing at Fantastic Fest last September.

Now Drafthouse Films has announced plans to distribute the film in the US. Drafthouse Films CEO/Founder Tim League said in a press release, ”Armed with an arsenal of extremely talented child actors and combining shades of Full Metal Jacket and Lord Of The Flies, Jason and Rob have created a one-of-a-kind action film that we couldn’t be more excited to handle in the US.” Read More »

The ABCs of Death is an anthology comprised of twenty-six vile, disgusting, hilarious, sometimes fantastic, and other times forgettable horror shorts. Individual directors each paired a letter of the alphabet with a way someone can die, and every possible option was on the table, no matter how offensive or gory.

Predictably, the results are equal to the imaginations and skills of each director. Some episodes look gorgeous with innovative, shocking and exciting ideas executed beautifully. Others are simple and clean, and work just right. Then there are films that don’t do much with their concept and lay there. Along the way, the constant excitement and anticipation of which filmmaker is next and what their death might be provides a worthy propulsive energy in the absence of a narrative. But when one of the films lays an egg, it hurts everyone else around it.

The ABC’s of Death hits VOD January 31 and theaters March 8, but it just screened at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi. Read more after the jump. Read More »

The more often you go the movies, the more snobby you become. Everything has to be just right: the seat, the picture, the sound, everything just a certain way so you can enjoy the film. What this (admittedly selfish) mindset also does is create a long list of pet peeves: other people talking during a movie; checking their phones; or arriving late and asking if those middle seats you got by showing up 30 minutes early are open. I am guilty of being one of these snobs.

Few things are more distracting when a movie starts than people who arrive after the show has started and the Alamo Drafthouse is doing something about it. Starting January 3, they’ll be implementing a strict policy that no one will be admitted into a theater once the movie has begun. If you’re running late, you can get your money back or a ticket to another showtime but everyone must arrive on time.

“Bravo,” is my immediate reaction. What’s yours? Read their full blog and comment below. Read More »

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