psycho shower

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or sets their sights on a movie seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: a defense of Gus Van Sant’s misunderstood Psycho remake.)

Marion steps into the motel shower without a hint of hesitation. She adjusts the hot and cold valves until they’re just right. The water streams out of the shower head, and she lets it wash over her, rinsing away her poor past decisions in the process. This shower is a cleansing not just of body but of spirit. She can feel the wrong-headed choices that brought her here, to this nondescript motel nestled in the middle of nowhere, circling down the drain. Marion, so enamored in her baptism-by-shower, fails to notice the shadow darkening the shower curtain; the shadow of an individual raising a long, sharp object in their hand.

We’ve seen this scene before. We know almost every frame and angle of it in our collection consciousness, even if we’ve somehow managed to avoid seeing the film the scene is from. But there’s something different about it this time. This time, it’s in living color. And the blood that’s about to splatter the shower tiles will be bright red instead of a dark brown rendered in black and white. Because this is not Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. This is Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, the 1998 shot-for-shot remake that lead critics and audiences to respond with a resounding, “Why?”

And it’s a film worth revisiting.

Read More »

The Sea of Trees

Back in June, news broke that A24 is releasing Gus Van Sant‘s The Sea of Trees. The drama, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival over a year ago, was initially acquired by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. After sitting on the shelf for a while, for whatever reason, A24 stepped in to distribute the film. The eclectic director behind My Own Private IdahoGood Will Hunting, and To Die For explores Japan’s Aokigahara forest with his newest picture, which stars Matthew McConaugheyKen Watanabe, and Naomi Watts.

Below, watch The Sea of Trees trailer.

Read More »

Sea of Trees

Days before Gus Van Sant‘s newest film The Sea of Trees premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate acquired the drama. 13 months after the acquisition, and after the film has already been released in a few foreign territories, it’s still without a domestic release date. But we may finally see Van Sant’s latest this summer, courtesy of A24.

Below, learn more about The Sea of Trees distributor.

Read More »

sea of trees trailer

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a film from director Gus Van Sant. His last feature, Promised Land, was a charming and thoughtful drama, but it didn’t quite strike a chord with audiences. Van Sant’s next film, The Sea of Trees, promises to be even more divisive.

While Roadside Attractions has yet to set a release date for the film, the drama will soon debut in several territories overseas. Below, watch a new international trailer for The Sea of Trees.

Read More »

sea of trees

Gus Van Sant‘s Sea of Trees premiered almost a year ago at the Cannes Film Festival. The drama, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe, wasn’t particularly well received. Booing from critics was reported, but you can’t really take booing, especially at the Cannes Film Festival, seriously. Plus, what kind of an adult really feels the need to boo after a movie?

Roadside Attractions picked up Sea of Trees for U.S. distribution, but a release date has yet to be set. The film is opening in Japan soon, though, so a foreign Sea of Trees trailer has just been made available.

Read More »

Gus Van Sant Death Note

Some time ago, we got word that Shane Black would be directing an English-language adaptation of the Japanese manga Death Note. Since then, though, we haven’t heard much about the project at all. So we were disappointed but not terribly surprised to hear that he’s no longer set to helm.

Instead, according to a new report, Gus Van Sant will be taking over the reins. Seems like an interesting combination, if nothing else. Hit the jump for more details.

Read More »

psychos-1

Steven Soderbergh’s site Extension 765 hosts a handful of items for sale, from photos to shirts and other ephemera. Occasionally Soderbergh will also deliver some other unusual items, and today’s post is a video called Psychos, which cuts together footage from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and Gus Van Sant’s much-maligned remake. Read More »

true_detective_matthew_mcconaughey

Briefly: The past couple years have seen Matthew McCaonaughey evolve into a barometer of quality — in short, if the guy’s in a movie (or TV show) you should probably see it. His True Detective is owning HBO right now, and he’ll appear in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar later this year.

Now McConaughey is part of another new project: Gus Van Sant’s new film Sea of Trees. The story was scripted by Chris Sparling, and sounds a bit like a Haruki Murakami novel. The plot sees one man (McConaughey) planning to kill himself in the forest at the base of Mount Fuji. There, in the “sea of trees,” he finds another man (Ken Watanabe) who has been contemplating his own suicide. The two men “begin a journey of reflection and survival.”  [The Wrap]

 

Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments

Bible-based projects are hotter than ever. This year alone, we’ll see Ridley Scott’s Exodus, Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, and the Jesus tale Son of God. But while most are taking the familiar form of an historical epic, WGN America is going a different way with their religiously inspired new miniseries.

Produced by The Weinstein Co., 10 Commandments will consist of ten episodes, each of which will focus on a different commandment. Different is the key word here. Each installment will be helmed by a different director, with Gus Van Sant, Lee Daniels, Jim Sheridan, Wes Craven, and Michael Cera among those attached right now. (Yes, that Michael Cera.) Hit the jump for more details on the project.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

There aren’t a whole lot of women working as feature animation directors, but now Disney is giving a leg up to someone new. Jennifer Lee, who was a co-writer on Wreck-It Ralph, has also worked on the script for the upcoming Disney animated feature Frozen, which will feature the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel in a take on the old tale The Snow Queen.

Now Lee has been named as co-director of Frozen, alongside Chris Buck (Tarzan director, Surf’s Up co-director).

After the break, get the plot recap of Frozen, and read about how Gus Van Sant is writing a strange superhero movie, and The Disappearance of Alice Creed director is going post-apocalyptic. Read More »