Summer is fast approaching and Harmony Korine—the polarizing Nashville-based filmmaker irresponsible for directing Gummo and scribing Kids—has returned to combat the season’s flabbier atrocities. For everyone’s information, Korine believes his latest movie, Trash Humpers, should not be referred to in the press or elsewhere as “a movie” or “a film.” I think I see his point. I mean, after all Humpers doesn’t contain a shirtless Vince Vaughn tripping over models in Ibiza or Egyptian robot rockets penetrating a CGI brick wall that turns into sand. But since the not-a-movie is receiving a theatrical release this summer, I asked him to elaborate. Korine said Humpers might as well be projected into a toilet bowl or mailed anonymously to a closeted politician. And then he said something profound about granny’s undergarments and snickered like an asthmatic hick with dementia.

It’s the same asthmatic snicker heard in Trash Humpers, a sound horrifying enough to make “a grown man jump from a ledge,” as Korine comments below. Directed and edited to approximate a found VHS from hell, Humpers stars Korine and pals as three elderly degenerates with poor dermatology and a recreational interest in dumpster fornication and murder. Any semblance to narrative exhibited in his past works, including 2007’s Mister Lonely about a Michael Jackson impersonator, has been blown up like cherry bombed synapses. Humpers is a canvas for Korine’s obsession with disorienting repetition, inbred culture, and dysfunctional imagery. He wants to imprint the viewer’s brain with new moods, however terrible or tedious. And Humpers seems meant to occasionally alienate and punish the viewer, not for preferring popcorn to art or vice versa, but for believing there’s sense in making sense of anything.

Hunter Stephenson: Have you visited your tax man?

Harmony Korine: Have I what? Did I visit the tax man?

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UPDATE: According to a publicist who represents the producers and emailed me regarding the rumor.: “No – we have a slow 35 city roll out.” So, it appears many people beyond NY/LA will have a chance to dance in the moonlight with a cracked out Nicolas Cage.

It’s hard both to deny and describe the crazy cinematic potion that has flowed off the marketing materials and clips for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans thus far. I cannot align these entertaining yet toxic vibes with another recent film, and many critics who see it—and like it—seem to share the task. It’s as if the voodoo weirdness that floats throughout pockets of the troubled region seeped into the dailies and into the gainfully employed skin of star Nicolas Cage. Much of this can be chalked off to the film’s publicized equation of iguana hallucinations, wild-man director Werner Herzog, and crack rocks, the math of which has stirred up semi-ironic anticipation for the film within movie culture. Unfortunately, it may be that a wide theatrical release for this anomaly is no longer happening; First Look Pictures, the film’s U.S. distributor looks to rush the film to DVD/Blu-ray for a February 2010 release.

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If you’re interested in either of the two insane pieces of cinema Werner Herzog completed this year, you’ve probably seen the crudely cut, sales-type trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans that surfaced earlier this year. Now there’s a real, ‘meant for audiences’ trailer and, until the last few seconds when the iguanas and ‘dancing soul’ stuff hits, it almost looks…sane. Almost. Check it out after the break. Read More »


A lot of people go to film school to do sissy things like ‘network’ and ‘make contacts’. Werner Herzog laughs at you. While you’re making a film about the evolution of your bedroom, Herzog is going to be teaching the real filmmaking skills of a master to small groups of hand-picked students. What will you learn from the guy who directed Aguirre, Grizzly Man and the new Bad Lieutenant? Important stuff, not like how to shoot (film), but what it’s like to be shot at. With bullets. Read More »


Possibly the best thing about Werner Herzog doing his own Bad Lieutenant film (which got a poster today) is the fireworks that have erupted between he and Abel Ferrara, who directed the Harvey Keitel-starring film that Herzog hasn’t remade. Both directors are at the Venice Film Festival this week, where it wasn’t beyond possible that some sort of confrontation, or at least conversation would take place. (Ferrara once suggested Herzog and his cast should die in hell, and Herzog responded “Wonderful, yes! Let him fight…I have no idea who Abel Ferrara is.”)

There may not be a director alive who is as open to confrontation as Herzog, but who is also open to reconciliation. (This is the guy who pledged to eat his shoe if Errol Morris made a movie, and then did, on stage.) Now the Guardian reports that Herzog said at Venice that the two “should meet up soon over a bottle of whisky,” which is kind, but also less explosive than I was hoping for.

And, wait, what’s this noise about iguanas? Is this also Herzog’s mini-budget Godzilla homage? Potentially spoilerish details after the jump. Read More »


Earlier this month, we noted in surprise, as did a number of peers on the web, the sudden announcement of a new film from Harmony Korine, the semi-reclusive director of Mister Lonely. Aforementioned surprise arose because the project, entitled Trash Humpers, was already completed, said to be a 78-min feature, and set to premiere at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival. The TIFF has released further details alongside the first photos from Humpers. As seen below, the set pics are John Waters-esque and moderately NSFW. And personally, I find they recall ancient nightmares of Zeke the Plumber on Salute Your Shorts.
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We’ve been wondering when the hell we’d actually get to see Bad Lieutenant, the non-remake of Abel Ferrara’s film directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage (click here to see the Bad Lieutenant trailer). Now the Toronto International Film Festival has announced that the film will screen as part of the ‘Special Presentations’ slate. No huge surprise, as Herzog is frequently represented at TIFF (he was last there with Encounters at the End of the World in ’07) but since Bad Lieutenant has seemed to languish without distributor interest this is a good sign. Other great filmmakers were also announced for the fest; get details of the Coen Brothers and Michael Moore appearances after the jump. Read More »

Bad Lieutenant Movie Trailer

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

A new trailer for Werner Herzog‘s (Grizzly Man) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans has found its way online. The film is a quasi-remake of Abel Ferrara’s infamous 1992 film, which starred Harvey Keitel. The new film stars Nicolas Cage as a crooked drug-addicted cop who takes sexual favors for bribes. The film co-stars Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Coolidge and Fairuza Balk.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. The trailer doesn’t impress me in the slightest, but I’ll see any movie Herzog makes. Why did Herzog want to make this movie? He claims hes never seen the original. The remake isn’t even a remake. Herzog himself calls it “a completely independent autonomous story.” Watch the trailer after the jump, and leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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I first read about David Lynch and Werner Herzog’s upcoming collaboration at the time of last year’s Cannes festival, before Herzog had even commenced filming on his upcoming Bad Lieutenant do-over. Back then, all that was known was the basic premise: a man believes himself in a Sophocles play and, accordingly, slaughters his mother with a sword. Scenes of the murder will be mixed into the plot line as flashbacks and we’ll get to know the killer very well indeed. I’m assuming the play is Electra, but I may be wrong.

It was also assumed then that Lynch would be the director; now it has been announced that Werner Herzog will be the man in charge. Indeed, Lynch’s role is a rather minor producing engagement. Further to this, we know who is lining up for roles and for the most part, it’s just the crew you might expect.

Michael Shannon, Udo Kier, Grace Zabriskie, Willem Defoe and Chloe Sevigny all have roles, Shannon presumably as the son and Zabriskie as the mother. Screen Daily carry the announcement – most of the names they name are newly associated to the project.

Shannon has been nominated for an Oscar this year for his supporting role in Revolutionary Road. There’s nothing really wrong with his performance but I can’t throw my weight behind the accolade. It isn’t his fault, but his role is so ill-conceived, mechanical and unresolved – he’s just a walking cliche there to “illuminate truths” and facilitate the plot, slightly (my quote marks crucial, because the part is neither illuminating, nor are these truths anything more than observations the audience is more than capable of making by themselves).

Shannon has made something of a speciality out of playing the mentally troubled/troubling, with Bug, Revolutionary Road and now this. His more “sane” roles have garnered far less attention, so maybe it’s less external typecasting than a short-term careerist move? Let’s see what he starts lining up in the future.

Shannon also apparently worked with Herzog on the recently-completed Bad Lieutenant film, though for some reason the imdb don’t seem to know this.

Filming on My Son is due to kick off in March, in the Coronado Island region of California though some filming is also due to take place in Peru.

Herzog attests to his interest by saying “I always wanted to make a horror film, but not with bloody axes and chain-saws. An anonymous fear should rather creep up at you.” I think Herzog has made at least two horror films in the past: his remake of Nosferatu, most obviously; Even Dwarves Started Small more controversially.

There’s nothing anonymous about the son, so I suppose this fear Herzog references is elsewhere contained in the film – in the creeping madness that overtakes him perhaps.

With My Son alongside Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Defoe sure has a nice little pair of off-mainstream horror films coming; and with the Spierig Brothers’ Daybreakers, a hopefully just as nice, in the mainstream one too.