How much brutality can you take from a movie? How much is too much? How many scenes of pain, suffering and bloodletting can you stand before you throw up your hands and cry uncle? With The Nightingale, her follow-up to the horror hit The Babadook, director Jennifer Kent seems to posing those direct questions to the audience. The filmmaker knows that we, as a species, have a thirst for violence. But that thirst has its limits. Kent wants to push beyond those limits, and then keep going. And then go further. And then ask, “Isn’t this what you wanted? Why so squeamish now?” As an experiment, it’s fascinating. As a film, it’s almost too much to stand.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 by Jacob Hall
Jennifer Kent broke onto the scene in 2014 with The Babadook, a movie that managed to be a thoughtful examination of motherhood, grief, and mental illness while also being a movie about a terrifying top-hatted monster who lives in a children’s book and haunts an unsuspecting family. Five years later, she’s finally back with a new movie and she’s talking about another project, one that would unite her with The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro.
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The Nightingale, the latest film from The Babadook director Jennifer Kent, had its debut at the Venice Film Festival in September of 2018, and then promptly vanished. The hype and buzz that surrounded Babadook didn’t seem to be swirling around The Nightingale as much, and many of us wondered when we’d finally get to see the movie. Now we know, thanks to IFC Films. IFC, who also distributed The Babadook, have snapped up the U.S. rights to the film, and plan to release it in summer 2019. The film is set in 1825, and follows a woman chasing a man through the Tasmanian wilderness on a quest for revenge.
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Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 by Angie Han
It looks like Captain Marvel is preparing to take some big leaps forward. Yesterday Brie Larson emerged as the frontrunner for the title role, and now we have word on which filmmakers could take charge behind the scenes. While Marvel has yet to announce anything official, a new report says Niki Caro (Whale Rider) and Jennifer Kent (The Babadook) are among the directors being eyed for the gig. Read More »
Posted on Monday, February 22nd, 2016 by Angie Han
It’s no secret that filmmaking tends to be a boys’ club. Just today, USC released a study of 109 movies put out by major studios in 2014; just 3.4% of movie directors represented were female. But it’s a mistake to overlook or ignore the major contributions women have made to the medium, as evidenced by this elegant video essay of the best female-directed films of all time. The titles were pulled from a survey of 50 critics, and they all sorts of genres and topics across seven decades. Watch “The 20 Greatest Films by Women Directors” after the jump.
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Posted on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 by Angie Han
We’ve been waiting on pins and needles to see how Jennifer Kent would follow up her masterful first feature The Babadook, and now we have our answer. Kent will write and direct Alice + Freda Forever, an adaptation of the non-fiction book by Alexis Coe.
The story centers around late 19th century romance between two teenage girls, which turns tragic and ends with one of them on trial for murder. More details on the Jennifer Kent Alice and Freda movie after the jump. Read More »
The horror genre thrives on sequels. The instant a filmmaker creates some kind of interesting, iconic villain or scenario, it is pillaged and marketed into oblivion. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s just the way it goes. Sequels print money. Often, too, they happen because the filmmaker is new to the game and signs away any rights just to get their first film into theaters.
Both of those scenarios would’ve made sense with Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook. The terrifying, super-smart horror film is currently in theaters and on demand and it not only has a wonderful, creative hook and villain, it’s by a first time director. Those two facts make it seem like a sequel would be likely. However, Kent has definitely said there will never be a Babadook 2. Read why below. Read More »
(Note: this review originally ran in January during the Sundance Film Festival; we’ve republished it now as the film opens in theaters and on VOD this weekend.)
The Babadook is one of the best horror movies in years, a vigorous and hellishly intense story about a family on the edge of sanity. This isn’t a gore showcase, but a wild emotional roller coaster. (If you need a tonal touchstone, look to Polanski films such as Repulsion and The Tenant.) There is a monster of sorts, but the movie would almost be just fine without him — the actors put each other through fire and pain, and writer/director Jennifer Kent drops us right in there with them. Read More »
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The Babadook is good enough that, after nine months of Sundance audiences (like me) flapping their gums about it’s virtues, Fantastic Fest audiences saw through any hype and responded enthusiastically to the film in multiple screenings over the past week. It’s good enough that, even with the debut of other impressive horror pictures (such as festival entries Cub, It Follows, and Shrew’s Nest — especially Shrew’s Nest) The Babadook still rings as the top horror film of 2014 so far. And now we’ve got the first Babadook US trailer. Read More »