Think back to your time in elementary school. Think about that one kid in your class who snorted Pixie Stix, constantly drank way too much soda, ran circles around everyone else at recess, and maybe even inspired some awe at his seemingly boundless amounts of energy. That kid’s actions were always so far removed from the traditional behavior of you and your peers that he may as well have been an alien, dropped into your school as some sort of bizarre social experiment.
If that kid were a movie, he’d be Prisoners of the Ghostland, filmmaker Sion Sono‘s unhinged new genre mashup which combines elements of classic westerns, samurai movies, John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle, George Miller’s Mad Max, and more. This spastic burst of cinematic energy is the type of film that gleefully embraces the knowledge that it will gain absolutely zero traction outside the midnight movie crowd. But while there are a couple of Nicolas Cage freakout scenes, the rest of Prisoners of the Ghostland may end up being a little too cryptic for casual genre fans looking to kick back and have a good time.
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Prisoners of the Ghostland, the latest from filmmaker Sion Sono, is headed to this year’s Sundance Film Festival in a few days – and now it’s found distribution, too. RLJE Films has snapped-up the US rights to the movie, which stars human meme Nicolas Cage as a bank robber. When the project was first announced, Cage himself said: “It might be the wildest movie I’ve ever made, and that’s saying something.” RLJE has distributed recent Cage titles like Mandy and Color Out of Space.
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Nicolas Cage recently described his upcoming film Prisoners of the Ghostland as the “wildest movie” he’s ever made, and that’s saying something. The film teams him with legendary Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono, director of Why Don’t You Play in Hell? and Suicide Club. Now we have two updates on the project, one good, one bad.
First, the good: Green Room‘s Imogen Poots is joining the cast. Now the bad news: Sion Sono has apparently suffered a heart attack. But reports indicate he’s doing well, and is not in any critical danger. So I guess that’s good news after all.
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Nicolas Cage has developed a reputation as a bit of an eccentric. No matter what movie he appears in, audiences look forward to seeing the actor unleash some of his patented Cage Rage, in which he lets loose and goes wild. More often than not, Cage doesn’t disappoint. But we apparently haven’t seen anything yet. According to Cage himself, his next movie – Prisoners of the Ghostland – might be his most wild movie yet. The film will team Cage with Sion Sono, the Japanese director behind Why Don’t You Play in Hell?
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Tokyo Vampire Hotel is a 142-minute bloodsucker royal rumble – cut down from roughly 390 minutes of Amazon’s original Japanese series – almost entirely located inside an almighty princess’ “nether region.” Are you tuning out after that sentence? Don’t. Writer and director Sion Sono’s (kinda) got this. The man behind Why Don’t You Play In Hell?, Cold Fish and Tokyo Tribe (to name only a few) knows his way around extended runtimes and maximum discombobulation. The weirder, grander, and zanier, the better suited to Sono’s methodologies (Tokyo Vampire Hotel is no different). Prepare yourself for warfare carnage sticky enough to make Blade blush. Mr. Sono, are there no boundaries you’d consider setting ablaze? Read More »
Why Don’t You Play in Hell is the biggest, weirdest, most joyous ode to genre moviemaking you’ll see this year. Sion Sono created this film as a blend of hyper-violent gangster pictures, coming of age stories, and romantic comedy. It follows a group of amateur filmmakers who call themselves the Fuck Bombers as they encounter the most unusual yakuza clan battle you’ve ever seen. As the filmmaking gets get in the middle, they find themselves with the opportunity to film the gangsters in action — and on 35mm, no less.
The film opens today and to celebrate we’ve got an exclusive Why Don’t You Play in Hell clip, featuring a scene that really needs no setup or explanation. There’s also the red-band trailer, which will explain a bit more of the story, inasmuch as there’s any way to explain it. Read More »
It’s easy enough to describe the story in Sion Sono‘s Why Don’t You Play in Hell — a skin-of-the-teeth filmmaking group calling itself the Fuck Bombers gets involved in a yakuza rivalry, and is given the opportunity to make the ultimate gangster movie by filming the collision between two gangs. But it is almost impossible to describe the total whackadoo spirit of the film, in which nothing seems out of bounds, and in which Sono never casts aside an idea as too difficult or out there. The Why Don’t You Play in Hell trailer only starts to get across just how fervent, energetic and entertainingly indulgent this movie can be, but it’s a good start. Read More »
The horror anthology V/H/S did well enough that a sequel went into production pretty fast, and you can already see the red-band trailer for V/H/S/2 from Magnet. Now another Magnet-released anthology, The ABCs of Death, is also going to be followed by a sequel.
The hook for The ABCs of Death was that the film featured 25 directors (and a 26th crowd-sourced entry) making short films based around a single letter. The sequel will take the same approach, and as with the first film the hook isn’t the concept, but the people bringing it to life. The new crew includes animator Bill Plympton, Day of the Beast and The Last Circus director Álex de la Iglesia, and Room 237 director Rodney Ascher. More participants in the gruesome sequel are listed below. Read More »
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Love Exposure is a four-hour Japanese film about upskirt photography. There’s obviously much more to it than that but, if you want to get people curious about the film, that sentence works. Originally released in 2009, writer/director Sion Sono‘s film was originally close to six hours but eventually he had to trim down to release his epic version of a simple story: troubled boy falls for the wrong girl.
Though it was very successful on the festival circuit, Love Exposure didn’t see a U.S. release until late 2011 and even then, it was quite small. Still, the film was almost universally praised as a masterpiece and will finally enjoy a worthy Blu-ray release August 6. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Hot on the heels of the release of a massive batch of films that will appear in the Toronto Film Festival, we’ve got the main lineup for the 68th Venice Film Festival, which runs from August 31 to September 10.
We knew that George Clooney‘s The Ides of March would open the fest (the trailer premiered last night and you can see it here) and this list confirms quite a few films that we imagined would be playing Venice. Our very much anticipated spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson is on the list, as is Roman Polanski‘s tense closed-room drama Carnage, starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz. And there is Alps, the second film from polarizing Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose film Dogtooth shocked, entertained and angered festival audiences in 2009.
The full list is after the break. Read More »