This year marks the 20th anniversary of Donnie Darko. Although not a box-office success, it didn’t take long for the cult film and director Richard Kelly to find a devoted audience. The filmmaker struck a strong chord with his debut, which had an obsessive quality about it. That overwhelming sense of obsession continued to run deep in Kelly’s movies, including Southland Tales and The Box.

They’re typically dense pieces of work demanding discussion and repeat viewings. Even with only three directorial efforts, we have a strong sense of who Kelly is – an always ambitious and polarizing storyteller. He never goes down the middle of the road, which has led to long waits between each of his movies. It’s been almost 12 years since we saw the director’s last film, The Box, which was a loose adaptation of a Richard Matheson short story. In that time, Kelly has been writing like mad and trying to push rocks up a hill.

Recently, Kelly told us about the projects he’s been developing and his unconventional career.

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Southland Tales prequel

Southland Tales debuted almost 15 years ago at the Cannes Film festival. All of these years later, love it or hate it, the Richard Kelly film remains something movie fans keep talking about. The conversation around the ambitious science fiction film continues as Arrow Films has released a limited edition Blu-Ray, including the infamous “Cannes cut,” which runs longer than the theatrical version. This version remains unfinished, without all the effects work complete, but nonetheless, Kelly’s pop culture-infused surrealist epic gets more breathing room. It’s fuller yet more relaxed compared to the theatrical cut.

Over the past few years, the lunacy and nightmarish imagery of Southland Tales came to mind more than once or twice. We spoke to Kelly about the movie’s mirror of the world, his Cannes experience, and his plans for future stories in the Southland Tales universe.

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New Blu-ray Releases Southland Tales

The time has come again for me to bring you the good word about the latest Blu-ray releases. As usual, I’m focused on physical media here – but you can always choose to check things out digitally and pretend you’re Johnny Mnemonic. Whatever floats your boat! This week’s Blu-ray round-up includes the pseudo-documentary Rolling Thunder Revue, the cult classic Southland Tales, Mel Gibson as Santa Claus in Fatman, and a new 4K release of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness

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Richard Kelly is busy revisiting his Southland Tales world at the moment. In the new year, fans of the cult sci-fi movie will finally see the infamous Cannes cut, which heavily re-edited following its debut. But a few years after that film, Kelly’s sophomore effort after Donnie Darko, he attempted to make his most commercial movie with The Box. Now, over a decade after The Box‘s release, Kelly is still interested in releasing a Director’s Cut of his third film.

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Southland Tales prequel

In 2006, Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly premiered his second feature film, Southland Tales, at the Cannes Film Festival. The audience did not react warmly to his hugely ambitious movie, and the film was drastically re-cut before hitting theaters in late 2007, when it failed to make much of an impact. But among film fanatics, the movie has been a much-argued-about talking point for more than a decade.

Kelly has only directed one other movie since then (2009’s The Box), but he recently revealed that he and his team have completed a 4K restoration of the infamous Cannes cut of Southland Tales, and that he still intends to direct a Southland Tales prequel which features both animation and live-action. Read his latest update below. Read More »

Richard Kelly recently appeared at Kevin Smith’s Smodcastle in Hollywood California to present a screening of Southland Tales. Before the screening, Smith recorded a one and a half hour conversation with Kelly which begins with his childhood and spans his filmmaking career. It’s a very interesting conversation and definitely worth checking out (you can listen to it online here). One of the interesting takeaways from the conversation was the mention that Kelly still hopes to someday direct a movie adaptation of the Southland Tales prequel comic books. Actually, he’s already written it — twice!

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Sarah Michelle Gellar in Southland Tales

I must pick up the Southland Tales soundtrack. It contains more than a few great tunes, much in line with director Richard Kelly’s debut film Donnie Darko. The soundtrack also includes character Krysta Now’s first single “Teen Horniness is Not a Crime”, a satirical take on the bubble gum pop songs of Britney Spears era. In the movie, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays porn star Krysta Now, who also hosts a “View”-like talk show, her own energy drink, and an upcoming pop music career.

And you can now listen to the song in MP3 format over on Zeon’s Music blog. The lyrics are available after the jump.

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Interview with Richard Kelly

Richard Kelly

A couple weeks ago, we had the opportunity to sit down with Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly and talk about his newest film Southland Tales.

I know, I know, we’re a little late in posting this interview, as the film was released in limited theaters this past week. But as much as this is the type of movie that you must see multiple times to understand, this interview should probably only be read or listened to after you have seen the film, or it likely won’t make complete sense. I have posted the audio file from the roundtable interview below, and you can read the transcript after the jump.

[audio:http://media2.slashfilm.com/slashfilm/audio/southlandtalesrichardkelly.mp3]

Question:  I understand this movie completely. Why do people have such a hard time understanding your work?

Richard Kelly:
  I don’t know. Did you guys get a graphic novel? Do we have one with us? Have you guys seen it? The graphic novel prequel book… I was holding it as a prop for the TV [interviews] on camera so people would understand there was a prequel graphic novel. I was making sure it got on camera.

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New Release Dates: Son of Rambow and Southland Tales

Son of Rambow

I’ve said before that Son of Rambow is one of the best movies of the year (read my review here). I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately about a bunch of movies, but as the year winds down, you start to gain perspective over the previous year. But to be honest with you, Son of Rambow isn’t actually one of the best films of 2007.

Yes, I lied.

It’s actually one of the best movies of 2008. Paramount Vantage has finally announced a release date for this film which took Sundance by storm. Yes, it first premiered in January 2007 (I don’t know what took so long). Son of Rambow will hit theaters on May 2nd 2008.

And a bit of bad news: Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales has been pushed back yet again. The good news is that it was only moved back a few days. The film will now hit theaters on Wednesday, November 14th (delayed from November 9th) in New York and LA. And the film will expand to more cities on November 16th.

“Yet another delay… but they felt this was a strategic move that would help the film,” Kelly wrote on his blog. “But for those of you who want to see the film earlier there will be many advance previews scheduled for select cities and universities (Harvard, Columbia and USC screenings are being set for late October/early November).”

We’ll keep you updated.

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Southland Tales UK Movie Poster

Southland Tales UK Poster

And I thought the US movie poster for Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales was pretty bad, now check out the UK one-sheet. I showed it to one of my friends who knew nothing about the movie. She was confused and asked me why Seann William Scott is pictured twice. The answer is that he plays twin brothers. But it’s confusing to the unknowing audience. And not to mention, it’s ugly. But maybe this is the type of poster that you have to look at a few times to understand, much like the movie…

source: Empire