The poster art for Sororal is almost ready to be unleashed into the world. The poster is designed by the very talented Matt O’Neill the mastermind behind It’s only a t-shirt. Matt is a passionate horror fan and an emerging poster artist and illustrator and I am delighted to have him interpret Sororal in his trademark style. Our film is in fine company in Matt’s oeuvre as he has done official designs for Wolf Creek, Patrick, Turkey Shoot and even Maniac Cop! Illustrated posters are very special art form and can capture something intangible and exciting in a single image. I am a firm believer that the key artwork for a film should be a work of art not simply the ever popular ‘cascading heads’ nonsense that never seem to go out of fashion. A great illustrated poster can send the mind reeling into another world, it can inflame the senses and even delight the intellect. Matt’s design for Sororal does all of this and more and I can assure that it will be worth the wait. Watch this space for the finished piece.
We’re still putting the finishing touches on my latest feature thriller Sororal but here is a NEW teaser trailer that should wet your whistle. The teaser features our first glimpse of Cassie, the film’s tortured heroine. Getting close now…promise.
Lukas Moodysson‘s Fucking Amål is a shining light of the cinema. It is one hour and twenty five minutes of pure joy that I would easily place among Singin’ in the Rain, The Shop Around the Corner and Chungking Express for its ability to melt even the most hard bitten cynic’s dry-ice heart. The film possesses a magic that derives from its simplicity. The direct, honest and taut nature of both the style and the content accomplish something that many films strive for but few attain: purity. The tale is rendered with such purity of feeling that we are powerless to stop it running amok with our tender little hearts.
Moodysson makes this achievement seem so effortless that it would be easy to dismiss the film as slight. To exercise visual restraint and focus on an economy of style, incredible performances and the pursuit of truth (in the face of potentially controversial material) are the towering triumphs of Fucking Amal. The film has what an old creative writing tutor of mine would call “Small window. Big view”. This phrase has manifold meanings but in this case I would argue that Fucking Amål crafts a relatively small world so believable with characters so rich and fully realised that it spectacularly transcends its earthly shackles and becomes a film about love (with a capital L), friendship and courage. It begins as a seemingly light tale of unrequited puppy love captured with the requisite handheld style we cynically associate with European coming of age films and then goes about disarming us faster than Segal in Out for Justice. It becomes a film about huge concepts and grand ideas that grow like thick roots smashing through the small clay pot they were planted in.
Agnes and Elin are as real to me as Rick and Ilsa, Faye and Cop 663, Jack and Nancy, George and Mary and Seth and Veronica. As a viewer, I am completely involved in their story and I ache for them to be united. In my opinion they must take their rightful place in the upper pantheon of screen lovers. The truly great on screen pairings move us in such a way that we are almost organically linked their successes, failures, joys and sorrows. After all, that’s what this whole thing is about isn’t it?
Note – Avoid the American trailer of this film at all costs. It cheapens the material considerably, as does the confounding retitling of the film to Show Me Love in America. This purposefully inoffensive set of words refers to a jaunty, enjoyable and long forgotten track that appears in the film.
Crimes and Misdemeanors is easily one of Woody Allen‘s finest achievements. I’ll go further and say that I think it is his finest film. I recently viewed every single one of his films again, a task which was truly mammoth considering his famously prolific output. The journey though his work yielded some fascinating insights. I am now convinced that Crimes and Misdemeanors possesses something truly special. It is a paragon of the powerful capability of and marvelous flexibility of the cinema. It contains the full gamut of human emotions. As a viewer you experience joy, anger, despair, fear, horror, hope, sadness, wonder and a little anxiety. All this and the film is hilarious to boot. The film gracefully oscillates between the two seemingly unrelated but equally captivating plot lines and leads us to an unexpected conclusion that showcases Woody Allen’s peerless artistic integrity and refusal to follow Hollywood conventions.
So what do I think puts this film above Manhattan, Annie Hall, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Stardust Memories and Match Point? Intellectual explanations won’t really help illuminate the reasons. All I can be sure of is that the film feels truly satisfying and complete, almost perfect. A feat for a film that by traditional writing standards avoids conclusion and resolution altogether and instead forces us to examine the inescapable realities of the world we live in. Crimes and Misdemeanors shows us that chaos is the default state of the universe. The film shows that good intentions mean nothing, that love is not fair nor true and that the only punishment is the one inflicted upon ourselves by the god of our choosing.
What I have attempted to illustrate in my Movies in Frames piece is how Woody Allen masterfully fuses Judah and Cliff’s stories together using films. This simple device serves to show us Cliff’s warm relationship with his niece and to offer counterpoint and comment to Judah’s murder thread. He visually reminds us of how Hollywood has traditionally dealt with murder and its consequences. He successfully uses 80 years of Hollywood conventions against us because even after showing us that murder is a much more complex beast than we thought, we still expect Judah to be duly punished for his ‘crimes’.
I can’t wait to see the film again. I leave you with the great Alan Alda!
I’ve started a new screenplay. Often, once a film is completed I have very little recollection of how the project began. I thought I would share these images as an insight into how things begin for me. The exact moment of genesis eludes me but I do know that I spent an evening scribbling madly into the night. It was one of those inspiration fueled sessions where your hand moves as if possessed, pure and exciting. Then comes the sobering reality where you must confront your work in the harsh light of day. This is where you list all the better artists in the world and how you are not even worthy to clean out their ashtrays. Then you remember that William Goldman said “Nobody knows anything”. The recollection of this great equaliser forces you to lower the .38 snub nosed revolver you’ve held, white knuckled to your temple and consider that maybe your little story has just as much right to exist as Tarkovsky’s The Mirror.
My idea seems to have passed the test and appeased both the passionate and open minded daemon and the scumbag self loathing cynic within me. When these two sides agree on something, then the project is allowed to continue. I am forbidden to consult anyone about the project until first draft stage as their well meaning advice will either fuel one side’s arguments or the other and this could derail the whole project. So apart from all the anxiety, existential terror and paralysing fear…I’d say it’s going quite well.
I’ll leave you with this video from Ze Frank. It’s all about beginnings. It’s time to start this shit up.
I’m on a bit of a Movies in Frames blitz. This one is from Abel Ferrara’s Ms. 45. Track it down if you are a fan of rape-revenge films. It would serve as a fine B side to Thriller by Bo Arne Vibenius. Maybe you could serve a bit of I Spit on Your Grave for dessert? Ms 45. is probably the lesser of this group of films in terms of execution and effectiveness (all due respect to Mr Ferrara!). Thriller is a near masterwork that somehow achieves a strange existential quality at its pinnacle. It rises above its sleazy beginnings and transforms into a beautiful and spare celebration of both the cleansing fire of vengeance and the white hot fury of woman’s scorn. I Spit On Your Grave is a fantastic film that arguably spends too much time with the rape and too little time on the revenge. The deaths of the perpetrators are certainly enjoyable to watch but I am left a little hollow at the close of the film. Perhaps I Spit seems to be commenting on the fleeting nature of revenge. We stay with our triumphant hero after the final death and are forced to contemplate the future as she silently rides away on a boat, stoic yet irreparably damaged. Ms. 45 certainly is an enjoyable gem and the showdown scene at the dress up party is haunting and magnificent. It is operatic, strangely beautiful and filled with overt symbolism. It is an odd film overall but it certainly has its place in the revenge rampage canon.
Here’s my Movies in Frames submission for Red Dawn. On my last viewing of the film, I was struck by the unwavering intensity of the performances. The determination and commitment of the young cast is what makes the Wolverines seem utterly convincing. I feel their loss and am saddened as they fall. It is an odd sensation, feeling a sense of patriotism for a country I’ve only been to once. My love for American cinema has instilled me with a kind of phantom patriotism, a vicarious love of all things red, white and blue.
Here’s my latest submission for the magnificent Movies in Frames. For those of you who don’t know, Movies in Frames is a Tumblr blog with simple rules: 1 film, 4 frames. It’s a delightful site that encourages discussion and expression about films through imagery. Check it out and then contribute your own.
Good question! In order to answer this I’ve created a Squidoo lens called ‘All you need to know about giallo’. My hope is that it will shed some light on this weird and wonderful sub genre of Italian horror films and serve as an introduction to the uninitiated. There’s lots of pics and video so don’t be daunted. Click the image to take the leap.