Wednesday, October 31, 2012


(Author's Note: Happy Halloween! Enjoy this special issue for such an occasion and enjoy perusing the rest of The Film Tome via the newly-updated navigation bar above. Thanks for your readership!)


This Week
  • The Bay* / 81%
  • The Details* / 40%
  • Flight / 83%
  • Jack and Diane* 0%
  • A Late Quartet* / 83%
  • The Man with the Iron Fists
  • This Must Be the Place / 75%
  • Wreck-It Ralph / 85%

Last Week
  • Chasing Mavericks / 33%
  • Cloud Atlas / 63%
  • Fun Size / 27%
  • The Loneliest Planet* / 76%
  • Pusher* / 53%
  • The Revisionaries* / 91%
  • Silent Hill: Revelation 3D / 6%
  • Sleep Tight* / 88%

* = limited release


  • The Campaign / 67%
  • First Position / 96%
  • Polisse / 88%
  • Rosemary's Baby CC / 98%
  • Ruby Sparks / 79%
  • Safety Not Guaranteed / 94%

CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *


Here are the top 10 horror films of all-time according to IMDb

William Friedkin (director of "The Exorcist" and this year's "Killer Joe") shares his top 10 Criterion films.

Think Christian shares "Five Horror Films Christians Should See."

Here are "10 Netflix Horror Documentaries You Must See!"

What Culture lists "20 Weird and Wonderful Performances as the Devil,"

"10 Obscure Horror Films,"

and "The Top 10 Horror Films of the 21st Century."

Are these "The 25 Most Disturbing Scenes in Horror"? What are yours? (Source: IGN)

Hitfix shares "10 of the Great Horror Movie Sequels." I bet you didn't know there were even ten good ones...

* * *

* * *


Here's something truly scary, October's worst films deemed worthy of Peter Traver's Scum Bucket.

Bloody Disgusting discusses "5 Horror Movies with Horrible Endings."

* * *


Huh. Does Tim Burton hate fat people? Examples from his films courtesy of Film School Rejects.

Seongyong Cho discusses one of the most disgusting horror films of all-time... directed by Peter Jackson!

* * *


In this week's Criticwire survey Matt Singer asked what films his fellows critics are most scared to watch...

 * * *


Criterion Collection has been kind enough to round up their library's "scary movies." has written up "A Beginner's Guide to Italian Horror."

Slate analyses the new and scary uses of found-footage in horror films.

Need a crash course in horror movies? Here are 163 in under 3 minutes!

* * *


How It Should Have Ended takes on "Paranormal Activity."

* * *


I haven't given this short film segment the light of day in sometime, but what better time than now? I've got three for the price of one (free) for you today. All somewhat terrifying and all available online through the grace of the National Film Board of Canada.

"The ErlKing" 
Directed by Ben Zelkowicz

This is a stunning sand-on-glass animation set to music by Franz Shubert about the title character who steals and kills a little boy.

"The Wanderer"
Directed by George Ungar

This one is about a stranger who comes to an unassuming town and transforms into a hellish place. Sort of the opposite of "The Man Who Planted Trees"...

"Land of the Heads"
Directed by Cedric Louis and Claude Barras

And yet another animated short about a vampire stuck in a cycle of violence... because his wife demands he do so.

* * *


Alison Willmore shares the best of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes from "The Simpsons."

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Friday, October 26, 2012


Robert Downey Jr. is back as Tony Stark in "Iron Man 3." This time his adversary is the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley if you'll recall the reports. This CGI-bloated spectacle has the honor to be the first in the series not directed by Jon Favreau, which many will not mind after the middling affair that was "Iron Man 2." Instead Shane Black ("Kiss Kiss Bang Bang") is calling the shots. This looks slated to start the summer blockbuster season early (not unlike this year's "The Avengers," which turned out to be a fantastic idea) on May 3, 2013.

Kimberly Pierce ("Boys Don't Cry") is back in the director's chair with an update on "Carrie," the second adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The first starred Sissy Spacek and was directed by Brian De Palma in 1976. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the title role this time around, that poor girl has played every possibility on the deranged spectrum already in her young life. This is a teaser trailer and we are not seeing a whole lot. A fly-over a burning town all towards the young, scared, dangerous and bloody girl. "Carrie" comes out on March 15, 2013 giving myself and others a chance to catch up with the original.

Jason Statham plays a preacher and then a rich Texan in "Parker," which may be the name of his thief's real identity. After he is double-crossed by his former associates he finds himself teaming up with the lovely Jennifer Lopez he plans his revenge. Statham will no doubt deliver the action, Lopez the "love" interest, and director Taylor Hackford another interesting peg in his career. January 25, 2013.

The second trailer for "Jack Reacher" is just as promising as the first, but more so as we get glimpses of my man Werner Herzog (yes, the German filmmaker!) in the role of the villain. Reacher, a police detective, is searching for a military trained sniper who has killed random civillians. He uses brute force with the best of them, but seeing how civillians aid him in escape is particular interesting. See "Jack Reacher" on December 21st.

"American Scream" is another documentary from the makers of the great "Best Worst Movie." We follow three men who are obsessed with transforming their houses and yards into haunted attractions come Halloween. Such homes (and owners) were always able to attract me. This film is the same way. With this being that very season/holiday and all I was hoping this one would have a wider release, but I am having a hard time getting to it even in L.A. Looks like most of us will have to catch up with it on Netflix Instant someday.

Here it is! The trailer we've awaited ever since the news of its making, "Hitchcock." Anthony Hopkins has simply hidden himself within the title of Alfred Hitchcock (I'm just noticing that they have the same initials...). Now "Psycho" is one of the greatest movies ever made and to make a dramatized movie about how it was made is simply irresistable to a filmmaker like myself. Hellen Mirren plays Mrs. Hitchcock and the two are a delight together. Scarlett Johansson plays his blonde in peril and the recreated scenes (particularly that iconic shower look spot on). I cannot wait to see this one! Out in limited theaters on November 23rd.

Quit stealin' pig milk, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


"Fun Size" in the newest Nickelodeon movie that I for one wouldn't want my tween-aged children going to see. Crude humor that ain't funny is utterly unredeemable. No doubt this will make some of the masses guffaw, but I was not amused. Hot high school girl gets stuck babysitting her baby brother on Halloween night and ends up loosing him early on. Later on the car she seduces a peer to drive her in gets humped by a giant chicken. Oh, and Jonny Knoxville gets punched in the nuts. What's new? Happy Halloween everybody. Well, it will be if you avoid "Fun Size," one of the weekend's new releases.


"The First Time" is about two high school students who have never been skydiving and question each other about it and each wonder whether there's really anything special about the first time they do it. Okay, so it's not about skydiving, it's about sex. I could see this being a very awkward date movie. The film certainly aims to be a comedy though there may be enough sincerity to give the subject matter its due. It's hard to tell... "The First Time" is currently playing is select theaters. 


This week's lasso was a sure thing though "Hitchcock" is noteworthy second. "Holy Motors" has been one of the most buzzed about films of the year since its showing at Cannes and it is finally playing in select theaters (not in L.A. yet unfortunately). The top rated comment on YouTube for this trailer is, "WTF?" I had a similar reaction, but in a mostly impressed manner. I really cannot describe this film and that is what is so exciting about it! You're just going to have to watch this trailer folks... "Holy Motors" is the latest film from French director Leos Carax who I now I have all the more reason to catch up with.

Monday, October 22, 2012


(Author's Note: It has been nearly three weeks since I last published an issue. Being a production assistant on set will do that to you... As we near Halloween that means one thing in cinematic circles: horror films. You will find more and more related content in this week's issue and next. If that's not your cup of tea, no worries, you will still find other content herein. Also, some fellow gamers/writers and I launched a new blog today, These Things We Call Video Games. Enjoy that and enjoy this. Cheers!)


This Week
  • Chasing Mavericks
  • Cloud Atlas / 78%
  • Fun Size
  • The Loneliest Planet* / 75%
  • Pusher* / 65%
  • The Revisionaries*
  • Silent Hill: Revelation 3D
  • Sleep Tight* / 100%

Last Week
  • Alex Cross / 13%
  • Holy Motors* / 91%
  • The First Time* / 40%
  • Nobody Walks* / 33%
  • Paranormal Activity 4 / 27%
  • The Sessions* / 94%
  • Tai Chi Zero* / 57%
  • We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists* / 90%

* = limited release


  • The Invisible War / 100%
  • Magic Mike / 79%
  • Savages /50%
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World / 55%
  • Sunday, Bloody Sunday CC / 91%
  • Take this Waltz / 78%

CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

* * *


Yet another poster for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." Our new fellowship is featured beneath the goblins of the misty mountains. This doesn't have quite the class from the original trilogy, but certainly matches is cast. The iconic characters were the through-line for the trilogy, will it also be this time around?

I know nothing about "The Details," but this poster certainly has a lot of them. It's a mess really, but one that'd make just about anybody stop and stare. Why is Tobey Macquire half raccoon?

This fan-boy-drool-inducing poster has Tony Stark before several sets of armor. Which Iron Man will he be for this fight? The trailer for "Iron Man 3" will also fall later this week!

This second poster for "Hitchcock" shows the supporting cast to Anthony Hopkin's lead performance. We shouldn't forget Hellen Mirren playing Mrs. Hitchcock. They are the only two in true color. This poster is also a mild homage to the the old "Psycho" poster (below).

What an original vision! From the film to the trailer to the poster. Janet Leigh's controversial attire with Anthony Perkins staring on from the dark of another frame. Five colors will suffice for a film that only used two.

* * *

ENLISTED has listed "The Top 50 Horror Movies of All-Time." 

Rotten Tomatoes has updated their "Best Horror Movies" countdown, as good a place as any to start seeing some essentials.

Found footage films are increasingly fascinating to me. Jesse Schedeen of IGN delivers a top ten list of "The Best Found Footage Movies." They definitely have the best on here. 

* * *


Shailene Woodley has been cast as Mary Jane Watson in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." While I don't doubt she'll do fine in the role (anything will be better than Kristen Dunst) this is somewhat saddening as I love Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy in the first film. Is she gonna die? (Source: IGN)

* * *


Werner Herzog, a favorite here in the Tome, is staying in Texas (where he previously shot "Into the Abyss") for his next project, "Vernon God Little." The auteur is known for his docs, but this will be a fictional film adapted from the novel of the same name. (Source: The Film Stage)

* * *


Russel Means, one of Hollywood's go-to actors for Native American roles, passed away earlier today. Rest in peace. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

* * *


Scott Mendelson has some horror film recommendations for your children! I saw "Beetlejuice" on there and so I approve this message.

 Michael Fassbender is producing and starring in an adaptation of the popular video game franchise, "Assassin's Creed." According to IMDb the project is officially moving into production. Video game adaptations are infamously almost always bad, but so take this news with a grain of salt. Good actors and good games don't always mix well for the silver screen, see "Prince of Persia." Still, it's a series I admire and one of the best actors in recent years. I am aboard. I just want to know if Fassbender plays the games and that sparked his interest in this to begin with.

* * *


Scott Mendelson delivers a new box office analysis wherein "Paranormal Activity 4" got the most butts in seat this weekend.

In today's Criticwire survey Matt Singer asked his colleagues what they think the perfect Halloween double feature would be. I'm always up for Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" and "Shaun of the Dead" (in that order). Suppose you had to pick one for the local theater, pray tell, what would it be?

 * * *


Listen to Adele rock those mighty Grammy-winning pipes of hers for the upcoming theme for "Skyfall"!

Some hardcore "Simpsons" fans in Russia have recreated the show's legendary opening... in live action!

* * *


You really ought to watch Alfred Molina play a children's theater critic in this Funny or Die sketch.

Zombies sing in this musical version of "The Walking Dead."

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Something very dark and twisted is going on in "Stoker," which shouldn't surprise as it is from Park Chan-Wook (the man behind the "Vengeance" trilogy). He lit the South Korean cinema movement on fire and is now gracing the Western world with his presence as he directs his first "American" film. Nicole Kidman plays the mom to Mia Wasikowska as a very disturbed daughter. After the death of their family patriarch an uncle moves in who may or may not be taking his place and then some. After all, this film claims the domain I love the brief monologue from Kidman at the start of this trailer and the creepy yet perfectly calibrated visuals are a Park mark. Surely not for everyone, but for those who follow this remarkable director's career "Stoker" will be out on March 1, 2013 in select cities.

Jason Bateman plays an ordinary man who gets duped by Melissa McCarthy in "Identity Thief." It appears they spend the second and third acts of this film beating the crap out of each other and their cars. I am not all that impressed or entertained... Seth Gordon, fresh off "Horrible Bosses," directs. February 8, 2013.

Last week brought the premiere trailer for "A Good Day to Die Hard." John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back and this time he is exploding up Russia one car at a time. Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is put to great work as we get a smattering of action excite those this type of fair is made for. Confession, I had not seen the original until earlier this year. It is absolutely the action movie classic I had been led to expect. Now I have a good excuse to catch up with the other entries for this one's release on February 14, 2013. Wait, on Valentine's Day?!

A new trailer for Spielberg's "Lincoln" aired during the presidential debates last week, how fitting! This  one comes with a black and white slideshow of America's black and white history before delving into footage from the actual film. The first trailer was poignant and uplifting, this one is as intense as a Lincoln bio-pic can be. Nationwide on November 16th!

"Lords of Salem" is the latest experiment from hard rocker turned hard director, Rob Zombie. Set to a classical piece this is a visual virtuoso. The imagery is beyond creepy, but often so artfully done that I daresay this looks like Terrence Malick sanctioned horror. That said, I have a feeling this steps over the subject matter line and might just be a devil worshipping film itself. The story is centered on a trio of witches who visit the residents of Salem, Massachusetts. "Lords of Salem" has played in some festivals to mixed reviews and seeks a wider audience next year.

Nic Cage voices the patriarch in a tribe of cave people in "The Croods." They've been taught to never leave their dark and dreary cave, but when they do a colorful and magical world awaits them outside. Hmm... Seems like the moral of this story is going to be quite clear. Still, the world is a sight to behold thanks to fine artists at DreamWorks Animation. Leave your cave on March 22, 2013.

The trailer for "Room 237" or both awful and alluring. All vague tell, no real show - thus, I know nothing about the film but I cannot wait to see it! This is a documentary about Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Now you know as much as me.

Quit stallin' the stagecoach, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!


Does the trailer for "The Guilt Trip" make you laugh, chuckle or even smile? Seriously, I want to know. I do not find this funny in the slightest. Seth Rogan hides behind spectacles (and looks down a lot too, I never noticed that) playing the son of Barbara Streisand who I feel so sorry for being in this film. The two embark on a 8-day road trip, hijinx ensue, especially when people think they are a couple. I'm sure that will never get old! This is from the director of "The Proposal," which I would only give the slightest of thumbs up to. The only guilt trip here is for liking this movie... I know you can find better ways to spend your Christmas Day.


I wanted nothing more to put the golden lasso around "The Lone Ranger" (it would have been so fitting too), but a couple elements left me scratching my head. First off, as others have pointed out, where on Earth is the William Tell Overture. Disney really missed a great opportunity to put that to chilling use! I love the soliloquy to the railroad at work here for most of the trailer, and the visuals definitely show us where the hundred million plus went, but Johnny Depp as Tonto is very distracting and too farfetched. The trailer's closing moment looked like something I don't want to see. Director Gore Verbinski is teaming up with Depp yet again (the "Pirates" trilogy) and in the West once more ("Rango"). Look for Tonto and his masked partner (because the former has stolen the limelight despite the title) too on July 3, 2013.


Marion Cotillard stars in "Rust and Bone" the newest film from Jacques Audiard (see his previous film "A Prophet" for much excellence). Mathias Schoenaerts ("Bullhead") falls for Cotillard who plays a killer whale trainer, but after an accident leaves her crippled the stakes for their relationship go deeper. The trailer is exquisite and I am eager to see the yarn woven by this rather unique French film.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Red State
January 23, 2011 (Sundance Film Festival)
September 23, 2011 (United States)
88 min
United States (English)

Written and Directed by Kevin Smith

"Red State" is a shape-shifting film, much more than horror or another crudely clever comedy that it's writer/director is known for. This is a timely and dark satire that produces some breath-taking scenes.

"1 Month, 31 Horror Films" continues with Kevin Smith's "Red State," my third stop to Halloween night! The film opens as Travis (Michael Angarano) is driven to school by his mother (shout out for this small role fulfilled by Anna Gunn from "Breaking Bad"); they pass the funeral procession of a murdered gay teen in their community. The Five Points Trinity Church is on the scene protesting with signs to the effect that "God hates gays," though in more colorful words. This Church is an exaggeration of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas. "Red State" is set amidst a similar time and setting in a fictional town known as Cooper's Dell. The WBC believes in a heaven that practically nobody seems worthy to obtain. For "Christians" they are one hateful bunch.

Flash forward to the weekend when Travis has borrowed his mom's car and takes his equally horny buddies to meet, and presumably pay, a woman they contacted online for her sexual services. The teenagers are not picky, even if the woman is old enough to be any of their mothers. This first chapter of "Red State" is offensive and crude, but not unrealistic. It is a glum commentary on the youth of our day even if writer/director Kevin Smith meant it to be or not. Smith is a crass filmmaker and he knows it. He comes from a string of R-rated comedies (oh, and "Jersey Girl"), this being his first descent/ascent into horror. Even the film's poster advertises, "An unlikely film from that Kevin Smith."

The three teens become targets for the Five Points Trinity Church. They are "displayed" at a weekend service where the cult's leader, Abin Cooper, takes the stage for his sermon. This is also where Michael Parks, who plays Cooper, takes the stage of the film. This is an impressive monologue for both Smith's writing and Park's paralyzing performance. Father Cooper (as he is the father/grandfather of most in his congregation) is a hand-shaking and ceiling-searching preacher. He paces the stand, leans over the pulpit, addresses his audience and sometimes us in non-apparent asides. The film's writing and mystere are strongest here. When it is revealed that they have captured a homosexual (Cooper calls the man an "insect" that they lured and trapped on the World Wide Weband will punish him according to God's will, we know this Church has gone far too far.

Academy Award winner Melissa Leo plays Cooper's daughter. Her and the others in the congregation provide hokey reactions to the sermon and appear over-the-top in their adoration. We get that the film is satirical, it would have benefitted from this distracting approach. Truth be told, there is no main character in "Red State." Some come and some go for one reason or another, usually bullets seal the deal. John Goodman's character enters the picture as an ATF agent who is called in after shots are heard at the Church. The film not only shifts focus on its characters, but genre. It becomes an action/thriller as different groups (fire)fight for what they believe. The cinematography is often bland, but when one character makes a daring escape we are treated to a high-octane sequence that is visceral yet clear. "Red State" surprises again and again. Even though you'd think the Five Points Trinity Church deserve whatever they get, some characters actually warrant our sympathy. The film is wrapped up in a very smart post script. When you want Goodman to play genuine he is a good man for the job.

I have only seen Kevin Smith's "Clerks" films, but I feel safe in assuming that this just might be his misunderstood best. Smith has said that this is his last film (the jury is still out on that claim) and if it is I feel he went out with a disturbing yet poignant bang.


CONTENT: strong bloody violence, strong language, strong sexual content, strong sexual dialogue, brief female nudity

Updated on 11/6/12