Posts Tagged ‘cult’

  • Quote of the Day: Rosenbaum on what ‘Cult-Film’ means Today


    “One of the problems inherent in using the term “cult” within a contemporary context relating to film, either as a noun or as an adjective, is that it refers to various social structures that no longer exist, at least not in the ways that they once did. When indiscriminate moviegoing (as opposed to going to see particular films) was a routine everyday activity, it was theoretically possible for cults to form around exceptional items — “sleepers,” as they were then called by film exhibitors — that were spontaneously adopted and anointed by audiences rather than generated by advertising. But once advertising started to anticipate and supersede such a selection process, the whole concept of the cult film became dubious at the same time it became more prominent, a marketing term rather than a self-generating social process.”

    This is an excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum’s sharp little piece on Joe Dante, here.

  • Trailer: The Sound of My Voice


    “I just feel like we are in over our heads.” “Yea, That’s investigative journalism.”

    Undercover reporters, cults, and possible time travelers abound in this indie drama/thriller. The Sound of My Voice not only turned some heads at 2011′s SXSW & 2012s Sundance, it stars indie science-fiction favourite Brit Marling (Another Earth) as the enigmatic and charismatic cult leader. There is definitely a claustrophobic vibe to the tone and cinematography here. The trailer is below.


  • DVD Review: The Devils


    Director: Ken Russell
    Screenplay: Ken Russell
    Based on the Play by: John Whiting
    And the Novel by: Aldous Huxley
    Starring: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Gemma Jones, Max Adrian
    Producers: Ken Russell & Robert H. Solo
    Country: UK
    Running Time: 107 min
    Year: 1971
    BBFC Certificate: 18


    Sadly reaching the end of his life back in November, Ken Russell was long a figure of controversy in the history of British and indeed world cinema. Famous for his flamboyant, campy style and frequent exploration of sexuality and the grotesque in his work, his films were always an acquired taste to say the least and his career dwindled in the last couple of decades. Back in the late 60′s and early 70′s he was a force to be reckoned with though, finding success with Women in Love, The Boyfriend and Tommy, despite his films having that ‘marmite’ effect on many. Certainly the most controversial, well known and probably most well received of Russell’s films came early on in this period in 1971 with the release of The Devils. With scenes of nuns taking part in depraved sexual acts and graphic gore and violence, the film struggled to get past the censors, with certain scenes being removed for its cinematic release and several more shaved off for home video. Even now, 41 years later, the film has long struggled to get a DVD release in the UK and those scenes missing from the cinematic release have not been reinstated. These wrangles have even prevented a Blu-Ray version from being released. The BFI however have finally given the film the full-blown special edition treatment with a 2-disc edition of the film utilising the finest available transfer so that we can witness Russell’s masterpiece in all its grotesque glory.

    Based on a play by John Whiting and Aldous Huxley’s novel ‘The Devils of Loudon’, which was based on detailed research into true acts of the time, The Devils is set in seventeenth-century France. Father Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed) is the lustful head of the well-fortified city of Loudun, a key location in the king (Graham Armitage) and cardinal’s (Christopher Logue) quest to gain full control over the country. Taking advantage of Grandier’s bed-hopping antics and exploiting the erotic obsessions of the deluded mother superior Sister Jeanne (Vanessa Redgrave), the leaders send a cruel Baron (Dudley Sutton) and sadistic ‘exorcist’ (Michael Gothard) to bring down Grandier, literally and figuratively reducing the city to rubble.

    I must admit I’ve never sat through any Ken Russell films in their entirety before this. I was always more of a fan of the gritty realism of American cinema in the 70′s and than in the high camp Russell is more famous for. I’ve seen segments of Tommy that didn’t appeal to me and although Altered States sounds more like my kind of thing, it always looked a bit dated. So it was with a certain reluctance that I approached The Devils. I must say I’m glad now that I did. Yes there are dated elements and the performances and style are ludicrously over the top as I expected, but there is also a hell of a lot to appreciate on screen.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Trailer: Kill List


    A film that polarized a good bunch of the Row Three (and The Substream) crowd at TIFF this year. Kill List is an odd beast, and while this trailer emphasizes the ominous, there is a fair bit of off-kilter British humour and crime/mystery all thrown together with a decidedly Wicker Man cult angle. Ben Wheatley (Down Terrace) is one of the most interesting genre directors out there, and he delivers with this one, at least in my opinion.

    The trailer is tucked under the seat.
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  • Friday One Sheet: Martha Marcy May Marlene Motion


    I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with motion posters, but this one is clean, and gives you a bit of the mood of the upcoming Martha Marcy May Marlene, a film about a girl breaking free from a cult run by John Hawkes.

    The trailer (which features one of those 2d bar codes in a cult-like way) is tucked under the seat.
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  • New Cult: KILL LIST Trailer


    It has been a banner year for the rebirth about horror films or thrillers about cults and satanists. After a week at Montreal’s Fantasia Film festival and seeing several variants on the subject, one could say it’s a new trend. And one not that has not coagulated in any serious way since the late 1970s early 1980s. Following Ti West’s House of the Devil, I say things are long over due. One film that was surprisingly absent at this years Fantasia, especially considering the cultish status of Down Terrace, was Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, which from talking to those who caught it at Cannes or SXSW, is a masterpiece of the genre, and the trailer at least popped up a little while ago. Unable to get to it in mid-festival, I’m posting it here now, in case you missed it.

    Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer Jay, is pressured by his partner Gal, into taking a new assignment. As they descend into the dark, disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again – his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.

    The Trailer is tucked under the seat.
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  • Fantasia Review: Red State



    DISCLAIMER:  It is tempting to frame a review of Kevin Smith’s new film, RED STATE, around its controversy on the business and social media side of things.  Smiths decision to ‘four wall’ the film on a roadshow style tour and shutting out the usual publicity channels caused a bit of a tempest in a teapot at Sundance, particularly because seems to have become a lot more prickly in the past decade and has no problem broadcasting this to his fanbase either by his podcasting network or twitter account.  That being said, I do not judge a Mission Impossible film by concerning myself with Tom Cruises thoughts on pharmaceuticals or his antics on Oprah, and I believe that Smiths film deserves a fair shake outside the confines of personality and gossip (and the business of show.)  But it is hard, oh so hard, not to see things through the mist of online micro-controversies.


    The ‘cult’ film is back, kicking off with the one-two punch of House of the Devil and The Last Exorcism along with the forthcoming Wicker Man sequel (Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Tree) and Ben Wheatley’s Kill List, the genre hasn’t seen this kind of surge since the mid to late 1970s. Sandwiched in the middle of the micro-renaissance is Kevin Smith’s radical departure from both the Askewniverse and pungent palette cleanser after his real horror film, Cop Out. Red State is not so much a cult-film as it is a film about cults, but one that defies expectations at several turns. Part diatribe against Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (who is mentioned – and casually disregarded – explicitly in in the film) part torture-horror, part action-thriller, part bureaucratic farce, there are at least four films clamoring for dominance in Red State. And while Smith may not quite have panache for tonal shifts that the South Koreans have perfected, there are enough surprises on display here to warrant a recommendation along with a caveat or three.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • The Wicker Tree at Cannes and coming to North America



    Still chuckling (or curled up in a corner sobbing) over that 2006 re-envisioning of The Wicker Man with a very “punchy” Nicolas Cage? The original director, Robin Hardy, has been working for years to get a sequel (of sorts) called Cowboys For Christ made, and the film being complete, and retitled, The Wicker Tree. He has been working on this for a while, as the film comes up several times in the book “Inside the Wicker Man: How Not to Make A Cult Film” (a good read) and that was written in 2000. Looks like the film is finished and heading to Cannes (according to Business of Cinema,) the release company, High Point, who will be pursuing sales rights to international markets, while British Lion is already handling Canada, US, and UK – the film is not in Competition or Un Certain Regarde. This is not surprising because the film looks to be in the murky territory of loose remake but also sequel involving two American Christian country singers that arrive in remote Scotland to preach the gospel, only to be bulldozed (and sexed up) by the local pagans. Although the original director, producer, and star Christopher Lee all being involved (impressive as the Wicker Man was made nearly 40 years ago!), I can’t say the trailer gives me a lot of hope that this will be as nuanced and off-kilter as the original, frankly it looks a little shrill, but you can bank on the fact that it will clear the low-bar set by Neil LaBute and Mega-Cage. Somebody out there, please pick up the rights and give show it over here.

    You can see for yourselves in the trailer which is tucked under the seat.

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  • Defending the Indefensible *TONIGHT* at Toronto Underground Cinema


    Listen up Toronto! The fine folks who run Toronto’s newest repertory house, The Toronto Underground Cinema are kicking off a new series today called Defending The Indefensible. The basic premise is to bring in film writers, critics, bloggers and have them screen and defend a film that was roundly dismissed upon its commercial release. It may be on its way to a cult following or it simply may have been completely misunderstood upon the first critical pass. Consider it the hands-on version of Nathin Rabin’s My Year of Flops series over at the Onion A.V. Club. Their kick-off event is tonite at 7pm with Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection, to be followed immediately by Tom Green’s Freddy Got Fingered. These two films are of course highly relevant to our own Movie Club Podcast where we covered similar ground (Alien Quadrilogy Show, Freddy Got Fingered Show) but it is even more fun to do this live with an audience.

    The series continues throughout the year on one Friday each month with titles such as Speed Racer, Observe & Report, and MacGruber amoungst others. (Full disclosure, the organizers were gracious enough to contact me for one of the nights, and I suggested a Richard Kelly Double Bill: Southland Tales and Domino, but alas, print availability in Canada has hampered that at this point.)

    Complete Details and Schedule are tucked under the seat.

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • There is a Fubar 2? That and more Canadian Cinema at TIFF.



    Michael Dowse and those crazy Calgarian’s who love to Giv’R are going to open the Midnight Program at TIFF this year with (I am guessing from the above picture) their adventures in the Alberta Tar Sands. If you missed the original Canadian cult-classic faux documentary, Fubar, do yourself a favour and seek it out on DVD or Netflix.

    Fubar 2, according to the filmmakers blog, is getting some sort of limited Canadian release in October if you miss it in Toronto with 1300 crazy film nuts in Hogtown in September.

    Lots more Canadian releases including new films from Denis Villeneuve, Bruce McDonald, Xavier Dolan, Sturla Gunnarsson, Carl Bessai and a host of other fresh and veteran canadian filmmakers were also announced this morning. The press releases are tucked under the seat.

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  • Vancouver Enters The Room


    TheRoomTommy Wiseau has been making quite the splash around these parts lately. Kurt and I chatted about the film in an earlier episode of the Cinecast and just recently, there was more talk about Wiseau’s cult favourite. I never imagined the opportunity would arise to see the film for myself but here we are, a screening all our own in Vancouver.

    The Room will be screening as part of The Rio’s midnight double bill on Friday, November 20th. As if seeing this classic among a crowd of adoring craptacular movie lovers isn’t enough, the film its beeing partnered with is none other than Paul Verhoeven’s much misunderstood and equally loved and hated Showgirls.

    Tickets are a steal at $10 for both shows ($8 if you arrive in costume). More details on the Double Bill on official event page.

    If you’re wondering what all the hubbub is about, check out the film’s trailer tucked under the seat!

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  • VIFF 09 Review: Leslie, My Name is Evil




    While introducing the first screening of his film at VIFF, director Reginald Harkema commented that Leslie, My Name is Evil was a very divisive film. He wasn’t kidding.

    Taken from real accounts and transcripts of the Charles Manson trial, using archival footage and intermingling the entire thing with a wicked sense of humour, this is the type of film that would, by any other director, end as a total disaster. The fact that it not only ends well but that it starts off with a bang is a great credit to director Reg Harkema who manages to create a sometimes serious and sometimes hysterical but always entertaining film which pokes a finger at everything from war to religion.

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