You may not want to see Taken 2 (it’s really quite terrible), but you hopefully want to take two on the week, as in revisit our last seven days of content to make sure you didn’t miss anything. It’s been another full session, as we closed out our Fantastic Fest coverage and dug deeper into the New York Film Festival with reviews and features courtesy of our incredibly smart guest contributors Caitlin Hughes and Daniel Walber along with the always excellent Jack Giroux.
Speaking of reviews, in addition to that deservedly negative take on the Taken sequel, we republished fest responses to Frankenweenie, The House I Live In, Butter and V/H/S. Interviews this week included Hotel Transylvania director Genndy Tartakovsky and The Paperboy director Lee Daniels. Visit the trailers tag for first looks at the latest Die Hard, the next Lars von Trier and Rob Zombie films, Lone Ranger and a porn star documentary. And, as always, keep track of our daily short film showcase, TV coverage and other favorite columns via their respective buttons around the main page. Bookmark where you will.
In addition to all that, you can check out our ten best features from the past week plus some other recommended reading after the break.
We entered the often-hollow movie month of October, typically reserved for Halloween-ushering horror flicks and some limited openings of Oscar bait. But we highlighted seven recommended releases, including the obligatory good scary film, Sinister. And this amount should be plenty. Interestingly enough, and we wonder if any is intentional, the included movies Cloud Atlas, Argo and Holy Motors all appear to involve Halloween-relevant costumes. On that last, lesser known film, Jack writes, “I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been in awe of this movie.”
Speaking of what to look forward to in October: it is the month of Halloween-relevant horror, and again we’re highlighting a different film in the genre every one of the 31 days. Movies looked at so far include The Halloween Tree and Silver Bullet. Kevin on that last one:
“To date, this is one of my favorite screenplays King has written of his own work, and the movie feels like quintessential mid-80s King. Oh, and I would have never guessed back in 1985 that Gary Busey would out-live co-star Corey Haim. That’s the most shocking thing of all about this movie.”
But that’s not all. We’re sure to bring you plenty of other content pegged to the holiday through the month, and we already posted a list from David of “12 Gut-Wrenching Scenes That Are Practically Gore-Free,” such as one from the new film Looper and, of course, the all-time classic, Psycho:
“I don’t care what era you live in – there’s nothing kosher about big mansion man and his window-bound gargoyle mother screaming about your whorings on. Who would even think of taking a shower at a time like that?”
And Brian’s Junkfood Cinema column has again turned its devotion to Junkfood Horror with a look at Killer Klowns from Outer Space and (jokingly) what it’s done to real-world clowns around the world:
“How dare you take something as beloved as clowning and use it as the centerpiece of a horror movie. Sure, the makeup and costume design in your film were respectable, but at what cost? Don’t you realize you are in danger of making children afraid of clowns?”
Additionally recommended: listen to this week’s Reject Radio podcast to hear Joe Dante (Gremlins) talk about his favorite horror film, The Exorcist.
In support of his new time travel movie, Looper, writer-director Rian Johnson offered us exclusive filmmaking tips, including this bit on not searching for some easy gateway:
“I think the biggest “breaking in” lesson I learned is to not concentrate on breaking in, but to focus inward and just work on your thing. Cultivate what you care about and what’s unique to you. That’s what has the best chance of breaking through the clutter, and even if it doesn’t (because who the hell knows in this business), that’s what you care about and what matters.”
Additional reading: Landon looked at “The Many Movies Inside Looper,” including Blade Runner and Source Code; Andrew analyzed Looper as being a subversive social commentary about the cycle of violence; and I asked if it’s truly the best sci-fi film since The Matrix and if the biggest question we’re left with at the end involves the character Abe’s past.
Responding to a proposal by Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir that film culture is dead, Cole answered both him and Bad Ass Digest’s Devin Faraci on the matter:
“Is film culture really, truly, deeply dead? Nope, but it also hasn’t been radically altered in the past 10 years. Or the last 100. For the most part, we’re still responding to a similar mix of popular fluff and trenchant indie work […] The internet may have democratized filmmaking, but the only thing it’s done for fans is to give us greater access, which is something to never stop celebrating.”
Join the discussion, currently at 22 comments from you readers as well as Cole, who remains engaged in the conversation.