Berberian Sound Studio

10 You May Have Missed 2013

The middle of the year brings a lot of things, but we can probably all agree that the most important of those things are lists. With that in mind, Landon Palmer and I set out to highlight ten of our favorite films of the past six months, but instead of being a straight forward list of the year’s best movies so far we chose to zero in on the great, smaller movies that may have bypassed your radar as they slipped in and out of just a handful of theaters. This factor is most obvious in the absence of Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor from Landon’s selections. The films we’ve chosen run the gamut of genres and countries of origin, but they share a sense of quality sadly missing from the majority of Hollywood films opening wide in theaters these days. (Although if you have to see a wannabe blockbuster choose Roland Emmerich’s White House Down… the damn thing is dumb as dirt but sweet Jesus is it fun.) You may have heard of some of the films below, but all of them are worth seeking out at your local arthouse or VOD provider of choice.

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Berberian-Sound-Studio

Italian giallo films have made something of a quiet comeback recently. Restored blu-rays of Dario Argento and Mario Bava’s films are inviting renewed considerations of the genre outside the canonized Suspiria, and Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s Amer presented a dedicated contemporary revisitation of the genre. Now consider British writer-director’s Peter Strickland’s sophomore feature Berberian Sound Studio, a densely atmospheric and wonderfully bizarre journey into the increasingly fevered mind of a sound effects engineer of an Italian horror (but don’t call it horror!) film in which is the film itself is never actually seen, but only heard.

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Oz the Great and Powerful

We understand that no matter how much you love them, going out to the movies isn’t always the best choice. Sometimes there’s a huge storm that ravages the middle of the country and you’re just glad to have power enough to watch a DVD, let alone go outside to your local cineplex. Sometimes its just easier to not put on pants. Trust me, I know this better than most. Which is why we offer a weekly alternative. Through the magic of our Video On Demand Power Ranker, a custom-built supercomputer, we present a list of the best films you can see without even leaving the couch. This week, there’s sci-fi, magic, wonder and WikiLeaks.

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berberian

It might sound kind of weird to try to set a thriller in a sound design studio, what with their being the domain of nodes, dials, tech geeks, and whatnot, but that’s exactly what writer/director Peter Strickland has done with his new thriller Berberian Sound Studio, and various FSR reviewers seem to be in agreement that the results of this experiment are gorgeous and intriguing, if not a little bit befuddling and empty. The consensus seems to be that it’s a solid B-. If you want to catch a glimpse of what everyone is so interested in and confused by, as well as a taste of Toby Jones being innocuously creepy like only he can, and some insight into how they make all those gross wet noises for slasher movies, then follow the link and watch the film’s new trailer below.

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There are many aspects to making a film – the actors, the script, the director, the music – but there is another aspect many people forget about: the sound mix. The process of combining an actor’s dialogue and the music with the ambient noises and sound effects is an art in its own right, but when doing so for a film filled with murders and hauntings, this process becomes all the more compelling and off-putting. The Berberian Sound Studio is located in Italy, and English sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) makes the trip to help create the mix for a pulp film from the eccentric director, Santini (Antonio Mancino). On the surface, a man coming to a new country may seem like a story about learning from different cultures and their various creative personalities, but the narrative takes a decidedly sinister turn when the sounds Gilderoy is creating for the film seem to follow him from his recording sessions into his actual life.

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This year’s AFI FEST is certainly bringing festival-goers some of the year’s biggest titles, with world premieres of Hitchcock and Lincoln, not to mention favorites from this year’s festivals like Silver Linings Playbook and Amour, and yet, when I finally sat down to begin putting together my festival schedule, it seemed to be the smaller films that caught my eye and ended up on my personal must-see list. Certainly, films I have heard about from colleagues who have caught screenings of them at other festivals are accounted for here, but my tendency to gravitate toward lesser-known titles has led me to discover some amazing little gems such as films from director Ava DuVernay (I caught her film I Will Follow at AFI FEST back in 2010 and enjoyed her latest Middle of Nowhere during the LA Film Festival this year) and, of course, my love for music-focused stories always cause those films to get top billing from me. Check out the five films I am most looking forward to seeing during this year’s AFI FEST and let me know if you are also looking forward to any these films or if hearing about them here has piqued your interest enough to add them to your own most anticipated lists!

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The Presidential Debate

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that isn’t so political. Unless you consider watching the Presidential Debate and imagining the candidates as Muppets to be political… We begin this evening with the nation’s top story — no, not Saturday Night Live — the Presidential Debate. That will undoubtedly be the reason why tonight’s column is coming in late. And because I love hyperbole, I’m not only watching the debate, but also reading Andrew Sullivan having an aneurism and watching CNN’s talking heads go crazy. Also, someone said Lincoln. That movie is out in November. But enough politics, lets do the movie news…

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Berberian Sound Studio

The moment that the closing credits started to roll for Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio I looked to my right to tell my colleague that I don’t think I’d ever sat through a horror picture and felt absolutely nothing. Not until then, anyway. I think my heart pumped more in saying that sentence than it did at any moment watching the picture. I don’t know if that was the intention of the movie. I also don’t know if it was intended for the movie to be considered a horror movie. It’s a movie about the making of an Italian giallo film, but it more closely resembles a Lynchian psychological thriller. Only without the thrill part.

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Fantastic Fest 2012

As you well know, Fantastic Fest is the one. There are plenty of fine film festivals that take place in many fine locations around the globe. They all show movies, many of which end up on our top ten lists at the end of the year. But no matter what any of those TIFFs and Cannes-fests have, they don’t exactly measure up to the pure, blood-filled experiential goodness that is Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. For a fair number of us, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Great friends come into town, great BBQ is consumed by the pound, and a number of carefully programmed movies are displayed just for us on the screens of the Alamo Drafthouse. It’s high praise, sure. But as anyone who has actually attended the festival might tell you, it’s perfectly spot on. Our goal for this year’s coverage – this being our fifth consecutive year covering as a site – is to bring you even closer to the experience that is Fantastic Fest than ever before. We won’t just be filing reviews for the big movies like Dredd 3D and Looper, we’ll be providing looks at every single feature film playing this year’s festival. We’ll have spotlights on filmmakers you should keep an eye on. We’ll show you what it’s like to attend Fantastic Fest. We’ve got a crack staff in place, the one we call the The Fantastic Fest Death Squad. Joining veterans Rob Hunter, Brian Salisbury, Luke Mullen, and Adam Charles are […]

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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