Big Bad Wolves

JACK RYAN

This dreaded dump month is only going to look worse considering all the terrific December releases we just saw: Martin Scorsese, Spike Jonze, and the Coen Brothers’s three incredible films; Ron Burgundy’s hilarious return; and David O. Russell‘s pretty good movie. Even with 47 Ronin kind of stinking up the joint, it couldn’t ruin last month’s holiday filmgoing spirit. December ended a satisfying year on a tremendous note. Of course the start of 2014 can’t live up to all those award contenders, not even with I, Frankenstein going to bat for it. Frankenstein’s monster turned pretty boy action hero should at the very least give us something to talk about, but if the trailers are any fair indication, I, Frankenstein is not one of the five must see movies of the month.

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Best Foreign Films of 2013

Cinema is a worldwide artform, and as such many of the year’s best and most exciting films often come from overseas. Quality is no guarantee of visibility though as subtitled films rarely get a wide reception in American theaters, and worse, many don’t even make it to our shores until a year or more after opening in their own country. That’s the kind of factor that makes ranking foreign language films a difficult and inconsistent process. I try and go by actual year of release when possible, but for obvious reasons I’m not adverse to including entries that made their U.S. debut this year, too. But these are details… let’s get to the movies! Genre films rarely make “best of” lists like this , but I make no apologies for their inclusion here. Best is best, and if my best happens to include a character named The Queen of Saliva so be it..

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review big bad wolves

Editor’s note: Our review of Big Bad Wolves originally ran during this year’s Stanley Film Fest, but we’re re-running it now as it plays Fantastic Fest. After Israel’s first horror film, Rabies, was released in 2011 to critical acclaim you would have expected the floodgates to open as other filmmakers followed suit. But it never happened. Instead, it’s taken two years for the next incredibly dark thriller to escape the country, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s from the same writer-director pair. Young girls are being abducted, violated and murdered, and while a puzzled police force searches for evidence one morally muddy cop has run out of patience. He takes the law into his own hands after they discover the latest victim beheaded and assaulted, but his actions lead to his dismissal. The dead girl’s father makes his own move resulting in the main suspect being bound and gagged in the grieving man’s basement … with a table nearby covered in various tools of torture. What Israel’s two-man genre-film industry lacks in quantity it more than makes up for with quality, and Big Bad Wolves ups their game from their already quite good debut considerably. It’s dark, wonderfully twisted and laugh out loud funny … but it might just leave you questioning exactly why you enjoyed it so much. And you will enjoy it.

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trailer big bad wolves english

One of my favorite films out of this year’s Stanley Film Fest was the sophomore effort from the darkly dynamic Israeli duo behind 2010′s Rabies. Co-directors/writers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado have followed up that bloody black comedy with the cruelly entertaining revenge thriller Big Bad Wolves, and after a couple months of it racking up awards and praise around the globe we’ve finally gotten the first English-subtitled trailer. The film follows a corrupt police detective and a grieving father who join forces to bring justice to the prime suspect in a string of vicious murders of pre-teen girls. What follows is a perfectly woven mix of tension, laughs and suffering. You’ll get to experience this twisted fairy tale for yourself later this year when Magnet releases it into theaters, but for now take a look at this gorgeous trailer below.

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stanley 1

The first incarnation of any big event is bound to experience a few hiccups, but having recently returned from the inaugural Stanley Film Fest in Estes Park, Colorado, I feel confident in reporting that the biggest issue I encountered was slow service at the Sunday morning horror-themed brunch. It wouldn’t have been a problem, but these were Carrie pancakes I was waiting on complete with a bucket of red berry syrup! I ultimately had to leave before my food arrived, but the reason why was the same reason I was at the fest in the first place. I was there to see movies. This first year saw 24 feature films play, and while that may not sound like a lot, it was more than enough to fill up a single-weekend festival. I only managed to see eleven over the three days, and the titles available ranged from well-regarded horror films from years past, including All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Cabin Fever and even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari accompanied by live music to new releases like Maniac, Beneath and The Purge. But this fest had another ace up its sleeve in addition to the films. Location, location, location!

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news stanley film fest

I’m on record as saying that there seem to be too many damn movie festivals these days, and that’s coming from someone who loves movie festivals. Mainstays like Sundance and SXSW co-exist alongside smaller, local fests in just about every city in America, and there’s barely a week in the calendar year without one or the other. They’ve become more ubiquitous than unique, and you’d think I would be the last person to celebrate yet another one being added to the mix. But here I am. Celebrating. The Stanley Film Fest is brand new this year, and it immediately gets right what so many others get wrong. Location. The horror film fest takes place entirely at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, which in addition to being a beautiful yet creepy locale is also the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Their inaugural fest promises to be a fantastically fun affair complete with parties, a horror-themed brunch, a ghost tour and more. Of course the most important element of a film fest is the film selection, and this one is no slouch. The opening and closing night films are Ethan Hawke’s new thriller The Purge and the Eli Roth vehicle Aftershock, respectively. In between are a lively mix of hotly anticipated follow ups from the directors of Rabies, Dead Snow and The Midnight Meat Train, thrilling changes of pace from Mark Duplass and Elijah Wood, a long overdue big screen showing of All the Boys Love Mandy […]

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