Detroit

Lars von Trier Antichrist promo

It’s high time Lars von Trier tried some real horror. You know, some hardcore, blood and guts-type stuff. So what if Antichrist had genital mutilation, self-cannibalizing animals and a graphically stillborn Bambi dangling halfway out his mom? Kid gloves. Or so it would seem, anyway, because von Trier’s latest cinematic venture is a “real horror movie.” Danish magazine Soundvenue recently interviewed Kristian Levring, the director who’s currently showing off The Salvation, a Danish Western starring a gunpowder-charred Mads Mikkelson. But Levring had more to speak about than just Mikkelson’s ability to ride around on horseback and shoot grizzled frontiersmen with old-timey weapons. He also mentioned a little project called Detroit. Apparently, it has been Levring’s passion project for years. And he’s spent those years pestering von Trier about how awesome it would be, until von Trier finally crumbled under the pressure. For the most accurate experience, try to imagine the following quote screamed in Danish: “I want you to stop talking about it, so I’ll write it for you instead.”

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I’m standing on the edge of the The Detroit River which is also the edge of the set for Real Steel – the forthcoming robot boxing movie with a heart of gold. Twenty or so feet away from the Cobo Arena, the wind is picking up, and the view looks out over the glass of the water toward Ontario. This might not seem like a dramatic moment for anyone who lives there, but there’s something poetically jarring about looking out at a different country (and looking southward to see Canada). Right across the water is another world. It’s a world separate from Detroit that hasn’t been beaten down by a lagging economy and the failure of major auto manufacturing. It’s not that Detroit isn’t as impressive, it’s that Windsor seems newer, fresher, and more alive. A precipice with a view to another world seems like the perfect place for the Shawn Levy-directed, Hugh Jackman-starring film to shoot as it promises to tell a story both embedded in the seedy underground and the glittering, life-filled stadiums of the near future. To hear Levy talk, the movie sets out to feature a man living in one world, testing his limits to live in the other.

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Jim Jarmusch is a polarizing figure among the film-going public. His films are all a little off the beaten path, a little bit inaccessible to general audiences, and usually some people end up loving them and some people end up hating them. I think what everybody can agree upon though, is that there are always several interesting things going on with every project that he takes. That’s why new reports that he is planning to helm a vampire movie have left me scratching my head a little. He’s making a vampire movie? Right in the middle of a time where every hack director who can find funding is making a vampire movie? That just doesn’t seem like Jarmusch’s bag. But still, despite all of that, I certainly can’t argue with the cast he’s compiling. This new vampire project is still untitled, but it’s set to star Tilda Swinton, Michael Fassbender, and Mia Wasikowska as the children of the night. Those are some good vampires. Also, the extremely British John Hurt has been cast in an undisclosed feature role. I don’t know about you, but if I was going to be casting a distinguished gentleman like John Hurt in my new vampire film you better believe it would probably be as some grizzled old vampire hunter. In addition to the casting news, Jarmusch let a little bit slip about the setting by calling the film a, “crypto-vampire love story, set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangiers.” Say what you […]

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Drenched in atmospheric dread, Brad Anderson’s Vanishing on 7th Street is a slight yet haunting thriller that replaces easy answers with the pervasive sense of unknowable, evil forces at work. Propelled by an unexplained mystery – Detroit’s electrical grid fails and people start vaporizing in the darkness – the movie offers a crash course in economical filmmaking while espousing the fundamental truth that nothing scares quite like what we can’t see or understand. The set-up is simple: Days after the cataclysmic event, four strangers – possibly the only survivors left in the Motor City – wind up in a strong, generator-powered bar on 7th Street. They are TV reporter Luke (Hayden Christensen), movie theater projector Paul (John Leguizamo), nurse Rosemary (Thandie Newton) and adolescent James (Jacob Latimore). With no answers, no clear next step and sinister animated shadow portrait figures crawling along the walls as the power dims, the quartet tries to find its way to some form of permanent light.

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When it was suggested to Detroit mayor David Bing that the city should build a statue of Robocop to show up the statue of Rocky in Philadelphia, he very politely responded on Twitter that the city had no plans to build a statue of Robocop at this time. Forgive me for getting political on a film site, but it’s idiotic leadership like this that is the reason Detroit’s economy is in the shape that it is. A Robocop statue is the sort of basic human right that every citizen of every city in the world should be able to exercise. To deny it to the citizens of the city in which the film was set is unthinkable. Not content to stand for Bing’s tyranny, a guerrilla group of young activists have taken to social media and have begun a movement to fund the statue themselves. Revolutionaries have started a Facebook Group, a website, and are using the fundraising site Kickstarter to get money for the production of the statue. A piece of property in Roosevelt Park facing Michigan Central Station has been promised if enough money is raised. For more information on the project, go to detroitneedsrobocop.com, or to give money to help the cause head over to Kickstarter. In order to get the project off the ground $50,000 must be raised, and so far the total is just under $19,000. We only have until March 26th to make this happen. It’s time to come together people; don’t let the […]

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