Eli Roth

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A small outbreak of a nasty flesh-eating virus has left a single survivor, and now the scientists responsible for it all have turned Porter (Sean Astin) into a human lab rat. Having watched his only son melt in his arms, Porter’s far from a willing participant in the experimentation and instead just wants to return to his wife. Elsewhere on the island four friends have arrived for an impromptu bachelor party. Marcus (Mitch Ryan) is a day away from getting married, so when his brother Josh (Brando Eaton) and their friends Dobbs (Ryan Donowho) and Penny (Jillian Murray) suggest the overnight trip to a secluded island he finds it hard to resist. A brief swim along the shore reveals a curious absence of sea life, but that doesn’t interfere with diving of another sort back in the tent… and it’s not long before the dangers of island cunnilingus come very, very clear. And bloody. They come very, very bloody. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero is the third in the franchise begun twelve years ago by Eli Roth, but while it’s still far from a gem of horror cinema it holds its own thanks to an abundance of expertly crafted and wonderfully gooey gore.

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Cabin Fever remake

Back in 2002, Eli Roth was just still just getting asked if he was related to Tim Roth, mixing up buckets of fake blood and didn’t have a whole slew of vomitous horror credits and one truly satisfying assassination of Adolf Hitler on his resume. But all that changed with the release of Cabin Fever, the sometimes funny, always disgusting gorefest that took Shawn from Boy Meets World (real name Rider Strong) and made him meet a whole lot of other things. Like eye puss. The horror film was atypical in its typicality. It followed a group of recent college grads who head to the woods for a stay at a remote cabin for some summer fun (of course they do), where they resolved to party and screw their woes away. Naturally, they meet and ignore the bevy of creeps, drifters and blaring red flags they see on their way, and their fun becomes derailed when some contaminated drinking water leads to massive, gruesome infection. It’s hard to hook up when your skin is peeling off in chunks, isn’t it? Roth’s film was a great entry into the genre because it paid homage to so many films that came before it — Friday the 13th, The Blair Witch Project, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre — while putting its own bloodier, nastier spin on things (you don’t necessarily think about Blair Witch when rotting flesh and boils are showing up on screen; you think about what Roth’s created) and paved the way for films […]

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ff the green inferno

Is it nostalgia or a psychological quirk that makes Eli Roth start all of his films in the same place? Either he’s incapable of writing a picture without nineteen year-olds or just doesn’t want to, but regardless his latest film picks up right where his prior films have; in college, with college students. Where The Green Inferno starts off on the wrong foot in comparison to his previous films is that there isn’t a single soul here worthy of a bar conversation or a fun game of beer pong. The students in The Green Inferno aren’t looking for time away from school to enjoy themselves. They’re a group of campus activists taking a trip into the jungles of Peru on a mission to stop the expansion of civilization into the land of a native tribe, and they plan to stop this injustice with the use of masks, chains and camera phones. These characters aren’t unlikable because they’re college students; they’re unlikable because they’re the most unlikable kind(s) of college student. There’s the obnoxiously ambitious leader Alejandro (Ariel Levy) and our protagonist, Justine (Lorenza Izzo as the only person written to expect, and want, to see alive by the end-credits). Also along for the trip are a gang of secondary horror and comic tropes including the cowardly pothead, the huggable chubs, the disposable girlfriend, and the lesbian lovers. I don’t know if they’re all tropes, but I’m pretty sure you can guess which of these characters will make the plane-ride home.

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commentary aftershock

Eli Roth is best known as a director of small, gory horror films like Cabin Fever and Hostel, and for giving a memorably bad performance in Inglourious Basterds. Needless to say, the announcement that he would be producing, co-writing and starring in a Chilean disaster picture was met with both interest and uncertainty. I first saw Aftershock at the Stanley Film Fest a few months ago, and I was happily surprised by just how fun and thrilling the damn thing ended up being. It’s exploitation-lite and comes packed with an unexpected amount of humor and subversive scripting too. Roth joins director Nicolás López as the two friends do the commentary while thousands of miles apart, Roth in L.A. and López in Chilé. López makes it clear that he was in no way trying to make the official film of Chilé’s recent earthquake saying “we wanted to make a fun, roller coaster ride mwovie where an earthquake happens in Chilé, but it’s not about our real earthquake.” He succeeded. See what else they had to say in the commentary track for Nicolás López’s Aftershock.

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The Green Inferno

Pleated skirts and revenge! Jungle protests and secret societies! Whatever Rigor Mortis is! These are some of the brutal delights that programmer Colin Geddes has set up for the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness slate. The whole thing opens with Lucky McKee‘s (The Woman) latest film All Cheerleaders Die where he teams with writer/director Chris Sivertson to remake one of his early movies. This new version tells the supernatural story of a rebellious girl who joins the cheerleading squad in order to take down the captain of the football team. There’s also new Eli Roth, Sion Sono, Hitoshi Matsumoto…The hits keep coming, and I still can’t tell what’s going on in Rigor Mortis. Here’s the full lineup to drool over.

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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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review aftershock

Sometimes, despite your best intentions, you’ll walk into a movie with negative preconceptions instead of an open mind. It happens to the best of us, and while I can honestly say it’s an extreme rarity for me personally I’m still more than a little ashamed on the occasions where it happens. The most recent example, and probably the first since the Robin Williams/John Travolta travesty Old Dogs, is a new disaster thriller co-written/produced by and starring Eli Roth. His films have never done much for me, his acting even in small roles seemed on par with Quentin Tarantino’s and to make matters worse I’d heard few positive things about the movie. In fact, the most common term used to describe it was “rapey.” So yeah, my expectations were fairly low. But then something wonderful happened. I was happily proven wrong.

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Aftershock

Normally when pretty young people are getting tortured and mutilated in a horror movie it’s because they’ve run afoul of some sort of creature, spirit, or at least a mass-murdering psycho who’s developed a unique gimmick. The things doing all of the killing are just fantastical enough, just far enough apart from reality, that you can disengage your moral compass and have a good time watching the slaughter. Director Nicolás López’s new film, Aftershock, takes a different approach. It takes an earthquake, the sort of natural calamity that would usually be the jumping off point for a disaster movie, and uses it as its big scary monster. In the process, he’s made a movie in a sub genre that feels unique and fresh next to recent horror offerings: a disaster horror. The basic story of this one seems to be that Eli Roth is some dopey American bro looking for a good time down in Chile. His problems start when his ogling of scantily clad ladies at the local nightclub gets cut short by an Earthquake. Suddenly lighting rigs are collapsing on dancers, shards of glass are cutting up people at the bar, and the whole place is turned into a gory splatter fest. That isn’t the end of the horror that López and Roth have in store for us, though.

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Bill Murray at Cannes 2012

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting roundup that’s got news about what weird, clown-related thing Peter Stormare is going to do next. Read on for the juicy details. If your name is Dan Aykroyd or Ivan Reitman, then Bill Murray has been spending the last ten years or so trying to convince you that he doesn’t read scripts. That’s got to sting, because Deadline has a new report that proves this to be balderdash. Murray read Ted Melfi’s script for St. Vincent De Van Nuys and identified with the writer’s work so much that he called him up and invited him out for a drive. One negotiating process later and Murray is reportedly ready to sign on to star in the film, which is about a cantankerous old coot who bonds with a twelve-year-old boy over rounds of drinking, gambling, and generally despicable behavior. Sounds like it’s going to be a hoot.

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Screen Shot 2012-11-02 at 6.00.52 PM

A movie like The Man With The Iron Fists, with the tagline of “They put the F.U. in Kung Fu,” can really go either way. While such a tagline promises some cool fight scenes and much bad-assery, do the goods stop there? Also, can RZA from The Wu-Tang Clan direct? Hell yes, RZA can direct! While the film does lag at around the three-quarter mark, not only are its fight scenes awesome and bloody, but they are creatively shot and have great cinematography. This, in combine with a gleefully clever and referential script co-written by RZA and Eli Roth, make for a fun film that fits nicely within the film’s “presentor,” Quentin Tarantino’s, postmodernist pantheon. After all, there’s even a cameo from Pam Grier.

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The Man With the Iron Fists is an ambitious first feature film. Not only because it cost more than the average directorial debut, but it’s from a nearly nonexistent genre with an unproven director at the helm in the form of rapper-turned-actor-turned-director RZA. Many would scoff at this project, but one man who didn’t is Eli Roth. It became a labor of love for both RZA and Roth, who came on as both a producer and co-writer of the film. From the sounds of it, RZA and Roth wanted to make the Star Wars of Kung-Fu movies. The long haul process of making the movie was about achieving that level of scope and world-building with a small amount of means, which is $15m, to be exact. Still, with that amount of money, The Man With the Iron Fists isn’t as big of a financial risk as it is a creative one. This wasn’t an easy project to get going, but as Roth told us, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Here is what The Man with the Iron Fists producer and co-writer Eli Roth had to say about the scope of the film, the importance of filmmaker buddies, and how Five Easy Pieces inspired Cabin Fever:

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RZA is excited for The Man with the Iron Fists. Whether it’s of high-quality or not, the Wu-Tang Clan leader got to make a martial arts movie — and, to sweeten the deal, as his first film to boot. That’s something to get giddy over, the chance of introducing an audience to a whole new world. Based on his name drop of Star Wars, that’s what RZA set out to do. Some may be surprised RZA is taking a crack behind the camera, but speaking with the writer/director while on his Man with the Iron Fists tour, we learned it’s been a dream ever since he was a kid. Now that the dream has come true, The Man with the Iron Fists already seems to have built up his directorial stock, considering all the projects he’s been signing on to make. Hopefully we’ll see more movies from him where he’ll, once again, tell his crew, “I want him looking like fucking Rod Stewart.” Here’s what RZA had to say about the sober mind directing requires, controlling a team of 400 people, and the importance of preparation:

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Bradley Cooper and American Sniper

What is Casting Couch? It’s a daily movie news column that that wants to make you a star, baby. Filmmaker Cameron Crowe hasn’t said much about his next project. We don’t yet have a title or a plot synopsis for it. But what we do know is that it’s said to be similar in tone to things like Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire, and it’s got Emma Stone playing a lead role (and it might just be a rewrite of his Deep Tiki script from years ago). So basically, expect something that lines up with Crowe’s best work and stars one of your favorite actresses. Sounds great. The new news regarding the project is that Crowe is reportedly close to finding his male lead. Deadline Hollywood says that he has his eye on Bradley Cooper, and he’s close to making a deal happen. Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone in a Cameron Crowe movie? Yeah, that should be enough to get the attention of every person of every gender and sexuality ever. Remember how we reported that Christopher Nolan’s regular DP, Wally Pfister, is going to be directing his first movie, it’s going to be called Transcendence, and it’s going to star Johnny Depp? Well, all of that stuff is still true, but the L.A. Times has dug up even more information. Turns out the film is actually going to have three leads, and Pfister is very game to get Christian Bale to sign on as number two of the three. Anyone out there want to see Johnny Depp […]

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The standard plot of a horror film today is to have a group of people partying for thirty minutes, followed by a descent into chaos and mayhem, either by creatures or madman. Aftershock follows that formula exactly. The movie does almost nothing to be unique, but it doesn’t stop the film from being a wonderfully enjoyable mess. With this being the first time Eli Roth and Nicolas Lopez have written together, it’s clear that Roth had a lot of input as the film plays very much like how Hostel and Cabin Fever did. It establishes early the idea of the holiday excursion, all the fun our gang is having and the character dynamics to expect. There’s the outsider, Gringo (Eli Roth), the fun loving crazy guy, Pollo (Nicolas Martinez), and the depressed best friend who just won’t stop talking about his ex-girlfriend, Ariel (Ariel Levy).  While out enjoying the country’s hospitality, they meet a trio of ladies who persuade the men to visit a more authentic part of Chile. While on that side of the country, at yet another (authentic) party/club, there is a massive earthquake. Hoping the worst is over, the group finds a way out of the club only to find that the town has become completely devastated and anarchy has taken over in the blink of an eye. As they try to find safety from the madness, aftershock after aftershock ravage the city.

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Eli Roth and Ti West

Ever since Cabin Fever became a hit in 2002, its director, Eli Roth, has seen himself rocketed to the top of the movie game. Not only did he go on to direct the wildly successful Hostel series, but he also found himself in a position to become an actor, a frequent collaborator of Quentin Tarantino’s, and a producer of a whole slate of genre pictures. Through it all though, West has kept his focus largely on horror, and with his upcoming project, The Green Inferno, he’s finally set to return to the genre as a director. Ti West, comparatively, isn’t as big a name in the grand scheme of the industry. But if you talk to horror aficionados, this maker of low-key, indie horror is one of the most exciting names to come along in quite a while. By directing films like House of the Devil and The Innkeepers, West has proven that disgusting gore and shocking schlock aren’t the only ways to get attention in the scare game. Age old tactics like building tension, establishing mood, and paying things off with a big climax can be just as effective, if not more so. The big news is that Roth and West seem to be teaming up.

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When Grindhouse hit theaters back in 2007, its main attractions were Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s feature length segments of the anthology, Planet Terror and Death Proof. But after the release came and went, a lot of the buzz surrounding the project wasn’t about the two films that played back-to-back, but the series of trailers for fake films that got sandwiched in between. Rodriguez has already launched his fake trailer, Machete, into a real-life feature film that was successful enough to spawn a sequel – but what about Eli Roth and his segment, Thanksgiving? After Grindhouse got released, much of the praise for the tribute to B-movies came from how authentic to shoddy old ’70s advertisements Roth’s holiday-themed horror trailer was. The stupid voice narrating, the terrible acting, the bad dialogue, the person roasted like a turkey…it had it all. Roth has intimated in the past that he has plans to turn Thanksgiving into a real-life feature, but that’s been going on for years now, and we’ve still got nada. So what’s the deal? Well, according to a new interview the director did with Behind the Thrills, he’s finally cracked the story, is preparing a screenplay, and presumably will keep things moving from there.

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Russell Crowe

It’s sort of fascinating that a vampire craze born from Twilight has shifted back toward Bram Stoker’s original vision: Tom Cruise and Sony are going vampire hunting with Van Helsing; Neil Marshall is boarding The Voyage of the Demeter; and now Russell Crowe might bring his Oscar statue to the set of Harker to play Dracula for Eli Roth. According to Deadline Romania, Roth is currently in talks to take over the chair for the Warners project where Jaume Collet-Serra used to sit. First of all, the prospect of Crowe taking on a classic character like this is pretty damned exciting. Granted, his Robin Hood was hampered by a lame movie, but Crowe would be walking in Bela Lugosi’s and Gary Oldman’s shoes (just to name a few). Secondly, it’s nice to see such a dusty character have so much life left in him – especially since it seems studios are more interested in a return to form (instead of simply sprinkling more glitter on everything).  

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Man with the Iron Fists

RZA punches someone’s eyeball out of its socket. That should be all you need to know to skip all this drivel and watch the red band trailer for the rapper’s directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists. Presented by Quentin Tarantino and co-writer Eli Roth, this kung fu flick looks bloody, ridiculous, and wonderful. It stars Lucy Liu, Russell Crowe, Jamie Chung, Rick Yune, Daniel Wu and a host of others in a plot that seems more like an excuse for constant on-screen melees and an empty weapons rack. Seven warring clans…a shipment of gold…yeah, yeah, yeah. Just keep kicking metric tons of ass and turning your body into bronze. Check it out for yourself (and click to change the setting to HD while you’re at it):

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After the recent announcement that Eli Roth would be making his return to directing horror movies with a project called The Green Inferno, all that we really knew about the new film was its title and the fact that Roth said he was inspired to make it during the time he spent in Chile. For fans of flesh-eating schlock (and due to some deft Googling, me), however, that was clue enough to suggest that Roth’s new movie might be taking some inspiration from the cult classic 1980 film Cannibal Holocaust, which used the term to describe the jungle, and the 1988 film Natura contro, which also went under the name The Green Inferno, and was sometimes marketed as Cannibal Holocaust II. Sure enough, a recent report from Variety confirms that this is indeed the case. The focus of Variety’s reporting is on the fact that Roth’s movie has had its German distribution rights bought by Constantin Films, but the interesting part of the article is the confirmation that this new The Green Inferno is indeed connected to those Italian films of the ’80s. The report says that Roth’s script follows the doomed adventures of an “idealistic student” and a “group of naive do-gooders” as their plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle and they get captured by cannibalistic tribesmen. Sounds kind of like The Grey, only if you trade out liberals for oil workers and cannibals for wolves. 

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