Mystery

nyaff lesson of the evil

The 2013 New York Asian Film Festival runs June 28 – July 15. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area and interested in tickets check out the official NYAFF page here, but if not feel free to follow along with us as we take a look at several of the movies playing the fest this year. As the name implies the festival presents new and select films from several countries including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Our fourth look at the films of NYAFF 2013 examines the evils that men (and women) do in the name of fame, madness and love.

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; we cook Pop Tarts in the VCR. This is the weekly internet movie column that John Carpenter recently heralded as “something I’ve [totally] heard of.” Each week we bring you a horrifically bad movie, forcing you to topple with us into the void, careening like damned souls through the film’s innumerable faults. Just when our doom seems all but certain, the fall stops suddenly as we land on a giant marshmallow peep. From one unspeakable nightmare, right into another. We are grateful for the fall, the journey that led us to sweet reward. To then celebrate the journey that will lead to our losing at least one foot, we will pair the movie with a decadent, themed snack. Of all the things Junkfood Cinema has been accused of — and that is a lengthy, chubby list — no one would ever call us ahead of the curve. We are indeed well within the curve — mid-curve even…sub-curve. Curvacious? How dare you. If you thought “old-fashioned” was just a drink order, you obviously haven’t seen the mountains of VHS tapes dotting the landscape of JFC headquarters. This supposedly outdated technology is our preferred viewing method for every film ever.

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Opening this year’s Un Certain Regard programme, Mystery returns festival veteran Lou Ye to Cannes for the fourth time, having screened Purple Butterfly, Summer Palace and Spring Fever in the main competition in past years, and after being banned from filmmaking for five years by the Chinese government. Though he is on less provocative form here than previously, he does still sneak in a criticism of the Chinese justice system and the somewhat distasteful practice of private settlements overriding criminal prosecution. His story here focuses on Lu Jie (Hao Lei), a happy housewife whose life is shattered when she discovers that her husband (Hao Qin) is having an affair. The story isn’t quite that conventional however, as it is framed by an explosive event – the death of her husband’s mistress under the wheels of a young rich playboy’s car – and when murder is suggested, the film quickly sets about solving the mystery of her death, despite the almost nullifying influence of the police force, at the same time further unraveling Lu Jie’s own story and the complex deceits of her husband.

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After literally days of rampant speculation and fanciful rumor-spreading (on my part), this year’s official line-up for the Cannes 2012 Film Festival has officially been unveiled by officials in the South of France. Officially. Unsurprisingly, and as predicted, my own 13 film wishlist was largely completely wrong – but I did predict a massive four (including the absence, thankfully, of Terrence Malick), and in my defense, Michael Haneke’s Love was the 14th film on my list until I decided to oust it for timing reasons. Brad Pitt, Robert Pattinson and Tom Hardy will battle each other as Killing Them Softly (the awfully renamed adaptation of Cogan’s Trade), Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and the other needlessly renamed flick, Lawless (why not just keep it as The Wettest County?) compete for the Palme d’Or.

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Alfred Hitchcock was born in the 19th century but gave birth in the 20th century to the age of modern filmmaking. Famous for his wit, inventive appreciation of the macabre, and a firm belief that suspense involves bringing a victim out from the shadows into the light he crafted the kinds of movies that made you care about characters even while reaching for your cholesterol medication. He also has a lot to teach. To fellow filmmakers and fans alike. Which is why we’ve chosen him as the first teacher in a new series of weekly articles where master movie-makers share their insights. Throughout his life, Hitchcock was candid about his methods and philosophies (amongst other things he flung around freely). Here’s a bit of free film school from a true visionary.

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Oh, James Franco, you make the most fun decisions! According to THR, actor-author-writer-director-unsatisfied Oscar host-student-man about town-seeker-performance artist-soap star Franco is in negotiations to star in MGM’s adaptation of Neil Strauss‘s The Game, a “part memoir, part how-to guide” on how to land chicks. Not content to stay in any sort of performance box at all, Franco won’t be starring as the Strauss surrogate, but as Mystery. You know Mystery. Even if you don’t know Mystery, you know Mystery. Mystery is better known as “The Pick-Up Artist,” the self-declared title he uses to shill his lady-getting techniques, the very same that he taught Strauss on his mystical, magical journey to be a dude in demand. Mystery even had his own VH1 reality show! Called, you guessed it, The Pick-Up Artist! Oh, also, he’s not attractive in the least and looks as if he shops almost exclusively at Spencer’s Gifts. I know that men bemoan that they don’t know what women want, but I can clearly declare, as a woman, I don’t want Mystery. But what I may want is Franco in the role, because it sounds just a little bit too funny and too perfect.

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It looks like fans won’t have to wait five years between Sarah Polley directorial projects this time around. Even though it took that long between Away From Her and Take This Waltz, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that she’ll be writing and directing a project called Alias Grace based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name. The book, which is inspired by real life, explores the psychological state of Grace Marks – a young maid who was put in jail for murdering her employer and suspected of killing his mistress in 1843. The story is bubbling with drama and controversy as Marks was both considered by some to be an unwilling participant and was ultimately pardoned after being in an asylum for three decades. All of this took place in Canada, but in spite of popular belief, it was not the only murder to take place there in the last two hundred years. This is great news because Polley has a keen talent for both story and character, but a lot will hinge on what teenage actor she gets to play the part of Marks. It will undoubtedly be a demanding role, but it’s an exciting challenge to see Polley take on. However, it also means we probably won’t get to see Polley make sweet, sweet love to a creature she made in a lab with Adrien Brody for a while.

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When the fine folks over at Twitch tossed out the names of Zodiac, Exit Through the Gift Shop and X-Files to try to describe this film, curiosity and eyebrows were already raised. Luckily, the Resurrect Dead trailer delivers. Ever since the 1980s, thousands of mysterious tiles (known now as the Toynbee Tiles) have been found in cities all over the world. What do they say? “Toynbee Idea/In Kubrick’s 2001/Resurrect Dead/On Planet Jupiter.” Cryptic enough? Then you’ll be happier when the mystery runs deeper. A documentary with mystery and science fiction leanings, this trailer looks absolutely magnetic:

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Francis Ford Coppola started his panel with a ton of electronics on the stage and a second ton of film history ready to impart. Twixt may be an antique story featuring Gothic Romance elements, but it’s set firmly in the modern and made by the future. What Coppola intends to do with the film is to take it on tour and (using high-powered new tech (and an iPad)) edit the film in real-time alongside live music scoring provided by Dan Deacon. He likened the concept to the way composers would take their music on tour, which means he’ll be responding in part to what the audience loves or hates. He will, on the spot, “change the experience to suit the audience.” It’s an ancient idea that will be re-painted as a revolution for the way a film is digested. This is film as opera, as live performance, as organic material that is re-shaped every single night that it plays.

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We launched a brand new feature this week, but we didn’t do it on this site. Crazy, right? That’s just the way we roll in this new age of Mystery Boxing. The goal is to cover all 156 episodes of the original 5-season run of The Twilight Zone, and it’s a task too big for one website. Thus, we’re partnering with the fantastic Twitch Film to get the job done. We’ll be watching every episode, and you should too. Twitch took the first five episodes, and they knocked them out of the park. Now it’s our turn to weigh in briefly and gear up for the next five episodes. Let’s open the scary door together and walk into…dramatic pause…The Twilight Zone:

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With all the commotion of Johnny Depp and Rob Marshall tackling a remake, I felt it important for non-fans to get a small glimpse into the world of Nick and Nora Charles. The 1934 comedy/mystery/drinking contest starred William Powell and Myrna Loy as the crime-solving, party-hosting pair trying to solve the disappearance of eccentric businessman (and thin person) Clyde Wynant just because, you know, for the fun of it. The Thin Man spawned a ton of sequels, the pair became icons in the comedy and mystery worlds alike, and their lush lifestyle (in movies set during Prohibitionist) was a definite middle finger to the powers that were. This charming trailer showcases Powell talking as Nick Charles to another one of his detective characters, and sharing the joys of new love and baffling murders.

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It’s no secret that Agatha Christie is the best mystery writer of all time, especially when the deaths involve British people being incredibly polite and understanding about the whole thing. There are several of her books that still need big screen adaptations, and it looks like Gosford Park screenwriter Julian Fellowes will be taking on one of them. According to Cinema Blend, Fellowes will be penning the script for Crooked House, which tells the story of a man who is told he can’t marry his fiancee until her grandfather’s murder is solved. Death at a Funeral director Neil LaBute will be helming the project. This is fantastic beyond words. Christie’s work has been relegated to better-than-average television movies on BBC for far too long, and it’s time that her twists and turns got a bigger stage to play on. Plus, it’s another excuse to go watch Murder By Death for a 15th time.

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The Super 8 trailer that proved that 1) most other trailer creators are slacking big time and 2) you don’t have to show everything to sell a movie, is going one step further with the mystery. No surprise there, really. Reelz Channel was intrepid enough to discover a website hidden in the aperture of the film reel shown inside the camera lens during said trailer, and it leads to S8EditingRoom (dot com) where an old government film with a ton of frames missing awaits. It’s one more piece of the puzzle, and it will probably only be the first step on the viral path, so stick around for more surprises. Also feel free to tool around on that site for a few hours until you unlock a new trailer or set of images. It’s not like you’d rather be doing that budget report your boss keeps yelling about.

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Hope springs eternal. As we round the bases of another year, it’s important to let the average and outright crappy slough off and realize that we’re all standing on the precipice of another year of movies. The future stretches out before us full of possibilities. That cheesy trailer you saw last week could end up producing your favorite film of the year. That epic blockbuster you’ve been waiting for could be bigger than you ever imagined. There’s hope for everything, but there’s also expectation, which is why Rob Hunter, Neil Miller and Cole Abaius painstakingly put together our list of the 30 Most Anticipated Films of 2011. It’s the stuff we’re most looking forward to this year, put together when our hope and optimism is at its peak.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. This week, Print to Projector presents the story of an old shipmaster found stabbed to death, a fortune left untouched, and a mystery that would inspire the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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It’s difficult to conduct an interview about a film that no one’s supposed to be talking about, but there’s more fascinating things going on beyond the mystery of Catfish. In a closed door, password-protected session, I sat down for a lengthy conversation with directors Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman, and the subject of the documentary Nev Shulman to discuss how real everything was, the horror aspect, aborted plans to use Bruce Willis’s face for advertising, the list of possible titles, it’s Grizzly Man connection, and what they’re turning down the Justin Bieber biopic to make next. [Spoilers exist simply because we'll be talking openly about the film.]

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Retired detective and alcoholic Nick Charles (William Powell) is drawn out of his retirement (which is being funded by his marriage to gorgeous, witty socialite lush Norah (Myrna Loy)) by the disappearance of the very thin Clyde Wynant (Edward Ellis) who may also be mixed up in the murder of a young woman. Throw in the usual familial suspects, Cesar Romero, and a few gutter-dwelling punks, mix thoroughly with outlawed gin, and you’ve got yourself one sober mystery to solve un-soberly.

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How can anyone get away with saying nothing and still have so much excitement build up around his film?

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We have non-exclusive word that Super 8 is not a sequel to Cloverfield even if it sounds exactly like one.

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Expecting a quality film from Martin Scorsese is like expecting to get wet in the rain. It’s the anticipation of the inevitable with the director who has given us so many excellent cinematic experience, and you wouldn’t be foolish to expect quality here again with Shutter Island.

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