Panos Cosmatos

The level of neon-glowing attention to detail in Panos Cosmatos‘s Beyond the Black Rainbow is intense. The first-time director has taken the images of forbidden horror VHS tapes on rental store shelves and transformed his imagined movies into something very real, and very frightening. It’s a trip into a lonely cult that mixes religion, science and pills. We’ll talk with the writer/director about his psychedelic terror-scape. Plus, Battleship Pretension hosts David Bax and Tyler Smith battle in our Movie News Pop Quiz, and the discussion turns to the nature of superhero movies. Are they an action subgenre? Can there be a superhero movie without any action? Is The Avengers the zenith? Reject Radio starts now. As soon as you click that. Download Episode #133

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What can I say about Beyond the Black Rainbow that hasn’t already been said about licking toads while watching a 70s slasher flick behind your neighborhood scientific research compound? Writer/director Panos Cosmatos‘s deranged trip down the rabbit hole feels like Cronenberg and Argento furiously impregnated a robot named TARKOVSKY. It’s homage at its highest form – work born directly from the visual and storytelling tropes of iconic artists that manages to feel brand new with the presence of a fresh personality. In the 80s-set film, and stop me if you’ve heard this one, Elena (Eva Allan) is held captive in a research facility by Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers), the demented product of a cult-like program born two decades earlier that sought to merge science and religion. As he slowly deteriorates mentally, blood starts spilling, but even if Elena gets a chance to escape, she’ll have him murderously on her trail.

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Another day, another lineup announcement from AFI FEST 2011 that sends me positively reeling. Today sees the film festival rolling out their World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short selections. Today also sees me jumping up and down and repeatedly screaming, “ALPS! ALPS! ALPPPPSSSS!” As has been the trend with AFI FEST’s recent lineup announcements, this crop of films guarantees that the festival is a can’t-miss for any film buffs in the Los Angeles area. There’s a number of titles here that festival-obsessed cinephiles will recognize from recent events – films like Ben Wheatley‘s Kill List, Morten Tyldum‘s Headhunters, Jean-Baptiste Léonetti‘s Carre Blanc, Nacho Vigalondo’s Extraterrestrial, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi’s This is Not a Film, and for Dogtooth obsessives like me, Yorgos Lanthimos‘s Alps. AFI FEST will run from November 3rd through the 10th in Hollywood, with all screenings taking place at The Chinese, the Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Egyptian Theatre. The best part? Tickets for all screenings are free (and available starting October 27). Free, guys, free. After the break, check out the full list of the films to be featured as AFI FEST World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight, and Short Film selections.

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Panos Cosmatos‘s first film Beyond the Black Rainbow, which premiered at last week’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York, is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Or, it’s reminiscent of many things you have seen. Like a faded memory, an amalgamation of every sci-fi/horror between 1970 – 1985, Black Rainbow is an exercise in aesthetic and genre. Set in a futuristic 1983, the film stars Michael Rogers as the leader of a secret laboratory, running tests on a telepathic child in an effort to – wait. No. Watching the events unfold in Black Rainbow is half the fun, the other half being entirely unsettled by the creepy visual style and piercing audio track. It’s engrossing. I sat down with Cosmatos to talk about bringing Beyond the Black Rainbow, the inspiration for moody throwback and creating a world that’s both familiar and completely unique.

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