Ray Wise

Fantasia 2014

Fantasia International Film Festival 2014 runs July 17 to August 6. Follow all of our coverage here. Raymond (Matthew Gray Gubler) is a recent college grad with an MBA and a strong desire to work. Unfortunately he’s holding out for something in upper management, and that something is not on his career horizon. Defeated he returns to his hometown to move back in with his mom and dad (Barbara Niven and Ray Wise), but while he expects living at home again to be a nightmare he’s unprepared for just how horrific it becomes. A little dead girl is discovered buried in their backyard, and the find is soon followed by all manner of supernatural shenanigans and terrifying apparitions. Raymond is no stranger to ghostly visitors as he used to regularly see and commune with the dead as a child. He lost the ability as he grew up, but reminded of his true calling and with the assistance of a dryly sarcastic bartender (Kat Dennings) he sets out to appease the vengeful spirit and return the household to normal. Director/co-writer Richard Bates Jr.‘s second film, Suburban Gothic, is a bit rough around the edges at times — due clearly to budgetary limitations as opposed to creative ones — but none of that gets in the way of the high energy and generous laughs packed into a tight and very funny 90 minutes.

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The Fall - Lee Pace

Sometimes Hollywood charms us and hypnotizes us with its magic. And sometimes it’s so damned capricious with talent that you want to start a national shin-kicking campaign to change the tide. Between celebrities built up and then thrust into obscurity, and talents that never quite see the light of fame, Hollywood is a wasteland of actors who could give the current who’s who a run for their dramatic money. The lucky few get that extra ten minutes of fame that turns them into a split-second repeat whirlwind a la Mickey Rourke, but most live the life of a character actor with the occasional reminder role, or the television guest star who makes Kevin Bacon’s Hollywood web seem a little smaller. Here are nine of the many, the ones that have had me grumbling about their trajectories in recent months:

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This week’s Mad Men is all about not practicing what you preach. Don gets angry with Megan for feigning sex on her soap, when he does a lot more than feign with others in real life. Joan fires Harry’s secretary, Scarlett, when Joan is clearly no angel. And a lot of people are mad about some secret meetings with Heinz Ketchup. This episode, entitled “To Have and to Hold,” probably won’t have much weight in terms of furthering the plot as a whole other than to further complicate the Don/Megan relationship. Though, like last week’s entry, this episode from writer Erin Levy and director Michael Uppendahl has a tight theme, is well-constructed, and is definitely engaging. Joan’s act of hypocrisy here stems from her desperately trying to establish a sense of authority in the male-driven workplace. And you really feel for her, especially since that whole terrible Jaguar situation is still getting thrown in her face. When she discovers that Scarlett made Dawn falsely punch her timecard to duck out with Harry (and also to do some shopping) she is livid and immediately fires Scarlett… only to get undermined by Harry and the rest of the partners when the firing doesn’t stick. Harry is especially awful here, begging for a partnership (which he doesn’t get), saying, “I’m sorry my accomplishments happened in broad daylight and I can’t be given the same rewards.”

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? If you’ve ever wanted to watch Ray Wise continue looking creepy and making terrible ethical decisions with a blunt instrument, Twin Peaks is a great way to go. If you only have 9 minutes, this short film from Padraig Reynolds will definitely do the trick. With the stakes immediately high, we’re dropped into the desert just a handful of days before the people decide their new governor with one of the candidates. Fortunately, he has his wife to keep him company. Unfortunately, he’s also got a big problem. It’s excellent to see a slow-burn executed so well in the time given. Chalk it up to Wise’s sheer, unmitigated magnetism, the chill of co-star Lin Shaye and the natural assumptions that we all make about the people reaching for power in our society. It’s a moral tale that sinks to the bottom of your gut. Kudos for Vimeo for making it a staff pick and for Short of the Week for spotlighting it. What will it cost you? Only 9 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Ryan Hartwig and a shotgun in The Aggression Scale

Remember the first time you watched Home Alone? You probably enjoyed it quite a bit, but still, somewhere deep in the back of your head, you knew it was missing something. That something was most likely extreme violence, bloody murder and a hot older sister. Lucky for you director Steven Miller and writer Ben Powell thought the very same thing. Their new film, The Aggression Scale, is about a group of thugs who invade a family’s home in search of money and kicks but find an emotionally disturbed boy instead. Owen is prone to violence, knowledgeable in the art of weapon-making and booby traps and very, very angry. He would eat Kevin McCallister for breakfast. The always wonderful Ray Wise stars as the mobster behind it all, and Dana Ashbrook joins him as his right-hand man and lead enforcer. That’s right…it’s a mini Twin Peaks reunion! Also along for the ride is Derek Mears who should be recognizable to all as the star of Kickpuncher. Anchor Bay is releasing the movie on May 29th, and they’re giving away two copies of the Blu-ray to help spread the home invasion fun. Keep reading to see how you can win.

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Former pedophile will attempt to scare you… On film, that is.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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