Scenic Route

discs day of the dead

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Day of the Dead The zombie apocalypse continues to ravage the Earth, and one of the last pockets of survivors makes their home in an abandoned missile silo. The group is divided unevenly between civilians and soldiers, but as the days pass and the undead keep coming, the tension among the living rises to dangerous levels. George Romero‘s Dead films currently number six, and while his most recent three are mostly forgettable, the original trilogy remains a classic both collectively and individually. And this is where I admit that I find Day to be the best of the bunch. Tom Savini‘s effects are the most gorily effective of the series, and while it lacks the previous films’ allegory and metaphor, it manages a self-contained story complete with good guys, bad guys, and entertaining set pieces. And hell, even John Harrison‘s score is fantastic. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray gives the film the treatment it deserves complete with original artwork, a new HD transfer, and a load of extras including a documentary almost as long as the movie itself. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Documentary, commentaries, featurettes, galleries, trailer]

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Scenic Route

A few years ago, Josh Duhamel discussed his desire to broach darker material. He was promoting Life as We Know It at the time, and there’s a good chance he was referring to a movie like Scenic Route. Duhamel’s career has primarily been comprised of lighter works. There’s nothing wrong with that, but taking on a role like his in Scenic Route could be interpreted as his attempt to prove he’s more than just a romantic leading man. This is a movie devoid of any of the romance or gloss you’d expect from a movie featuring the actor. He’s playing a real guy with serious problems in a theatrical setting. His character, Mitchell, is stranded in Death Valley with his buddy Carther (Dan Fogler). This is a performance piece, and in addition to falling in love with the script, Duhamel  saw the movie as an opportunity to push himself further as an actor. Here’s what else he had to tell us about the dark dramedy:

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ScenicRoute

Road movies where an uptight straight man and a manic comic foil get stuck in a car together, initially get on each other’s nerves, but then bond, are nothing new. Actually, they’re one of the stock plots that mainstream comedies seem to go to most often. Scenic Route was written by Kyle Killen, the man who gave us the wonderfully offbeat The Beaver though, so you can probably imagine that it puts a pretty unique spin on the buddy road movie formula. This one sees Josh Duhamel playing the workaholic professional archetype and Dan Fogler playing the overly needy eccentric archetype, much like you would expect. The twist comes when, instead of getting into wacky hijinx, the duo find themselves in a pretty serious life or death situation. The twists then continue when, instead of teaching each other how to live and love, one of them ends up beating the other to death and burying him in the desert. Pretty big twist, huh? And seeing as the trailer gives away what normally would be the climax of the movie, it makes you wonder what other tricks Scenic Route has up its sleeve. Click through to watch the weirdness.

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SXSW

SXSW 2013 ended ten days ago, but the memories live on thanks to the great friends we met, delicious food we ate and fantastic movies we had the pleasure of seeing. (Our intrepid interviewer, Jack, also has a strange rash to remind him of the dangers of 6th Street after dark.) You can catch up on our coverage of the films and the talents, but as a final goodbye to this year’s fest we want to highlight some of the movies we enjoyed the most. Rather than simply list the best of the fest though we’ve chosen to look at our favorites as lessons learned, things we discovered and/or talking points that other filmmakers could probably learn from as well. It’s worth noting that my personal favorite of the fest was Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, but since it was already my #1 film at this year’s Sundance I decided to highlight two other excellent movies instead. Keep reading to see what Jack Giroux, Kevin Kelly, Neil Miller, Luke Mullen and I learned about the movies of SXSW 2013.

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Scenic Route

On paper, Scenic Route sounds like a student film: two buddies on a road trip get stranded in the middle of nowhere, and have to come to terms with their differences, while facing the possibility of death. It’s not tied to a specific location, there are only two characters, for the most part, and it’s basically a lot of talking. In the hands of any other actors, it might have slipped easily into that student film territory. But who would have ever known that Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler would have such great chemistry together?

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sxsw anticipated

SXSW 2013 begins in a couple days, and we couldn’t be more excited. By “we,” I mean FSR founder, publisher and beard-model Neil Miller, professional interviewer and lanky ladies man Jack Giroux, and myself. We’ll be descending on Austin this Friday to take in as much festival film-going, socializing and Alamo Drafthouse food as we possibly can. Of course we’re excited to see movies too. A lot of movies. And to give you an idea of what we’re most looking forward to film-wise the three of us have each listed our five most anticipated films of SXSW 2013 below.

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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