Stephen Dorff

Phase 4 Films

Savage Harvest is a 1981 movie starring Tom Skerritt as the patriarch of a family under siege by a pride of lions in Africa. It is awesome. Heatstroke gives the impression early on that it’s aiming for a similar feel — albeit with the lions replaced by hyenas — but what follows is nothing of the sort. There is only one hyena. And it’s less of a carnivorous threat than it is the reassuring reincarnation of Stephen Dorff (probably). Paul (Dorff) is a hyena expert teaching classes on hyenas. The divorced father of one is planning a trip to South Africa with his girlfriend Tally (Svetlana Metkina), but a call from his distraught ex-wife worried that their daughter Jo (Maisie Williams) is using drugs leads to the ornery teenager joining the research safari. Tally has little interest in taking care of a child, but she tries her best in the face of Jo’s constant attitude and ungratefulness. Their relationship is made even more tenuous when Paul runs afoul of a pair of poachers and the two ladies are left to fend for themselves against the deadly forces of nature and of man.

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The Motel Life

While the premise of Gabe and Alan Polsky’s The Motel Life isn’t anything revolutionary – two attractive brothers (Stephen Dorff and Emile Hirsch) on the run from the law, struggling with whether or not they should own up to their misdeeds – the way in which their conflicts are framed is something to talk about. Hirsch and Dorff star as brothers who grew up depending on each other for everything, including now, when Dorff is involved in a fatal car accident and needs that fact not to be known. In order to cope with this situation, and presumably many of the other hardships they’ve had to endure, the brothers spin their reality into the kinds of adventures you’d read about it little boys’ storybooks. They’re sailors of the sea and fighter pilots, not transients living out of motels trying to make it to the next week. The stories are represented through animated sequences, shown in the trailer between grim shots of burning cars and bleak Reno, Nevada. What’s going to happen when they’re forced to face reality and snap out of their dream world? Or will they go down fighting on their imaginary ship? – I’d kind of like to see their take on an animated prison. Check out the trailer here:

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Zaytoun

After premiering at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Eran Riklis‘ Zaytoun is finally making its way to U.S. theaters this fall. The film centers on an Israeli fighter pilot played by Stephen Dorff (Somewhere, those weirdly confrontational e-cigarette commercials), whose plane is shot down in the midst of the 1982 Lebanese Civil War. He strikes a deal with Fahed (Abdallah El Akal), a young Palestinian boy living in a refugee camp, to get him back home in exchange for helping him break free. Dorff’s kind of broken accent aside, the trailer shows a film with all the potential to be a great “buddy” adventure. Though clearly these two enemies aren’t going to trust each other for at least half of the road trip, they’ll surely form a tentative bond that evolves into an unlikely friendship when they realize that they’re not so different after all. Think of all the lessons they’ll learn.Check out the trailer after the break.

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Tomorrow You

Apparently, today is Random Movies You Didn’t Know Existed That Star Michelle Monaghan Day in Trailerville so, on the heels of the diamond-encrusted trailer for Penthouse North, here comes a sweat-soaked look at Tomorrow You’re Gone. Did you think that Penthouse North looked forumalic? Oh, get ready for Tomorrow You’re Gone. Also starring Willem Dafoe and Stephen Dorff because, hey, they need jobs, too, the film is a “one last job” thriller (the trailer actually uses the “one last job” term in splashy text, so two points for honesty) that pits recent parolee Dorff against string-puller Dafoe. Dorff’s attempts to go straight and keep his new lady (Monaghan) safe go awry when Dafoe calls in return on a debt. You know the rest. Check out today’s other random Michelle Monaghan trailer after the break.

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If you made it through Buried without the assistance of prescription drugs and found yourself thinking afterwards, “damn, I’d love to see another thriller that involves a dude, a box, a mission, and a cell phone,” have we got a treat for you! Gabe Torres‘ Brake includes all of those elements, plus bonus water torture! Starring Stephen Dorff (between this, Somewhere, Immortals, and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, the former heartthrob is having a real renaissance – well, let’s not count Bucky Larson) as a Secret Service agent who wakes up in a plexiglass box in the trunk of a car, Brake comes across like the bastard child of Buried and Saw. See, Dorff’s Jeremy Reins has been trapped in the box by some nefarious types (duh), who won’t let him go until he gives up some government info. And they’re not content to just trap him in the box, they’ve rigged up some real torturous treats to unleash on him as time ticks down until it’s run out. Take a deep breath and watch the trailer for Brake after, ahem, the break.

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Immortals Director Tarsem Singh

One of my favorite experiences at Comic-Con this year was interviewing Tarsem. I was never scheduled to speak with the man one-on-one, and was only meant to participate in the roundtables for Immortals. Luckily, after the roundtables were coming to an end, I noticed Tarsem standing alone by himself. He mentioned how most people find The Fall to be the biggest piece of shit or the best thing ever made, and I fall heavily in the latter, so I decided to tell him that. Tarsem was so receptive to a basic compliment, he gave me an interview on the spot. Whenever a publicist tried to drag him away, he’d basically tell them to buzz off since I said I love The Fall. I left that encounter with a big grin on my face, to say the least. This time around, my chat with Tarsem started off on the same fun note as our previous encounter, but ended on a more disappointing note. Last week when we spoke, I had not seen Immortals. That type of interview is never ideal, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to speak with Tarsem again, who I guessed was knee-deep in Mirror, Mirror. Once he found at I hadn’t seen the film, he demanded the publicist to reschedule… which, unfortunately, didn’t happen, for one reason or another. Currently, I’m left with another hundred questions left I wanted to ask Tarsem. Then again, any amount of time with the fast-talking director is more than appreciated. Here’s what Tarsem […]

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“Coming this fall: an action event from the director of The Cell and The Fall.” Yeah, it still sounds odd to me, too. Once it was announced that Tarsem would be tackling a big swords and sandals epic, it elicited a feeling of both excitement and confusion. As for the exciting part — wouldn’t it be interesting to see how such a visionary can put a spin on this genre and what he could do with an action beat? As for the confusion — isn’t this a big studio picture? With epics such as this, directors have countless people to answer to. But Tarsem didn’t seem interested in answering to those people. This a director that couldn’t have a greater distaste for by-the-numbers filmmaking. As he says below, he’s a polarizing filmmaker. Both The Cell and The Fall received both wild appraise and heaps of venom. Can Tarsem still bring that interesting polarization to a sizable fall release? From the sound of it, yes, he can. When I approached Tarsem to discuss The Fall and wish him luck on Immortals, the very funny and honest filmmaker ended up giving me a quick and unplanned 1-on-1 about not dealing with studio suits, his work ethic with actors, and the methods of Mickey Rourke.

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The comparisons to 300 will be inevitable, so let’s just get them out of the way. Yes, the teaser for Immortals makes it look an awful lot like 300 (and the “From the Producers of 300” bit only amplifies it), but it looks like a far more visually dynamic version. Snyder’s movie looked amazing, but Singh has a more varied palette and a bigger paint brush, so everything here seems a bit more vibrant instead of automatically being washed out in sepia tones and blood reds. Those are definitely still there, though. This teaser is intense, and it showcases Singh’s best strengths as a filmmaker: his eye for production design. Check it out for yourself and get your blood flowing:

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Somewhere is the exact type of film you expect from Sofia Coppola. Thematically, it’s very similar to her other works. And its lead protagonist, Johnny Marco, is a celebrity. A celebrity (like Bob in Lost in Translation) that is empty and nearly invisible. There are a lot of people who can’t sympathize with those with success. It’s a cynical response, and Coppola doesn’t seem to understand it as well. There’s something saddening and universal about Johnny Marco that people without large bank accounts should be able to connect with. Most of Coppola’s leads are always lost and trying to find footing in their lives. Coppola explores similar themes quite frequently from isolation to empty success, and revisiting those themes and trying to keep it fresh is something the acclaimed director discussed below. Coppola was swift in her responses, but always to the point. Thankfully, I had plenty of time with her and found her to be quite pleasant and passionate.

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Somewhere

Focus Features has unleashed the first trailer for Sofia Coppola’s upcoming film Somewhere, a drama about a bad boy actor (Stephen Dorff) who — while struggling to survive life at the Chateau Marmont — is forced to reconnect with his 11-year old daughter (Elle Fanning). There’s nothing like a rags-to-riches tale about privileged people with substance abuse problems and issues with taking responsibility for themselves. Am I right?

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TheGateRemake

Once you’re done being excellent to each other, check out what Bill S. Preston is up to in the 3D horror community.

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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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