The Ward

This Week in DVD

Welcome back to FSR’s weekly look at new DVD releases hitting shelves both real and virtual! It’s a relatively slow release week with nothing worth buying, but there’s still a minor theme involving three historically solid directors whose latest work shows them to be in major slumps. Luc Besson, John Carpenter and Robert Redford, I’m looking at you. Other releases this week aside from The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, The Ward, and The Conspirator include Cary Fukunaga’s pretty but bland Jane Eyre, the hilarious clergy molestation comedy Priest, and the latest season of Showtime’s Dexter series. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Bang Bang Club Four photographers in South Africa become fast friends as they cover the bloodshed and warfare accompanying the end of apartheid. The film, based on a memoir by two of them, highlights the daily dangers and moral struggles faced by photographers in a war zone. Of the many questions the film asks the one about helping your subjects instead of simply taking their picture and moving on is handled with tragic honesty. Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch both deliver strong, grounded performances, and the narrative never bores as it moves between drama and action.

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I like these twitter Q and A’s. The best one so far to speak of is the video Q and A with Werner Herzog, a man that could probably still give existential and out there answers to the dumbest of questions. He’s a guy I could listen to all day. Another guy I could listen to all day? The very friendly John Carpenter. From 2:00-3:30 p.m. (PST), the director behind too many to count classics will be participating in a twitter Q and A. Sadly, this not a video one like the Herzog’s. But considering it’s been quite some time since the horror icon’s Ghost of Mars(…) and the fact that it may be a few more years until we get a followup to The Ward, it’s still a rare treat. Here’s all you have to do to throw a question to Carpenter: Send your questions to @ARC_Entertain and make sure to include #theward in your tweet. And for those of you who didn’t know, Carpenter is already an active participant on twitter: @TheHorrorMaster The Ward is now in limited release and on VOD.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we play Perfect Host to David Hyde Pierce, get twisted on David Lynchian philosophy with Shai Biderman, and try to escape The Ward with director John Carpenter. Plus, there’s no pesky movie news quiz this week (which means we just lost half of our audience). Listen Here: Download This Episode

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Jared Harris must be one of the few lucky actors to play a non-evil doctor in a horror movie. The biggest convention John Carpenter avoids in his return to the screen is taking the possible role of a villain, and making a doctor that is actually interested in helping his patients. Harris doesn’t chew up any scenery and, as the actor points out, isn’t playing ‘Dracula’. Speaking of Dracula, Harris revealed he’s a big admirer of Francis Ford Coppola‘s version. Yes, not a very good transition, but how many people actually love that film? Not many, unfortunately. And, of course, we did discus Mad Men. Last season was arguably the show’s finest hour. Matthew Weiner showed nearly the whole ensemble at their lowest and most vulnerable. There was no real reason to ask Harris about the next season — considering it’s a bit far off from actually shooting — but Harris and I did talk about Lane Pryce’s place in the “boy’s club” as well as the revealing drama of last season. Here’s what actor Jared Harris had to say about not hamming things up, Carpenter’s professionalism, and great scripts making bad movies… and fair warning, our talk features spoilers for The Ward.

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Assault On Precinct 13. Halloween. The Fog. Escape From New York. The Thing. Christine. Starman. Big Trouble In Little China. Prince Of Darkness. They Live. In the Mouth Of Madness. That’s an incomplete list of films directed by John Carpenter from 1976 to 1994, and almost every one is a fantastic piece of cinema. Most directors (genre or otherwise) would be happy to see one or two great movies on their resume, but Carpenter can already claim several. And then, sadly, he died in 1995 and was secretly replaced by a hack doppelganger who’s continued to make mediocre (at best) movies in his name. Welcome to John Carpenter’s The Ward, where you can check in, but… I wouldn’t advise it.

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If you can name the last John Carpenter film, you’re a better buff than I. If you can name the last good John Carpenter film, you would say, “In the Mouth of Madness,” because that’s technically correct (the best kind of correct). Now, with The Ward, he’s driven Amber Heard crazy and tossed her into a group shower where a ghost can attack her. All of this will make more sense once you’ve seen the trailer:

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amberheard-1

Sure it’s been twenty-three years since John Carpenter made a great movie (Big Trouble In Little China), and since then he’s made three good films and five shitty ones, but I still hold out hope.

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