Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on October 7, 2009
by Rick Marshall – MTV.com
‘Tis the season for scary movies, so it’s fitting that Thomas Jane’s stylish, noir-fueled horror film “Dark Country” arrives on shelves this week. In his directorial debut, the “Punisher” actor not only makes his first bow behind the camera, but he also stars alongside Lauren German (“Hostel: Part II”) and Ron Perlman (“Hellboy”)—two actors not entirely unfamiliar with fright-friendly cinema.
Combining surreal, David Lynch-style visuals with a pulpy horror tale that would seem at home in old issues of “Tales From The Crypt” or “Creepy,” Jane says comic books weren’t far from his mind when he stepped behind the camera.
“I’ve been reading comic books since I was eight years old, and in comics, anything’s possible,” Jane told MTV News. “They come up with angles that you could never shoot in life, and they really have to work hard to make that two-dimensional space feel three-dimensional, so it’s a fantastic resource for coming up with ideas for shots.”
“I wanted to do something that was unique, and yet also paid homage to filmmakers who had a big impression on me,” said Jane, “like David Lynch, the Coen brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, but also John Alton, who is a great cinematographer who worked with Anthony Mann on films like ‘Raw Deal’ and ‘He Walked By Night.’”
According to Jane, when it came time to pull double duty on the film, he sought advice from one of the more prominent actor/directors in recent years—and discovered that he was just the latest in a long line of people to receive the same words of wisdom.
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“I called Mel Gibson and he talked to me on the phone for an hour, and said that when he was getting ready to direct and star in his first film, he was nervous and he called Clint Eastwood,” said Jane. “Clint Eastwood talked to Mel for a long time and told Mel that he was really nervous and he called Don Siegel, who had directed Clint in a bunch of movies, and Don told Clint, ‘Don’t sell yourself short. Spend as much time on yourself—your own shots—as you do on every other actor, on every other aspect of production. Be careful, because you’re in the movie you have permission to just do one or two takes on yourself and quickly move on—but you need to spend as much time on yourself for your film to work.’”
“That’s what I took away from my conversation with Mel and I hung up the phone feeling much more confident in my ability to pull this thing off than I did before I’d gotten on the phone,” he explained.
Originally intended as a 3-D theater release, Jane said the film was shot in 3-D but plans were ratcheted back due to the lack of home theater equipment able to present the film in all its multidimensional glory.
“But that equipment is coming, and when it does I certainly hope that we give ‘Dark Country’ a home theatrical 3-D release,” he added.
While it could be a while until the film gets a 3-D premiere in homes, it did receive a screening in line with Jane’s plans this past weekend at Long Beach Comic Con, where “Dark Country” debuted in full 3-D glory in front of a packed house of nearly 400 fans. Jane and comic book artist Tim Bradstreet hosted the screening along with 3-D developer Ray 3D Zone.
And though his 3-D plans for the film involved looking ahead to the future of the medium, Jane said his inspiration for the tone of the film involved more of a rearview-mirror take on filmmaking—especially when it comes to horror movies.
“I wanted to make a movie that was for people who enjoy movies that are off the beaten track, you know?” said Jane. “I wanted to make a movie for fans of cult films, for fans of ‘The Twilight Zone,’ for guys who stayed up late to watch ‘The Outer Limits’ when they were probably too young to do that.”
“It seems like more and more now, people are really losing sight of some of the great, old drive-in films,” he continued. “Quentin Tarantino tried to bring some of that flavor to the ‘Grind House’ stuff and I think that this film very much embodies that spirit—but instead of trying purposely to scratch up the movie and print frames out of it and yellow the film, let’s make this movie as if it’s really exists. And I feel like the feedback’s been really, really rewarding.”
“Dark Country” stars Thomas Jane, Lauren German and Ron Perlman. The film was directed by Jane, with a script by Tab Murphy.
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Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on June 26, 2009
Jim Lowe – Times Argus Staff
Science fiction has long attracted hordes of movie-goers, perhaps because it predicts the future.
“People are interested in the future and what it holds,” explained Eric Reynolds, creator of the Savoy Theater’s Sci-Fi July film festival, now in its third year. “I’m fascinated by the future. I would love to see what the earth looks like in 500 years – if human beings are still around – and I enjoy a good action-adventure story, which a lot of science fiction has.”
This year, Sci-Fi July will present nine science fiction films at the Montpelier art film theater, from the classic 1956 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” to the 1986 thriller “Aliens.”
“There are different kinds of science fiction,” Reynolds said. “There are very positive and negative science fiction stories. This summer, for instance, there are two vastly different science fiction films that have already come out, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Terminator Salvation’ – they’re very different futures.”
One of the attractions is certainly the technology.
“Everything we do is centered around technology – the computers and the Internet,” Reynolds said. “I think we’re making our way to what science fiction has shown us already.”
Science fiction has also helped mold the technology, particularly the original 1966 “Star Trek.”
“Even scientists use that as a guide for technologies that they’d like to see,” Reynolds said. “I think we have those – the cell phone looks very much like the communicator from the original ‘Star Trek.’”
Sci-fi also predicted the personal computer, among other things.
“All sorts of things have grown out of what people imagine,” Reynolds said. “Science fiction more and more is becoming science reality.”
Several of this year’s films were on Reynolds’ list from the beginning, but there wasn’t space to schedule them.
“Films like ‘Close Encounters’ and ‘Brazil’ were on the list the very first year, but I just didn’t have room to show them,” he said. “They’re great films – ‘Close Encounters’ is a favorite of mine.”
In Steven Spielberg’s 1977 Oscar-winner, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” follows a line worker who, after a encounter with UFOs, is drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen. In a very different vein, Terry Gilliam’s 1985 cult classic, “Brazil” pillories government bureaucracy with a tale of an unimportant civil servant drawn into the world of terrorists over a young woman he dreams of.
Last year, “Barbarella,” Roger Vadim’s 1985 erotic sci-fi spoof starring Jane Fonda, was the most attended film the festival. Hence, “Logan’s Run” and “Flash Gordon,” in the same vein. An Academy Award winner for visual effects, Michael Anderson’s 1976 “Logan’s Run” chronicles a future society which maintains its equilibrium by killing anyone who reaches the age of 30. Mike Hodges’ campy 1980 “Flash Gordon” is based on the macho comic book super-hero of the same name.
“I would love to have some classic films in there, so ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and “Dr. Strangelove’ certainly fit that bill,” Reynolds said. “They both happen to be about the Cold War. They’re sort of from the same era, showing different aspects of that.”
In Don Siegel’s 1956 “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” which was subjected to several remakes, a community finds that its citizens are being replaced by emotionless alien duplicates. “Dr. Stranglelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy starring Peter Sellars and George C. Scott, satirizes the nuclear scare.
Another that Reynolds has wanted to present from the beginning is “Planet of the Apes,” Franklin Schaffner’s 1968 film based on the novel by Pierre Boulle in which apes rule and humans are subservient.
“I actually read the book a couple of years ago,” Reynolds said. “I thought it was a great book. It’s very different from both movie versions.”
Charlton Heston. starred, as he did in a number of sci-fi films, including “The Omega Man” (1971) and “Soylent Green” (1973).
Sci-Fi July has been attracting a small but dedicated audience since its inception, one that is growing.
“The same people who come again and again – but that group is slowly getting larger and larger,” Reynolds said. “It seems to be mainly younger people, people in their 20s and early 30s.”
But, that is changing. After complaints about the original 11 p.m. screenings being too late for some “older” people, Reynolds added matinees.
“And we got a much wider range of people,” he said. “I think it’s people who like seeing classic or even campy films, and films that they have heard of but not on a large screen. They love the fact that we’re still doing it.”
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