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Posts Tagged ‘Donnie Darko’

The Box, 2009 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on April 19, 2010

Director: Richard Kelly
Starring: James Marsden, Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella

Score: 8 / 10

Richard Kelly was behind the phenomenal Donnie Darko and the confusing flawed epic Southland Tales. Both featured deep far reaching ideas and, although the execution in the latter was a bit out of whack, you were left thinking about them for a long time.

The Box is no exception to this. It deals with choice and the dark places they can take you. Based on Richard Matheson’s short story, “Button Button” and with a healthy dose of Philip K Dick paranoia, the film opens up in the Seventies were Cameron Diaz and James Marsden are a happy couple with a young son. She is a teacher, he is an engineer at NASA hoping to become and astronaut and that set up is based on Richard Kelly’s life.

To upset the apple cart comes a disfigured Frank Langella with the titular box. Inside the box is a button and he informs the couple that if they press the button they will get $1,000,000 (Dr Evil would be so happy), but someone they don’t know will die.

The first part of the film deals with their decision about what to do with the button and fleshing out their world. It is this aspect that I thought Kelly handled really well. You get the feeling of their family and events going on around them. My problem with lots of films, especially high concept ones like this, is that it takes place in a tiny place with just the people involved. You don’t always feel as if the world is moving on a around them. Kelly gets by this by having quite a large cast of good supporting actors and setting it in the Seventies may also help that. It puts you in mind of Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives.

The scarred face of Langella is just part of the strangeness that slowly creeps into the film. People stare at Diaz and Marsden before suffering nosebleeds, events turn against them meaning they current lifestyle is at risk, and elsewhere a man shoots his wife and goes on the run.

I can’t go into the plot of the film too much without spoiling it, but needless to say the button is just the first choice they are given.

Marsden does an excellent job and gets further away from the cardboard cut-out that was Cyclops. Diaz does okay, but the accent she puts on gets in the way, yet you feel her anguish very well in some later scenes.

The main praise goes to Kelly for the whole look and feel of the film. Some standout scenes are the ones in the library – Marsden walking between the desks – and all of the ones with Langella who is just superb. We don’t get given an explanation as to what exactly is going on or who is behind it all, but what information is dripped to us sets light to the imagination as you try and figure out the purpose of the choice and what it means to us all.

I could go on, but run the risk of spoiling it for you. Go and watch it, then think about it and watch some more.

Would you push the button?

The Box (DVD) – Amazon.co.uk
The Box (Blu-Ray) – Amazon.co.uk
The Box (DVD) – Amazon.com
The Box (Blu-ray) – Amazon.com

Posted in Film, news, Review, Sci-Fi, Thriller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Competition: Win Richard Kelly’s The Box

Posted by LiveFor on April 11, 2010


Richard Kelly is the guy behind the brilliant Donnie Darko and the not well received Southland Tales.

On th 19th April his new film The Box is released on DVD in the UK. To mark the occasion I have got 3 copies of the film to give away.

Norma and Arthur Lewis, a suburban couple with a young child, receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger, delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world; someone they don’t know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the cross-hairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.

The competition is open for anyone anywhere in the world. Mind you you will need a player that can play a Region 2 DVD.

Who wrote the short story that The Box is based on?

Email me the answer with “The Box” as the subject. Include your name and address as that will make it quicker to send out the prize if you win.

Competition ends at midnight GMT on 18th April 2010.

Thanks to the good people at Romley Davies for sorting this out.
The Box (DVD) – Amazon.co.uk
The Box (Blu-Ray) – Amazon.co.uk
The Box (DVD) – Amazon.com
The Box (Blu-ray) – Amazon.com

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Smurfing Hell! Katy Perry may be Smurfette

Posted by LiveFor on March 5, 2010

She kissed a girl and she liked it, but is now marrying, or is married to Russell Brand. Now pop star, Katy Perry, is heading to the big screen well her voice is as she is down to play Smurfette in The Smurfs. That instantly reminds me of Donnie Darko (see the clip below if you don’t know about the Darko thing).

Recent news on the film was that Neil Patrick Harris was playing a live action role in the film. Now, along with Perry, Alan Cummings (Tin Man, X-Men 2) will voice Gutsy Smurf, George Lopez as Grouchy Smurf and Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf. Winters voiced Papa and a number of other Smurfs in the original cartoon. Actually it was Don Messick who voiced Papa Smurf originally. Thanks to Birdchick for the info.

I still can’t get excited about this film although I know my kids will probably love it and, at the end of the day, they are exactly who the film is aimed at.

Do you think Perry will work as Smurfette?

Source: Collider

Posted in Animated, Fantasy, Film, Kids, news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jameson Cult Film Club goes Sci-Fi

Posted by LiveFor on January 9, 2010

Jameson Cult Film Club is seriously cool – They show a series of screenings that showcases the most exciting, edgy, cool and just plain fun cult films around. Not only that, but they are presented in settings carefully selected and dressed to fully immerse you in the world of the films. Previously, they’ve shown Trainspotting in a Shoreditch warehouse, a quartet of great horror movies in an Islington chapel and the majesty of This Is Spinal Tap at the Clapham Grand. But this time they are going out of this world.

This St Patrick’s Day, Jameson Cult Film Club is going sci-fi. Not only that, but we are giving you the chance to help pick the sci-fi cult classic we show. Head on over here to vote.

Some sci-fi films earn their cult stripes through impenetrable plotting and worse special effects — the paper plates doubling as flying saucers in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space are something you long to forget — but thankfully there are cult sci-fi films of breathtaking originality and genuine quality that take up permanent residence in the memory.

These films create vivid worlds in which viewers can lose themselves (Blade Runner, 12 Monkeys); they can offer big ideas and mind-melting mysteries that demand constant attention (Donnie Darko), or they can present unashamedly camp pastiche that offers plenty of chances to quote the dialogue — who can’t watch Flash Gordon without uttering the immortal line, “Gordon’s alive!”?

The films you can vote on are Donnie Darko, Moon and the 1953 War of the Worlds. The screening will take place on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, at a suitably sci-fi London venue – the Royal Institution, founded in 1799 by the leading British scientists of the time.

Go and Vote.

Posted in Film, news, Sci-Fi | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Lost – Cool One of a Kind Locke and Hurley Acrylic figures

Posted by LiveFor on December 20, 2009


These absolutely amazing acrylic-plastic sculptures of Locke and Hurley are by Wade Schin (he also made the cool Donnie Darko and MacGyver figures below). They were done for the LOST Underground Art Show at Gallery1988.

Hurley has since been sold, but Locke is still available for US$815. Email gallery1988@aol.com for inquiries.

Source: ToysREvil

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The Box – Early review of Richard Kelly’s new film

Posted by LiveFor on October 22, 2009

boxRichard Kelly is the bloke behind the brilliant Donnie Darko (the director’s cut sucked though). He then made Southland Tales which was a huge flop (although Jinja tells me it is not quite as bad as everyone said, just a bit of a mess).

As previously reported Kelly’s next film is based on the Richard Matheson story – Button, Button – now retitled The Box. It stars James Marsden (X-Men, 27 Dresses, Hairspray) and Cameron Diaz (Charlie’s Angels, The Mask).

Hollywood Elsewhere had a review from an Australian Critic called Don Groves and unfortunately it looks as if The Box may be more Southland Tales than Donnie Darko.

“This period sci-fi thriller (i.e., set in the mid ’70s) suffers from a complete lack of logic and woeful miscasting of the lead roles — and, worse, is almost totally devoid of tension.

“Inspired by ‘Button, Button,’ a 1970s short story by Richard Matheson, the film flounders on its preposterous premise: What would you do if someone offered you a million bucks to press a red button that would cause someone, somewhere — a person you didn’t know — to die?

“Anyone with half a brain would tell the crackpot making this offer to shove the box where the sun don’t shine, but not schoolteacher Norma (Cameron Diaz) and her NASA engineer husband Arthur (James Marsden). They’re short of money, you see, because Norma has just learned she won’t get the employee discount to enable her to keep their son in the private school where she works, she’ll have to postpone reconstructive surgery on her mangled foot, and Arthur’s application to become an astronaut is rejected after he failed the psych test.

“So they toy with taking up the offer from the mysterious Arlington Steward (Frank Langella), an elegantly-dressed, courteous chap with a horribly disfigured face. “I assure you I am not a monster, just a man with a job to do,” he intones gravely. The next day, Norma impetuously presses the button, and, across town in Virginia, a woman is shot dead.

“Steward duly delivers the loot and departs to tempt some other hapless couple. Not once does this well-educated, middle-class couple ask him if anyone died as a result of Norma’s succumbing to temptation. Is that plausible?

“The rest of the movie is an incoherent mess filled with clues, red herrings and non-sequiturs. Random people keep getting nosebleeds. There’s a creepy student, a tormented babysitter, inept efforts by Arthur’s cop father-in-law to investigate these peculiar events, and some psychobabble about the ‘path to salvation.’

“Who employs Steward and has orchestrated his mission? All is revealed, sort of, but little of it makes sense. In essence, Kelly appears to be using a muddle-headed morality play to remind us we’re all responsible for the consequences of our actions. Like, who needs reminding?

“Affecting an annoying Southern accent, Diaz struggles to make Norma seem remotely interesting or worthy of sympathy, despite the predicament she precipitates. Marsden lacks the authority to be believable as a NASA engineer and is barely adequate as a husband and father who’s faced with a cruel dilemma. There is almost zero chemistry between them, which makes it hard to believe they’re a loving couple. Old pro Langella is suitably creepy and menacing, but his efforts are wasted.

“To reflect the 1976 setting, Kelly and his cinematographer Steven Poster drained much of the color, resulting in a cold, flat and uninviting look — rather like the film itself. And was wallpaper of that era really so ugly?”

Posted in Film, Horror, news, Review, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Trailer | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Patrick Swayze has passed away

Posted by LiveFor on September 15, 2009

patrick-swayzePatrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into viewers’ hearts with “Dirty Dancing” and then broke them with “Ghost,” died Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” said a statement released Monday evening by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.

Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from a particularly deadly form of cancer.

He had kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting “The Beast,” an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot. It drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.

Swayze said he opted not to use painkilling drugs while making “The Beast” because they would have taken the edge off his performance. He acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.

When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was “considerably more optimistic” than that.

“I’d say five years is pretty wishful thinking,” Swayze told ABC’s Barbara Walters in early 2009. “Two years seems likely if you’re going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I’d better get a fire under it.”

A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad-boy Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing.” As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theater, he seemed a natural to play the role.

A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort’s sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made great use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.

It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” stage productions and a sequel, 2004’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” in which he made a cameo.

Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad “She’s Like the Wind,” inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

And it allowed him to poke fun at himself on a “Saturday Night Live” episode, in which he played a wannabe Chippendales dancer alongside the corpulent — and frighteningly shirtless — Chris Farley.

A major crowdpleaser, the film drew only mixed reviews from critics, though Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times, “Given the limitations of his role, that of a poor but handsome sex-object abused by the rich women at Kellerman’s Mountain House, Mr. Swayze is also good. … He’s at his best — as is the movie — when he’s dancing.”

Swayze followed that up with the 1989 action flick “Road House,” in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990’s “Ghost” that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee (Demi Moore) — with great frustration and longing — through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.

Swayze said at the time that he fought for the role of Sam Wheat (director Jerry Zucker wanted Kevin Kline) but once he went in for an audition and read six scenes, he got it.

Why did he want the part so badly? “It made me cry four or five times,” he said of Bruce Joel Rubin’s Oscar-winning script in an AP interview.

“Ghost” provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually molding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for Swayze.

“When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick,” Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime talk show “The View.”

Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost” and 1995’s “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” which further allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.

His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.

“I couldn’t get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho,” he told the AP then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced “To Wong Foo,” Spielberg didn’t recognize him.

Among his earlier films, Swayze was part of the star-studded lineup of up-and-comers in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel “The Outsiders,” alongside Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane. Swayze played Darrel “Dary” Curtis, the oldest of three wayward brothers — and essentially the father figure — in a poor family in small-town Oklahoma.

Other ’80s films included “Red Dawn,” “Grandview U.S.A.” (for which he also provided choreography) and “Youngblood,” once more with Lowe, as Canadian hockey teammates.

In the ’90s, he made such eclectic films as “Point Break” (1991), in which he played the leader of a band of bank-robbing surfers, and the family Western “Tall Tale” (1995), in which he starred as Pecos Bill. He appeared on the cover of People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991, but his career tapered off toward the end of the 1990s, when he also had stay in rehab for alcohol abuse. In 2001, he appeared in the cult favorite “Donnie Darko,” and in 2003 he returned to the New York stage with “Chicago”; 2006 found him in the musical “Guys and Dolls” in London.

Swayze was born in 1952 in Houston, the son of Jesse Swayze and choreographer Patsy Swayze, whose films include “Urban Cowboy.”

He played football but also was drawn to dance and theater, performing with the Feld, Joffrey and Harkness Ballets and appearing on Broadway as Danny Zuko in “Grease.” But he turned to acting in 1978 after a series of injuries.

Within a couple years of moving to Los Angeles, he made his debut in the roller-disco movie “Skatetown, U.S.A.” The eclectic cast included Scott Baio, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormack and Billy Barty.

Swayze had a couple of movies in the works when his diagnosis was announced, including the drama “Powder Blue,” starring Jessica Biel, Forest Whitaker and his younger brother, Don, which was scheduled for release this year.

Off-screen, he was an avid conservationist who was moved by his time in Africa to shine a light on “man’s greed and absolute unwillingness to operate according to Mother Nature’s laws,” he told the AP in 2004.

Swayze was married since 1975 to Niemi, a fellow dancer who took lessons with his mother; they met when he was 19 and she was 15. A licensed pilot, Niemi would fly her husband from Los Angeles to Northern California for treatment at Stanford University Medical Center, People magazine reported in a cover story.

Source: Associated Press

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The Box – Richard Kelly speaks and Cameron Diaz gives the game away

Posted by LiveFor on July 27, 2009

I am looking forward to this film. I love a bit of Twilight Zone shenanigans.

Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden) are faced with a terrible dilemma when a mysterious glass box turns up at their door. If they press the button inside the box, they’ll get enough money to save their ailing son, but in exchange, someone, somewhere in the world will die. When the temptation to save their beloved son becomes too much to bear, Norma pushes the button. Immediately, a gunshot rings out somewhere nearby. Consumed with guilt, Norma must do everything in her power to solve a murder she has knowingly caused. The Box is director Richard (Donnie Darko) Kelly’s latest thriller.

The Box is due out on 30th October 2009.

MovieWeb had this chat with director Richard Kelly.

Cameron Diaz has also been talking about the film (via Filmstalker) and has given what could be huge spoilers. They are in invisitext below so click and drag the mouse if you want to read them.

The first is about the origin of the box, it’s from another planet, a race from Mars no less.

The second is that this Martian race is testing humankind for some reason, and the box is the test.

I’m not sure what to make of that. May be true, may not be. Could work or it could suck. If you read the spoilers what do you think of it? Beware there could be spoilers in the comments.

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UPDATED: The Box – Trailer for Richard Kelly’s latest film

Posted by LiveFor on June 25, 2009

Have a look at this trailer as I think it is very good. The Box is based on the short story “Button, Button” by Richard Matheson and was used in an episode of The Twilight Zone. It is the one where a couple are given a box with a button. They are told that if they press the button they’ll get a million dollars, but someone they don’t know will die. Bit of a moral dilemma.

Now Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales) has adapted it into a full length feature starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, and Frank Langella. It looks as if Kelly is back to his Darko goodness after the disappointing and confusing Southland Tales.

The film is set in the 70s and in a way is autobiographical as the two main characters are based on Richard Kelly’s own parents.

Let me know what you thought of the trailer. Would you press the button?

UPDATE: I found the story about the film being semi-autobiographical. It was an interview with Richard Kelly over on AICN. Well worth a read as he talks about technical aspects of the film as well as developing the story. This is what he had to say about his parents being an influence on the film.

The short story is six pages long, and Arthur and Norma… there wasn’t time for their backstory. So I thought, “Here’s this amazing premise about greed and responsibility and so many things that you can’t put into words. There’s this button, and being responsible for the death of another human being, and what constitutes responsibility.” And I thought, “We want to tell this story and expose this premise to two characters, let them be very moral people, very likable people.” And I figured that I felt that way about my parents, and that this is the type of movie they would love. They exposed me to Alfred Hitchcock when I was a young teenager; they showed me REAR WINDOW and THE BIRDS and PSYCHO. So I thought, “What if I take their love story and life in Richmond, Virginia as an upwardly middle class couple in 1976, and place them into Richard Matheson’s short story?” And that’s what I did – which all of a sudden made it the most personal film I’ve ever made. (Laughs) They have a son [in the film] who’s ten or eleven. I obviously would barely be one year old in 1976, but you could argue that their single child is maybe a representation of me in the story. So all of a sudden I feel like I’m making this profoundly personal film, which, at the same time, is this mainstream studio thriller with this high-concept premise. So it was sort of an interesting merger of my parents’ story with Matheson’s story, which was written before I was even alive but that I discovered on THE TWILIGHT ZONE in 1986. I was in my parents’ bedroom watching THE TWILIGHT ZONE with my dad when I saw “Button, Button” for the first time. So to think that I’ve taken them and plugged them into this Matheson concept is… to this day, I can’t believe that we pulled it off.

So that’s why Jimmy and Cameron spent a lot of time around my parents. Cameron listened to my mom talk for forty-five minutes and recorded it. She recorded a phone conversation of my mom talking about her life. And then she went to a dialogue coach to learn how to do my mom’s Texas accent. Meanwhile, Jimmy did a Virginia accent because my dad’s from Virginia. Their Southern accents are slightly different. And when my parents came on set for five or six shooting days, they were just freaking out. They felt like they had stepped into a TWILIGHT ZONE episode by being on set. It’s very meta. You have my parents feeling like they’re in a TWILIGHT ZONE episode watching James Marsden and Cameron Diaz portray very personal, autobiographical things about their life with their son directing it in this amazing Richard Matheson story that we’ve all grown up with. (Laughs It was really, really interesting.

Then we shot at NASA down at Langley for a week, which is where my dad worked for fifteen years. Marsden drives a silver Corvetts in the film – and my dad didn’t drive a Corvette; he drove a Pontiac. But Marsden drives into this press conference at the NASA campus facility down there where my dad attended the press conference for Viking. He also used to play basketball for the NASA basketball league. But literally my dad is looking at a younger version of himself driving to work in the same exact manner that he did at a place that hasn’t changed since the ’70s. The Langley facility down at NASA has not changed at all since the ’70s; it’s like you’re in a time warp down there. So it was really pretty surreal. It really gave Jimmy and Cameron homework to do. That’s one thing: you want your actors to leave your meeting with a big stack of books, because then they come back to you with so much and so many questions. You get a lot of the direction out of the way, so when you’re on set you can focus on the details. Everyone’s not trying to play catch up.

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First poster for Richard Kelly’s The Box

Posted by LiveFor on April 4, 2009

Richard Kelly is the guy who made the excellent Donnie Darko and the not so special Southland Tales. As you may or may not know he is making a film called The Box. It is based on on the short story “Button, Button” by screenwriter and novelist Richard Matheson (Duel, I am Legend). Quiet Earth dug up this first poster for it.

Norma Lewis (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden) are a suburban couple with a young child who receive a simple wooden box as a gift, which bears fatal and irrevocable consequences. A mysterious stranger delivers the message that the box promises to bestow upon its owner $1 million with the press of a button. But, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world…someone they don’t know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the cross-hairs of a startling moral dilemma and must face the true nature of their humanity.

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