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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Bodsworth’

Exclusive Interview: Axelle Carolyn – Star of Centurion, Straw Man, Ghost of Slaughterford and more

Posted by LiveFor on April 13, 2010

Axelle Carolyn is one of those excellent all round type of people who do numerous things well when many of us would just like to have a go at one of them – She is an author (It Lives Again!: Horror Movies in the New Millennium), actress, horror fan and journalist.

She has appeared in many films and will soon be seen in Centurion directed by her Husband, Neil Marshall.

Being a super nice person she took some time out to have a chat with LFF’s Richard Bodsworth.

Your character in Centurion does look like a proper badass, what can you tell us about her?

My character, Aeron, is a Pict warrior. She loves fighting, and unlike most other characters who have higher motivations, she kills Romans just for the fun of it. It was a fantastic part to play: I spent 6 weeks riding horses, shooting arrows and learning how to fight. I only had a few lines (in Gaelic!), so it was all about making her physically threatening and believable.

It’s quite a stellar cast, how was the banter on set?

Half the shoot was on location in the Highlands of Scotland, so we spent a lot of time together in the evenings, hanging out at the hotel. They were such a great bunch! I got along really well with Olga Kurylenko; we spent a lot of time speaking French, so no one could understand our gossiping. Michael Fassbender is one of those guys who can do anything: accents, languages, stunts… and yet remain the most charming and down to earth. And Liam Cunningham are hilarious.

What about that Noel Clarke? He seems like he could be a bit of a troublemaker.

Noel seemed very focused on set, and never complained despite the cold and getting some early frostbite. And he was great to hang out with. If he’s a troublemaker, it’s not a side of him we got to see at all!

 Most of filming took place up in Aviemore, right?  Was it nice and warm?

Ah, the Highlands in February… Yeah, it was really cold. Though I can’t complain too much: I was riding a horse most of the time, and strange as it may seem, they really help you keep warm. There’s a lot of scenes in the film where you can really see how cold we all were, though. All those red noses were no make-up!

Last time we interviewed Leslie Simpson he was going on about how he was “bollock naked” and cold in The Descent, this time you guys were up in the freezing Scottish mountains, does Neil enjoy putting his actors through those conditions?!

Yes he does… yes he does. Although you know, it may not looking like it on screen but the shoot of Doomsday was warm pretty comfortable. We were in South Africa in the summer. What an amazing time that was.

Talking of The Descent, how was it working on the sequel?

I only had a tiny role. I did two days and got cut out. I still haven’t seen the film.

You’re mainly in horror films, do you fancy yourself as a bit of a ‘scream queen’?

I love horror movies. LOVE them. I mean, I wrote an entire book about them (“It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium”, from Telos Publishing)! I’d be happy to work in horror for the rest of my days. But I hate the expression “scream queen”. It implies playing victims, and that’s the type of role I’m generally not interested in.  I’d love to play more villains… Parts like Angela Bettis’s in May or Beatrice Dalle in Inside are the kinds of roles I’d love to be given.

What’s your favourite horror film you’ve worked on?

Would it be odd if I chose a film we haven’t filmed yet? I’ve spent the past 6 months writing and developing a feature called The Ghost of Slaughterford, which Neil is executive producing. I love writing, and being given the chance to put a project together is wonderful. We’re hoping to shoot this summer; I can’t wait.

Straw Man

Do you have any updates on Straw Man?

No. I believe post-production is over, but I haven’t seen the finished film yet.

Seemed like that was a chilly set too!

Hell yes. On my last day I had to walk in the sea, with water up to my knees, in a skimpy summer dress. It was minus 10 on the beach and I don’t think I’d ever been that cold in my whole life. The tide was pretty strong and I was nearly swept away by the waves. But the team was great, and thanks to them, I remember it as a tough but really good experience.

How was it working with Leslie? (check out our interview with Leslie Simpson and director Andrew Barker)

Leslie’s wonderful. He’s very intense, almost in a Crispin Glover kind of way – I’m saying almost, because I think Les is much more versatile. By then we already knew each other pretty well, too; we met on the set of Doomsday, and we’d already worked together on a great little short film, I Love You, by Tristan Versluis.

What are you most excited about for the future?

Seeing the Ghost feature I mentioned get made. Developing more of my own projects, and working with talented filmmakers – I’ve got a few projects lined up I’m excited about. I’m also working on two short films: one I’ll be directing myself, and the other Neil will direct.

Right, we usually wrap up with our quickfire questions, so here we go!

What’s your favourite horror film?

David Cronenberg’s The Fly.

What is the coolest film death of all time?

Mmh, that’s a tough one. Dr Hill’s death in Re-Animator? Recently there’s been quite a few good ones in The Crazies and Zombieland, too! And wait until you see Centurion…

If you had to be killed by a movie monster, what would it be?

Freddy Krueger. He’s one of my earliest horror movie memories, so I’ve always had a soft spot for Freddy,

And what would be your final words? 

Thanks for your time!

It Lives Again! Horror Movies in the New Millennium – Amazon.co.uk

Posted in Book, Film, Horror, Interview, news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Legion, 2010 – Movie Review. Watch out for Angels

Posted by LiveFor on March 5, 2010

Director: Scott Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Charles S. Dutton, Tyrese Gibson
Released: 5th March 2010

This review by Richard Bodsworth.

Whether it is a moody Nic Cage, a filthy chain smoking dancing John Travolta, or a gang of chicks directed by McG, angels tend to get a bad rap in films. But how about a tooled up Paul Bettany holed up in an arse end of nowhere diner protecting mankinds last hope? Sounds like fun, right? Uh, not so much…

Furious at what humanity has become (damn you Simon Cowell) God has decided to wipe everyone out with an army of angels led by Archangel Gabriel. Surely a flood would have been easier? Unhappy at his masters’ plans, Archangel Michael (Bettany) cuts off his wings, gets himself some guns and sets off to a diner in the middle of New Mexico to protect a pregnant woman whose child is the key to the survival of the human race. There he is joined by a group of people who must help fight off the horde intent on killing them.
When the trailer debuted for Legion it seemed a ridiculously fun time would be had for all. The premise seemed like good old Hollywood fun, no doubt accompanied with cheap thrills, explosions and gunfire aplenty but what we have ended up with is a dull mess.

The opening, with its heavy handed characterisation and Hallmark movie music could have been forgiven if the action scenes were enjoyable, but they are not. With a complete lack of imagination during the gun battles, mid shot, he shoots, bad guy shoots back from long shot, it feels the job of editing has been left in the incapable hands of a high school student. Perhaps the students buddy would have made a better job of the CGI which at times is jaw-droppingly awful; this is confusing considering the director is a former visual effects developer. The cast, on paper, could be considered ‘strong’, but on closer inspection they are as flat as the characters they portray; Lucas ‘personality of a shit rooting pig’ Black turns in another outstandingly boring performance, Tyrese Gibson again plays the stereotypical ‘angry black man’ and you really do have to ask yourself how Dennis Quaid manages to get work? Seriously! Paul Bettanys Michael is angry and emotionless, his character attempts to be developed by flashbacks, but again the whole thing is rather dull.

To be fair, one fight does provide a cheap thrill or two and the crazed old lady is probably the standout but this is another case of the best parts being in the trailer. The main reason for the films failure is that it takes itself far too seriously. If Legion turned out to be a badly made yet fun B-Movie type it might have been better, but an intriguing premise has been destroyed by bad direction and a poorly written script which features far too many dialogue heavy scenes that include this Oscar bait, “I’m gonna get my bible, someone gotta start praying!”.

Remember as kids when it rained you would say, “that’s God taking a pee”? In years to come when kids see Legion they will say “That’s God taking a fat steaming turd”.

Verdict: *

Avoid like the plague!

Posted in Action, Fantasy, Film, news, Review, Thriller | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Centurion – The opening scene of Neil Marshall’s bloody epic has been seen

Posted by LiveFor on March 2, 2010

Neil Marshall brought us Dog Soldiers, modern horror classic The Descent as well as Doomsday and in his latest outing he attempts to bring to life the legend of The Ninth Legion in Centurion.

The fate of the Legion is a hotly contested subject among historians, the 4000 strong army marched in to Scotland from Hadrians Wall in 117 AD, only to disappear and never be heard from again.

Boasting an impressive cast including Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey and Noel Clarke, the story follows the Legion as they attempt to hunt down and kill the vicious Picts along with their leader, Gorlacon. We posted the trailer a few weeks back here on LFF, but we also managed to catch a sneak peek at Frightfest last weekend and it looks pretty damn awesome! Marshall himself introduced the first five minutes or so, admitting he didn’t stray too far from the myth as the real story is much less interesting.

It opened with a hand tied and shoeless Fassbender sprinting barefooted through the deep snow before the opening battle. As you would expect from Marshall it is bloody and beautiful as the Picts crush the skulls of their foes with an assortment of gigantic weapons while an archer firing a flaming arrow into the cranium of a Roman trying to make an escape drew loud cheers from the crowd in attendance. Marshall confessed that it may be his favourite kill from any of his films along with the body being run over in Doomdsday. The scene ends with Fassbender being spared his life but is taken hostage by the Picts before a savage head butt knocks him unconscious.

After the clip, a few questions followed and it seems the cast didn’t have an easy ride, with the whole thing being filmed during February in the freezing Scottish Highlands. The performance of Dominic West as Ninth Legion leader Gener Virilus is also something to look forward to as according to the director, “appears to be possessed by Oliver Reed” in some scenes. The real highlight was Axelle Carolyn as vicious pict archer, Aeron.

With the latest footage and the trailer, it looks like Marshall will be back to his blood splattering best.

The film hits cinemas April this year. Check out the trailer below and our interview with Marshall regular and Carloyns Straw Man co star Leslie Simpson.

By Richard Bodsworth.

Posted in Action, Film, news, Trailer, War | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Crazies, 2010 – Movie Review. Glasgow Film Festival

Posted by LiveFor on February 25, 2010

Director: Breck Eisner
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell
Released: February 26th 2010

This review by Richard Bodsworth

The Hollywood production line continues to churn out remakes of old horror films, this months outing is a reimagining of George A. Romero’s 1973 The Crazies…

When a small town is plagued by a mysterious virus, the military are called in to control the infected citizens. Sherriff David Dutton and his nurse wife Judy attempt to make their way to a safe place while dodging their crazy neighbours and the military with their shoot on sight policy.

Before we have even settled in to our seats the first ‘incident’ occurs on the town baseball field, a local man shot dead by Sherriff Timothy Olyphant. What follows is a slow building creep crawl as more of the town members begin to be struck down by the virus. Some nice, tense scenes including one which features a combine harvester create some solid tension before the military intervene, declaring martial law on the town. This is where the film switches to the predictable formula that we have been accustomed to for the past few years. You know exactly what to expect in each scene, where each ‘crazy’ is, what the outcome will be, all of this accompanied with a slow pull out and pan with accompanying screeching music. Eisner manages to botch some major set pieces with the technique, and by the time he fails to capitalise on what could have been an all so terrifying car wash sequence, you know this isn’t moving far out of mediocre territory. The crazies themselves are weak; except a Joker-esque laughing Crazy and another scraping a pitchfork across the ground, the rest are dull, veiny faced Madonna lookers.

You do have to credit Eisner however, as he manages to avoid the ‘torture-porn’ route, but you do wonder if a gore-fest may have been more fun than an attempted nerve shredded from the man who brought us Sahara. Romero films have always been signalled out as having underlying political themes and in his original he touched on the idea of surveillance but you’d be scraping the barrel trying to find such stuff in this version. I sincerely hope that the line, “The Crazies are loose!” was an attempt at embracing its B movie origins, if not it deserves a lower rating!

Verdict: **

While there may be enough to satisfy a few, it’s not quite the fun many had expected leaving us another by the book horror remake.

Posted in Action, Film, news, Review, Thriller | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Capitalism: A Love Story, 2009 – Movie Review. Glasgow Film Festival

Posted by LiveFor on February 23, 2010

Director: Michael Moore

Release Date: 26th February 2010

This review by Richard Bodsworth

Over the years Michael Moore has climbed up on to his Tesco Value sized soapbox to share his views on; gun control, terrorism and most recently the US health care system. So it was only a matter of time before he capitalised on the state of the current world economy with, Capitalism: A Love Story.

The financial collapse in 2009 was massive. News outlets lapped it up giving us constant “breaking news” bulletins, promo videos and exposes which looked like they had come from Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes stable (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQTWwW5UjEo). But that was over a year ago. While the documentary premiered at the Venice Film Festival film in early September last year, it is only just now reaching UK audiences. Will this kick start a rebellion against the banks? Or is it old news with the public more interested in who will win the X Factor or some other monotonous reality show?

As with his previous efforts, Moore does make some good arguments and presents some startling facts. However one sided they may be, there’s no denying the immense corruption in both banking circles and the government a lot of which is void from our news outlets, you only need to look at this weeks ‘headlines’ to see what they believe is important. The stories of bankrupt families and secret life insurance polices taken out by greedy employers are genuinely upsetting and disturbing. However, Moore likes to drill his point home by covering the same ground over and over in far too similar ways. The use of stock footage, while at times entertaining, becomes an overused technique eventually becoming tedious. His customary finale of trying to get interviews with the people responsible and staging one man protests again falls flat on it’s rotund backside because, well, nothing actually happens.

While attempting to follow the same formula that worked so well for Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore seems to lack enough substantial evidence to sustain the 1hr 45 minutes running time and the last 20 minutes sinks like the Dow Jones. Perhaps an earlier release and a leaner more focused version would have helped.

Rating: **

While presenting some good facts, Moore’s arguments seem more debatable and flawed than usual. And when you struggle to fill the running time? Scream down a microphone at people that don’t really care.

Posted in Comedy, Documentary, Film, news, Review | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Micmacs à tire-larigot, 2009 – Movie Review: Glasgow Film Festival

Posted by LiveFor on February 21, 2010


Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Dany Boon, Dominique Pinon
Released: 26th February 2010

This review by Richard Bodsworth.

The sixth annual Glasgow Film Festival opened last night with the European premiere of Jean Pierre Jeunets Micmacs.

Jeunet himself was in attendance and was in comical form during the brief question and answer session following the film.

The film itself however was not as magical as the director’s previous outings. Jeunet conceded that the film was thrown together quickly after he spent almost two years in pre production for a film adaptation of novel, Life of Pi. Budget restrictions put a halt to that and he quickly jumped in to Micmacs.

Video store worker Bazil (Dany Boon) is struck in the head by a stray bullet which has to stay lodged in his brain. After finding the company the bullet was made by, he teams up with a group of misfits to take revenge on the arms dealers that shot him.

Jeunets attempt to mix slapstick humor with an arms dealing plot doesn’t work, the story itself a rather messy affair which leaves you wondering what on earth is going on and do you really care.

French comedian Danny Boon has enough charisma and comic timing to pull the role of Bazil off, and Jeunet regular Dominique Pinon is fantastic as always. The characters themselves are under boiled, offering little to nothing in except a few laughs which in their own right are rather weak. Do people really want to see a modern day film with old slapstick humor? As expected the film is visually impressive, a golden tint blankets the expertly framed shots and this is the films saving grace.

Jeunet is no doubt an excellent director, perhaps one of the best, but this is by no means his best work. A quick stop gap before his next project perhaps, not unlike the Coens Burn After Reading. With his trademark visual style and a few chuckles this may be a good Sunday watch, but will no doubt become a forgettable mark on a sterling filmography.

3/5 – A tough one to call, but the visual style of Jeunet manages to pull the film up from two stars.

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Real Life Film Curses

Posted by LiveFor on February 16, 2010


Whether you have been turned in to a hairy beast because you could not love, or have sold your soul for eternal youth, curses have been the basis for many a film plot. Sometimes it has been said however that the likes of Mrs Ganush herself have infiltrated movie sets causing some strange goings on during and after production has ended. Are these a series of unfortunate events, bad publicity stunts, or is there something more sinister going on? Carrying on from last weeks Film Production Nightmares, Live for Films brings you The Real Life Film Curses…

The Exorcist

The Exorcist – Widely regarded as a horror classic, William Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s novel of a young girl possessed by a demonic spirit had its fair share of creepy tales.  The set itself was thought to be cursed after a fire burnt down and destroyed it forcing production crews to rebuild.  It is also believed that a priest was asked to come in and bless the set as well as the actors themselves.  A handful of cast and crew members are rumoured to have died during production, including actor Jack MacGowan who played Burke Dennings, but perhaps the strangest thing is Linda Blair, who played the possessed Regan, apparently foretold the deaths of crew members’ weeks before.

The Omen – You really have to wonder if making films about demonic children is a smart move.  The events surrounding this Richard Donner directed film were scarier than your friends’ kid with redeye in a birthday snapshot.  Along with trained Rottweiler’s attacking their handlers and the principal cast members being involved in a head on crash first day of filming, Donners hotel was bombed by the IRA,  star Gregory Peck and writer David Seltzers planes were struck by lightning in two separate events.  Peck would again have another close escape when a flight he cancelled at the last minute would later crash killing everyone on board.  But perhaps the most frightening was that Visual Effects Supervisor John Richardson’s wife was beheaded on the set of A Bridge Too Far a year later, in a scene eerily reminiscent of that from The Omen.       

Rosemary’s Baby – Another classic film another troubling aftermath for Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.  The critically acclaimed tale of a woman (Mia Farrow) who believes she is carrying the son of Satan has been linked to some horrifying events following its release in 1968.  Director Polanskis pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by Charles Manson at their home in 1969.  This was part of an infamous killing spree for the Manson Family which he named Helter Sketler after the Beatles song.  On the 8th December 1980, Mark Chapman killed Beatles legend John Lennon outside the Dakota Building where Rosemary’s Baby was filmed.  Make of it what you will.

Poltergeist – Along with The Omen, Steven Spielberg and Tobe Hoopers Poltergeist is probably the most publicised example of the film ‘curse’.   The film which features ghosts communicating to the other side through a television set spawned two sequels and the basis for the curse comes from the fact four actors have died during the six year years between the first and third film.  Dominique Dunne who played the older daughter in the first film was strangled by her boyfriend in 1982, Julian Beck (Poltergeist 2) died aged 60 from stomach cancer in 1985, Will Sampson (also Poltergeist 2) died from post op complications from a kidney operation in 1988 and Heather O’ Rourke who played Carol Anne in all three films sadly died also in 1988.   

Superman – The Man of Steel may be able to stop, but the men who have played them have not been so lucky.   George Reeves portrayed Superman in the US television series in the 50’s, but was found dead in mysterious circumstances on his wedding day in an apparent suicide.  Ben Affleck would portray Reeves in Hollywoodland in 2006.  Perhaps the most well know incarnation of Clark Kent was that of Christopher Reeve who starred in Superman (1978) directed by Richard Donner, as well as three sequels.  In 1995, Reeve was involved in a tragic horse riding accident which left him paralysed from the neck down.  Reeve did however battle on, defying the odds and continued to star in TV and film before his death in 2004. Reeves co-star Margot Kidder who played the role of Lois Lane was found by police in undergrowth in LA after suffering a manic breakdown; she was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan’s follow up to Batman Begins was a success both critically and commercially when it was released in 2008, but the death of Heath Ledgers just shortly after filming wrapped left a black cloud hanging above it and was the starting point for another curse rumour.  More strange incidents followed; a stunt driver was killed during filming, Morgan Freeman was involved in a car accident which would break his arm and at the opening premiere, Christian Bale would be arrested for allegedly assaulting his mother.

Rebel without a Cause – It is a well known fact that James Dean died while driving the Porsche Spyder used in Rebel Without A Cause in 1955, while co-stars Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood both died prematurely years later.  However was the car itself cursed? A real life Christine? The mechanic who recovered the wreck apparently had his leg broken as the vehicle collapsed on him.  Later, parts of the car were sold to two separate buyers; both the cars also crashed claiming the lives of the drivers.

The curse is also known to have struck Quantum of Solace, Valkyrie and Blade Runner; in which companies like Coca Cola that were used for advertising suffered big losses. Shame.

So what do you guys think? Real, or desperately made up by people who should be doing something better with their time like working out what is going on in Lost or something?  Check out Good Actors Turned Bad next week…

By Richard Bodsworth.

Posted in Film, news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Martin Scorsese – Part 1: The Seventies and Eighties.

Posted by LiveFor on February 14, 2010

After almost four years since his last feature film, The Departed, the legendary Martin Scorsese returns this month with an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Shutter Island. Join Live for Films as we take a look at some selected works of a man who originally wanted to be a priest but went on to become one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation. Since Scorsese has made 21 feature films we have decided to split this in to three parts and will post them in the build up to Shutter Island out 12th March in the UK. 19th February in the USA

Mean Streets

Scorsese’s first feature film in 1967, Who’s Knocking at My Door?, would introduce him to Harvey Keitel and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker who he would continue to work with throughout his career. Before he made his breakthrough with Mean Streets, Scorsese tuned his skills and ‘business’ knowledge by making Boxcar Bertha for the legendary Roger Corman the man responsible for launching the careers of James Cameron and Francis Ford Coppola among others. Mean Streets burst on to the scene in 1973 featuring Scorsese’s signature themes of Catholicism and redemption along with what would later be referred to as his trademark style; gritty backdrops, raw camera work, rapid edits and a stylish rock soundtrack were merged to great effect which also featured a standout performance by a young Robert De Niro who would become a long term collaborator.

After Scorsese directed Elyen Burstyn to an Oscar in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, he would again team up with De Niro in the controversial Paul Schrader scribed Taxi Driver. Charting the breakdown of Travis Bickel, the film featured the now immortal “you talking to me?” line and a young Jodie Foster as a prostitute. The film was criticised for its graphic violence, especially during the climatic sequence, and the fact thirteen year old Jodie Foster portrayed a prostitute and was on-set during the violent conclusion. Along with a host of other nominations, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes film festival and solidified Scorsese as an established director.

Raging Bull

The following years were tough for Scorsese, after the financial failure of New York, New York he had developed a bad cocaine habit and entered a deep depression. He managed to make a pair of documentaries; The Last Waltz, following the final concert of musicians The Band, and American Boy in 1978. It is widely suggested that Robert De Niro insisted Scorsese kick his drug habit so the duo could bring the story of boxer Jake La Motta to the screen in Raging Bull. The story of the middleweight champion is one of, if not the greatest, of Scorsese’s career. Filmed in high contrast black and white it is visually stunning and it is obvious Scorsese put everything he had into it utilising a range of stylised camera techniques, it is widely considered a masterpiece. The film captured two Academy Awards including Best Actor for De Niro, however Robert Redford picked up Best Director.

Scorsese followed up Raging Bull with his fifth De Niro collaboration, The King of Comedy, a satirical look at celebrities and the media. Although not considered a commercial success, De Niro’s performance as aspiring comedian, Rupert Pupkin, is heavily praised by critics. Scorsese had hoped his next project would be an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial novel The Last Temptation of Christ but due to pressure from religious groups the project was pulled by studio bosses right before shooting was to set to begin. Dismayed at Paramount Pictures decision to halt The Last Temptation of Christ Scorsese stayed away from studio pictures; going back to basics by filming the independent After Hours before venturing into music videos shooting the iconic Bad for Michael Jackson, eventually making a return with his first real mainstream attempt, The Colour of Money in 1987. A sequel to the 1961 film The Hustler in which Paul Newman reprises his role from the original, it also features Tom Cruise as a young pool player who is taught the ways of hustling by veteran Fast Eddie. Newman would go on to win an Oscar for the role; he missed out 25 years earlier for the same character in the original. The success of the film would give Scorsese the freedom to finally make his personal project The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Paul Schrader would pen the screenplay while Willem Defoe took on the role of Jesus Christ. The backlash from Christian groups was unprecedented with violence erupting during protests; Christian fundamentalists would firebomb a cinema screening the film. The anger came mainly from the sexual elements of the film and the depiction of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute; however Scorsese and Schrader set out to portray Jesus as a human being, rather than in the divine terms written in the Bible, showing his struggle with the temptation to sin like every regular man. Although not a commercial success the film was well received and continues to rightly win critical acclaim.

Join us for part 2 in a few days where we take a look at Scorsese in the 90’s, including Goodfellas, Cape Fear and Casino.

Shutter Island is in cinemas from 19th February. Be sure to check out our exclusive interview.

By Richard Bodsworth.

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The Wolfman, 2010 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on February 12, 2010

Director: Joe Johnston
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving

This review by Richard Bodsworth.

It’s been a troubled run to get the iconic Wolfman character to the big screen. Initially written by Se7en scribe Andrew Kevin Walker for Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) to direct, it has gone through numerous rewrites since Romanek departed just days before principal photography. Jurassic Park 3 and soon to be Captain America helmer Joe Johnston stepped in, who did not have a smooth ride either, culminating in reshoots and delayed release dates.

After receiving a letter from his brothers’ fiancée Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt) informing him of his death, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio del Toro) returns home to his family home in the English village of Blackmore, where his father (Anthony Hopkins) awaits. As a creature terrorizes the town, Talbot realizes he must hunt the beast down…

The film begins well with a sharp, well executed build up to the inevitable transformation, and you would be forgiven for wondering why the reviews have been so harsh. The first glimpse of the beast savaging a gypsy camp is energetic and entertaining, but that sadly is where the film falls apart.

As transformable as the main character, the film flirts with ideas that you can only assume were a mish mash from the various writers and directors which gives it a horribly jagged tone. It feels as if darker scenes like the nightmarish visions and scenes inside a mental asylum are leftovers and they awkwardly try and battle against a more operatic, glossy mainstream vision. It is this uneven balance that is the pictures undoing. Yet with so many people involved during the writing the script remains slim, padded with pointless travelling scenes without even halfheartedly attempting to plug some irritating plotholes, as it meanders slowly towards an uninspiring ‘shirts v skins’ climax. The cast do little else than pick up their paychecks, Hopkins particularly, as he spends the majority mumbling like an incoherent alcoholic, but again the Keira Knightly thin script is at fault for this, offering nothing of substance to the one dimensional creations. Johnston’s admirably handled action sequences are boosted by the visual effects work of Rick Baker for The Wolfman character, del Toro could have easily have been mauled by rampant CGI but the make up effects look natural (well, as natural as a Lycan can) and nicely pay homage to the 40’s original.

However a few well handled set pieces do not make up for a dull script. Would be nice to see what either Romanek or Johnston would have come up with given full creative control, sadly we will never know and are left with this instantly forgettable shambles.

2/5 – Bit of a howler (sorry)

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Film Production Nightmares

Posted by LiveFor on February 5, 2010

By Richard Bodsworth.

Benicio Del Toro stars in the remake of the 1941 classic horror The Wolfman which is set to open next week but it has not been an easy ride to get the finished product to the screen.  Mark Romanek left the project right before principal photography was about to start citing the old chestnut “creative differences” and was replaced by Jurassic Park 3 helmer, Joe Johnston.  The Wolfman is not the only film due this year which has had major production problems; Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood has also been hit with issues, most notably constant script rewrites resulting in the release date being pushed back numerous times.  Of course this is not a new thing, so let’s take a look at some other films which have struggled in production…

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer in the tropical rainforests of Australia, what could possibly go wrong? Um, a lot actually.  Three days in to production of the H.G Wells adaptation director Richard Stanley was given the heave-ho (a move apparently forced by Val Kilmer who earlier, for no apparent reason, decided he wanted his part drastically cut) and was replaced by John Frankenheimer, never a good start.  Brando and Frankenheimer then rewrote the majority of the script before later clashing over the direction the film was taking; Frankenheimer would also have heated exchanges with Val Kilmer several times throughout the shoot before vowing never to work with him again. Brando and Kilmer both had their own personal problems on-set, Kilmer being issued divorce papers on location while Brando struggled with the suicide of his daughter.  Amazingly Brando, who by this time had given up on the film, was fed his lines through a frequency radio.  David Thewlis (a late replacement for Rob Morrow) who would later skip the premiere supposedly said “He’d be in the middle of a scene and suddenly he’d be picking up police messages and Marlon would repeat ‘There’s a robbery at Woolworths’”.  The film received negative reviews and barely managed to scrape back its budget, Brando went on to win a Razzie for his performance.   

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Produced by Steven Spielberg, this feature length film of the classic 60’s TV show was split in to four segments, part one directed by John Landis, the second by Spielberg himself, Joe Dante directed the third and George Miller the fourth.  The events that occurred during the filming of Landis’ segment overshadowed the film itself as a freak accident cost the lives of actor Vic Morrow and two child actors.  Whilst filming a scene featuring a helicopter, pyrotechnics were set off but the helicopter was flying too low causing it to spin out of control and crash to the ground killing the trio.  Legal action followed and many regulations were changed including those that featured child and stunts filmed at night. 

The Man Who Killed Don Quixote

Another well documented Gilliam nightmare, the guy seems to have no luck (here’s a nice article over at Hey You Guys http://tiny.cc/TerryGilliam). Being disrupted by a nearby NATO target area and a flash flood which would destroy equipment and locations were just the start before lead actor Jean Rochefort suffered a herniated disc cancelling production.  A blistering $15m insurance claim would later be brought and resulted in the company owning the rights to the film (these have since been transferred back to Gilliam). If you haven’t already seen Lost in La Mancha I recommend you do so, like now!  Gilliam has since resurrected the project however and hopes to start filming this year. Fingers crossed.

Alien 3.

One of the most obvious choices is Alien 3 because, well, it was a complete nightmare.  The film went through various writers starting with William Gibson, Near Dark scribe Eric Red to David Thwoy before Vincent Ward took over.  Ward had the idea of a wooden planet inhabited by monks, some of the set designs look great and it would have been very intriguing to see the finished product.  Ward however never got his chance as his idea was scrapped and he was replaced by David Fincher for his feature debut.  The script ended up as a mesh of various ideas from previous drafts which was thrown together by series producers Walter Hill and David Giler.  Since Fox wanted to rush the film out to hit their desired release date, Fincher went into the project without a set script and spent most of the time rewriting on set.  Trying the best he could, things got worse for Fincher when the film was reedited without his knowledge leaving him to basically disown the project.  The reception to the final cut was not great and generally regarded as the weakest of the four; you have to wonder how it would have turned out if Ward or Fincher were given full creative control.  If you can, try pick up the special edition DVD which features some interesting interviews and goes into detail about the early ideas and scripts; Fincher sadly does not feature in an interview.  

Apocalypse Now

The finished product may be classed as a cinematic masterpiece but all was not rosy during production of Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War epic.  Martin Sheen replaced Harvey Keitel a few days into production before a typhoon destroyed some of the sets, including the Playboy Playmate set, leaving the project behind schedule and over budget.  That man Brando was at it again after he showed up on set far too fat to play Colonel Kurtz forcing Coppola into rewriting the ending which in itself would prove a mammoth task.  Things didn’t get much easier after star Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack on set and had to crawl in to the middle of the road to get help. But after a lengthy post production the film was released to both financial and critical acclaim winning the Palme d’Or in 1979 and still features on numerous “Best of All Time” lists. 

Caligula

A film starring Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren charting the rise and fall of Roman Emperor Caligula sound like a classy affair right? Not quite.  Written by Gore Vidal as a historical drama the only we way to secure funding was by partnering with adult magazine, Penthouse, editor Bob Guccione which should have spelled trouble from the start.  Italian director Tinto Brass was hired but he would argue with both Vidal and art director Danillo Donati over both the script and set design.  Star McDowell and Brass would later try and rewrite the script and Vidal would subsequently have his name removed before launching legal action.  After Guccione saw Brass’ final cut he fired him and brought in Giancarlo Lui to reedit the film and reshoot about six minutes of hardcore pornography to replace Brass’ shots.  Before the film was released Brass would also launch a legal suit further delaying the films release.  When the film finally did make it to the screen it was universally panned.

Others include; almost anything to do with Edward Norton who has a tendency to rewrite his parts onset, he also tried to reedit American History X himself leading to director Tony Kaye unsuccessfully attempting to have his name removed from the credits.  Life on the Blade Runner set was also rather challenging for cast and crew with director Ridley Scott being a notorious hard-ass leading squabbles with Harrison Ford and protests from the crew, oh and then there was the infamous ‘final cut’.  Scott and our old chum Terry Gilliam have both suffered the tragic misfortune of an actor dying mid-shoot, Oliver Reed on Gladiator and Heath Ledger during The Imaginaruim of Dr. Parnassus.  There can’t possibly be anything worse than completing a film, a pretty good film at that, but having it shelved and reshot by Renny Harlin.  Well that’s what happened to Paul Schrader.  His film Dominion, a prequel to horror classic The Exorcist was deemed “too dark” by the studio and Harlin was brought in to hack together Exorcist: The Beginning

 So what others would you like to see on the list? The Wolfman hits cinemas from Friday 12th February (I believe there are advance previews Wednesday and Thursday) keep an eye out for the LFF review.

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