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Amy Acker talks Happy Town and Joss Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods

Posted by LiveFor on April 6, 2010

Amy Acker played Fred in Joss Whedon’s Angel and was also in Dollhouse. She was at Wondercon and Sci-Fi Wire spoke with her about Whedon’s horror film, Cabin in the Woods, and a new ABC show called Happy Town.

First up the TV show Happy Town – is making a strong case for being the next TV obsession. Set in Haplin, Minn., the show deals with people who are disappearing in kidnappings that many think are the work of “the Magic Man.” Others say there’s nothing wrong. It premieres April 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

It stars M.C. Gainey, Geoff Stults and Amy Acker and produced by Josh Appelbaum. They all spoke about the show which sounds like a mix of Twin Peaks, Eureka and more.

M.C. Gainey (Tom Friendly in Lost) plays Haplin sheriff Griffin Conroy. “It’s just one of those towns [where] you don’t know what’s going on there, and the people who do know what’s going on, I’m not even sure they’re people,” Gainey said. “I don’t know that I’m at liberty to tell you much more than that, except that this ain’t your average little small town.”

“I go a little crazy,” Gainey said. “I go a little bit crazy. I kick a lot of ass in this later on. You stick around, I get to kick ass and take names. Heavily armed and heavily medicated, I’m out there busting it up.”

“Let me put it this way,” Appelbaum said. “Whether the characters aren’t people, there will be an introduction of some animals into the show that there’s something going on with these animals that the animals might not be what they seem.”

See what I mean about Twin Peaks where the owls were not what they seemed! They hope that the show does scare people.

“We were like, let’s just make our cry from hell,” Appelbaum said. “Particularly ABC, they haven’t had a truly scary show on the air in a while. In fact, I don’t know that any network has put on just a straight-up scary show. We were like, ‘Let’s just come up with what our version of a cry from hell would be.’ We’re also huge Twin Peaks fans, Stephen King fans, so this was sort of our opportunity to hit that genre and have fun with it.”

“There’s not vampires, but you’ve got people disappearing,” Amy Acker said. “You don’t know what’s happening to you. They were saying more illusion than supernatural, but still. I would like to know what the illusions are, because they really look good.”

“This is a small-town show.” Applebaum continued, “There is a simplicity to that, and there’s a mystery in the town. There are several mysteries, but there is a central mystery: Who is the Magic Man? It’s very classic, old-school storytelling. It isn’t about this vast cast of characters or global events. It’s this town, there are these people, there’s a mystery, who’s behind these abductions, what’s going on? So I think it’s very familiar storytelling for an audience, even though we’re trying to do it in an unconventional way.”

Unlike Lost and others shows of that ilk the mystery of the Magic Man will be found out at the end of the first Season.

“Once you answer that question, it opens up a whole other layer of mysteries,” Appelbaum said. “How is that humanly possible? What does that mean? What is that about? What does that mean about all the other people in the town? I think people will be like, ‘Now I’ve got to keep watching to figure out what the repercussions of that will be.’ Plus the fact that in the final episode, one way or the other, the audience is going to find out who the Magic Man is. That doesn’t necessarily mean the other characters on the show will. There’s still going to be the drama of that moving forward, of when is this person going to be found.”

Happy Town stars Geoff Stults as Tommy Conroy, Sam Neill as Merritt Grieves, Lauren German as Henley Boone, Steven Weber as John Haplin, Amy Acker as Rachel Conroy, Sarah Gadon as Georgia Bravin, Robert Wisdom as Roger Hobbs, Jay Paulson as Eli “Root Beer” Rogers and Ben Schnetzer as Andrew Haplin.

Recurring stars include Frances Conroy as Peggy Haplin, Abraham Benrubi as Big Dave Duncan, M.C. Gainey as Sheriff Griffin Conroy, Peter Outerbridge as Handsome Dan, Warren Christie as Greggy Stiviletto and Sophia Ewaniuk as Emma Conroy.

Sounds very cool, so I will give it a watch whenever it shows up here in the UK.

What about Whedon’s mysterious Cabin in the Woods? Acker let slip that it is more than a serial killer type of thing.

“There’s a lot of scary monsters,” Acker said “It’s a scary movie.”

“It does take from the sort of formula of the horror movie of this group of young kids who go away to a cabin in the woods for the weekend, and everything that happens and what you think is supposed to happen.”

The film is currently being converted into 3D but is due out on 14th January 2011.

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Daybreakers, 2009 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on January 7, 2010

Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill
Running Time: 98 minutes
Score: 6/10

This excellent review by the mighty babubhaut

Daybreakers is a slick action/horror that reminded me of the awesome Equilibrium in style, utilizing brand new technology to ease the life of vampires—the healthy ones that is, not those Nosferatu looking creepers starving for blood. The premise goes as follows: It is 2019 and most everyone has become a vampire. Their power and numbers become so vast that humans quickly go to the minority, hunted as cattle to use for sustenance and harvested for blood. Mankind has become extinct and although the government and scientists are working around the clock for a synthetic substitute, vampires are dying left and right. But before they do, the starvation process mutates them into winged creatures with pointy ears and shriveled skin, resembling those creatures of the dark we might have seen years ago; definitely not the refined ones as in “True Blood”. I shouldn’t use that comparison too much, however, as these vamps, while intelligent creatures “living and breathing” with the only difference from humans being their need for blood and fear of the sun, are more hybrids with the legends Hollywood has created. For example, early on we see our lead Hematologist, played by Ethan Hawke, mysteriously absent from his car’s sideview mirror, a myth not true in the HBO series.

Some of the population has become sympathetic to the plight of the humans—they were one once after all. Among these is Hawke’s character, a scientist doing his best to create a way to stay alive without the need of the dying race. His hopes are that once an alternative is found, the humans will be able to repopulate and live in harmony with them, hunting no longer necessary. That’s all well and good, but you can’t tell a bloodthirsty creature to stop lusting for a kill, and the government, it would seem, doesn’t want to either. Sam Neill plays the man orchestrating it all; I’m not sure if they blatantly call him it or not, but, for all intents and purposes, he is the President. Watching his numbers slowly devolve into uncontrollable beasts, monsters not even they can contain, his desire for a synthetic blood is at an all-time high. The necessity is so great that a trial is held prematurely, resulting in a great bloody mess, one the audience lapped up and cheered jubilantly for.

Seeing that the vampires have lost all resemblance of their former selves, Hawke’s Edward takes it upon himself to get out while he can, stumbling upon a band of humans, not surprisingly untrusting in his attempt to hide them from the authorities. When they see he is a man of his word and a friend to the cause, Edward is shown the holy grail of humanity’s last hope for survival, a man that has become a man once more, changed back from the vampiric state that once consumed him. As subject zero, Hawke must use his body and story to figure out a cure to the plague that has ravaged Earth. The solution may no longer be a need for a blood substitute, but now a way to turn everyone back into humans.

The story is strong and entertaining throughout despite its obvious ending and reconciliation. However, it is what makes up the duration that puts the film above the normal vampire action romp. I love the technology that has been invented, making life entirely vampire-proof. Every building in the cities have been fitted with connecting tunnels so people may move to and fro without the threat of sun, every window is equipped with a black out shutter, and cars are allowed to go into lockdown with front and side monitors for daytime driving. The brainstorming session to come up with these gadgets had to have been a ton of fun. I can just imagine giant white boards outlining each shortcoming to the vampire and then the multitude of ways to solve them. It is a decade of work by an increasingly growing population, so the fact that it all allows for the 24/7 travel of a vampire makes sense. They are the new humans, so a way to work long hours and not have to hibernate half the day away is key.

Some problems do exist in the need to glamorize and make everything visually interesting. One scene in particular looks beautiful, but makes you question the validity of survival in that situation. It’s a daytime meeting between Hawke, (who by the way plays the role perfectly; he does it seriously, a necessity for his Edward to be taken realistically as the Samaritan he is), and a rebel fighter played by Willem Dafoe, (again perfect, but so over-the-top that each one-liner met with rapturous applause, which could have also been because he was in the audience watching). Hawke is directed to park under a tree and get out to talk, deftly avoiding the rays of light peaking through the leaves above him. I guess only direct sunlight affects them. But hey, this is a horror film looking to entertain; one can’t take those things too seriously. It’s all about the exploding bodie, decapitated heads, and slomotion mass of humanity with biting, blood, and violence at the end—a truly stunning scene. The Spierigs play it right at every turn, making a helluva good time in a compact 98 minutes that could surprise the box office come January.

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Daybreakers – New Trailer for the Vampire world film

Posted by LiveFor on November 26, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Daybreakers – New poster for the Vampire world film

Posted by LiveFor on November 19, 2009

Source: HeyUGuys

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Who will voice Zack Snyder’s Guardians of Ga’hoole?

Posted by LiveFor on November 19, 2009

Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and David Wenham will topline the voice cast of Animal Logic’s 3D animated feature, “Guardians of Ga’hoole,” according to Heat Vision.

The big-budget fantasy film, in production in Sydney and directed by Zack Snyder, also will feature the voices of Aussie actors Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Emilie de Ravin, Ryan Kwanten and Jay Laga’aia, as well as English actors Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren and Jim Sturgess.

The animated film is an adaptation of the 14 book bestselling kids series by author Kathryn Lasky and illustrator Richard Cowdry and follows Soren, a young owl enthralled by his father’s epic stories of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a mythic band of winged warriors who had fought a great battle to save all of owlkind from the evil Pure Ones.

The film is due for release in Australia on 9th December next year.

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Daybreakers – Cool new poster for the vampires rule the world film

Posted by LiveFor on October 14, 2009

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher (Ethan Hawke) works with a covert band of vamps (Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan) on a way to save humankind.

Due out on 8th January 2010.

Source: First Showing

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Under the Mountain – International Trailer – Will they find the fire-raiser?

Posted by LiveFor on July 21, 2009

Teenage twins Rachel and Theo travel to Auckland to stay with relatives following the sudden death of their mother. Where there was once a psychic bond between them, now there is a rift as Theo, particularly, refuses to confront his grief. Rachel reaches out to him, but is rebuffed.

Staying with their Aunt Kay and Uncle Cliff on Lake Pupuke, the twins are fascinated by the volcanic lake and the smell that seems to come from creepy old Wilberforce house around the shore. They visit Mt Eden, where Theo sees Mr Jones, a strange old man from whose hands fire seems to glow. When it seems the twins are being watched – and that the Wilberforces can smell them – Theo resolves to investigate the Wilberforce house. Inside, he and Rachel find what can only be an alien environment.

They overhear Mr Wilberforce talking about something stirring beneath the ground. He says he will kill the twins if they find “the fire-raiser”. Rachel is alarmed and reaches out to Theo but, terrified of getting close to anyone since his mother’s death, pushes her away and sets out alone to find the fireraiser – the man he saw on the mountain top…

Due out on 10th December 2010.


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Under the Mountain – There be aliens

Posted by LiveFor on July 13, 2009

When teenage twins Rachel and Theo Matheson investigate the creepy old house next door, they discover the Wilberforces – shape-shifting creatures that lurk beneath Auckland’s ring of extinct volcanoes. Guided by the mysterious Mr Jones and with the help of their older cousin Ricky, the twins must rekindle the unique powers they once shared if they are to destroy this ancient evil – before it destroys them.

Starring Sam Neill and newcomers Tom Cameron and Sophie McBride

Source: /film


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Daybreakers – Vampires and humans working together

Posted by LiveFor on June 22, 2009

This has been in post production since 2007. Sounds like a great idea for a film.

In the year 2019, a plague has transformed most every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher (Ethan Hawke) works with a covert band of vamps (Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan) on a way to save humankind.

Willem Dafoe always brings that crooked charm to his roles and it will be good to see him play another vampire after the brilliant Shadow of the Vampire.

The film also stars Sam Neill. That looks like him in the top photo below.

The photos do show that these vampires are more like the ones from Blade, organised and businesslike in their dealings.

It is not clear from the description, but the photos also suggest that Ethan Hawke is also a vampire. So all of the main characters are vampires? I think I’ve got that right. Instead of just finding a way to ensure there is enought blood for the vamps is Ethan trying to find a cure to the curse itself?

Daybreakers is written and directed by Australian brothers Michael and Peter Spierig. Lionsgate are releasing it on 8th January 2010 next year.

Source: First Showing

Discuss in the forum or leave a comment below.


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Dean Spanley, 2008 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on December 18, 2008

Director: Toa Fraser
Starring: Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, Peter O’Toole, Bryan Brown, Art Malik
Score: 8 / 10

This review by SusurrusKarma. Trailer is below.

In what is perhaps one of the most peculiar of films to be released this year, director Toa Fraser adapts a classic book written by the late Lord Dunsany and translates it into a memorable production of dream-like perceptions. Indeed there is much to be said for a movie which revolves around hotpots, spaniels, the transmigration of souls, Thursdays and fine wine of all things, all the while telling a remarkably profound story of whimsical-like form inhabited by sternly grounded characters unaware of their otherworldly characteristics. It is a rather unique mix of the fantastic with the mundane and cynical; a study of the human spirit, and all the little frivolous things that occupy us without bringing attention to their remote significance. In that vein writer Alan Sharp makes his screenplay an insight into how the ordinary can suddenly be turned upside on its head and given extraordinary resonance. Dean Spanley is, by all accounts, a notably dry experience, but accompanied with the always engrossing performances of the central cast and a wry sense of humour present in the script, the experience like it is central character is warm and comforting behind the rather harsh shell that surrounds it.

The most remarkable of all of the movie’s components is its plot, which counteracts against central character Fisk Senior’s (Peter O’Toole) callous, very much close-minded approach to life. Going from happenstance to coincidence and then closely followed by an almost prophetic like relationship, Fisk’s son strikes up an interesting bond with the local Dean (Sam Neill), who when under the modest influence of the rarest of wines, recalls his past life as a canine. From here on in the feature exposes its most bizarre roots, showcasing a character and story that often perplexes more than intrigues, but amuses all the same. It’s certainly an interesting, and for the most part engaging narrative, but for all intents and purposes always feels like second batter to much firmer and more developed elements. This, along with a somewhat overdone conclusion forms what are perhaps the movie’s only two major faults, but even then such moments are not without their inherent charm and significance to the remainder of the feature.

It is instead through the character of Fisk Senior and his relationship with his ever unappreciated and frustrated son Fisk Junior (Jeremy Northam) that Dean Spanley is best at documenting and exploring. As a father and a general human being, Senior is a callous, opinionated and close minded bastard; by all means he means no real harm through his stern actions -in fact through his eyes he sees himself as teaching the world a well deserved lesson- but to those around him, he remains a senile old coot not worth paying attention to. Junior is very much his antithesis, no doubt taking more of his deceased mother’s genes than his fathers, and as a result the dynamic between the two is consistently engaging to watch and always palpable. Director Toa Fraser does particularly well in directing the two to be familiar but withdrawn from each other, resulting in a relationship that counteracts that between Junior and Dean Spanley.

As mentioned above however, it is within these frequent highlights of the film that only go to make the less tangible moments that exist without Senior’s presence more obvious and dubious. Dean Spanley tells a fine, and notably uplifting story, but its heart and core lies within its characters that are most prominent in the forms of O’Toole and Northam. It’s worth mentioning then that as the feature goes on, focus on each is given adequate balance, culminating in a clashing of the two characters’ stories in a timid manner that is made all the more profound by Mr. O’Toole’s performance. It’s a somewhat out of place resolution, and one that seems to go against the character of Fisk Senior a little too much, but the emotional payoff that is warranted from such a shift makes up for any out of balance characterisation.

For all its eccentricities, dry humour and rich sense of character however, it must be noted that the experience of watching Dean Spanley certainly isn’t for everyone. A drama rooted in classic prose, focusing heavily on character, philosophy and small nuances of psychology and life, Toa Fraser here sticks to his guns and delivers an unapologetically intelligent, cultured and insightful character study kept in check by warmth of heart and unique personality. If there is one major selling point for the feature that will allow all audiences to get something from the feature however, it simply lies within the timeless presence of Peter O’Toole who gives a wonderful performance befitting of his stature and the character in which he resides. It can be a touching, humorous and even thought-provoking experience, but like a fine wine, you’re best not to get too involved here; this one’s for sitting back and soaking in one sip at a time, and yes, it might be a little syrupy but it’s enough to get lost in and enjoy all the same.

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