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Posts Tagged ‘Southland Tales’

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

Posted in Film, Sci-Fi, Thriller | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

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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