After taking off on a flight from New York to Los Angeles on New Years Eve, the passengers of Flight 37A are soon sent into shock and alarm as the plane experiences severe turbulence. The relentless weather attack causes panic and terror amongst the passengers until the plane ultimately crashes in a remote government-testing reserve, AREA 407. Through footage captured by two teenage sisters, the accident and crash lead to further events that should not be viewed by the faint of heart. As they continue to film, it becomes apparent that the remaining survivors of Flight 37A may not survive the night.
Directed by Dale Fabrigar and Everette Wallin, AREA 407 stars Abigail Schrader, Samantha Lester, James Lyons, Melanie Lyons, Brendan Patrick Connor, Ken Garcia, Samantha Sloyan, Everette Wallin and Jude Gerard Prest. The film was written by Robert Shepyer.
AREA 407 will be available nationwide on IFC Midnight Cable VOD and Digital Outlets (SundanceNOW, iTunes, Amazon Streaming, XBOX Zune, Playstation Unlimited) and select theaters on April 27, 2012.
AFTER FALL, WINTER
(Film Buff…Unrated…130 min)
Most films starring and directed by Eric Schaeffer tend to follow the same story structure, average Joe of a guy falls for an extremely beautiful woman, and of course she for him, until some sort of drama sets in that either splits them up or are overcome by a last ditch romantic effort. Schaeffer’s latest effort, After Fall, Winteris no different except for the fact that this film avoids the ‘cheese’ factor that often plague Schaeffer films and delivers a very honest and endearing viewing experience.
After Fall, Winter is the second in a planned quartet of films, each 15 years apart. The first installment was 1997’s Fall, not that you need to see that film to appreciate this latest offering.
Eric Schaeffer stars as “Michael Shiver”, a one-time successful novelist, now hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and full of self-loathing. Shiver is invited by an old friend to leave New York City and spend the winter in Paris where he might gain new perspective on life. Soon after he arrives he meets the beautiful Sophie (Lizzie Brocheré), a young, compassionate hospice nurse by day and an S&M dominatrix by night. Both desperately want intimacy and ache for the love story that will change their lives. But Michael and Sophie fear attachment and each hides dangerous secrets behind wit and repartee.
While the storyline is very familiar, down on his luck American in Paris who of course finds love, and if you’re Eric Schaeffer, she’ll be a beauty no doubt, but this film has heart and at slightly over two hours long, takes its time to unfold without dragging anything out. A filmmaker loved and hated by many, Schaeffer has really hit the mark this time. In a way it feels like watching one of many of his movies, but this time it holds your interest and makes you care about these characters and what’s going on in their lives. This isn’t your typical ‘popcorn movie’ romance. Indeed, Schaeffer always has an indie film vibe to his work but this time around his movie is palatable on so many levels. While far from a ‘date flick,’ there is romance, but there’s also heartbreak and no guarantee at a happy ending, which is true to life. It’s these kinds of little gems that remind you why independent cinema can be so rewarding.
After Fall, Winteris available to download/rent everywhere, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Xbox, YouTube, and FilmBuff.
‘7500’ TEASER TRAILER
PREPARE FOR A BUMPY FLIGHT
Check out the brand new trailer for 7500, the latest film from the director of The Grudge about a group of passengers who encounter what appears to be a supernatural force while on a transpacific flight. Buckle up, the captain has just turned on the seatbelt sign, prepare for turbulence. 7500 will be released Aug. 31 from CBS Films.
WATCH ‘WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING’ TRAILER
Inspired by the perennial New York Times bestseller of the same name, What To Expect When You’re Expecting looks a hilarious and heartfelt big screen comedy about five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood.
Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don’t stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy’s husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who’s expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn’t so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a “dudes” support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco’s surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date?
A kaleidoscopic comedy as universal as it is unpredictable, What To Expect When You’re Expecting finds humor and uplift in all the unexpected trials and triumphs of welcoming a child into the world. The film stars Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Banks, Chace Crawford, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, Rodrigo Santoro, Ben Falcone and Joe Manganiello.
What To Expect When You’re Expectingopens in theaters everywhere on May 11, just in time for Mother's Day.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FULL SEQUENCE) IFC Midnight • 88min • Unrated
For some moviegoers, The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) is the long-awaited sequel to one of the most disturbing and completely original movies in recent memory; to others it’s the sign of the pending apocalypse considering the kind of depravity that some consider art and entertainment.
To the shock and dismay of many, The Human Centipede (First Sequence)told the story of a depraved doctor obsessed with creating a human centipede, stitching his poor victims ass-to-mouth. This new installment centers around Martin, a mentally disturbed loner who lives with his mother in a bleak housing project. He works the night shift as a security guard in an equally grim and foreboding underground parking complex. To escape his dreary existence, Martin loses himself in the fantasy world of the cult horror film The Human Centipede (First Sequence), fantasizing about the meticulous surgical skills of the gifted Dr. Heiter, whose knowledge of the human gastrointestinal system inspires Martin to attempt the unthinkable, build his own actual human centipede.
But Martin lacks the surgical skill, medical instruments and operating theater necessary to create a larger centipede in the image of Dr. Heiter’s “masterpiece.” So he makes use of materials at hand: duct tape, staple gun, various household tools along with his fanboy moxie.
“When I was writing the first part, I had so many ideas that I couldn’t put in the first sequence,” director Tom Six points out. “That one played out on the psychological level, you didn’t see much. A lot of what was happening was in the viewer’s mind. For Part Two, I wanted to show everything you couldn’t see in Part One.”
And give credit to Six for his inventive premise of a disturbed person trying to copy the idea of the original film.
“At film festivals we were constantly asked this question,” Six says. “People seemed very disturbed by the idea of someone emulating Dr. Heiter’s work, so I used that concept as a kernel for the second film. In the second film, people are abducted, placed in a warehouse, operated on — again, it’s this unstoppable tension. In most horror films, characters are killed off so quickly. But in this new film you see them going through prolonged hell. That is real horror.”
And kudos to actor Laurence Harvey, who takes on the challenging leading role of the demented and obsessive Martin. He delivers an unsetting performance, without any dialogue, that drives the action.
Destined to be a cult classic, The Human Centipede (Full Sequence), like the 2010 original, is not for everyone. Pushing the boundaries of good taste and how much violence and perversion can be in a movie without calling it offensive, I don’t know if this is “art” but it’s good that someone sees no boundaries and isn’t afraid to provoke.
And believe it or not, the third installment is already being planned.
The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) is now playing at the Nuart and will be available On Demand staring October 12.
THE LAST MOUNTAIN Uncommon Productions • 95min• Rated PG
The documentary The Last Mountainis one of those films that makes you just want to throw your hands up in the air in frustration and curse out big business. A powerful film from award-winning director Bill Haney (The Price of Sugar), the doc features veteran environmentalist Robert Kennedy, Jr., and centers on a standoff currently taking place in the valleys of Appalachia. At stake is the health and environment of a community from the destructive power of Big Coal.
“The central front in the battle for America’s energy future, with enormous consequences for the health and economic prospects of every citizen, is the fight for Appalachian coal,” said filmmaker Bill Haney. “In valleys and on mountaintops throughout the heart of the eastern seaboard, the coal industry detonates the explosive power of a Hiroshima bomb each and every week, shredding timeless landscapes to bring coal wealth to a few, and leaving devastated communities and poisoned water to many. With politicians siding with their corporate donors, it falls to a rag tag army of local activists to stand alone for the welfare of their families, their heritage and for a principled and sound energy future. Our film is their film – the uplifting story of the power of ordinary citizens to remake the future when they have the determination and courage to do so.”
According to the film, almost half of the electricity produced in the U.S. comes from the burning of coal, and 35 percent of that coal comes from the mountains of Appalachia. The practice of mountain top removal has destroyed 500 Appalachian mountains, decimated 1 million acres of forest, and buried 2,000 miles of stream. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, each year emissions from coal-fired power plants contribute to more than 10 million asthma attacks, brain damage in up to 600,000 newborns and 43,000 premature deaths.
An important film to see, The Last Mountainreminds us of the power and immediate reach solid documentary filmmaking has. This is a story everyone should know about. It’s not just a turf war in Coal River Valley, West Virginia, instead this is a fight that everyone should be concerned about.
The Last Mountain plays at the Landmark in West L.A. June 15 – 21, at Edwards University Town Center 6 in Irvine June 17 – 23, and Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena June 17 – 23.
STONE Overture Films…105min…Rated R
You’d think a film starring Oscar-winner Robert De Niro, Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, and the lovely Milla Jovovich would have to be good and loaded with excellent performances. Well, you can think that but you’d be wrong. Case in point, Stone, their latest collaboration.
The film tells the story of a convicted arsonist (Norton) looking to manipulate a parole officer (De Niron) into a plan to secure his early parole by placing his beautiful wife (Jovovich) in the lawman's lap. Norton, with a lame braided hairstyle, almost revisits his performance in Primal Fear (a better film) in this convict role but without the subtly and intensity of his first breakout performance. But kudos to Golden Globe winner Frances Conroy, as De Niro’s long-suffering wife, for her honest portrayal of an abused spouse.
A tale of passion, betrayal and corruption, Stoneexamines the fractured lives to two volatile men breaking from their troubled pasts to face uncertain futures, unfortunately the journey just isn’t worth the time as slow pacing and underwhelming performances simply don’t deliver.
JACK GOES BOATING (Overture Films – 89 min) Rated R
You know that you can always count on actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) to deliver a fine performance. He’s one of those actors that never seems to disappoint, as is the case with his latest release, Jack Goes Boating, even if the film itself comes across as a little flat.
Edgy and offbeat, the film is a tale of love, betrayal, friendship and grace centered around two working-class New York City couples. Directed by Hoffman, making his directorial debut, Hoffman’s character Jack falls for Connie (Amy Ryan) while the couple that introduced them are dealing with unresolved issues I their marriage.
And while Hoffman delivers a solid performance, even he admits it was a challenge also serving as director. “As a director, I had to be available to the other people,” he says. “As an actor, it’s a small movie with four main characters. In a lot of scenes, there are just two actors, so you’re half the acting. That was tricky. No one should be thinking about themselves that much through any given day. It’s just not healthy.”
A nice, funny, little movie, Jack Goes Boatingentertains sans explosions and special effects. No 3D glasses necessary, this is just fine acting around a sweet story.
CENTURION (Magnet – 97min) Rated R Now Playing at the Nuart
Set during the war between Roman soldiers and Pict tribesmen during the 2nd century Roman conquest of Britain, Centurionis, to put it matter-of-factly, one badass movie-going experience.
Starring Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) as Quintus Dias, the film tells the story of a Roman centurion, and son of a legendary gladiator, who leads a group of soldiers on a raid of a Pict camp to rescue a captured general (played by Dominic West). The son of the Pict leader is murdered during the raid and the Romans find themselves hunted by a seemingly unstoppable group of the Pict's most vicious and skilled warriors, led by a beautiful and deadly tracker (Olga Kurylenko), hell bent on revenge.
A grand and epic film, think along the lines of Braveheart and Apocalypto, this is an action-packed film loaded with excitement. Directed by Neil Marshall, the man responsible the wonderful all-girl horror film The Descent, you know you can count on, as producer Robert Jones explains, “strongly defined characters, fast-paced action with gore, a bit more gore, then a sprinkling of blood on top.
Originally aired on-demand, this is a film that really needs to be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. Centurionis brutal and exhilarating and a roaring good time for non-squeamish moviegoers.
Now playing at the Nuart Theatre in West Los Angeles and South Coast Village 3 in Santa Ana. Centurion expands September 3 at Town Center 5 in Encino and Playhouse 7 Cinemas in Pasadena.
Don’t let the title of Adam Sandler’s new juvenile comedy fool you into thinking he’s matured any as Grown Upsis loaded with adolescent and potty humor as five middle-aged men revert back to their teen roles when they reunite 30 years later after the death of their grade school basketball coach.
A goodhearted comedy, the film falls a little flat just based on its star power as expectations run high when you mix Sandler with Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, Kevin James and David Spade. The guys do have great chemistry as it’s obvious their friends and had fun hanging out, too bad the movie got in the way of their fun. And of course only in the movies could Sandler end up married to hottie extraordinaire Salma Hayek, but then again the movies are all about make believe.
Once the old team is back together, thanks to the death of their former basketball coach who always stressed living life to the fullest, the guys decide to spend the Fourth of July weekend together at the old lake house that now big time Hollywood producer Lenny Feder (Sandler) decided to rent. Chris Rock plays a neutered husband, Rob Schneider a new age hippy with a thing for way older women, David Spade is the party boy who never grew up or got married, and Kevin James is Paul Blart with a wife (again, way to hot for him in Maria Bello) who still breastfeeds their 4-year-old son.
And even though this film is all about the fellas, kudos have to go to the Grown Ups ladies, Hayek, Bello, and Maya Rudolph, who handle their own and offer quite a few laughs. But take note, this is no Big Chill for the iPod generation. It’s worth a few laughs but seems to miss out on the laugh-out-loud yucks. And personally, I’d rather watch Schneider and Spade one more time in The Benchwarmers.
THE JONESES (Roadside Attractions – 96 min) Rated R
Ever think we’re living in a world has gone too corporate and that everything has become to safe and sanitized? Well, add the fact that maybe you’re a conspiracy theory buff and The Jonesesis just the movie for you.
Starring David Duchovny and Demi Moore as the Joneses, a seemingly perfect couple who, along with their two beautifully sculpted perfect teenagers, move into an upscale, gated community and become the envy of the neighborhood. The thing of it is that the Joneses are not the perfect family, no, they’re employees of a stealth marketing company and their job is to make everyone else want to buy exactly what they have.
This is about the buying and selling of the American Dream, nevermind living within your means, The Joneseswant you to buy, buy, buy. Think the Truman Show meets American Beauty.
“I used to work, and still do, in the commercial world,” filmmaker Derrick Borte explains. “I am fascinated by the resourceful ways advertisers use to get products into people’s minds. Many people know about the models hired to sit at bars to smoke certain brands of cigarettes. I was very curious how far advertisers might go to sneak their product into our brains. Instead of the girl at the bar, I placed a family in a McMansion setting, and the Joneses were born.”
Being the consumer-driven, credit card nation, unbelievably in debt, that we are, The Jonesesis a smart and subversive film looking at where we find ourselves as a nation with a sly smile, tongue firmly in cheek. After all, we are a country consumed with material obsession desperate to keep up with the Joneses.
David Duchovny and Demi Moore really light up the screen together and, as usual, Gary Cole offers a wonderful and understated performance. The Joneses is a heady, funny film that will definitely make you look at the world of marketing differently, unless of course you’re already always looking for the angle in things, then you just might appreciate this film even more.
The tag line to Shutter Island, the latest film from Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese, is “some places never let you go.” Between that saying and the film’s official trailer I found it quite easy to gasp the film’s attempt at a clever “twist” which made the 2+ hours spent in the theater seem even longer.
The story of two U.S. marshals (played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) summoned to a remote and barren island off the coast of Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a murderess from the island’s fortress-like hospital for the criminally insane first seemed like a supernatural thriller by the film’s original trailer, but then it was changed to a more X-Files approach. It seems the missing prisoner “evaporated straight through the walls” which added a creepy feel to what I thought Shutter Islandmight be but that proved not to be the case.
Aided by a top notch cast surrounding DiCaprio, including Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Mark Ruffalo in an impressive subdued performance, as well as Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, and Elias Koteas (each dynamic in their own lone, individual scenes), it’s Scorsese’s stunning visuals that creates the mood and dominates the visuals. Despite the film’s lack of focus, it’s annoying use of flashbacks (yeah, I get why but still), and it’s predictability, it’s always a pleasure to see world that the acclaimed director has created.
This one can wait until it comes around on home video.
Currently guy cinema is riding the great wave of some really cool flicks, think 44 Inch Chest, Edge of Darkness and Book of Eli, but every once in a while a truly challenging movie hits theaters. That’s where Red Riding Trilogycomes into action.
Originally made for British television, the Red Riding Trilogyis currently playing exclusively for one week at the Nuart. Three separate films helmed by three distinct directors, to see the trilogy in its entirety demands nearly 5 hours of your time. That may seem like a lot, and that does include three separate theater admissions, but it’s filmmaking as it should be.
Set in Yorkshire, England, the films follows the search for the Yorkshire Ripper. The three movies, Red Riding 1974, Red Riding 1980 and Red Riding 1983 feature many of the same cast members. Starring Mark Addy (The Full Monty), Paddy Considine (In America) and Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings), as well as a slew of solid British actors including breakout performances by Sean Harris, Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and David Morrissey, these films are gritty, compelling and intense.
Each film has its own distinct look and feel. They were each shot on completely different formats, from 16-millimeter to 35-millimeter to digital, yet it maintains, at its core, a story that you just can’t turn away from.
Red Riding: 1974 is where the hunt for the Ripper begins as a young journalist looks into a series of child abductions amidst rampant police corruption.
Red Riding: 1980, my favorite of the three, finds that the “Ripper” has tyrannized Yorkshire for six years and with the local police failing to make any progress, the Home Office sends in Manchester officer Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine) to review the investigation which only causes more chaos within the corrupt police department.
Red Riding: 1983 begins with the disappearance of another young girl with alarming similarities to the abductions in ‘74. It’s absolutely fascinating watching the story completely unfold in ’83 as we’re taken back in time to see how things really began. This was tailor made to be a superb miniseries but shown together as one long marathon film is a tough challenge but hopefully adventurous filmgoers will dive right in and give it a try.