Director Jack Starrett’s action/horror/thriller A Race With the Devil is everything you’d expect and more from a 1970s film of its sort—meaning that it’s both ridiculously creepy and strangely hilarious at the same time.
Imagine what would happen if you put two young couples in a top-of-the-line RV and then have them chased by a freaky cult after witnessing a secret ritualistic celebration in the woods. Just about every thing that could go wrong does go wrong. From broken awnings to dead dogs, it’s not a pretty picture.
However, when you combine the terror of the plot with the ridiculously macho actors Peter Fonda and Warren Oates, you’ve got yourself an instantly good time that’s nestled somewhere between hiding behind a pillow to laughing your but off. I’m not sure if it’s the film’s age or its storyline, but something makes A Race With the Devil more entertaining than it’s even trying to be.
They just don’t make movies like they used to.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, July 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
If you’ve heard of JR but can’t put a face to the name, it’s no surprise. He’s kind of like the Banksy of France. No seriously, nobody actually knows exactly who he is, all they know is that he’s an extraordinary photographer and filmmaker. He also has completed some memorable street art in his time, and he’s won a TED prize. So basically, he’s a contemporary art god.
His latest film project, Les Bosquets, which roughly translates to “The Groves,” is based on the story of actor Ladj Ly and the New York City Ballet’s performance of “Les Bosquets,” which found its choreography inspired by the French suburb riots that took place nearly a decade ago.
What’s extraordinary about this trailer is that it incorporates just about every form of modern art—dance, music (did I mention that Pharrell Williams helped compose some of the beats?), street art, performance, and photography. If there’s any video that testifies to JR’s mastery of the arts, it may just be this one. Do yourself a favor and watch it.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Thursday, July 2nd, 2015||No Comments »|
These days most entertainment exported from East Asia, whether it’s a pop band or the next film wave, comes out of South Korea. However, one market they still haven’t conquered is animation, a medium that Japan still has on lockdown. But that doesn’t mean Korea hasn’t tried to steal their crown. The King of Pigs, a 2011 film about school bullying, is Korea’s first international splash into the animation world–and boy is it intense.
In the movie, two high school friends reunite to discuss an emotionally scarring school year that still haunts them. Relentlessly bullied as teens, they seek friendship and safety with Kim Chul, the so-called “king of pigs,” who makes it his life mission to defeat the bullies. But, as expected, it all ends terribly.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Wednesday, June 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
Similar to Animal Farm, Hungarian film White God looks at the hypothetical yet believable scenario of what would happen if all the dogs of the world, particularly unwanted sheltered dogs, took over and started a revolution. Oh sure, you’re snickering now (and trust me, I was snickering too while watching the trailer), but there’s nothing to laugh about in White God. In fact, after watching the film you’ll probably go home and hug your dog (like I did).
In the film, a 13-year-old girl is devastated when her dog, Hagen, is thrown out on the street by her father. Lost and confused, Hagen tries to survive on the streets alone, but his friendly, trusting nature leads him into the hands of those looking to exploit and abuse him. Sold into a dog fighting ring, Hagen’s docile temperament is beaten out of him, transforming him into the evil “beast” humans wanted him to be.
I’m telling you, not since Benji has a dog been such an engrossing main character. Even more astounding is that all 250 dogs in the film, including the lead dog, were all rescue dogs from animal shelters. Combine that with the “humans are fundamentally evil” message running through the film and we get a clear idea of the filmmakers’ agenda. In White God, dogs might be the beasts, but the true animals are us.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Tuesday, April 7th, 2015||No Comments »|
Nearly everyone has seen Alfred Hitchcock’s popularized shower scene from the thriller Psycho, with it’s unforgettable soundtrack engrained into the mind of cinematic history for the rest of time. However, Hitchcock didn’t stop there when it came to creating a film that was bound to stick in our memories. If you’ve never seen it, the original Psycho trailer is a masterpiece in and of itself.
Starring Hitchcock himself as a tour guide of the fictional set, this trailer is a rare and privileged peak into the filmmaker’s mind, even if it’s only in the subtleties of it all. Offering the occasional commentary and filling the script with movie-making hints, this short can be watched over and over again. As for that beloved shower scene? Hitchcock covers it too… just you wait.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Wednesday, April 1st, 2015||No Comments »|
February is Women in Horror Month, a time to reflect on the unrecognized community of female horror directors. Every year Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska, the sister filmmaking duo who run WiHM, put together a Massive Blood Drive PSA to encourage people to give blood (because who knows blood more than horror directors?) and support the female genre filmmaking community.
The PSA compiles teasers of short horror films submitted by other female directors from around the world. For 2015, the theme is “Blood From Unexpected Places,” paired with the tagline: “If There Were Other Ways to Get Blood, We Wouldn’t Need You.” The PSAs range from demented piñata parties to screaming blood showers to even a reverse male-gazey car wash (covered in blood, of course). Needless to say, but viewer discretion is advised. Don’t forget to also check out last year’s PSA.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
Many cinephiles throughout the years have added director Pedro Almodovar’s most famous films to their repertoire, those being All About My Mother and Volver, but many overlook his earlier works for being intrinsically the vision of a gay man from Spain in the 80s (it doesn’t get more specific than that). The mistake there would be to miss out on the fabulousness that is Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodovar’s first internationally successful comedy.
|Recommended by Stefano Llinas||Thursday, January 29th, 2015||No Comments »|