<p>Evan Glodell, seen here with Jessie Wiseman, is the writer/director/star/producer/editor of the remarkable, wholly unique Apocalyptic love story 'Bellflower'</p>

Evan Glodell, seen here with Jessie Wiseman, is the writer/director/star/producer/editor of the remarkable, wholly unique Apocalyptic love story 'Bellflower'

Credit: Coatwolf

Sundance review: 'Bellflower' offers up an Apocalyptic vision of love and heartbreak

An amazing discovery marks Evan Glodell as a major new voice

PARK CITY - One of the very best experiences you can hope to have a festival is when you walk into a theater knowing absolutely nothing about a movie beyond a title and you walk out at the end of it head over heels in love.

Such is the case with me and the wild, gorgeous "Bellflower," a film that's playing here as part of the NEXT showcase, and one which I look forward to arguing about for years to come.  It is not an easily or immediately digested film, but I am fairly convinced that it's a special one, and I think writer/director/star/producer/editor Evan Glodell is something of a marvel.  This is such a personal, driven, particular film that I'm not sure what to expect from him in the future, but in this case?  Thank god he made this film, because no one else could.

"Bellflower" begins with a few quick images of violence and blood and fire, moving backwards, terrible things unhappening for a few moments, and then cuts to black, where we see an opening quote from Lord Humungous.  If you don't know who that is, you're probably not a giant fan of "The Road Warrior," aka "Mad Max 2."  He's the mostly-naked guy with the hockey mask and the crazy voice who seems to rule over all of the crazy bad guys trying to get into the oil refinery in that film, and since I saw that film in '82, that character has been one of my favorite in any film. 

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<p>Rutger Hauer is, indeed, a 'Hobo With A Shotgun,' and Sundance is better for it</p>

Rutger Hauer is, indeed, a 'Hobo With A Shotgun,' and Sundance is better for it

Credit: Magnet Releasing

Sundance review: 'Hobo With A Shotgun' offers up unhinged, depraved fun with Rutger Hauer and both barrels

Jason Eisener throws down with a wicked slice of gore-soaked mayhem

PARK CITY - As you may know, since you've decided to read a review for a film called "Hobo With A Shotgun," there is a film that is indeed called "Hobo With A Shotgun."

Let's back up.  When Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were getting ready to release "Grindhouse," one of the things that people were excited about were the fake trailers that were going to be included in the film, and there was a SXSW/AICN contest for people to make their own fake grindhouse trailers, and the winner got to have their trailer shown before the premiere of the movie.  The winner of that contest was the absolutely deserving "Hobo With A Shotgun" by the absolutely talented Jason Eisener.  It's taken from that moment until tonight for Jason to finish the journey from that fake trailer to a real movie, and as far as I'm concerned, it was totally worth the wait.

He made another film in the meantime, a short that I saw here two years ago called "Treevenge," and that short is genuinely wonderful.  I didn't need him to make "Hobo" in particular, but I knew that Eisener was a guy who needed to be making feature films, and soon.  He's got a great sense of energy, and beyond that, he's able to mix an aggressively wild and sleazy style with some real smart just-under-the-surface substance, due in no small part to his collaborators John Davies and Rob Cotterill, who worked on the story and script with him.  I think something like this works best as collaboration because it's almost like you can hear them sitting together, cackling as they write, daring each other, spurring each other to go farther.  One thing's for certain… "Hobo With A Shotgun" is utterly unafraid to offend, exploit, excite, and entertain, drenched with hyperviolence and shot through with a wicked wit.

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<p>oh how 'meta'... again</p>

oh how 'meta'... again

Watch: 5 reasons to scream for the new 'Scream 4' trailer

Scream for joy, mostly

• "Peeping Tom" story line. If you're a fan of the 1960 classic directed by Michael Powell, about a disturbed young man who films the faces of the women he murders  you'll see the homage of sorts now that one of the "new version" rules is that the killer must "be filming the murders"

•Alison Brie - We love her as Annie on "community" and here she is at minute 1:15 in a slightly less humorous situation.

•Hayden Panetierre. There's a lot more Hayden in this trailer, and we like that. She's brassy and can rattle off a slew of horror remakes so fast it'll make your head spin. (min 1:44)



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<p>Michael Tully's new film 'Septien' is a disturbing look at a disturbed family.&nbsp; Like the dress on the guy on the right didn't give you a clue.</p>

Michael Tully's new film 'Septien' is a disturbing look at a disturbed family.  Like the dress on the guy on the right didn't give you a clue.

Credit: Nomadic Independence Pictures

Sundance review: Michael Tully's 'Septien' is uneasy look at unconventional family

'Smother The Demons,' indeed

PARK CITY, UT - When I went to Ireland to visit the set of "Your Highness," it was an odd and enjoyable group of people who went with me.  There were familiar faces like Devin Faraci and AICN's Quint and JoBlo's Mike Sampson, but there were also some people along who I have never seen on any other set visit.  One of those was Michael Tully, who runs the website HammerToNail, which is far more focused on the microbudget DIY world of filmmaking, which made it seem strange that he would join us at first.

Turns out Tully had more of a background as a filmmaker than he originally let on, and it was only later that I saw "Silver Jew," a documentary he made, and learned that he had worked on the early films of David Gordon Green as well.  That suddenly made perfect sense, and in his own set report about the film, he admitted to his own unease about the experience.  I've since run into Mike at several film festivals where he was working press, writing reviews, running down new movies he was interested in, and I've always enjoyed our conversations, even if I think we approach film in radically different ways.

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<p>Elizabeth Olsen has a wildly difficult job as the lead of the new horror film 'Silent House'</p>

Elizabeth Olsen has a wildly difficult job as the lead of the new horror film 'Silent House'

Credit: Elle Driver

Sundance review: Midnight horror film 'Silent House' innovates technically, not narratively

Is that enough to win over an audience? The filmmakers behind 'Open Water' hope so

PARK CITY, UT -- It is unusual for Sundance to open with a midnight movie, and especially with a press screening of a midnight movie.  I'm glad they did, though, even if I think "Silent House" is an exercise more than a movie.  And that's not a dismissal… just an observation.

I haven't seen "La Casa Muda," the film by Gustavo Hernandez, which was produced and released in Uruguay.  It played Cannes in 2010, and I remember seeing a trailer for it online and being impressed by what looked like a fair degree of technical polish and the clever idea of shooting the entire thing in one take.  Most of the reviews I read for the film liked the film up to a point, but the script seemed to pull some gymnastics that derailed the film for a number of viewers.  Considering the film only made its international premiere in May, it's sort of remarkable to be in January of the following year, already reviewing the remake.  It's also sort of remarkable that they made some major revisions to the structure and the characters, and yet they still have some of the same issues that irritated viewers in the original.

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<p>I'm going to go ahead and guess that very bad things are happening in this still from the new Japanese film 'Vampire,' part of this year's Sundance Film Festival</p>

I'm going to go ahead and guess that very bad things are happening in this still from the new Japanese film 'Vampire,' part of this year's Sundance Film Festival

Credit: Rockwell Eyes

First Look: Sundance gets ready to sink its teeth into 'Vampire'

What does this take on the classic archetype bring to the table?

PARK CITY - One of the movies I'm looking forward to here at Sundance this week is "Vampire," and right now, that's all I know about the movie.

I love that.  I love being at a festival and looking at titles and just taking a chance on something.  It's exciting because I've had some of my very favorite experiences that way, like when I sat through "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" simply because I wanted to see the movie playing after it, and I've had some of the worst experiences ever the same way.  I'll spare the filmmakers another kick in the teeth, but there have been movies I've bailed out on twenty minutes in because I've been so horrified by what I'm looking at.

With "Vampire," I'll admit it:  I'm curious to see a movie that's got balls big enough to use that title in the year 2011, in an age where there are roughly nine billion movies that have been made about vampires, and they have pretty much been run through every variation, every possible permutation.  I certainly think you can still make a vampire film that is interesting and provocative.  "Let The Right One In" and its American counterpart "Let Me In" both prove that, as did the recent Korean film "Thirst," but to just call your film "Vampire" implies a sort of ownership of the genre, like you're making a big statement about these movies or this particular monster archetype.

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<p>Neill Blomkamp, seen here directing Sharlto Copley in 'District 9,' has two more original SF&nbsp;films set up now, which should keep him busy for a while</p>

Neill Blomkamp, seen here directing Sharlto Copley in 'District 9,' has two more original SF films set up now, which should keep him busy for a while

Credit: Sony Pictures

Neill Blomkamp's 'Elysium' finds a home and a new project is announced

Is he the last great hope for original science-fiction onscreen?

Well, that didn't take long.

I included a link yesterday in The Morning Read to a story that indicated Neill Blomkamp was just starting his studio rounds with his new project "Elysium," which was already fully funded by MRC.  They were looking for a distributor, and it looks like Sony stepped up with a bid of $120 million, which locked the film up for them.  The cast is great already, with Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley aboard, but what really gets me crazy is the idea that Blomkamp managed to pin down the elusive Syd Mead, whose work on films like the original "TRON," "Blade Runner," and "Conan The Barbarian" made him one of the most important concept artists in film in the '80s.  He does not work frequently, but his love of "District 9" is what evidently got him to say yes to Blomkamp where he's said no so many other times.

Now it looks like that quick turnaround on the "Elysium" deal has given MRC the confidence to greenlight another film immediately, which it appears that Blomkamp will shoot right after he's done with "Elysium."  The title, according to the report at Deadline, is "Chappie," and once again, it's an original SF film.

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<p>Amber Heard waits for pants</p>

Amber Heard waits for pants

Credit: Summit

Watch: Nicolas Cage dances with the devil in clips from 'Drive Angry'

Red Band clip mixes sex and violence in new ways

Now that 'Faster' has come and gone we have only one muscle-car revenge movie to look forward to, but what a doozy it is. For the uninitiated, "Drive Angry" is the story of a Milton (Nic Cage) who escapes from hell to save his baby granddaughter from a satanic cult and avenge the death of his daughter. He is pursued by the devil's right hand man (Bill Fichtner) who is tasked with dragging him back. Cage is assisted on his quest by the beautiful Piper (Amber Heard) and a very special deadly shotgun.

Two clips were released today as well as two TV spots (you can find in the video section) that may do more than ever to get genre fiends like myself to the theaters to see this. What? It looks trashy, you say? Well, yes it does. That's why we go.

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<p>Does William Holden look happy about the possibility of a 'Wild Bunch' remake?&nbsp; No.&nbsp; No, he certainly does not.&nbsp; And he knows where you live, Warner Bros.</p>

Does William Holden look happy about the possibility of a 'Wild Bunch' remake?  No.  No, he certainly does not.  And he knows where you live, Warner Bros.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Remake This! returns with news of Jerry Lewis, 'The Wild Bunch,' Will Smith's 'Annie' and more

Hollywood hasn't gotten this whole remake mania out of its system yet

Okay, Hollywood, are you seriously going to make me reactivate my "Remake This!" column?

I'm sitting in the living room of my condo at Park City right now, enjoying the view of the snow that blankets Main Street, preparing a review for the micro-budget "Septien," and as I check out the news today, all I see is remake after remake after remake, and honestly?  Makes me wanna holla.

First of all, if I hear one more person invoke the name "True Grit" as a way of defending the idea of remaking "The Wild Bunch," I'm going to lose my mind.  "True Grit," let's remember, was a novel before it was a film, and one of the reasons the Coens wanted to adapt that book was because they felt like the original film had missed much of what made the text special.  Sure, it was a sacred cow because it won John Wayne an Oscar, and there are many things to like about Henry Hathaway's original film, but there was also room for a different version that embraced the language and the tougher nature of Mattie Ross.  I think the Coens did a wonderful job, and they deserve all the praise they've gotten for their work on the script.

"The Wild Bunch" is totally different. 

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<p>Natalie Portman sat down with HitFix to discuss her new film and to reveal some shocking secrets about her motives for appearing in 'No Strings Attached'</p>

Natalie Portman sat down with HitFix to discuss her new film and to reveal some shocking secrets about her motives for appearing in 'No Strings Attached'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Natalie Portman confesses the dark secrets that led to 'No Strings Attached'

A very silly interview amidst a very serious season for the actress

Oh, Miss Portman... there is nothing more charming than someone in the midst of one of the best years of their lives who can still laugh about themselves and their work.

When I sat down with Portman a few months ago to talk about "Black Swan," it was a far more sober conversation about her work in that film, which was appropriate to that piece of work.  But when you sit down to talk about a film like "No Strings Attached," you aren't obligated to take things as seriously, especially when someone's been on the awards circuit since September.

She's looking positively radiant these days as she carries a little extra baby weight, and I have to believe that the acclaim she's enjoyed professionally and the personal highs she's been experiencing all combine to make her happier than she's ever been.  What's interesting is that the Natalie Portman we've seen in things like the Lonely Island rap video she did has never really shown up in one of her films before, but it's there in this film.  It seems to me like she's aware of the comic value of someone as petite and adorable as her busting loose with some raunch, and she's embraced it.

I had one question I absolutely had to ask her regarding "That '70s Show," and it led to a shocking confession on her part.  I didn't mean to blow the lid off her obsession with the show or her plans for the other cast members like Danny Masterson, Topher Grace, or Debra Jo Rupp, but you'll see... I caught her off-guard and she had no choice but to reveal the truth finally.

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