Simon Killer, now playing in limited release, is a cinematic reminder of the old adage that looks can be very, very deceptive.
The film follows Simon, a seemingly ordinary American fresh out of college who, like so many young before him, has traveled to Paris in order to mend his recently broken heart. For a while, Simon embodies the cliche of the young tourist in Paris, hanging out in streetside cafes, joining the tourists seeing the Mona Lisa, and feebly flirting with French women.
When Simon encounters a sweet, beautiful prostitute in the Pigalle district, his isolation is finally lessened. But the story doesn't proceed according to cliche. As layer after layer of the title character are peeled back, Simon Killer morphs from an erotic drama to a horrifically brutal, absolutely harrowing chronicle of a damaged, sociopathic psychology.
To say any more would be revealing too much. An independent film through and through, Simon Killer debuted to much praise at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Thanks to IFC Films, this unique movie is now playing on screens in limited release and is also available via Video On Demand.
IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick recently had the opportunity to sit down with writer-director Antonio Campos and star Brady Corbet, who plays Simon, for an exclusive interview about their new film. The duo discussed the somewhat unconventional writing of Simon Killer, the difference between directing and producing, casting Victoria, collaborating with one another, and shooting in Paris.
Actress Jessica Alba is best known for playing heroes in such films as Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, and Machete, as well as the TV series Dark Angel. But she can soon be seen playing a villain for the first time in the new 3D computer animated family film Escape from Planet Earth, which opens in theaters on February 15th.
In the film, Astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet called … Earth. When his straight-laced brother Gary (Rob Corddry), the head of their planet’s mission control, wants to launch a mission to save Scorch, their boss, the no-nonsense Lena (Alba) tries to stop him. Gary then begins a secret mission, along with the help of his family, to save his brother from Earth’s evil General Shanker (William Shatner). However, things are not as they seem, and Lena has been secretly helping Shanker, who she is desperately in love with. In addition to Alba, Fraser, Corddry, and Shatner, the film boasts an incredible cast of voice talent including Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City: The Movie), Ricky Gervais (TV’s An Idiot Abroad), Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine), Sofia Vergara (The Three Stooges), Jane Lynch (Wreck-It Ralph), and George Lopez (Rio).
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Jessica Alba to discuss her work on Escape from Planet Earth, as well as two of her highly anticipated upcoming films – the Robert Rodriguez directed sequels – Machete Kills, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The beautiful actress discussed her new animated movie, why she wanted to make it, how her daughter reacted to seeing the film, playing a villain, poking fun at her own image, working with director Cal Bunker, voice acting, reuniting with Robert Rodriguez on the upcoming sequels, her role in Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Rodriguez and comic book legend Frank Miller’s relationship, Nancy’s larger arc in the new film, and having scenes with both Bruce Willis and Mickey Rourke.
Later this year, Jessica Alba will star in not one, but two different sequels for director Robert Rodriguez.
These sequels, Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, are set for nationwide release within just weeks of each other, and even though they're both more than eight months away, Alba is sharing some exclusive insights on the Machete and Sin City follow-ups.
playing in theaters and on VOD is Ward Roberts' gritty neo-Western, Dust Up. The film, which stars Christian Badami ("The Interior," Freeway
Killer), Devin Barry (Little Big Top, Lo), Jeremiah Birkett (L.A.
Confidential, Evan Almighty), and Amber Benson ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," The Crush) focuses on a former vigilante,
who after embracing his peaceful nature, comes to the aid of a young
mother in trouble with a cannibalistic drug lord. With tons of sex,
drugs, violence, and over-the-top surrealist absurdity,
Dust Up is a wild ride through the best parts of grindhouse cinema.
I recently had a chance to speak with writer/director, Ward Roberts about Dust Up. He discussed his influences, his love of westerns, comedic brutality, his beginnings, working with his cast, his love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and what he'd like to work on next.
Veteran actor Hugo Weaving has had a long and illustrious career appearing in several groundbreaking genre classics such as The Matrix trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the upcoming The Hobbit trilogy, as well as V for Vendetta, and Captain America: The First Avenger. But the actor can now add a new genre classic to his resume with Cloud Atlas, which features Weaving in not one but six different roles and opens in theaters on October 26th.
Cloud Atlas reteams Weaving with his Matrix and Vendetta directors Andy and Lana Wachowski, and was also co-helmed by Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer. The film is based on author David Mitchell’s extremely popular book of the same name and in addition to Weaving, features several actors in numerous roles including Oscar winners Tom Hanks (Larry Crowne), Halle Berry (X-Men), Jim Broadbent (Arthur Christmas), and Susan Sarandon (Jeff, Who Lives at Home), as well as Jim Sturgess (21), Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), James D’Arcy (Hitchcock), Doona Bae (The Host), Keith David (They Live), and Hugh Grant (About a Boy). The film's story spans centuries and has been described as an exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Hugo Weaving to talk about his work on Cloud Atlas. The acclaimed actor discussed the new film, its intricate plot, playing six different parts in the same movie, how they all connect, why he doesn’t think of his characters as villains, working with Tom Hanks, reuniting with the Wachowskis, and what the new dynamic was like on set between them and co-director Tom Tykwer.
Actress Moon Bloodgood is probably best known for playing kick-ass characters in genre films like Terminator: Salvation, and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, as well as on her hit TNT series Falling Skies. But the actress has recently been making a name for herself in critically acclaimed films too, such as last year’s Beautiful Boy with Michael Sheen and Maria Bello, and now The Sessions, which opens in theaters on October 19th and also stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy.
The Sessions tells the true story of Mark O’Brian (Hawkes), a man in an iron lung who decides he wants to lose his virginity. After consulting with his priest (Macy), he begins working with Cheryl Cohen-Greene (Hunt), who is a professional sex surrogate. Bloodgood plays Mark’s faithful medical orderly Vera, who helps him on his journey. The film was directed by Ben Lewin (Georgia) and also stars Annika Markis (TV’s Southland), W. Earl Brown (There’s Something About Mary), Adam Arkin (TV’s Life), Robin Weigert (TV’s Deadwood), and Rhea Perlman (TV’s Cheers).
Bloodgood has also been busy shooting the third season of her alien invasion series Falling Skies, which will begin airing again next summer on TNT. On the show she plays Anne Glass, the doctor of the 2nd Mass (the alien resistance militia) and love interest for Noah Wyle’s Tom Mason. In fact, the season-two finale ended with news that Anne was pregnant with Tom’s baby, which is quite a coincidence when you consider that Bloodgood herself is actually pregnant in real life as well. Unfortunately, this means that the actress will only be able to appear in the first half of the upcoming season before she has to take time off for her maternity.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Moon Bloodgood to talk about her work in The Sessions, as well as the upcoming third season of Falling Skies. The extremely talented actress discussed her new film, getting away from genre projects, working with John Hawkes, his performance, Mark and Vera’s unusual working relationship, director Ben Lewin’s vision for the film, Falling Skies, just how many season three episodes she’ll be in, how her character will be temporarily written out of the show, if special effects actor Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth) will be playing the new alien creature introduced in the season two finale, what other guest stars will be appearing in season three, and if the absence of co-executive producer Mark Verheiden has affected the show.
Now playing in theaters is the new horror film, Greystone Park, directed
by filmmaker, Sean Stone, who also happens to be the son of legendary
director, Oliver Stone. The film is based on the true life experiences
of Sean Stone and co-writer Alexander Wraith. They met at a dinner with Oliver Stone when Wall Street: Money Never Dies was being filmed in
October 2009, where they started to discuss ghost stories. As a result, Sean and Alexander decided to visit an abandoned psychiatric hospital in
New Jersey famous for its radical treatment of patients with mental
illness to explore whether or not they believe in the supernatural. Once
inside the institution they soon discovered that they were not alone.
I recently had a chance to discuss Greystone Park with Sean Stone. He discussed the origin of the film, the real life hospital that this was based on, how his father inspired him as a director and his fear of Freddy Krueger.
Now playing in theaters is the anthology horror film, V/H/S, which
centers on a group of misfits who burglarize a desolate house to acquire
a rare VHS tape; however, they discover more footage than they
bargained for. The film features a series of found-footage shorts
written and directed by Joe Swanberg (Kissing on the Mouth, Nights and
Weekends), Adam Wingard (Autoerotic), David Bruckner (The Signal), Ti
West (The Innkeepers), Glenn McQuaid (I Sell the Dead), and the
directing quartet known as Radio Silence.
I recently had a chance to discuss the film, V/H/S, with Joe Swanberg who directed the segment, "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger," and starred in the segment, "Second Honeymoon". The director discussed where the anthology idea came from, working in a collaboration, and his philosophy on filmmaking.
Catherine O'Hara isn't just a national treasure. She's a comedic treasure for two nations. The actress, a native Canadian, made a name for herself more than thirty years ago as part of the seminal sketch comedy series SCTV, and has embodied the keenly observed, faultlessly funny Second City style in innumerable performances, including her performances in Christopher Guest movies like Waiting For Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. A now grown-up generation will always remember O'Hara for her roles in Beetlejuice, Home Alone, and The Nightmare Before Christmas, in which she voiced Sally.
In the new black and white 3D stop-motion feature Frankenweenie, O'Hara collaborates for the third time with Beetlejuice director and Nightmare Before Christmas producer Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Dark Shadows). Based on Burton's 1984 live-action short film, Frankenweenie concerns young Victor Frankenstein (voiced by Charlie Tahan), a suburban kid whose scientific acumen allows him to bring his beloved dog Sparky back from the dead following a heartbreaking accident. Sparky's return has unexpected consequences, however, and soon all manner of strange creatures are running amok.
Along with Martin Short (Three Amigos!, Captain Ron), another Second City veteran, O'Hara brings three entirely separate characters to vocal life in Frankenweenie. First and foremost, she plays Victor's caring and considerate mother, but she also voices Victor's wide-eyed, prognosticating classmate Weird Girl and a gruff, no-nonsense Gym Teacher.
The Frankenweenie press day at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, presented the opportunity for an IAR-exclusive interview with Catherine O'Hara, in which the actress discussed voice-acting, working with Tim Burton to create memorable characters, why Daniel Day-Lewis is actually quite funny, parenting Frankenweenie-style, and the pressures that accompany The Nightmare Before Christmas tattoos.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning September 11th is Snow White and the Huntsman, which is a big budget re-imagining of the classic fairy tale created by the Brothers Grimm.
The film was helmed by first-time feature film director Rupert Sanders and stars an all-star cast that includes Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1), Charlize Theron (Young Adult), Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers), and Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), as well as Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger), Nick Frost (Attack the Block), and Ray Winstone (Edge of Darkness) as the Dwarves.
In a twist to the beloved fairy tale, the movie involves the Huntsman (Hemsworth) being ordered by the Evil Queen (Theron) to take Snow White (Stewart) into the woods to be killed but instead he becomes her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Queen and destroy her power over the kingdom. Along the way they fight trolls and dark fairies, and are eventually aided by Prince William (Claflin) and the Dwarves.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Visual Effects Supervisor Cedric Nicolas-Troyan about his work on Snow White and the Huntsman. Nicolas-Troyan discussed the film, the process of developing the visual effects, working with his close friend Rupert Sanders, how the director went about making his first feature film, the crew, the sequence he his most proud of, directing second unit, and what he knows about the proposed sequel and spin-off.