Nashville filmmaker Shawn Foster wants to recreate the days when rock-star jai-alai athletes sold out frontons (arenas) and lived like kings in South Florida's coke-soaked underworld. Toward that end, Foster — a veteran music-video maker who's worked with everyone from the Deftones to the Drive-By Truckers, while directing episodes of HBO's popular Zane's Sex Chronicles — is mounting an Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 toward his planned feature Urquidi, which he describes as "Rocky meets Boogie Nights" (!). So far he's raised $1,440 with 18 days to go, and the campaign ends Dec. 14.
Read more about it. And if you like what you see, scoop up some cash in your basket-shaped xistera and toss it Foster's way.
We want The Belcourt to keep its retrospectives coming, just for the awesome trailers staffer Zack Hall devises for them. If you haven't seen his latest — for the Coen Brothers' 10-film 30-year retro starting Dec. 6 — check it out here. (The last line gets a laugh every time we see it in the theater.)
The creative minds behind Tremors — director Ron Underwood, screenwriters S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock — never did anything before or after that would suggest where the near perfection (heh) of this droll, perfectly pitched horror comedy came from. That's OK — most careers never manage even one Tremors, a cheery, good-natured and hugely entertaining throwback to ’50s monster movies about prehistoric subterranean worms menacing the quirky inhabitants of a dustblown desert town.
So what makes it special? A lighthearted tone that never slips into camp or fake jocularity; genuinely cool monsters; shock scenes that don't violate the essentially comic spirit; a script that wrings clever situations from the premise that any kind of ground disturbance lures the worms (footsteps! cars! pogo sticks!). Above all, there's a delightful ensemble led by the comedy team of Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon, playing the local lunkheads trying to figure out how to survive in order to claim their new ticket to national fame.
The scene-stealer here among a choice cast, however, is one Reba McEntire. Who knows how she arrived at the decision to make her film debut playing an unflappable gun-toting survivalist with a basement stash of firepower, but her legendary career acumen didn't fail her here. The movie wasn't a hit in theaters, but on home video it proved such a smash that it spawned a fleet of sequels that never matched the original. It's taken on eternal life as a cable favorite — but it's way more fun in a theater.
Nashville’s weirdest arts and exploitation venue, the Cult Fiction Underground in the basement of Logue’s Black Raven Emporium, continues to grow and expand its fascinating and freaky slate of programming. In addition to the weekend cult movie fare and theme parties that were their initial bread and buttered popcorn, they’ve added several new regular events.
The popular “Night of Free Speech” poetry and prose readings, hosted by literary agent provocateur, Honest Lewis, are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month. The first Monday of each month brings the roar of “hogs” with “Motorcycle Mayhem” — a free screening of a chopper classic. Mystery Science Theater 3000 brings the “Satellite of Love” to the Underground every Thursday and is hosted by Cat Beast Party queen Angie Doren and DJ “Matt the PM” from Radio Free Nashville. The Walking Dead is on the big screen every Sunday night and there is more in the works for the near future.
For this weekend, Friday brings a special one-night only showing of the best anti-pot, pro-Christian, killer mutated turkey-man movie ever made — Blood Freak. If you don’t believe me, just check out the wondrous NSFW trailer above, or the blurb from this week's Scene:
What Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny is to Christmas, director Brad Grinter’s infamous 1972 opus is to Thanksgiving: namely, a rancid spoonful of cinematic castor oil guaranteed to cure you of holiday spirit. In this Florida-shot Christian scare film, a dude takes LSD and faces the inevitable consequences. Which is to say, he morphs into a giant turkey monster with a head that looks like the ham costume the kid wore in To Kill a Mockingbird, then menaces victims with a terrifying “Gobble!” (I am not making this up.) In between shocks, director Grinter chain-smokes and hack-coughs his way through the story’s moral lessons in front of the grubbiest plywood-paneling set this side of an amateur porn festival.
Then Saturday break out the bathrobes and bowling gloves for the first Big Lebowski Fashion Show and Bowling Party. They may even have some of that good sarsaparilla at the bar.
IVAN THE TERRIBLE PART II directed by SERGEI EISENSTEIN (1958)
Running time: 187 minutes
In Russian with English subtitles
I'm so sorry for the hiatus! My dog was hit by a car and killed and I've been honestly unable to consume, observe or process cinema, art, or ANY emotion properly for a while. But — for better or worse — we're back! With Ivan the Terrible Part II — yes indeed, there were parts one and three, we shall get to that ...
Admittedly, Ivan the Terrible Part II took me forever to get through because 1) I was working on a ton of other things, and 2) it's tough to get through. Eisenstein. It's in Russian. I wasn't in the mood. Then I had to go read a bunch of stuff on it to GET me in the mood to understand what I was looking at. This is where the Janus box set comes in handy because it has this amazing accompanying book that features film by film information, and it's helpful as hell. And really well written. It's the smart-people version of what I'm doing here. I also know so little about this period in history that I was dragging my feet into even putting the film on. Like a bad kid who doesn't want to go to class or do her homework. Which is the kid I was/am.
Back in 1983, though it's all but forgotten now, a deafening media doombeat preceded the nuclear-apocalypse TV movie The Day After, leading to town hall meetings, panels and an epidemic of punditry. But you know what was too scary to show on TV that year? A documentary about high-school life in Muncie, Ind., rejected by PBS for its foul language and frankness about underage sex and pregnancy, interracial dating, racial hostility, and the sucking void of a teenage Muncie existence.
So when the Atlanta Constitution called Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines' Seventeen “more frightening than The Day After,” it meant the truth of unvarnished heartland high-school life was more terrifying to behold than extinction-level devastation. Watch the legendary doc 7 p.m. tomorrow at Scene contributor James Cathcart's monthly Third Man Records screening series The Light and Sound Machine, cosponsored by The Belcourt, and you may just agree.
This Friday night, The Belcourt opens one of its best retrospectives yet: a 10-film overview of the career of Jacques Demy. Seriously: If you love movies and you've never seen one of Demy's gorgeous films — bursting with color, music and romance, yet far more complex (and frank) about politics and mores than their sumptuous surfaces may indicate — prepare to swoon. The Scene's Fall Guide could barely contain its enthusiasm:
Of the filmmakers who emerged during the brief glory years of the French New Wave, none has undergone a more radical — or deserved — reconsideration in recent years than the late Jacques Demy. Once largely dismissed as a featherweight aesthete who retreated to Hollywood musicals, romances and fairy tales when the rest of the world was literally at the ramparts, Demy has been embraced decades after his death in 1990 as a bold stylist who used the most starry-eyed of genres to explore the complexities of love and human relations, even politics. His reputation is likely to rise even higher as the first major retrospective of his films this century tours North America — including a stop at The Belcourt in late November.
If all you know of the director's work is his glorious 1964 Catherine Deneuve musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg — a movie that left grown men sobbing at its last Belcourt screening several years ago — a treasure chest of riches awaits you in this nearly complete Janus Films retro, which includes several rarities being shown in Nashville for the first time. For one thing, the series shows the true scope of his work, from 1963's delirious gambling melodrama Bay of Angels (starring Jeanne Moreau, and set to a torrential Michel Legrand score) to 1972's shockingly grim English-language telling of The Pied Piper, with folksinger Donovan and the menacing duo of John Hurt and Donald Pleasence. ...
Local Demy completists never imagined they'd get a chance to see the movie considered his unsung masterpiece, the decidedly darker 1982 musical Une chambre en ville [A Room in Town, screening this Sunday], on the big screen in Nashville. Its appearance here … makes this an occasion for cinephiles on par with previous Belcourt retrospectives of Hitchcock, Bresson, Kurosawa and Shohei Imamura. But the screening series is recommended just as strongly to casual moviegoers, as Demy is among the most accessible and purely enjoyable of great directors. All it takes to appreciate his films is a love of beauty, music and color; the twinge of a once-broken heart; and the capacity to dream.
The clip above is by Belcourt trailer wizard Zack Hall, also the man responsible for the awesome found-flotsam montages that precede the midnight movies. If there's any quibble with the program, it's that the series is missing a couple of the more obscure films (notably the 1988 Yves Montand musical Three Seats for the 26th) that showed elsewhere in the tour. But before anyone complains about what's not here, start by seeing what is. And if you're feeling particularly ambitious, take advantage of the theater's Demy marathon Thanksgiving weekend — as joyous an antidote to Black Friday as we can imagine.
Is East Nashville Tonight, the rangy Elizabeth Cook-Todd Snider documentary-turned-weed-impaired-fuckaround screening 7:15 tonight at The Belcourt, "the future of DIY film distribution?" That's what BOND360 CEO Marc Schiller argued recently in a conversation with Indiewire columnist Anne Thompson:
Back in February, [Brad and Todd Barnes] attempted to shoot a documentary about the lives of Todd Snider, Elizabeth Cook and other touring songwriters residing in the burgeoning East Nashville neighborhood. Well, they failed. Drugs and booze took over. What they ended up with is the comedy "East Nashville Tonight." Earlier this year the film premiered to sold out audiences at the 2013 Nashville Film Festival and will officially debut on November 18 at a one-night only Nashville screening and concert with all-star group Elmo Buzz and the Eastside Bulldogs, featuring Snider and Cook.
And BOND360 will release the film exclusively to fans on November 19 via the film's website. This is a small-scale pilot test, as Schiller experiments with bypassing the usual big retail outlets to see what can be done by marketing films directly to fans. Why go searching around through google and multiple clicks to find a movie you can stream, when you can go directly to the film's website and get it there? Why not preorder a film as soon as you hear about it, and agree to pay more for bonus content if you want it? Fans are coming to store that looks like a website. Which means "the analytics are huge," says Schiller. "It's a goldmine, making my data smarter as a market publicist and distributor. I know how many people bought 'East Nashville Tonight' from reading the article on The Playlist website, whether or not the PR was good for awareness, and which PR hit made the most revenue for the filmmaker," Schiller says. "Not only will this be the future, but it has to be the future."
Tickets remain for tonight's screening/concert and are $20 at the door. More information here.
Ever seen a mention of a movie whose existence you'd completely forgotten until you read the title? Hello, Mystery Date. The 1991 comedy stars Ethan Hawke as a wily teen whose attempt to woo hottie-next-door Teri Polo results in the usual: mistaken identities, bodies in the trunk, attacks by angry florists.
Why are you reading about it now? The downtown Nashville Public Library is showing it free, projected from DVD, 2 p.m. Saturday in its auditorium. Why are they doing that? Because the library's "Legends of Film" podcast this month is with veteran film editor Tina Hirsch. Her credits include not only Mystery Date but one of Country Life's favorite overlooked movies of the 1970s, Walter Hill's The Driver — think The Transporter directed by Bresson — as well as the Roger Corman gems Death Race 2000, Eat My Dust and Big Bad Mama.
Oh, and Gremlins. Check out the podcast here.
If you missed The Visitor, the apeshit-crazy Atlanta-filmed 1979 Italian sci-fi horror opus The Belcourt screened last weekend at midnight, fear not: The theater has held it over for a second weekend, gambling that last week's wild word of mouth will result in bigger crowds.
That's right. Your second chance to see Franco Nero as Space Jesus (and maybe try the drink of the same name at the concession counter). Your second chance to see John Huston orchestrate his bald minions high above Peachtree Street. Your second chance to see Shelley Winters do a lot of dusting. Your second chance to see a cast bonkers enough to contain Switchblade Sisters' Joanne Nail, Lance Henriksen and Sam Peckinpah (!), along with aquarium smashings, bird attacks, killer kids and the state of the art in Jimmy Carter-era low-budget psychedelia — accompanied by the kind of music you used to hear over, "And now Bob Lobertini with the weather!"
While you're waiting, Film.com put together a list of other forgotten oddball movies that Austin-based Drafthouse Films, The Visitor's rescuer from cinematic oblivion, should give the same treatment. They range from The Saragossa Manuscript to this weekend's Samurai Cop to a movie I've been dying to see, 2005's Japanese headscratcher Funky Forest: The First Contact. Know of any others?
The shooting location for hard bodies gym was formerly the Paramus, NJ location of Tower…
This is like a flashback to the '80s, when Ted Turner was colorizing CASABLANCA and…
That clip is horrifying. It looks like postmortem makeup. Very uncanny valley.
AGGGHHHH that last picture!
LE JOUR SE LEVE is far superior to its American remake, THE LONG NIGHT (1947),…