Trailer for Olivier Smolders Nuit Noire: Oscar, a conservator at the Natural Sciences Museum, passes the days exercising his passion for studying insects; if only there still were days. As long as people can remember, the sun only releases a few pathetic rays for fifteen seconds before noon. The rest of the time, the world is plunged into a night without end, a permanent eclipse. Coming home after work, Oscar finds an African woman in his bed. Suffering from a mysterious and incurable disease, she seems to have come to his place to die. Trapped between desire and repulsion, Oscar gradually abandons his life to terrifying phantoms.

The long awaited feature length debut film of talented short filmmaker Olivier Smolders (see also Spiritual Exercises DVD), Nuit Noire (Black Night) is mysterious, ghostly, technically impeccable, and continuously bathed in a magical, surreal light.

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Jacques Mesrine(Vincent Cassel), a loyal son and dedicated soldier back home and living with his parents after serving in the Algerian War. Handsome and charming, he is soon seduced by the neon glamour of Sixties Paris and the easy money it presents. Mentored by Guido (Gerard Depardieu) Mesrine soon moves swiftly up the criminal ladder, choosing the high risk life of a gangster over the honest life of the hard working family. After pulling off an audacious heist he and his lover Jeanne (Cecile de France), flee to Canada where the opportunity of one big payout lures him out of hiding and propels him towards international notoriety.

Mesrine: Killer Instinct comes to UK screens on August 7th

  • Dead Snow - Posters
  • Dead Snow - Posters
  • Dead Snow - Posters
  • Dead Snow - Posters
  • Dead Snow - Posters

5 posters for Norwiegen horror movie Dead Snow (Død snø) which is directed by Tommy Wirko. 

A ski vacation turns horrific for a group of medical students, as they find themselves confronted by an unimaginable menace: Nazi zombies.

Nazi Zombies bring to mind cult classic Shock Waves and Steve Barker's 2008 low budget UK horror Outpost.

In the US IFC Films has give the film a limited theatrical release on June 12. They will also be releasing it on VOD on the same day for those who don't live near a theater or just prefer to watch at home.

Shinjuku Triad Society

Tatsuhito (Kippei Shiina) a “dirty cop” is on the trail of gay Triad warlord Wang (Tomorowo Taguchi), who leaves a trail of sickening crime in his wake. In persuit of this particularly slippery gangster Tatsuhito comes to test his own limits and is forced to confront some painful familial and social issues.

In this first edition of Takashi Miike’s Black Society Trilogy (Shinjuku Triad Society,Rainy Dog, Ley Lines), Shinjuku Triad Society makes for some very bleak and complex viewing. Delving into issues way below the surface of its subtitle Chinese Mafia Wars, this story of shadowy underworld dealings is a very raw and unforgiving look at the seedier side of Japan’s criminal underbelly. Filmed in a variation of styles including hand-held, Miike’s camera gives a relentlessly gruelling insight into a gritty and downbeat world where good and evil don’t exist, where there is only bad and worse.

Shinjuku opens with a typically kinetic sequence with some fast-paced crime and some dodgy sexual exploits interspersed with shots of Japan’s hectic club life as the DJ provides the tempo in a nod to Miike’s self-professed style of direction. The frantic pace slows however as we become engaged in our protagonist Tatsuhito and his persistent pursuit of warlord Wang. It soon becomes obvious that our hero Tatsuhito is more of an anti-hero in a scene of such sudden and unprovoked violence that for a moment you are stalled in total disbelief. Policemen of questionable morals are of course not unusual subject matter in film but where we are more used to a character composed of entirely immoral or amoral leanings, like Bad Lieutenant for example, Tatsuhito is less usual in the way we can still relate to him and empathise with his cause. This is of course aided by the absolutely reprehensible Wang, whose vile criminal deals and strange private life convey a character next to whom most people would compare favourably.

What unfolds from this cat and mouse tale of hunter and hunted is far more than a gritty police drama. Away from all the usual glamorising or stylising of the genre, Miike reveals with honesty an unsettlingly grim way of life which is both fascinating and repellent. Surrounding the abhorrent and multifaceted exploitation are some very sensitive and deep seated issues concerning race, identity and sexuality in a society so honour bound as to become a little neurotic about its repressions. This is absorbing from a Western-eye view and a brave move on Miike’s part to depict with unflinchingly brutal honesty such seldom portrayed concerns. Shinjuku is therefore pretty violent and sexually graphic in keeping with its realism and almost utterly bereft of any humour or similar cinematic tool to break up the unrelenting grim. Miike is clearly making no apology for this no-holds-barred representation of the reality of contemporary Japanese life and underworld associations. The screen remains as realistically shadowy as the unpleasant dealings and is a drab and bleak as the mood.

Shinjuku is a refreshingly raw if difficult piece of viewing. Ceaselessly demanding on the viewer, it rewards you with the realism gleaned from a rare view of a world stripped bare and sodomised like one of Miike’s unfortunate characters. This isn’t what you would necessarily describe as “entertainment” in a popcorn-munching beer with your mates on a Saturday night sort of a way, but it is thoroughly enthralling, thought provoking and directed with such bare-bones honesty that it is a must-see for anybody wishing to look past Hollywood and to a darker side of crime. You may want to have this one with a stiff drink though.

An excellent if harsh and difficult piece of cinema. Fascinating and distressing, it’s every bit as enthralling as it is reprehensible. An honest, brave and accomplished film from Miike once more proving he's no one-trick pony

Takashi Miike, best known for cult classics "Audition", "Ichi the Killer", and "The City of Lost Souls", redefines the Spaghetti Western with Sukiyaki Western Django, a tale written in blood. Two clans, Genji, the white clan led by Yoshitsune, and Heike, the red clan led by Kiyomori, battle for a legendary treasure hidden in a desolate mountain town. One day, a lone gunman, burdened with deep emotional scars but blessed with incredible shooting skills, drifts into town. Two clans try to woo the lone gunman to their sides, but he has ulterior motives. Dirty tricks, betrayal, desire and love collide as the situation erupts into a final, explosive showdown.

View the US trailer in Quicktime at  

View the teaser in Quicktime: High | Low

View the second teaser in Quicktime: High | Low

Official Japanese site | North American Website | Myspace 


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Toronto After Dark 2008 Festival Preview Trailer featuring scenes from the *first eight announced feature titles

* Repo! The Genetic Opera, Red , Let The Right One In , Idiots and Angels, Tokyo Gore Police, Mirageman, Trailer Park Of Terror , Who is KK Downey?



Paul Bartel is the owner of a remote Inn, these days no guests stay there. Once though, the inn was a lively place, but that was when Gloria was still about. When Paul's wife Gloria left, all the enthusiasm for life he had left with her. Now she's back in his life, how ever is the person now known as Gloria the same "Woman" they once where?

Marc Stevens is a singer earning a meager living from performing at two bit gigs and living out of his van. Even though the only real adulation he receives, is from old ladies in retirement homes he sings for; he still dreams that one day he will hit the big-time. Surly it’s just around the corner. Maybe at his next engagement some distance south where he will perform at Christmas. Unfortunately for Marc, bad weather and car trouble combine to force him to make an unscheduled stop. Seemingly lost in the remote countryside he comes across a man named Boris who is looking for his lost dog in the woods. Boris directs Marc to the Inn of Paul Bartel where he can wait out the night until he can get his van fixed in the morning.

In the morning Paul tells him it will be some time before the mechanic will arrive so Marc decides to take a walk in the nearby countryside. Paul how ever begs him not to go near the village, although he will not give any solid reasons for this advice. Promising to heed Paul's advice and avoid the locals Marc sets off, however he does spy some locals in a barn and curiosity gets the better of him so he peeps inside. What he see' is a bunch of depraved country folk enjoying some of their animals in a way nature did not intend. On his return to the Inn things don’t seem quite right and it’s not long before things seem very wrong indeed. For In Marc, Paul has seen elements of Gloria or in fact he see' "Gloria" and has no wish to let "her" leave him again and so begins Marc’s Ordeal.

Calvaire is an adult horror movie, more than likely it will do nothing for passing fans of the genre who feed at the Hollywood trough and revel in it’s PG-13 slop. Its foreign, its subtitled, it moves at a slower pace taking time to develop and build. Its filled to the brim with genre homages and influences. Though this should not to be written off as a “Homage” movie, but if you’re a genre fan you will recognize many touches, from the obvious to the slightly more obscure. Not everything is clearly explained so those that want their movies spoon fed to them, instead of thinking and interpreting meanings for themselves may want to put this back on the shelf. For those of you that are still interested you however are in for a treat, because Calvaire is a modern genre movie par excellence. Straw dogs, Deliverance and Southern comfort echo in its themes as do Texas Chainsaw massacre, Don't look now and many others. For modern movies it reminded me at times very much of King of the ants and maybe it’s closest recent counterpart would be Wolf Creek. Make no mistake though this film makes Wolf Creek seem as mediocre as it really was. Calvaire is beautify shot, amongst stunning, yet foreboding countryside. While it is obviously a lower budget film, it looks very good. Its' well scripted, well thought out and powerful. like Irreversible, it once again proves not everything extreme on film originates in Asia.

Personally I never get bored of weird towns and unfriendly inbred locals in movies with the aforementioned Straw dogs, Deliverance and Southern comfort pretty much being the holy trinity of the sub genre in much the way Romero's dead cycle (The first 3, not the mediocre Land) are to the zombie sub genre. While its difficult to say how well a film will stand the test of time I would say Calvaire has a shot at joining them. Even though it is influenced by and to a point homages them, it would be difficult to make a movie like this and it not. Calvaire certainly has enough elements to make it it's own movie. Look out for the bar scene in which the all male inbred patrons of the local bar have a impromptu surrealist shindig to rival any ever put on film, a scene so good it makes the film worth seeing by itself. Everything you want from a city slicker trapped with crazy rednecks is in place, all that’s left to wonder is will it be a case of  squeal piggy squeel ... oh you know it will, its just a case of when!

Genre fans who have heard mute buzz on the internet or even walked past it a few time and thought "Should I?" yes you should Calvaire is insane country dweller class!


City Of Men - image

City Of Men - image

City Of Men - image

City Of Men - image

In City Of Men, producer Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardner) returns to the Brazilian favelas of his Academy Award-nominated film, City of God. Growing up in a culture dictated by violence and run by street gangs, teenagers Acerola (Douglas Silva) and Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha) have become close as brothers. With their eighteenth birthdays fast approaching, Laranjinha sets out to find the father he never met, while Acerola struggles to raise his own young son. But when they suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a gang war, the lifelong friends are forced to confront a shocking secret from their shared past.

City Of Men- Trailer


Back in February, following The Seventh Continent I found myself vowing not to watch another Michael Haneke film for reasons that, though I found him to be a very talented director, I disagreed with his repetitious animal slaughter. (Not only slaughter, but seemingly dwelt-upon suffering for his arrogant self-serving ‘artistic’ purposes.) I was always keen to watch Hidden (Caché), and had heard nothing about animal slaughter so, believing him to be the aforementioned talented director, I thought it was worth a shot. How wrong I was on both counts. Know, reader, that this is a film which not only needlessly sacrifices life for art, but is also an awful film, and one which seriously causes me to question my previous statements on Haneke’s directorial ability.

Very much ‘borrowing’ from David Lynch’s Lost Highway, Hidden purports the premise of doorstep-delivered video’s of the home of cultured couple, Georges and Anne Laurent (the ubiquitous Daniel Auteuil and the classy Juliette Binoche.) Clearly disturbed, the married partners, parents to 12-year old Pierrot (Lester Makedonsky,) have no clue as to who would send such things or why. It becomes apparent, however, that Georges is harbouring secrets which could pertain to the mystery.

Barely in my life have I ever seen anything so pretentious and simultaneously so utterly devoid of substance. But who will say that this is a bad film? Certainly not the critics, for this is Michael Haneke, don’t you know, as they dish-out the awards and nominations for what they’ve all been blindsided into thinking is a quality piece of World Cinema. And who will argue? Lest we be tagged with the dunce-label of ‘not getting it’, appearing to be philistines for we cannot, for the life of us, figure out what on earth was the point of such a shamefully self-indulgent failure? Not only is this film fatuous, but far too long, dull, excruciatingly pointless and a criminal misuse of a potentially (and previously) potently explored premise.

So bad is this film, in fact, that it almost doesn’t even warrant extensive deconstruction. Any Haneke fan will know that he is often about touching the void  with his content, yet here is a case of all void with no pregnant vacancy, just empty pretentions, severlely misjudged opportunities, and guff of the highest order. Supposedly an exploration of guilt and morality, the only thing Haneke succeeded in exploring were the furthest reaches of my boredom, frustration, and point of view that World Cinema is so often capable of being overrated vacuousness.  The should-have-been classic performances were anything but with nothing to work from (almost meaningless plot and similar, dull dialogue (and no, I’m not mistaking well thought out minimal, intelligent script for poorly-written, boredom-inducing nonsense)), the plot is wafer-thin, the supposedly disturbing tone is nil, and the outcome, resolution and body of the film is nought from start to finish. Anybody who’s not fond of an open ending should steer clear. And that’s not open in a thinky, Lynchian way, it’s just frustrating, anger-enducing arrogance. Wholly disinteresting and overrated…and yes, I do get it.

An absolute exercise in futility and a waste of supposed ‘talent’, Hidden precisely encompasses everything I hate about the pretentions of the label of ‘World Cinema.’  I’m a fan of the wider genre of ‘World Cinema,’ but this is one of the most irritating and thoroughly terrible pieces of shit I’ve ever seen 3/10 (and I’m erring on the side of generosity here.) Go watch Lost Highway instead.

Haute tension

Two close college friends, Marie (Cécile De France) and Alex (Alexia Maïwenn) make a rural retreat to Alex’s secluded family farm in search of some peaceful study time and find anything but in this eagerly anticipated French slasher flick from director Alexandre Aja.

For a genre that likes nothing more than a spot of blood-spilling, life-force ending, artery severance, the slasher genre has maintained incredible staying power not to mention a firm fan-base amongst the fickle horror buffs. Currently in mid renaissance, the horror genre seems to be going full circle. Post-parody glut, teen stream and pointless remakes galore, there has recently been a move towards a distinctly more serious effort to put horror back in the media consciousness. Well placed in this gently creeping generic resurrection zeitgeist, Switchblade Romance makes its own heartfelt bid to win over some old fans and even glean some new ones. So, with all the underground hype, is this modern recreation of a classic formula on the bleeding edge or just a fading pulse?

“I’ll never let anyone come between us anymore” plea’s the traumatized and horrifically scarred Marie as she leads us into a morbid recollection of gruesome events gone by. As is fitting for such a physical film, the opening scenes of carefree friends cut with our first foreboding glimpse of the killer, serve to set the scene as a killing ground as we are soon made aware that this film is unencumbered by plot. This is a film about killing. Killing and survival and nothing more. Like a heartbeat, Switchblade Romance, or Haute Tension (High Tension) as it is known in its mother tongue, pounds with the most primal of instincts. Credited only as Le Tueur (The Killer,) Philippe Nahon provides a monolithic presence as the murderous figure who, dressed in grimy overalls and cap, slaughters Alex’s family one by one as if it’s his job. Like a juggernaut of death, he wields his razorblade with all the expertise and speed of an executioner, only his vile grunts belie his pleasure. Though it is when heroine Marie makes the unenviable choice to pit herself directly against The Killer that the film really kicks in with the High Tension of the title.

Marie admirably picks up the Last Girl baton handed down from a legendary heritage of some pretty tough competition and flicks one bloodied finger at the lot of them as she turns on her bare heel and leaves them all behind for a class all of her very own. It is De France, therefore, whose stellar performance as the tomboyishly tough force to be reckoned with rules this particularly horrific show. Though Maïwenn and Nahon put in perfectly cast performances as wretched and morbidly driven respectively, and Aja’s direction carries the film with all the desperate energy of a victim’s fight for survival, it is the score with which De France must share her glory. Rarely silent, it grinds like audible adrenalin. From ambient hums to industrial throngs it wafts infectiously over their claustrophobic seclusion.

 The only downside to this otherwise stunningly superb slasher film is the unfortunate ‘twist’ ending. Who knows what possessed writing duo Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur to retreat from the fantastically effective simplicity of the entire film and do an about-turn, throwing pretty much the entire premise out of the window. Not only is this ending absolutely unnecessary, but it also has the peculiar effect of self- mockery. Similarly, though knowingly reminiscent of its classic predecessors and maintaining generic conventions, the film on the whole is brazen in its fresh approach…that is until the final scene which bizarrely descends into such cliched drivel it’s almost offensive. But even if the pay-off leaves you feeling short-changed, the ride you’ll have will be well worth it. This film is the rare thing of a treat that a disappointing plot cannot detract from. As Marie repeats once more to encapsulate her terrible tale, “I’ll never let anyone come between us anymore,” this time these words fall as if in promise from the genre itself to its faithful audience that it has returned in such awesome style to set the standard for which all others must now follow.

A delightfully thrilling treat for horror fans to revel in. Switchblade Romance is a razorblade’s cut above the rest, sweeping with brash ease to take its rightful place amongst the genres classics. An infuriatingly close 9/10, this film is almost slasher perfection.

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