Tag Archives: Rory Culkin

Interview: Electrick Children Director Rebecca Thomas

Electrick-Children-BannerFilm school student one day, one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch the next. Rebecca Thomas took the plunge, committed to making her first feature film and the risk paid off big time.

Thomas’ “Electrick Children” features Julia Garner as Rachel, a teen growing up in a fundamentalist Mormon family. After discovering her father’s banned cassette player, Rachel just can’t help herself; she pops in a cover of Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone” and is immediately taken, so much so that when she realizes she’s pregnant three months later, she concludes she had an immaculate conception via the music. When her parents insist on an arranged marriage, Rachel makes a run for it and heads to Las Vegas to find the father of her baby – the man she heard on the cassette tape.

In the midst of a lengthy and very successful festival run, Phase 4 Films snatched up this little gem for U.S. distribution. In honor of “Electrick Children’s” run at the IFC Theater in New York City and at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles, Thomas herself sat down to run through the process of making the film, including the inception of the idea, the curious title, production challenges and blessings, and much more. Catch it all for yourself in the video interview below and be sure to check out “Electrick Children” when it hits theaters on Friday, March 8th.

Click here to watch the interview.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviews

Review: Scream 4

There’s no beginning this review without acknowledging that I’m a diehard franchise fan. While I was thrilled to death over the announcement of Scream 4, of course the excitement came with a twinge of nervous skepticism. What if Scream 4 tarnished the original trilogy? Well, I’ve got good news; Scream 4 doesn’t do that in the least. While the film does boast quite a few throwbacks ranging from character traits, to comparable visuals to direct references to the original story, Scream 4 isn’t exactly a reboot; it’s more of a reimagining and if you don’t mind the change in tone, it’s quite enjoyable.

Original trilogy heroine Sidney Prescott (Never Campbell) is back in Woodsboro promoting her new book, “Out of Darkness.” Old friends Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley (Courteney Cox and David Arquette) welcome her with semi-open arms, the high school Cinema Club treats her like a town icon and others steer clear knowing everyone in Sidney’s life ultimately meets a gory demise. Sure enough, the folks running scared have the right idea because even after being Ghostface-free for a decade, the bowie knife touting serial killer douses Sid’s world in blood and carnage yet again.

Per usual, everyone’s at risk, Sidney’s publicist (Alison Brie), Sheriff Riley’s deputies (Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody and Marley Shelton) and, of course, Sid’s younger cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts). Just like Sidney back in the day, Jill comes with a band of buddies including her snarky, but devoted best friend, Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), creepy ex-boyfriend, Trevor (Nico Tortorella) and film geeks Charlie and Robbie (Rory Culkin and Erik Knudsen); or better yet Tatum, Billy and Randy divided by two. The younger generation is up on the “new rules” and the Ghostface bloodbath vets boast a degree of know-how thanks to past massacres, but each and every one of them is as vulnerable as the next and, in true franchise fashion, “everybody’s a suspect.”

Click here to read more.

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

Interview: Scream 4 Director Wes Craven

When I was 10 years old I sat next to my mother and watched Casey Becker, sans insides, hang from a tree. Yes, the image made it tough to sleep at night for quite a bit, but Scream also left a long-lasting impression in the best way possible. Just a year later, my grandparents were kind enough to take me for not one, but two viewings of Scream 2 and finally, by 2000, I found ways to sneak into R-rated movies so I could enjoy the third film minus a guardian. Having grown up with this franchise, getting to speak with Wes Craven about resurrecting the franchise with Scream 4 is honestly a dream come true.

On the other hand, the pressure is on for Craven. I’m not the only moviegoer who’s a dedicated franchise fan, meaning that in Scream 4 Craven doesn’t just have to do the original films justice, but he’s got to offer something new. No, the general story of Scream 4 or the decision to make another Scream film for that matter didn’t come from Craven, but the director certainly had a strong impact on the project from the moment Bob Weinstein offered him the gig.

Check out everything Craven had to say about bringing the franchise back to life, summoning the old, adding some new and where we can expect the series to go from here.

Click here to read the interview.

Leave a comment

Filed under Interviews

‘Scream 4’ vs. ‘Final Destination 5’: Battle Of The Horror Sequels

As a devoted fan of both the ‘Scream’ and ‘Final Destination’ franchises, the latest installments are two of the most highly anticipated releases of 2011. But, as much as I’m looking forward to ‘Scream 4’ on April 15th and to ‘Final Destination 5’ on August 26th, there’s no denying the fact that ‘Scream 3’ and ‘The Final Destination’ just weren’t very good. This is going to be a battle of redemption for each series and while our fingers are crossed both will exceed expectations, the horror film sequel odds are not in their favor.

Battle 1: Directors & Writers

‘Scream 4’
From the moment ‘Scream 4’ was announced, that seemed to be a likely winner. Why would Wes Craven return to a beloved franchise ten years later if he didn’t have a viable reason to do so? Originally, the answer was that he did have the reason to do so and it was likely because someone came up with a good story that made rebooting the franchise a worthy investment. After following the production process from beginning to end, hopes were still high, but then ‘My Soul to Take’ arrived and … yeah.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features

Review: Twelve

The grand finale of Nick McDonell’s book Twelve is one of the most powerful and successful buildups I’ve ever experienced. After an entire story of fairly tranquil moments, McDonell absolutely blows the reader away with an astonishingly gripping conclusion. However, director Joel Schumacher doesn’t come anywhere close to creating as much suspense in his film adaptation, rendering a grand finale that packed such an intense punch on the page ineffective. The film version of Twelve is quite the opposite of the book, a dull and thoughtless ride with a sad excuse for a climax.

There’s really no eloquent way of describing the plot, so let’s approach this character-by-character. At the center of the story is White Mike (Chace Crawford), a good guy turned drug dealer after the passing of his mother. Chris (Rory Culkin) is the kid with a house prime for parties. He just threw one on Friday, but when the school hottie, Sara Ludlow (Esti Ginzburg), asks him to host her 18th birthday party, he obliges. Mark Rothko (Charlie Saxton) and his buddy Timmy (Erik Per Sullivan) are always hounding White Mike for drugs. They’re overbearing, but harmless. The same goes for White Mike’s cousin Charlie (Jeremy Allen White), but when he puts his gun in the wrong guy’s face, White Mike’s drug supplier, Lionel (50 Cent), he winds up getting himself, his friend Hunter (Philip Ettinger) and a kid Hunter plays basketball with, Nana (Jermaine Crawford), into some serious trouble.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Cinematical Seven: Seven Things Wrong With ‘Twelve’

Very few films are as good as the book, but that still doesn’t excuse an absolute travesty of a book-to-film adaptation. The unfortunate thing is Twelve had such unbelievable on screen potential. Not only is the subject matter widely appealing — pretty people doing bad things — but it has a stellar cast to go with it. All directorJoel Schumacher had to do was follow the story, trim a little fat and he would have ended up with a solid production. But he and screenwriter Jordan Melamed just went about it all wrong, making Twelve an extended episode of Gossip Girl rather than a dark and foreboding tale.

The film stars Chace Crawford as White Mike, a smart kid who resorts to a life of seclusion and drug dealing after losing his mother to cancer. His clients include just about anyone who hangs out at Chris’ (Rory Culkin) house, where all the best parties are held. In fact, this weekend, the most popular girl at school, Sara Ludlow (Esti Ginzburg), wants to have her birthday party at Chris’, and considering Chris and every other guy at school — or in the entire city for that matter — would do just about anything to be with Sara, he agrees to play host. The newest number to appear on White Mike’s phone is that of Jessica (Emily Meade), a promising student who winds up getting hooked on the newest drug on the market, Twelve. White Mike doesn’t deal Twelve, but she’ll do just about anything for it, even if it means going to White Mike’s supplier, Lionel (50 Cent).

There’s so much more to it than that, but I implore you to get the information from Nick McDonell’s book rather than the film, or at least read the book before seeing the movie. Twelve is by far one of the most compelling pieces I’ve ever read and it pains me to say that the film is just the opposite. I walked out of the theater so utterly disappointed I felt as though I could almost pull a Claude (Billy Magnussen). Okay, that’s extreme, but I was pretty angry. Unlike Claude, I’ve opted to channel my anger into a Cinematical Seven, so enjoy and thank you for tolerating my need to vent.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features

‘Scream 4’ Casting 101: Deciphering the Details

What seemed like a swift, cut and dry process has become a sloppy heap of dropouts, replacements and script changes. As an avid franchise fan, there’s little that can dash my high hopes for Scream 4, but it’s hard to look at the recent developments and not be a little concerned. The latest development is the most troublesome of all: Kevin Williamson‘s departure. As we reported earlier, word on the net is that Williamson is out and the script now belongs to Ehren Kruger, the guy who gave us the series’ weakest installment, Scream 3.

I can go on and on about my disapproval of Kruger’s involvement, but if the news is true, that’s how it is and we’ll all just have to keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, let’s breakdown all of this casting news to get a better picture of exactly what the story entails. I’m going to run down the roster according to this casting call posted back in April.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features, News

New Faces Take Over ‘Scream’ Franchise; Will The Alum Be Cleared Out In The Opening Scene?

With the “Scream 4” production’s July start date fast approaching, Wes Craven is getting down to business and trying to nab some hot young stars so the “Scream” alum can hand off the franchise to a new generation. As we reported earlier, Lake Bell is currently in negotiations to join the cast and Ashley Greene, Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin have all been offered key parts.

With Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox set to reprise their roles from the original three films, these new characters clearly must have a connection to one, if not all, of our old friends from Woodsboro. If the deals go through, the most direct of the bunch will be Greene’s character, Jill. Not only is she Sidney Prescott’s cousin, but she’ll also be assuming the role of the film’s leading lady. Panettiere’s role is Jill’s best friend, a major movie geek, and Culkin would play Jill’s love interest. The closest to sealing the deal is Bell, who will play a police officer Sidney knows from her high school days.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Scream 4 Casting Kicks Off With Ashley Greene And Hayden Panettiere

Let the Scream 4 casting rumors begin, and begin with a bang at that. According to THR, Lake Bell is in the midst of negotiations and offers have been sent Ashley Greene,Hayden Panettiere and Rory Culkin’s way. But that’s not all–the article reveals the roles they’re going for, and they reveal some juicy plot details.

Much of the team from the first film–Wes Craven, Kevin Williamson, Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox– are returning, which means the newcomers have to be tied into the characters we know. If all goes to plan, Bell will play a police officer who knew Campbell’s Sidney, while Greene gets a juicier role as Sidney’s cousin, Jill, and the series’ new leading lady.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

It’s Time To Grow Up: Books To Read Before Seeing The Movies

I hated reading in high school. In fact, I don’t think I ever read a book assigned in its entirety. It wasn’t that I was rebelling against being forced to read a particular book; I was a good student and almost always did what I was told. I could have picked up a book in my spare time, but I had better things to do. It wasn’t until I had nothing better to do with my free time, that I gave reading a chance.

My first job after graduating from college was a News Assistant at NY1 News. Being a News Assistant is an extremely physically demand job – I’m a small girl who was carrying 60 lbs. in camera equipment ten hours a day – but there’s also a ton of down time. One day, I waited over four hours for a perpetrator to be escorted from a prison to a waiting car. (Yes, capturing a perp walk is that important in local news.) I was desperate for entertainment and that desperation was sated by the medium I despised most, books.

I didn’t do a complete turnaround and become an avid reader. There’s one rule to my book selection process: the book must be in the process of being adapted to film or optioned for adaption. Clearly my passion is film. Combine the entertainment of reading a book with a passion and you get the ultimate source of pleasure. Even beyond the immediacy of the entertainment derived from reading, having read a book before seeing the film adaption is one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever experienced.

The whole process is fascinating; to see who’s cast, what they look like in full costume, seeing the story unfold on screen, even assessing what portions of the book are translated and what parts are removed. When you read a book without accompanied imagery, you’re creating a world using your imagination. Yes, a good author will provide a detailed narrative so the reader can properly assemble the environment the writer strives to convey, but every reader’s world differs to a point. Then, when you see that world come to life on film, the wheels in your mind spin nearly out of control. You’re not just a spectator; you’re part of the film. It’s not just the author’s story being brought to life, it’s yours too.

Most of you will get this experience when you check out Where the Wild Things Are on October 16th, but there’s a whole bunch of movies coming out soon that find their origins in fantastic books. Here are a few you might want to read before seeing the movie.

ShutterIslandCoverShutter Island
I currently have a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to Shutter Island. Not that I don’t expect the film to be any good, I’m just bitter that I have to wait so long to see it. The film adaption of Dennis Lehane’s novel was due to hit theaters this month, but recently was pushed back to a February 2010 release. Maybe I’ll just have to read the book again. It’s about two U.S. Deputy Marshals, Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule, who are sent to Shutter Island to investigate a missing persons case. This isn’t just any missing person; Rachel Solando is a patient at Shutter Island’s Ashecliffe Psychiatric Hospital, home of the criminally insane. This book makes your head spin so much you’ll feel like an Ashecliffe patient yourself.
(In Theaters February 19th, 2010)

DerbyGirlCover
Derby Girl
You’re probably more familiar with the name of the feature film version of this book, Whip It. The book is about a young girl named Bliss Cavendar who’d rather get rowdy on the roller derby track than participate in beauty pageants. Knowing her parents will not approve of her new hobby, Bliss sneaks off to the Doll House to kick some ass as Babe Ruthless of the Hurl Scouts. The character Bliss screams Ellen Page. Think a non-pregnant Juno with athleticism. A fun side note, the author of Derby Girl, Shauna Cross, is a member of the Los Angeles Derby Dolls roller derby league. She also wrote the screenplay for Whip It. The movie already hit theaters, but Derby Girl is a quick read and still worth checking out post-film.
(In Theaters October 2nd, 2009)

UpInTheAirCoverUp In The Air
With all of the Oscar buzz surrounding Up In The Air, reading the Walter Kim novel the film is based on is a must. George Clooney plays the lead character, Ryan Bingham, a guy who travels the country working as a career transition counselor. Simply put, he flies around the country firing people. Ryan’s somber line of work and lack of a social life are of no concern to him. He has something much more important to worry about, earning one million frequent flyer miles. After reading the book it was very hard to imagine it being successfully translated to film. It has a plot, but it doesn’t seem strong enough to drive a feature length film. I guess when you have Jason Reitman behind the lens and George Clooney in front of it, anything is possible.
(Limited Release on December 4th, 2009. Opens Wide on December 25th, 2009)

TheLovelyBonesCoverThe Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold’s novel The Lovely Bones is one of the most moving pieces of literature I’ve ever read. By the time you finish it, you’ll have gone through an incredible range of emotions. It’s about a young girl named Susie Salmon who’s brutally murdered on her way home from school. From there we see her watch over her family from heaven and how her passing changes their lives. While the book may be perfect for film, it’s also a very temperamental piece. Depicting heaven on the big screen can go one of two ways; it can be completely rejected or wholeheartedly embraced. Based on the trailer and early buzz about the film, Peter Jackson will not disappoint. On the other hand, I can’t say the same for Mark Wahlbeg. Thanks to his performance in The Happening and Andy Samberg’s portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live, it’ll be difficult to take his performance seriously.
(Limited Release on December 11th, 2009. Opens Wide on January 15th, 2010)

TwelveCoverTwelve
Now this is a film that deserves much more attention than it’s been getting. Not only does Twelve have a fantastic cast, but the book that it’s based on is phenomenal. It was written by Nick McDonell when he was just 17-years-old. It’s about a bunch of kids, mostly wealthy, living in Manhattan and the impact drugs, sex and violence have on their lives. Chace Crawford will play the main character, White Mike, an extremely bright student known for selling the best marijuana money can buy but never indulging in any alcohol or drugs himself. I certainly wasn’t picturing White Mike to be as pretty as Crawford, but I’ll sacrifice my imagination to be able to look at Crawford for a couple of hours. Another unusual casting choice is Rory Culkin. I think he’s a fantastic actor, but for obvious reasons, I just don’t see him playing a tall basketball player. Anyway, the best part of the book is the climax. You become so absorbed with the characters that when that grand ending comes you’ll be in a serious state of shock. Seriously.
(In Theaters 2010)

YouthInRevoltCoverYouth In Revolt
If you read any of these books before seeing their film counterparts, Youth In Revolt by C.D. Payne should be the one. A movie with a cast including Michael Cera, Justin Long, Zach Galifianakis, Ray Liotta and Steve Buscemi sounds like a guaranteed success, but it can also turn the tale from a humorous yet meaningful coming-of-age story into a comedic absurdity. Cera plays Nick Twisp, a kid who takes teenage rebellion to the extreme. He starts out as a guy who isn’t thrilled with the parents he’s been given and turns into a wrecking crew when his love for a girl he meets on a family trip drives him insane. With the help of his alter ego, Francois Dillinger, Nick is willing to do just about anything to win Sheeni’s heart. Removing portions of a lengthy book to turn it into a movie is necessary but can be detrimental. Taking out particular parts of Youth in Revolt can easily strip the story of its warmth and turn it into any old teen comedy.
(In Theaters January 15th, 2010)

Leave a comment

Filed under Features