Film 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.
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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.”
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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.
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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
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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