I’ve been a very busy nerd lately, but I have finally found time to catch up on my blog about all I’ve been doing and seeing around town. I attended two screenings at the recent L.A Film Festival that were pretty cool and they both were held at L.A.’s famous Ford Amphitheatre, which is a large outdoor venue that normally programs live stage performances and music. It was really awesome watching two movies there on a huge screen with amazing sound, right out under the stars in the cool California air. It felt like seeing a drive-in movie without the car. The first screening I saw was the ELI ROTH produced, THE LAST EXORCISM (previously known as COTTON).
ELI ROTH, director DANIEL STAMM and the entire cast came out to introduce the film, as it was the first time it had ever been shown in front of an audience, making it the world premiere! Everyone was very excited and ELI ROTH did all the talking, getting the audience pumped up and reminding us that the movie doesn’t come out till August 27th, so if we like it, we should tell everyone, but if we hate it, we should shut the fuck up. It was funny.
I liked THE LAST EXORCISM. It’s another one of those hand-held “documented” horror films in the style of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, [REC], CLOVERFIELD, DIARY OF THE DEAD, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, etc., etc. This one takes on THE EXORCIST, with a scenario about a minister who tries to expose the exorcism racket as a hustle, by bringing a documentary crew to a remote farmhouse so that they can film him perform his “act” on a supposedly possessed young girl. But, wouldn’t you know it, she is actually possessed and it’s by the mother-fucking DEVIL himself!
The cast is made up entirely of unknown actors that really make the film work with some very well crafted performances (most especially the two leads, who totally knock it out of the park). PATRICK FABIAN does a phenomenal job of playing a well intending preacher who ends up way over his head and ASHLEY BELL steals the show with her role of the demon-possessed girl. She’s cute as a button one minute and ready to tear your heart out the next!
There are some really cool creep outs too, including a scene where ASHLEY BELL bends almost completely backwards while standing up straight. It looks insane and I’m told it’s actually HER doing it! The ending is pretty crazy too, where we witness a satanic ritual that’s like an amped up version of THE WICKERMAN mixed with ROSEMARY’S BABY! It’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in my life, but it was a decent little entry into PG-13 horror.
The second screening I saw was NEIL (DOG SOLDIERS, THE DESCENT, DOOMSDAY) MARSHALL’S latest genre-bending epic, CENTURION. MARSHALL himself came out to introduce the film to the enormous crowd in the amphitheatre that night and everyone went nuts. I’ve been a HUGE fan of his since DOG SOLDIERS and I’ve been looking forward to his latest foray into the “sword & biceps” genre for awhile now!
CENTURION is about a bloody war in 117 A.D. between the legendary Ninth Legion (the Roman army’s greatest warriors) and the savage and barbarous Pict Clan (whom are sworn to protect their lands at all costs from any invader). When the Ninth Legion faces an ambush, which results in the loss of most of its soldiers and the capture of their beloved general, the survivors must fight their way back from behind enemy lines!
MICHAEL (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) FASSBENDER is great as one of the Romans trying to “bop” his way back home to Rome and OLGA KURYLENKO is one hot, dangerous warrior chick trying to kill him. You could make a drinking game out of how many times she shoots a Roman soldier in the back with an arrow.
The movie is beautifully shot in locations around the european wilderness and it just looks absolutely fucking gorgeous. Which is great, because the cinematography is constantly being splattered with geysers of blood and guts. Lots of beheadings, amputated limbs, eye gouges, crushed heads, stabbings and guttings to behold for all those gore-hounds out there.
I loved it! Great action and very good acting complement this muscular thriller, which features all of NEIL MARSHALL’S staples: gory violence, macho dialogue, tough female characters, and another back-against-the-wall plotline straight out of the JOHN CARPENTER/WALTER HILL playbook. In a way, CENTURION is like a medieval THE WARRIORS, mixed with SOUTHERN COMFORT, DELIVERANCE and ALIENS. It was cool.
That’s all to report on now, but this is gonna be a very exciting month and I’ll be reporting soon on some very awesome stuff (including my upcoming return to the SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON)! Nerd out!