8/29/14

Festival Trailer Mash-Up 2014!

Midnight Maniacs, steady yourselves because we have five hours of pure, concentrated TIFF film trailers concentrated into a pure and beautiful three minutes and five seconds by the amazing videographer, Aaron Von Domelen.

Ready?

Let's go...

The Continuing Madness of Sion Sono


Remember when Sion Sono scrambled your brain at Midnight Madness 2013? Here's a little clip to take you back:

Yep, it's the gonzo toothpaste song from Sono's Why Don't You Play In Hell?, winner of the 2013 Midnight Madness People's Choice Award. Here is a Japanese trailer for the film that ends with a montage of spots where the toothpaste song recurs in the film:



Don't miss Sono's triumphant return to Midnight Madness with this year's opening night film Tokyo Tribe.



TOKYO TRIBE screening times:
Thu. Sept. 4th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Fri. Sept. 5th, 10:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:30 PM, LIGHTBOX 3

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: The Buzz From Melbourne


Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films is director Mark Hartley's latest documentary. Hartley's  Not Quite Hollywood also screened at midnight madness in 2008 and was extremely well received. For those unfamiliar with the Cannon films produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus think of the Chuck Norris, Charles Bronson Jean Claude Van Damme movies from the eighties and nineties and that is only a fraction of the output of films made by Cannon Films. Here are some reviews from the premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

"The film works as a fascinating look behind the scenes of a genuine outsider company. it feels about a half an hour shorter than it's 107 minutes, thanks to how much damn fun it is to experience these cult 'classics' in a fast paced, greatest hits format." - SilverScreenSnobs.com

"Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Film doesn't pull its punches." And "Hartley's film is consistently entertaining..." - The Hollywood Reporter

"Mark Hartley's follow-up to Not Quite Hollywood is an amusingly enjoyable excavation of Cannon Films, the definitive 1980s B-movie production house run by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yorham Globus. "Outlaws...hustlers...junk peddlers," - The Sydney Morning Herald.



"The best parts of this film are the archival footage of Menahem Golan in action on set, doing business in his office and doing publicity for his copious films. This is one charismatic, fascinating dude[.]" And, "In what could easily devolve into simply bashing these films for the low-budget schlock they generally were, Hartley treats the topic with reverence and he hits the tone of the documentary just right." sorryimlate.com

"Like Hartley's previous documentaries, Electric Boogaloo is an energetic confection, buoyed by zippy editing and more than occasional use of animation." - melbournecentral.com.au

"'Cannon films were the epitome of the '80's in terms of stars and films,' Hartley reflects. 'It's also a great story - it's about a couple of outsiders taking on the might of the studios. There's a real David and Goliath element to this.'" - Beat Magazine


"Hartley's films play like a wildly enthusiastic thesis submissions from the ultimate student of exploration cinema." -  screen-space.squarespace.com

"[I]t was bloody marvelous to see so many of these past stars, directors and writers up on the screen again. I was also reminded of movies I had forgotten about and will now seek and find." - fakeshemp.net

ELECTRIC BOOGALOO screening times:
Mon., Sept. 8th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Wed., Sept. 10th, 9:00 AM, BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Sun., Sept. 14th, 12:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 11







TUSK: Origin Story


Admit it, wouldn't we all look better with walrus tusks protruding out of our faces? 

All great movies have an origin—that little seed of an idea that ends up sprouting and growing into the majestic beast of a movie its meant to be. Damn, that was poetic. Maybe too poetic considering we're going to discuss the origins of Tusk, a movie where Michael Parks turns Justin Long into a walrus in... Canada (DUN, DUN, DUN). But, whatever, we do what we want here on the Midnight Madness blog.

Unless you've been trapped under a rock as of late, you know that Tusk is written and directed by none other than Kevin Smith. And if you're a Kevin Smith fan, like you should be if you know what's good for you, you listen to his podcasts and know that the inspiration for this very film was discussed in episode #259 of his and longtime collaborator Scott Mosier's podcast, SModcast. It was called "The Walrus and the Carpenter" and it was amazing. June 25, 2013 started out just like any other day, but little did anyone (especially Justin Long) know the seeds for maybe the craziest movie ever were being planted.

The full podcast can be found here, but we've embedded an edited version that only discusses the concept of the movie. Have a listen!




If you don't have time to listen (jabrone!), we've compiled a list of the most important points of the podcast: 

1. It's all based on a deliciously creepy tenant advert placed on a British classifieds ads website.
2. There is some confusion about whether the month or day goes first when discussing dates across the pond. 
3. The writer of the advert was looking for someone to live with him for free. Live with him and also dress in a walrus costume. (Seems legit.)
4. This is because the writer of the advert had a best friend who was a walrus named Gregory.
5. This is because walruses provide the most fulfilling of friendships. (Pretty sure there's a Discovery Channel special about it.) 
6. Whilst in the walrus costume, one must BE a walrus. BE THE WALRUS.
7. The tenant would be responsible for finding appropriate walrus sounds via the internet (because walruses don't speak English, duh).


Those better be walrus sounds you're making!

8. This is obviously absolutely terrifying. This advert writer is probably a serial killer. 
9. But, hey, there's a spacious double room to live in. Just don't go near the workshop! 
10. Of course, this is an irresistible idea for a movie, so Kevin and Scott set about describing the plot of their future film. 
11. It will be a cuddlier version of Human Centipede
12. There will be a walrus enclave and it will be glorious. Probably with seagull sounds.
13. There will be a lot of creepy POV shots. Maybe something like Robocop. 
14. Wait, now it's more tolerable but more fucked up version of Human Centipede
15. James Franco would probably be in it. He's all over that kind of shit. Walrus shit, you know.

And now having caught up with all of that, check out the trailer and see what of their first, jokey ideas actually made it to the final cut. We're pretty sure that's a glorious walrus enclave... 




TUSK screening times:
Saturday, Sept 6th 11:59 PM RYERSON
Sunday, Sept 7th 9:45 PM BLOOR HOT DOCS CINEMA
Friday, Sept 12th 3:45 PM SCOTIABANK 1

8/28/14

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS: Vampire Profiles: Carmilla

Oh, you've got a little schmutz on your lip. Let me get that for you.

Today's the 200th anniversary of the birth of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu and with What We Do In The Shadows part of the Madness this year, it's a serendipitous occasion to look at his creation, one of the first, and best, sexy vampires and the industry standard in Lesbian vampires.

"Carmilla" first appeared in a magazine, The Dark Blue, as an illustrated serial recorded by Le Fanu's hero, Dr. Hesselius. It was collected into a novella in 1872. You can read the book in your preferred form at Project Gutenberg.

Carmilla befriends Laura, a lonely young woman living in a castle with her retired father in Styria. As a young girl, Laura dreamed she was bitten on the chest by a beautiful woman. When Carmilla appears on her castle doorstep or on the other side of the portcullis or whatever Laura's schloss has, the young women recognize each other from this dream. And Carmilla bears an uncanny resemblance to an ancestral portrait of Countess Mircalla Karnstein. But, of course, that portrait was painted in 1689 and this resemblance is purely coincidental. How silly to think it is anything more.

The Man does not approve.
Carmilla is as smitten with Laura as she is with anagrams. And instead of dining and dashing, as she had with other, more recent victims, she woos Laura.
She used to place her pretty arms about my neck, draw me to her, and laying her cheek to mine, murmur with her lips near my ear, "Dearest, your little heart is wounded; think me not cruel because I obey the irresistible law of my strength and weakness; if your dear heart is wounded, my wild heart bleeds with yours. In the rapture of my enormous humiliation I live in your warm life, and you shall die--die, sweetly die--into mine. I cannot help it; as I draw near to you, you, in your turn, will draw near to others, and learn the rapture of that cruelty, which yet is love; so, for a while, seek to know no more of me and mine, but trust me with all your loving spirit."
But as always, it just doesn't work out between the living and the dead. And in 1872, The Man just can't handle the love between a living lady and a langorous dead one who sleeps in a coffin filled with blood.

There are a whole slew adaptations of the story. Ingrid Pitt portrays Carmilla in Hammer Studio's The Vampire Lovers (1970).



Carl Theodor Dreyer based his 1932 film Vampyr on the story--though with no intra-lady feelings.



Roger Vadim's Blood And Roses (1960) is a stylish adaptation.



 And Carmilla appears in stories as diverse as Vampire Hunter D, Doctor Who and Kim Newman's novel, Anno Dracula. Incidentally, The Guardian published a piece Newman wrote about Sheridan Le Fanu and Le Fanu's influence on horror today and it is totally worth reading.


WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS screening times:
Fri. Sept. 12th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sat. Sept. 13th, 9:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:45 PM, SCOTIABANK  3

And while the women of The Duke of Burgundy are not vampires, they are Lesbians in love and it is a gorgeous film.

THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY screening times:
Saturday, Sept 6th 10:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 1
Monday, Sept 8th 3:15 PM SCOTIABANK 12

INTERVIEW: CUB Director Jonas Govaerts Earns His Feature Film Merit Badge


One of the most exciting aspects of the Midnight Madness program is the the emergence of new cinematic voices and talent from around the world. A film and director to look out for this year is Cub directed by Jonas Govaerts. After directing several short films, Cub marks Jonas' first feature film and the first horror film produced in Flanders. I recently had the opportunity to speak with him. -- Robert A. Mitchell 

Using one or two sentences can you tell me what the basic story for Cub is? 
Cub is the story of a summer scout camp gone horribly wrong, seen through the eyes of Sam, our twelve year old protagonist. 
Where did the idea come from? Were you, yourself a Cub Scout?
 I've been jotting down loose ideas for this story since I was a cub scout myself. I had some wonderful leaders back then, who introduced me to the world of underground comics, horror movies and alternative music; it seemed only fitting I would set my first film at a scout camp, since that's where my imagination was first triggered. My scout totem is Imaginative Toucan, by the way--no lie! 
You have made several short films. Cub is your first feature length film. How was that transition? What were some of the difficult aspects of production you had to overcome? 
All of my shorts were based on existing short stories I loved: at least there I had the security of a decent script. On Cub, which I co-wrote, I was often second-guessing myself: do we need really this scene? What am I trying to say here? Also, the ambition and scope of the film far exceeded anything I had done in my earlier work. Luckily, I had my movie family around me: most of the crew have been with me since my first short, Mobius. I actually went to film school with my cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis (Michael R. Roskam's Bullhead & The Drop, John Hillcoat's upcoming Triple Nine): he flunked after the first year, while I needed six years to finish school! 
There is that old adage in show business, never work with kids or animals. Obviously your film is centered around a story featuring kids. How difficult was the casting to find the kids to play the characters? What was it like to work with these young actors? 
If I hadn't accidentally seen Maurice Luijten, who plays Sam, in the music video The Gift by Ralf Demesmaeker, I wouldn't be talking to you right now. He really was a gift from the movie gods. He looked like a young River Phoenix or something - that same effortless charisma. Once Sam was in place, it was really a matter of mixing and matching: for the other cubs, we saw a couple of hundred kids, and we tweaked the parts to fit their personalities, specific talents and looks. We didn't find Gill Eeckelaert,
who plays the Masked Feral Child, until very late in the game: in his audition tape, you can really see my face going from absolute exhaustion to huge relief!...Animals, though, are another matter entirely. The most grueling part of the shoot involved a dog - of course, I had to pick the dumbest breed in existence. Safe to say, I'm in no big hurry to work with dogs again - though I doubt I'll get offered many animal movies after Cub comes out! 
What would you say to folks looking at the film selection of why they should see Cub? 
As a life-long horror fan, I've been disappointed with the direction the genre has taken lately, at least in main stream cinema: loud bangs, cheap CGI, grubby shaky-cam, cardboard characters... It's just not my thing. With Cub, I've tried to bring back those elements I miss most in modern horror: a decent build-up, some humor to contrast with the violence, a certain visual poetry, characters you can actually relate to... Oh, and a cool, Carpenter-style title font, of course!

CUB screening times:
Wed., Sept. 10th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Thu., Sept. 11th, 8:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 8
Sat., Sept. 13th, 12:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 13

BIG GAME: Samuel L. P.O.T.U.S

Jalmari Helander, the director of TIFF 2010's Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale returns to TIFF this year with his latest film, Big Game. There's no sign of Krampus and jolly old Saint Nick in Big Game, but Helander has instead recruited the biggest b.a.m.f. of them all, Samuel L Jackson as the President of the United States, who must rely on a 13 year-old boy to help him survive after Air Force One is shot down by terrorists.

Check out these sweet stills and then click the handy link below to buy your tickets.



BIG GAME screening times:
Fri., Sept. 5th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sat., Sept. 6th, 9:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Sat., Sept. 13th, 2:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 12

8/27/14

THE GUEST: Sundance Film Festival Buzz

I'M BY UR MANTELPIECE PLOTTING UR DESTRUCTION
For those of us who are big fans of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, but were not able to attend Sundance this year (ahem), it was kind of a bummer because their new movie The Guest screened at the festival.

But wait! All is not lost. The Guest will be screening at this year's Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness programme!

What is The Guest about anyway? After Caleb Peterson dies in Afghanistan, his army pal David pays Caleb's family a visit. Sounds tender and heartbreaking, right? WRONG. David is not who he appears to be and things turn creepy with a quickness.

Now why should you care? That's where this blog comes in. Here are some juicy tidbits from the Sundance reviews of The Guest that will leave you hungry for more.

"A concept hatched after an accidental double-feature of The Terminator and Halloween, The Guest is the perfect synthesis of Cameron, Carpenter and Cannon [Films] and one of the most fun films at this year's Sundance Film Festival."
--Indiewire

"Played in a key of macabre black comedy that's deadpan save whenever all hell breaks loose," The Guest is "nasty fun."
--Variety

"Barrett and Wingard haven't lost their ironically humorous touch, as most of the film's uneasy laughs revolve around upending typical thriller expectations."
--The Hollywood Reporter

"Adam Wingard's The Guest feels like a lost [John] Carpenter film from the director's golden age. The picture effortlessly moves between a nerve-wracking mystery to a gleefully dark comedy, and at its best it even mixes the two together."
--Collider

"The Guest is a modern movie, but one that has a sensibility that feels a bit like a return to a lost form. It's tight and smart and often very funny..."
--Badass Digest

"The Guest is genuinely great filmmaking... a crafty crowdpleaser that's still intelligent enough to warrant real consideration about what it's saying about the contemporary culture that gave birth to it, through both style and substance."
--Crave Online

"Equal parts creepy, slow-burn horror and bloody, balls-out actioner, Wingard and Barrett again prove that best kind of genre movie is the one with which you can have the most outright fun."
--Twitch

"This is a ninety-minute thrill-ride that fits right in with the very best genre fare of that era. Big thrills, big laughs, and tons of carnage--The Guest has it all and deserves to be a real crossover hit for both Wingard and [actor Dan] Stevens."
--JoBlo.com

So let's review: John Carpenter, retro yet modern, black comedy, and creepy slow-burn horror. I think I'm in love with The Guest. Don't forget to get tickets to a screening.

THE GUEST screening times:
Sat., Sept. 13th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sun., Sept. 14th, 6:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3

8/25/14

Navigating TIFF Part 5: Getting To, From, and Around The Ryerson Theater

Ticket Holders Line in Yellow. Rush Line in Pink.





























The Ryerson theater hosts every first screening of the Midnight Madness Films. It's a 1250 seat venue and here are some details you need to know:

When should I get in line? Diehards  start lining up between 9:30 and 10:00 PM but for decent seats shoot for 10:30 PM. By 11:15 pm the line is usually halfway down Church St. 

What's up with the crazy line?!!? Long lines are part of TIFF. The ticket holders line starts in front of the Ryerson and runs east along Gerrard Street to Church Street. It then turns south along Church to Gould where it turns west along Gould and typically stops. 

Most nights, the line can be .5 km. Once the line starts to move, everyone gets in the venue within 10-15 minutes. The closer you are to Gould street, the more likely you are to sit in the balcony.

The Rush line runs west along Gerrard to Victoria then turns south on Victoria. Rush lines will be covered in an upcoming post.

Is there parking available? Street parking on Church and Gerrard is free after 9pm. Street parking is also available a few blocks east on Jarvis. There are lots south and north of the Ryerson on Church but they're expensive and best used as a last resort unless you're parking there all day and grabbing your car after the Midnight screening.

What's the closest TTC Station? The closest TTC Subway stop is College Station 1 block north of the Ryerson on Yonge and College. The last train leaves around 2:00 AM so don't count on the subway to get you home. Plenty of cabs are available and late buses are also running.

Where are the best seats? In most TIFF venues the best view and sound are always close to the reserved section. The Ryerson has a few rows in the middle of the house roped off. If you want legroom: sit in the sections in the back of at stage right or left. The first row of the balcony also has a great view and has the best legroom in the house. 

Navigating TIFF Part 4: Biking to Venues using Bike Share Toronto

We've covered walking and cabbing in other posts so today we're tackling bike sharing using Bike Share Toronto. The concept is simple, walk up to a bike share kiosk, rent a bike, ride it to another location, and dock it.

The downside of Bike Share Toronto is that it requires a credit card. That isn't big deal for locals, just be aware that there may be foreign currency transaction fees for those of you who aren't from Canada.You also have to be comfortable riding a bike in a big city where you'll be dodging cabs, pedestrians, bikes, etc. The Bike Share Toronto website has all sorts of details on how to use the system and here are some maps indicating the stations nearest the TIFF Venues.

Before you rent a bike you should check the website to make sure the dock at your location isn't full. iPhone and Android apps for bike availability are also available.

We'll start with the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema located at: 506 Bloor Street West

Isabel Bader Theater: 93 Charles Street West




Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario: 317 Dundas Street West

The Princess of Wales Theater: 300 King Street West, TIFF Bell Lightbox: 350 King Street West, & Roy Thompson Hall: 60 Simcoe Street



Ryerson Theater: 43 Gerrard Street East


Scotiabank Theater: 259 Richmond Street West (Use "The Ballroom" for theater location reference on map below)

Elgin & Winter Garden Theater: 189 Yonge Street

8/24/14

THE GUEST: First Look Poster and Trailer

This Ain't Downton Abbey, People!
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, the powerhouse creative team behind genre favorites: A Horrible Way to Die and You're Next are back with THE GUEST. Check out Dan Steven's creepy stare in the poster as well as the recently released trailer below.



THE GUEST screening times
Sat. Sept. 13th,11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sun. Sept. 14th 6:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3

8/23/14

The Diary of a TIFF Newbie. WELCOME TO THE MADNESS.

Friends and family of Midnight Madness,

My name is Nancy Taylor, and I am a TIFF newbie. I am a senior at Syracuse University and will making the trek up to Toronto in my yellow Jeep Wrangler for my first TIFF, and thus my first Midnight Madness! I have already seen two of the films from the highly anticipated line up, including David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows and Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows. They are incredible, enticing, terrifying and satisfying--in completely different ways, so I am beyond enthusiastic to see what the rest of the line up has in store for me.




(Side note: here I am with my good friend Wey and Jemaine Clement after the screening of What We Do in the Shadows at Sundance 2014. )


You may be asking yourself, how does a college student manage to intern at Cannes, Sundance and TIFF? Well, throughout my college career, I have been incredibly fortunate to participate in several of The Creative Mind Group’s internship programs, and I would not be going to Toronto if it weren’t for them.

Creative Minds is an internship program designed to help launch the careers of up and coming filmmakers by setting them up with host companies to intern with at the major film festivals throughout the world. They also arrange housing, festival accreditation and organize networking events with industry professionals, which is where I met Midnight Madness Programmer Colin Geddes. Check out the Creative Minds in Toronto promo video--it's awesome.





Anyway, it was a 9 am breakfast talk on the rooftop of a gorgeous hotel in Cannes. I had never heard of Midnight Madness before, but as soon as Colin casually mentioned his love for Hong Kong cinema and genre films—I had a feeling that MM was for me. 


I am a self proclaimed “genre cinephile,” so it seems that I have found a home in the Madness, before I have even stepped foot in Toronto. From now on, I would like to invite you all to join me on this journey as I chronicle my first experience at TIFF, in what I am calling “The Diary of a TIFF Newbie.” 

Navigating TIFF Part 3: Pearson Airport to Bell Lightbox for $3 via TTC

Previous posts have covered walking, driving, and biking around the TIFF village. Today we'll cover how to get there from the airport without spending an arm and a leg.

There are tons of ways to get from Toronto's Pearson Airport to the heart of TIFF but the cheapest is via the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). It takes about 90 minutes and only costs $3 Canadian. Here's a handy guide that will get you from the airport to within steps of Bell Lightbox.

1) After you leave your gate at Pearson go to terminal 3 and follow these signs:



2) Once you get outside go stand by the TTC pole:


3) Wait for the 192 Airport Rocket (For schedule click here). Before you board make sure you have $3 (Canadian) in exact change. The bus drivers will not make change. If you don't have exact change you can get TTC tokens from some of the shops in Terminal 3.



4) The bus will make 1 stop before it reaches your stop, Kipling station, which is the end of the Southbound line before the bus returns to the airport. Go inside the station and get on the train. This station is at the end of the Bloor-Danforth line so no matter what train you get on you will be heading in the right direction. The Bloor-Danforth line is the green line in the map below.


5) After 14 stops you will arrive at the Spadina station. Don't worry about counting stops, just listen to the conductor as they announce each stop as the train pulls into the station. There are also maps posted in the train so you can figure out your location pretty quicky. At the Spadina station you are going to get off the Bloor-Danforth train and follow the signs at the station to the Yonge-University-Spadina line heading towards Finch. Do not go to the platform that says Yonge-University-Spadina heading towards Downsview as those trains are going in the opposite direction of Lighbox. Yonge-University-Spadina is the yellow line above.

6) If the first stop you come to is St. George you are on the right train. If you arrive at Dupont, you went the wrong way. Don't worry, just get off the train an wait for the next train going in the other direction (trains come every 10-15 minutes). From St. George it is 6 stops before you arrive at your final destination of St. Andrew which is a short walk to the Festival Box Office.

8/22/14

IT FOLLOWS First Look: Posters



Cannes Film Festival sensation It Follows will have its North American premiere at Midnight Madness 2014. There are plenty of rave reviews online and a couple of poster designs that appeared at Cannes (see below), but little in the way of material from the film itself. No trailer, no clips, etc. But honestly, it's better that way. All you need to know about this one is it's off-the-charts creepy. Beyond that, the less you know going in, the better. Oh, one other thing. Maybe don't bring a date to this one. Cause no one's getting laid after It Follows infects the Ryerson.





IT FOLLOWS screening times:
Sun., Sept. 7th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Tue., Sept. 9th, 4:00 PM, SCOTIABANK 9

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS First Look: Posters and Trailer



Directors Taika Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark; Boy) and Jermaine Clement (co-creator of Flight of the Conchords) are bringing their riotous vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows to Midnight Madness 2014.




 Get a peek at what happens when a documentary crew follows of a group of centuries-old vampire roommates in the trailer:



WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS screening times:
Fri. Sept. 12th, 11:59 PM, RYERSON
Sat. Sept. 13th, 9:30 PM, SCOTIABANK 12
Sun. Sept. 14th, 3:45 PM, SCOTIABANK 3