Another year draws to a close. 2011, we barely knew ye.
In preparation for the coming 2012, you are no doubt scurrying about the house, making sure you have a well-stocked liquor cabinet, preparing the appetizers, and trying to decide with which noisemakers your drunk relatives will least likely hurt themselves. But, if you find a moment to yourself during all this madness, perhaps you would fancy a viewing of something from Netflix’s Instant Watch service to help you adequately ring in the New Year.
We hope you’ll consider selecting 1980’s New Year’s Evil.
Who Made It: New Year’s Evil was directed by Emmett Alston. If his is not a name you’re familiar with, that’s actually to be expected and perfectly acceptable. Alston did little outside of New Year’s Evil, but his other important contribution to the world of B-cinema was the classic 1985 Sho Kosugi film Nine Deaths of the Ninja.
Who’s In It: Here again, not much to report. But then, this is not a film we are going to sell you on based on the names attached. We’ll get to that in just a moment. The film’s biggest star is Roz Kelley who is best known, or at least better known, for her recurring role as Pinky Tuscadero on the TV series Happy Days.
What’s It About: When a local punk-rock personality throws a big New Year’s bash (dubbed New Year’s Evil), she goes all out. She takes over a swanky hotel, brings in the hottest bands, and links the party to New Year’s celebrations in several other time zones just so they can ring in the New Year multiple times. But just as things are really starting to get rolling, she receives a threatening phone call from a man with a distorted voice calling himself evil. He claims that he plans to kill one person at the stroke of midnight in each time zone; the last victim to be the host herself. Is this just a hoax, or will this be the last New Year she sees?
Why You Should Watch It:
One of my favorite sub-species of the horror genre is the holiday horror film. Over the course of the genre’s history, nearly every conceivable holiday on the calendar has been bloodily repackaged and sinisterly repurposed to provide the most festive of shrieks and the most terrifying of season’s bleedings. Outside of John Carpenter’s Halloween and Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, holiday horror films do not enjoy a reputation for high quality. In spite of its low-budget, routine slasher trappings, I would argue that New Year’s Evil is among the best of the lesser-known holiday horror films.
For those who demand camp of their ‘80s slasher films, rest assured New Year’s Evil is well equipped to satisfy even the most scrutinizing of B-movie palates. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is uproariously bizarre at its best and hysterically flat at its worst, and it is filled to the brim with brain-dead punkers flopping around on the dance floor like dying fish. However, the film also features a deviously clever concept allowing for genuine surprises and a more authentic killer—more Ted Bundy than Jason Voorhees. The cinematography is playful and more adept than it has any right to be; at one point cleverly drawing an apt parallel between the goofballs in the mosh pit and the inmates of an asylum. The film also features a soundtrack packed with weird, wonderful rock tracks and, for some reason, slow love songs. The title track is an out-of-control, fist-pumping power anthem that is sure to have you screeching along. "New Year’s Eee-viiiiiiil!"
I won’t deny that New Year’s Evil is obscure; in fact it resides in a very special corner of the esoteric galaxy. However, this under the radar status (I know, now I’m mixing columns) is chief among the reasons you should give it a spin. This film has never seen the light of day on DVD, and its VHS versions are actually quite rare, making the task of obtaining a copy a rather expensive proposition. Therefore its recent addition to the Netflix Watch Instant catalogue marks the first time New Year’s Evil has been this readily available for viewing. Make it your resolution to watch New Year’s Evil, otherwise you’ll be the one to drop the ball.
After garnering widespread praise (and an Oscar nomination for screenwriting) for his 2000 directorial debut You Can Count on Me Kenneth Lonergan was in-demand. In September 2005 the writer/director began production on a follow-up feature: Margaret which touted Anna Paquin Matt Damon Mark Ruffalo Matthew Broderick Allison Janney as well as legendary filmmakers Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) as producers. The movie wrapped production in a few months time. The buzz was already growing.
Now six years later the movie is finally hitting theaters. So…what took so long?
The journey to this point hasn't been an easy one and it shows. If a film's shot footage is a block of granite and the editing process is the careful carving that turns it into a statuesque work of art Margaret feels like it was attacked by a blind man with a jackhammer. The film is a cinematic disaster a mishmash of shallow characters overwrought politics and sporadic tones. The story follows Lisa Coen (Paquin) a New York teenager who finds herself drowning in chaos after distracting a bus driver (Ruffalo) causing him to hit and kill a pedestrian (Janney). Initially Lisa tells the police it was all an accident but as time passes regret takes hold and the girl embarks on a mission to take down the man she now regards as a culprit. That's just the tip of the iceberg–along the way Lisa deals with everyday teen stuff: falling for her geometry teacher (Damon) combating her anxiety-ridden actress mother losing her virginity dabbling in drugs debating 9/11 and the Iraq War cultivating a relationship with her father in LA and more. There are about eight seasons of television stuffed into Margaret but even a two and a half hour run time can't make it all click.
For more on Margaret check out Indie Seen: Margaret the Long Lost Anna Paquin/Matt Damon Movie
Actor Christian Slater is in stitches…but not because of a funny script.
Reuters reports the actor required 20 stitches in the back of his head following a fight with his wife, Ryan Haddon, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Los Vegas.
On Tuesday, Las Vegas police said that Haddon allegedly threw a drinking glass at the back of Slater's head, which struck the actor behind the left ear. Haddon was arrested on a misdemeanor charge after the Monday incident, but Slater declined to press charges against his wife. Carla Alston, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas police, said that because of his declination, it would be up to prosecutors to decide whether or not to pursue a case against Haddon.
Alston went on to say that while Slater's initial statement said that the glass had struck him during an argument with his wife, he later changed his story, insisting that the glass had actually slipped out of his wife's hand as she meant to toss water on him during a playful dispute.
Alston says that this version of the story is not credible based on the nature of Slater's injury. The glass struck the back of his head with such force that it opened a gash deep enough to require 20 stitches, police said.
A spokesperson for the actor insisted that he required only nine stitches, however.
Slater himself declined to comment on the situation publicly. According to his publicist, the actor is on his way to Vancouver, British Columbia, to begin work on a film project this week.
The alleged domestic dispute was first reported by the syndicated TV show Access Hollywood.
Slater has had his own share of run-ins with the law. In 1989, he was brought up and convicted on drunken driving charges when he crashed his car into a telephone pole. In 1994, he was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York when an unloaded pistol was found in his baggage. Finally, in 1998, the actor spent 90 days in jail for striking his then girlfriend and biting a security officer in a drug- and alcohol-induced frenzy.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston can relax; they are now surpassed in the couples rumor mill by the betrothed Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. So we're here to quash some buzzings and entertain you with others.
The latest rumor is that Zeta-Jones wants to take Douglas' name after they wed, according to the New York Daily News. Does this make her Catherine Douglas or Catherine Zeta-Douglas? We're not sure. But while we find out, we can tell you that she's not converting to Judaism, according to Douglas.
"I have had no formal religious training myself, and there has never been any debate with Catherine about it. Religion has not entered into the equation. Our child will be raised the same way I was," Douglas, 55, told London's Mirror.
He also admits that he misplaced her engagement ring before he proposed New Year's Eve. When Douglas couldn't find the sparkler in his luggage, he was "sure someone had stolen it," but Zeta-Jones, 30, remembered seeing him fumbling with a box at their hotel room in Wales over Christmas. Douglas called the hotel and asked housekeeping if they'd found a box, and lo and behold, it was there. It was shipped to Aspen, Colo., where he proposed at his resort. Kudos to the FedEx people for going above and beyond the call of duty.
A SHAGADELIC LAUGH: "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me's" Mike Myers and "American Beauty's" Annette Bening took funniest film actor and actress honors at the American Comedy Awards on Sunday night at Los Angeles' Shrine Exposition Center. The awards will be telecast March 23 on Fox.
Funniest motion picture went to "Analyze This," a mob comedy starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, topping more offbeat nominees such as "American Beauty" and "Being John Malkovich."
Steve Martin was honored with a career achievement award. Said Myers, "I like Steve Martin because he's silly and smart, smart and silly."
MAKING PEACE: Before "Red Planet" opens Nov. 10 -- pushed back from June 16 -- Tom Sizemore would like to clear the air concerning reported rifts he had with co-star Val Kilmer.
"Val and I are friends," the 36-year-old actor told USA Today. "A lot of people say nasty things about him. ... We did 'Heat,' and he was sweet to me. We're together (in 'Red Planet') from Page 6 to the end, every day, for 16 hours. And we've had a really good time. "
Earlier reports said the two considered taking out restraining orders on the set. Kilmer says, "The idea that Tom and I have taken out restraining orders ... is completely untrue. I have known Tom for many years and have the utmost respect for him as a person and actor."
MAKING PEACE, PART II: Madonna, after giving some 65 interviews promoting her upcoming film "The Next Best Thing," finished her interview with Rosie O'Donnell and decided she had more good-doing to do. So the Material Girl popped on over to "Saturday Night Live" studios, where fellow diva Jennifer Lopez was rehearsing her musical number for this week's show. The two reportedly greeted each other warmly and laughed off rumors that Madonna snubbed Lopez at Donatella Versace's New Year's Eve bash over Lopez's criticism of her acting abilities in a Movieline.
OBITS: French director Claude Autant-Lara, known for his right-wing political stances and jabs at bourgeois society, died Saturday at age 98. Autant-Lara directed more than 30 films, many of them classics of 1940s and 1950s French cinema ...
John Vincent Imbragulio, a music executive who produced the rock 'n' roll single "Sea Cruise" among others, died Friday at age 74. Imbragulio owned Ace Records, Ace Music Publishers and Avanti Records ...
Todd Karns, who played James Stewart's younger brother in died Saturday of cancer at age 79. Karns' character, Harry Bailey, made the memorable toast in the film's final scene, saying "To my big brother, George. The richest man in town!" ...
Doris Kenner-Jackson, member of the Shirelles, died Friday of breast cancer. She was 58. The Shirelles, which also included Shirley Alston Reeves, Beverly Lee and the late Addie "Micki" Harris, had many hits in the early 1960s, including "Soldier Boy" and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."
QUICK TAKES: Add Clint Eastwood to the roster of presenters at this year's Academy Awards on March 26 in Los Angeles. Eastwood picked up Best Picture and Best Director awards for 1992's "Unforgiven." ...
... Phylicia Rashad (CBS' "Cosby") has made plans to renovate the Brainerd Institute, a historic black school where her mother, Vivian Ayers Allen, graduated ...
Paul Newman ran into a little car trouble at the 24 Hours of Daytona race Saturday. His Porsche blew an engine and was retired only eight hours into the race. Luckily, the 75-year-old Newman was not in the car when it blew; likely he was off hand-gliding or preparing for the running of the bulls.