It is often be the case that great things can come in small packages. In the realm of cinema, this translates to under 10 minutes. There is a distinctive artistry in short filmmaking. One could make the illusory coloration that the job of a short film director or writer is somehow easier, given the brevity of their resulting creation. The reality, however, is that the stunted time-frame requires the filmmaker to become adept at the economy of storytelling, and therefore to actually work harder to develop a narrative in a more concise framework.
It’s not a frequent occurrence, nor is it exceedingly rare that a short film will be picked up for adaptation into a feature film. This week, the wonderful Spanish horror short Mama sees its full-length iteration hit theaters. The Guillermo del Toro-produced Mama centers on two young girls found living alone in squalor, in the middle of the woods. When their new adoptive parents bring them home, it becomes clear that something terrifying has come along with them. Andres Muschietti, who also wrote and directed the short, helms the feature version. This got us thinking about some other short films we’ve seen over the last couple of years that would also be ideal for full-length big screen treatment.
The Legend of Beaver Dam
John Landis would be proud of this horror comedy short from writer/director Jerome Sable. It’s the story of an awkward young outcast, out on a camping trip with his scout troupe. As the night’s activities turn to ghost stories, which in turn accidentally awakens an evil monster, unlikely hero Danny is called upon to save the day. What is so outstanding about The Legend of Beaver Dam, and what we’re aching to see more of, is the spectacular musical element, and how this feeds an imaginative narrative structure. It would be great to see Sable team with Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich (the twisted minds behind Repo! The Genetic Opera) to turn Beaver Dam into a large-scale theatrical horror musical.
A carjacker witnesses a shooting, and inadvertently becomes the only one who can help a dying man. His conscience will not be the only thing tested. Marko Slavnic’s gritty crime drama is fairly simple in its construction. But within these few moments, we are presented with a probing, brooding character study that takes a phenomenal turn in its final act. It would be fascinating to see this twist altered to serve a running, tension-fostering conflict. Slavnic clearly has the directing and screenwriting chops necessary to hook an audience, and it would be great to see him expand this tale into a dark crime thriller somewhere in the neighborhood of Headhunters.
This is a bit of a cheat, we are not afraid to admit that. Directed by Phil Joanou (State of Grace, The Gridiron Gang), Dirty Laundry centers on a familiar skull-tee-clad comic book vigilante who, in this adventure, stumbles upon a nasty assault while he’s just trying to do his laundry. Yes, we’ve already had two Punisher films, and yes one of them already starred Thomas Jane, but Dirty Laundry is a sterling example of how the right director, and the right tone, can make all the difference. Dirty Laundry is edgier than 2004’s Punisher, and yet more grounded (if only a hair less violent) than 2008’s Punisher: War Zone. Hopefully, the overwhelming response to this fan film will earn Jane another shot at the role of Frank Castle. Gotta love that Ron Perlman cameo, too.
No Way Out
Even abstract shorts films can provide a compelling appetizer for a potential feature; more than any other type of short, they leave us wanting more. If there is one short that left us ravenous, it was 2011’s No Way Out. Directed by Kristoffer Aaron Morgan, and co-written by Eric Vespe, No Way Out is a violent, cruel descent into madness wherein a man, House of the Devil’s A.J. Bowen, is pushed to his breaking point by hideous monsters in the dark. The production design, the cinematography, and the ghoulishly delightful practical effects make for a superb and haunting Lovecraftian nightmare that begs to be expanded.
Portal: No Escape
It would be impossible to construct this list without mentioning what is conceivably the best fan film ever made. Dan Trachtenberg’s ode to Valve’s sci-fi video game was artful and immaculately shot, tantalizingly hinting at the potential for a feature-length Portal movie. No Escape was so exceptional that it actually just netted Trachtenberg a gig directing New Line’s movie version of the graphic novel Y: The Last Man. Our guess is that if Trachtenberg were to also then direct the cinematic Portal adaptation, something for which we are all crossing our fingers and toes simultaneously, Guillermo del Toro would produce. That may seem like a stretch... unless you happened to notice the voice of GlaDoS in the Pacific Rim trailers.
[Photo Credit: George Kraychyk/Universal Pictures]
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Hollywood.com here. Your one and only source truly obsessed with the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite. This evening marks the very last season premiere of Gossip Girl and while many fans are dreading the beginning of the end, we at Hollywood.com are absolutely thrilled. No, we’re not excited to say goodbye to our favorite Upper East-Siders. It’s just that we’ve seen the premiere and there is only one way to describe it: OMFG.
To get you intrigued for all the sexy scenes, party-crashing plans, and unbelievable hookups, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 things you need to know for tonight’s season premiere “Gone Maybe Gone.” Here goes:
Chuck, Blair, and Something Sparkly: Chair fans will be happy, and I mean very happy when the episode begins. The first word that comes to mind? Sexy. When we see our favorite scheme-loving couple, Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Blair (Leighton Meester) are getting hot and heavy in a Monaco hotel room. But when you fast-forward four months later, we were surprised to see that the newly rekindled duo has actually spent their summer apart! Not to worry Chair fans — this power couple is making sure that they take care of their individual needs before ending up together for good. “Blair, I love you will all my heart.” Chuck reassures her in the back of his limo. Swoon! As for that sparkly part? Let’s just say that it’s a miracle that Blair can stand up straight with that large (and absolutely gorgeous) rock weighing her down. But shh! That last part’s a secret!
Gossip Girl Begins Her Final Bow: After last season’s debacle with Serena (Blake Lively), it’s safe to assume that Gossip Girl wants absolutely nothing to do with the “legs for days” blonde. In fact, while everyone was panicking about Serena’s whereabouts, the mystery blogger coolly explains, “From all over the world, our favorite upper east siders are asking the same question. But I couldn’t care less. Serena van der Woodsen is dead. At least to me.” Yikes! But fans really begin to sense that the end is near when the know-it-all of the Upper East Side says, “Call me superstitious, but I believes this fall could be my last season.” Of course we all know that Nate (Chace Crawford) still has that tape of her…
The Quest for “Sabrina”: Serena is currently MIA (again) and Chuck, Blair, Nate, Dan, and, yes, even Georgina are on a mission to bring her back. While some assume she’s back on drugs like we saw in last year’s finale (Who was that creepy guy?!), Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) is hoping Ms. van der Woodsen is hauled up in some looney bin so Dan can have an exciting ending to his new book. So where oh where is Serena? You can just ask her new alter ego, Sabrina from Wisconsin. It seems that Serena/Sabrina’s new man is not the brightest bulb in the box if he actually believes that this former queen bee would actually hail from Wisconsin. The fearless fivesome do eventually track down their old friend at a wedding, and you won’t believe who’s wearing white!
Rufus Has Got a New Roomie: In Lily’s (Kelly Rutherford) panic to find Serena, she visits the closest thing to a father figure that her daughter has ever had: our beloved Rufus (Matthew Settle). But her visit is quickly cut short when she is baffled to see that her ex-husband’s new housemate is… Ivy! We soon learn that Ivy has got some secrets hidden in that stringy lifeless hair of hers and it looks like she’s going to use the sweetest guy in Brooklyn as the newest pawn in her games. Do not make her waffles, Rufus! It’s a trap!
Dan’s Naming Names: At the encouragement of Georgina (and by “encouragement,” we mean snarky and sarcastic teasing), Dan (Penn Badgley) is finally getting over his writer's block while hiding out in the countryside of Italy. Georgina is determined for Dan to have the best tell-all book of all-time saying, “Real names this time. No holding back. Everyone gets exposed.” And speaking of exposed, all you Dair fans will be pleased to know that Dan does indeed confront Blair for all of her wrong-doings. After all, why would she give up “unconditional love” if she isn’t actually, technically, with Chuck at the moment? Hmm… good point Lonely Boy.
How are you feeling about tonight’s last premiere Gossip Girl fans? Are you Team Chair or Team Dair? What are you hoping to see in this final season for your favorite characters? Give us the dirt in the comments below!
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From the looks of these clips, Dan and Blair fans will be very happy with the April 19th installment of Gossip Girl, "Salon of the Dead." "Dair" fanatics have waited in the sidelines for years, moaning the romantic choices of this supposedly meant-to-be couple. Well, this time it's finally happening: The Upper East Side's hottest new duo is planning a salon bash to re-enter society.
Watch below for more details on the sure-to-be-decadent affair (though the title brings cause for concern), including a brand new clip, a teaser, and a chat with the producers on what to expect from the elegant affair.
According to Josh Safran and co., Dair's frantic party planning won't bring the only drama stirring on this season's 20th episode: Gossip Girl herself may come to blows with Lola, while Lily and Rufus deal with some serious marital woes. See the clips below:
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Halloween has passed, but Gossip Girl has yet to experience its most horrifying moment this season: the return of Georgina Sparks, played to wicked perfection by Michelle Trachtenberg. The most recent Sparks developments saw her skipping town after leaving Dan (Penn Badgley) with the son that, at the time, he believed was his. The diabolical manipulator of the Upper East Side will return once more on the series' 100th episode, to air sometime in early 2012. Sparks' return to Gossip Girl will mark an expectedly heavy sum of trouble for all in her path. Gossip Girl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW. -TVLine
Back when Kathy Lee Gifford left Regis Philbin as the lone Live! host, a series of guest hosts were invited onto the show until the producers chose a permanent replacement. Now that Philbin is leaving his seat, producers are bringing back that practice. The first guest host to sit beside Kelly Ripa on Live! will be Jerry Seinfeld. Over the past twelve years, Seinfeld has only been marginally busy: starring in the animated Bee Movie, co-creating and co-hosting the short-lived The Marriage Ref, and making guest appearances on Curb Your Enthusiasm, among a couple of other projects. Although Seinfeld is only slated for a guest hosting gig, he's certainly got the star power and the affability to take on a daytime talk show. Philbin's last episode will be Nov. 18. Seinfeld will guest host from Monday, Nov. 21 to Wednesday, Nov. 23. -AOLtv
Person of Interest has been flourishing in terms of guest casting. First, we got Linda Cardellini. Then, Breaking Bad's David Costabile. And last week, character acting legend Dan Hedaya. The newest entree to this amazing lineup is Bridget Regan, star of Legend of the Seeker. Regan will play a Brooklynite hairdresser who finds her way into the lives of John Reese (Jim Caviezel), Mr. Finch (Michael Emerson), and their omnipotent machine. Person of Interest airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. -TVLine
With the news that Elizabeth Hurley, a.k.a. eternal mega babe, will be joining Gossip Girl for a multi-episode story arc, we're just a little excited. This is just the kind of jumpstart the Manhattan socialites of the CW soap need. But it's not a new concept; we've watched other stars breathe a bit of new life into the show time and time again, and those times were good. To welcome Ms. Hurley to the GG family, here are a few of our other favorite Gossip Girl guests.
Gossip Girl alter ego: Olivia Burke the famous actress, NYU student, Dan's one-time girlfriend and threesome instigator.
Alright, this little stunt probably wasn't that great for her career, because while Duff played an amplified version of herself on the soap, she also attached two memorable (not to mention controversial) Gossip Girl moments to her resume. I don't know about you, but I know think of her as the girl that introduced Dan and Vanessa to threesomes and the girl who fakes a vampire orgasm is some two-bit Twilight ripoff that her character is famous for.
Gossip Girl alter ego: Ursula Nyquist, crazy person and costar to Olivia Burke.
Tyra is hands down my favorite guest star on Gossip Girl, ever. Why? Because she's simultaneously completely nuts and a total cheeseball. Her character flips between mental breakdown and unstoppable elation at every turn, plus her delivery hasn't changed since she made that 90s movie where she plays a Barbie come to life. Who better to play opposite Hilary Duff's terrible French accent in the preposterous movie at the center of Tyra's guest spot?
Gossip Girl alter ego: Cyrus Rose, the best stepdad Blair Waldorf could ever hope for.
I'm still not sure Shawn decided to take on a character on GG, but I'm glad he did. In this role that rears its head whenever Blair most needs him, Shawn is a refreshing, adorable father figure who may be shorter than every single person on set, but makes up for it by being the most genuine person on the show.
Gossip Girl alter ego: Georgina Sparks a.k.a. TROUBLE.
The ultimate celeb guest star -- though she never seems to really go away -- is a girl many of us knew as Buffy's little sister. Michelle Trachtenberg has always been great at stirring the pot, and no one is a better pot stirrer than her GG alter ego Georgina Sparks. Whether she's exposing Serena's unsavory past and stealing her boyfriend or coming back from Christian camp with a sudden new, albeit terrifying, lease on life, Georgina's a welcome pain on the CW series.
Gossip Girl alter ego: Lady Gaga, because if it ain't broke don't fix it.
Alright, so she really didn't participate much in her guest spot. Everyone else plays a character, everyone else contributes to the story, blah blah blah. Gaga, as an NYU alum, gives a killer private performance and help Blair win over the artsy NYU brats -- I'd say that's pretty darn significant. Plus, look at this incredible performance. (It's cheesy, but your argument is still invalid.)
Take Me Home Tonight directed by Michael Dowse is a comedy about the ‘80s but its futility is timeless: In just about any decade it would be considered generic and unfunny. Set in 1988 it stars the likable and witty Topher Grace as Matt a recent MIT grad with a crippling case of post-college career-indecision. Working as a lowly clerk at a video store he has a chance encounter with his high-school crush Tori (Teresa Palmer) who to his (and our) surprise actually displays faint interest in him. But Matt fails to pull the trigger and so he resolves to make up for his lack of cojones when he sees her later that evening at a party hosted by the preppy douchebag boyfriend (Chris Pratt) of his twin sister Wendy (Anna Faris).
This sets the stage for an eventual romantic union between Matt and Tori; until then there is insecurity to overcome and wacky adventures to be had. Many of the latter stem from the increasingly unhinged behavior of Matt’s best friend Barry (Dan Fogler). The film turns on a bag of cocaine Barry finds in the glove compartment of a Mercedes stolen from the dealership that fired him earlier in the day. Cocaine is renowned for its ability to induce euphoria in even the most mundane of settings but it has arguably the opposite effect on Take Me Home Tonight. I consider Fogler to be a legitimately funny guy but he has the irritating tendency to compensate for underwritten material by wildly overacting. Throw in a bag of blow and that tendency is amplified ten-fold.
A happy standout in the film is Palmer who brings a liveliness and dignity to the stereotypical rom-com role of the Otherworldly Hottie Who Inexplicably Falls for the Stammering Schlub. (It also helps that she's the only member of the main cast who is young enough to realistically portray a recent college graduate.) She is one of the more talented young Australian exports to arrive on our shores in quite some time and has the potential to become a saucier version of fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman. That is if she finds material better than Take Me Home Tonight.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Proving that everything “old” can be new again 17 Again opens in 1989 where star basketball player Mike O’Donnell turns his back on a college scholarship deciding instead to marry his girlfriend Scarlet when she reveals they are suddenly expecting a baby. Cut to 20 years later Mike’s marriage and job are floundering when he is physically transformed back into his 17-year-old self although his mind and sensibilities still remain that of a decidedly square thirtysomething dude. With the help of his nerdy-turned-billionaire best childhood buddy Ned he gets himself enrolled in the same school his own teenage kids now attend. Can he help them avert the same kinds of mistakes now that he (sorta) has a second chance to change?
WHO’S IN IT?
Zac Efron (High School Musical) shoots and scores in a breakout starring role. He shows he’s got the comic chops to believably pull off the way-out-there premise of being a 37-year-old trapped in a 17-year-old’s body. Matthew Perry (Friends) does a nice job bookending the movie as the older Mike but it’s Efron’s show all the way. Thomas Lennon follows up his hilarious supporting antics as the spurned man-date in I Love You Man with some equally amusing work as Mike’s friend Ned while Leslie Mann plays the estranged wife in style. As Mike’s kids who unknowingly become high school buds with their own father newcomer Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg get enough screen time to shine. Melora Hardin (The Office) is also quite funny as the school principal that lovelorn Ned keeps stalking.
Although the premise of the adult/kid switcheroo has been done to death director Burr Steers and writer Jason Filardi take it one step further a la It's a Wonderful Life or Damn Yankees by letting their main character regain his youth for the chance to see what his life would be like if he could live it another way. This fanciful premise makes this “teen” comedy one that adults will probably enjoy even more.
The filmmakers sometimes have a tendency to go over the top particularly in the "Star Wars fight sequence" when the newly transformed Mike confronts old friend Ned with the news and a laser battle erupts (!). Another scene where 17-year-old Mike is seduced by his own unwitting daughter may be funny but it veers a little too far into creepy territory.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
If you like 17 Again try renting 18 Again in which 81-year-old George Burns switches places with his grandson. Or how about Big Vice Versa Like Father Like Son or either version of Freaky Friday? And who said there are no original ideas in Hollywood ...
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
A no-brainer — the "Zac Pack" will be out in force on opening day.