IndieFile lists new independent films on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, from comedy to horror to short film, as well as news from Cannes, Sundance and other film festivals, interviews and other indie movie news.
Oh no they didn’t: Troll 2 is coming to Blu-ray Oct. 5 (prebook Sept. 8) from Fox/MGM (BD/DVD combo pack $19.99, DVD $14.99).
Generally considered one of the worst movies ever made (No. 64 on IMDb’s bottom 100 movies), generating its own documentary (Best Worst Movie, directed by its own star, Michael Stephenson), it is nonetheless beloved for such lines as “they’re eating her…then they’re gonna eat me…oh my god!” (see below). The plot follows some nonsense about a family vacation to the land of Nilbog (which spells “goblin” backwards) where young Joshua (Stephenson) must save his family from man-eating goblins (don’t ask what happened to the trolls; also, this movie has nothing to do with, and is unconnected to, the original Troll).
More fun facts, courtesy of Wikipedia: The movie’s bad goblin costumes were designed by cult erotic actress Laura Gemser, and after a screening of Troll 2 in Morgan, Utah, where the movie was filmed, the director was presented with a key to the city. Celebrate 20 years of this trash classic and preorder it today, along with Best Worst Movie, which streets Nov. 16 from New Video ($19.95).
The Runaways Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart
Floria Sigismondi has gone from directing some of the most striking (and disturbing) music videos of the ’90s (if you don’t suffer from nightmares, Marilyn Manson’s stop-motion “The Beautiful People” is a waking one) to directing two of the biggest young stars in the world — the “Twilight” saga’s Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning — in The Runaways.
The film, which hits DVD ($27.96) and Blu-ray Disc ($34.95) July 20 from Sony Pictures, is based on the story of the ’70s all-girl teenage punk band of the same name that in four short years together helped set an example for rockers of both genders to follow, in addition to launching successful solo careers for band members Joan Jett (played by Stewart) and Lita Ford. But their story is marred by the typical trappings that have crushed so many artists before and since — drug abuse, interband issues (Stewart and Fanning, who plays singer Cherie Currie, share a kiss in the film) and a domineering manager (Kim Fowley, played by Michael Shannon) who takes advantage of the girls’ youth and beauty.
The film’s DVD and Blu-ray include a commentary with Jett, Fanning and Stewart, as well as a making-of featurette. Sigismondi spoke to us about recreating the story of the Runaways.
HM: Coincidentally, I heard The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” in the car yesterday, and I was wondering what was more important to you in making this film, getting the details correct or the energy?
Sigismondi: I think both. We'd done some live performances (Stewart and Fanning perform in the film), and I really wanted to capture the energy they had onstage. For me it was more important to get the dynamics between Cherie and Joan, and their relationship with Kim.
HM: Can you talk a little bit about the special features on the DVD? How did the girls respond to having one of the real-life inspirations for the film, Joan Jett, around? (Jett was an executive producer of the film.)
Sigismondi: She was pretty quiet, she observed a lot. It really kind of helped Kristen. We didn't have a lot of tech time, so they didn't have a lot of time to spend together beforehand. All that time she spent on set, I think that Kristen gobbled it up, really became a sponge and got her mannerisms because of the time she spent on set. It was Joan Jett now and not Joan Jett when she was 15, but [Stewart got] her attitude. I think [Stewart] really did a great job in getting the swagger down, she holds her body in a very particular way. All that physicality really helps.
HM: Have you experienced a lot of interest for the DVD of this film as its being released around the same time as Eclipse?
Sigismondi: I don't think anybody knew it was in theaters, is the bigger problem. I think maybe, I think there's always the chance to talk about it. I hear it. I don't have a television, but I've heard they've been talking about The Runaways along with Eclipse, and I think that both girls are proud of what they did.
HM: Do you think young Twilighters who may be drawn to this film could learn something from it?
Sigismondi: It’s a different time. Hopefully what it does is inspire girls to follow their dreams. Joan's story is very much that she just keeps on doing what she's meant to do. It's a little bit different than what here initial dream was, to go forth with an all-girl band, and she's still rocking out today. I think that's quite a heroic thing to do, to keep on going. With any pioneer, there's always conflict, and the ones that win are the ones who keep on going. And for Cherie's side, she's really trying to find herself, kind of bouncing around, trying to figure that out.
HM: What were some of your filmic inspirations for this movie?
Sigismondi: I looked at Christiane F. (based on the true story of a teenage girl’s introduction into the drug-laced underworld of 1970s Berlin, released on DVD in 2001 by Image). That film just had a reality I wanted to inject into this, a texture and attention to details. Although it's a different film, I loved Sid and Nancy. I watched anything from Klute to Straw Dogs, the whole ’70s thing.
HM: One movie I was reminded of was Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains. Did you consider that an inspiration at all?
Sigismondi: I have such a bad copy of it. It's on VHS, and half of it is all smeared. But I did like it, and I guess the similarities are kind of girls rocking out and doing their thing and guys giving them a hard time, but it's not one of the films I was really drawn to — maybe just because of my bad VHS copy!
HM: What did you bring from your music video experience to making this film?
Sigismondi: Because I've worked with musicians most of my life, it was very important to have the girls look very authentic on stage and having the girls singe their own songs. For me it was getting the girls to feel like musicians.
HM: Being a music-oriented film, do you think The Runaways benefits from being on Blu-ray?
Sigismondi: Yes. I did a transfer for theaters and a separate transfer for the DVD [and Blu-ray Disc]. I really had the time to experiment when I got there, I knew what I wanted to do. Hopefully the Blu-ray will capture the quality I saw in that transfer.
Oren Moverman doesn’t aim to convince viewers of one particular thing with his film The Messenger (on DVD/Blu-ray May 18 from Oscilloscope Laboratories), which tells the story of two soldiers who notify next of kin that their family member has died in battle.
“I think that people come into the film with certain kinds of biases and maybe walk out with certain biases enhanced and others changed,” Moverman says of the film, which he says has seen support both from left-wing anti-war activists and the U.S. Army itself, which approved the film and allowed a colonel to be a technical advisor on the film, helping gain access to military bases and learning the language of the military.
“It didn’t interfere with the creative process,” Moverman said. “It really kind of saved the day a lot of times.”
The $29.99 DVD and $34.99 Blu-ray Disc contain a short film called “Notification,” a companion piece to the film directed by late filmmaker Joe Kelly, in which real Casualty Notification service members are interviewed.
“When I saw [“Notification”], knowing that it was going to be on the DVD, I almost thought, as emotional as The Messenger is, there’s something about seeing the real people and listening to them … that is, in a way, more emotional than the film itself,” Moverman said.
The DVD and Blu-ray also will include a commentary with Moverman, stars Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson, and producer Lawrence Inglee; behind-the-scenes footage; and a Q&A with the cast and crew. What the releases will not contain are deleted scenes.
“I do have to say the film is the cut that I wanted and the cut we all felt strongest of,” Moverman said of the half an hour or so of scenes that were cut from the film for aesthetic reasons and for time. (The film, as it stands, is nearly two hours.)
Moverman says he has not yet seen The Messenger on Blu-ray but that extensive, subtle sound-work was done on the film that could be greatly enhanced by high-definition.
“The thing that’s exciting to me about [the DVD and Blu-ray release] is there’s a whole new audience exposed to the film, and it if it’s on Blu-ray, this kind of technology is giving them a more enhanced experience,” Moverman said.
Indeed, The Messenger made just more than $1 million at the U.S. box office, but with Oscar nominations both for Moverman (best original screenplay) and Harrelson (best supporting actor), the filmmaker said the film has gotten much more attention that it would have normally. He hopes with the film’s DVD/Blu-ray release, more people will see the film and draw their own conclusions about the film’s message.
“I think what [the film] does is present [its subject] as objectively as possible,” Moverman says. “What that does is open debate.”
“I think a big thing in The Messenger is this question we kept asking ourselves, ‘how do you get through life, knowing there’s grief and hardships, how do you go on living?’ The answer is through the simplest thing — love, friendship, humor and finding things in other people that make their lives better.”
Terry Gilliam on the set
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a delirious dream ride, with Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) at the helm. Gilliam spoke with me and other journalists about, among other things, where he comes up with his ideas ("little elves," he says), how he brings them to life without a mammoth budget and what he thinks about 3D.
“I don’t think technology changes or saves anything,” Gilliam said. “3D is interesting, but you’re going to need more money to make a film. And if you need more money to make your film, you’re going to be limiting what you can say and do because that’s just the way it works. The more money, the more you’re constricted in what you say. You’re not out there to disturb people when you’re playing with $200 million dollars, you’re there to reassure them, stroke them, ‘ahhh, come back to my world, it’s going to be like you’ve seen before.’”
Take that, Avatar!
Read the whole story here.
Whatever you think of I Spit on Your Grave, a remake coming to DVD and Blu-ray in the first quarter of 2011, from Anchor Bay Entertainment, following a Halloween theatrical release in 2010.
CineTel Films is remaking the cult film, which has been reviled and reexamined since its release in 1978. The reasons for its controversial nature aren’t hard to grasp — the film features an extended gang rape scene, which is then followed by the victim exacting revenge upon her attackers over the course of the film. Detractors include Roger Ebert. But it’s easy to see echoes of the film’s themes of feminist revenge (Meir Zarchi’s original title for the film was Day of the Woman), in celebrated films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (I have no clue what Mr. Tarantino thinks of I Spit on Your Grave, but my guess is the “Grindhouse” director doesn’t agree with the thumbs-down guy).
According to bloody-disgusting.com, the film will be directed by Steven R. Monroe and stars new face Sarah Butler.