Tag Archives: Monsters

2010 Staff Picks

Separate from our post on the Best of 2010, the Staff Picks below represent the films on our Top Ten lists, but were not on anyone else’s list here at The Filmsmith.  Continue reading

“Moon” director has new film

Duncan Jones directed the much-lauded sci-fi tale Moon and he already has a follow-up project starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Source Code.

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Fall Movie Preview: October

The Social Network: October 1

This is already well known as “the facebook movie;” having David Fincher (Fight Club) on board as director makes an inane premise promising.

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“Monsters” post-screening Q & A (no spoilers)

Director Gareth Edwards is to the right, actors Whitney Able and Skoot McNairy to the left.

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EIFF Roundup (pt 4)

*Puppet shenanigans bring hilarity in Jackboots on Whitehall

*Nuclear proliferation documentary Countdown to Zero irks and informs

*Monsters suddenly becomes a contender as one of my favorite films of all time (Fight Club and Children of Men, its challengers)

other news

Friday was a big deal given I got to see Monsters. If this doesn’t become one of the most talked about films this year, the world will gloss over an amazing piece of cinematic storytelling.

After the film, director Gareth Edwards and the lead actors, Skoot McNairy and Whitney Able, hung around the cinema’s bar to chat about the film.  I spent a fair bit of time sharing with Skoot how the film delivered to me.  When he was heading out with the rest of the staff from Vertigo Films (who produced Monsters) he invited me to tag along.  Suddenly I was glad I chose the button up shirt that morning.

We got to a club near Princes St. and planted ourselves in the VIP room with an open bar.  Considering the absence of food in my belly, I maintained a two drink maximum.  Now, I’m not really a bar guy.  I like to hang out talking one on one, or organize  an event with an activity at the center, keeping casual drinking on the periphery.  Considering all this, I didn’t know how long I would be staying.

But it couldn’t have been a better environment.  I got to meet people working in different areas at Vertigo (trailer creation, script development) and even though I was just a random guy invited along (I was frequently asked my place in the production), no one gave me the cold shoulder.  I actually had a good time.

Not to mention that despite the loud, festive atmosphere, I was able to talk with Skoot and Whitney about the film (among other things).  As a filmmaker and critic, there is a lot to praise in Monsters, most of it’s in subtle ways general audiences won’t recognize.  So as I was rolling out my thoughts to Skoot or Whitney, I’d feel like I was talking at them, but they’d quickly tell me how much the appreciate such specific feedback, not just “Oh, it was great.”

I know that when I screen a short film I’m itching for the same type of feedback: Did you notice this sound effect?  Did this twist hook you?  Specifically with films distributed at the international level, there is little room for interaction between actor and the audience receiving that performance.  So the lengthy ramblings of someone who knows the nuance and difficulty of filmmaking, but who has had no involvement with the production, counts for a lot.  I know I’d love it if someone wanted to point out all the things that I displayed well.

Plus, how often are we allotted the chance to explain how a work of art affected us to the artist her/himself?  It’s definitely a two-way street of appreciative barter: artist wants to communicate to the world and the audience wants to return the call.

Fear keeps us locked away from one another, blockading the beautiful connectedness between us all.  Thus, it was soothing to walk home toward the rising sun, away from the assorted conversations with Vertigo people, and especially with Whitney and Sckoot,  and only feel the buzzing aura of connected sincerity that make our lives worth living.

reviews to come

HIGH School, Winter’s Bone, Lucky

“Monsters” leaves audiences in shock and awe

When you start watching films for a living, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” becomes the haunting muzak filling the background of your consciousness.  Films quickly pile up in the mediocre category, with few hitting genius, or even atrocious levels.  When Monsters finished, however, I was covered with goose bumps and wanted nothing more than to sit quietly in the dark to mull it over. It is a film so powerful, fascinating and personal that it is a celluloid definition of why we go to the cinema.

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Edinburgh International Film Festival Schedule Released

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has just released their schedule for the 12 day long festival, which starts June 16 and ends June 27.  Tickets for the festival go on sale tomorrow at noon.

You can read through the digital brochure here or go to the film fest’s website here to look through their calendar.

Due to your readership, dear Film Fan, I have secured a Press Pass for the festival. This makes almost all of the screenings free. Without your readership, I would be spending over a 100 pounds trying to cover a fraction of the festival’s events. So thank you.

To honor your support, please look through the festival’s brochure and tell me what films you want reviewed  – or simply if I’ve overlooked a great film at the fest. I cannot promise I will be able to deliver all reviews given time restraints, but I will do my best.

There are an insane number of films being shown, so the following are the main titles I’m looking forward to seeing.

22 Bullets

“Jean Reno gets shot 22 times…and he’s not happy about it.”  Produced by Luc Besson (Unleashed, The Fifth Element) and starring our favorite hit man, this is high on my list.

BAFTA Scotland Interview: Sir Patrick Stewart

Who would pass up a chance to see Captain Picard?

Cigarette Girl

A dystopia in which smokers are separated from the rest of the city, it looks like a fun B-movie.

Get Low

Robert Duvall plays Felix Bush, an old timer who wants to have a funeral party – while he’s still alive.  Throw Bill Murray into this 1930’s period piece and I’m there.

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror

This will be a “audio horror movie,” using the cinema’s sound system to tell Lovecraft’s tale.


Documentary from Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound, Rocket Science) detailing the lives of lottery winners.  Given the greatness of Rocket Race and an NPR piece I heard discussing the making of the film, it should deliver the goods.


After contact with alien life has gone awry, the Mexican/U.S. border becomes “infected” territory.  Monsters received buzz at SXSW and has been compared to District 9.  Probably the film I’m most anticipating at the festival.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?

Directed by Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, that’s enough to watch.  Adding Michael Shannon (a little known actor who was phenomenal in Shotgun Stories), Michael Pena (Crash, The Shield), Chloe Sevigny, and Willem Dafoe is just icing to the cake.


Looking forward to this based solely on the reviews, tagging it as a UK horror that throws out the rules.


Described by the EIFF as a prison story that makes A Prophet “look like porridge.”

Red Hill

“This Western-style outback thriller is action cinema at its very best.”


“The Afghanistan war film that renders all others unnecessary.”  After being embedded for 15 months, the film is supposed to be an unflinching analysis of modern warfare, featuring civilian and military casualties.

The Last Rites of Ransom Pride

It’s 1910 and a young woman is hellbent on returning the body of outlaw Ransom Pride to Texas for a proper burial.  Described as a “dark, violent western” reminiscent of Tarantino, Pekinpah, and Sergio Leone, with cameos from Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Jason Preistly, and a shotgun wielding Peter Dinklage, it sounds like a good ride.

The People vs. George Lucas

I posted a blog piece about this that you can read here.  Super pumped for this one.

Toy Story 3

UK premiere of Pixar’s latest.

World’s Greatest Dad

Starring Robin Williams in a dark comedy/drama directed by Bobcat Goldthwait, it’s sure to be interesting given Williams abilities showcased in One Hour Photo and Death to Smoochy.

Other film of interest include: Act of Dishonour, And Everything is Going Fine, Au Revoir Taipei, Blank City, Boy, Caterpillar, Chase the Slut, Cherry Tree Lane, Crime Fighters, Evil in the Time of Heroes, Fog, Gravity, Henry of Navarre, HIGH School, Hotel Atlantico, Jackboots on Whitehall, Lucky Luke, Ollie Kepler’s Expanding Purple World, Perastroika, Police Adjective, Postales, Privelege, Putty Hill, Skeletons, Snowman’s Land, Son of Babylon, Soul Boy, The Dry Land, The Hunter, The Oath, The Red Machine, The Robber, The Sentimental Engine Slayer, Third Star, Two Eyes Staring, Vacation, and Went the Day Well?

There are still some costs to covering the film festival, so if you like the blog and can afford to support my work, donate below.  If you donate $10 or more, I will send you a DVD of my short films. One finds more value in their work when people are willing to pay for it.