Danny Boyle’s ‘Trance’: The First Masterpiece Of Dubstep Cinema

No wait, come back. I’m totally serious about this. Yesterday afternoon, as I sat in the watching Danny Boyle’s Trance with my wife and three other young men sitting alone throughout the enormous theatre, I was immensely enjoying myself, but also struggling to characterize the film. By the third act, I had it: yes, 2013 marks the moment when the dubstep cinema movement began. 

Oh sure, you could call the movie a sci-fi mind-bender—or even an improvement on the dead-eyed Inception—and much of the soundtrack is in fact composed of a more gentle sort of electronica. But there was something curious about the way writers Joe Ahearne and John Hodge came at its central psychological mystery. While many films of this stripe allow the viewer to piece a puzzle together, Trance is more interested in drawing you deeper and deeper down into the addled subconscious until we’re face to face with raw identity.

In other words, it’s always keeping you entirely off-balance by pulling the rug out, not unlike dubstep, with shifting alliances and motivations galore. Its color scheme is black and bled-out neon, with flecks of English rain blurring everything—pretty much what you visualize when you listen to anything by Clubroot. And Rosario Dawson gives a knockout, kickass performance as the otherworldly voice at the vortex of this turbocharged nightmarescape. That’s Burial all over:
 
 
Can we look forward to more dubstep movies in the future? I hope so, because I’m a little weary of the indie-pop ones.
 

Watch James McAvoy Get Smutty in the Trailer for the Adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s ‘Filth’

For James McAvoy, after working with the iconic Danny Boyle on Trance, the natural progression would of course be to move swiftly along to a film adapted from a novel by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh. And although he’s been starring in film, television, and on stage for quite a while, it’s only now that it seems McAvoy is really hitting his stride. Personally, I end to favor a more obscene and dangerous version of the Scotsman, which we got a taste of in Trance, but with Jon S. Baird’s new film Filth—based on Welsh’s novel—we get to see the newly bearded and blood-shot actor rough it up and get extremely dirty. 

And with the NSFW red band trailer out today, we watch McAvoy as a crooked, drug-addicted, bipolar, sex-crazed cop who tries to gain a promotion by solving a murder. Rounding out the cast is Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, Martin Compston, and Eddie Marsan in the film from the director of 2008’s Cass. Oh, and if you weren’t sold, Clint Mansell has done the soundtrack for the film which, I assume might step away from some of the more refined, elegant scores of late and harken back to his schizophrenic and frantic older work a la Requiem for  Dream.

Check out the trailer and the powdery new poster below.

sd

From Dennis Hopper to Terrence Malick, Here Are the Films You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in NYC

I don’t know about you, but I fully intend on spending my weekend curled up with a box of Junior Mints in a darkened theatre. It’s been a long week thus far and with the myriad premieres and screenings going on over the new few days, you really have no excuse to not get yourself into a cinema. From Antonio Campos and Shane Carruth’s stunning sophomore efforts to Terrence Malick’s latest poem of emotions, to the wonder of Dennis Hopper and the debut of Darren Aronofsky, there’s a certainly a diverse mix of films to see. So to get you ready, I’ve compiled the best of what’s playing around the city this weekend—take a look and go buy yourself some candy and/or popcorn. Enjoy.

 

 

IFC Center

Simon Killer
Beyond the Hills
Gimme the Loot
Leviathan
Room 237
The We and the I
Upstream Color
2001: A Space Odyssey
House (Hausu)
The Shining

 

 

Landmark Sunshine

Spice World (in 35mm!)
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Sapphires
Stoker
My Brother the Devil

 

Nitehawk Cinema

Easy Rider
Room 237
Spring Breakers
Inside
Pat Garrett and Billy
Bad News Bears

 

 

Film Society Lincoln Center

Room 237
From Up on Poppy Hill
No Place on Earth
Stones in the Sun
Death for Sale
Toussaint
My Fair Lady

 

 

 

Museum of the Moving Image

To the Wonder
The Face You Deserve
The Headless Woman
Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait

 

 

BAM

Somebody Up There Likes Me
Castle in the Sky
My Neighbor Totoro
Princess Mononoke
Renoir

 

 

Angelika Film center

Trance
No
Blancanieves
No Place on Earth

 

 

Village West Cinema

On the Road
6 Souls
Lotus Eaters
Starbuck
Ginger & Rosa

 

 

MoMA

Pi
Amateur
Me You and Everyone We Know
Laws of Gravity
Viktor und Viktoria
Winter’s Bone

From Lynch to Polanski: Looking Back on Some of the Best Psychological Dramas

When it comes to my favorite films, psychological dramas have always attracted and enticed me the most. I tend to fall in love with films that focus on the interior and psyche of their subjects and filled with the unstable and troubled emotional states of their characters. Usually merged with thriller, horror, mystery, or crime, this genre of dramas tells subjective stories through an objective lens, allowing the viewer to have a necessary distance from the obscurity of the character’s world while penetrating their mental landscape.

Dealing with issues of distorted realities, questions of identity, and the link between sex and death, these films tend to be visually rich, using a cinematic sleight of hand to bring the audience into a character’s frame of mind in a way that’s visceral, sensual, and disturbing. And this week, we’ll see the release of Danny Boyle’s hypnotic Trance, Shane Carruth’s confounding Upstream Color, and Antonio Campos’ haunting Simon Killer. To celebrate these psychological drama, here’s a handful of their iconic predecessors. From David Lynch’s ravishing masterpiece Mulholland Drive to Darren Aronofsky’s dizzying Black Swan, here are some of our favorites. Enjoy.

Mulholland Drive, David Lynch

Fight Club, David Fincher

Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley Kubrick

Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky

Persona, Ingmar Bergman

Lost Highway, David Lynch

Straw Dogs, Sam Peckinpah

Three Colors: Red, Krzysztof Kieslowski

Crash, David Cronenberg

Blue Velvet, David Lynch

The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci

Satan’s Brew, Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Autumn Sonata, Ingmar Berman

Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese

Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky

Spellbound, Alfred Hitchcock

Memento, Christopher Nolan

Repulsion, Roman Polanski

From Rian Johnson to John Waters, Your Favorite Directors on the Films That Changed Their Lives

There’s always one film that lives inside the hearts of the cinematically minded—the one that opened their eyes, shook their world, and made them keen to the emotional, social, psychological, and physical possibilities that a movie can hold. For me, that was seeing David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive for the first time. I remember feeling as if someone had hit me over the head with a frying pan, awakening something in me that I never knew existed. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life and remains a personal touchstone—a piece of cinema with which I have the most intimate relationship.

In  The Film That Changed My Life, Robert K. Elder interviews 30 directors on their "epiphanies in the dark." After spending a lot of time recently thinking about the way in which my tastes have changed but what will always stay the same, I wanted to share some highlights from Elder’s book, that gives insight into some of the most acclaimed and brilliant filmmakers today, as they reveal the movies that ignited something in them and made them want to make films of their own.

So here are some of your favorite directors on the films that moved them the most—enjoy.

Edgar Wright: John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London

"I’ve always been fascinated by horror films and genre films. And horror films harbored a fascination for me and always have been something I’ve wanted to watch and wanted to make. Equally, I’m very fascinated by comedy. I suppose the reason that this film changed my life is that very early on in my film-watching experiences, I saw a film that was so sophisticated in its tone and what it managed to achieve.

It really changed my life. It’s informed both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. There have been moments of verbal comedy, physical comedy, and tonal comedy. And extreme violence, somehow. Something like AN American Werewolf in London, the idea of having this mix of socially awkward comedy prided by incredibly vivd Oscar-winning horror, was just astonishing—is really astonishing. Horror films never get considered for Academy Awards; it’s incredible that An American Werewolf in London won the first ever makeup Oscar."

Rian Johnson: Woody Allen’s Annie Hall

"It’s magical to me. To this day, I can watch the film and try to analyze it and try to figure out how this little movie works, and it’s almost impossible. I end up getting lost. For me, watching this film is like a kid watching a magic trick.

I’d put it up there with 8 1/2 in terms of a film that personally redefined for me what film was capable of. This was one of the first films I saw that played with form in a brave way, and it paid off.

If anything it has grown in stature in my mind. What it achieved has become even more remarkable. I hate the tendency to say, "Films today don’t do what they used to," because that’s bullshit. In any generation, people are reticent to take the risks that this film does. One thing I’ll say about today versus back then, the idea of taking risks that this film took is frightening because there is less tolerance on the part of audiences today. I’m emotionally affected by it each time I see it. I appreciate what it pulled off."

Danny Boyle: Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now

"My relationship with it, and my relationship wit most films that I love, is not really an intellectual one at all. It’s a passionate, visceral, emotional, one and in a funny kind of way I learned to value and appreciate that more as I go on really, rather than try to ever understand the films.

it’s obviously made at the Everest of megalomania, the absolute peak of, ‘I can do nothing wrong, and I must just push myself.’ And that’s, of course, one of the things celebrated in the film. You do see a film made at the absolute edge of sanity, really. In terms of the indulgence that movies can induce in people. But there’s a great side to it as well because it is his ambition and its about bigness, and I think that’s something we have lost. We now watch big films in terms of impacts and scale. I’m sure we’ll get it back, hopefully. But we really lost big films, these slightly overwhelming, overly ambitious big films. We’ve lost them, for whatever reason: confidence, marketing, whatever other factors you build into it. We do see to have lost that ambitiousness, I think."

Richard Kelly: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil

"I think the greatest thing I learned from Terry is that every frame is worthy of attention to detail. Every frame is worthy of being frozen in time and then thrown on a wall like an oil painting, and if you work hard on every frame, the meaning of your film because deeper, more enhanced. New meaning emerges in your story because of your attention to detail. It is also developing a visual style that is your own, that is hopefully unlike anything that has been done before.

I think Terry has one of the most pronounced, specific visual styles of any filmmaker. He gave me something to aspire to as a visual artist but also as a storyteller, as one who aspires to be a social satirist.

In this film, what Terry was doing—the level of detail, the complexity, the overwhelmingness of it all—I guess it challenged me. I guess that’s how I’ve always been. Maybe I just saw part of myself there."

John Waters: Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz

"Girl leaves a drab farm, becomes a fag hag, mets gay lions and men that don’t try to molest her, and meets a witch, kills her. And unfortunately, by a surreal act of fetishism—clicks her shoes together and is back to where she belongs. It has an unhappy ending.

When they throw the water on the witch, she says, ‘Who would have thought good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?’ That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep like a prayer.

I was always lookin’ for something that other people didn’t like, or people were frightened of, or didn’t care for. I was always drawn to forbidden subject matter in the very, very beginning. The Wizard of Oz opened me up because it was one of the first movies I ever saw. It opened me up to villainy, to screenwriting, to costumes. And great dialogue. "

Richard Linklater: Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull

"The film pulled me in so dark and deep. It was the boldness of the movie. in the era of feel-good movies, touchy feel stuff was all over the place, and man, this movie was unafraid. It was so brave to depict such a flawed, unlikable, scary guy.

It made me see movies as a potential outlet for what I was thinking about and hoping to express. At that point I was an unformed artist. At that moment, something was simmering in me, but Raging Bull brought it to a boil.

I remember telling people, some of my buddies, ‘Oh you gotta go see this movie,’ and they’re like, ‘Uh, yeah. Maybe.’ And even that girl I went with, we broke up shortly thereafter because she said it was boring. I was so mad. I’d had, like, this huge experience, and she walked out and goes, ‘Eh, it was kind of boring.’ I was like, ‘Who am I with? This is crazy!’ That was the end of that. A guy wants his girlfriend to at least appreciate that part of him. It’s every guy’s fantasy to have a girl who, if she doesn’t think that those films are great, at least can see why you like them, and tolerate it."

Looking Back on Some of the Best Sophomore Efforts in Cinema

This spring, we’ll see sophomore film debuts from myriad directors whose first features set the hooks in our film fancies and intrigued us as to what they would have up their sleeves next. For some, it’s taken half a decade or more for their second films to come to fruition and for others their successful first features carved the path for a speedy and welcome return. Between Shane Carruth’s shockingly brilliant Upstream Color, Antonio Campos’ hauntingly visceral Simon Killer, Zal Batmanglij’s audacious thriller The East, and a handful more, there are plenty of new films to look forward to from directors to get excited about. However, the second film is tricky territory.

Although a director’s third film may truly establish a particular autueristic style or cinematic language, the second illuminates their voice, allowing us to better gauge whether their first feature was nothing more than a one-off stroke of genius or a one-off misstep. I can say with confidence that the sophomore films debuting in the coming months—those that I have seen, anyway—more than live up to my expectations and it’s thrilled me to become infatuated with filmmakers on the cusp of something great. For even some of the most acclaimed and interesting directors haven’t always had the greatest sophomore efforts—there’s no definitive parallel necessarily. But for some, it’s their second film that established them in Hollywood as someone to watch and someone to admire, paving the way for a long career ahead. In honor of these fascinating new directors with films premiering soon, here’s a look at some of the best sophomore efforts in the history of cinema.

Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby

First film: The Landlord, Third Film: The Last Detail 

Days of Heaven, Terrence Malick

First Film: Badlands, Third Film: The Thin Red Line

Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson

First Film: Hard Eight, Third Film: Magnolia

Klute, Alan J. Pakula

First Film: The Sterile Cuckoo, Third Film: Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing

The Last Picture Show, Peter Bogdanovich

First Film: Targets, Third Film: What’s Up, Doc?

Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino

First Film: Reservoir Dogs, Third Film: Jackie Brown

A Woman is a Woman, Jean-Luc Godard

First Film: Breathless, Third Film: Vivre Sa Vie

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Michael Gondry

First Film: Human Nature, Third Film: The Science of Sleep

Se7en, David Fincher

First Film: Alien 3, Third Film: The Game

Trainspotting, Danny Boyle

First Film: Shallow Grave, Third Film: A Life Less Ordinary

Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola

First Film: The Virgin Suicides, Third Film: Marie Antoinette

Five Easy Pieces, Bob Rafelson

First Film: Head, Third Film: The King of Marvin Gardens

Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater

First Film: Slacker, Third Film: Before Sunrise

Safe, Todd Haynes

First Film: Poison, Third Fim: Velvet Goldmine

The Deer Hunter, Michael Cimino

First Film: Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Third Film: Heaven’s Gate

The Graduate, Mike Nichols

First Film: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Third Film: Catch-22

Alien, Ridley Scott

First Film: Duellists, Third Film: Blade Runner

Harmony Korine Goes on Reddit for an AMA, Entertainment Ensues

Recently, we’ve seen Trent Reznor and Danny Boyle hit up Reddit’s AMA—Ask Me Anything—to promote their upcoming projects. And of course, today Harmony Korine took to the site to answer the internet’s pressing questions about Spring Breakers, to which he scrambled to answer in the nonsensical yet bizarrely insightful way only he can. Naturally, some people were simply concerned about the amount of "titties" in the film, whereas other had a bit more poignant questions but overall this was just entertaining. Take a look at some of the highlights below and HERE for the entire AMA.

Good afternoon. I just wanted to say that the film, Kids, was great and taught me a lot about the dangers of unprotected sex. Thank you!

yor welcome herpes

What movies does your daughter like? Have you introduced her to Herzog and Fassbinder yet?

shes only 4. shes feeding her baby a strwberry now

Are you (or the studio) concerned about how the media & "Disney Moms" (parents of kids who love the actors in Spring Break) will respond to the movie?

i think disney moms will love it.

What is the point you are getting across in this film? What will society gain from this?

yes it will thrive because of this

What was the most insane thing Gucci said to you while on set?

my wrists sparkle like lemmmons

Are we going to see lots of titties in the movie?

of course. thats what lifes about.

Tell us the funniest and craziest situation on the set.

i found a gay dude smoking menthols hidden in the floor boards of a motel

I read somewhere that "The Basketball Diaries" author Jim Carroll was present at your birth and cut your umbilical cord. Any truth to this?

yes this is true. he cut my cord. he was a great friend. i miss him dearly.

was there any reason for having such a strong emphasis placed on the social media campaigning for spring breakers?

it all becomes a sub narrative thread now. everything has been exploded. the film has tenticles everywhere. the movie exists in threads and shards

What has changed about the film/cinema industry since you got started?Do you think America even has an audience for cinema anymore? Do you know that your name is really fun to say?

cinema has changed. cinema is now a 30 second youtube clip. clear your mind. think of different now. make it bend to you. never use a walking stick, it looks doper to limp. catch my drift?

Did you have to talk Rachel into getting naked or was she happy to do it?

she was fine with it. its all about the film. not sure what people are still so hung up on when it comes to nudity.

Is Harmony short for Harmonica?

yo mommaica

was Spring Breakers at all influenced by Tree of Life?

miami vice

Hi Harmony. Is your movie "Twinkle, Twinkle" with Marlon Wayans still in the works?

i would really like to make that film sometime. its potentially full on comedy about guy who dresses up like human dollar bill to drum up biz for a mexican check cashing place

The crisp images in the trailer look pretty different than Trash Humpers and Gummo, and I understand at least Humpers was shot on VHS tape… did you shoot Spring Breakers digitally, or are you sticking to film?

film is good but i like all things. there is beauty in all shit.

Who is a director whose films you enjoy?

leos carax

Get Another Look Into the World of Danny Boyle’s ‘Trance’ With Three New Clips

Personally, if I am looking forward to a film—especially from someone that I love—and have been waiting in anticipation for months, I don’t understand why watching one-minute clips from pivotal moments in the film would in any way entice me. I want to be able to savor the experience of seeing the movie in its entirety for the first time with the element of surprise and thrill still intact. Often now it feels almost as though a trailer is telling me too much let alone a trailer, stills, posters, soundtracks, clips, etc. But alas, the one good thing about this push for promotion is that it does get people out to the theater and does intrigue those otherwise uninterested. I may say, No no no, just cool it, I don’t want to see one more for moment that will spoil Danny Boyle’s mind-melding masterpiece Trance. However, if you’ve never heard of the film and stumble upon these clips, you might just be take by it and fall down the rabbit hole of the mind into Boyle’s excitable story.

So with that said, here are three new clips from Trance, the hypnotic and sensory psychological art heist thriller from brilliant director Danny Boyle. In these, we see a bit more form Rosario Dawson as the hypnotherapist that’s hired to help James McAvoy’s character after he was injured and fell into a coma during an art heist and cannot remember where he has hidden a very, very expensive painting. But remember, with these moments, there is always more than meets the eye.

 

 

Peruse the Highlights of Danny Boyle’s Reddit AMA

If you’re not already excited for Danny Boyle’s Trance, you should be. As we said earlier in the week, this might be his most visceral film yet, a wonderful collaborator of sight and sound that works you into a dizzyingly hypnotic state of your own. And after last weekend’s SXSW conference and this week’s talk at 92YTribeca, Boyle took to Reddit this afternoon for an AMA—ask me anything—on his work as an iconic filmmaker and speaking to Trance specifically.

Eager fanboys rushed to get their questions in as Boyle scrambled to answer diligently. As to be expected, the queries were a mixed bag—such as one person asking, "Would you rather fight 100 Duck sized Ewan McGregor’s or one Ewan McGregor sized Duck?" To which Boyle responded appropriately (and accurately), "It’s a pleasure working with any Ewan McGregor manifestation." However, others were thoughtful and generally people were just grateful to be able to ask someone so fanatically beloved an inquery of their own. And no, this time there wasn’t a "gofuckyourself@youcunt.com" answer a la Trent Reznor. Here are some of the highlights and best Boyle answers.

When asked about the music he was listening to whilst developing Trance

Bowie, the Low album. Unkle. And Underworld. Fortunately, Rick Smith from Underworld did the whole score for Trance and managed to incorporate these influences and more.

How the commercial/critical success of Slumdog Millionare and 127 Hours has affected his ability to make future films:

They’ve given freedom to pursue the stories I really want to tell. I try and keep the budgets low as well, which helps. There’s no way any studio would make a film about a guy who’s alone for 6 days and then cuts his arm off without the critical financial success of something like Slumdog behind it. So you have to take advantage of your success where you can.

On who/what has cinematically influenced him the most:

1. Apocalypse Now.

2. Nicholas Roeg movies from Performance to Eureka. The Roeg films are a big influence on Trance. None of these films are perfect but they’re interested in something much more interesting than perfection, the mystery of film…

(^^^I agree, Danny!)

When asked about his affinity for genres and where he’s going next:

I’m open to most genres. I like to play around with genre though…28 Days later was a Zombie Movie with no Zombies in it in my opinion; Slumdog was a Fairy Tale in genre terms but there are moments of real darkness in it; 127 Hours was an Action Movie about a guy who couldn’t move… Trance is supposed to be a heist movie or an amnesia movie, or a femme fatale movie. but it’s all of those things and none of those things really. the genre hooks are macguffins that give us a route into exploring ideas about perception, reality and madness.

On what it takes to be a successful filmmaker:

I think passion is as important as intelligence. you need to convince so many people to join you in the making of the film, and you need to use the power they give you to connect with your audience emotionally. Obviously you don’t want to do stupid things, but whatever you do, you should believe passionately, and your audience will experience that as well.

And for those of you that loved The Beach, sorry but if Boyle could go back in time and direct any movie it would be: 

The Beach. I would do it much better than the original guy.

Speaking to the dramamtic environments his films tend to be set in—slums, desolate urban spaces, Jams Franco stuck in a rock, etc.:

Yes, I’ve always been interested in the extremes of human experience. In the new film Trance, it’s not a physical landscape, it’s the interior of the mind, thought it’s manifested as a beautiful idyllic French landscape at one point, as a secret church where all the world’s stolen paintings are collected, and as a space where the character wreaks revenge on those he fears. It’s in extremis where you can reveal our true natures.

And, of course, where he keeps his Academy Award:

In a shoebox, under the bed. It’s very comfortable and best out of sight.

Trance opens in the UK on March 27th and has its limited release April 5th in the US.