BlackBook Exclusive: See the New Poster for Franck Khalfoun’s ‘Maniac’

Ever since its premiere at Cannes over a year ago, Franck Khalfoun’s blood-spattered POV slasher film Maniac has kept horror enthusiasts buzzing with anticipation for its US debut. And after multiple clips and trailers have been released, teasing us with the dark fetish pleasures of the Elijah Wood-led serial killer flick, the film will finally see its release on June 21st courtesy of IFC Midnight.

As the remake of Bill Lustig’s grimy 1980-set horror thriller of the same title, Khalfoun’s film transports the original to a dismal Los Angeles landscape, giving a modern spin to the gruesome tale of a homicidal loner with a twisted fixation with scalps. For those who only know him as Frodo from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Wood isn’t the first person you’d pin to the role of creepy murderer, but after taking on a series of dark characters as of late, he seems to be stepping into the bloody role just fine. 
 
With a pulsating and ominous soundtrack that recalls classic ’80s thrillers, exciting your nerves and upping your heart rate, the original score for Maniac is done to eerie perfection by French composer Rob. And today, we’re pleased to premiere the latest theatrical poster for the film, which was designed by Art Machine. Showing only half of Wood’s angular face, we get a clean taste of his demonic desire for scalps in against a neon-lit Los Angeles nightscape. 
 
Check out the new Maniac poster and the film’s official synopsis below:
Just when the streets seemed safe, a serial killer with a fetish for scalps is back and on the hunt.  Frank (Elijah Wood) is the withdrawn owner of a mannequin store, but his life changes when young artist Anna (Nora Arnezeder) appears asking for his help with her new exhibition.  As their friendship develops and Frank’s obsession escalates, it becomes clear that she has unleashed a long-repressed compulsion to stalk and kill.  A 21st century Jack the Ripper set in present day L.A., Franck Khalfoun’s MANIAC, produced by Alexandre Aja (THE HILLS HAVE EYES, HAUTE TENSION), and composed by Rob of the band "Phoenix", is a re-boot of the William Lustig cult film considered by many to be the most suspensseful slasher movie ever made – an intimate, visually daring, psychologically complex and projoundly horrific trip into the downward spiralling nightmare of a killer and his victims.
 
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Marc Maron Has a Lot of Very Funny People on His New Show

Marc Maron had a lot of very funny people on his other show, too, but that’s beside the point. The comedian and host of the popular WTF podcast has a new show coming up on IFC, and it appears to be a Louie-esque combination of his professional life (in this case, recording the podcast as opposed to standup) and a scripted narrative where he plays a character based on himself.

The comedy in Maron, for the most part, seems pretty relationship-based, focusing on his parents (Judd Hirsch of Ordinary People plays his dad), his girlfriend, played by Mad Men’s Nora Zehetner, who at one point asks him why he’s cool with her peeing on him but not okay with her making him banana bread (he doesn’t know either and Andy Kindler (Bob’s Burgers), who plays his friend. But with the podcast sections, the roster becomes even more stacked, with, from what we could tell, appearances from Denis Leary, Jeff Garlin, Ken Jeong, Aubrey Plaza and Adam Scott, and hopefully lots more funny people. Maron premieres on IFC on May 3rd, but in the meantime, see who else you can spot in the trailer below.

See New Stills From Antonio Campos’ Thrilling ‘Simon Killer’

Tonight, the IFC Center in Manhattan will host a screening of Antonio Campos’ debut feature Afterschool, with a Q&A to follow. And since the film’s 2008 release we’ve seen Campos step behind the camera, playing the role of producer along Josh Mond for fellow Borderline partner Sean Durkin’s Martha Macy May Marlene. But next month will see his directorial return with the psychosexual character study Simon Killer.

Starring the talented Brady Corbet, Campos’ sophomore effort is an hypnotic dance with destructive impulse and impassioned aggression, telling the tale of a post-collegiate young man who travels to Paris and falls in love with a prostitute. It’s a dark and penetrating film rich with color, texture, and tone that shows what a force the duo of Campos and Corbet truly are.

And today, on the heels of the announcement that Corbet will be starring alongside Benecio Del Toro in the Pablo Escobar drama Paradise Lost, we’ve got a batch of new stills from Simon Killer to get you excited for its premiere at IFC in April 5th. Take a second look at the trailer below and see the stills—preferably while listening to THIS.

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From Kubrick to Korine, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing Around New York This Weekend

In the coming weeks everything from Upstream Color and Room 237 to The Place Beyond the Pines and Simon Killer will finally see their theatrical release. But in the meantime, this weekend is so packed with incredible films screening all over the city, there is absolutely no reason not to try and indulge. There’s IFC’s massive Stanley Kubrick retrospective, showing all 13 of his feature films from The Killing to Eyes Wide Shut, Film Forum’s beautiful print of Heaven’s Gate, and many, many more. So if you’ve had a long and hellish week and need nothing more than to escape into a dark anonymous theatre and sink into a another world, this is the perfect time do so. And after all, what else are weekeends for? So to get you prepared for what’s in store, here’s a roundup of the best films playing throughout the city. Enjoy.

 

 

Musuem of the Moving Image

Trash Humpers
Viridiana
Fuses, with The Bed and Fly
Titicut Follies

 

 

Film Forum

Heaven’s Gate
M
Eden
The Gatekeepers
Young Frankenstein

 

 

IFC Center

A Clockwork Orange
2001: A Space Odyssey
Gimme the Loot
Killer’s Kiss
Leviathan
The Holy Mountain
The Shining
The We and the I
Top Gun
The Killing
Lolita
Eyes Wide Shut
Dr. Strangelove
Beyond the Hills

 

 

Landmark Sunshine

Citizen Kane
The Sahppires
Stoker
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Upside Down

 

 

Nitehawk Cinema

Streets of Fire
Spring Breakers
Freaks
Stoker

 

 

Film Society Lincoln Center

From Up on Poppy Hill
My Brother the Devil
Mon Oncle
ND/NF Shorts Program

BlackBook Exclusive: See the Latest Poster for Adam Leon’s ‘Gimme the Loot’

As one of the most beloved films to premiere on the festival circuit last year, Adam Leon’s Gimme the Loot won over audiences with its youthful charm and genuine tale of adventure and intimate friendship. In his feature-length directorial debut, Leon tells a fresh and energetic story of two young graffiti artists from the Bronx who embark on their own plan to tag the New York Mets’ Home Run Apple after being buffed by a rival crew in Queens. 

Using the streets of New York as his playground, Leon showcases the talents of non-professional actors to create a film that’s both authentic and nuanced, feeling right at home among our favorite tales of dynamic teenage life, in a style that’s direct and fun, harkening back to such masters of the territory as Richard Linklater. And after winning the Grand Jury prize at SXSW and becoming an official selection at Cannes, IFC will finally be giving the film its theatrical run starting today. 

And in our interview with Leon, he spoke to what sparked his interest in crafting this story, telling us:

I was very interested in that there were these kids I knew growing up and kids I was working with that are working class kids, they have these vivid lives, they come from tough neighborhoods and have in many ways, difficult challenging lives, but aren’t necessarily miserable people. So that’s the kids, for the most part—there were some others that were going through some deeper, deeper stuff—but there was a lot of kids that I knew that were just like that. So when the kids in Superbad steal booze it’s like, oh kids are kids, and they are and that’s great and that’s fun, or stealing a keg in Dazed and Confused, it’s the same thing. And I was like, why do kids in Dazed and Confused and Superbad get to have all the fun when there are kids in New York that do have tough lives but they still have fun?

And today, we’re pleased to share the latest poster for the film that echoes the spirited aspect of Leon’s film and plays like a welcome breath of fresh air on our screens.

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 You’re not going to want to miss this one—get your tickets now HERE.

Watch the First Official Trailer for Antonio Campos’ Haunting ‘Simon Killer’

The first time I saw Antonio Campos’ latest psychosexual character study Simon Killer, I was in a claustrophobic room alone. With no one around, the darkness of the space allowed for an immersive viewing that felt at once disorienting and pleasurable in its discomfort. The second time I saw the film, earlier this week at its Lincoln Center premiere, I was with a packed audience watching it on a large screening, experiencing Simon’s sociopathic, music-fueled, violent and sexual world with others—making for an entirely different experience. But this time, I found my fingers twitching, smiling with delight in moments that perhaps made me a little embarrassed to be getting so much enjoyment out of. Knowing the character’s arc and the outcome of the picture allowed me to be present for the ride all the more, engraining myself in certain moments rather than wondering just what would happen next.

Rich in tone, texture, color, and psychology, Campos’ first film in five years is an entrancing waltz with destructive impulse, passionate aggression, and emotional isolation. Simon comes to life through the wildly talent Brady Corbet who seems to have the best eye for a role. Created by Campos and his Borderline Films family, Simon Killer—in its simpliest terms—follows a lonely, heartbroken, and horny guy who graduates from college and heads to Paris, where he becomes involved with a  young prostitute. Campos, Corbet, and co-star Mati Diop all collaborated on the story, giving it a sensual and complex voice.

We showed you a first look at the film a few weeks ago, but now IFC has released the official first trailer and you’re going to have to check this out. Focusing on the more narratively thrilling aspects, the trailer does much to entice. But aside from the violent thrills, Campos’ film is an incredibly visual and synesthetic Parisian coming–of-age tale with music and pulsating colors like psychological cues through SImon’s twisted mind.

Set to finally have its US release thing spring, Simon Killer will have its theatrical run at IFC Center starting in April. Enjoy the trailer below.

’56 Up’ In Theaters Now

If you enjoy marathon watching a television series like there’s no tomorrow, then chances are you’re perfectly conditioned to go through the most epic marathon one can enjoy on Netflix. It’s called the Up Series, profiling a group of individuals every seven years, starting as children, up until the latest installment, 56 Up—which is playing at IFC Center now. It started as a one-off televised documentary in the 1960’s called Seven Up!, profiling a group of 14 children from various backgrounds, with the aim of painting a complete picture of Britain. Thankfully, Michael Apted (who was working as a researcher on the original program, but seven years later was in the position to take on the directing role) saw the potential in revisiting the same group of children seven years later with Seven Plus Seven, and since then we have seen the children go through their awkward teens, into their awkward early 20’s, and so on.

The original program was spurred by the notion that Britain’s class system was so strictly structured that one could tell a child’s future at the age of 7. Seven Up! profiled a diverse group of children from mainly the top and bottom social rungs, and had them profess all their hopes and dreams into the camera. I use the term ‘diverse’ loosely her— it was  the 1960’s mind you, and while Apted later lamented the lack of middle class participants, they also didn’t take into account feminism, and only 4 of the 14 individuals are female, and only one participant is from a non white background. Three of the boys from wealthy backgrounds predicted (two of them correctly) the exact trajectory of their education; the less privileged children’s predictions ranged from the more fantastical to the sobering realistic. By the time 21 Up came around, the political undertones had, for the most part, gone by the way side, and the series was now more focused on the personal lives of the young men and women participating. Revisiting them every seven years becomes exceedingly emotional—you are with them when their dreams fail, you are there while they recount marital troubles, and you witness lives spiraling out of control. Particularly, with the case of Neil, who battles with homelessness and mental health issues throughout the course of the series. You are also watching them as they become proud parents, mature individuals, and as Neil turns his life around (with the help of fellow Up-er Bruce – capital AWW!), and despite the weight of the compassion and sympathy you feel while watching their hardships, there are tremendous rewards in growing with these characters. It may sound credulous to say that you truly know and love them by simply getting a summary of their lives every seven years, but I can’t think of any other way to word it. The pay off is truly amazing, and if you are lucky enough to live in a city that will be showing 56 Up in the upcoming months, I suggest you catch up with these people and then go to the theaters to see them— it will feel like seeing old friends again.

Check out the below trailer from the 56 Up series.

Spoiler Alert: ‘Portlandia’ Season Three Trailer Ruins It All For You

Is it Friday yet? Portlandia returns with a third season on IFC, and, HOW TIMELY, today they’ve released a hilarious sketch to preview what’s in store for this year. I think you’ll all enjoy this one, because the thing about it is that it’s SO TRUE that it in turn is SO FUNNY. Television! Who can even deal with it anymore, much less talking about it! Let’s add spoilers to the list of major indignities, somewhere between blog slideshow posts and Mason Jar revivalism. How can we possibly go on?!

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Filmmaker Bill Ross Talks His Extraordinary New Documentary ‘Tchoupitoulas’

There’s a poetic sense of wonder that comes with being a kid and looking at the world as a guarded place you can touch but not quite enter. What’s behind closed doors and lurking in the shadows evokes a sense of mystery and adds a deliciousness to life that gets lost in the wake of the inevitable cynicism brought on by adulthood. But with their sophomore effort, Tchoupitoulas, filmmaker siblings, Bill and Turner Ross, set out to capture those "ghosts of youth."

The lyrical documentary follows three young brothers as they experience one vibrant night in New Orleans—taking in the sights, sounds, and textures of a world that almost feels lost in time. Watching the film feels as though you’re travelling right beside them, silently observing their world and getting lost in the ephemeral magic of the night. The Ross brothers’ style of filmmaking allows you to truly immerse yourself in the colors of the night through the eyes of these boys as an intoxicating sense of intrigue pervades streets. We caught up with Bill Ross to discuss the adventures of documentary filmmaking, seeing the world through a kid’s perspective, and what they set out to capture.

So are films something you’ve always been interested making?
Well, my brothers and I grew up splitting time between Ohio and New Orleans and we sort of always had my mom’s VHS camera around. We were making, like, war epics in the backyard and photographing people around town, certain things that jumped out to us. And in a way, we’re not doing things too much differently than when we were eight years old. We kept with it and eventually it was like, well, why don’t we take this seriously? And that’s about the time we stared really talking about the last film, 45365.

Your films really feel like they’re about capturing moments; how did you approach filmmaking at first?
We were sort of all over the place. Like I said, we were making war epics but also filming our friends and you know, the weird guy in the downtown square. We were always making things, whether they were fictional or docs or shorts, and we continued to do that. Then I went to film school at SCAD and we went down there and we were always making stuff. We knew since we were young that at some point we wanted to speak to the feelings of growing up in both Ohio and New Orleans and the conversation was always how to best articulate that. So it went from writing stories, to dramatizing it, and after a while that all seemed phony in a wa—like that place is there, let’s go back and discover what it really is. And so that led to that and the process was so fun and interesting; it was a real adventure. It allows us to go on these adventures and really like absorb the environment we’re in and connect with the people in those locations.

One of the great things about being someone who makes films like this, in this medium, you’re able to have those adventures and play and it’s not so much about the planning and exactly what the definition of it is, it’s more about exploring. It felt very open to that. How much direction did you have with the boys?
We were planning on spending a year down there for the most part. We knew we were going to stay up every night and shoot whatever was going on but we wanted to tell a kid’s story from the start. So we were always on the lookout for a group of kids that we could see the city through. And so for seven months we would talk to kids but they weren’t right, and after a few months it became very frustrating and we were sort of looking at each other like, were we stupid to think that we would just stumble upon something like this? But then William literally walked right past us and it took a couple seconds after hearing them back and forth to one another that we wanted them in the film.

What was it about them? Was it just the dynamic between them?
Yeah, you know, three brothers much like it is in the film them shoving William to the back and William just having this conversation with himself.

I loved William because he was the perfect example of that sense of freedom in being a kid and just asking a million questions and saying whatever you want and being open to wonder.
We caught him at just the right age. He hadn’t gotten that great spirit that gets kicked out of us when we turn into teenagers. It was still there. But as far as direction, after they said yes, I believe it was the same day they headed across and we simply just followed. Probably the only direction we would give them was if they would sit and fight on a street corner for too long we’d be like, okay guys let’s go do something, let’s move on. But for the most part, it was just wandering with them, just the five of us strolling around. Most of what you see in the film is just the one big night but they had so much fun that they would call us back and ask when we were going to make Tchoupitoulas 2, just wanting to shoot more.

Did you spend a lot of time down there without them just capturing the essence of the place—sights and sounds.
Yeah, I mean that was going to happen whether we found them or not, building that landscape. So that hopefully if we did find the right group of kids we could build that environment so that anywhere they want, anything they looked at, we would have this bank of imagery to work with. And everyone you see in the film, we spent months and months with those folks, just getting the right moments. Each one of them could easily have their own short film. It was every night for about nine months.

It felt very sort of dream-like, about feelings over some sort of statement or message.
Yeah, I think going into it we wanted to address leftover feelings of us being kids down there and the ghosts that stick with you. It’s place when you’re a kid that everything is off limits so you’re forced to use your imagination when you walk down the street and what’s behind those curtains. It’s like Pinnochio goes to Pleasure Island. But like you don’t get to do any of the stuff. You have to use your imagination but in this film we wanted to be able to see behind the curtain. Sort of creating this dram fantasy thing, the feeling we all still had of when we were there when we were younger.

Did they have any reservations about being in the film at first?
When we first walked up to them they were all very, very excited but the two oldest had the stipulation that William couldn’t be in it because he was too annoying. So they said they would gladly be in it but only if William wasn’t. So we said okay and started filming them and William’s ten yards behind running his mouth and after 10, 20 minutes of that I was like, this man can no longer be ignored. So I talked them into letting him be it. Immediately we could have easily not been there and they would have carried on as they did and they stopped paying attention to us pretty quickly.

In terms of aesthetically how the film looked, did you want it to be a certain style?
There’s something about New Orleans where it almost seems because of the part of the world it’s in and how old it is, it almost seems like it’s purgatorial, in a way. There are these ghosts and there are lights that hit a certain way. It’s kind of hard to define but I wanted the camera to swirl a bit and get caught up in these things and hopefully capture the shadows in the way that I found shadows full of mystery when I was a kid. I don’t know how you shoot that but that was what was going through my head. The swirling lights, the darkness, so yeah, we were certainly talking about that a lot as we were shooting.

What did the boys think when they saw the film?
I always get nervous when I show these films to the people that agreed to be in them. I want them to love them as much as I do and I thought the boys might get into it. I would show them scenes every once in a while when I was editing and they were pretty fascinated by it but the reaction when we had our New Orleans premiere was pretty wild. The middle brother, Brian, brought his girlfriend and then essentially just conducted the entire Q&A. So Turner and I didn’t say anything; he was just so excited and wanted to show off for his girlfriend, and William was being mobbed by women, which was hilarious to watch. It was a very satisfying thing. I see those guys pretty recently living down there.

We there any sort of people or places you’d come across while shooting that you found interesting or places that wanted to revisit?
Yeah, there’s some friends in there from when we were little that were in our first version of the movie that we made when we were like ten and have remained close to since then. One of them is Thomas Stuart, he’s the oyster shucker; he’s been a lifelong friend. A lot of great people got cut out unfortunately, but that’s just the way it goes.

And did you have any filmmakers work that you looked to?
We weren’t familiar with these films going into it, but when we were telling people about this particular film, people recommended some films to us and one was Morris Engel’s The Little Fugitive, which we watched during the middle of the shoot. It was not only one of the best films ever made, it showed us that this in a way had been done and it was doable. We pull from everything really and threw it in the pot and mixed it up. For this one I think we pulled from a lot of music and the structure of the New Orleans music we were familiar with. Just the idea of trying to recapture the ghosts of youth.

Tchoupitoulas opens at IFC Center on Friday, December 7th.