Celebrating the Cinematic Eye of Anthony Dod Mantle

What makes Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later…, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Harmony Korine’s Julien-Donkey Boy, and Ron Howard’s Rush all in the same family? Anthony Dod Mantle, that’s what—or better yet, who. As one of the most sought after and groundbreaking directors of photography in modern film, the Oxford-born cinematographer brings his distinct approach and aesthetic to whatever he’s shooting. Having earned his stripes directing photography on the Dogme 95 films, Mantle helped to usher into a digital, handheld video aesthetic, which he brought into use on films like The Celebration and Dogville. In the documentary Side by Side he discusses the challenges that came with the emergence of digital cinema, how people thought it was a debasing the art of film, saying, “I have been slapped around, I’ve been applauded and almost executed for the same sentence.”

But since, he’s gone on to shoot Danny’s Boyle’s films—from 28 Days Later… to Trance—winning an Academy Award for his brilliantly shot Slumdog Millionare. Much of his early work dealt with the use of natural light and appeared more stark, but his recent films have been drenched in a violent use of color, with off kilter angles, and blown out frames. Speaking to his most recent work on Rush, Mantle said he wanted to, “avoid the predictable, downgraded, saturated look of ‘70s films” and instead focus on the “colour, sex, danger and panache” of Formula 1.” And with the wonder that is Rush having its theatrical release this weekend, we thought we’d take a look back on some of Mantle’s his best work. Enjoy.

Anthony Dod Mantle

Thomas Vinterberg’s The Celebration (1998)

Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy (1999)

Lars von Trier’s Dogville (2003)

Lars von Trier’s Manderlay (2005)

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionare (2009)

Lars von Trier’s Antichrist (2010)

Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later… (2002)

Danny Boyle’s Trance (2013)

Ron Howard’s Rush (2013)

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.

From Douglas Sirk to Orson Welles, Here’s What You Should Be Seeing This Weekend in New York

Well, it’s Thursday and although the week has flown by faster than expected, it’s been a tough one. The weather’s been pleasant and hopefully helping to keep our collective spirit from plummeting into a dark abyss, and come tomorrow night you have two full days to focus on what’s truly important—movies. No, but movies do provide a nice escape from life and with a plethora of great films, both new and old, to choose from, I would suggest grabbing yourself some discount candy in bulk and heading to the cinema. I’ve rounded up for you the best in what’s playing this weekend in New York so peruse and the list and enjoy.


IFC Center

Errors of the Human Body
Portrait of Jason

Film Forum

Deceptive Practice: Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
Un Flic
Andre Gregory: Before and After Dinner


Landmark Sunshine

In the House
The Angel’s Share
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Fifth Element

Nitehawk Cinema

F for Fake
Fear and Loathing
Room 237


Forget Me Not
The Mortal Storm
Oh Boy

Film Society Lincoln Center

Upstream Color
No Place on Earth
To the Wonder
Dancing Across Borders
The Land of Wandering Souls

Museum of the Moving Image

An Evening with Chris Milk
Rose (Roza)
Corpo Celeste


Written on the Wind
MagnifIcent Obsession
All That Heaven Allows

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.


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
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
My Brother the Devil


Nitehawk Cinema

Easy Rider
Room 237
Spring Breakers
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
My Fair Lady




Museum of the Moving Image

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




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



Angelika Film center

No Place on Earth



Village West Cinema

On the Road
6 Souls
Lotus Eaters
Ginger & Rosa




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

Looking Ahead to the 2014 Oscar Season

The 86th and 87th annual Academy Awards dates were announced this morning, and next year, the ceremony looks to fall slightly later. This year’s mid-February ceremony was a welcome relief to incessant campaigns and chatter about certain films, but in 2014, the show will be help on March 2nd, with a February 22nd air date for the following year. And although we’ve got about ten more months of films to be released and annoucned, there are already quite a few we’re excited for that will most likely and/or hopefully continue to gain recoginition. But we all know awards really mean nothing in the way of artistic merit—case in point—so here’s mainly just a list of movies we like or intend on enjoying in 2013.

to the wonder

To the Wonder
The Counselor


Twelve Years a Slave
August: Osage County
Only God Forgives


I’m So Excited
Wolf of Wallstreet
The Iceman


The Place Beyond the Pines
The Fifth Estate
Frances Ha
Laurence Anyways


Before Midnight
Upstream Color
The Great Gatsby
Inside Llewyn Davis


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.