12 Years a Slave — Irrefutable MUST-SEE Film of the Year by Trace De La Torre

12 NEW YORK 1841  Ever since it first hit screens at Telluride & Toronto Film Fests last month, the hype surrounding 12 Years a Slave reached soaring heights.  Don’t expect the hype to cool anytime soon — it looks poised to run the distance through the awards season — walking away with more than one statue.

BAFTA KILTED STEVE  Directed by illustrious Brit/Dutch London-born visual artist — Sir Steve McQueenKnighted OBE AND CBE by the Queen — winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes 2008 for his film Hunger, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike as a first-time Director — the Turner Prize in 1999 (a prestigious annual prize awarded to British visual artists under the age of 50 representing ALL media) — and a 2009 BAFTA for Hunger amongst many other awards — it’s irrefutable that THIS is the movie you need to see this year.

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt — 12 Years a Slave is a historical drama based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup, a free black man living in upstate Saratoga Springs, New York who is lured to Washington, D.C., kidnapped, and sold into slavery in 1841.

12 CAST STARS                         12 yrs slave poster

The film takes us on an emotional odyssey where Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, and faces cruelty from slave owner baddie played by Michael Fassbender.  The story takes a fateful turn in the 12th year of his capture when Solomon has a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) that forever alters his life.

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SPOILER: McQueen boldly shows us the injustice of slavery by depicting disturbingly violent scenes — such as when Solomon is beaten 15 times with a bat before being whipped by his captors.

Slaves are shown being hanged, murdered, lashed — including by each other, on their masters’ orders.

Poignant line by Solomon: “I don’t want to survive. I want to LIVE.”

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Reviews so far have been unanimously positive with one astounding message: 12 Years a Slave will be a movie to tango with come award season.  Buzzfeed’s Adam Vary called it “most emotionally powerful film I have seen in a decade,” in his initial reaction. “The Oscar race has been pronounced over, six months before the ceremony itself,” writes the Guardian‘s Catherine Shoard. Entertainment Weekly‘s Owen Gleiberman says it’s a “landmark of cruelty and transcendence.”

12 Years a Slave, adapted by John Ridley from Northup’s memoir, and also starring Quvenzhane’ Wallis from “Beast of the Southern Wild”; Paul Dano; Sarah Paulson;  Alfre Woodard; Paul Giamatti; and Lupita Nyong’o — opens in US theatres on Oct 18th — bring a tissue.

Here’s a look at the bone-chilling Trailer:

Or watch the full movie here:  12 Years a Slave FULL MOVIE link

FILTH is Good! Tops ‘Trainspotting’ by Trace De La Torre

Filth 11 RAT! It’s hard to believe there could ever be a film that tops Danny Boyle’s 1996 ‘Trainspotting’ as far as unapologetic FILTH goes — but Director Jon S. Baird’s ‘Filth’ does just that in his current film release starring Scottish actor James McAvoy.

Filth 8                   Filth 1 Filth 3                filth red

Recently preemed in Edinburgh on Sept. 27th — Scottish audiences showed up in force at theatres knocking out cult classic ‘Trainspotting’ (starring Ewan McGregor) numbers  — $150,000 ($94, 460 in 1996 money) — by nearly double on its opening weekend earning $250,000 at the Scottish Box Office.

Filmed in Edinburgh and Glasgow, ‘Filth’ probes the deteriorating psyche of a damaged man who completely loses his moral compass.

Adapted from the novel by the same name and penned by Scottish writer  — Irvine Welsh — (also penned ‘Trainspotting’) ‘Filth’ sees James McAvoy play against type as depraved Police Officer — Bruce Robertson — indulging in the basest of pleasures — cocaine, alcohol, sexual abuse, mind games — in order to better his chances of winning a much sought after promotion to Detective Inspector and to fill the void left after his wife abandons him, taking their child with her.

Filth 9                        Filth 12

Left to console himself with all these blind, pure, unadulterated pleasures, Bruce fully channels his Machiavellian energy into scheming and undermining the competition at work who set out to solve a racially charged murder case in which Bruce may or may not have played a role in.

Despising his colleagues, Boss, and obsessed with his wife, in time it becomes more evident that Bruce is a drug addicted socio-path suffering from Bipolar Disorder whose mental decline leads to an ultimate breakdown that exposes a twist ending to this sordid tale.

Filth at Castle                   Filth 7

Also starring Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Jim Broadbent, and James’ sister — Joy McAvoy — taking a turn as ‘Estelle’ — Filth’ definitely packs a punch.

With no American distributor — YET — early rave reviews predict high box office earnings this weekend when it hits the rest of UK screens — TOMORROW — Oct. 4th.

The depravity of Bruce’s character is bound to make you squirm in your seat — you have been warned.

Here’s a look at the Trailer:

‘Big Ass Spider’ – A Breath of Fresh Air in a Stale Film Market by Trace De La Torre

Big Ass Spider BEST COLOR PROMO  I hate Spiders — with a psychotic passion — but when I came across ‘Big Ass Spider’, it was a breath of fresh air in a stale market of Supernatural, Vampire, Demonic, Psycho Thrillers.

‘Big Ass Spider’ spins a tale of a giant alien spider that escapes from a military lab wreaking havoc across Los Angeles.

Big Ass Spider DT LA            Big Ass Spidey Hereos

After a GARGANTUAN military strike fails to quash it, a team of scientists and one sly, wily, exterminator plot to annihilate the monstrous creature before the City of Angels is devoured. Big Ass Spider Stars            Big Ass Spidey

‘Big Ass Spider’ CRAWLS its way into theatres on Oct. 18 — just in time for Fright Season — promising to be one helluva FUN ride for all Angelenos, and squeamish thrill seekers alike — everywhere…

Here’s a look at the Trailer: 

Written by Gregory Gieras, Directed by Mike Mendez, and Produced by Shaked Berenson, the film is bound to resonate deeply with audiences because it harks back to a nostalgic time in cinematic history when movie audiences got their cheap thrills with cult classic ‘Creature Features’ that didn’t so much threaten the fate of their souls.

Here’s my list of terrifying standout ‘Creature Features’ that make the grade:
THE FLY (1986)  The Fly 1986
A David Cronenberg sci-fi remake — matching the original 1958 version — sees
scientist Jeff Goldblum accidentally splice his DNA with a housefly.
THEM! (1954)
Cult classic ‘Them!’ — highly influenced by fears over atomic energy in
the 50s, sees GIANT RADIO ACTIVE ANTS rampage through New Mexico, winning OSCAR
GOLD for its special effects of the day.  

THEM!
 ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990) Arachnophobia
Jeff Daniels battles a plague of highly poisonous spiders in small town America.
Still terrifies 20+ years on.
mimic MIMIC (1997)
Scientists Jeremy Northam & Mira Sorvino release a genetically engineered insect
into the New York subway to kill off a mass of diseased cockroaches in Guillermo
del Toro ‘s sci-fi Horror akin to Frankz Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’. The mutant
breed spreads rapidly, feasting on humans, mimicking their actions until they
completely encompass their bodies & souls.
THE DEADLY MANTIS (1957)  Deadly Mantis
Another 50s B-movie concerned with rampaging giant insects. Here, a volcanic
eruption melts polar ice, releasing a 200-foot-long Praying Mantis -– which soon
makes its way to invade Washington, D.C.
EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS! (2002) Eight Legged Freaks!
A 21st century take on those 1950s B-movies, this squeamish Horror-Comedy sees a
small town RAIDED by enormous, toxic waste-altered spiders.  Stars David
Arquette, and a pre-fame Scarlett Johansson with oodles of green CGI spider-guts.
Naked Lunch NAKED LUNCH (1991)
David Cronenberg clearly has a fancy for giant insects. In his adaptation of
William S. Burroughs’ cult novel, Peter Weller’s exterminator is exposed to
chemicals causing him to hallucinate human-sized bugs. Not for the weak.
THE SWARM (1978) The Swarm
A disaster movie with a stellar cast and sheer camp cements this as a Cult Classic disaster movie where a massive swarm of killer bees is the tormentor. FUN FACT: REAL BEES were used (!) – people were employed to clip off the stingers.
TARANTULA (1955)                                            Tarantula!   
To battle a world-wide food crisis, a scientist attempts to enlarge
cattle but instead unleashes a giant spider. FUN FACT: A young Clint Eastwood makes an appearance.
HIGHLY DANGEROUS (1950) Highly Dangerous
A British Cold War Comedy-Thriller where Soviets employ insects as
weapons-of-mass-destruction — using them as carriers of deadly germs. Margaret Lockwood’s
entomologist goes to the Balkans to find investigate, with enjoyably deranged
consequences.
Slither  SLITHER (2006)
An enjoyably despicable mix of Sci-Fi Horror Comedy — Slither sees a
parasitic alien slug crash on Earth, breed in disgusting fashion and
transform small town residents into hive mind-controlled zombies. Not to be missed by 80’s Cult Horror Fans.

THE FLY (1958)                                                              The Fly
The original lacks the twisted sexuality of Cronenberg’s 1980’s remake, but it
still packs a frightful punch. A scientist attempting to create a teleportation machine mingles his DNA with a fly during an experiment gone wrong, leaving him with the insect’s head and “arm”. NASTY!
THE WASP WOMAN (1959) Wasp Woman
Searching for the Fountain of Youth, a cosmetics company owner
attempts to stave off the effects of age by ingesting a serum derived from wasp
jelly, with disastrous results – she transforms into a murderous, LUSTY, Wasp Woman.

THEY NEST (2000)                                                                             They Nest
A deadly breed of insects infests a small town in Maine,
digging deep into people’s flesh and eating them from the inside out.  Directed by Ellory Elkayem, also responsible for Eight Legged Freaks, this silly TV movie plays on our universal revulsion of cockroaches.
Spiders 2000  SPIDERS (2000)
In Gary Jones’ magnum opus, an experiment to mingle spider and alien DNA (OH WHY?!) results in a mutant spider being let loose in a government facility, killing everyone in its path.

Black Scorpion THE BLACK SCORPION (1957)
Volcanic activity in Mexico sets free giant scorpions who ravage the countryside.  Starring Richard Denning (Creature From The Black Lagoon).  The film features some great stop-motion animation by Willis O’Brien (King Kong).  FUN FACT:  ‘The Black Scorpion’ started with a low budget, and as production wore on, faced financial straits.  By end of filming, money was so tight, O’Brien and his assistant were working out of a garage.  SO FUN!

‘Nymphomaniac’: More Psychotherapy than Porn? – by Trace De La Torre

Nympho  ‘Nymphomaniac’ doesn’t stir my loins. Then again, maybe Lars von Trier isn’t so much going for the titillating as he is for the psycho-neurotic.

‘Nymphomaniac’ — Lars von Trier’s most controversial film to date — is being touted as a  ‘poetic’ journey into the sexual history of a woman from the moment she is born until she reaches a sexually violent crescendo at the age of 50.

The story unravels in an 8 Chapter-Sexual-Odyssey told in first person narrative by ‘sexually afflicted’ title character, ‘Joe’ (Charlotte Gainsbourg) after she is rescued bloodied, battered, and near death — by passing stranger, ‘Selig’,  (Stellan Skarsgard) in a dark alley.

If the 3 enigmatic Trailers released — so far — are anything to go by, the audience might be disappointed if this two-part movie — YES, there will be a sequel — is more Psychotherapy than porn.

Then again, for all the hype of illicit, REAL SEX Shia LaBeouf — ‘Ch. 2: Jerome’ — and fellow cast mates are engaging in, (and we’re promised there will be A LOT)  let’s hope Lars’ teasing goes deeper and delivers both without numbing the audience.

‘Nymphomaniac’ — NOT yet Rated — hits theatres in Denmark on Christmas Day.

Nymphomaniac

With no U.S. release dates yet announced — if you’re traveling through Europe this winter here’s a list of countries whose screens you can riffle to in 2014 — Happy New Year!

France: Jan. 1st – Netherlands: Jan. 9th – Poland: Jan. 10th

Hungary: Jan. 16th – Sweden: Jan. 31st – Germany: Feb. 27th

Here’s a look at the 3 ‘Nymphomaniac’ Trailers:

Compleat Angler Ch. 1:  “The Compleat Angler”   

Jerome Ch. 2: ” Jerome” (Shia LaBeouf)

Mrs. H Ch. 3:  “Mrs. H”  (Uma Thurman)