Elijah Wood’s film “I don’t feel at home in this world anymore,” won the Sundance Grand Jury prize in the U.S. Dramatic competition at the just concluded 2017 festival.
It was one of 16 films in the category that included “Crown Hights” that won the Audience Award.
The film is summarized like this:
Ruth, a depressed nursing assistant, returns from work to find dog shit on her lawn and her house burglarized, the thief having made off with her silverware and laptop. Losing faith in the police (and possibly humanity as a whole), Ruth starts her own investigation, joining forces with her erratic neighbor–and dog shit culprit–Tony. Upon locating the laptop, they trace it back to a consignment store, leading them to a gang of degenerate criminals and a dangerous, bizarre underworld where they’re way out of their depth.
Macon Blair’s outstanding debut feature has an exuberant storytelling style that’s full of personality, visual inventiveness, idiosyncratic characters, and wildly unpredictable turns. Its dark tone, deadpan humor, and increasingly blood-soaked foray into a twisted moral universe evoke the Coen brothers, but most captivating is the deeply unsettling journey it takes Ruth on, through human vulnerability and escalating violence. Once brought to tears by the notion of an infinite universe, her quest isn’t for her laptop, but for a way of processing a world that no longer makes sense to her.
On the same night, last year’s big Middle-earth alumni film of Sundance 2016, “Captain Fantastic” featured Viggo Mortensen and the cast appeared at the screen actor’s guild where it was nominated but didn’t win. For that film TheOneRing was able to talk with Mortensen about the film, but despite repeated efforts, had no luck speaking with Wood for his film.
But, Wood wasn’t the only Middle-earth actor to show up in a film at this year’s Sundance. Actor Stephen Hunter, who played Bombur in the three films based on “The Hobbit,” appeared in Australian thriller “The Killing Ground.” The film received a warm reception and has a good chance to be seen in theaters. I saw it and think it’s a gripping thriller that handles its violence well. It deserves to be seen but will disturb some because of its violence.
Hunter plays a key supporting role that the Sundance festival described like this:
When young couple Sam and Ian escape the confines of urban living for a weekend getaway at a remote campsite, they arrive to find a neighboring tent set up with its inhabitants nowhere in sight. As day turns to night and then to day again, the young couple becomes increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of their unknown fellow campers. When they discover a toddler wandering alone on the campground, things go from bad to worse, thrusting them into a harrowing fight for survival in a place miles from civilization, where no one can hear them scream.
Teeming with dread and unnerving tension, the debut feature of writer/director Damien Power draws heavy inspiration from Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, utilizing the film’s sparse locations to considerable effect. As jagged pieces of the puzzle are carefully revealed one by one, Killing Ground evolves into a brutally violent thriller that will force you to think twice the next time you dare venture beyond the city’s bright lights
Wood also appears in another film, this one a documentary about the classic Alfred Hitchcock “Psycho.” The film, called “78/52,” breaks down the historic and absolutely groundbreaking shower scene in the film that is credited with launching the horror genre of film in a new way. He is seated with other actors sharing his perspective, especially insightful when examining the performance of Anthony Perkins. Guillermo del Toro also is featured and is a delight.
The film has been purchased and will likely get a new or extended title and will be released in major film markets. The festival title refers to the number of set ups and film cuts the master of suspense used in the scene. For anybody interested in film, I absolutely recommend it. Actually, I recommend it for anybody who has ever watched a film.
The festival describes it:
“In 78 setups and 52 cuts, the deliriously choreographed two-minute shower sequence in Psycho ripped apart cinema’s definition of horror. With a shocking combination of exploitation and high art, Alfred Hitchcock upended his own acclaimed narrative structure by violently killing off a heroine a third of the way through his film, without explanation, justification, or higher purpose. Psycho played out like a horrific prank, forcing audiences to recognize that even the most banal domestic spaces were now fair game for unspeakable mayhem.
With black-and-white film-geek reverence, director Alexandre O. Philippe breaks down this most notorious and essential scene shot for shot, enlisting the help of film buffs and filmmakers alike—including Guillermo del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Eli Roth, and Peter Bogdanovich. 78/52 examines Janet Leigh’s terrified facial expressions and the blink-and-you-miss-it camera work, not just within the context of the film but also with an eye toward America’s changing social mores—revealing how one bloody, chaotic on-screen death killed off chaste cinema and eerily predicted a decade of unprecedented violence and upheaval.”
On December 18, 2001, TheOneRing.net introduced a new feature on our site: Ringer Reviews – “A database of reviews from Tolkien fans all over the world, whether you loved, liked or hated the film this is where you can express your feelings in words and celebrate with your fellow fans the release of the first installment in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.” Twenty-four hours later, fans had posted 3,000 reviews. By Christmas the count was up to 6,700 and on January 19, 2002, a month after FOTR opened, over 10,000 reviews had been submitted.
Today the count stands at 15,084 reviews. Unfortunately, the individual reviews reside on our old site and have been archived. But, we thought it might be fun to revisit some of the overall results, more of which can be found at the Ringer Reviews link above.
A number of other sites around the internet are also celebrating the 15th anniversary of the opening of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring this week, and/or The Lord of the Rings movie franchise in general. For the convenience of our readers, we put together this one-stop shop for a stroll down memory lane. We’ll bring more to you during the week as we find them. Enjoy!
One month on from New York ComicCon, we thought readers might enjoy a gallery of images from the event – to see the fun which unfolded in the Big Apple, and perhaps to reminisce, if you were there!
Big thanks to all who came and visited TORn’s booth this year. The convention was bigger than ever, and fighting one’s way around the show floor is no easy feat! It is always a delight to meet with fellow fans, and we loved chatting with all who came by – or who joined us at the ‘Fan Meet-up’ on Saturday night. And of course it was a joy to hang out with everyone who joined us on the Thursday evening for our annual ‘Ringers take Manhattan’ party. Special thanks to Graham McTavish for coming along, and being a true gent to all the partygoers. (more…)
A month into its run (which began with a period of previews, followed by press night and opening later in October), Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Love, Love, Lovehas six weeks to go before the limited run ends on December 18th. The production has been gaining strong reviews – here’s a glowing one from The New York Times. TORn’s own review comes from staffer greendragon, who saw the production early in its run, before the press night.
If you weren’t able to join us at our ‘Ringers Take Manhattan’ party last week, then you missed the chance to party with Graham McTavish, who joined us towards the end of the evening. We’ll be bringing you a full write up from New York ComicCon in the next day or so; in the meantime, as a consolation, here’s your chance to spend some time enjoying the company of not only McTavish, but also the fabulous Stephen Hunter.
As you know from our interview with him in September, Stephen is creating a series of video interviews called ‘Actors Talk About Themselves’. Having already spoken with fellow dwarves Nori and Oin (aka cast members Jed Brophy and John Callen), Dwalin is the latest interviewee. The two gents are good friends and the interview is as funny and irreverent as you might expect. Enjoy! We’re looking forward to seeing Stephen’s next interview.
Staffers from TORn have started arriving in the Big Apple to set up our booth – that means New York ComicConis almost upon us! The fun kicks off at 10am tomorrow morning; here are some of the highlights for Tolkien fans:
First of all, TORn’s booth this year is number 3164. This is NOT our usual corner spot – we could only get an ‘inline’ booth this year. But look for the usual ‘tent’ and you’ll find us! As ever, we’ll have t-shirts and buttons for sale, and we have some fabulous items for our ‘lucky dip’ giveaways! It’s an election year even in Middle-earth; here are the t-shirts we’ll have on sale this year: (more…)
Once again our friends at the Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship are hosting their annual “Evening in Middle-earth”. This year their Guest of Honour is none other than dwarvish prankster, Nori, the wonderful Jed Brophy! So if you’re from Brisbane or planning on visiting Queensland this month, why not head along to An Evening in Middle-earth on October 15.
Coming to New York ComicCon and looking for something to do in the evenings? Well, after you have been to TORn’s party on Thursday night, why not go and see Thorin himself on stage?
Richard Armitage is starring in Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Love, Love, Love. Written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer, this new play is part of Roundabout’s 50th anniversary season. Their press release tells us:
‘It’s the late 1960s in a north London flat, and Henry is excitedly anticipating the arrival of his date, Sandra. The night changes course when Sandra and Henry’s brother Kenneth quickly realize how much they have in common—their love of Rock and Roll and their love of marijuana, for starters. A fiery relationship is sparked in the haze of the 60s, and charred by today’s brutal realities. Fast forward twenty-three years, and the economy and politics of an ever-changing world are wearing on the marriage of this baby boomer couple. Can they remain faithful to each other while trying to provide a loving and supportive home for their children—children who are growing up in a time when the next generation is not always provided for? Spanning more than four decades, this dark comedy is the story of what happens when the free-loving teens of the 60s face the harsh realities of today’s world. From passion to paranoia, Love, Love, Love takes on the baby boomer generation as it retires, and finds it full of trouble.’
Love, Love, Love is currently in previews, and the limited run goes until December 18th. It’s on at the Laura Pels Theatre, at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre in Manhattan. You can purchase tickets here.
It’s that time again – New York ComicConis just around the corner! We’re looking forward to see our fellow fans in the Big Apple!
You can find us at the convention at Booth 3164 – please note, this is NOT where we have been before. (This year we could only get an ‘inline’ booth – so don’t look for us on a corner!) As ever, we’ll have t-shirts and buttons for sale, as well as the usual cool giveaways and fun stuff. This year is an election year even in Middle-earth! These are the shirts which will be available:
Shirt comes in regular cut, ‘Sports Grey’
Back of the Feel the Burn shirt (comes in ‘Sports Grey’)
Front only design, comes in regular cut ‘Metro Blue’ and fitted cut ‘Antique Cherry’
Tonight we have several new items from our friends at Weta Workshop. The first of these new items was my personal favorite at this years San Diego Comic-Con.
The beautiful Lady Galadriel at Dol Guldur is without a doubt the best version of this character we’ve had a chance to add to any of our collections. This stunning piece comes in with an edition size of only 750 pieces world wide and can be purchased for $275. You can expect to have her in March of 2017.
The next two items continue the growing resurgence of the helm line. Fans can now add the helm of Dain Ironfoot as well as The Witch King as we see him at Dol Guldur during The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Both the helms come in with a price tag of $79 and edition sizes of 750 pieces. If you manage to order all three helms that have been released so far by September 30th, 2016 by midnight (NZT) you can be in the running to get the #1/500 Uruk-Hai helm.
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