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.”
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.
TheOneRing.net’s table at the convention. Thanks to all who stopped by!
It’s hard to believe a week has passed already since HobbitCon Vier in Germany. Staffers deej and greendragon were delighted to be there, meeting fellow fans and sharing the fun. As promised, here are some tales of the weekend for those of you who couldn’t be there – or who were there and just want to look back!
HobbitCon was held in the Hotel Maritim in Bonn, April 1-3. Folks started arriving on the Wednesday before, and there was an atmosphere of anticipation as more and more people, often laden with suitcases full of costumes, showed up to be reunited with friends.
On Friday the con officially got underway, and the big ‘kick off’ was the Opening Ceremony that evening. All the guests were invited on stage – TORn’s staff had no idea they would have to speak, but greendragon dusted off her German to say a few words! Of course the crowd was really waiting to see the guest actors; in attendance this year were Mark Atkin, Dallas Barnett, John Bell, Billy Boyd, Jed Brophy, Sadwyn Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Lori Dungey, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Stephen Hunter,William Kircher, Craig Parker and John Tui. Mark Ferguson was a seemingly indefatigable host for the weekend! (You can read full details of all the guests at HobbitCon’s website, here.) (more…)
In celebration of the release today of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition Blu-ray and DVD, we have another EXCLUSIVE clip to share with you! From the behind the scenes footage in the Bonus Features, this gives us a little more insight into dwarven armour. (Cosplayers, who will be the first to make Thorin’s unseen ‘Ram’s head’ armour??)
The day has finally come and gone when many of you were lucky enough to view The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies in theaters. TORn’s facebook page, the discussion boards and Barli’s chat are all buzzing with excited observations! Many of our staffers saw it too and, as it TORn tradition, we’ll be featuring their comments and insights here, as well as a spoilery picture or two. Speaking of spoilers, they abound in the rest of this article, so read no further if you haven’t seen the EE yet and don’t want to be spoiled until you do!
It’s already a week since DragonCon 2015 came to an end – and we’ve just about had time to draw breath and catch up on sleep! For any of you who haven’t had the chance to attend DragonCon, it’s one long party from Thursday night (although some would say that Wednesday is the new Thursday) to Monday evening. TORn staffers did their best to keep up with it all!
We had our usual ‘fan table’ spot in the Hyatt hotel, where we sold t-shirts, buttons, lanyards and hoodies (from our good friends at LoTH Hoodies) and enjoyed catching up with fellow fans. There are folks whom we see every year at DragonCon, and it’s always lovely to see familiar faces, as people stop by to say hello.
DragonCon is in full swing down here in Atlanta – and TheOneRing.net is in the thick of it! Staffers deej and greendragon are hard at work running our fan table – come by and say hello! We’re in the Hyatt opposite the entrance to the art show. We have new buttons for sale, with some fabulous artwork by our own staffer Mithril. We also have shirts, lanyards and hoodies for sale, and prizes to be won!
Staffer MrCere, meanwhile, is very busy running the convention’s Tolkien Track. Their track room can be found in the Marriott, rooms L401-403 – lots of great panels to be heard in there. TORn will be giving a panel today (Saturday) at 2.30pm, in Hilton Grand Ballroom East, looking forward to what we might see in the soon to be released Extended Edition, and to what else is in the works for Tolkien fans; then tomorrow at the same time, 2.30pm, in Marriott L401-403, we’ll be looking back over the amazing journey we’ve all been on, through Peter Jackson’s movies and the fanbase which has grown up around them.
Last night the track hosted the annual ‘Evening at Bree’, organized by greendragon. Our good friends Emerald Rose raised the roof and got everyone up and dancing. The lovely Stephen Hunter was a fabulous MC of the costume contest, which as ever was full of incredible entries – thanks to our judges, who had the very difficult task of picking winners! And cast members Dean O’Gorman, Peter Hambleton and Sylvester McCoy came by to say hello to the fans. At the start of the evening we took a moment to remember artist Jeff Murray and fellow fan Melissa Kern, who sailed into the West this year; it was wonderful to feel the love in the room and to know that this is a community which cares about and for one another.
And finally – tonight staffer deej is living up to her name and DJing the ‘Middle-earth goes 90s’ dance party, 10pm in Marriott A601-602. Can’t wait to see the amazing 90s costumes folks will have dreamed up – Ringers are such creative folks!
It’s all happening! Looking forward to seeing some of you over the weekend; and we’ll have pictures to share afterwards, for those of you who can’t be here.
After weeks of rumors (and some nail biting), it’s official! The DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, will be available on Tuesday, November 17. Those who prefer a digital copy can own it four weeks earlier, on Tuesday, October 17. The official press release follows:
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
A PRODUCTION OF NEW LINE CINEMA AND
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES, THE FINAL FILM IN THE EPIC THE HOBBIT TRILOGY, ARRIVES ON BLU-RAY™, DVD AND DIGITAL HD FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
EXTENDED EDITION FEATURES A 20-MINUTE LONGER CUT AND
MORE THAN NINE HOURS OF NEW SPECIAL FEATURES
The Hobbit Trilogy Extended EditionAlso Available on
Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD
Burbank, CA, August 25, 2015 – The adventures of Bilbo Baggins come to an epic conclusion when “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” from Academy Award®-winning* filmmaker Peter Jackson, is released as an Extended Edition on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), the extended cut of the final film in The Hobbit Trilogy includes 20 minutes of extra footage and more than 9 hours of bonus features that will complete every Hobbit fan’s collection. The film, the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on November 17 and will be available early on Digital HD on October 20.
HobbitCon 3 took place just a couple weeks ago in Germany and our friends at Henneth-Annun were on-hand to get the low-down.
They’ve compiled an extensive English-language report on the three-day convention, as well as many quotes from Q&A panels featuring Luke Evans, Graham McTavish, Sylvester McCoy, Lawrence Makaore, John Bell and more.
Don’t forget to click the link at the bottom to read the complete report.
HobbitCon 3: third time’s a charm!
by Peter “TheHutt” Klassen
I do remember the very first HobbitCon. When FedCon GmbH, the organizing company, announced a new convention during the RingCon 2012 dedicated exclusively to “The Hobbit”, with the participation of 11 dwarves from Thorin’s Company (although two of them cancelled later), I didn’t know what to think about it. That was even before the first movie from PJ’s second trilogy was released, and the dwarf actors were only known to us from the director’s video blogs. And in fact, the first HobbitCon proved to be a commercial failure, though it had a very pleasant and homely atmosphere.
Luckily, the organizers didn’t give up, and the second HobbitCon fared much better than the first one. And now, after the third HobbitCon (christened by Mark Ferguson “HobbitCon DREI”, which is German for “three”) has passed, you can really tell that there was barely room to swing a cat. If the first HobbitCon had just 800 visitors during the weekend, the third one had 5500 guests from over 27 countries! The Maritim hotel in Bonn was bursting, and the amount of Fili & Kili cosplay couples was staggering.
Speaking objectively, the HobbitCon is a unique event in the whole world. International conventions usually work with several mixed genres, there are many different fandoms present at a convention, with each fandom represented by just one or two actors. These are giant commercial vehicles, with an airplane hangar-like atmosphere. The HobbitCon is very different. You do not need to stay in a line overnight to get into a Q&A panel hall. You can be partying in a bar and suddenly find yourself on the dance floor together with Graham McTavish, Jed Brophy or even Luke Evans. Of course it is not for free – but still, three days of positive emotions, homely atmosphere and the feeling that the movie actors have become your friends, are worth it.
The winners of last month’s Hobbit Fan Contest that got to go to New Zealand and watch an in-progress cut of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” and experience the beautiful scenes of the north and south islands and the hospitality of Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, won their spots by producing short films.
As reports from the experience suggest, there was a great bonding of the 75 winners and their guests during the week-long tour of Middle-earth. These bonds are on display in a “thank you” video that the group organized to give to Peter Jackson and all the many folks who helped make the trip amazing. There is even a nod to TheOneRing.net which honestly touches us.
Turns out that crew can make a pretty great video with parts from all around the world. Their sincerity and appreciation really comes through and will make all fans proud. Enjoy! #HobbitFanContest
QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND — The Hobbit Fan Contest winners and attending media are here in Queenstown and things have been a little busy. It’s a balance of gathering vs. sitting on a computer and typing (although in the incredible Hotel St. Moritz that is pretty sweet) and I am erring on the side of gathering today. So, no great big post but trust me when I say the photos collected from here can make a grown man cry, even if that grown man is me. Something about here touches me emotionally.
In a quick recap we visited Beorn’s realm yesterday, had a scavenger hunt, traveled to get here, had a jeep excursion to the freezing cold, breathtaking top of the world and then flung ourselves off bridges towards freezing water.
But, for now, I wanted to share a video that Tourism New Zealand put together of the fans in Hobbiton and Rotorua from Day 2 of this event. It really captures some of the genuine emotions people felt at the Hobbiton Movie Set. So, enjoy! Oh and you can watch fans watch the new trailer than you can see too in a couple of days.
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