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 this date in 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein Africa. Over his long lifetime, he delighted readers and fans world-wide with his writings including essays, children’s books and his beloved novels, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, that center around a race of short, down-to-earth creatures who live, of all places, in (very nice) holes in the ground.
Today, TORn joins millions of fans worldwide in celebrating Tolkien’s birthday. If you have the time and the inclination, you may want to join other fans gathering at local pubs where members of the Tolkien Society will be raising a glass and toasting: “The Professor!” If you’d like to learn more about the annual January third tradition, or find a local gathering near you, visit the Tolkien Society’s Tolkien Birthday Toast 2017 page here. Or instead, you may just want to curl up with a favorite Tolkien story or poem and toast him quietly with a nice cup of tea.
However you decide to celebrate, join us in wishing a happy birthday to “The Professor,” who’s life’s work has come to mean so much to us. Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien!
From the moment movie goers first experienced Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring, they couldn’t stop talking about every little detail no matter how small or obscure. In December 2001, one of TORn’s very brave Discussion Board members began collecting these observations on the LotR Movie Discussion Boardand put them into a list. Very soon after, our brave collector disappeared leaving all of these wonderful observations floating loose in Wilderland!
Early in 2002, and being a chronic hoarder, I adopted the abandoned list and put out the word to the Movie Discussion Board that the collection was on again and to bring forth whatever they saw or heard that they took special note of and it would be added to the list. Here are some examples of observations:
-At the beginning of the Battle of the Last Alliance, Elendil is carrying Narsil upright before him (a theme repeated throughout the film).
-Gil-galad is wearing armour with the insignia of the House of Gil-galad on his chest!
-Merry tosses his apple to Aragorn when ready to swordplay with Boromir.
The floodgates opened and the list quickly grew to over 700 observations that stood out to us as poignant, book-related, or so incredibly trivial it will make your eyes roll in disbelief. Well, we’re geeks… what’d you expect? Every few weeks during the film’s run, I put out a call for more or collect observations from Members’ posts! The challenging part was sorting out duplications (or similar observation), putting everything in chronological order and in filmic chapters. I also did a little editing when needed 😉 Then… with the release of the extended dvd…I added those observations and marked each one with double asterisks to highlight them. Believe it or not, we’re always finding more!! Here’s an example of the results:
1. When the New Line logo appears, you can hear the same ringing sound the One Ring makes throughout the film!
2. In the film and soundtrack there are chapter titles from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit are worked into story – From the soundtrack: “The Shadow of the Past”; “The Treason of Isengard”; “The Black Rider”; “A Knife in the Dark”; “Flight to the Ford”; “Many Meetings”; “The Council of Elrond”; “The Ring Goes South”; “A Journey in the Dark”; “The Great River”; “Amon Hen”; “The Breaking of the Fellowship”–From the film: “A Long-Expected Party”; “Shortcut to Mushrooms”; “The Bridge of Khazad-dûm”; “Lothlórien”; “Mount Doom”; “Strider”; shows the “Sign of the Prancing Pony”–and From The Hobbit; “Riddles in the Dark”; “Not at Home”; “Concerning Hobbits.”
3. The three Ring-bearers at the beginning of the film are the ORIGINAL three (i.e. Galadriel, Gil-galad and Cirdan)
4. When Galadriel holds up her hand wearing Nenya in the prologue, the faint wrinkles on her hands disappear, and they become younger.
5. Only the Elves wear their Rings, and these Rings are not taken by Sauron [ref: The Silmarillion]; all the Elves wear their rings on the middle finger while Sauron wears his Ring on the Finger of Ego, the Index Finger; The Dwarves inspect their rings then hold their Rings away from them; the Men keep their rings close to them. They are the only group which stares straight ahead like Zombies.
One of the changes I made to the original list was that nothing of a nit-picky or negative sort would be added. Thinking of everything Peter Jackson and the hundreds of people who made these films had gone through to create three movies at one time, I just didn’t think it was right. Those observations were for others’ lists.
Because these lists are still active and growing all the time, feel free to share your own observations. Find me on the Boards where you can also find all of these links and more in the footer of my posts on The One Ring Forums Message Boards.
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!
TheOneRing.net would like to wish a very happy 92nd birthday to Christopher Tolkien. Thanks to Christopher, Tolkien fans around the world have been able to enjoy the works of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien, beyond what lies between the covers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The devotion, integrity, and high standards he’s exhibited in bringing us more of his father’s writings are recognized and appreciated by our staff and our readers. Many happy returns of the day!
Exciting news for Tolkien fans today as we get further details on the upcoming Tolkien biopic from the Hollywood Reporter. Based on the HR headline, the title is ‘Middle Earth.’ Is that a bit of Hollywood contextual word play, or do they not realize the proper spelling would be Middle-earth? Time will tell.
The film will be directed by James Strong (Hey, he’s directed some Doctor Who episodes) and produced by LOTR trilogy alumni Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. The script will be written by Angus Fletcher.
Are you excited for this new film? Scared as to what Hollywood might ‘change’ in an already extraordinary life story? Sound off in the comments below!
Penned by Angus Fletcher, the film will chart the tumultuous events that inspired him to pen ‘Hobbit’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogies.
James Strong is heading to Middle Earth.
The British director of Broadchurch, Gracepoint and Downton Abbey will helm the biopic about author J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The film — featuring a script by Angus Fletcher, based on six years of interviews and archival research — will chart the tumultuous events that inspired him to pen Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies: when war broke out in 1914, disrupting his Oxford life with his wife Edith Bratt, Tolkien embarked on four years of battle, hardship, and new friendships, which served to shape his imagination and start him on the path to Middle Earth.
It looks like audiences will get to see a film about the origins of Middle-earth in a new film called “Middle Earth.” More on the name in a moment.
The Hollywood Reporter announced this morning the film will chart “the tumultuous events” that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien to write “The Hobbit,” and “The Lord of the Rings,” trilogy. (Actually the article said “trilogies,” but there is only one trilogy, as you know.) It is to be directed by James Strong who might be most easily recognizable as the director of two episodes of “Downton Abbey,” with the films “United,” with episodes of “Dr. Who,” as well.
The film also pairs two of the men who played a big role in Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy with New Line Cinema Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne. They were the gentlemen who helped get those movies made when most of Hollywood wouldn’t touch them. Later they had a falling out with Jackson and eventually New Line collapsed and was swallowed by Warner Bros.
Shaye and Lynee will produce the new film through their Unique Features with Rachael Horovitz. Strong is currently directing the AMC/ITV miniseries “Liar,” according to the article.
Now, about that name. J.R.R. Tolkien distinctly named his created world “Middle-earth” not “Middle Earth.” If you think that isn’t a big deal, remember he was a professor of languages and literature who worked on the dictionary and created the whole thing in the first place because he was a linguist who was inventing languages.
So while it is easy to forgive a fan using Middle-earth as two words with capital letters, not so much in movie titles. Warner Bros., for example, while taking creative license with “The Hobbit,” got it right virtually every, single, time. To Tolkien, the subject of the biography, language matters.
And, to reverse things, nobody would excuse a title about the place “San-francisco” and not find it odd.
Making a biography about Tolkien, supposedly telling the story of his life, and getting that detail wrong in the title could be a bad sign.
On the other hand, this could be just a simple oversight by The Hollywood Reporter writer, but hey, the story also included a picture of Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins instead a picture of, you know, The Professor, so a mistake sounds pretty reasonable. That and stating that Tolkien had two trilogies makes it seem as least possible as a writer’s error. However, most of the info sounds like it was taken from a press release, which would prominently feature a title.
In any case, fans have more Tolkien and more about the creation of Middle-earth to look forward to.
If you haven’t read “J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography,” by Humpfrey Carpenter, it is essential. And, “Tolkien and the Great War,” by John Garth, is also excellent and covers the ground the film will attempt to cover.
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.
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