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.”
John Hurt, famous for a number of roles but unforgettable as the voice of Aragorn in Ralph Bakshi’s “The Lord of the Rings,” has died. He was 77.
For many who love Tolkien’s works, the animated LOTR was the serious animated treatment of the masterpiece of J.R.R. Tolkien that was also frustrating because it was meant to have a sequel and was never properly finished. Hurt played Strider turned Aragorn as perhaps the most recognizable voice in the cast. Director Ralph Bakshi was left telling only part of the story but Hurt’s Aragorn, was majestic and powerful.
Hurt shines in the voice role, playing a confident Aragorn, that before the live action LOTR films were announced, was for a generation, the embodiment of the hero who would return as King.
Hurt’s career was long and plentiful with over 200 film credits to his name. He is best known for his outstanding turn as John Merrick, the title character in “The Elephant Man.” Audiences not familiar with that Oscar-nominated performance as well as his also nominated work in “Midnight Express,” will remember him for his work in the first two Harry Potter films as wandsman Garrick Ollivander. He also has an all-time iconic performance in “Alien,” where he was the first to have his chest burst, unleashing space horror on popular culture. He later did a parody of himself in “Spaceballs.”
Very sad to hear of John Hurt's passing. It was such an honor to have watched you work, sir.
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.
It really was the best of times. Not just the opening night of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (or whenever you saw the film for the first time). What about when you first found out that Lord of the Rings films were being made? Maybe, like staffer Garfeimao, it prompted you to start searching the internet and you found TORn. Perhaps, like staffer Magpie, you had been longing for something different and/or better than the animated movies (no matter how sentimental and quaint they seem now). Perhaps you were a lifelong fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, and had misgivings like deej and JPB. For me, it was all of the above!
Please enjoy reading the memories and impressions of some of our core staff, and share your own memories of how you learned of the LOTR movie, how you found TheOneRing.net and/or what your first impressions of FOTR were, either in the comments section, or on our Lord of the Rings Movie discussion forum.
Due to the holidays, we’ll be continuing our stories related to the 15-year anniversary of the release of FOTR into this week. No series about The Fellowship of the Ring would be complete without mentioning the amazing music of Howard Shore and some of the talented people who brought it to life.
From the minute the screen lit up to the end of the credits, Shore’s Oscar-winning score held us spellbound. As the music accompanied the action of the movie, unique themes for the cultures of Middle-earth, even The One Ring itself, wove themselves through the movie seamlessly. Haunting solos and full-voiced choirs added both poignancy and excitement to the film. If you’re like me, you literally wore out your first CD of the score! Fortunately, there were a number of opportunities to acquire other editions such as The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring Complete Recordings.
As part of the celebrations of the fifteenth anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Tourism New Zealand has launched a new way to explore the country that has become, for many, the ‘real’ Middle-earth. They tell us:
‘To celebrate New Zealand being the real Middle-earth for 15 years (since the first Lord of the Rings film) we have come up with a new way to take you on an adventure.
Imagine if you travelled the real Middle-earth like a Hobbit – what journey would you take? What if you were an Elf? A Dwarf? A Wizard? ‘Middle-earth travel’ aligns the characters to the NZ experiences they would do, on their New Zealand holiday.
Consumers will take a quiz to discover what character they are, and will receive a personalised message from Peter Jackson saying:
What character they are
Providing them with a customised itinerary through NZ
Providing them with a shareable video of ‘What to pack’ for their journey to Middle-earth’
Many airline companies have sales on around this time of year, so if you’re inspired, maybe 2017 will be the year you make your own Unexpected Journey to Middle-earth? Or at least we can all enjoy pictures from 100% Pure New Zealand, whilst we dream of such a voyage…!
In addition to the many fans that posted their reviews on TORn (see yesterday’s article: 15,084 Reviews and Counting), many of our core staff chimed in with reviews soon after FOTR opened. In this article, we bring you reviews by such well-known names as Xoanon, Tehanu, Quickbeam and Ostadan. All of them capture the magic and excitement that we all experienced 15 years ago.
To begin, one lucky staffer, Tehanu, the envy of all of us, was lucky enough to attend the film’s premier in Wellington, New Zealand. Of course, Tehanu (a.k.a. Erica Challis) is one of TORn’s founders and served as our ‘feet on the ground’ and number one Ringer Spy during filming. Here are some of her impressions from the day:
“I’ve been in Wellington for a day or two and I have to tell you, the town is in a Rings uproar. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. The streets are hung with LOTR banners, everything from the Town Hall to the Evening Post’s headquarters is renamed ‘Middle Earth’ (as is the airport, I believe, though I haven’t seen that myself.) The Rings is on every newspaper, every phone bill, every electricity company billboard, on the ads for Mastercard. There are funny billboards harping on LOTR themes everywhere (“Wellington: Full of orcs, hobbits and elves. …But enough about Parliament…..”). The monster cave troll dominates Courtenay Place from its perch on the awning of the Embassy Theatre, where the plasterers are working round the clock to finish the theatre in time for the Premiere.”
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 isn’t the only news site reporting on the 15th anniversary of the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring this week. Leigh Blickley, Senior Editor at The Huffington Post, takes us on a bit of a walk down memory lane in her article that looks back at the many people and circumstances that came together to produce the fantasy classic.
“Fifteen years ago, Hollywood was abuzz as director Peter Jackson geared up to release the first installment of his screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings. The film series was the talk of the town, considering Tolkien fans were chomping at the bit to see Jackson’s cinematic imagining of Middle-earth. The somewhat unknown filmmaker took on one of the most expensive and ambitious projects in cinema history, and many worried he would flounder in bringing the beloved epic to life.
Well, Jackson delivered something far more incredible than what anyone was expecting.”
We have to agree with you, Leigh! But, we’re not the only ones. Later in the week we’ll take a look a the many reviews of stunned (in a good way) critics and fans alike. In the mean time, you can read the full HuffPost article here.
As hard as it is to believe for many of us, this coming Monday, December 19th, marks the 15th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring opening in theaters. To help celebrate, we’ll be looking back all this week at the news on TORN and other sites from before, during and after the release of this incredible movie that changed many of our lives and that, together with the other two films in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has become a classic.
By this time in 2001, many of us had already purchased our tickets, some for the midnight shows. Many were preparing costumes and/or thinking up excuses not to go into work on the 20th (ahem). A precious few of us had even been lucky enough to have seen the movie before it opened (I wish). But, one thing we all had in common was the thrill and excitement of watching the trailers in the months leading up to the December release.
Re-watching some of the trailers again brought back a tinge of the excitement I felt when I spent hours watching the first trailer, on dial-up no less! Kids, you’ll have to ask your parents to explain. Yes, those were the days. To help all of you revisit that excitement, here’s a gem from 2014 posted by staffer Demosthenese: The ghosts of trailers past: revisiting The Lord of the Rings, complete with TORn staffers’ exclusive frame-by-frame analysis – well worth a re-visit even today.
The first teaser in theaters came out on January 12, 2001 and was only 1 min, 47 seconds long; but what a 1 min and 47 seconds! In it, we see the classic ‘money shot’ of each member of the Fellowship as they walk over the crown of a hill in the wild. Gandalf leads the way and as each of the others follow we see the titles appear: The Fellowship of the Ring – Christmas 2001; The Two Towers – Christmas 2002; The Return of the King – Christmas 2003. The sublime subtlety of The Return of the King title appearing as Aragorn topped the hill was lost on no one who had read the books.
The second trailer was released on May 25th and clocked in at a fulfilling 2 mins, 27 seconds. In it, we learned quite a bit about the One Ring and, oh my goodness, got our first glimpse of *gasp* Sauron! Oh, the rumors and hours of discussion that ensued, not to mention the hubbub caused by seeing Arwen for the first time!
The third trailer, which premiered on television in front of Angel in September, gave us our first, glorious glimpse of The Shire and Bag End. “Fate has chosen him…. a Fellowship will protect him… evil will hunt them ….This Christmas the legend comes to life.” How many of us had that memorized? The other biggie in this trailer was seeing the tip of the fiery foot of the Balrog; que more endless hours of rumors and discussion!
We hope you enjoy watching the trailers again, and taking a walk down memory lane with us this week!
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…)
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