Photo: Courtesy Sundance Film Festival
Photo: Courtesy Sundance Film Festival

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.Elijah Wood in I don't feel at home in this world anymore

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.

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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.

Film 78/52 features Elijah Wood

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.”

Not to sound as alarmist as Fredegar Bolger rousing the Hobbit-folk in the wee hours of a peaceful Shire morning, but perhaps the time has come for fans of Howard Shore’s scores to sit up and reconcile themselves to a very dismaying possibility – that the unheard music of Middle-earth might well in fact never be heard.

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It’s Earl, your soundtrack-obsessed TORn-staffer, and the reason I’m venturing to make this statement is because of the recently announced Limited Collector’s Edition of the movies, which makes it almost excruciatingly clear that the Warner Bros studio is so very, very far removed from knowing what fans really, truly want, and are willing to pay for.

Continue reading “Awake! Fear! Fire! Foes! or What Does the Limited Collector’s Edition Portend for the Unheard Music of Middle-earth?”

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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.) Continue reading “HobbitCon 4 – a merry meeting!”

 

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Today, Sir Peter Jackson turned 54 years old! We here at TORN hope he had a most wonderful day and wish him many happy returns. (May the hair on his toes never fall out!)

Thank you, Peter, for all you’ve gifted us with – from the very first online preview for The Lord of the Rings to the Extended Cut of The Battle of the Five Armies. May the coming year, and those after, be most prosperous for you. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Peter Jackson!”

More from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies World Premiere in London. Staffer greendragon had the chance to sit down with Richard Armitage, and talk about finally seeing the third film, how playing Thorin helped him when he returned to the stage last Summer, to play John Proctor in The Crucible; and how he hopes to join us all at The One Last Party next February!  (Tickets are available until Jan 18th, and we are over half way there to our goal! See all the perks available at the campaign page, here.)

 

 

Join us in Los Angeles in February at The One Last Party

one last party logo We’re hosting a Party of Special Magnificence next February — a toast to all SIX movies, both LOTR trilogy and The Hobbit.

Visit our Indiegogo campaign page to grab your tickets and help make it happen — so we can all celebrate Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth movies together!