Posts Tagged ‘Vincenzo Natali’

Richard talks Ken Russell and “The Devils” on The Projection Booth podcast!

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 9.16.11 AMFrom The Projection Booth’s website:

Episode 168: The Devils

Special Guest: Richard CrouseIt’s fun for the whole family as we talk about Ken Russell’s controversial 1971 film “The Devils”. Censored for over 40 years because of content, “The Devils” tells the tale of Urbain Grandier – the priest of Loudun, France who in 1634 was persecuted through an unholy mix of Church, State and Sex.

Joining us is special guest co-host filmmaker Vincenzo Natali.

Our special guest this week is film critic/author Richard Crouse discussing his book “Raising Hell: Ken Russell and the Unmaking of the Devils.”

HALLOWEEN SPOOKTACULAR DAY 16! SPLICE: 3 ½ STARS. “a cross B/T Yul Brenner and a slug.”

127They grow up so quickly, don’t they? One day they are slimy bipedal creatures who look like a cross between Yul Brenner and a slug, the next they are flesh eating, underwater breathing alien looking supermodel types. At least that’s the way it is in “Splice,” a new sci fi thriller starring Sarah Polley and Oscar winner Adrien Brody, about a creature who goes from newborn to troubled teen in a matter of weeks.

Clive (Brody) and Elsa (Polley) are bio chemists (and boyfriend and girlfriend) who develop a splicing technology which binds the DNA from multiple animals to create new life and, possibly, cures for everything from Parkinson’s to cancer. It’s the medical breakthrough of the century. The next logical step is to fuse human and animal DNA but despite their success in the lab, their employers, the evil conglomerate Newstead Pharma, is wary of the publicity such a radical step would incur. Secretly the pair go rogue, continue their experiments, and give “birth” to a new life form they dub Dren (that’s “nerd” backwards), a tailed creature resembling a bald dinosaur. Clive, conflicted by the ethical and moral issues of cloning, wants to kill the creature but Elsa won’t have it. “Human cloning is illegal,” she says, “but this won’t be entirely human.” Dren develops at a rapid pace, changing from unrecognizable organism to something akin to a humanoid kangaroo. Soon though problems arise. The creature becomes Daddy’s little… whatever, leaving Elsa to deal with Dren’s difficult puberty.

Like the hybrid creature at the center of the action “Splice” is a cross of genres—part b-movie sci fi and part body horror à la David Cronenberg. Liberally mixing “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” “Frankenstein” and “The Brood,” “Splice” examines ideas of life and death, of playing God, of what is human (and what is not) and even touches on Woody Allen style relationships. There are plenty of moral concepts to chew on, many ruminations to be had on what it is to be human, but only if you look past the b-movie thrills director Vincenzo Natali slathers on with a trowel.

Splice goes places that bigger budget science fiction wouldn’t dare to tread. This isn’t the enviro-friendly sci fi of James Cameron or the space opera of George Lucas. No, this has more in common with the exploitation films of Roger Corman. There’s an icky creature, some scientist sexy time and loads of crazy science. Corman might not have been as successful at layering in the love, jealousy and real human emotions Natali heaps on his characters but I think the b-movie king would approve of “Splice’s” overall tone. It’s doesn’t skimp on the blood and guts but it’s funnier than you think it is going to be, wilder than expected—Sarah Polley’s maternal instincts towards Dren are right out of “Mommie Dearest”—and takes several unexpected twists and turns.

“Splice” is giddy good fun, the rare sci fi flick that revels in its b-movie roots while also offering up something to think about over a beaker of coffee afterward.

A Star Wars-free list of sci-fi’s best flicks In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA June 04, 2010

10thvictim1Director Vincenzo Natali doesn’t just make sci-fi movies, he’s also a fan.

“True science fiction is about ideas. It’s a mirror that reflects on the present,” he says.

His latest film, Splice, starring Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody as scientists who create a mutant child — think Frankenstein spliced with Mommie Dearest — has echoes of a recent news story about scientists creating the first self-replicating synthetic life form.

“It’s amazing how the science evolved parallel with the script,” he says.

So who better to recommend a list of must-see sci-fi flicks? “I could mention 2001, Star Wars and The Matrix, but we’ve all been there,” he says, adding “I think there are some very worthy science fiction films that aren’t so well known.”

First on his list is Stalker, from master director Andrei Tarkovsky.

“It’s about a zone in Russia that may have had some kind of alien visitation and is highly classified. There are very special people called stalkers who illegally enter the zone and can take you to a place where your wishes can come true.

“No other movie ever made is quite like it. It is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen.”

Next up is The 10th Victim, a futuristic Marcello Mastroianni movie about a deadly televised game called The Big Hunt which becomes a replacement for all conflict on Earth, but at what cost?

“An Italian film made in the ’60s but way ahead of its time,” he says.

“It’s a satirical comedy, absolutely brilliantly made, filled with cool futuristic Italian design and it’s really funny. I cannot recommend it enough.”

Third is the animated La Planète Sauvage. “It takes place on a planet where humans are pets for a race of large aliens. It’s a kind of a Spartacus story against the aliens. Totally outrageous and very, very ’70s.”

In the fourth spot is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the Jim Carrey movie Natali says is “not as well known as it deserves to be.”

“Definitely a film about ideas and definitely also a science fiction film. A very emotional film; a masterpiece.”

Lastly, it’s a double bill from Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku.

Battle Royale, Natali says, is “outrageously violent” while The Green Slime is “total cheese but actually predates Alien as a story of a spaceship that is infected by an alien life form. It’s lots of fun.”