Wednesday, October 23, 2013


A recent Arts & Life section of The National (the Abu Dhabi news publication):

All images taken from The National and their Digital Edition paper



So cool.

"Likes to shoot a scene 100 times from 100 different angles."  Cool.

"Piddling little project.Lol.  Talking straight, I see.  Talking complete truth?  No one knows...

Djinn premieres in two days at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

THAS: 'Dancing Men and Camera' ("I Like to Call This One...")

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(From 'Lifeforce')

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


We've got a premiere date, folks: Hooper's newest film, the Arabic-language, UAE-financed, Middle Eastern Gulf world horror film Djinn will premiere at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which runs from October 24th through November 2nd.

In celebration, here is a master post of all official promotional material currently released for the film.

Article released in conjunction with the October 1st Abu Dhabi Film Festival press conference (by the UAE news publication The National, which shares the parent company Abu Dhabi Media with Image Nation, the production company behind DJINN):

Fresh-off-the-press October 2nd press release:

"Djinn will premiere at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on October 25, followed by a theatrical release in time for Halloween on October 31.


Djinn will be released to the public on October 31 at selected theatres across the UAE and the G.C.C, with special midnight screenings for Djinn fans on October 30."

Djinn was of course plagued by rumors about its release delays, which you can read about in numerous articles spanning from January 2012, when the first footage - an early sales trailer - of the film was leaked online (and still manages to be heavily disseminated, despite there being two much better trailers out there now...).

Also, many lines in articles have been written referencing the three years this release has been in wait.  Yes, this is true, but it's also a little misleading.  A quick timeline: Djinn was announced as part of Image Nation's production slate at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival (thus the three year wait); Tobe Hooper was announced as the director of the film in February 2011 and the film only went into production in March 2011; boasting about an initial cut being done at the end of the 2011 summer brought about the idea of it coming sooner rather than later, while rumbling about it getting a big premiere at the Dubai Film Festival in December 2011 managed only to fizzle out when it didn't appear (it did have an alleged test screening in London that December 2011); following that, the sales trailer leaked in January 2012 amidst rumors of the film being buried by the UAE government, that rumor being quickly denied by heads of Image Nation while putting forth a release plan of Summer 2012; and thus the delays began when Summer 2012 did not happen; amidst more articles suggesting interference and reluctance to release the film, an interview had Image Nation hushing the rumors by stating a Spring 2013 release; Spring 2013 was another false take and that pretty much gets us up to date.

So less three years, more like two years of delays and waiting, with a rushed December 2011 premiere seeming more far-fetched in hindsight, though still not much explanation for the push back from a 2012 release (Hooper test screened it in the Spring of 2012 in Los Angeles, as he talks about in this interview).  Allegedly it was just some - perhaps wise - post-production hemming and hawing.  For the record, the film changed musical scorers sometime in the last year from Nicholas Pike to BC Smith, and a second editor, Mark Stevens, was brought in.

But moving on...


Here is the, essentially, first official trailer to the film.  Please don't watch the less-than-stellar promo trailer that's for some reason still being promoted in major news publication articles such as this one from yesterday (I of course still think it looks good from whatever trailer it is).


Poster taken from IMDb


 Stills from IMDb
  Stills from IMDb
 Stills from IMDb

Abu Dhabi Film Festival Program Guide Snippet

Sales Company Fortissimo Films Newsletter Snippet

I don't know if I'm going to cover in any way the premiere and any press and reviews coming out of there.  This isn't a tabloid rag, or Variety, after all.  The next important business to come is a US release, which hopefully is not too distant and unforeseeable an event.

THAS: 'Eggshells' Is...

Eggshells is play.

Eggshells is a girl in the flatbed of her parents' truck.

Eggshells is inexhaustible fascinations, bold formal style, and filmic invention.  Yes, I love Eggshells now.

Eggshells is social portrait, despite my scurrilous bid to devalue the uncomplicated but sincere.  Eggshells is buoyant and wide-eyed.  Eggshells is culturally inquisitive.  Eggshells is surfeit of anthropological warmth, but with the infusion of Hooper's bracing formal irony found in his incessant formalist play.

Eggshells is Hooper being not want for staunch formalist daring in his first feature film out, his supposed free-wheeling hippie documentary: see him fold in time and maturity level with just the use of park benches, the camera, and a liberal use of sarcastic whip-pan.

Eggshells is truly hybrid: catching the real vérité world, catching an artistic and heightened rendering of it.

Eggshells is the story of a liberated girl... somewhat oblivious.

Eggshells is political, despite my cantankerous bid to devalue the elementary but spirited.

Eggshells is magic roaming forces.

Eggshells is a regimented or ritualistic moving camera.  This can be seen in what one can say is Hooper's first clearly blocked narrative scene of his feature film career, depicted below, involving the restless and awkward "Ben Skavorcik" [sp?] maneuvering about for a place he finds comfortable.  Hooper was Hooper right out of the gate, being the point I'm trying to make:


Eggshells is our anti-hippie, Ben Skavorcik (again, there's no spelling for this name anywhere, so I'm constantly making up the spelling).

Eggshells is an enchanting, magical "gusting wind" conjuration (I choose not to picture the moment, for when you see it and its careful, rigid construction, you'll automatically get the idea that a stunning rigor and gentle realist artistry lies behind the filmmaker who summoned such a moment), a flying paper airplane reverie, and the war-colored explosion of the seemingly innocent plaything.  And the boy who tries to put it out with a little milk.

I do love Eggshells now.  It is endlessly inventive thus pleasurable, and not as disjointed as I thought, and truly inexhaustible a thing of play and formal ideas.  Its sociological interests and emotional throughlines become clear when finally getting a foothold on the characters and how they - their beliefs, their activities, their relationships - contrast and represent types and psychologies, representations enhanced by Hooper's simultaneously poignant and idea-driven cinema. With its fond fascination alongside its avant-garde segues of pleasure, alongside its exacting cinematic set pieces, it's like a warm, laid-back blanket made out of M.C. Escher lithographs.

Eggshells is this remarkably kinetic scene of a communal house at daybreak that beats Scorsese in the 1990s by a few decades.

... edited in classic, jagged Texas Chain Saw fashion...

Eggshells is a young and fresh-faced Kim Henkel.  Centrally placed, the future Hollywood writing partner as charismatic but sad, conflicted image of youth, his growing insecurity the core of the picture.

Eggshells is the idealism and adventurousness and sincerity of youth.

Eggshells is revealing the people doing what they do.  An impromptu and extempore kazoo performance becomes an intrinsic tour de force, where phenomenological magnitude is proffered to this blithe and unthinking one-piece ensemble, power given to the coded "frivolous activity," created through Hooper's regal cinema; where a performance of pure pastime suddenly commands space - collapses and symphonizes it - as if of the note of a philharmonic orchestra:

The kazooer kazooes, and the writer writes.  

People doing what they do.  The people, all, exist, powerfully.  Hooper does, and he does - is such an active "maker" of cinema - for much human sakes, and so notable is this in Eggshells.

Eggshells is animation.  Eggshells is this is a house.

Eggshells is magic smoke being.

Eggshells is a basement to a secret, gel-colored world.

Eggshells is a talky toilet.

Eggshells is magic-making.

Eggshells is people trying.  "What is wrong with this country?  Were they really bayoneted?"

Eggshells is David, Amy's shameless, work-averse, dandy boyfriend, who still will fight Amy on discussions of politics because, like said, he's shameless (endearingly so).

Eggshells is let's not forget Ben Skavorcik, his creepy artist's room, his weird self-portrait.

Eggshells is this scene.  Damn, this scene.


Eggshells is the half of the narrative given over to the timid boy living with them but never acknowledged.  The "Ben Skaborcik" (as I've been erroneously referring to him as, although he's never named), being written of mockingly by carefree hippies, but really hoping to take part and engage in the world in some way of his own. He struggles just as our main protagonist hippies do.

Eggshells is a surprising ode to the meek, in a film about the liberated.

Eggshells is dreaming of balloons.

Eggshells is the bubble scene.

Eggshells is my hero David.  Eggshells is our most unapologetically fey male love interest.

Eggshells is the true creative spirit.  Here I am imposing some idea of Hooper as some demure, delicate artiste, but it turns out he can roll with the hippie-dippiest of them when the occasion arises.  "Let's paint some walls for my movie, guys!  Everyone take off your clothes!"

Eggshells is accumulating balloons of happiness.

Eggshells is a rather incisive examination of the marriage choice.

Eggshells is yellow dog, god damn Yellow dog!

Eggshells is two couples.

Eggshells is a should-have-been-better-put-together climactic wedding scene.

Eggshells is such creativity and social purposes and artistic purposes at a joined-together head.