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Exclusive Interview: Special effects artist Dan Martin talks Free Fire

With new Ben Wheatley movie Free Fire on release this week, Sean Wilson chats to one of the director’s closest collaborators Dan Martin about the art of great practical effects…

Blasting onto screens in a hail of gunfire, mismatched accents and some choice 1970s costumes, Free Fire is the riotously entertaining new black comedy from Ben Wheatley, director of Kill List, Sightseers and High-Rise. Ahead of the movie’s release we caught up with veteran effects designer Dan Martin, a regular partner of Wheatley’s who has also worked on the likes of The Human Centipede, to talk about the nature of their collaboration and the secrets to a great, gory, crowd-pleasing practical effect.

So Dan, make-up artists and special effects technicians are some of the most important, albeit unseen, magicians at work in our favourite movies. As one yourself, how do you help pull an audience even further
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Adam Nayman on the Confusion and Carnage of Ben Wheatley

A mainstay of both Cinema Scope and Reverse Shot (not to mention plenty of other publications), Adam Nayman is one of our sharpest film critics. This is evidenced in his previous book, It Doesn’t Suck, a thorough defense of Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls that only solidified the film maudit as something of a modern classic. He’s now turned his attention to another divisive figure with Ben Wheatley: Confusion and Carnage. While Nayman has shown in much of his writing a skepticism towards the lionization of certain genre directors in Internet circles, he makes a compelling case for the still yet-to-quite-breakthrough Wheatley as a wholly intelligent filmmaker whose ideas transcend Tumblr screencaps. He sat down with us to discuss his new book, Wheatley, and other issues within film culture.

The Film Stage: In comparison to your last book, It Doesn’t Suck, do you think this was a bigger or smaller task?
See full article at The Film Stage »

Film Review: ‘The Ghoul’

Film Review: ‘The Ghoul’
What if a crime scene appeared to suggest that a pair of bodies had continued to move after being fatally shot in the head? That’s the premise of British actor-turned-director Gareth Tunley’s debut “The Ghoul,” a haunting psychological drama that initially comes on like a down-to-earth cop mystery that may or may not have a logical explanation, but soon takes a left turn into stranger territory. Strong reactions out of early U.K. fest screenings for the yet-to-be-acquired title — given an additional profile boost by the attachment of Ben Wheatley as executive producer — suggest a bid for a wider audience could reap rewards for an enterprising distributor.

A set of interconnected writers and performers, mutually drawn to the dark or absurd, are currently having a moment in British film. They include multi-hyphenate Alice Lowe, whose directorial debut “Prevenge” recently opened Critics’ Week at Venice, and Steve Oram, Lowe
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'Kill List' director Ben Wheatley to helm 'Doctor Who' episodes

Kill List's Ben Wheatley is to direct two episodes of Doctor Who.

The acclaimed filmmaker will helm the first two instalments of the BBC sci-fi drama's eighth series, Screen Daily reports.

> Ben Wheatley interview: A Field in England, Kill List, Sightseers

Series eight - to air in 2014 - will be the first to feature Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, with the Thick of It star replacing current lead Matt Smith in the show's 2013 Christmas special.

"I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who," said Wheatley. "I've been a fan since childhood.

"I'm really looking forward to working with Peter Capaldi and finding out where Steven Moffat is planning to take the new Doctor."

Wheatley's past credits include 2012's Sightseers and episodes of Ideal and The Wrong Door.

He most recently helmed psychedelic civil-war film
See full article at Digital Spy - TV news »

Ben Wheatley to direct Doctor Who

  • ScreenDaily
Ben Wheatley to direct Doctor Who
Exclusive: Kill List and Sightseers director will direct the first two episodes in the new series of Doctor Who.

Ben Wheatley will direct the first two episodes of BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who.

The director, known for his unsettling, macabre and darkly-comic style in films such as Sightseers and Kill List, confirmed the news to ScreenDaily.

Wheatley will direct the episodes for series eight through December and into the new year for transmission in autumn 2014.

It will see the filmmaker direct Peter Capaldi, the Thick of It star who was confirmed in August to take the role from outgoing Matt Smith.

“I am very excited and honoured to be asked to direct the first two episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan since childhood (Tom Baker is my Doctor if you are asking),” Wheatley told ScreenDaily.

“I’ve been watching the current run of Doctor who with my son and have
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Ben Wheatley: 'I don't think I'll ever be a Hollywood guy'

The far out British director is following Sightseers with a micro-budget psychedelic civil war-era head trip. But don't rule him out of having a crack at Spider-Man one day

For its American release in May, the poster for Ben Wheatley's last film – the brutal caravan odyssey Sightseers – acquired a few extra elements. The UK version featured the Lake District's Bonnie and Clyde standing in a field. The Us poster added an axe. And some blood. And a corpse. And a caravan on fire. Just to be sure you got the message.

Wheatley's films themselves are a little more subtle, but the fact remains they tend to involve people doing horrid things to each other, the violence laced with extremely uncomfortable comedy. Sightseers was preceded by the nasty-funny Down Terrace and gripping hitman horror Kill List. Although Wheatley's uniquely effective style is often pegged as being typically English, he's attracted
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

DVD Review - Sightseers (2012)

Sightseers, 2012.

Directed by Ben Wheatley.

Starring Steve Oram and Alice Lowe.

Synopsis:

A couple set out on a dream journey across the British isles in a caravan, but it doesn't take long for the dream to fade.

When I watched Ben Wheatley's second feature film Kill List, I couldn't help but recall Shane Meadows' Dead Man's Shoes. Both films centered around assassin-like killers who lived within poverty-stricken areas, both were technically shot (primarily) hand-held and both were rooted in Brit-realism. Whereas following Dead Man's Shoes, Meadows continued to explore Brit-realism and drama in the early 80s-set This Is England, it seems Ben Wheatley has veered into comedy territory with Sightseers. With Edgar Wright producing, Wheatley utilises the writing and acting talents of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and The Mighty Boosh regulars Alice Lowe and Steve Oram respectively. Wheatley has moved into a completely different direction that surely shows his flexibility and diverse skill-set.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Blu-ray Review: Grisly ‘Kill List’ Follows Hit Man Into the Heart of Darkness

Chicago – Graphic violence is a double-edged sword. It can shock viewers into acknowledging the tragic nature of carnage so often belittled in mainstream cinema, yet it can also repel viewers straight out of the theater before the end credits roll. Ben Wheatley’s “Kill List” is far from the most violent film in recent memory, but its few instances of onscreen bloodshed are unbearably savage.

This makes the film a perfect fit for IFC Midnight, which has specialized in distributing ultra-grisly indies. “Kill List” is one of their better releases this year, but it lacks the emotional and psychological depth of a film like Justin Kurzel’s “The Snowtown Murders.” Whereas Kurzel’s fact-based tale was about people who seemed frighteningly human, Wheatley’s film centers on a group of characters so witless that audiences may find it difficult to become involved in their plight. “Kill List” is entertaining enough
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Trailer, synopsis, still and director interview for horror film Kill List

An Assassin stumbles across a ritualistic cult in writer-director Ben Wheatley's upcoming horror film Kill List.

It will hit cinema screens on September 2, via Optimum Releasing. The story sees ex-soldier turned contract killer Jay pressured by his partner Gal into taking a new assignment, eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred. As they descend into the dark and disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again - his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.

In his first starring role, Neil Maskell plays Jay. His previous credits include It's All Gone Pete Tong, Basic Instinct 2, Atonement and The Football Factory. Michael Smiley (Burke and Hare, The Other Boleyn Girl) plays Gal, MyAnna Buring (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, The Descent, Lesbian Vampire Killers) is Shel and - in her first major film role - Emma Fryer plays Fiona.
See full article at The Geek Files »

IFC Acquires ‘Kill List’

IFC Midnight purchased the North American rights of horror film “Kill List,” an entry from the SXFantastic midnight series at SXSW. The film was directed by Ben Wheatley (“Ideal,” “The Wrong Door”). It starred Neil Maskell (“Basic Instinct 2,” “Atonement”), Michael Smiley (“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” “The Other Boleyn Girl”) and MyAnna Buring (“The Descent,” “Vampire Killers”). Here is the official synopsis: “Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer, Jay, is pressured by his partner, Gal, into taking a new assignment. As they descend into the dark, disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again – his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.” “Our team was blown away by ‘Kill List,’” said Sundance Selects/IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring to The Hollywood Reporter. “It is relentless, stylish, brilliantly directed journey
See full article at LRM Online »

‘Down Terrace’ is sketchy and inconsistent throughout.

Down Terrace

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Written by Robin Hill & Ben Wheatley

UK, 2009

A good movie that could very easily have been a great one, Down Terrace, a very black comedy with a dash of arthouse ambition, has all the ingredients necessary for a truly distinctive feature but bungles the proportions, making for a peculiar viewing experience – one worth partaking in, provided a strong inclination towards gallows humor.

Writer-director Ben Wheatley is already somewhat of a commodity in his native UK thanks to a BBC comedy series he created, The Wrong Door, and his comedic pedigree certainly shows through here. Terrace, his first feature, revolves around a clan of two-bit criminals whose professional ties might actually be stronger than their blood ties. Father Bill (Robert Hill) and son Karl (Robin Hill, Robert’s real-life son and the film’s co-writer) are fresh off of a stint in the clink, and
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Alan Clarke and Alkaseltzer - A Conversation with Down Terrace's Ben Wheatley

Winning accolades and fans across the festival circuit for the past year, and comparisons to material as far and wide as Ken Loach and The Sopranos (although in all fairness it is neither of those things, more like deader-than-deadpan Coen Brothers absurdity) Down Terrace has been playing in limited release for a month, and is opening in Canada commercially at the Carlton Theatre in Toronto (before expanding out to Vancouver) November 12th.  I have been shamelessly been sitting on a lengthy chat with writer/director Ben Wheatley while the film played at the Fantasia Film Festival back in July.  He left his copy of Sight & Sound behind as he took off to the airport after our conversation, which I scored (snack-cake!) but don't tell him.  A prolific advertisement and TV director, he is as film literate and verbose has one would expect from a genre-mashing drama/comedy/gangster picture with literate and verbose characters.
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Hey Toronto! Ben Wheatley's Award Winning Down Terrace Opens November 12th!

[Here begins a trio of Toronto-centric posts and, yes, I apologize to those of you who don't live here.]

Fans of bleaker than bleak comedy in Canada, give a nice round of applause to Evokative Films because they're about to give Ben Wheatley's award winning black comedy Down Terrace a theatrical release on these shores. Here's the official word:

Montreal, Thursday October 21st, 2010 - After screenings at the Fantasia and Vancouver International Film Festivals, Down Terrace will be opening at the Carlton Theatre in Toronto on November 12th. This is the first English-speaking film release for Evokative Films, having concentrated its releases on International, subtitled films over the last two years.

Father and son Bill and Karl have just been released from jail, but all is not well at Down Terrace. Patriarchs of a small crime family, their business is plagued with infighting: Karl has had more than he can take of his old man's philosophizing and preaching; Bill thinks Karl's dedication to the family is seriously compromised
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Fantasia 2010: Days 2 and 3

This year’s Fantasia is taking a while to get off the ground horror-wise, and it wasn’t until the second evening of the festival that we saw the first real horror related film of this year’s program, the documentary Herschell Gordon Lewis - The Godfather of Gore (review here).

The movie was thoroughly entertaining, containing tons of stories straight from Herschell, his collaborators, and high profile fans such as John Waters and Joe Bob Briggs. The screening was attended by the filmmaking team, Jimmy Maslon, Mike Vraney, and the always hilarious and informative Frank Henenlotter. The man himself, H.G. Lewis was also on hand to answer questions, and lead the Fantasia audience through a rollicking rendition of the 2000 Maniacs theme song! Yeeeeee-Haw!

Saturday was the first of many full-day movie watching sessions, and included the Greek zombie apocalypse flick Evil in the Time of Heroes, dysfunctional British family crime comedy Down Terrace,
See full article at Dread Central »

Watson & Oliver: the female comedy double act to watch in 2010?

The BBC rates them enough to put them straight on a terrestrial channel – and Robert Popper's involvement is a good sign

When they used their final, slightly ridiculous, Mamma Mia pastiche to put an end to their double act for good, French and Saunders left some pretty big shoes to fill. But perhaps those shoes won't stay vacant for long.

Yesterday the BBC announced the commission of a comedy pilot for relative newcomers Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver, mixing live and pre-recorded sketches with "a host of up-and-coming and well-known comedy talent". With French And Saunders off the scene - and Mel And Sue on a sabbatical to allow Sue Perkins to make 45 different smug programmes about food - could Watson & Oliver be emerging as the new go-to female comedy double act?

It's early days yet. You may not have seen much of Watson & Oliver in the past, unless you saw the movie Angus,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

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