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Category Archives: Andy Burns/Andy B

Audiences will float to Stephen King’s ‘It’ this weekend

It’s a weekend horror fans have been dreading (in a good way) for years, as one of the genre’s greatest icons gets the big screen treatment. How will it perform? No clowning around – here’s our prediction:

Thirty-one years after it arrived on bookshelves, and twenty-seven after scaring up an audience with Tim Curry and an ABS mini-series, Stephen King’s It comes to movie theatres. Anticipation is high, and reviews for the Andy Muschietti-directed film are through the roof. Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise the Clown, who is behind the disappearance of children throughout the town of Derry. Luckily, it appears as though the poor North American performance of The Dark Tower this past August has done nothing to dull the excitement for Stephen King or this classic horror tale. Look for It to arrive in first place with a massive $65 million.

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Exclusive: Geoff Downes talks Yes, Asia, keyboards + more

yes-yestival-20172017 has been a banner year for Yes fans, with the group finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after far too a long a wait. While there has been some band turmoil, with two factions touring at the same time, the legacy group featuring Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood have let their music do the talking, with their Yestival tour that has seen the group on the road with Carl Palmer’s ELP Experience and Todd Rundgren.

Yes, joined this time out with second drummer and Steve Howe’s son Dylan, has been playing music from the first decade of the band’s existence, beginning with their self-titled 1969 debut through 1980’s Drama. As the online videos and fan raves can attest, the band is delivering on all fronts. As Yes make their way north for Canadian dates, and on the heels of the Yes 50 European Tour announcement that also sees the band preparing a new live album and more, I had the chance to talk to keyboardist Geoff Downes about the state of the band, and his own experiences touring with Asia alongside Journey earlier this summer, which came not long after the passing of Asia founding member/bassist/singer John Wetton.

Andy Burns: You guys have been on the road for Yestival. How’s it been going?

Geoff Downes: Yeah, it’s going really good. The audience response has been really nice.

Andy Burns: You were on a pretty extensive tour with Asia opening for Journey before regrouping with Yes. How was that tour for you? I would think a little bittersweet.

Geoff Downes: Yeah, we had lost John (Wetton) earlier this year, and that was a real blow to all of us. We had committed to the tour even while John was ill, we were all hoping that he would make a recovery, but sadly that didn’t happen. I think it was important to go out and do that tour, we had a really great opportunity to get Asia’s music out into the open, and that’s what John would have wanted. We did a nice tribute to John in the show, and we were very well received by the Journey fans. It was just very sad that John wasn’t there to share that with us.

Andy Burns: Bringing Billy Sherwood into the Asia fold as bassist and vocalist, that was at John’s request? Read the rest of this entry

Director Dan Trachtenberg discusses 10 Cloverfield Lane

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Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 saw the Blu-ray/DVD release of the J.J. Abrams-produced 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. Rather than a direct follow-up to the 2008 hit sci-fi/horror film, CLOVERFIELD, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE is a spiritual sequel that relies on vibe, atmosphere and originality to make its connection.

In 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is trapped in a bunker with two strangers, Howard (John Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.) following what may have been a horrible event in the outside world. The three form a makeshift family unit until suspicions about what’s true and what’s not beginning to tear at them.

I had the chance to talk to first-time director Dan Trachtenberg about casting 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, what surprised him most and more. Be warned: there will be SPOILERS in this interview.

Andy Burns: Why was 10 Cloverfield Lane the right film for you to make your big-screen directing debut with?

Dan Trachtenberg: I love movies that combine genres. I love when something is more than just one thing. Jaws is my favourite movie of all time. I never label Jaws as a horror movie. When it’s scary, it’s terrifying. When it’s funny, it’s hilarious. When there’s drama, it’s the most sincere stuff on screen. And when there’s adventure, there’s swashbuckle. It’s got all of those things, and I always hoped to make something that can be on those terms and play to many different genres. When I read the script I was really struck by how tense it was, and by how funny it could become and by how satisfying it was in the end. And how new it was. That ending, I knew it would be devisive, I knew it wouldn’t be for everyone, but I knew for some it would be an incredible experience to have it.

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard rules over the final weekend of the summer

The final weekend of the summer was anticlimactic, with no new releases and low turnout. Here’s what went down:

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard remained in first place for the third weekend in a row, bringing in an estimated $9.4 million. Annabelle: Creation was in second place with $6.9 million. Wind River moved into the top three with $5.7 million, while Leap! was in fourth place with $4.7 million. Logan Lucky closed things out in fifth place with $4.1 million.

So, to recap, here were our predictions:

1) The Hitman’s Bodyguard – $8 million
2) Wind Rider – $6 million
3) Annabelle: Creation – $5.5 million
4) Dunkirk – $4.5 million
5) Logan Lucky – $4 million

And here’s how the weekend is estimated to turn out:

1) The Hitman’s Bodyguard – $9.4 million
2) Annabelle: Creation– $6.9 million
3) Wind River – $5.7 million
4) Leap! – $4.7 million
5) Logan Lucky – $4.1 million

Next week sees the release of Stephen King’s It. Be sure to come back Friday to see our predictions!

The week in horror: The Crow to fly again, Leo as the Joker + more

The Crow returns, Leo could join the ranks of costumer criminals, and more, as we look at some of the biggest stories from the week in horror.

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The Crow set for reboot

After years of talk and failed new beginnings, this week word came out that Sony had jumped aboard a rebooted version of The Crow. The talk is that director Corin Hardy and star Jason Momoa may still be attached to the film, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet. The original film was released in 1994, starring the late Brandon Lee, and made $50 million in North America. Read the rest of this entry

All quiet on the box office front this weekend

It’s the last weekend of the summer box office, and no new releases are hitting theatres. How does that bode for what’s currently out there, then? Here’s our predictions:

The Hitman’s Bodyguard will have no trouble remaining at number one this weekend, with $8 million. Wind River will be in second place with $6 million, followed close behind in third by Annabelle: Creation with $5.5 million. Dunkirk will be in the fourth spot with $4.5 million, while Logan Lucky will close things out in fifth place with $4 million.

So, to recap, here are our predictions:

1) The Hitman’s Bodyguard – $8 million
2) Wind Rider – $6 million
3) Annavbelle: Creation – $5.5 million
4) Dunkirk – $4.5 million
5) Logan Lucky – $4 million

Be sure to check back on Sunday to see how the weekend turns out!

Director Phil Joanou discusses his cult film The Veil

Depending on where you’re living, in late January or early February THE VEIL was released onto various platforms – Netflix, VOD and iTunes. The film, from Blumehouse Productions, stars Thomas Jane as Jim Jacobs, the religious head of the cultish Heaven’s Veil, a group that commits mass suicide for one unknown reason. Years later, the only survivor (Lily Rabe) is approached by a documentary crew led by Maggie (Jessica Alba) to return to Heaven’s Veil and uncover the truth of what happened that day.

Watching it at home alone, lights turned off, THE VEIL absolutely scared the shit out of me, first from a jump scare, and then from the overwhelming feeling of dread that permeates the film as the story moves forward. The movie also features solid performances from its lead actors, especially Thomas Jane, who is equal parts holy man and rock star.

Enamoured by THE VEIL, I reached out to its director Phil Joanou (with much appreciated help from writer Jim Hemphill) to see if we could chat about his movie via email. It was certainly exciting when Joanou agreed – you see, along with countless commercials and films, including classics like Three O’Clock High and State of Grace, Joanou directed U2: Rattle and Hum, which I dragged my father to see when I was just 11 years old (turning dad into a U2 fan in the process). I think it’s probably not coincidence that Joanou’s work has affected me as both a kid and now, as an adult.

On that note, enjoy my exclusive interview with Phil Joanou (mild spoilers ahead).

Andy Burns: Phil, congrats on a great film. I found THE VEIL to be a really wonderful, well-crafted horror movie with some seriously scary jump scares. It’s a departure from your previous work. Can you tell Rue Morgue the process by which you came to direct THE VEIL?

Phil Joanou: Like most directors, I’ve been fascinated by the horror genre since I fell in love with movies.  In fact, one of my first super-8 movies was a horror film called “Albino Hill” (I’ll leave the reader to imagine what that was about!).  I was really inspired and influenced by John Carpenter’s Halloween which was right around the time when I first discovered the power of what a director could do on film.  I used all of Carpenter’s tricks and even the “Halloween” score on “Albino Hill” and I promise you that’s what made it work (if it worked at all!).

Later on I was heavily influenced by Hitchcock, De Palma, Wise, Polanski and of course, Kubrick as I studied all of their forays into the genre.  So when Blumhouse came to me with the script for “The Veil” I was immediately attracted to the material, as I felt it was more of a “throwback” to those seminal directors’ styles and the stories they told.  Each of them used the “slow burn” style of storytelling… allowing the story to build and build and build as you discovered the characters and what the movie was really about (and in some cases, you are never really sure what it was about!) THE VEIL uses those same techniques (which is unusual in horror today) and I was intrigued by the opportunity to emulate that kind of filmmaking that had originally inspired me.  I think some modern viewers will find it “slow” or even “boring” as it doesn’t include super aggressive violence and gore to create scares (there is a little blood, but not much) and the real moments of terror, are more psychological.  And I liked that about this project.

Andy Burns: It’s my understanding that THE VEIL began as a found footage film, but that a decision was made before shooting to go in a different direction – can you give us insight into that change, and why it was made? Read the rest of this entry

#Kirby100: TwoMorrows celebrates Kirby with a new book

This Monday, August 28th 2017, marks the 100th birthday of the legendary Jack Kirby. All summer long, Biff Bam Pop! has been celebrating the King of Comics, and the remarkable impact he had on the world of graphic storytelling. Let’s be real, though. Even though Jack’s been gone for more than 23 years, he’s not really gone. His presence is felt all the time in the medium he helped cement as a pop culture force, and Kirby’s work is always be lauded, as it should be.

As John Morrow of TwoMorrows Publishing says in his introduction to Kirby 100, he’s made celebrating Kirby his “life’s work.” Along with former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier, there really is nobody out there that can lay claim to being a definitive expert on the artist. John’s been publishing The Jack Kirby Collector for nearly 25 years, a magazine that explores with the greatest depth Kirby career in all its facets.

It makes perfect sense then that today, Kirby’s centennial birthday, also sees the national release of Kirby 100: 100 Top Creators Celebrate Jack Kirby’s Greatest Work.

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‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ remains on top of the box office

The horrible hurricane in Texas, matched with the pop culture event that was Mayweather vs McGregor, took their toll on the box office, which performed with anemic numbers this weekend. Here’s what went down:

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The Hitman’s Bodyguard managed to stay at the top spot for a second weekend in a row, bringing in an estimated $10.5 million, raising its two week total to nearly $40 million. Not bad for a lightweight film with poor reviews.

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The week in horror: Tobe Hooper passes away, Netflix releases + more

A horror legend passes away, discover the plot for Glass, find out what horrors Netflix will release in October and more, as we look at some of the biggest stories from the week in horror.

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Rest in peace, Tobe Hooper

Sad news out of Hollywood Sunday morning, as friends and fans revealed that director Tobe Hooper has passed away at the age of 74. Hooper became an instant horror legend with the release of the groundbreaking Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 1974 (he also directed the film’s 1986 sequel).

He was also behind the camera for Poltergeist in 1982, which was a massive box office hit. On television, Hooper was responsible for adapting Stephen King’s vampire novel ‘Salems Lot as a critically and commercially successful miniseries in 1979.

Hooper also directed films Lifeforce and Invaders from Mars, along with episodes of Masters of Horror. Read the rest of this entry

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