INTO THE ABYSS Review

by     Posted 3 years, 17 days ago

[This review is a re-print of my review from the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival]

Director Werner Herzog is against the death penalty, supposedly feels sympathy for families of the victims, and asks bizarre questions when doing an interview. I have now summed up Into the Abyss, Herzog’s forgettable documentary that half-heartedly tries to be anti-death penalty propaganda and will change the minds of no one. Herzog constantly undermines his argument by glossing over the details of the murder case he’s exploring, and getting into odd tangents with whatever subject he finds most interesting at any given moment. More than making a case against the death penalty or even acknowledging the complicated feelings of the accused, their families, and the families of the victims, Into the Abyss casts Herzog as a tragedy vampire, sucking the drama out of the lives of others while offering nothing in return.

Werner Herzog INTO THE ABYSS Interview

by     Posted 3 years, 19 days ago

into-the-abyss-movie-image-werner-herzog-slice-01

Master filmmaker Werner Herzog probes the human psyche to explore why people kill-and why a state kills in his fascinating exploration of a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas. In intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry who is scheduled to be executed in eight days, as well as families of the victims, a pastor and a state executioner, Herzog achieves what he describes as “a gaze into the abyss of the human soul.” His astute investigation unveils layers of humanity, making an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.

We sat down with Herzog at a roundtable interview to talk about what inspired him to make Into the Abyss and why he does not consider it an issue film about capital punishment but rather a sensitive examination of a senseless crime and all its ramifications. He described what it was like conversing with death row inmate Michael Perry and those affected by his crime, explained why he is not a proponent of capital punishment, and revealed how fascination and curiosity draw him to the subjects he chooses for his films. He also discussed what’s next including a four-part television documentary about inmates on death row entitled Death Row.

New Posters for Cameron Crowe’s WE BOUGHT A ZOO, INTO THE ABYSS and CORMAN’S WORLD

by     Posted 3 years, 20 days ago

We’ve got a few new posters to share with you today. First up is the theatrical poster debut for Cameron Crowe’s new film We Bought a Zoo. I’m kind of in love with the design, as it’s equal parts gorgeous and adorable. The film tells the true story of a man (Matt Damon) who moves his family to a zoo following his wife’s death. Crowe wrote and directed the pic, which also stars Scarlett Johansson and Thomas Haden Church. We’ve also got a new poster for Werner Herzog’s death row documentary Into the Abyss. The film examines the death penalty through Herzog’s lens. Matt caught the film at TIFF and wasn’t a fan.

Finally, we’ve got a new poster for the documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. The pic shines a light on writer-director-producer Roger Corman and his influence on Hollywood. Matt also reviewed this flick and found it entertaining, saying it both provides an overview of Corman’s career and “provides a thoughtful look at why audiences and Hollywood owe him a debt of gratitude.” We Bought a Zoo opens December 23rd, Into the Abyss opens November 11th, and Corman’s World opens this December. Hit the jump to check out the posters.

First Trailer for Werner Herzog’s Death Row Documentary INTO THE ABYSS

by     Posted 3 years, 33 days ago

The first trailer for Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss has been released. In the documentary, Herzog examines the issues surrounding the death penalty and interviews death row inmates, police officers, and victims’ family members. Judging from the trailer, the pic looks like an incredibly hard watch. It’s cold, somber, and confronting. The quotes given throughout the trailer from the likes of Roger Ebert and A.O. Scott make me eager to see what kind of film Herzog has put together, as it’s sure to be unlike any conventional documentary covering the death penalty.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film opens November 11th.

First Posters for Stop-Motion Film PARANORMAN and Werner Herzog’s Documentary INTO THE ABYSS

by     Posted 3 years, 34 days ago

paranorman-into-the-abyss-posters-slice

We’ve got a couple of new posters for you this evening. First up is the poster premiere for ParaNorman. The stop-motion animated film comes from the animation studio LAIKA (Coraline) and centers on a boy whose ability to commune with the dead when his town comes under siege from zombies, ghosts, witches, moronic grown-ups, and a centuries-old curse. The poster is pretty fantastic, as it features the back of Norman’s head as he’s standing in a creepy forest. The voice cast includes Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In), Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, John Goodman, and Alex Borstein.

Additionally, and about as far from ParaNorman as you can get, is the first poster for Werner Herzog’s death row documentary Into the Abyss. The film documents Herzog’s interviews with two subjects, one who was executed for a triple homicide eight days after being filmed by Herzog, and another who is serving a life sentence. The poster is chilling and effective, as it posits the theme of finality. Hit the jump to check out the posters. ParaNorman opens August 17th, 2012, and Into the Abyss opens November 11th.

TIFF 2011 Award Winners and Film Sales Announced

by     Posted 3 years, 71 days ago

edwin-boyd-movie-image-slice-01

The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival has come to a close.  We covered the hell out of it and we’ve got loads of interviews still to post.  Today, TIFF announced the winners in three award categories for Canadian films and the winners of the Cadillac People’s Choice Awards.  Nathan Morlando’s crime drama Edwin Boyd (pictured above) won Best Canadian First Feature Film, Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar picked up the award for Best Canadian Feature Film, and Ian Harnarine’ Doubles With Slight Pepper was awarded Best Canadian Short Film.  As for the Cadillac People’s Choice Awards, Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? won the top prize, Jon Shenk’s The Island President won in the documentary category, and Gareth Evans’ The Raid picked up the award for The Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award.

Hit the jump for the full press release along with a list of all the films that were sold to distributors.  Keep in mind that just because a film didn’t sell during the festival, that doesn’t mean it won’t be picked up for distribution in the near future.

TIFF 2011: INTO THE ABYSS Review

by     Posted 3 years, 76 days ago

Director Werner Herzog is against the death penalty, supposedly feels sympathy for families of the victims, and asks bizarre questions when doing an interview.  I have now summed up Into the Abyss, Herzog’s forgettable documentary that half-heartedly tries to be anti-death penalty propaganda and will change the minds of no one.  Herzog constantly undermines his argument by glossing over the details of the murder case he’s exploring, and getting into odd tangents with whatever subject he finds most interesting at any given moment.  More than making a case against the death penalty or even acknowledging the complicated feelings of the accused, their families, and the families of the victims, Into the Abyss casts Herzog as a tragedy vampire, sucking the drama out of the lives of others while offering nothing in return.

Telluride Film Festival Line-Up Announced; Includes THE DESCENDANTS, A DANGEROUS METHOD, and SHAME

by     Posted 3 years, 88 days ago

telluride-2011-descendants-slice-01

The prestige of the Telluride Film Festival continues to rise each year.  It’s the waypoint between the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s a great opportunity to see the hot fall films without travelling internationally.  Last year, Telluride showed off Best Picture winner The King’s Speech, Best Picture nominees Black Swan and 127 Hours, and a variety of other films that picked up Oscar nominations.  The line-up for this year’s festival has been announced and it looks like it will be equally exciting if not more so.  Movies playing at Telluride this year include Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, the critically acclaimed silent film The Artist, Steve McQueen’s Shame, Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss, Martin Scorsese’s documentary Living in the Material World, Rodrigo Garcia’s Albert Nobbs, and Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk about Kevin.  And keep in mind that these are only the films with pre-festival buzz.  No one was paying much attention to The King’s Speech until it kicked off at Telluride and landed at TIFF.  Plus there’s the TBA screenings to consider (Black Swan and 127 Hours were both TBA films).

Hit the jump for the line-up.  The 2011 Telluride Film Festival runs from September 2 – 5th.  For more information on the Telluride Film Festival, visit their official website.

TIFF 2011: First Images from PINA, SARAH PALIN – YOU BETCHA!, I’M CAROLYN PARKER, and INTO THE ABYSS

by     Posted 3 years, 115 days ago

Yesterday, we reported on the strong documentary line-up for the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.  Today, we have the first images from four of the documentaries: Wim Wenders’ first 3D film Pina, Nick Broomfield’s Sarah Palin – You Betcha!, Jonathan Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful, and Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss.

Hit the jump to check out the images along with a synopsis for each film.  The 2011 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8 – 18th.

 

Documentaries, Midnight Madness, and More Line-Ups Announced for 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

by     Posted 3 years, 117 days ago

tiff-toronto-international-film-festival-logo-slice-01

We’ve already seen the heavy-hitters of non-documentary films showing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.  Today, TIFF has announced its impressive documentary line-up along with line-ups for the interesting smaller films that are worth your attention at the fest.  The documentaries include Morgan Spurlock’s Comic-Con: Episode IV – A Fan’s Hope, Werner Herzog’s Into the Abyss, Jonathan Demme’s I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful, and Wim Wenders’ 3D film Pina. The Midnight Madness line-up includes Bobcat Goldthwait’s latest, God Bless America and Douglas Aarniokoski’s The Day starring Ashley Bell and Dominic Monaghan.

Hit the jump for the documentary line-ups (“Real to Reel”), “Midnight Madness”, “Vanguard” (international genre flicks), “TIFF Kids”, and “City to City” (an annual programme that focuses on films from one city; this year is Buenos Aires).  The 2011 Toronto Film Festival runs from September 8th to 18th.

Click Here