Tuesday, October 10, 2006

First reviews of Trapped Ashes

Tahmoh stars as Stanley in Monte Hellman's segment of the anthology horror film, Trapped Ashes. The movie has a MySpace page here.

Darclight films, the film's production company, is currently using a photo of Tahmoh and reviews of "Stanley's Girlfriend" prominently in its promotional material. They include the following quotes from Patrick McGavin, ScreenDaily.com:

"...Monte Hellman's superlative, evocative and genuinely moving Stanley's Girlfriend is the standout contribution of TRAPPED ASHES, the horror anthology of four macabre vignettes also directed by Ken Russell, Sean Cunningham and John Gaeta..."

"...Hellman's Stanley's Girlfriend is not only the strongest piece, it is the most atypical, graced by memory and guilt, involving a man (Saxon) recalling a charged episode as a young screenwriter from 1957 and his developing friendship with Stanley Kubrick and the beautiful, intoxicating woman (Cooke) that passed between them. Hellman debuted his work in a separate collection of shorts at Cannes, and the layered, fascinating portrait of male friendship and sexual competition is poetic and vibrant deepened by the authenticity of the period details, the intuitive use of jazz and a revelation that brings surprise and wonder..."

"...The Hellman is too much of a good thing, a tantalizing work that deserves a deeper and fuller investigation. It also points out the limitations of the complementary works. To its credit it lifts TRAPPED ASHES into a higher realm..."
Jonathan Doyle from Bloody-Disgusting.com interviewed "Stanley's Girlfriend" director, Monte Hellman:

MH: I had four days and my segment was originally 28 minutes. In Cannes it played for almost 30 minutes because of titles and everything, but they cut about 5 minutes out of everybody's to bring it down to an hour and three quarters. A 28-minute piece is almost a third of a movie.

BD: So will there be longer versions on the DVD?

MH: That, I don't know. There is talk of the Stanley segment having a separate, full, longer version as an extra.
Variety had this to say about Hellman's segment:
"Next, irascible veteran B-pic director Leo (John Saxon) flashes back to his earliest professional days, when (now played by Tahmoh Penikett) he befriended eccentric aspiring helmer Stanley (Tygh Runyan), who ceases contact when he gets involved with vamp Nina (Amelia Cooke). When Stanley wisely flees the country, Leo winds up experiencing her succubus-like power over men...."
Ironically, Variety objects to the Stanley Kubrick references in the segment as Hellman tells Doyle in the interview above that "Stanley's Girlfriend" is actually based on a true story involving Kubrick.

The Hollywood Reporter deemed "Stanley's Girlfriend": "by far the most stylized of the bunch, but lacking sufficient creepiness."

All that said, you don't have to look far to find less than enthused Toronto Film Festival viewers. So the verdict on the anthology seems rather mixed, though Tahmoh's segment gets generally good reviews.

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