Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More praise for Trapped Ashes & DVD news

Tahmoh's part in the upcoming anthology horror flick, Trapped Ashes, in which he stars as Leo, friend of a young Stanley Kubrick, has been garnering praise from critics (even those who panned the rest of the anthology) at festival screenings across the country. The film is due out on DVD from Lionsgate soon, with a release date of January 2008. has nothing but praise for Tahmoh's part of the film:

"The best episode, however, follows in the spectacular “Stanley’s Girlfriend,” directed by ‘70s Hollywood legend Monte Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop, China 9 Liberty 37) and told by horror vet John Saxon. Set in 1950s Hollywood, and posing the theoretical question “What if Stanley Kubrick had fallen in love with a succubus?”, it follows the early careers of two budding filmmakers – Stanley and Leo – who become close friends, bonding over a shared love of the game of chess. One day, Stanley shows up with a new girlfriend, a beautiful woman who seems to be a dream match. Not soon after, Leo starts a secret affair with her, little realizing that the lethargy and fatigue he begins to feel is a result of her terrible appetite. Soon the vampiress has come between the two men, but in not the way you might expect. Less horrific and more elegiac than the other episodes, it features a well-crafted screenplay that captures not only the nostalgia of old Hollywood, but also the sadness of a lost friendship and the desperate feeling of being compelled to do something you know will hurt the one you love. Plus it’s a fascinating fictional history that should fire the imagination of open-minded movie buffs." also liked Tahmoh's segment:
"The third vignette, directed by Monte Hellman, is an interesting entry. Like the works of novelist James Elroy, who takes real life events (such as the Kennedy assassination in "American Tabloid") and weaves fiction throughout the historical facts, writer Dennis Bartok seems to create a fictional (or is it?) story as to why director Stanley Kubrick left America to never return. Titled "Stanley's Girlfriend," the story centers on two up and coming filmmakers in 1950s Hollywood, one of them named Leo (Tahmoh "Battlestar Galactica" Penikett playing a young John Saxon who tells the story) and the other named Stanley (Tygh "Snakes on A Plane" Runyan). The two meet by chance, become fast friends and begin spending an inordinate amount of time together just about every day. That is, until, Stanley hooks up with Nina (the smoldering Amelia "Species III" Cooke).

It's not long before Stanley is spending every waking minute with this voluptuous siren; never returning calls, never leaving his home and never going to work. Until, one day, Stanley suddenly flees to Europe sending only a note indicating he never intends to return, leaving Leo to wonder why. Is something afoot? Has it something to do with Nina, whom he is drawn to like a moth to a flame? A flame he can't seem to resist touching? While Bartok certainly never uses the last name of Kubrick in relation to the Stanley character, the comparisons are quite obvious to anyone even remotely familiar with Kubrick's life. It also shows Bartok's range as a writer as this if far from your typical horror anthology story, but it is certainly one of this film's better installments."
A spoilery review on the "Stanley's Girlfriend" IMDB page lays out the parallels to Kubrick's life:
"Monte Hellman was the logical director of this piece, the only interesting episode of the otherwise dismal TRAPPED ASHES. He belonged to the circle of young directors and writers,among them Curtis Harrington, Gavin Lambert and Alexander Singer, who knew Kubrick and partner James Harris during his Hollywood period - 1956-1961. The soft-spoken, expressionless Stanley, authentic shadowy Californian interiors, and motif of chess - a life-long Kubrick preoccupation - add verisimilitude, but the lack of any overt horror, aside from some sensual clawing of Leo by Nina, and the diminuendo ending, make it sit ill among its gaudy and grisly companions.

All the same, the story has intriguing parallels to Kubrick's private life. At the time, he was married to Ruth Sobotka, a sensual, flamboyant brunette of European extraction, and their marriage foundered at just this point in his career, apparently over a sexual incident in her past life to which Kubrick took exception. And it was in Germany, while making his "movie about the First World War", PATHS OF GLORY, that he met Christiane Harlan, who became his third and last wife."

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