Demons, Aliens, Renegades, and Slashers: The Grim Imagination of John Carpenter

Filed under: — Brandon James on September 10th, 2014 08:09:38 pm


John Carpenter has created some of the most terrifying movie monsters in the history of cinema, but he’s also managed to make films that are moving emotionally, and he has continually defied what audiences have expected from self-aware genre films. What’s more, he could achieve all of this on a miniscule budget, with casts comprised primarily of unestablished actors. In fact, he helped to establish some performers, including Jamie Lee Curtis.

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The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on January 25th, 2010 11:01:24 pm

IFFR2010The 39th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam will be held from Wednesday January 27th to Sunday February 7th. The line-up of the festival is a continuation of last year’s change in which the amount of films was slimmed down into a more streamlined schedule. The 2010 issue has a total number of fifteen films that will compete in the VPRO Tiger Award Competition, the festival’s annual attempt to put beginning film makers in the spotlight. Other films screened at the festival include François Ozon’s latest, Le refuge, two films by Roman Herzog (including his David Lynch produced horror flick My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?) and Wes Anderson’s Roald Dahl based fable The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Traditionally (or call it good custom), the IFFR has a strong emphasis on Asian cinema and this year is no exception. The opening film of the IFFR will be the South Korean Paju by director Park Chan-Ok.

Like previous years Choking on Popcorn will report exclusively from the IFFR with small reviews and impressions.

For more info and the full program go to (also available in English)

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The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2009

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on January 21st, 2009 11:01:11 am

IFFR 2009This year the annual International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will take place from January 21st to February 1st in, you probably guessed, Rotterdam. This year’s line-up is pretty much slimmed down as opposed to the elaborate but confusing programs of previous editions. The 2009 issue has a substantive amount of Tiger Awards nominees (films co-funded by the festival’s Hubert Bals Fund), including the opening film, The Hungry Ghosts, Sopranos star Micheal Imperioli’s first job as a director. One of the highlight programs this year is also called Hungry Ghosts and consists of horror films from the orient. Since the IFFR has an (unfortunately declining) reputation of screening unknown and obscure films from southeast Asia, the relatively recent revival of the genre will have a perfect platform on this festival. Other important releases include Jonathan Demme’s Rachel Getting Married and Danny Boyle’s Golden Globe winner Slumdog Millionaire, as well as the Italian mob thriller Gomorra. As with previous editions, Choking on Popcorn will extensively report from the IFFR bringing you small reviews and impressions on a regular basis.

For more info and the full program go to
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Filed under: — Arjan Welles on February 1st, 2008 02:02:07 pm

A small update today, due to time restraints. Traditionally the festival has a closing film that was announced just recently, knowing The Band’s Visit from Israel. Then there is also the surprise film scheduled for tonight. I know what it is, but let’s keep things fun and not tell. The hint the Festival gave was that it features an American actor last seen in one of the films of the Festival six years ago. You do the math. Tuesday evening ended with one of the creepiest films I have ever seen, the Spanish fake horror shock-doc [●REC]. I sat in a room full of professionals and reporters that were unabashedly screaming their lungs out. It is part of the Rotterdämmerung program of the festival. Next is the gastronomical Estômago, reminiscent of Perfume.
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Filed under: — Arjan Welles on January 30th, 2008 08:01:36 pm

IFFR5With a tight schedule, a minimum to writing facilities and fatigue it is hard to write a daily report, hence the lack of updates yesterday. Monday started with two films from Down Under, A Song of Good and Men’s Group. DV really seems to be the trend these days even though it looks plain ugly. Tuesday started with Unfinished Sky, the Japanese drama This World of Ours and the film noir/conspiracy thriller Able Danger (not reviewed here).
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The International Film Festival Rotterdam 2008

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on January 21st, 2008 09:01:52 pm

IFFR 2008From Wednesday January 23 up to and including Sunday February 3 the 37th International Film Festival (IFFR) will take place in, well… Rotterdam of course. This year’s program is led by the new director Rutger Wolfson, who replaces Sandra den Hamer. As was the case in the past few years, Choking on Popcorn will cover the festival for the full ten days and will bring impressions as well as (short) reviews on a daily basis. This year’s festival is dominated by films from Brazil, France, India and the rest of Asia, which is part of the festival’s tradition. The focus is on films that would normally not reach the European and American screens.
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David Lynch.. Walk With Me…

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on March 16th, 2006 09:03:00 pm

Being thoroughly intrigued by the work of David Lynch, an obsession that started after seeing his latest film Mulholland Dr. some years ago, alongside the childhood memories of Twin Peaks, I decided to (re)watch all of his films. In this series I will discuss his films, hopefully inviting the reader to give his or her own comments and ideas. Lynch’s films can hardly be categorized or interpreted in just one way. Eventually ending up with his new film, Inland Empire, that will get its premiere in May at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, I hope to engage you all in the wonderful frantic world of an extraordinary visionary.
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35th International Film Festival Rotterdam – Report #5

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on February 4th, 2006 01:02:39 pm

Things start to draw to an end here, with only the closing film, Good Night, and Good Luck. to go. Last night was ‘Night of Bad Taste’, Mariken and I attended. She was the only one capable of sitting through the final film, a cheap Chinese King Kong rip-off, called The Mighty Peking Man. Before that, the excited audience was able to see all kinds of clips and trailers of everything out there that is considered bad taste, but oh so funny. We got other cheap King Kong remakes, Danish sex films and my personal favorite: Messalina, Messalina! (also known as Caligula II or its German title which is hilarious: Messalina, Kaiserin und Hure). The Night of Bad Taste will also tour around the Neths the following months, so keep you eye on that one. Anyway: I have a whole bunch of small reviews for you today. So let’s get started.
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35th International Film Festival Rotterdam – Report #4

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on February 2nd, 2006 04:02:02 pm

This year there is special interest for the biopic in the IFFR program. Not only will the festival be closed by Oscar-candidate Good Night, and Good Luck. by George Clooney (review soon), but there is also the biopic about Gustav Klimt (see earlier report) and a wonderful dazzling film about the life of intellectual and political activist Soe Hok Gie. Some more short reviews in this fourth report. Remember longer reviews will follow in the next weeks.
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35th International Film Festival Rotterdam – Report #3

Filed under: — Arjan Welles on January 31st, 2006 06:01:14 pm

The general tendency of most films I saw so far is, directors don’t seem to be able to cut some of their features short. I saw some pretty interesting films, that just dragged on for thirty minutes too long. I just got back from seeing Tideland, Terry Gilliam’s second film in one year (after Brothers Grimm). I don’t know whether to hate or love his work. He was responsible for making the only single film I have ever left for which I paid (namely, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which I definitely loathed). Anyway: an upcoming cold is not keeping me from seeing films. A bunch of short reviews today.
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