This week’s movie releases

This week’s movie releases

FILM: A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES
CAST: Liam Neeson, Maurice Compte, Patrick McDad e, Laura Birn, Dan Stevens
DIRECTOR: Scott Frank

Based on Lawrence Block’s bestselling series of mystery novels, ‘A Walk among the Tombstones’ stars Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, an ex-NYPD cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating just outside the law. When Scudder reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime…nor will it be the last. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the deviants through the backstreets of New York City before they kill again.

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Karen-Gillan-in-'Oculus'FILM: OCULUS
CAST: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Sasha Grey
Director: Mike Flanagan

From the producers of ‘The Strangers’ and ‘Safe House’, comes ‘Oculus’, by up-and-coming director Mark Flanagan.
As children, two siblings witnessed their parents’ harrowing descent into madness and murder. Now, as an adult, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) is released from incarceration in a mental facility and reunited with Kaylie (Karen Gillan). Kaylie has tracked down the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror from their childhood, convinced it is infused with evil and responsible for their family tragedy. Years of mandated therapy have convinced Tim the haunted mirror is simply a myth they created to cope with their farther torturing and killing their mother. However, Kaylie is determined to document the mirror’s paranormal nature and prove otherwise. As soon as they proceed with Kaylie’s experiment, flashbacks from their horrifying past overwhelm them, and soon they lose grasp of reality. Their hallucinations unravel the sinister truth from long ago, as they confront their past and try to survive the night.

Flanagan’s journey bringing ‘Oculus’ to the screen began with a short film of the same name he wrote and directed in 2005.  That film, which was made for just under $1500 and shot in four days, featured one actor alone in a room with the Lasser glass for the entirety of its thirty-minute running time. “It presented a fantastic writing challenge,” says Flanagan. “The story was formed around what we had at our fingertips, which was basically very little.”
Despite the limitations of its scope and budget, the short became an acclaimed hit on the festival circuit, garnering numerous awards and immediately prompting calls for a feature-length version. Flanagan and his writing partner, Jeff Howard, struggled to find a way to expand the story without losing what made the original so appealing, but inspiration proved elusive.
“It was one of the biggest challenges that Mike and I grappled with,” remembers Howard. “When we finally hit on the idea of having the main characters be siblings who have a disagreement about these tragic events in their past, that opened the door for a richer story.”

For Flanagan, the new story for ‘Oculus’ was a delicate balancing act: interweaving siblings
Tim and Kaylie’s struggles in the present with the story of their family’s tragic demise ten years earlier. The changes gave him the opportunity to bolster the film’s already substantial scares. “I was able to bring in a theme that terrifies me now as a parent, and that’s of children being in intense danger at the hands of their parents,” he says.
Flanagan and Howard were also able to create what they call the “Mulder/Scully” dynamic, named after ‘The X-Files’’ two paranormal investigators. “It’s all about mysticism versus reason,” explains Howard. “We have Kaylie, who is so steadfast in her belief that she’s up against this supernatural enemy, and Tim who, through years of therapy, has come up with a perfectly rational explanation for everything that he remembers having happened in his childhood. That tension between two wounded siblings, between the supernatural and the natural, is really the engine of this movie. And at some point we realize who is right and who is wrong.” The battle of determining what is real and what is an illusion drives the story through a psychological haunted house; for both the characters and for the audience.