San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Roundtable Interview with Dredd 3D Co-Star Olivia Thirlby - Dread Central
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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Roundtable Interview with Dredd 3D Co-Star Olivia Thirlby

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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Roundtable Interview with Dredd 3D Co-Star Olivia ThirlbyDuring Lionsgate’s recent press day for Dredd 3D during the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, Dread Central had the opportunity to catch up with actress Olivia Thirlby during a roundtable interview alongside other members of the press.

Thirlby may not be a name you instantly recognize around these parts (she’s done mostly indie dramedy work before), but that’s all set to change on September 21st when Dredd 3D hits theaters everywhere and the world is introduced to her character Anderson, the rookie Judge-in-training who happens to be working alongside our hero Dredd (Karl Urban) when a drug bust gone wrong manages to anger a twisted and maniacal gang boss named Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), who wants them both dead.

Read on for the highlights from our SDCC roundtable interview with Thirlby, and look for Dredd 3D in theaters this September!

Question: What was the appeal of a role like Anderson for you?

Olivia Thirlby: The appeal was the amazing script and the amazing character that Alex Garland wrote for this. Dredd didn’t read like a normal genre script; the characters felt so real and the circumstances felt so realistic. There’s something I really like about the heroes in this film and about this world in general. They are just men and women really; they don’t have superhuman strength, or they’re not gods from a different planet- they’re just really brave and they feel really real to me.

Question: Is there a huge tonal difference between this incarnation and the 90’s Judge Dredd then?

Olivia Thirlby: It is a totally different reimagining of the same source material, but in this version the goal was always to stay very faithful to the comic books, which is in contrast to what the other movie had done. There’s a difference in the creative imagining of these worlds, for sure.

Question: Did you get any other insights into this world other than the script before you began working on it?

Olivia Thirlby: There are the comic books, definitely. Those had the same kind of feel that this version had so they were helpful. I picked up on a lot of the dry humor to this world, too- that kind of humor that comes from desperation where the humor just begins to leak out in very dark ways. All that really informed what we were doing, definitely.

Question: What kind of physical prep did you do to get ready for Dredd?

Olivia Thirlby: There was weapons training and handling sessions; I had never handled a gun before or fired a weapon before so I had to start from the very beginning. Karl (Urban) was an old pro of course (laughs), but I did get better.

There was also some fight training that I had to do for a few fight sequences in the film. I also had to learn how to roundhouse kick, too, which was a great challenge, but I did learn how to do it.

Question: (MINOR SPOILERS) Because your character also has psychic abilities, to what extent are they used and developed in this movie?

Olivia Thirlby: I think that because Anderson is still young, I’m sure there’s a lot more she could learn about her abilities, but she’s also had them her whole life. When she’s “cluing in” on this heightened sensitivity that she has, I think she’s really in her element and she feels more confident because she’s on her own turf, even if she is inside someone else’s mind. That’s where she excels.

She comes at it from a place of compassion, and that’s something that’s rare for a Judge; maybe that’s part of why she had always been disqualified as an unsuitable Judge up until the point of this movie. There’s something about her sensitivities on paper that makes her unsuitable to be a Judge, but you see in the movie that in the field, it’s that compassion which can distinguish her.

Question: What helped you get into the skin of your character, Anderson?

Olivia Thirlby: It was a combination of things: the suit, the weapons, the ability to do a roundhouse kick and hold my own- all of them. It just feels so cool when you’re on set dressed like this; it’s like playing laser tag but with huge production values (laughs).

Actually, it would take a team of people to get you inside the leather body suits every day, which was crazy. But there is just something about being covered in blood spatter, looking mean and having a sub-machine gun in your hands that’s really just so much fun. Oh, and being blonde; that really helped (laughs).

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Roundtable Interview with Dredd 3D Co-Star Olivia Thirlby

Check out our Dredd review.

Karl Urban stars in the title role along with Lena Headey, Olivia Thirlby, and Domhnall Gleeson. Look for it in theatres on September 21st.

Synopsis
The future America is an irradiated wasteland. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington, DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury, and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.

During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture: a 200-story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.

The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and director Pete Travis bring Dredd to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film. Filmed in 3D with stunning slow-motion photography sequences, the film returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Read our Review of Dredd

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Last Meeple Standing

H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game, Overview and Review – Last Meeple Standing

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Yeah, I know. I’ve said it before, and I will scream it to the heavens again: There is an abysmal glut of Lovecraft Mythos games out there (and still streaming into the market). For a while there, it was vampire games (wanna take a sparkly guess why?). Then, it was zombie games (only Robert Kirkman knows why). Now it is Lovecraft games, and it is a LOT of them. Shambling, fish-headed masses of them, weighing down the game shop shelves like heavily laden buckets of freshly shorn tentacles (calm down, hentai fans). It’s true, and a lot of them seem to be sad doppelgangers of other games, just skinned with a rotting coat of Elder God goo.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Hahn

For that reason, it is nice to run across a Lovecraft-themed game that is GOOD. H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game is one of those… it’s good, but it’s not great (for ONE painful reason). But, for our nefarious purposes today, that’s good enough. The stars are PARTIALLY in alignment. There is one little detail to get out of the way before we wade into the spawn-infested miasma of this game: it is the hellish offspring of an earlier, more complex game called (you guessed it) H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival the board game. Much has been said about the relationship between these two games and many comparisons have been made, but since I neither own the board game nor have I played it, let’s leave it to fester in cold, barren space all by its lonesome for now. I’m sure its time will come…when the stars are right (rolling his eyes).

COMPONENTS:
It is RARE (like fresh Deep One filets) that the components of a game are as nice as the gameplay, but there are two elements of Kingsport Festival: TCG that really make it shine. The first is the titular cards that make up the bulk of the game. The artwork on the tarot-sized cards depicting the various gods, lesser gods, demons, and evil corgis (I kid) from the Mythos is dark and shows off the creatures to good/evil effect. I have to admit that these are some of my favorite depictions of the creatures from Lovecraft’s mind I’ve seen. They really look threatening here. The portraits on the cards presenting the investigators/evil cultists look dignified, a little creepy, and mysterious, as is only right for nogoodniks taking on Cthulhu’s worst. The graphic design is really classy with easily interpreted iconography and border artwork. Equal care has been taken with the backs of the cards, which have appropriately aged and Victorian elements. The only parts to this game are the cards and the dice. Wait, this is a card game, right?

Well, yes and no.

Although cards make up the lion’s share of the game, there is a heavy dice aspect as well, and these are some NICE dice. I’m a SUCKER for custom dice, and Kingsport Festival: TCG comes loaded with them. There are three types of dice: a white d10 with a clock icon on one face, brain-pink (a nice touch) d12 dice representing the player’s sanity with a Sanity icon on one face, and grey Domain d6 dice with three types of domain faces: purple Evil, black Death, and red Destruction. All of the dice are high-quality and engraved, not printed, with easily recognizable faces for ease of play and match up nicely with the icons on the game’s cards. Squee! Wonderfully evil custom dice!

SETUP:
Set up is pretty basic. All of the cards depicting the horrid gods are displayed in order of their power in six rows within reach of all of the players. The total number of copies of each type of god card is dictated by how many people are playing, so the number varies. Each player gets one of the brain-ilicious d12s with which to track their sanity and sets it to 10. All players white timer die, with the high roller taking the role of the starting player. Then each player sets their Sanity die to 10 (yes, the value can be increased up to 12 through game effects. That player takes the white d10 and sets it to the clock face. Players can pick an investigator card, but I suggest dealing them out at random to each player to liven things up (before they get driven insane, of course).

GAMEPLAY:
Gameplay is equally simple, yet strangely engaging. The first player takes the white timer d10, passes it to the next player to their left, who turns it to the number 1, effectively creating a timer that will count up from 1 to 10, ending the game. That player becomes the starting player. Once the white die is passed, the passing player increases their Sanity by one, as will be the mechanic throughout the rest of the game.

At the start of a game, the players will have no cards in their hands. They acquire them throughout the game, but we’ll talk about a general turn. The starting player rolls one of the domain dice and notes the resultant face. If they have cards to play, now is when they would play them. The card effects are varied. They might instruct the player to roll more dice, add specified domains to their pool of domains, change rolled die faces, etc. There are many possibilities. After the player has played all the cards they wish to and resolved the card effects, the player may spend the resources/domains gained through the dice they’ve rolled and the cards they have played to buy ONE god from the displayed cards and add it to their hand. It should be noted that players are limited to one and only one copy of each available god.

Once the player has completed their turn, they check to see if the round indicator on the white d10 matches one of the Raid rounds shown on the investigator card at the very bottom. If the numbers match, the player must compare the Gun icons on his cards to the strength of the raid indicated on his character card. If the Cultist’s strength is greater, he gains the difference in Sanity points. If the Cultist’s strength matches the Raid strength, they neither gain nor lose Sanity. If the Cultist’s strength is less than the Raid strength, they lose the difference in Sanity points. After this, the next player to the left will take their turn.

WINNING:
The game ends at the end of the ninth round, unless a Cultist is able to invoke the Elder God Azathoth, which results in dogs and cats sleeping together (no, not really). The cultists look at all of their god cards and add up the Elder God symbols at the bottom of each card. The Cultist with the most Elder God symbols/points at the end of the game WINS!

FINAL THOUGHTS:
So, there you have it: an epic battle between creepy Cultists and ghoulish Gods in one rather small box. I’ll get to the point. I really like H.P. Lovecraft’s Kingsport Festival: The Card Game. I happen to be fond of little filler games like this. The box lists the playtime for this game as 30 min, but once the players know the rules, you can cut playtime down to 20 min, easy. It lists the age limit at 13+, which I think is absurd. There is nothing in the theme or artwork that would preclude players 10 and up from playing, other than rule complexity. Between the awesome art, the devilish dice, and the rad rules (ugh…), there is not much to dislike about this game… other than the hellish rules. You may be asking what I mean. The rules seem easy. They ARE. It’s the rulebook that is a pain in the neck. For some reason, the graphic designer (I’m looking at you, Savini -no, not Tom-) decided to print all of the rule examples in the book in a nearly unreadable “old-timey” font that is TINY. I think they thought they were adding flavor. If so, that flavor is YUCKY. When learning a new game, you want crystal-clear rules, not something you have to squint and struggle over, like this sad, arcane tome. The same hellish font appears on the cards in places, as well, making me one unhappy game collector. You may look past it, but I had a hard time doing so. Other than that, though, the game is great fun, a nice way to fill in time between bigger games, and beautiful to look at. You make your own judgement.

PRODUCT DETAILS:
Designer: Gianluca Santopietro
Artist: Maichol Quinto and Demis Savini
Publisher: Passport Games/ Giochi Uniti
Published: 2016
Players/Playtime/Age Rating: 3 -5 players/30 min/13+ (seriously?)

RATING:
3/5


Last Meeple Standing is brought to you by Villainous Lair Comics & Games, the ultimate destination for board game fanatics in Southern California. For more information visit the official Villainous Lair Comics & Games website, “Like” the Villainous Lair Facebook page and be sure to follow Villainous Lair on Twitter and Instagram.

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Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club Review – A Charming, Quirky Dark Drama

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Starring Keren Mor, Yiftach Klein, Hana Laslo, Ania Bukstein

Directed by Guilhad Emilio Schenker

Reviewed out of Utopia 2017


One of the great joys I have in being a horror fan is seeing horror films from around the world. I view these films as a chance to learn about the fears, folklore, mythology, and lore of varied cultures. Films like Inugami, Frontier(s), [REC], and the like transport me across oceans and into places I might never get the chance to visit otherwise. Hence my interest in the Israeli dark drama Madam Yankeolva’s Fine Literature Club, the feature debut of director Guilhad Emilio Schenker.

The film follows Sophie (Mor), a member of a strange, female-only reading club – who believes that love is a lie – that we soon realize brings men into its midst only to have them killed. The woman who brings the most fitting man is awarded a trophy for her fine taste. When a member reaches 100 trophies, they get to enter a coveted and highly esteemed upper echelon of the reading club’s society, one that includes lavish surroundings and an almost regal lifestyle. Sophie starts the film earning her 99th trophy but her plans towards the all-important 100th trophy are thrown askew when she ends up developing feelings for her latest victim. She must now decide if the mission that has been so dear to her for so many years is something she wishes to see through or if she’s ready to take a huge risk and fall in love.

Now, if this seems like a strange story for a horror website, I don’t disagree. Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club is certainly not your traditional horror film. In fact, I’d liken it far more to the more playful works of Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The City of Lost Children than something more grotesque and violent. It’s very playful and quite charming, although there are times when the presentation feels amateurish and certain moments when things become wildly unbelievable. That being said, the film aims to be a dark fairy tale come to life, so a healthy amount of “I’m okay letting that go” will not go unappreciated.

The film is shot in such a way that it’s very soft around the edges, almost like we’re constantly in a dream. This is aided by composer Tal Yardeni’s score, which obviously takes inspiration from Danny Elfman, playfully weaving its way through each scene.

While there’s a lot to love about Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club, it’s certainly not a flawless film. As mentioned previously, there are times when it feels quite amateurish, as though no one thought to look at how a scene is being filmed and say, “People, this isn’t how things would go down. We can have fun but this just doesn’t sit right.” Additionally, the story moves very quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of love at first sight. But that’s not how this story plays out, so the wildly strong feelings that develop between Sophie and Yosef (Klein) seem strangely out of place.

All things being what they are, Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club is a charming film that can definitely appeal to horror fans if they’re willing to stretch their boundaries to include films that have absolutely no scares or gore but imply quite a horrific situation.

  • Madam Yankelova's Fine Literature Club
3.5

Summary

Charming, quirky, but not without its faults, Madam Yankelova’s Fine Literature Club is a dark drama for fans of Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Don’t go in expecting any scares or gore. Rather, anticipate a fairy tale that might be just a bit too gruesome in tone for young children.

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New Stills Pulled From Desolation

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On tap for you cats right now we have a new round of images from IFC Midnight’s release of Sam Patton’s Desolation, which is coming to select theaters, VOD, and Digital platforms in the U.S.  on December 15, 2017. Dig it!

Jaimi Paige, Alyshia Ochse, Claude Duhamel, and Toby Nichols star.

Synopsis:
After the death of her husband, Abby (Jaimi Page); her son, Sam (Toby Nichols); and her best friend, Jen (Alyshia Ochse), venture into the forests of upstate NY on a camping trip, only to find themselves in danger from a mysterious hiker (Claude Duhamel) with malicious intentions. As the trio attempt to navigate the vast wilderness in search of safety, they find themselves the hunted prey in a deranged killer’s terrifying game; and the only way to survive is to kill – or be killed.

Desolation

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