Jul
24

Hour of the Wolf Movie Review: I ORIGINS/MOOD INDIGO

Audrey Tatou and Romain Duris float above impending troubles in MOOD INDIGO.

Audrey Tatou and Romain Duris float above impending troubles in MOOD INDIGO.

This past weekend was just chock full of magical, whimsical women breaking studious, guarded men out of their cocoons. No, not SEX TAPE — I have no idea about how that plot plays out and, besides, that’s not genre. But otherwise, for all their divergent approaches to the material, both I ORIGINS and MOOD INDIGO incorporate the same base theme. After that, of course, anything goes: I ORIGINS continues director Mike Cahill’s ongoing exploration of humanity’s interconnectedness through the tale of a dedicated, eye-obsessed scientist (Mike Cahill) having his adherence to objective reasoning challenged by the mystical outlook of an exotic model (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey) with equally exotic eyeballs; while MOOD INDIGO lets director Michel Gondry explore the artificiality of certain, idealized brands of French romance through the story of how the wacky life of an eccentric inventor (Romain Duris) is overthrown when the health of his wife (Audrey Tatou) is threatened.

Another way to distinguish these films: They aren’t equally successful in their goals. To find out how they fare, click on the player to hear my review for Jim Freund’s HOUR OF THE WOLF.

LISTEN TO HOUR OF THE WOLF EVERY
THURSDAY MORNING AT 1:30 AM
ON WBAI 99.5FM IN NEW YORK CITY
AND LIKE THE SHOW ON FACEBOOK

Jul
17

Hour of the Wolf Movie Review: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

Human Jason Clarke finds relations strained with simian neighbors (l to r) Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, and Karin Konoval in DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

Human Jason Clarke finds relations strained with simian neighbors (l to r) Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, and Karin Konoval in DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

This is a trivial question, but it’s been bugging me, so let me get it out, okay? Why is the sequel to RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES called DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES? I mean, “dawn” suggests a beginning, right? And you can’t actually rise until you begin, right? So shouldn’t the titles of these films be reversed? Then again, that first film wasn’t really focused on the planet of the apes beginning, but on the events that eventually led to that beginning. And this newest film isn’t so much about the planet’s rise as one glimpse into how humanity loses its foothold to the newly born society of intelligent simians. But then, I guess EVENTS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING AND HAVING A DIRECT IMPACT UPON THE DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES and ONE CHAPTER THAT WILL EVENTUALLY LEAD TO THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES wouldn’t quite pop on movie posters, would it? Never mind.

Hm? What did I think of the film? Oh, I loved it. No, let me clarify that: I LOVED IT. But it’s not really as simple as that, so listen in to my review for the HOUR OF THE WOLF radio show to get my take on this thoroughly entertaining summer blockbuster. Click on the player to hear the segment, or right-click the title to download.

LISTEN TO HOUR OF THE WOLF EVERY
THURSDAY MORNING AT 1:30 AM
ON WBAI 99.5FM IN NEW YORK CITY
AND LIKE THE SHOW ON FACEBOOK

Jul
09

Dossier Fantastique: SNOWPIERCER; THE SIGNAL; DAN CURTIS’ DRACULA

At long last, Dossier Fantastique re-opens, offering need-to-know data regarding the latest in horror, fantasy, and science fiction cinema and television. I make my long-awaited return with an Hour of the Wolf review of Snowpiercer, the metaphoric science fiction film from Bong-Joon Ho (The Host). Lawrence French receives The Signal, an indie sci-fi flick. And Steve Biodrowski unearths Dan Curtis’ Dracula from its new Blu-ray casket.

Also this week: commentary on Salem and Penny Dreadful; a long overdue obituary for artist H.R. Giger (Alien); and an after-credits discussion of Santo vs. Las Mujeras Vampiro.

Jul
04

The CFQ Interview: RIGOR MORTIS Director Juno Mak

Chin Siu-Ho discovers that urban renewal ain't all it's cracked up to be in RIGOR MORTIS

Chin Siu-Ho discovers that urban renewal ain’t all it’s cracked up to be in RIGOR MORTIS

Even in the anything-to-get-your-adrenaline-pumping world of Hong Kong cinema, RIGOR MORTIS stands out. The story of a famous actor, Chin Siu-Ho (played by actual famous actor Chin Siu-Ho — your heard us), who has to contend with a seedy apartment building whose walls reverberate with echoes of his most famous film, the hopping vampire horror-comedy MR. VAMPIRE — including mysterious spirits, a mystical warrior-cum-resterateur (played by MR. VAMPIRE cast-mate Anthony “Friend” Chan), and, yes, a hopping vampire — the film plays as both a tribute to, and a dark and dizzyingly intense reimagining of, a beloved sub-genre. Director Juno Mak makes his feature film debut with this visually stunning, shockingly violent, and at times surprisingly moving, effort, and we were eager to discuss the roots of the project in the legendary MR. VAMPIRE franchise, and the challenges of creating this effects-laden feast. Click on the player to hear the show.

Jun
26

Hour of the Wolf Movie Review: COHERENCE

lizabeth Gracen (left), Lorene Scafaria and Nicholas Brendon are not quite themselves (or are they?) in COHERENCE

lizabeth Gracen (left), Lorene Scafaria and Nicholas Brendon are not quite themselves (or are they?) in COHERENCE

There’s nothing particularly wrong with employing the time-space continuum for the pure fun of the concept. EDGE OF TOMORROW makes good sport of it, coming up with a pretty keen action film and allowing Tom Cruise to play comedy beats better than he did in KNIGHT AND DAY. But, given the mind-bending possibilities inherent in the genre, it seems almost a crime not delve for deeper meanings than just “craven coward becomes kick-ass action hero.” GROUNDHOG DAY did it. So did TIMECRIMES. So did FUTURAMA (numerous times).

And now, so does COHERENCE. The tale of a Los Angeles dinner party that goes all kinds of wrong when a comet begins warping the dimensions, the film — directed by James Ward Byrkit, the man who helped create the freaky “family” film RANGO, and starring BUFFY’s Nicholas Brendon, Emily Baldoni and Maury Sterling, among others — manages to be as much a commentary on relationships and the fragility of the social contract as it is an sf mindfreak. I delve into the film in my review for HOUR OF THE WOLF, and, as bonus, also take a look at the latest episode of the fan-produced STAR TREK CONTINUES and IDW’s first Star Trek: New Visions photo-novella, both of which, in another example of the crossing of the timelines, deal with the aftermath of the Enterprise crew’s visit to the mirror universe in “Mirror, Mirror.” Weeeeeeeird. Click on the player to hear the segment, or right-click the title below to download.

Jun
19

Hour of the Wolf Movie Review: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

The world of dragons is back in all its glory in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2.

The world of dragons is back in all its glory in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2.

I’m at the point where I can pretty much take or leave 3D. As a techie, I want to embrace any technology that’ll expand the cinemagoing experience, but even I have to concede that most of the time 3D is employed as little more than an add-on, just a way to charge extra for stuff that’d be the same with or without depth (visual, that is. We’ll save a discussion of dramatic depth for another day).

Which is why I’m usually jazzed to check out the latest release from DreamWorks Animation. More often than not, those folk go the extra distance with 3D, using it to enhance both the visual canvas and the dramatic impact of their films. That was definitely the case with the original HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, the 2010 fantasy adventure where the third dimension became an active player in an already entertaining and visually stunning film.

So, yeah, there I was at my local multiplex, shelling out the extra bucks for my 3D experience with the new HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2. Did this new adventure — in which the young, Viking dragon-rider Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) faces down a powerful warlord (Djimon Hounsou) and has a family reunion with his long-lost mother (Cate Blanchett) — pay back my investment? In a way, yes; in a way… welllll… Check out my HOUR OF THE WOLF review for the details. Click on the player to listen.

Jun
12

Hour of the Wolf Movie Review: EDGE OF TOMORROW

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt gird their loins -- their technologically advanced loins -- for war in EDGE OF TOMORROW.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt gird their loins — their technologically advanced loins — for war in EDGE OF TOMORROW.

Well, this is a ticklish situation. I went into EDGE OF TOMORROW a little nervous, knowing this much about it: that Tom Cruise played a soldier who, by some trick of the time-space continuum, was reliving over and over his death during a disastrous attack on an alien invasion force. Sounded intriguing, no question. But it also smacked, in general conception if not plot specifics, uncomfortably of last year’s OBLIVION, where Tom Cruise played a survivor of an alien invasion who was also confronted with the mystery behind his own existence. What was doubly dismaying was that I could conceive of a possible explanation for EDGE’s protagonist that would parallel a major revelation in OBLIVION. If that was the case, it’d be game over for me. I liked OBLIVION just fine, but there was no need to revisit it.

A lot of people may have been thinking the same way — not too long before EDGE’s release, the good folks over at Warner Bros. altered their ad campaign, filling in a bit more about what Cruise’s character was going through. That put me more at ease, but I was still concerned that, like Cruise’s soldier, we’d be reliving the same day over again.

Here’s the good news: EDGE OF TOMORROW is not OBLIVION redux. But here’s the conundrum: As a result, the pendulum may have swung too far in the opposite direction. I explore the problem in my latest review for Jim Freund’s HOUR OF THE WOLF. Click on the player to hear the segment.

Jun
12

The CFQ Interview: PAN’S LABYRINTH’s Doug Jones

Doug Jones demonstrates the difficulties of being a wandering minstrel in the post-apocalyptic US in DUST OF WAR.

Doug Jones demonstrates the difficulties of being a wandering minstrel in the post-apocalyptic US in DUST OF WAR.

The speaker of the Louisiana State Senate. An agoraphobic starfish. Two copies of Playboy with their centerfolds torn out. These are probably the only things actor Doug Jones hasn’t been in his variegated career. In makeup and out, whether playing an amphibious scholar, a benevolent alien, or a mute, demonic organ harvester, Jones has managed to create roles that have been at once vivid, evocative, and memorable.

It happens to be a good time for Jones. Not only was there the recent video release of the ultra-violent grindhouse action film, RAZE — in which Jones plays the entitled overseer of an all-female death-match — but the complete third season disc set of FALLING SKIES, where Jones is the alien ambassador Cochise, has just come out, and now Jones appears as a wandering (and canny) minstrel in the dizzyingly eclectic post-apocalyptic/ROAD WARRIOResque/alien invasion/western, DUST OF WAR, which just became available on VOD. We’re thrilled to be able to talk with Doug Jones about all of this, and more, as we kick off our second season of THE CFQ INTERVIEW. Click on the player to hear the show.

Jun
12

We’re Back! Hopefully.

The company hosting MMP has been having some trouble with our databases, which is why our availability has been sporadic over the past few weeks and we were completely down for the last few days. They’re still working on the problem, but we’re up for now and hopefully will stay that way for the foreseeable future. Apologies to everyone who’s come looking for our shows and was frustrated, and thank you for coming back.

We’re going to catch you up quick. First up will be the season two debut of The CFQ Interview, featuring our debut guest, Doug Jones (Hellboy; Pan’s Labyrinth, Falling Skies), followed by my Hour of the Wolf review of Edge of Tomorrow. Next week will see my HotWolf review of How to Train Your Dragon 2, and upcoming will be my interview with Rigor Mortis director Juno Mak, and a new Temple of Bad, featuring our in-depth discussion of A Talking Cat?!?

Now, aren’t you glad you waited?

Jun
05

Hour of the Wolf Movie Review: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has her own solution to the Vietnam conflict in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) has her own solution to the Vietnam conflict in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

Time is, time was, time’s X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. There were clearly commercial reasons why the latest chapter in the X-MEN franchise had to be a time travel tale: Having previously flubbed the introduction of a new, younger Professor X and Magneto  (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively) in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, the producers clearly wanted to recover a bit of the franchise’s mojo by bringing back the old band — namely Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen under the direction of Bryan Singer (plus Hugh Jackman) — while also trying to finesse the audience into a better appreciation for their replacements. The side benefit is that the time period decided upon for this film has interesting significance for the themes explored in the X-MEN universe. After my quick review of the surprisingly decent MALEFICENT, I turn my attention to what Singer has wrought. Click on the player to hear the review.

LISTEN TO HOUR OF THE WOLF EVERY
THURSDAY MORNING AT 1:30 AM
ON WBAI 99.5FM IN NEW YORK CITY
AND LIKE THE SHOW ON FACEBOOK

Older posts «

2009/05/03 17:54:23 -0700 445 | 1241398463 | 95273 | GenApps | WARN | | File: /home/y/share/pear/Yahoo/si30d/framework/util/WHEnvironment.inc Function: () line: 1137 getMap: for willy4bird. Ignoring unexpected line:%%HOME%%/admin home pageGuid.home.001 1 2009/05/03 17:54:23 -0700 927 | 1241398463 | 95273 | GenApps | WARN | | File: /home/y/share/pear/Yahoo/si30d/framework/util/WHEnvironment.inc Function: () line: 1137 getMap: for willy4bird. Ignoring unexpected line:%%HOME%%/admin home pageGuid.home.001 1