The Purge: Anarchy – Podcast 5:27

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The Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast, Volume 5, Number 27 explores the dystopian horrors of THE PURGE: ANARCHY. This sequel takes the premise of THE PURGE (2013) and plays it out on a larger canvas, exploring territory that the original only suggested. Is that enough to satisfy those frustrated by THE PURGE’s home invasion scenario? Listen in to find out, as podcasters Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski debate the merits of debate the merits of vicariously purging your anti-social tendencies by watching this moviefrom Blumhouse Productions and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes.

Spotlight Podcast 5:26 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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A new dawn is rising on the Planet of the Apes franchise. Humanity is decimated but not quite extinct. Caeser the intelligent ape presides over his tribe near San Francisco. Can ape and man live in peaceful co-existence? Find out in the Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast, Volume 5, Number 26, as Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski discuss DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.

CFQ Spotlight 5:25 – Deliver Us From Evil

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Demons are trying to break on through into our world – and they enjoy The Doors! Listen in as Cinefantastique podcasters Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski explore the horrors of DELIVER US FROM EVIL, an interesting amalgam of THE EXORCIST and SEVEN, from the team behind THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE. Eric Bana stars as a cop pursuing criminals whose evil deeds may be inspired by hellish forces, in a tale loosely inspired by the real-life account, Beware the Night, by former officer Ralph Sarchie.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Spotlight Podcast 5:23.1

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HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 is soaring at the box office, but does the DreamWorks Animation sequel fly as high as its predecessor? Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski think not, and you can find out why by listening to the Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast Volume 5, Number 23.
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Edge of Tomorrow – Spotlight Podcast 5:22

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Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise in EDGE OF TOMORROW

No one went to see it, but EDGE OF TOMORROW is one of the most clever and interesting science fiction films of the summer, outdistancing the more successful X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. In Cinefantastique’s Spotlight Podcast Number 5, Volume 2, Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski explore the virtues of the worthy effort, which has become a critical darling in spite of audience indifference.

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Maleficent – Spotlight Podcast 5:21

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent
Angelina Jolie as Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is marvelously wicked in Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action MALEFICENT, but is the film’s attempt to de-villain-ize its villainess a success or a failure? Check out this (belated) installment of the Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast to find out. Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski debate the wisdom or retro-fitting classic tales with updated elements that may not fit.


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X-Men: Days of Future Past – CFQ Spotlight 5:20

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From the Better Late Than Never Department: Cinefantastique’s Spotlight Podcast 5:20, focusing on X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, was supposed to post last Monday. Unfortunately, technical delays prevents it from being posted until today. Listen in as Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski discuss the latest installment of the Marvel mutant film franchise, in which Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels back in time to enlist Dr. Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in an attempt to prevent an apocalyptic future with dire consequences for mutants and humans alike.


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Godzilla: Spotlight Podcast 5:19.1

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Godzilla has stormed into theatres, and he’s too big to fit into one podcast! That’s right: this week the Cinefantastique Spotlight will be presented in two parts. The first features regulars Lawrence French and Steve Biodrowski, along with special guest Steve Ryfle (author of Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biograph of the Big G). Listen in for insightful commentary about the new film version of GODZILLA, from Warner Brothers Pictures and Legendary Pictures, which has crushed the box office competition flatter than its titular monster razing a skyscraper to the ground.
Come back soon for Part Two!


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The Double – Radio Film Review

Jesse Eisenberg (left) has some issues with Jesse Eisenberg (right) in THE DOUBLE.
Jesse Eisenberg (left) has some issues with Jesse Eisenberg (right) in THE DOUBLE.

Okay, put away THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. That film has already caused so much pain (mostly from brain-strain as one struggles to figure out how such a major project could go so wrong), that it doesn’t really deserve any more consideration. Let’s focus instead on something more worthy of attention: a dystopic, Kafkaesque comedy called THE DOUBLE, based on a novella by Dostoevsky and starring Jesse Eisenberg as a mousy little bureaucrat who finds his life upended when his job hires a charismatic and morally-challenged new employee who looks exactly like him. The film is directed by Richard Ayoade — known for his involvement with THE IT CROWD and GARTH MARENGHI’S DARKPLACE — and he uses his facility with unhinged humor to good effect in this sardonic glimpse into one man’s crisis of identity. Click on the player to hear the show.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Spotlight Podcast 5:18

Andrew Garfield (left) and Dane DeHaan are but two flies trapped in the tangled web that is THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.
Andrew Garfield (left) and Dane DeHaan are but two flies trapped in the tangled web that is THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

To be perfectly blunt about it, big studio blockbuster releases typically don’t fail as spectacularly as THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Oh they can be bad, but a comforting buffer of test screenings, focus groups, top-level executive intervention, and directorial and editorial wisdom tend to at least modulate them into some form of narrative coherence. Watching them isn’t akin to witnessing a trained chimpanzee trying to explain quantum physics.
Between the two super-villains, the romantic troubles between conflicted super-hero Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and his ambitious girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), the ongoing corporate espionage/missing parents story-arc, a new will-Spidey-share-his-blood-for-a-dangerous-but-possibly-lifesaving-procedure subplot, the ever-present exploration of the with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility theme (featuring a guest appearance by Denis Leary as Dolefully Glowering Ghost), Paul Giamatti in a tragically wasted role, and somewhere on the order of 23 discreet endings, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is one astoundingly awful mess. This is BATMAN AND ROBIN-grade disaster, so stunningly bad that the Cinefantastique Online team of Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons get a little giddy trying to suss out what went wrong. Click on the player to hear the show.