Yogi Bear, Original Tron, & Best Laid Plans: CFQ Post-Mortem Podcast 1:44.1

The Nightmare Lives: An indelible image from YOGI BEAR.
The Nightmare Lives: An indelible image from YOGI BEAR.

So, in the place of a CINEFANTASTIQUE PODCAST in which we discuss our top ten lists for 2010, we give you a CINEFANTASTIQUE POST-MORTEM in which we discuss doing a show in which we discuss our top ten lists for 2010. Who knew a little thing like a holiday weekend was going to interfere with our plans?
Oh, Steve Biodrowski also delivers his verdict on the Surprisingly Not Intolerable YOGI BEAR; and Lawrence French and Dan Persons join him in an evaluation on the original TRON’s retro-future, and on the evocative Japanese horror film, ONIBABA.
Maybe not the Lionel train set you wanted under your tree, but at least it’s not a boxful of underwear. Click on the player to hear the show.

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Tron: Legacy – The Cinefantastique Podcast 1:44

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Garrett Hedlund in TRON: LEGACY

In the latest episode of the THE CINEFANTASTIQUE PODCAST, Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons attempt to build their own consensual reality after a viewing of Disney’s return to the gaming grid, TRON: LEGACY. Has visual artistry overrode engaging narrative in this sequel? In a cyber world portrayed as a thriving urban civilization, how many audience members want to waste time in a virtual dance club? Who should preside over such a world: a young, menacing, but virile Jeff Bridges or an older, wizened, fatherly Jeff Bridges? And how long will it be before Siren action figures become the top-selling item over at Entertainment Earth?
Plus news, theatrical and home video releases, and just general, good chatter.

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The Tempest & Amazing Stream-of-Consciousness Episode – CFQ Post-Mortem Podcast 1:43.1

The Tempest - Prospera and her daughter confront Caliban

Having survived the rocky shoals of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons decide to kick it freestyle (as the kids all say — the kids do all say that, don’t they?) in a wide-ranging, nay, recklessly random episode of THE CINEFANTASTIQUE POST-MORTEM PODCAST. Covered in the discussion are Larry’s impressions of Julie Taymor’s daring adaptation of THE TEMPEST, Dan’s reactions to Bill Plympton’s impertinent animated short THE COW WHO WANTED TO BE A HAMBURGER, and Steve’s serene confidence amidst his critical brethren. Plus vag-monsters, John Lasseter, the COMMUNITY Christmas special, competing George C. Scott impressions, and the waning tyranny of THX Certification.


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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Cinefantastique Podcast 1:43

narnia_dawn_treader06

For the second week in a row, Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons immerse themselves in a magical, 3D kingdom for this episode of The Cinefantastique Review. This time, though, instead of Disney whimsy, it’s C.S. Lewis faith-tinged adventure, as they join siblings Lucy and Edmund Pevensie (Susan and Peter appear to be away on assignment) and thorn-in-the-side cousin Eustace, plus King Caspian (king!)  for the newest chapter of THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. Can the forces of darkness be vanquished by only a pair of Narnia royalty, where four were needed before? Does the film profit or lose by running a half-hour less than its predecessors? And is it any coincidence that Edmund’s greatest fear is a monster whose features resemble a certain female orifice that many teen boys find intimidating? These and many other questions will be discussed in this week’s episode. Plus, the usual round-up of news, events, and home video releases.


We're Getting the Band Back Together: Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson), Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and King Caspian (Ben Barnes) reteam one more time for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER.
We're Getting the Band Back Together: Aslan (voice of Liam Neeson), Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and King Caspian (Ben Barnes) reteam one more time for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER.

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Javier Fuentes-León on UNDERTOW: Fantasy Film Podcast

Torn Between Two Worlds: Ghost lover Manolo Cardona (center of image) and pregnant wife Tatiana Astengo (far right) put the pressure on Cristian Mercado in UNDERTOW.
Torn Between Two Worlds: Ghost lover Manolo Cardona (center of image) and pregnant wife Tatiana Astengo (far right) put the pressure on Cristian Mercado in UNDERTOW.

The triangles just keep getting more complicated, don’t they? In the new Peruvian film, UNDERTOW, fisherman Miguel (Cristian Mercado) is eagerly awaiting the arrival of his child by his wife Mariel (Tatiana Astengo), while at the same time carrying on an affair with his male lover, the artist Santiago (Manolo Cardona). But when Santiago dies in a swimming accident and returns as a ghost who can only be freed when Miguel formally sets him loose, issues of love, identity, and one’s perception within a closely knit community rise to the surface. (Fitting, I guess, for a nautical community.)
Director Javier Fuentes-León is making his feature film debut here, and is employing a healthy dose of magical realism to tell his tale, giving the film as a whole a spare but appealing naturalism and imbuing the love-making sequences with a compelling sensuality. It’s a distinctive and affecting addition to fantasy film.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Javier.

Megamind Review

Megamind (2010)

Originality of vision is not always necessary to make a film, and the lack of it does not necessarily make a film bad. Even in 3-D, a movie can sometimes find it’s place in the middle ground between typical trash and art. Case in point: the newest Dreamworks Animation release, MEGAMIND, a collage of recycled material, prime voice casting, and fun, antic wit that brings absolutely nothing “newest” to the table.

Discharged from his dying home planet Clark Kent-style, blue-skinned extraterrestrial Megamind (voice by Will Ferrell) lands in a prison cell in Metro City and learns pretty quickly that villainy is his forte. He spends most of his huge-headed life being defeated by Metro Man (Brad Pitt), the narcissistic but nonetheless vigilant and all-powerful guardian of Metro City. Both villain and hero pay special attention to capturing/rescuing newscaster Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey), whose beauty and sass only further paralyze her faithful cameraman Hal (Jonah Hill, most likely cast not for his fitting voice, but body type). In the film’s most inspired conceit, however, Metro Man is finally defeated and presumed destroyed by a sun-powered Death Ray, leaving Megamind without a rival and with no one left to play cops and robbers. He decides, being the genius he is, that making a new superhero is the best idea to cure him of his boredom. Giving away anymore is both unnecessary and unfair, as the plot runs on fumes from there, much to the chagrin of anyone over the age of 10.

One may notice that the voice cast of this film is almost too good to believe, but it’s true, and impressive. Ferrell, whose last voice-over role was Man with the Yellow Hat in 2006’s CURIOUS GEORGE, proves once again why he is Hollywood’s go-to funnyman. His slight British inflection makes simple expressions embarrassingly funny – “Minion, I’m feeling so mel-onk-o-lee”, he says at one point. Fey’s Ritchie is a rare character for any film, strong and single and just as willing to dish out lines like “Let’s go gangsta”. Besides these two and Pitt (again spoofing his Hollywood persona a la BURN AFTER READING), the voice cast includes Ben Stiller, David Cross (as Megamind’s BFF puffer-fish-in-a-gorilla-suit, Minion), and J.K. Simmons (an obscure but apt, choice for a prison warden). These are highly sought-after and talented people, and through sheer skill and experience they elevate Megamind to a higher realm of comedy than many kids and adults will come to expect from the trailers.

No studio in a long time has made a film on the same creative or intellectual level as a Pixar Animation Studios; knowing this, Dreamworks is campaigning heavily for a Best Picture nomination in February for HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, and seems intent on adding quality films to their repertoire. In this sense, MEGAMIND represents. First, writers Alan J. Schoolchraft and Brent Simons borrow not only Superman allusions and jokes, but also essential plot details from such films as THE INCREDIBLES and DESPICABLE ME. Those films were each too good and too recent to forget, and the script would have benefited if equal attention were given to plot as the jokes (many of which had the 18+ audience members laughing while the kids waited for the loudest noise or brightest 3-dimensional explosion). Second, director Tom McGrath (stepping down a bit from MADAGASCAR, but not much) resorts to using that 3-D technology for pure exploitation, unlike great CGI films such as HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and TOY STORY 3.

Megamind horizontal posterOh, and weird as it may be to say, Hans Zimmer’s score (with Lorne Balfe) is just intrusive. My expectations for Zimmer are perhaps too high, and the man is bound to win a million more trophies before year’s end (his INCEPTION score was tremendous), so this was a bit of a disappointment.

MEGAMIND (November 2010). Directed by: Tom McGrath. Written by: Alan J. Schoolcraft & Brent Simons. Music by: Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe. Voice Cast: Megamind – Will Ferrell; Roxanne Ritchie – Tina Fey; Metro Man – Brad Pitt; Minion – David Cross; Hal/Tighten – Jonah Hill; Warden – J.K. Simmons.

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What's Coming from Anchor Bay – New York Comic Con Special Podcast

Manga's REDLINE.
Manga's REDLINE.

We wrap up our sadly-too-brief coverage of New York Comic with a quick duck into the floor booth of Anchor Bay Entertain- ment. There, after gorging ourselves on copious free buttons and fliers (we’re all about the gimmes), we sat down with the company’s Kevin Carney and Erin Carter to find out what’s in store via their Manga anime division and live-action home video arm. Find out more about REDLINE, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and the homevid release of AMC’s eagerly awaited THE WALKING DEAD by clicking on the player.

ROBOT CHICKEN's Matt Senreich – New York Comic Con Special Podcast

Smell the Nerdiosity: ROBOT CHICKEN.
Smell the Nerdiosity: ROBOT CHICKEN.

So how about a break from the Fab Three ragging on the latest release? How about a few, carefree minutes with Matt Senreich, the twisted mastermind who, along with the equally twisted Seth Green, oversees Adult Swim’s wickedly funny, sharply satirical, and supremely nerdy stop-motion animated puppet show, ROBOT CHICKEN? Before he was felled by the dread Martian crud, Dan Persons sat in on the New York Comic Con roundtable with the amiable Mr. Senreich, and found out more than anyone needed to know about what kind of person throws it all in to start playing with toys for fun and profit. Turns out it’s the kind who still has his original, C-3PO carry-case of mint STAR WARS action figures.  Not a surprise, actually.
Click on the player to hear the discussion.

Monsters: theatrical playdates

This is a slightly longer trailer, with additional scenes and dialogue not seen in the one previously posted here. Magnet Releasing will release writer-director Gareth Edwards’ giant monster movie via VOD on September 24, followed by a limited theatrical distribution starting on October 29. The initial salvo includes engagements in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles (West Hollywood), New York, San Diego, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. Subsequent screenings take place in Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Denver, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Sacramento. You might want to check out the official website, in case new engagements are added near you.

PLAYDATES:
  • OCTOBER 29
  • Atlanta, GA: Midtown Art Cinemas 8
  • Austin, TX: Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar
  • Dallas, TX: Magnolia Theatre – Dallas
  • San Antonio, TX: Santikos Bijou Cinema Bistro 6
  • West Hollywood, CA: Sunset 5
  • San Diego, CA: Ken Cinema
  • New York, NY: Sunshine Cinema 5
  • Philadelphia, PA: Ritz at the Bourse
  • Portland, OR: Hollywood Theatre
  • Seattle, WA: Varsity Theatre
  • Monterey, CA: Osio Plaza 6
  • Santa Cruz, CA: Del Mar Theatre 4
  • Berkeley, CA: California 3
  • San Francisco, CA: Lumiere Theatre 3
  • Sandy, UT: Megaplex 17@Jordan Commons
  • Washington, DC: E Street Cinema
  • NOVEMBER 19
  • Chicago, IL: Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema
  • Minneapolis, MN: Lagoon Cinema
  • Detroit, MI: Burton Theatre
  • Tucson, AZ: The Loft Cinema
  • New Haven, CT: Criterion Cinemas 7
  • NOVEMBER 24
  • Little Rock, AR: Market Street Cinema
  • NOVEMBER 26
  • Denver, CO: Mayan Theatre
  • DECEMBER 3
  • Lansdowne, PA: Cinema 16:9
  • Cleveland Heights, OH: Cedar Lee Theatres
  • Kansas City, MO: Tivoli @ Manor Square
  • Syracuse, NY: Palace
  • DECEMBER 4
  • Columbus, OH: Gateway 8
  • DECEMBER 10
  • Sacramento, CA: Crest Theatre
  • Asheville, NC: Carolina Asheville 14
  • DECEMBER 24
  • Coral Gables, FL: Coral Gables Art Cinema

Check out the photos below. Sorry, no monsters on view, unless you count some mural on a wall.
Monsters (2010) photo_01 Monsters (2010) photo_02 Monsters (2010) photo_03 Monsters (2010) photo_04 Monsters (2010) photo_05 Monsters (2010) photo_06 Monsters (2010) photo_07 Monsters (2010) photo_08
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Neil Marshall on CENTURION: Fantasy Film Podcast Interview

Centuri-run!: Michael Fassbender gets a workout in CENTURION.
Centuri-run!: Michael Fassbender gets a workout in CENTURION.

CENTURION tends to focus on the resilience side of human existance, what with swords, hatchets, and various other implements of death being wielded hither and yon and a small clutch of battle-scarred soldiers trying to survive their onslaughts. Based on the historical myth of a legion of Roman warriors who vanished into the mists of northern Britain, never to return, Neil Marshall’s violent imagining of their fate offers a propulsive adventure in which Michael Fassbender’s dedicated centurion seeks to lead a small band of soldiers out of enemy territory while being hunted down by a relentless Pict tracker (played by Olga Kurylenko, whose inspirational physique would make anyone wish that surrender was an option). And if you remember Marshall from DOG SOLDIERS and THE DESCENT, you know that once the narrative gets going, it’ll be at least as relentless as the soldier’s adversaries, and once things get violent, man, you’d better duck (and this isn’t even in 3D!). A fitting way to commemorate the end of summer methinks.
Also in this episode, an interview with director Danièle Thompson about her sharply observed dinner comedy, CHANGE OF PLANS. Not genre, but worthwhile, anyway.
Click on the player to hear the interviews.