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.
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.
It’s not often an actor gets to redeem an entire species, but that’s what Armin Shimerman did when he took on the role of Quark, the amenable but eminently self-interested Ferengi barkeep of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE. Having been present for the Ferengi’s ignominious debut on STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION, when a race posited as being the next Klingons eventually devolved into cartoon irrelevancy, Shimerman took the character meant to be DS9’s comic relief and added enough credibility to his motives and depth to his personality that for the first time, a race centered purely on profit seemed not only possible, but actually appealing.
As a demonstration of the depth with which we intend to explore the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, and horror film and TV on our brand-new podcast,THE CFQ INTERVIEW, we probably couldn’t find a better guest than Shimerman. In the span of this extended interview, we discuss not only DS9, but also his work on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, and, in a surprising, eye-opening sidetrack, his guest stint on SEINFELD, plus so much more. It’s an hour-plus of insightful talk — click on the player to get it started.
Seemingly located in a reality that neighbors BUFFY’S — albeit a neighborhood somewhat less affluent in its trappings — the Syfy series LOST GIRL applies a similar degree of wit, sex, drama, and action to the adventures of a conflicted succubus (Anna Silk) and her human companion (Ksenia Solo) as they try to make their way in a world where supernatural creatures — here called the Fey — are very real and frequently deadly.
Syfy brought in Solo to New York Comic Con to talk about the show; joining her were castmates Zoie Palmer, who plays the Fey’s go-to doctor Lauren, and Richard Howland, who portrays the knowledgeable bartender, Trick. I got a few minutes to chat with each of them.
There goes the neighborhood. Charismatically feral vampire Jerry (Colin Farrell) moves into a struggling Las Vegas suburb, and it’s up to teen lovers Charley (Anton Yelchin) and Amy (Imogen Poots) to keep property values from seriously bottoming out by curtailing his ongoing recruitment campaign. Enter indifferent magician Peter Vincent (David Tennant) and screenwriter Marti Noxon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) and you’ve got FRIGHT NIGHT, a retelling of the 1985 tongue-in-cheek mini-classic, modernized with CG effects and goosed with 3D gimmicks. Special guest Judith Furnari joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons (yes, the band is back together!) as they explore whether the outer reaches of Las Vegas carry more than a little whiff of Sunnydale, and if this remake is worth the literal and figurative blood that was spilled in its making.
Also: A discussion of Ridley Scott’s announced return to the BLADE RUNNER universe, and what’s coming in theaters and on home video.
Also: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON FOUR Blu-ray, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 8 MOTION COMIC Blu-ray & DVD Combo, Four-Film Collections
2011 begins with a bang – or at least a sulfurous blast of demonic hellfire – thanks to the home video release of THE LAST EXORCISM on DVD, Blu-ray, and Video on Demand. Although the film does not fully deliver on its promise, it is quite effective for most of its length, and those who missed in theatres should takes this opportunity to check it out. For those interested in the behind the scenes details, the discs come with some attractive bonus features.
DVD & BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
Actor and Director commentary with Daniel Stamm, Ashley Bell, Patrick Fabian and Louis Herthum
Audio commentary with Producers Eli Roth, Eric Newman and Tom Bliss
“The Devil You Know: The Making of The Last Exorcism” featurette
“Real Stories of Exorcism” featurette
2009 Cannes Film Festival teaser trailer
In addition, the Blu-ray offers these features not available on the DVD:
“Witnesses to an Exorcism: An Audio Commentary with a Haunting Victim, Deliverance Minister and Clinical Psychologist”
BD Touch and Metamenu Remote
That’s about it for new horror, fantasy, and science fiction titles arriving on home video this Tuesday; most of the remaining releases are repackages of previously available titles.
Fans who just can’t get no satisfaction with reruns of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER will be pleased to see the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 8 MOTION COMIC, which continues the adventures of the monster-killing blonde chick, which arrives as a combo pack containing Blu-ray and DVD.
If your taste turns more toward science fiction, you may prefer the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON FOUR Blu-ray disc. There was a previous BATTLESTAR GALACTICA SEASON 4.5 Blu-ray release in 2007. I will leave it to the hardcore fans to determine whether they want to double dip.
Several economy packages hit store shelves. Clive Barker’s BOOK OF BLOOD arrives in a “Horror 2-Pack” DVD with MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN. GRAVES and ZOMBIES OF MASS DESTRUCTION are joined in a “Double Feature” Blu-ray. Pacific Entertainment offers 25 FRIGHT NIGHT CLASSICS, starring the likes of Boris Karloff, Leslie Neilsen, William Shatner, and Drew Barrymore in titles you’ve never heard of and which the actors would probably prefer it stayed that way. As if that were not enough for penny-pinching purchasers, there is a series of discs bearing the label “Four Film Collection,” which true to their name offer a quadruple does of terror. Sometimes the combinations seem apprpriate; at other times, it seems like whatever was contractually available was thrown together. For example, putting LEPRECHAUN 1 through 4 in a package makes sense (or at least as much sense of releasing a LEPRECHAUN movie can), but simultaneous releasing a disc with PUMPKIN HEAD II, LEPRECHAUN, WISHMASTER, and WISHMASTER 2 is a bit of a jumble. Even more discordant is the combination of THE EYE (the American remake of the Chinese original), JU-ON: THE GRUDGE (the Japanese original that was remade with American stars), BUG (the psycho-drama directed by William Friedkin), and ALONE IN THE DARK (an obscure thriller starring Christian Slater as a private investigator who specializes in supernatural phenomena). A bit more comfortable nestled together are BORDERLAND, DARK RIDE, UNEARTHED, and THE GRAVE DANCERS: although not labeled as such, all of these titles have appeared under the After Dark Horrorfest label, which gives weekend-long theatrical exposure to films that otherwise would go straight to video. Of these, THE GRAVE DANCERS is probably the best film ever to screen as part of the horror fest. These and other titles are available in the Cinefantastique Online Store.
E! Online brought some details about the planned BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER feature film from Warner Brothers and Atlas Entertainment. This project is going ahead without Joss Whedon or Sarah Michelle Gellar.
DARK KNIGHT producer Charles Roven is quoted as saying:
“There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character’s return to the big screen. Details of the film are being kept under wraps, but I can say while this is not your high-school Buffy, she’ll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be.”
According to Warner Brothers, Roven, Steve Alexander (GET SMART), Doug Davison and Roy Lee (HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON) will be producing the new BUFFY feature film,and Whit Anderson, an actress (credited as Whitney Anderson) said to be a Buffy fan, will write the screenplay.
E! asked Joss Whedon for his reactions, and he replied in humorous fashion.
“… My thoughts on the announcement of Buffy the cinema film. This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths—just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my AVENGERS idea that I made up myself.
Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, “Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER.”
Apparently. I was misinformed. Then I thought, “I’ll make a mint! This is worth more than all my TOY STORY residuals combined!” Apparently, I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?
I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill.
I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie. Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.
Leave me to my pain!
Sincerely, Joss Whedon “
The re-boot film is apparently based on the original 1992 BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, starring Kristy Swanson as a rather less intelligent-seeming cheerleader-turned-Slayer. Joss Whedon also wrote that film, but doesn’t hold the rights.
Joss Whedon opened up to SFX about his process while writing and preparing to direct Marvel Studios’ THE AVENGERS.
“I’m feeling that everything that I have done before has prepared me for this, besides the fact that I’ve been reading The Avengers since I was 11.”
He acknowledges the difficulty in integrating the various heroes, some grounded more in science fiction, others more in the realm of fantasy.
“’By the way, there’s a thunder god. You guys are cool, right? This guy is big and green and this character wears an American flag. It’s all good, right? It’s totally REAL WORLD.’
Finding the tone and plots that are coherent is what I go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about, but it’s doable.”
The fact that some very good actors are involved makes him have to use self-discipline to avoid the temptation to write lengthy dramatic scenes and dialog ala GLENGARRY GLENN ROSS, and to keep a balance of action and story flow to the ensemble film. He also affirms his enthusiasm in having Mark Ruffalo playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk, asserting that the actor was his first choice for the role.
Read the lengthier piece at the link above.
We previously announced that James Marsters (Spike on BUFFY) was cast in the 90 minute pilot for SyFy THREE INCHES. Here’s SyFy’s press release (slightly edited).
“SyFy’s THREE INCHES has added an all-star cast to the 90-minute pilot, starring Noah Reid (Strange Days at Blake Holsey High). James Marsters (Smallville, Caprica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, SCTV Network), Stephanie Jacobsen (Melrose Place, Battlestar Galactica: Razor), Antony Del Rio (The Super Hero Squad Show), Naoko Mori (Torchwood), Kyle Schmid (Blood Ties) and Brandon Jay McLaren (TRON: Legacy, Harper’s Island) will join the action-adventure/fantasy as series regulars. Alona Tal (Veronica Mars), Craig Eldridge (Covert Affairs) and Julian Richings (Supernatural) will guest star in the pilot episode.
In THREE INCHES, professional daydreamer and underachiever, Walter Spackman (Reid) is struck by lightning, and develops a unique “super” power — the ability to move any object using just his mind… but only a distance of three inches. He’s soon recruited by a covert team of superheroes each gifted with their own extraordinarily ordinary abilities. Together, the unlikely band of heroes proves that “super” is simply a state of mind.
Jace Alexander (Rescue Me, Prison Break) is directing the pilot, written by Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks), who also serves as executive producer.
Fox Television Studios is producing with Executive Producer Robert Cooper, through his company Landscape Entertainment. J.J. Jamieson heads up television for Landscape Entertainment.
James Marsters will star as Troy Hamilton, a former government agent who takes Walter in to his own team of “super” heroes who fight evil wherever they find it. He is a father figure to Walter.
Andrea Martin will play Belinda Spackman, Walter’s mother, a brutally honest, comically cynical force of nature that loves her son more than words can say and will do anything to protect him.
Stephanie Jacobsen plays Watts, a beautiful “super” hero who has the ability to shape the emotions of anyone she meets at close range.
Antony Del Rio will portray The Human Smell, an adventurous, often irritating teenager who is able to emit a pungent gas through his pores that disables anyone nearby.
Kyle Schmid will play Brandon, the “super” hero team leaderwith all the cockiness and strength of a true action hero, minus the superpowers. He is the opposite of Walter and sees most of the team as freaks.
Naoko Mori plays Annika, a woman who can duplicate and broadcast any sound she hears.
Brandon Jay McLaren plays Macklin Sportello, Walter’s best friend, a big talker with not a lot to back it up. His relationship is tested when Walter begins to change, but he’s the friend that will always be there for him.
Alona Tal will guest star in the pilot as Lily Theroux, the kind, pretty girl next door and Walter’s long time crush who loves him but “not in that way.”
Craig Eldridge will guest as Todd, part of Troy’s team of “super” heroes who can see two minutes into the future at the cost of a massive disabling headache.
Julian Richings will also appear as a guest star playing Ethan, a man with the ability to communicate with and control the insect kingdom.
THREE INCHES, from Fox Television Studios and Landscape Entertainment, will begin production in Toronto, Canada on Monday, August 30.”
Is it just me, or does this have more than a little bit of an MYSTERY MEN vibe? And “J.J. Jamieson heads up television for Landscape Entertainment”? Oh, wait, it’s J. Jonah JAMESON that runs the Daily Bugle, right?