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.
Kinda sorry I’m going to see LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS in IMAX 3D this weekend, and not Gaspar Noé’s new film, ENTER THE VOID. This is the movie that could benefit from the full, immersive, 3D treatment: a swirling, gliding, electric voyage into life and death, with sex, drugs, and a dynamically surreal Tokyo thrown in for good measure.
That all this is conveyed through the viewpoint of a mere blip on the universe’s map — a low-level drug dealer, Oscar (Nathaniel Brown), who comes a-cropper of a botched drug bust and ends up on the wrong end of a cop’s gun — lends what follows no little ironic impact. As he lays bleeding on a lavatory floor, the camera takes the vantage point of Oscar’s soul as it rises, experiencing the transition to the next world in a manner that closely resembles The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In a sinuous, seamless camera track, we see Oscar’s life — particularly the bond he has with sister (Paz de la Huerta) — played out as grand, psychedelic pageant. The experience is mesmerizing and surprisingly poignant — certainly one of the most intense and seductive experiences I’ve had this year.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Gaspar Noé.
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.