MAN OF STEEL: CFQ Spotlight Podcast 4:24

Superman (Henry Cavill) goes along with our silly earth games in MAN OF STEEL.
Superman (Henry Cavill) goes along with our silly earth games in MAN OF STEEL.

Like the clash of demigods fallen to earth after the destruction of their home world, it was going to be glorious. Because of scheduling issues, Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski and Dan Persons started their discussion of Zack Snyder’s MAN OF STEEL early, to be joined by Lawrence French at the usual start time. But thanks to the Miracle of Technology, the part of the discussion that preceded Larry’s arrival was lost, much like the noble civilization extinguished too soon by worldwide calamity, only to bequeath its one, last son to our lowly planet, sent to help humanity realize the greatness within it. Or are we over-dramatizing this thing, not unlike the way a certain director did with this weekend’s box office hit?
Never you mind. Even lacking the lost audio, our exploration of MAN OF STEEL remains wide-ranging and revelatory, well worth a listen. Then: Steve delivers his snap judgements of THIS IS THE END and HATCHET III, and Dan lets you know what’s coming to theaters this week.

Man of Steel featurette

This promotional featurette from the Warner Brothers Superman reboot includes interviews with Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, producer Charles Roven, screenwriter David S. Goyer, and director Zack Snyder. It’s standard fare for this type of thing – an extended commercial posing as a documentary – but it does provide a glimpse into the approach that the filmmakers took to the enduring icon, attempting to ground the Man of Steel in something resembling a recognizable reality.

Man of Steel featurette

Man of Steel promotional artwork

MAN OF STEEL promo art of Superman flying

Man of Steel: Trailer #4

The fourth trailer from MAN OF STEEL. Warner Brothers releases the PG-13 science-fiction film on June 14. Producer: Christopher Nolan. Director: Zack Snyder. Writer: David S. Goyer. Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni.

Man of Steel photo gallery

Man of Steel superman in actionThis week, Warner Brothers released enough photos from the upcoming MAN OF STEEL to fill the Fortress of Solitude and more. The studio is clearly hoping to erase any lingering memory of the disappointing (though not truly awful) SUPERMAN RETURNS in favor of reaching back to epic scope and grandeur that fans still associate with SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978). Will the creative combo of producer Christopher Nolan, director Zack Snyder, and screenwriter David S. Goyer take the famous character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and reboot him for a new generation of film-goers? Here’s hoping!
MAN OF STEEL opens nationwide on June 14.
MAN OF STEEL producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder
MAN OF STEEL Russell Crow with Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van
MAN OF STEEL Antje Traue as Faora and Michael Shannon as Zod
MAN OF STEEL Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as Ma and Pa Kent
MAN OF STEEL Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Amy Adams as Lois Lane
MAN OF STEEL Henry Cavil as a bearded Clark Kent
MAN OF STEEL Henry Cavill as Clark Kent, on the family farm
Man of Steel Superman with soldiers
MAN OF STEEL Henry Cavill, Zack Snyder, Kevin Costner
MAN OF STEEL Clark Kent in the Fortress of Solitutde
MAN OF STEEL Russell Crow, Henry Cavill
MAN OF STEEL Superman above Earth
MAN OF STEEL Superman at super speed
MAN OF STEEL Superman flying
Man of Steel Superman surrounded by helicopers
MAN OF STEEL Superman backed by the military
MAN OF STEEL Zod on the attack
MAN OF STEEL Zod almost seems to be Hulking out
MAN OF STEEL Zod commands
MAN OF STEEL Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Antje Traue
MAN OF STEEL Antje Traue as Faora
MAN OF STEEL Faora is not happy
MAN OF STEEL Michael Shannon as Zod
MAN OF STEEL Jor-El before the council
MAN OF STEEL Russell Crow as Jor-El
MAN OF STEEL Russell Crow as Jor-El watches the destruction of Krypton
MAN OF STEEL Amy Adams as Lois Lane
MAN OF STEEL Amy Adams steps into Perry White's office
MAN OF STEEL Amy Adams and Christopher Meloni
MAN OF STEEL Laurence Fishburne as Perry White
MAN OF STEEL Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Rebecca Buller as Jenny (!) Olsen
MAN OF STEEL a father-son talk beteen Jonathan Kent and Clark
MAN OF STEEL Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) reveals the spaceship that brought Kal-El (Dylan Sprayberry) to Earth
MAN OF STEEL the young Clark Kent (Dylan Sprayberry) rescues a bus
MAN OF STEEL Cooper Timberline as the even younger Clark Kent
MAN OF STEEL Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff
MAN OF STEEL Zack Snyder shows video playback to Henry Cavill
Here is some older, previously released artwork from MAN OF STEEL:
MAN OF STEEL Superman artwork
MAN OF STEEL promo art of Superman flying
MAN OF STEEL Superman in handcuffs
MAN OF STEEL promo art Michael Shannon as Zod
MAN OF STEEL promo art Russell Crowe as Jor-El

Kevin Costner in Superman?

Kevin_Costner_1According to Deadline, Zack Synder and Warner Brothers are interested in casting Kevin Costner (WATERWORLD) in a “key role” in the Superman reboot. 
Could he be under consideration to play Jonathan Kent or Daily Planet editor Perry White to Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent? Or might he be cast against type  as a villain?
The screenplay by David S, Goyer ( and some participation by Jonathan  and producer Christopher Nolan [THE DARK KNIGHT])  is still very much under wraps, though there have been hints that it will feature Clark Kent’s journey towards accepting his future as a superhuman champion of justice.
There have also been some rumors that the Kryptonian villainess Ursa may  be invovled, leading fans to suspect that General Zod might also play a role.
Personally, I hope no antagonists used in previous Superman live-action feature films will be in the movie in any significant way.
 More on this as it develops.

The New Daughter (2009) – DVD Review

The New Daughter
click to purchase

Beautifully shot and well acted, this horror-thriller leaves too many unaswered questions.

As a movie lover living in New York City, I’ve become a bit jaded in terms of film-watching. New York is one of those places they refer to when using the phrase, “Opens in Select Cities” during movie trailers, and aside from getting to see most independent films a good 3-4 months before the rest of the country, there are also opportunities to see screenings of many major releases early as well. Film buffs take note: New York City is the celluloid “High Life”. Which is why it is always a bit unsettling to find a recent DVD release that completely slipped under my radar. Case in point: THE NEW DAUGHTER, which snuck in and out of theatres last December.
THE NEW DAUGHTER is a horror-thriller directed by Luis Berdejo ( the writer of [REC]) about a recently divorced father named John (Kevin Costner) who moves to rural South Carolina with his two children, Louisa (Ivana Baquero of PAN’S LABYRINTH fame) and Sam (Gattlin Griffith from CHANGELING). Exploring their new property, the kids stumble upon a mysterious mound at the edge of the woods. While Sam and John both feel ill at ease around it, Louisa seems inexplicably drawn to it. Shortly thereafter, Louisa’s behavior begins to change as she becomes more withdrawn and aggressive, all while spending more and more time out at the mound. Hoping to understand what is happening to his daughter, John researches the property and finds that an ancient evil may lurk underneath the mound. With no options left, he takes it upon himself to save Louisa and end the horror once and for all.
Lets get the pros out of the way: This movie is beautifully shot by D.P Checco Varese, who finds the perfect mood lighting for each scene and also resists the recent trend in movies to overuse the Steady Cam/ Handheld camera approach, opting instead for a traditional smooth and steady shot to get the point across. And despite whatever your feelings for Kevin Costner may be, the acting in THE NEW DAUGHTER is not bad. Costner is definitely in his element here: small, intimate scenes placed in the South (so right there, no pesky accents to master). He is believable as a father having a hard time with the change in his life but doing his best for the kids.
Unfortunately, that’s where the pros stop and the cons begin. The editing definitely leaves something to be desired – there are so many blackouts, you might think someone spiked your soda. While it may make for gripping suspense the first two times, after awhile you start to expect commercials to pop up. But this leads us to the main problem with THE NEW DAUGHTER: the script. While I can’t speak to the source material (the film is based off the short story by John Connolly), the screenplay is all over the place. It wants to pack as much tension and suspense into a scene as possible but often gives no context for said tension and suspense. The script attempts to include the back-story in a subtle manner that doesn’t overshadow the rest of the plot.; unfortunately, it is so subtle that it requires a scene in which a scientist comes in and says a few words, then disappears. Rather than a gradual 5-course meal of information, it starves viewers and then suddenly hits them in the face with a cream pie of plotline. By the time the ending rolls around, the audience has no clear understanding of the plot and, therefore, no stake in the fate of the characters.
Overall, THE NEW DAUGHTER is a noble attempt that trips and falls on its clunky screenplay. The ideas are interesting and the film provides us with a glimpse of possible future movie stars (Ivana Baquero is definitely one to watch), but in the end there are so many unanswered questions that even a second viewing won’t come close to answering them all.

The DVD (Standard Def. Version reviewed)

While certainly not extensive, the DVD does have your standard package of extras:

  • Deleted Scenes – The best that can be said for these is that they definitely are scenes and yes, they were deleted. Most of the offerings here are simply transitional bits that provides no insight into the film itself: i.e. ambulances pulling up to a house.
  • Audio Commentary – The sole commentary comes from director Luis Berdejo, who spends most of the time discussing what they were attempting to do.
  • Behind The Scenes – The most insightful extra on the DVD, includes interviews from the cast & crew. John Connolly, writer of the short story on which the film is based, discusses his inspiration, and he seems like the kind of guy you want to go get a beer with.


Laserblast – May 18: The New Daughter, Outlander, Gamera

Laserblast likes to shine a light on exciting horror, fantasy and science fiction home video releases, but this week the light is dim, with no exciting theatrical blockbusters making their debut on DVD, Blu-ray, or Video on Demand. Instead we look at a handful of direct-to-video titles and some cult movie re-issues, including one featuring a famous flying turtle.

click to purchase

THE NEW DAUGHTER is a horror thriller starring Kevin Costner. The set-up is pretty standard: after a divorced father moves into a rural home with his two children, the daughter begins acting strange; is she just a troubled teen, or is she the victim of a mysterious evil lurking in the house? The film received a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it limited theatrical release last December, but it’s essentially a direct-to-video title. The handful of critics who have seen it have not been kind, giving the film a 29% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
OUTLANDER bills itself as “BEOWULF Meets PREDATOR.” The novelty of this sci-fi action-adventure is its time period, with an alien crash-landing his ship on Earth during the Viking-era in Norway. Unfortunately, he brings with him a carniverous creature who wrecks havoc on all concerned. Jim Caviezel and Sophia Myles star, with Ron Perlman and John Hurt in supporting roles.
GAMERA: THE GIANT MONSTER is the first in a new series of DVD releases featuring Daie Studios answer to Godzilla. For decades, the film was available in altered form in the U.S., under the title GAMMERA THE INVINCIBLE. The new disc offers the original Japanese version, with a new HD master from vault elements, plus these bonus features:  a retrospective featurette looking at the Gamera franchise (including interviews with filmmakers), an audio commentary by August Ragone (author of  Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters), and a publicity gallery.
TOKYO GORE POLICE arrives again on DVD, this time in a two-disc set (titled TOKYO GORE POLICE 1.5) from Tokyo Shock. The story follows the Police Corporation’s battle with genetically modified super-criminals. The second disc i filled with short follow-up films.
click to purchase
click to purchase

The low-budget ’60s exploitation opus THE NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTERS – a film more famous for its title than anything else – gets the DVD treatment. Mamie Van Doren and Anthony Eisley. star in this tale of the Navy fighting some Night Monsters – basically walking, carnivorous plants along the lines of DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS.
Finally, a company named Echo Bridge Home Entertainment is release discount versions of previously available titles at $6.99 a pop. If you have been holding off on purchasing 30,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, AVH: ALIEN VS HUNTER, INVASION OF THE POD PEOPLE, and HAUNTING OF WINCHESTER HOUSE, now’s your chance to save a few bucks while completing your collection.