Get a look at Superman’s new look… STAR TREK producer Brannon Braga gets all witchy… Damon Lindelof gets Left Behind… THE WIZARD OF OZ goes deep…
Cinefantastique Online’s Dan Persons brings you up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of genre media.
Get a look at Superman’s new look… STAR TREK producer Brannon Braga gets all witchy… Damon Lindelof gets Left Behind… THE WIZARD OF OZ goes deep…
Okay, yet another reason not to move to Southern California. In DETOUR, an ambitious businessman gets trapped in his car when it’s knocked off the road and buried in a mudslide. Actor Neil Hopkins carries most of the weight of this existential nightmare, playing a man confronting a modern-day Premature Burial, trapped in a vehicle that could offer the tools for survival or very quickly become his coffin. We talked with Hopkins about the pressures accompanying the production of this small, intense film, as well as discuss his time playing Charlie Pace’s brother on LOST, his role as the first abductee in SKYLINE, and much more. Click on the player to hear the show.
J.J. Abrams, the man who set the deliriously enigmatic pace for LOST in that show’s pilot and upended STAR TREK by blowing up Vulcan (we still haven’t recovered) now sets his sights on the Spielbergian kids’ adventure in SUPER 8. Set in a small-town, rose-tinted version of 1979, the sf/fantasy film tells the tale of a group of tweens — prime amongst them Elle Fanning — who while filming their zombie movie capture on-camera a spectacular train crash and the unleashing of something malevolent from within. With Abrams idol Spielberg himself stepping into the producer role, will SUPER 8 be the film to take the Master’s visionary fantasy/drama template from the seventies and eighties and reconcile it with Abrams’ ability to work nuanced, character-based drama into a genre framework? Or is the inexorable pull of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS’ sense of wonder too strong even for the man who in the past few years has acquired a reputation for his own, unique storytelling style? Join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they discuss the issue.
Click on the player to hear the discussion.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, SyFy has picked up Universal’s “real world” superhero/spy series ALPHAS for an 11-episode commitment.
Created by Zak Penn (X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) and Michael Karnow (TIME SQUAD):
“ALPHAS follows a team of ordinary citizens whose brain anomalies imbue them with extraordinary mental and physical abilities. Taking the law into their own hands, the unlikely team, led by Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) investigates cases that suggest other Alpha activity to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able or willing to solve.
These gifted individuals must balance their quirky personalities and disparate backgrounds with their not always visible powers as they work to solve crimes, stop the ticking time bomb and catch the enemy.”
A 90-minute pilot was directed by Jack Bender (LOST). Series production is set to begin early next year in Toronto for a Summer 2011 premiere. It’s possible there may be a title change on the production before it airs.
Here’s the Red Band Trailer for the Direct-To Video 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DARK DAYS
“After surviving the incidents in Barrow, Alaska, Stella Olemaun relocates to Los Angeles, where she intentionally attracts the attention of the local vampire population in order to avenge the death of her husband, Eben.”
Kiele Sanchez (LOST) steps in to play Stella Oleson, replacing Mellisa George.
Also staring Diora Baird, Mia Kirshner, Harold Perrineau, Rhys Coiro, and Ben Cotton.
Directed by Ben Ketai (30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DUST TO DUST) who co-wrote the screenplay with comic book creator Steve Niles.
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD
Trailer via youTube
Damon Lindelhof (LOST) told Eonline the following about the plans for the sequel to the J.J. Abrams STAR TREK reboot. Looks like they may be borrowing a page from the recent Batman movies.
“We’re looking at a movie like THE DARK KNIGHT , which went one step beyond BATMAN BEGINS. It was really about something, and at the same time it was a superhero movie. We don’t want to abandon all the things that made the first movie work…but we also really want the movie to thematically resonate.”
This may help the film, because though the first one had dark moments, it seemed very much like a lightweight popcorn movie. It seemed an odd thing that the movie somehow made the destruction of a planet, the death of millions, and the death of a major character’s mother all seem trivial.
See a video clip with Lindelhof at the link above.
With the LOST television series now only a fond memory, ABC has assembled all sixteen episodes of Season Six into nice five-disc Blu-ray set that offers lovely widescreen transfers, with the usual options for sound (5.1 stereo, 2.0 stereo) and subtitles (English, English for the hearing impaired, etc). With its lush location shooting and elaborate production values, each episode feels like a mini-movie – an experienced enhanced by the Blu-ray medium.
For such a final farewell, the bonus material is a bit thin; fortunately, what’s here is very good. Most of the interesting features are on the final disc, with Discs 1 through 4 featuring one audio commentary each, for the episodes “LAX,” “Dr. Linus,” “Ab Aerterno,” and “Across the Sea,” respectively. Each commentary comes with a warning that the participants discuss plot spoilers for future episodes; viewers are recommended to watch the series first, then go back and listen to the commentaries.
One eccentricity of the Blu-ray discs is that clicking on “Features” or “Set Up” does not take you to a new menu. Instead, the options appear in a horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, requiring you to use the arrows on your remote to scroll through the choices. There is a welcome simplicity to this approach (you do not have to wait for a new set of dizzying computer graphics to load each time you click), but it is not always obvious which buttons you need to press to navigate through the options, especially when the screen becomes cluttered with the spoiler alert for the audio commentaries.
Disc 1 (which, inevitably, begins with promos for ABC shows on DVD) does include one other, absolutely essential bonus feature: the hilarious montage “LOST in 8:15 – A Crash Course,” which sums up all you need to know before watching the sixth season episodes. With its dead-pan narration (“Wow,” says the female voice, without inflection, while revealing some new plot twist), “A Crash Course” serves equally well as a recapitulation for the fan, an introduction for the uninitiated, and a dry parody of the series’ labyrinthine plotting.
Disc 5 contains the majority of the bonus material, including “New Man in Charge,” a new 12-minute LOST chapter, which offers a look at what Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Ben (Michael Emerson) do as the new Island overseers. In the grand tradition of the SEINFELD box sets, LOST: THE COMPLETE AND FINAL SEASON offers a variety features that provide both an overview of the season and a closer examination of individual episodes.
“Crafting the Final Season” is in the former category – a lengthy documentary about the pressure of paying off after five years of teasing viewers. Featuring interviews with the cast and crew, this feature is a bit self-congratulatory, but it is not a typical promotional puff piece; it plays much better as a retrospective look back at the final season, with the writers talking about recapitulating ideas from the first season and the actors joking about whose character will be killed off.
“A Hero’s Journey“: Here, the staff of LOST go Joseph Cambell on us (by way of STAR WARS, of course). Interview snippets about turning the characters into heroes (even the unlikely, somewhat selfish ones) are intercut with printed quotes from Campbell’s work, describing the nature of the archetypal hero that appears in stories, times, and cultures from around the world.
“See You in Another Life, Brotha” offers a look at the “flash sideways” into a parallel timeline that allowed the writers to explore the characters in a different context.
“Lost on Location” provides a behind-the-scenes look at the technical challenges involved in specific episodes. Unlike the other bonus material, which focuses on the show’s themes and ambitions, these segments examine the nuts and bolts of getting the shows in the camera:
- “LAX” examines construction of the indoor-outdoor temple set
- “The Substitute” features stunts on a cliff overlooking the ocean
- “Recon” is a fun look at filming cops-and-robbers scenes in the alternate timeline
- “Ab Aeterno” depicts the trials and tribulations of filming in a claustrophobic set for the hold of a wooden ship, along with a live pig that refuses to perform on cue, necessitating a prop substitute.
- “Happily Ever After” documents a tricky location stunt with a car plunging off a pier into a harbor, followed by on-set filming of the car underwater in a studio tank.
- “The Candidate” offers more underwater filming, this time on a submarine set
“Lost Bloopers” is a snappily edited montage that jumps around quickly to different bits and pieces – sometimes so fast that the blooper is not obviously apparent. Some funny stuff, nonetheless.
“Deleted Scenes” includes nine sequences.
“Lost University: Masters Program” is a BD Live-enabled feature that requires a broadband connection to your Blu-ray player in order to gain access to additional material delving into the minutia of LOST.
Overall, the bonus features are insightful and interesting. Despite the occasional air of pretension (understandable after six years of pop culture success and stardom), the featurettes and other material will appeal not only to hardcore fans but also to more general viewers who want to learn a little bit more about the LOST phenomenon. In short, you don’t have to be a dedicated insider to enjoy this Blu-ray set, and if you’re feeling that you missed the boat on some or all of the episodes, this is a great way to catch up.
Also this week: TIME BANDITS on Blu-ray, DORIAN GRAY, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED, Midnight Horror Collections
Tuesday, August 24 is a big day for horror, fantasy, and science fiction on home video, with numerous titles ranging from cult films to classics, from traditional horror to cannibalistic zombie mayhem, from television to theatres to direct-to-video. Of course, the titles likely to make it onto most viewers’ lists of “what to have if lost on a desert island” are LOST: THE COMPLETE SIXTH AND FINAL SEASON and LOST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, both of which are available on DVD and Blu-ray.
With the LOST television series now only a fond memory, ABC has assembled all sixteen episodes of Season Six into nice five-disc set, available in either DVD or Blu-ray, that offers lovely widescreen transfers, 5.1 stereo sound, and some informative bonus features:
- A new 12-minute LOST chapter called “New Man In Charge,” which offers a look at what Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and Ben (Michael Emerson) do as the new Island overseers
- The End: Crafting A Final Season – Join the LOST team along with other producers of some of television’s longest running shows as they examine the challenges of ending a landmark series
- A Hero’s Journey – What makes a hero? Which survivors of Oceanic 815 are true heroes? These questions and more are explored
- See You In Another Life, Brotha – Unlock the mysteries of this season’s intriguing flash sideways
- Deleted Scenes
- Audio Commentaries
- Lost University: The Masters Program is a Blu-ray exclusive, BD Live-enabled feature that requires a broadband connection to your Blu-ray player.
LOST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is a massive set (36-disc Blu-ray discs or 38-DVDs) that contains over 84 hours of material (5,074 minutes to be exact), including “New Man In Charge.” Other bonus features on the COMPLETE COLLECTION:
- One full disc of never-before-seen content
- Special edition collectible Senet game as seen in Season 6
- Custom LOST island replica
- Exclusive episode guide
- Collectible ankh
- Black light
- Plus all episodes and 30+ hours of bonus from Seasons 1-6
As if that were not enough to keep rapacious fans of cinefantastique satsified, this week also sees the Blu-ray debut of TIME BANDITS, the wonderfully comic time-travel fantasy from director Terry Gilliam. Despite the Monty Pythonish humor, TIME BANDITS works as an elaborate fantasy film, filled with memorable images that deserve to be experienced with the clarity that Blu-ray can bring to the home video experience.
American fans of the classic approach to the horror genre may be interested in DORIAN GRAY, a 2009 adaptation of of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Starring Ben Barnes as Dorian, with Colin Firth as Lord Henry, the British film was released to theatres in its native land but never scored a stateside theatrical release. Writing for Cinefantastique Online, our own Deborah Louis Robinson called DORIAN GRAY a “well-directed” effort in the style of “old Hammer Horror films.” The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
George A. Romero’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD arrives on home video after a VOD debut and limited theatrical distribution earlier this year. The film is not up to par by the standards of Romero’s previous work (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, DAY OF THE DEAD, LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD), but fans may be interested in checking out the few new wrinkles he adds to his familiar cannibal zombies. The film is available in three forms: single-disc DVD, a two-disc “Ultimate Undead Edition” DVD, and Blu-ray.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the weird artsy animation experiment NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: REANIMATED also arrives on DVD this week. For this film, various animators were asked to recreate scenes from Romero’s 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, each in a different style. Worth checking out for curiosity if nothing else.
As for the rest:
- Synergy offers two of their DVDTee discs, which consist of old movies packaged with T-shirts featuring recreations of original poster artwork. This week’s titles are KING OF THE ZOMBIES (1941) and ASSIGNMENT: OUTER SPACE (1960). The later was recently reviewed as part of Cinefantastique’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Horror, Fantasy & Science Fiction Films of 1960.
- Echo Bridge releases three themed sets: THE MIDNIGHT HORROR COLLECTION: BLOOD PREDATORS, THE MIDNIGHT HORROR COLLECTION: FLESHING EATING ZOMBIES, and THE MIDNIGHT HORROR COLLECTION: ROAD TRIP TO HELL.
- Plus a handful of direct-to-video titles: HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (with Joe Mantegna), METAMORPHOSIS (with Christopher Lambert), THE HAUNTING OF SORORITY ROW, DEVIL’S DIARY, NINJA VS. ZOMBIES, and DIENER (GET IT?).
Drumming up publicity for the official LOST Auction and Exhibit and for the August 24 DVD and Blu-ray release of LOST: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION and LOST: THE COMPLETE SIXTH AND FINAL SEASON, publicists have released a clip of the cast and crew discussing Claire’s Squirrel Baby, which is among the many items up for auction at the Barker Hanger in the Santa Monica Airport on August 21-22. For those who don’t remember, here is the background:
After three years of living alone on the island, Claire kept a substitute baby fashioned of animal parts with buttons for eyes. When Kate questioned Claire about what it was, Claire told her it was “all I had.” Seen in the season 6 episode, “The Lighthouse.”
Estimated Value: $300 – $500
Read the official press release below:
“LOST” THE OFFICIAL SHOW AUCTION AND EXHIBIT, FEATURING A LIVE
AND ONLINE AUCTION OF THE ICONIC PROPS, WARDROBE AND SET DECORATION
OF THE HIT ABC SERIES, IS SET TO TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 21
AND SUNDAY, AUGUST 22
Auction and Exhibit to Take Place in Southern California at the Barker Hanger
In the Santa Monica Airport
“LOST” The Official Show Auction and Exhibit will take place in southern California at the Barker Hangar in the Santa Monica Airport on Saturday, August 21 and Sunday, August 22. ABC Studios, in partnership with Profiles in History, will conduct a live and online auction featuring the iconic props, wardrobe and set decoration of the Emmy award winning television series. Along with the auction, ABC will be offering fans an opportunity to immerse themselves in all things “LOST.” Large set pieces from the show will be on display, including a Dharma van and pieces of the plane wreckage from Oceanic flight 815. Other memorable props and wardrobe will also be featured.
In addition, fans will have an early sneak peek of Season 6 DVD bonus material before the August 24 DVD and Blu-Ray release date, including moments of the much anticipated new chapter, “The New Man in Charge,” from executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
Tickets for the event will be available at Razorgator.com.
Information and registration for the auction is available at Profilesinhistory.com.
See the interview clip below:
In a development as vexing as a Lost plotline, studio insiders said that while Lindelof indeed met with Scott and the studio for that rewrite job, the exchange of ideas between them sparked a take that could well turn out to be a free-standing science fiction film. The studio will decide when Lindelof turns it in. Scott Free is producing and Lindelof’s CAA reps closed his deal last night.
For fans of the series, the choice can be seen as a good one considering the mass appeal of LOST as well as the fact that Mr. Lindelof is also writing & producing the STAR TREK sequel. He is definitely a man who knows his sci-fi. It seems as if the beloved ALIEN is indeed in good hands.