Found footage horror is usually the domain of entry-level directors and cheapjack producers who have no problem using smeary images and awkward ellipses to cover for incompetent filmmaking. So what was Barry Levinson — he of DINER and GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM — doing slapping consumer equipment into his cast’s hands and sending them out to shoot their own footage? It turns out that Levinson — no stranger to breaking the rules of standard film production (after all, his political satire, WAG THE DOG, was shot on the quick-n-dirty during an involuntary hiatus from the filming of SPHERE) — was whipping up THE BAY, an effectively disturbing eco-terror tale in which a Maryland fishing town is decimated by a quite vicious parasite born from the rampant pollution of Chesapeake Bay. In the process, he also managed to teach everyone how effective the found-footage technique can be when it’s used as a tool and not a crutch. Somebody had to.
Our coverage of New York Comic Con 2012 concludes, belatedly, with the roundtable interview Levinson gave during the con in support of the film.
Just because last year saw the publication of a mammoth retrospective of his work, that doesn’t mean cartoonist Bill Plympton is putting away his pencils just yet. He was back at New York Comic Con this year, to promote a new, career-spanning documentary about him and a new book meant to inspire prospective artists with the maverick spirit that has fueled his projects.
I got a few minutes to speak with Bill about these new releases, and also got an inside look at a new project that will make him a regular guest on your home screen.
It’s not always page-to-screen, you know. While DC Comics is still celebrating the successful conclusion of Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the recent debut of the TV series ARROW, and the upcoming MAN OF STEEL, they’re also taking the process in the opposite direction, mounting graphic adaptations of two hot properties: the intense thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti-western reboot, Django Unchained.
While at New York Comic-Con, Dan Persons got a few minutes with DC co-publisher Dan DiDio to ask him about the motivations for this new project, and also threw in a question about the new, animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s revolutionary BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.
We’ll be getting to the serious New York Comic-Con stuff soon enough, but now, come join Cinefantastique Online’s Dan Persons and Mighty Movie’s Temple of Bad’s Andrea Lipinski as they wander the con floor. Trans-dimensional corridors! The Batmobile! Mood-sensing robotic cat ears!
You gotta love an alien invasion film where the aliens make the serious mistake of trying to invade some council estates (read, “projects”) in London and discover that the street-tough kids there are not going to yield the territory without racking up a body count. That’s the idea behind ATTACK THE BLOCK, Joe Cornish’s directorial debut that was exec produced by SHAUN OF THE DEAD’s Edgar Wright. It’s neatly pulled off with a surprising bit of depth, and worth checking out when it’s released on homevid on October 25th.
So a bunch of us were gathered in a room in New York Comic Con’s press warren, and got to throw questions indiscriminately (but incisively) at Joe. I managed to capture the session for this podcast.
DC, Marvel, Dark Horse all claimed significant shares of turf at this year’s New York Comic Con, but only STAR WARS staked out its own universe, incorporating numerous vendors within the confines of its expansive area (including Hallmark, for all your limited-edition Xmas ornament needs).
And there in the midst of it was Ashley Eckstein — a.k.a. Ahsoka Tano of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS — greeting fans and promoting Her Universe, her own clothing line designed to appeal to the geek girl in all of us (but mostly in geek girls). We got a few minutes to talk to her, check out the garments, and ponder some universal truths in the war of geekish sexes.
You never forget your first Roger Corman film. Mine was THE TERROR, which I admittedly was drawn to out of a combined curiosity over a film that was shot in two days on leftover sets, and that featured a young Jack Nicholson before he became THE Jack Nicholson. But whether it was the cheap-ass drive-in fare with unforgettable titles like ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS or the surprisingly trenchant horror-comedy cheapies like LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS or the lush Poe adaptations that essentially defined Vincent Price for the balance of his career, or the first shots he gave to directors like Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich (TARGETS, yeah!) and Joe Dante, or BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS, the STAR WARS knock-off that was more entertaining than any of the official prequels, the man has placed his indelible stamp in the minds of countless genre film fans.
Corman was at the con to sign autographs and promote the new, career-spanning documentary, CORMAN’S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL, and took a few minutes to talk with us.
Cinefantastique hit the floor of New York Comic Con 2011 and discovered… people. Lots ‘n’ lots of people. NYCC sold out for the entire weekend, and the upshot was that even the isolated reaches of the show floor became navigational nightmares at certain points during the day. Woe betide the mortal wandering Artists Alley who had a sudden hankering for a bagful of Japanese fruit chews. The trip from one end of the show to the other took slightly longer than traversing the Silk Road.
Nevertheless, in the course of producing his scheduled interviews, Dan Persons had time to wander the floor and snap up a few random encounters and events with his handy pocket camcorder. Come join him to discover 3D printers, pickled punks, Romanian comics, redemption for the Black Eyed Peas, and much, much more, including special guest appearances by cartoonist Bill Plympton and Troma’s own Lloyd Kaufman. Check out a larger version of the video below, or watch it on YouTube.
Yes, Cinefantastique Online was at the just-wrapped New York Comic Con 2011, and we’re going to be bringing you tons o’ goodies — in both audio and video form — over the coming days (and weeks!). But we figured we should start you off the with the choice of the choice: the full press conference for Adult Swim’s hit series, THE VENTURE BROS, featuring creators Jackson Publick (a.k.a. Christopher McCulloch) and Eric “Doc” Hammer.
It’s close to a full hour of goodness, during which Publick and Hammer not only field questions about the show but — as has become legendary during their press conferences — also take the audience on a wild ride through their fertile imaginations, including expressing frustration for their lack of involvement in the DOCTOR STRANGE movie, confessing an unsettling fascination for a certain, esoteric sex act, and developing on-the-spot an entire action-thriller movie starring Liam Neeson as a man on a desperate quest to rescue his child bride.
Even if you’ve never seen THE VENTURE BROS. (and you should — it’s one of the best animated series going), you should check this out. It’s funny, it’s informative and, fair warning, it’s definitely NSFW. Plug them headphones in.