ENDER'S GAME: CFQ Spotlight Podcast 4:42

Asa Butterfield (center top) rallies a corps of child warriors in ENDER'S GAME.
Asa Butterfield (center top) rallies a corps of child warriors in ENDER'S GAME.

Hard enough bringing a science fiction novel as beloved, respected, and influential as ENDER’S GAME to the screen — the scenario in which a young boy is groomed for leadership in an interstellar war through a psychological process that both isolates him and nurtures his proclivity for violence would be a challenge for the finest of directors. Then, throw in author Orson Scott Card going on record with some repugnant thoughts about gay rights (which have been disavowed by people involved with the production), and the factors arrayed against success, both within and without the project, are raised exponentially. So it has to be said that director Gavin Hood has accomplished this not-inconsiderable challenge by rallying a respected cast — including Asa Butterfield as reluctant military mastermind Ender Wiggin, plus Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley as the soldiers responsible for turning innocent children into remorseless killers — to an adaptation that, to a great extent, honors the book’s challenging themes. The question remains: Does that make a good film?
And that, it turns out, is a more complicated issue. In the most dramatic divergence of opinion ever heard on the Spotlight, beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons to debate what Hood and team have gotten right in this big-budget adaptation, and where they’ve faltered. It’s an energetic, revealing debate about one of the most important tales in science fiction literature, and whether its path to a mainstream audience was a worthy one. Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.

BLADE RUNNER's Joanna Cassidy: The CFQ Interview

Joanna Cassidy
Joanna Cassidy

Joanna Cassidy’s acting career has been long and diverse, encompassing a bit part in BULLITT, trading barbs with Dabney Coleman on BUFFALO BILL, and presently playing the overbearing mother of Dana Delany on BODY OF PROOF. But for most genre fans, she will always be Zhora, the snake-loving assassin/exotic dancer/replicant of BLADE RUNNER, as well as Delores, the sarcastic, rabbit-befriending barkeep of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT.
I got to talk with Joanna for this career-spanning interview that includes a look at the complication on the set of BLADE and RABBIT, as well her role as T’Pol’s mother on STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, and so much more. Click on the player to hear the show.

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Snake Dance by Joanna Cassidy

Ridley Scott Onboard 'Blade Runner' Redux

bladerunner_2According to Deadline,  Ridley Scott, currently filming the ALIEN “prequel” (or is it?) PROMETHEUS, has agreed to produce and direct a BLADE RUNNER film with Alcon Entertainment.
 Alcon’s  Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, who acquired the film rights earlier this year. It’s unclear if the film will be a prequel or sequel to  the property, based on Philip K. Dick’s  1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Scott helmed the original 1982 BLADE RUNNER, set in a dystopian version of 2019. It had many differences from the source text;  Scott’s vision was of a steamy, overpopulated LA, Dick’s a greatly de-populated, radioactive dust-laden San Fransisco.  
Though starring Harrison Ford (still with the STAR WARS buzz, but before gaining major star status ), and sporting an richly detailed visual mise-en-scène, the film was not a big success in theaters.
In later years, on re-examination through TV and video veiwings, it began to grow in status. A Director’s Cut and a later 25th Anniversary DVD re-master overssen by Ridley Scott led to BLADE RUNNER’s reappraisal as significant science fiction thriller with a distinctive retro-future Film Noir style.

Cowboys and Aliens: Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast 2:29.1

I've Heard of Iron Horses, but Iron Dragonflies?: Daniel Craid and Harrison Ford (way, way back there) undergo future shock in COWBOYS AND ALIENS.
I've Heard of Iron Horses, but Iron Dragonflies?: Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford (way, way back there) undergo future shock in COWBOYS AND ALIENS.

It’s genre-meets-genre at your local multiplex, and not since Gene Autry faced down an advanced, subterranean civilization in PHANTOM EMPIRE has the American west faced such daunting enemies as are encountered in COWBOYS AND ALIENS. With Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig bringing steely resolve to their roles as bitter foes forced to set aside differences in order to ward off an impending invasion of vicious, and quite greedy, aliens, the film — under the direction of IRON MAN’s Jon Favreau — is an intriguing mix of western conventions and summer blockbuster thrills. Join special guest Orenthal Hawkins as he joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons in a debate over whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as well as an exploration of why aliens always seem to be on the short-end of the evolutionary development chain, and a discussion of whether there are better ways to build secure, interplanetary vessels.
Also in capsule reviews: Larry and Dan discuss the low-budget, alien invasion film ATTACK THE BLOCK, and Dan gives his take on the experimental fantasy-drama, THE FUTURE.


'Cowboys & Aliens' Sneak Peek

Here’s an extended Sneak Peek for COWBOYS AND ALIENS.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, and Harrison Ford.
Based on the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, directed by Jon Favreau, from a screenplay by Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci.
Due out July 29th from Universal Pictures.
Via Trailerboe

'Cowboys and Aliens' – Trailer

Here’s the trailer to COWBOYS AND ALIENS, Universal Studios adaptation of the graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.
Screen 007 Daniel Craig stars as Zeke Jackson, a hunted gunfighter caught up into a strange extraterrestrial invasion of an Arizona town in the days of the old West.
Also starring Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, and Sam Rockwell.
Directed by IRON MAN’s Jon Favreau.
Due in theaters July 29th, 2011.
Via Box Office Spy

'Indy 5' Back to Basics?


File It Under Rumors—For Now

According to Stuff.co.nz there’s definitely a fifth INDIANA JONES movie coming, and this one will be heading “back to its roots”, following the critical drubbing of THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.
However, this information comes from an un-named source, so reader beware.
Both Harrison Ford and Shia LeBouf are said to be onboard for a new adventure to begin shooting next year, and that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have agreed on a storyline “centred around the Bermuda Triangle”.
The New Zealand-based site also quotes this source as saying ” …This will be a blockbuster made in the old fashioned way, rather than the CGI efforts of the last movie.”
Sounds good,  if true. 
Personally, I enjoyed the flawed CRYSTAL SKULL well enough, as much as an exercise in nostalgia as anything else. Like many fans, I found the “nuking the `fridge” scene more than a little over the top, and might have frowned briefly at some of the less well executed CGI—but was otherwise fairly content with my popcorn.
UPDATE 6/10/2010: Not too surprisingly, it seems that the un-named source was unreliable.
According to OhNoTheyDidn’t producer Frank Marshall debunked the story via Twitter:
“The rumor about INDY 5 is completely false. Nothing has changed, we are not shooting next year and [are] still in the research phase…”

Sam Rockwell to Tackle Cowboys & Aliens

Actor Sam Rockwell
Actor Sam Rockwell

According to The Hollywood Reporter Sam Rockwell (IRON MAN 2, MOON) has signed on for Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN 2, ZATHURA) upcoming sci-fi film, COWBOYS & ALIENS. He’ll be joining an already star studded cast which includes the likes of Harrison Ford (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES) and Daniel Craig (THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE INVASION).

Rockwell is to star in the upcoming superhero film, IRON MAN 2, which was also directed by Favreau, so the two must of hit if off pretty well. COWBOYS & ALIENS is a graphic novel adaptation in which a group of angry extraterrestrials invade the Old West. Writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof have had to work with Favreau to re-imagine the role of ‘Doc’, a bartender who helps our heroes battle the alien nasties, for Rockwell to boost his screen time and change his appearance from a heavy-set boozer.
I’m quietly anticipating this one and the addition of Rockwell to the cast can only be  a good thing. COWBOYS & ALIENS is set to start shooting in June.

Noah Ringer on for Cowboys & Aliens

Actor Noah Ringer
Actor Noah Ringer

The folks over at Variety have the scoop that Noah Ringer has been cast in Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN) next film; COWBOYS & ALIENS. Ringer is a relative unknown but after being given the lead role in AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER by M. Night Shyamalan he will be staring in Favreau’s upcoming sci-fi/western hybrid.

COWBOYS & ALIENS is being adapted from the comic book of the same name which implies a rather simple ‘cowboys defend Earth from aliens story’ but in fact is something much more interesting. In the comics the twist is that the aliens end up invading the Old West and colonising the area just as the real life settlers did to the Native Americans. It definitely sounds like an promising concept and one that’s in safe hands with Favreau on board to direct. It’s not clear what role Ringer will be playing yet but he’ll be joining a impressive cast that already includes Harrison Ford (INDIANA JONES, STAR WARS) and Daniel Craig (CASINO ROYALE, LAYER CAKE).
COWBOYS & ALIENS is set for release on the 29th of July, 2011.

Ford Officially on board for Cowboys & Aliens

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford’s (STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES) involvement in Jon Favreau’s (IRON MAN, ZATHURA) sci-fi western, COWBOYS & ALIENS, was confirmed today by the director on his Twitter account. Rumours have already been circulating
as to whether Ford had been cast in the film but now Favreau has officially let the cat out of the bag.
Ford will act alongside Daniel Craig in the comic adaptation in which cowboys try to fend off extraterrestrial being in the old west.  The plot sounds like a lot of fun and Favreau has more than proved himself as a director whom is up to the task. The addition of Ford to the cast could be the icing on the cake, provided the veteran actor lets loose his funnier side that, frankly, has been missing for far too long.
COWBOYS & ALIENS is currently in pre-production but already has a release date set for the 29th of July, 2011.