So it’s back to the arena, where life is cheap but the production values sure as hell are not. In THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE, defiant champions Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) discover how costly their rebellion actually is, both in terms of human toll as the government moves to crush any signs of rebellion inspired by their victory, and personally, as the ruling elite — represented by the likes of Donald Sutherland and Philip Seymour Hoffman — conspire to force them into a new, even more deadly competition.
beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski is back once again to share her knowledge of the original book series with Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons. We’ll look into whether there’s story enough to support two-and-a-half hours of screen time, whether the return to the bloody Hunger Games competition is worth the trip, and whether all the characters have a preternaturally intimate understanding of human nature or are just damn lucky. Then, Dan and Andrea quickly discuss the celebratory DOCTOR WHO 50th anniversary episode, “Day of the Doctor.” Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
Ever wonder what happend to the Paul McGann version of Doctor Who? You know, the one who appeared in the 1996 film on Fox TV? Low ratings put that version of the Doctor in limbo, and the franchise remained dormant for years, until the BBC resurrected the iconic Time Lord for a revamped DOCTOR WHO television series in 2004, starring Christopher Eccleston. During the interim, McGann remained the “official” Doctor, in the sense that it was his likeness that appeared on merchandising tie-ins (novelizations, etc), but he never got another shot at playing the character on screen, until now.
THE NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR is a seven-minute short subject, billed as a prequel to THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR, the 50th anniversary special that will screen for one night only in U.S. theatres on November 25, two days after its premiere on British television. In this mini-episode, we finally learn the fate of the Eighth Doctor. We won’t give it away, except to say that, as you can probably guess, it involves a regeneration; John Hurt is involved in some way; and the time frame is during the devastating Dalek war referenced in the Eccleston episodes. This is just an appetizer, of course; but it certainly suggest that THE DAY OF THE DOCTOR will be something spectacular.
Loki will not be the Big Bad… John Hurt will probably not be the Doctor for long… KUNG FU PANDA 3 seeks harmony with China… YouTube live video capture seeks no harmony with Google Chrome (you’ll see, sorry)…
From the luxurious Cinefantastique Online Studios in NYC, Dan Persons brings you up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of genre media.
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It’s a good week for lush, exquisite cinematography and vividly stylized worlds; maybe not so good a week for compelling narratives. In IMMORTALS, director Tarsem Singh Dhandwar uses Greek mythology as the raw material upon which to invest his skill with staging beautiful, beautiful actors in elaborate tableaux, all in the service of the tale of a lowly peasant (Henry Cavil) who, with the blessings of the gods (including former Apollo Luke Evans), rallies the bedraggled forces of Greece against a sadistic warlord (Mickey Rourke, and are you surprised?). Come join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they admire the scenery and debate whether anything exists past the pretty facade.
Then, Larry and Dan briefly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Lars von Trier’s elegant science fiction drama, MELANCHOLIA, in which a despondent Kirsten Dunst must cope with her own sense of inertia and the threat of a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth. Plus: What’s coming in theaters.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, John Hurt and Helena Bonham Carter.
Directed by: David Yates.
Opens November 19th from Warner Brothers Pictures.
There’s official confirmation that Lars von Trier’s (ANTICHRIST) disaster film MELANCHOLIA does indeed have a sci-fi angle — if there was any lingering doubt.
The Hollywood Reporter’s news from Cannes mentions that John Hurt (ALIEN) has joined a cast that includes 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst (SPIDERMAN), Charlotte Rampling (ZARDOZ), gennre regular Udo Kier, Stellan Skarsgard (EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING), his son Alexander Skarsgard (TRUE BLOOD) and Charlotte Gainsbourg (ANTICHRIST).
Executive Producer Peter A. Jensen revealed that the end of the world film does feature a “large object from outer space approaching Earth”.
If this is an asteroid or other natural body (such as the previously reported rogue planet) that imperiles the world, it’s been done many times before, from WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951) to ARMAGEDDON (1998), and any number of TV movies.
However, I suspect Lars von Trier can probably be counted on to provide his own unique spin on an old tale.
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.
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.
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.