Showing posts with label Ron Perlman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ron Perlman. Show all posts

Friday, June 9, 2023

Review: "TRANSFORMERS: Rise of the Beasts" is the Best Transformers Movie That I'VE Seen

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 24 of 2023 (No. 1913) by Leroy Douresseaux

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)
Running time:  127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPA – PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language
DIRECTOR:  Steven Caple, Jr.
WRITERS:  Joby Harold, Darnell Metayer, Josh Peters, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber; from a story by Joby Harold (based on Hasbro’s Transformers Action Figures)
PRODUCERS:  Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Michael Bay, Duncan Henderson, and Mark Vahradian
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Enrique Chediak
EDITORS:  William Goldenberg and Joel Negron
COMPOSER: Jongnic Bontemps

SCI-FI/ACTION

Starring:  Anthony Ramos, Dominique Fishback, Luna Lauren Velez, Dean Scott Vazquez, Tobe Nwigwe, and Sarah Stiles; (voices) Peter Cullen, Pete Davidson, Ron Perlman, Peter Dinklage, Liza Koshy, Michelle Yeoh, Cristo Fernandez, Michaela Jae Rodriguez, John DiMaggio,Tongayi Chirisa, David Sobolov, and Colman Domingo

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is a 2023 science fiction action film.  It is based on Hasbro's Transformers toy line, and it is the seventh movie in the Transformers live-action film series.  The film serves a standalone sequel to the sixth film, Bumblebee (2018), and also as a prequel to the first film in the series, Transformers (2007).  Set during the 1990s, Rise of the Beasts sees a new faction of Transformers join the Autobots as allies in a battle to save Earth from a planet-eating threat.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opens thousands of years in the past.  There, the planet-eating dark god, Unicron (voice of Colman Domingo), devours a planet inhabited by the Transformers known as the “Maximals.”  Unicron had sent his servant, Scourge (voice of Peter Dinklage), and the Terrorcons to steal the Maximals' greatest piece of technology, “the Transwarp Key,” which can open portals through space and time.  Optimus Primal (voice of Ron Perlman) and the Maximals:  Airazon (voice of Michelle Yeoh), Cheetor (voice of Tongayi Chirisa) and Rhinox (voice of David Sobolov), escape to Earth with the Transwarp Key.

Moving forward to Brooklyn, 1994: the story introduces two humans that are about to get caught up in the Transformers' drama.  The first is Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos), an ex-military electronics expert who struggles to find a job to support his family, his mother, Breanna Diaz (Luna Lauren Velez), and his younger brother, Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez), who suffers from sickle cell.

The second is Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback).  She is an intern at a museum and an artifact researcher who doesn't get the credit for how her knowledge benefits the museum.  She has discovered that an artifact which her museum recently obtained has what turns to be a Maximal symbol on it.  Soon, Noah and Elena will find themselves in the company of the AutobotsOptimus Prime (voice of Peter Cullen), Mirage (Pete Davidson), and Arcee (voice of Liza Koshy) and caught in a battle to protect the Transwarp Key from falling into the clutches of Scourge in service of Unicron.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the best Transformers movie that I have seen, although I have only seen three of the previous six.  I liked the first film, Transformers, and its sequel, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), but after the second sequel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011), I'd had enough.  I didn't bother with Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), and I tried to watch Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) on television and found it unwatchable.  I have never gotten around to watching the first prequel film, Bumblebee (2018), although I had planned on doing it.

There are several things that make Rise of the Beasts stand out from the earlier films.  First, there is some genuine human drama.  Noah's dedication to his family, especially his little brother, Kris, resonates, and Noah's determination to help his family financially makes his decisions seem logical.  Honestly, I really identified with Elena, whose boss, Jillian (Sarah Stiles), keeps taking credit for her work, a situation I have dealt with on and off for four decades (!).  I give the filmmakers a lot of credit for choosing non-white actors as the leads, and the screenwriters even more credit for being willing to depict the slights, micro-aggressions, and job discrimination that talented people of color put up with from mediocre white people.

Also, Rise of the Beasts has excellent visual special effects and eye-popping computer-generated imagery.  The transformational process the robots go through still looks really cool and sometimes mind-bending.  The robot fight scenes rival and probably surpass anything audiences would find in Star Wars movies.  This time, however, it means something and isn't just one long slog of creatures of metal slamming into each other.  There is a real sense of peril for both human and Autobots.  They might die or be destroyed, and the Earth might be devoured.  Plus, Unicron is a deliciously evil villain who is equally god and monster.  I hope he returns in future movies because as much as he scared me, he also fascinated me.

Director Steven Caple, Jr. has delivered a Transformers movie that is both visually busy and also dramatically hefty with genuine melodrama.  Yes, the third act is a bit tedious, but...  I'm shocked to say this.  I heartily recommend Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

[Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has an extra scene that appears just after the credits begin and also a mid-credits scene.]

7 of 10
A-
★★★½ out of 4 stars

Friday, June 9, 2023


The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Thursday, May 5, 2022

Review: "NIGHTMARE ALLEY" is One of 2021's Very Best Films

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 27 of 2022 (No. 1839) by Leroy Douresseaux

Nightmare Alley (2021)
Running time:  150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes)
MPA – R for strong/bloody violence, some sexual content, nudity and language
DIRECTOR:  Guillermo del Toro
WRITERS: Guillermo del Toro and Kim Morgan (based on the novel by William Lindsay Gresham)
PRODUCERS:  Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale, and Bradley Cooper
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Dan Laustsen (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Cameron McLauchlin
COMPOSER:  Nathan Johnson
Academy Award nominee

DRAMA/FILM-NOIR

Starring:  Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, Peter MacNeill, David Strathairn, Mark Povinelli, Holt McCallany and Paul Anderson

Nightmare Alley is a 2021 neo-noir crime thriller and drama directed by Guillermo del Toro.  The film is an adaptation of the 1946 novel, Nightmare Alley, which was written by William Lindsay Gresham.  Nightmare Alley the film focuses on a drifter who works his way from low-ranking carnival employee to acclaimed psychic medium on his way to his self-made doom.

Nightmare Alley opens in 1939 and introduces Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Bradley Cooper).  A drifter, Stan gets a job at a carnival operated by Clement “Clem”Hoatley (Willem Dafoe).  He begins working with the carnival's clairvoyant act, “Madame Zeena,” (Toni Collette) and her alcoholic husband, Peter “Pete” Krumbein (David Strathairn).  They use coded language and cold reading tricks, which Pete keeps in a secret book.  Although Pete teaches tricks to Stan, he also warns him against using these tricks to be a mentalist that pretends to speak to the dead, known as a “spookshow.”

Stan becomes attracted to a fellow performer, Mary Margaret “Molly” Cahill (Rooney Mara), and he eventually convinces her to leave with him.  Two years later, Stan has successfully reinvented himself with a psychic act for the wealthy elite of Buffalo, and Molly is his assistant.  His act has attracted the attention of consulting psychologist, Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), and she is determined to reveal him as a fraud.  Thus, begins a cat and mouse game between Stan and Lilith that will destroy lives.

Nightmare Alley is not the first film adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham's novel.  Hollywood legend Tyrone Power starred in a 1947 version in a bid to escape from the kinds of films (romance and adventure) that had made him a Hollywood star, but had also relegated him to the same kinds of roles (romantic leads and swashbuckling heroes).  From what I have read, Guillermo del Toro's 2021 version is more faithful to original novel than the 1947 film.

Some excellent and even great films are ruined or nearly ruined by their endings.  Del Toro's Nightmare Alley is solidified as a great film because of its ending, which brings back elements from the beginning of the film.  Bradley Cooper's Stan Carlisle is a doomed fool, a man consumed by greed and self-interest.  As his lust for power and greed for money and fame become more evident, Nightmare Alley turns truly prophetic.  A con man's ultimate mark is himself, and Stan never paid attention to the warnings, especially those that came when he first started working for Clem.

Although Cooper's status as the lead actor playing the lead character allows him to deliver a powerful performance, others in Nightmare Alley are also quite good.  Toni Collette, always good, is lovely here as the saintly, whorish, motherly Madame Zeena, while David Strathairn, also always good, is excellent as the pitiful prophet and father figure, Pete.  Cate Blanchett, decked in top notch hair and make-up and costumes, is the femme fatale as demoness, Lilith Ritter.  The film's best performance, however, is delivered by Rooney Mara, who in subtle shades and quiet gestures represents kind people in this film.  In a film determined to be dark and condemning, Mara's Molly is the film's humanity and hope.

As usual, Nightmare Alley offers Del Toro's haunting gothic visuals.  The production design, cinematography, costume design, and hair and make-up all capture this film's clash of vistas:  Depression-era destitution against a world of wealth, opulence, privilege, and corruption that ignored the poverty and decay right under their noses.  From ragged carnival garb to fabulous raiment; from the rundown world of carnies to the glow of swanky nightclubs:  Nightmare Alley is a vision of the darkness beneath the American dream and its illusions of wealth and power.  I have a few quibbles with Nightmare Alley, finding it a bit too dry, cold, and brittle in places.  Still, Nightmare Alley is another great film by the master of illusions, director Guillermo del Toro.

9 of 10
A+
★★★★+ out of 4 stars


Thursday, May 5, 2022


NOTES:
2022 Academy Awards, USA:  4 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale, and Bradley Cooper); “Best Achievement in Production Design” (Tamara Deverell-production design and Shane Vieau-set decoration); “Best Achievement in Costume Design” (Luis Sequeira), and “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Dan Laustsen)

2022 BAFTA Awards:  3 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (Dan Laustsen), “Best Costume Design” (Luis Sequeira), and “Best Production Design” (Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau)



The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: "MONSTER HUNTER" Offers Great Subterranean Monsters... Nothing Else

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 26 of 2021 (No. 1764) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Monster Hunter (2020)
Running time: 103 minutes (1 hour, 43 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of creature action and violence throughout
DIRECTOR:  Paul W.S. Anderson
WRITER:  Paul W.S. Anderson (based on upon the Capcom's video game, Monster Hunter)
PRODUCERS:  Paul W.S. Anderson, Dennis Berardi, Jeremy Bolt, Robert Kulzer, and Martin Moszkowicz
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Glen MacPherson (D.o.P)
EDITOR:  Doobie White
COMPOSER:  Paul Haslinger

FANTASY/ACTION

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Diego Boneta, Meagan Good, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Hirona Yamazaki, Jannick Schümann, Nanda Costa, Nic Rasenti, and Aaron Beelner (voice)

Monster Hunter is a 2020 fantasy action film from director Paul W. S. Anderson.  The film is based on Monster Hunter, the Capcom video game for the PlayStation 2.  Monster Hunter the film follows an Army Ranger transported to another world where she must fight monsters in order to survive.

Monster Hunter opens in “our world,” the world of humans, and introduces Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich), who leads a U.S. Army Rangers unit that is working for the United Nations Joint Security Operations.  Artemis and her team:  Lincoln (Tip “T.I.” Harris), Marshall (Diego Boneta), Dash (Meagan Good), Steeler (Josh Helman), and Axe (Jin Au-Yeung) are searching for another U.N. security team that is missing.  A strange and sudden storm pulls the team into a portal that drops them into a desert-like region of the “New World.”  In this New World, humans share the world with a variety of large and savage monsters and strange beasts.

Once in the New World, Artemis and her team are attacked by “Diablos,” a horned subterranean monster that can not only walk on sand, but can also swim through the sand like it was water.  Soon, Artemis finds herself alone with a New World human, whom she names “Hunter” (Tony Jaa).  Artemis and Hunter grudgingly agree to cooperate in order to defeat the seemingly unbeatable Diablos.  But if they escape this monster, what else awaits them and how can Artemis get back to our world?

I had never heard of the Monster Hunter video game until I read a volume of the Monster Hunter manga adaptation that is published in English in North America by VIZ Media.  The main reason that I watched this Monster Hunter film is because of the husband-wife team of filmmaker Paul W.S. Anderson and actress Milla Jovovich.  Jovovich was the star of the Resident Evil film series, and Anderson wrote and produced all six films in the series and directed four of them.  I am a fan of the Resident Evil series (which is also based on a videogame) overall, and I hoped that Anderson and Jovovich could create another fantasy-action movie series that I could enjoy.  I hoped...

I have mixed feelings about this Monster Hunter movie.  The visual effects, especially the CGI used to create the monsters and creatures of the New World are fantastic.  Diablos is a monster both fearsome and beautiful, and it could be the star of its own movie.  The spider-like Nerscyllas had my heart racing; they are creepy and bloodcurdling.  The dragon-like Rathalos is another great beast in the film and reminds me of the film version of the dragon, Smaug, that appeared in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit films.  Rathalos is also a CGI creation of exceptional beauty and awesomeness.

The action sequences are good, but they all seem to run a little long.  Killing the Monster Hunter monsters is like killing horror film villains, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.  Every time, you knock them down, they pop up less than half a minute later.  I get that the monsters of Monster Hunter are supposed to be hard to destroy, but sometimes it seems as if the filmmakers are stretching it all past the point of credulity.

What really hurts Monster Hunter is the awful acting and crappy characters.  I can deal with bad acting in this kind of movie, but not characters this bad.  All the characters, even Artemis, are little more than props to be tossed around and chewed up by monsters.  I think that the reason I like Monster Hunter's monsters so much is because I prefer time with them rather than screen time with these wooden, personality-absent characters.  Making Milla Jovovich's Artemis and Tony Jaa's Hunter the center of this film was a mistake.  They don't have screen chemistry, and every moment that they are together screams that they are a mismatched pair.

The rating and grade that I am giving Monster Hunter is for the visual effects and production design.  It's too bad.  I wanted this to be the start of a film series, and should there be a sequel, the film studios and production companies involved will have to do a major overhaul of the characters and cast.

5 of 10
C+

Sunday, March 7, 2021


The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Saturday, June 20, 2020

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from June 14th to 20th, 2020 - Update #24

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

Support Leroy on Patreon:

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS:

MOVIES - From Variety:  AMC Theatres will require patrons to wear masks when it reopens its theaters after initially not requiring them.

GEORGE FLOYD - From YahooNews:  New Mexico Shooting Raises Specter Of Right-Wing Violence Around Statue Protests

BLM - From YahooLifestyle:  Support grows for making "Juneteenth" (June 19th) an official holiday.

MOVIES - From DeadlineMark Wahlberg's canine adventure film, "Arthur the King," movies to Lionsgate.  The film reunited Wahlberg with is "2 Guns" and "Contraband" director, Baltasar Kormakur.

BLM-HOLLYWOOD - From BET:  Actress Gabrielle Union talks her "America's Got Talent" departure and on holding "bad apples" accountable.

GEORGE FLOYD - From YahooNews360:  Why was George Floyd's death the breaking point?

POLITICS - From YahooNews:  Five bombshells about President Trump from John Bolton's book, "The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir."

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Actress Kristen Stewart will portray Princess Diana in director Pablo Larrain's film, "Spencer."

BLM-EDUCATION - From YahooNewsNetflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120 million toward student scholarships at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).  The couple is giving $40 million to each of three institutions: the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College and Morehouse College. The organizations said it is the largest individual gift in support of student scholarships at HBCUs.

GEORGE FLOYD - From CNNMartin Gugino, the 75-year-old protester who was pushed by two Buffalo, New York, police officers earlier this month, has a fractured skull and is not able to walk, his lawyer said in a statement provided to CNN on Monday.

From YahooEntertainmentWhoopi Goldberg says police officers have to 'relearn how to police': 'Because now they're soldiers — and we're not in a war'

SPORTS - From YahooSports:  Here is a look at Super Bowl champion QB Tom Brady in his new uniform for his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

POLITICS - From InformedComment:  How American cities were Reduced to Esper’s “Battlespace”: From Fallujah to Minneapolis

OSCARS - From Deadline:  The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced that the 2021 / 93rd Academy Awards ceremony has been moved from February 28, 2021 to April 25, 2021 - the latest date ever for the Oscars.  Films will be eligible to compete for the 93rd Academy Awards though Feb. 28th.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  Director Antonie Fuqua and actor Will Smith's runaway slave thriller, "Emancipation," will be introduced at the virtual Cannes market and will begin production in early 2021.

LGBTQ - For BuzzFeed:  The Supreme Court on Monday issued its most sweeping decision ever to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, finding that a federal ban on sex discrimination in workplaces also protects employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

POLITICS-CELEBRITY - From FoxNews:  U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) challenges actor Ron Perlman... to wrestle with former wrestling coach and protector of sexual assailants, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

GEORGE FLOYD - From People:  Legendary singer, actress, and filmmaker, Barbra Streisand, has given Gianna Floyd, the daughter of the police-slain George Floyd, an unknown numbers of shares of stock in The Walt Disney Company.

MOVIES - From Deadline:  After his "Gone with the Wind" op-ed, Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley ponders permanent Hollywood change.

BLM - From Deadline:  "Saturday Night Live" alum, Jay Pharoah, was profiled by the Los Angeles Police Department and then one of them put his knee on his neck.

OBITS:

From Deadline:  The British actor, Ian Holm, has died at the age of 88, Friday, June 19, 2020.  Holms was best known for his appearances in such films as "Alien," "Chariots of Fire," "The Sweet Hereafter," and "The Fifth Element."  He also appeared in "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" film series.  Holm won a Tony Award in 1967 for his performance in "The Homecoming."  He received a best supporting Oscar nomination for his role in "Chariots of Fire" (1981), a role for which he won the BAFTA.

From CNN:  Former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland (1993-98), Jean Kennedy Smith, has died at the age of 92, Wednesday, June 17, 2020.  She was also the last surviving sibling of assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

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BLACK LIVES MATTER News:

From YahooFinance:  Why Black wealth has stayed 'relatively flat' since Tulsa massacre

From InTheseTimes:  The four questions we must ask before we agree to police reform.

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CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 NEWS:

From CDC:   The Centers for Disease Control has a "COVID Data Tracker."

From YahooNews:  Why does COVID-19 kill some people and hardly affects others?

From YahooNews:  Yahoo has a dedicated page of links updating news about COVID-19.

From Deadline:  The news site "Deadline" has a dedicated page for news about coronavirus and the film, TV, and entertainment industries.

From TheNewYorker:  The venerable magazine has a dedicate COVID-19 page free to all readers.

From YahooNews:  Re: the federal government's response to COVID-19: What if the most important election of our lifetime was the last one - 2016?

From YahooLife:  What is "happy hypoxia?"  And do you have this COVID-19 symptom?

From JuanCole:  Remeber when President Donald went crazy and suggested that we ingest household cleaning supplies and UV light to fight COVID-19.  Here is the video and commentary from Juan Cole.

From TheIntercept:  The federal government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show. The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves...

From NPR:  A sad milestone: over 100,000 American have died due to COVID-19.

From TheAtlanticThe Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying. The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.

From ProPublica:  Hospital's Secret COVID-19 Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Review: "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is Magical and Imaginative

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 33 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Running time:  110 minutes (1 hour, 50 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence and some language
DIRECTOR:  Guillermo del Toro
WRITERS:  Guillermo del Toro; from a story by Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola (based upon the comic book by Mike Mignola)
PRODUCERS:  Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Mike Richardson, and Joe Roth
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Guillermo Navarro
EDITOR:  Bernat Vilaplana
COMPOSER:  Danny Elfman
Academy Award nominee

FANTASY/ACTION/HORROR with elements of comedy and drama

Starring:  Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt, Roy Dotrice and Seth MacFarlane (voice)

In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the breaking of an ancient truce between humankind and the denizens of the invisible realm means Hellboy, the big, red, horned hero, will have to face his toughest challenges to date – save the world and save his relationship with his favorite flammable chick.

In distant, ancient times, there was a war between humans and mythical creatures.  A Goblin built an unstoppable clockwork army for Balor, King of the Elves (Roy Dotrice), but Balor grieved when he saw the carnage inflicted upon humanity by this “Golden Army” of 4900 mechanical fighters.  Balor called for a truce that would allow humans to live in their cities and that would allow the mythical creatures to keep to the forests.  The Golden Army was locked away in a secret location.

Cut to present day, Balor’s son, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), has returned from exile.  Having never agreed with the original truce between humanity and his father, Nuada sets about reuniting the three pieces of King Balor’s crown, the device that will allow him to raise the Golden Army.  This time, Prince Nuada will not stop the Golden Army until it has destroyed humanity.

Meanwhile, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is having relationship issues with his girlfriend, Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and chafing under a government order that the existence of Hellboy and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development (BPRD) must remain a secret.  When Prince Nuada launches his first attack on the human world, Hellboy, Liz, and their BPRD comrade, Ape Sapien (Doug Jones), a fish-man, must put aside their domestic issues.  Joined by Prince Nuada’s twin sister, Princess Nuala (Anna Walton), Hellboy and company take on the fight of their lives, but find their job complicated by a strange new special agent, Johann Krauss (voice of Seth MacFarlane), a gaseous being living in a containment suit.

Some filmmakers make movies that seem right out of a dream, one of them being Guillermo del Toro, the brilliant creator of such films as The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a sequel to del Toro’s 2004 movie Hellboy; both films are based upon the Hellboy comic books from creator Mike Mignola (who co-wrote this film’s story).  Hellboy II is a daydream, nightmare, hallucination and reverie right out of the deepest parts of minds, which still holds onto the fear of mythical creatures.  Del Toro mixes the gossamer-spun enchantment of a fairytales, the elegant gothic mood of old-school monster movies (especially from Universal Studios), and the kooky, but grand comic book monsters of Jack Kirby to create probably the most vivid and imaginative fantasy film since Lord of the Rings.

Hellboy II certainly has fanboy wit, the kind that will bring in fans of the Hellboy comic books, of comic books in general, and of fantasy and horror films.  Hellboy II, however, is an exercise in old-fashioned monster movie style; even the CGI creatures move like they were created by Ray Harryhausen.  And imagination: this film has imagination to burn.  Every nook and cranny, seemingly every frame of film, and every scene is occupied by fantastical creatures, weird people, bizarre beings.  Del Toro’s film doesn’t just claim that there is a shadowy other world next to ours, existing mostly unseen; Hellboy II brings that world to life.  From a “goblin market” under the Brooklyn Bridge to a giant, green forest god with tentacles and a mantis’ face stomping through New York City, the fantastic is made flesh.  And Hellboy II: The Golden Army is made great.

This film isn’t just another big budget special effects bonanza.  The heart of the film’s narrative is a tale of misfits that can’t hide what makes them bizarre-looking, outsider oddballs.  The public might initially embrace their fantastic looks, but the novelty soon wears off.  Does it make sense to save a world that doesn’t want you in it?  Because it asks this question and because of the way it tries to find answers, Hellboy II takes its place next to such magnificent fairy tale-based fantasy films as The Wizard of Oz and La belle et la bêteHellboy II is certainly among this year’s very best.

10 of 10

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Revised:  Friday, June 12, 2020

2009 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Makeup” (Mike Elizalde and Thomas Floutz)


The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and  syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, June 12, 2020

Review: "Hellboy: Sword of Storms" Animates Hellboy

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 40 (of 2007) by Leroy Douresseaux

Hellboy Animated:  Sword of Storms (2006) – TV
Running time:  78 minutes
DIRECTORS:  Phil Weinstein and Tad Stones
WRITERS:  Matt Wayne and Tad Stones; from a story by Tad Stones and Mike Mignola (based upon characters created by Mike Mignola)
PRODUCERS:  Scott D. Greenberg and Sidney Clifton
EDITORS:  John Hoyos and Jeffrey Perlmutter
COMPOSER: Christopher Drake

ANIMATION/FANTASY/ACTION/HORROR

Starring:  (voices) Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, John Hurt, Peri Gilpin, and Yuriana Kim

Born a little, red demon with a giant hand, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) grew up to become a hero, saving the world from supernatural horrors and apocalypse.  In his latest adventure, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (the BPRD) sends him to Japan to investigate the disappearance of a college folklore professor.  However, an ancient, enchanted samurai sword transports Hellboy to a spirit world of specters and assorted bogeymen from Japanese folklore.

It seems two storm demons defeated by the sword’s owner and subsequently imprisoned in the sword want to escape to the physical world.  Once there, they’ll open up the floodgates and allow their demonic brethren into our world.  In order to escape from the sword, the storm demons need Hellboy to shatter the sword.  While Hellboy fights in the spirit world, his partners Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) are stranded off the coast of Japan with their own hands quite full.

Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms was originally broadcast on the Cartoon Network (October 28, 2006) before being released on DVD in February 2007.  Like 2004’s Hellboy, this animated film is based on the comic books and characters created by veteran comic book artist, Mike Mignola.  The animation for Sword of Storms is as good if not a little better than Marvel and Lionsgate’s Ultimate Avengers direct to DVD films.  Hellboy has several nice action sequences, and the character design is quite nice.

In fact, the script is not only imaginative in its use of Japanese folklore, but the writing here is much better than in the 2004 Hellboy live action film.  As far as taking viewers to exotic locales and creating imaginative supernatural scares, Hellboy Animated is similar to an Indiana Jones movie, but the character writing isn’t as good.  The voice acting is mixed – some good and some average.  Ron Perlman and Selma Blair were average to good as the live action Hellboy and Liz Sherman, respectively, and their voice performances here are the same.

Still, Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms is really fun to watch, and I’d like to see it again.  Although this isn’t Disney level animation when it comes to creating all things magic and supernatural, this is as good as TV action/fantasy animated features get, and that’s pretty good.

7 of 10
B+

Friday, February 23, 2007

Revised:  Friday, June 12, 2020


The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and  syndication rights and fees.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Review: "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is Beastly Good

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 24 (of 2017) by Leroy Douresseaux

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
Running time:  133 minutes (2 hours, 13 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some fantasy action violence
DIRECTOR:  David Yates
WRITER:  J.K. Rowling
PRODUCERS:  David Heyman, Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling, and Lionel Wigram
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Philippe Rousselot (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Mark Day
COMPOSER:  James Newton Howard
Academy Award winner

FANTASY/DRAMA/FAMILY

Starring:  Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Samantha Morton, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Faith Wood-Blagrove, Jenn Murray, Carmen Ejogo, Jon Voight, Josh Cowdery, Ronan Rafferty, Ron Perlman, Zoe Kravitz, and Johnny Depp

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 fantasy film directed by David Yates.  This film is a continuation of the Harry Potter film series, and it is co-produced and written by J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books.  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (or simply Fantastic Beasts) is inspired by Rowling's 2001 book of the same name.  Set in J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World 70 years before Harry Potter's story, Fantastic Beasts follows the adventures of a British wizard after he arrives in New York City and clashes with its secret community of witches and wizards.

In 1926, British wizard and "magizoologist" Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) stops in New York City on his way to Arizona.  Scamander also carries with him a magical suitcase full of fantastic beasts, and one of them, a “Niffler,” escapes into the city.  During his quest to recapture the Niffler, Scamander meets a “No-Maj” (does not have magical powers) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), after they unwittingly swap suitcases.

This confusion brings Scamander into contact and conflict with Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a demoted auror (hunter of dark wizards), who belongs to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA).  Scamander also meets Tina's sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol), a flapper who has amazing powers of memory.  Now, the four of them are caught in a conspiracy involving one or more escaped beasts, with one of them being very dangerous.  Scamander has been searching for this creature, and to find it and protect it may cost him his life.

I did not expect much from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  It is not that I thought that it was a bad movie, but I guess I was comparing it unfavorably to the Harry Potter films – without having seen it...  However, I find that Fantastic Beasts compares quite favorably to the Potter films; in fact, Fantastic Beasts is a film set in the Wizarding World for us grown-ups.

Fantastic Beasts is an adult urban fantasy which presents a perilous world of magic where secrets must be kept, even unto penalty of death.  War between the world of wizards and witches and the world of the No-Maj slash humans without magical powers seems like a genuine threat in this narrative.  [In the Potter films, humans without magical powers are referred to as “muggles.”]

There is something on the line for the character; they have something to lose, and perhaps, some could lose everything, including their lives.  So the audience buys into this story.  Fantastic Beasts is not some mere, spin-off, sequel/prequel, event movie.  It is all in the writing of of J.K. Rowling's script; she makes the story matters, and once again, director David Yates understands the most important elements of Rowling's writing.  The bonds of family and friendship; the motivations of characters; the conflict central and peripheral; and good versus evil, and Yates and Rowling deliver strongly on these.

Fantastic Beasts also separates itself from the Potter films with a cast of characters that is far more eccentric than the characters Potter delivered (and there were oddballs in that lot).  Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne manages to make a introverted, strange little man into a strong lead and resilient lead character that the audience will follow, even when Redmayne makes it obvious that Scamander does not want anyone following him.

Katherine Waterston makes Tina worthy of her own film.  In her feature film debut, Alison Sudol is pitch perfect as Queenie, and Dan Fogler surprises as Jacob.  In fact, all of the cast is good – from Colin Farrell's perplexing Percival Graves to Ezra Miller's troubled Credence Barebone.  Fantastic Beasts delivers complex and engaging characters.

Yes, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them delivers and proves that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a universe that can exist beyond Harry.  Fantastic Beasts is a thoroughly enjoyable movie; it is so likable that I cannot really find fault with it.  I don't know if every Potter fan will like this movie, but for some of us, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is our part of the Wizarding World.

9 of 10
A+


NOTES:
2017 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win: “Best Achievement in Costume Design” (Colleen Atwood); 1 nominations: “Best Achievement in Production Design” (Stuart Craig-production design and Anna Pinnock-set decoration

2017 BAFTA Awards 2017:  1 win: “Best Production Design” (Stuart Craig and Anna Pinnock); 4 nominations: “Outstanding British Film of the Year” (David Yates, J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and Lionel Wigram), “Best Costume Design” (Colleen Atwood), “Best Sound” (Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, and Ian Tapp), “Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects” (Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, and David Watkins)


The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

----------------------------------------

Friday, February 17, 2017

Amazon Announces Season Two of "Hand of God" for March 10th

Season Two of Amazon Original Series Hand of God Launches Exclusively on Prime Video on March 10, 2017

All ten episodes of season two will be available globally on Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories later this year

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Season two of the Amazon Original Series, Hand of God, will premiere on Prime Video on March 10, 2017. Prime members will be able to stream the series exclusively via the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices and online at Amazon.com/handofgod. Members can also download the series to mobile devices for offline viewing at no additional cost to their membership. Hand of God will be a global release and available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video for members to watch via the Prime Video app for popular smart TVs, Fire TV, Fire Tablets and Android and iOS phones and tablets. The show will also be available later this year on PrimeVideo.com for Prime Video members in more than 200 countries and territories.

    “I love the show!!! Could not stop watching, can't wait for season two.”

Created and written by Ben Watkins (Burn Notice), Hand of God returns with Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy), starring as Judge Pernell Harris. The hard-living, law-bending king of San Vicente, “Judge Maximum” has finally hit bottom as he faces trial for the murder of a cop. While his visions and the ghost of his son will slowly lead Pernell through a conspiracy that is bigger than he could have imagined, they will threaten his relationship with his wife and everything he holds dear. This season, Judge Maximum must fight on two fronts—to restore his sanity and gain his freedom.

Hand of God also stars Dana Delany (Body of Proof) as the Judge’s estranged wife Crystal Harris, who is on a mission to secure her son’s legacy, Andre Royo (The Wire) as the gregarious, smart-yet-slick mayor Robert ‘Bobo’ Boston, Garret Dillahunt (Justified) as KD, the born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by Pernell, Emayatzy Corinealdi (Roots) as Pernell’s former call girl and confidante Tessie, Alona Tal (Supernatural) as Pernell’s grieving daughter-in-law Jocelyn Harris, Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars) as the morally questionable preacher Paul Curtis, and Elizabeth McLaughlin (Betrayal) as the preacher’s sultry girlfriend, Alicia.

This season the all-star cast is joined by Linda Gray (Dallas), Nia Long (The Best Man) and Brian Baumgartner (The Office).

Season one has an average customer rating of 4.3. Here’s what customers have been saying:

  •     “This was fantastic.”
  •     “This is an intriguing, well thought out, extremely well written and well produced show.”
  •     “It had me hooked from the first scene.”
  •     “This show truly keeps you guessing the entire time. Beautiful written, acted, and directed.”
  •     “Great. I watched every show in three days. Can't wait for next season.”
  •     “I love the show!!! Could not stop watching, can't wait for season two.”
  •     “This show was so entertaining, I couldn't stop watching it. Love it.”

“We are excited to give Prime members the answers to the mysteries of Hand of God season one,” said Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy and Drama, Amazon Studios. “We are hopeful that this final chapter will be a satisfying one for fans of the series.”

Watkins, Marc Forster (World War Z), Perlman, Brian Wilkins (All I See is You) and Craig Siebels (Burn Notice) are Executive Producers of Hand of God, and Jillian Kugler (World War Z) is co-Executive Producer.

Customers who are not already Prime members can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.


About Amazon Video
Amazon Video is a premium on-demand entertainment service that offers customers the greatest choice in what to watch, and how to watch it. Amazon Video is the only service that provides all of the following:

  •     Prime Video: Thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular licensed content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Amazon Original Series and Movies from Amazon Studios like Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Love & Friendship and kids series Tumble Leaf, available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership. Prime Video is also now available to customers in more than 200 countries and territories around the globe at www.primevideo.com.
  •     Amazon Channels: Over 100 video subscriptions to networks like HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, PBS KIDS, Acorn TV and more, available to Amazon Prime members as add-ons to their membership – to view the full list of channels available, visit www.amazon.com/channels
  •     Rent or Own: Hundreds of thousands of titles, including new-release movies and current TV shows available for on-demand rental or purchase for all Amazon customers
  •     Instant Access: Instantly watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets, or online. For a list of all compatible devices visit www.amazon.com/howtostream
  •     Premium Features: Top features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and mobile downloads for offline viewing of select content

In addition to Prime Video, the Prime membership includes unlimited fast free shipping options across all categories available on Amazon, more than two million songs and thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music, secure photo storage with Prime Photos, unlimited reading with Prime Reading, unlimited access to a digital audiobook catalogue with Audible Channels for Prime, a rotating selection of free digital games and in-game loot with Twitch Prime, early access to select Lightning Deals, exclusive access and discounts to select items, and more. To sign-up for Prime or to find out more visit: www.amazon.com/prime.

About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

DreamWorks Animation and Netflix Bring Two Series to New York Comic Con 2016

DREAMWORKS ANIMATION AND NETFLIX BRING ALL-STAR LINEUP TO NEW YORK COMIC CON 2016

Acclaimed Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro to World Premiere DreamWorks Trollhunters, Saturday, Oct 8, 2016

Sneak Peek of DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender Season 2, Friday, Oct 7, 2016

GLENDALE, CA – DreamWorks Animation and Netflix will present a blockbuster duo of panels at New York Comic Con 2016. Trollhunters and Voltron Legendary Defender, two of DreamWorks’ highly-anticipated Netflix original series, are set to make their New York Comic Con debuts, with both series world premiering brand new episodes from upcoming seasons.

Join acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro as he and voice cast unveil DreamWorks Trollhunters at Madison Square Garden. Screen the pilot of this cinematic and groundbreaking animated series, slated to premiere worldwide on Netflix in December, which will raise the bar for kids programing and thrill the entire family.  Panelists include voice talent Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman and Steven Yeun, as well as executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Rodrigo Blaas. The panel will be moderated by Laura Prudom, television editor for Mashable.

Form Voltron! Fans will be treated to a sneak peek into the highly-anticipated second season of the Netflix original series and pop culture phenomenon DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender. Join executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery, story editor Tim Hedrick and voice actors Jeremy Shada and Bex Taylor-Klaus on the NYCC Main Stage for a special screening and a first look into what’s to come for Team Voltron. The panel will be moderated by Jim Viscardi, executive editor of ComicBook.com.

DETAILS ON PANELS/SCREENINGS AND ACTIVITIES (in chronological order):

FRIDAY, OCT 7:

DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender Signing
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Table 21 of Autographing Area at Javits Center (Hall 1-B)

A DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender signing with Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery and Tim Hedrick will take place from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM on Friday at Table 21 the Autographing Area located in Hall 1-B of the Javits Center.

Season 2 Sneak Peek: DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender, a Netflix Original Series
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Main Stage at Javits Center

Catch the world premiere of an episode from the highly anticipated upcoming second season of DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender with executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, co-executive producer Lauren Montgomery, story editor Tim Hedrick and voice actors Jeremy Shada and Bex Taylor-Klaus.  Together they’ll discuss what’s in store for Team Voltron and provide a glimpse inside what promises to be an epic second season, coming soon to Netflix. All panel attendees will receive an exclusive limited-edition Voltron poster.

Voltron Collective Fan Party
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Location to be announced

DreamWorks Animation presents the Voltron Collective, a collaboration of leading lifestyle and apparel brands that have created exclusive product inspired by the Netflix original series DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender. Event details to be announced.

SATURDAY, OCT 8:

Lion Forge Comics Signing
1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
Booth #1669

Lion Forge Comics will host a signing in booth #1669 with writers of the Voltron Legendary Defender comic series Tim Hedrick and Mitch Iverson. A Voltron #1 New York Comic Con Exclusive Variant cover will be available at the booth, limited to 250 copies.

World Premiere: DreamWorks Trollhunters, a Netflix Original Series
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Madison Square Garden Theater

From the limitless imagination of acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro comes a tale of two worlds set to collide in the epic saga DreamWorks Trollhunters. When ordinary teenager Jim Lake Jr. stumbles upon a mystical amulet on his way to school one morning, he inadvertently discovers an extraordinary secret civilization of mighty trolls beneath his small town of Arcadia. Suddenly destined to play a crucial role in an ancient battle of good and evil, Jim is determined to save the world – right after gym class. A must-see viewing event for the entire family, DreamWorks Trollhunters will bring viewers of all ages around the globe into the rich and creative world of this all-new Netflix original series. Join creator and executive producer Guillermo del Toro alongside voice talent Kelsey Grammer, Ron Perlman and Steven Yeun and executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Rodrigo Blaas, as they discuss bringing this global television event to life and world premiere the first two episodes.


About DreamWorks Television:
DreamWorks Television is one of the world's leading suppliers of high-quality, animated family programming, reaching consumers on linear and on-demand platforms in more than 130 countries and garnering 31 Emmy Awards to date.  It is a division of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG).

About Netflix:
Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 83 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" Announcement Trailer Announced

Announcement Trailer for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” to Be Unveiled Worldwide on December 15th

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Pictures will debut the first announcement trailer for the much-anticipated adventure “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” via worldwide satellite on Tuesday, December 15, 2015. The trailer will give audiences the first glimpse at a never-before-seen part of the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling.

Visit http://bit.ly/FantasticBeastsAnnouncementTrailerTease for a tease of the announcement trailer.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is an all-new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling.

Academy Award-winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) stars in the central role of wizarding world magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” blockbusters.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also stars Katherine Waterston (“Steve Jobs,” “Inherent Vice”) as Tina; Tony Award-winner Dan Fogler (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) as Jacob; Alison Sudol (“Dig,” “Transparent”) as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Ezra Miller (“Trainwreck”) as Credence; two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (“In America,” “Sweet and Lowdown”) as Mary Lou; Oscar winner Jon Voight (“Coming Home,” TV’s “Ray Donovan”) as Henry Shaw, Sr.; Ron Perlman (the “Hellboy” films) as Gnarlack; Carmen Ejogo (“Selma”) as Seraphina; Jenn Murray (“Brooklyn”) as Chastity; young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty; and Colin Farrell (“True Detective”) as Percival Graves.

The film marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, whose beloved Harry Potter books were adapted into the top-grossing film franchise of all time. Her script was inspired by the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by her character Newt Scamander.

The film reunites a number of people from the “Harry Potter” features, including producers David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves and Lionel Wigram.

Collaborating with Yates behind the scenes are: Oscar-winning director of photography Philippe Rousselot (“A River Runs Through It,” the “Sherlock Holmes” movies), three-time Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig (“The English Patient,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Gandhi,” the “Harry Potter” films), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (“Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Alice in Wonderland”), Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Tim Burke (“Gladiator,” the “Harry Potter” films), Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Christian Manz (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”), and Yates’ longtime editor Mark Day (the last four “Harry Potter” films).

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is being filmed at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, which was home to the “Harry Potter” films for a decade. Some scenes were also shot on location in Liverpool, England.

Warner Bros. Pictures has slated “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for worldwide release in 2D and 3D in select theatres and IMAX on November 18, 2016.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from June 21st to 30th, 2015 - Update #20

Support this writer on Patreon.

NEWS:

From YahooMovies:  Whatever for the first victim in the movie Jaws?

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From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 6/26 to 6/28/2015 weekend box office is Jurassic World.  With an estimated take of $54.2 million, this is the film's third week at #1.  Inside Out repeats as the #2 film with an estimated haul of $52.1 million.

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From FlickeringMyth:  Yep, "Top Gun 2."

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From CheatSheet:  What is known and unknown about "Star Trek 3."

---------------
From YahooAutos:  Warner Bros. stops licensing the "General Lee" from "The Dukes of Hazzard."

From YahooAutos:  Cooter won't let it go, though.

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From THR:  "Independence Day 2" has an official title - Independence Day Resurgence.

From CinemaBlend:  Why isn't Will Smith in Resurgence.

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From YahooTech:  A William Shatner interview.

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From BoxOfficeMojo:  The winner of the 6/19 to 6/21/2015 weekend box office is Jurassic World with an estimated take of $102 million take.  It's still setting records.  Meanwhile, debuting at number two if Pixar's Inside Out with an estimated take of $91 million.

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From SlashFilm:  New news on various sequels.


COMICS - Films and Books:

From YahooNews:   There is supposedly an on-set therapist for Suicide Squad.

---------------
From ThePlaylist:  Marvel may want Kenneth Branagh, who directed the first Thor film to return for the third film, "Thor: Ragnarok."

---------------
From ThePlaylist:  An interview of Marvel Studio's Kevin Feige.

---------------
From YahooMovies:  Tom Holland is our new Spider-Man.

---------------
From YahooPolitics:  Justice Elena Kagan drops a Spider-Man beat (references) in a Supreme Court ruling involving the web-head.

---------------
From SlashFilm:  Ron Perlman still valiantly trying to make "Hellboy 3" happen.

---------------
From TheVerge:  Beginning this Fall (2015), Miles Morales will be the Marvel Universe's main Spider-Man.


STAR WARS:

From YahooCelebrity:  Jake Lloyd, Anakin Skywalker, in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, was arrested after a high-speed chase.


TRAILERS:

From YouTube:  Official trailer for Hitman: Agent 47 from 20th Century Fox.


OBITS:

From Variety:  The composer James Horner was killed in the crash of a small plane on Monday morning, June 22, 2015.  He won two Oscar for his music for the 1997 best picture Oscar winner, Titanic.  He was one of my favorite composer, and I am sorry to hear of his passing.  Horner was 61.

From EntertainmentWeekly:  The actor Dick Van Patten has died at the age of 86.  His career spanned six decades.  Like many people, I remember him for playing the patriarch of the ABC television series, "Eight is Enough" (1977-81).


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Amazon Studios Announces Guest Stars for Upcoming "Hand of God"

Erykah Badu (Black Dynamite), Lance Bass (Hell & Back), Hunter Parrish (The Good Wife), Jon Tenney (Scandal) and Jacob Vargas (Sons of Anarchy) to Guest Star in Amazon Original Series Hand of God

Series was created by Ben Watkins (Burn Notice), with select episodes directed by Marc Forster (World War Z), and stars Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) and Dana Delany (Body of Proof)

Hand of God will premiere later this year exclusively on Prime Instant Video

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon announced Erykah Badu (Black Dynamite), Lance Bass (Hell & Back), Hunter Parrish (The Good Wife), Jon Tenney (Scandal) and Jacob Vargas (Sons of Anarchy) will guest star in the highly-anticipated dramatic series Hand of God. The series is currently shooting in the Los Angeles area and will premiere exclusively on Prime Instant Video this fall.

    “We are thrilled to be adding such unique and talented performers to the Hand of God cast”

Created by Ben Watkins (Burn Notice), and marking the television debut of renowned filmmaker Marc Forster (World War Z), Hand of God stars Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy) as the honorable justice Pernell Harris. The show centers on Judge Harris, a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side, who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart. With no real evidence to go on, Pernell begins to rely on “visions” and “messages” he believes are being sent by God through Pernell's ventilator-bound son. Hand of God also stars Dana Delany (Body of Proof) as the Judge’s protective wife Crystal Harris, Garret Dillahunt (Justified) as KD, the born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by Pernell, Andre Royo (The Wire) as the slick, smart, gregarious, and greedy mayor Robert ‘Bobo’ Boston, Alona Tal (Burn Notice) as Pernell’s grieving daughter-in-law Jocelyn Harris, Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars) as the questionable preacher Paul Curtis, Elizabeth McLaughlin (Betrayal) as the preacher’s sultry girlfriend Alicia, and Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere) as Pernell’s call girl and confidante Tessie. Watkins, Forster, Perlman, Brian Wilkins (Lost in America) and Jeff King (White Collar) are Executive Producers, and Jillian Kugler (World War Z) is co-Executive Producer. The pilot episode of Hand of God is rated 9.1/10 on IMDb and available to watch anytime at www.amazon.com/primeinstantvideo.

“We are thrilled to be adding such unique and talented performers to the Hand of God cast,” said Ben Watkins. “It’s a testament to the work of Marc, Ron and our whole cast and crew. The amazing creative environment that Amazon Studios fosters gives us an opportunity to attract top caliber talent such as Erykah, Lance, Hunter, Jon and Jacob to our mix. Naturally, we’re also stoked to have lead vocals covered for the Hand of God touring band.”

Erykah Badu as April—A bohemian weed dealer who calls herself the “blend master,” April has been Crystal’s personal dealer for years and becomes a close confidante. Crystal recruits April to join the Hand of God chapel as an informant so she can be Crystal’s eyes and ears in this new religious world with which Pernell has become obsessed. (Recurring)

Lance Bass as Exotic Jerry—An eccentric and irrepressibly enthusiastic face of Jerry’s Exotic Fish Store, Exotic Jerry sings an annoyingly catchy jingle in a low budget commercial. The song gets stuck in Pernell’s head and sparks a temporary fixation on fish.

Hunter Parrish as Josh—PJ’s best friend and former business partner, Josh is solid, trusting, and attractive. Despite his bookish demeanor, Josh’s emotional insightfulness and strength of character are exactly what Jocelyn needs to anchor herself when she starts spinning out of control. (Recurring)

Jon Tenney as Nick Tramble—Magnetic, intense, and charming, Nick is Jocelyn’s high-powered, expensively dressed attorney who represents her in the case to pull the plug on PJ. He takes the case because he truly believes that pulling the plug is what PJ would have wanted and that it will help Jocelyn move on from this tragedy. He’s been in an intense rivalry with Pernell for years, due in no small part to Nick and Crystal’s former romantic connection. Nick knows that the most important court to win in is the court of public opinion, which is why his opening arguments are always in front of news cameras. (Recurring)

Jacob Vargas as Julio—A grifter/graffiti artist who went through the police academy with Shane Caldwell, Julio left the force before making it through probation. Since then, he often finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Along with his best friend Shane, Julio has been doing dirty side jobs to earn cash. He isn’t a bad guy at heart; he’s become hardened and opportunistic over time, and increasingly finds himself in flirting with trouble. Pernell learns Julio was involved with what went down the night of Jocelyn’s rape, and may be the key to finding out who ordered the crime. (Recurring)

About Amazon Studios
Hand of God will join other Amazon Original Series that include Bosch, based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling books, Mozart in the Jungle, from Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Paul Weitz, Jill Soloway’s multi-Golden Globe Award-winning dark comedy Transparent, along with the second season of the Garry Trudeau political comedy Alpha House. The studio has also launched its first live-action series for kids 6-11, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and three additional children’s series, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival Award-winning and Annie Award-winning Tumble Leaf from Bix Pix Entertainment; Creative Galaxy from Angela C. Santomero and Out of the Blue Enterprises, the creators of Blue’s Clues; and Annedroids, from Emmy nominated Sinking Ship Entertainment.

Amazon Studios has also announced eight additional, original series will premiere in 2015 and early 2016 exclusively on Prime Instant Video including Mad Dogs, The Man in the High Castle, docu-series The New Yorker Presents, Red Oaks, a second season of Transparent, as well as kids series Wishenpoof!, Just Add Magic, and The Stinky & Dirty Show.

In 2015 Amazon Studios will begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release, followed by early window distribution on Prime Instant Video.

Amazon Studios launched in 2010 as a new way to develop feature films and episodic series—one that’s open to great ideas from creators and audiences around the world. Anyone can upload a script online and Amazon Studios will read and review all submissions. Those who choose to make their projects public can also receive feedback from the Amazon Studios community.

About Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime members have instant access to stream tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, including award-winning Amazon Original Series, available on Prime Instant Video at no additional cost to their membership. In addition, new release movies like Gone Girl, Boyhood and Birdman along with in-season shows like The Walking Dead, Scandal and Better Call Saul are also available for rent or purchase on Amazon Instant Video for all customers to stream and enjoy.

Customers can watch shows and movies with the Amazon Instant Video app. The Amazon Instant Video app is available on hundreds of devices including connected TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox and PlayStation, as well as on mobile devices like Fire phone, Fire tablets, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Customers can also watch online at Amazon.com/PIV. Customers can also watch online at Amazon.com/AIV. With the Amazon Instant Video app Prime members can enjoy offline viewing of movies and TV shows—on a plane, on vacation, in the car, and anywhere else where they may not have Wi-Fi.

Amazon Prime members have exclusive access to popular TV series at no additional cost to their membership. Prime members can enjoy binge-worthy TV shows including Amazon Original Series’ airing now such as multi-Golden Globe winning series, Transparent, the hour-long drama, Bosch, based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling books, the Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman comedy, Mozart in the Jungle and the political comedy starring John Goodman, Alpha House, in addition to HBO favorites like The Sopranos, True Blood and Six Feet Under, and popular primetime series including 24, Covert Affairs, Downton Abbey, Extant, Falling Skies, Grimm, Hannibal, Justified, Orphan Black, Teen Wolf, The Americans, Under the Dome and Veronica Mars. Prime members also have access to an exclusive collection of kids shows now airing including Amazon Original Series’ Annedroids, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and Tumble Leaf, as well as popular shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues and The Bubble Guppies.

Comprehensive cast and crew information, including bios and filmographies, is available on Amazon's IMDb (www.imdb.com), the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content.

About Amazon
Amazon.com opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Amazon.com's "Third Pilot Season" Premiere's August 28, 2014

Amazon’s Third Pilot Season Will Premiere August 28 in the US and UK

Pilot Episodes from Critically-Acclaimed Creators Including Shaun Cassidy, Jay Chandrasekhar, Marc Forster, Steven Soderbergh and Whit Stillman

Three half hour comedies and two hour-long thrillers will be available for customers to watch, rate and review

Shows star noted talent including Selma Blair, Adam Brody, Sarah Chalke, Dana Delany, Ron Perlman, Paul Reiser, Chloë Sevigny and Mena Suvari


SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon announced it will debut its highly anticipated third pilot season August 28 on Amazon Instant Video in the US and the UK. Customers who watch the pilots will visit modern day Paris, step into the world of a vigilante who has visions from God, follow along as a psycho-physiological illness tears apart a town, explore the complexities of marriage, and take a trip to a country club in 1980’s New Jersey. Once again, customers are invited to watch and provide feedback on the shows they want to see turned into full series. The pilots can be viewed later this month with the Amazon Instant Video app available on Fire TV, Kindle Fire tablets, Fire phone, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, as well as hundreds of other connected devices such as smart TVs—or customers can visit Amazon.com/AIV to watch online.

    “There is something for everyone in this season and I can’t wait to hear our customers’ feedback when they premiere later this month.”

Five pilots will be available including half hour comedies The Cosmopolitans, Really and Red Oaks, and hour-long dramatic thrillers Hand of God and Hysteria. The pilots come from renowned creators including Shaun Cassidy, Jay Chandrasekhar, Marc Forster, David Gordon Green, Steven Soderbergh and Whit Stillman, and star Selma Blair, Adam Brody, Sarah Chalke, Dana Delany, Ron Perlman, Paul Reiser, Chloë Sevigny and Mena Suvari.

“We are delighted to be able to bring Amazon customers new shows from some of Hollywood’s most talented actors and creators,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “There is something for everyone in this season and I can’t wait to hear our customers’ feedback when they premiere later this month.”

As part of its unique development process, Amazon gives customers an opportunity to provide feedback on which pilots they want turned into series on Prime Instant Video. During pilot season, any Amazon customer can watch, rate and comment on the pilots. At the end of pilot season, that feedback helps determine the shows that become an Amazon Original Series. This past April, Amazon customers posted tens of thousands of comments during the second pilot season, which helped Amazon decide to green light six series—Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, The After, and kids series Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and Wishenpoof!

Amazon’s third pilot season includes the following shows:

The Cosmopolitans
Written, directed and produced by Academy Award nominee Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco), The Cosmopolitans follows a group of young American expatriates in contemporary Paris searching for love and friendship in a foreign city. The romantic comedy pilot stars Adam Brody as “Jimmy,” Chloë Sevigny as “Vicky,” Carrie MacLemore as “Aubrey,” Dree Hemingway as “Camille,” Freddy Åsblom as “Fritz,” Jordan Rountree as “Hal,” and Adriano Giannini as “Sandro.” The pilot was filmed on location in Paris.

Hand of God
Marking the television debut of renowned filmmaker Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, World War Z) and written by Ben Watkins, Hand of God stars Golden Globe winner Ron Perlman in his first lead television role since Sons of Anarchy as “Judge Pernell Harris.” Hand of God also stars Dana Delany as the Judge’s protective wife “Crystal Harris,” Garret Dillahunt as “KD,” the born-again sociopath whose violent tendencies are exploited by Pernell, Andre Royo as the slick, smart, gregarious, and greedy mayor “Robert ‘Bobo’ Boston,” Alona Tal as Pernell’s grieving daughter-in-law “Jocelyn Harris,” Julian Morris as the questionable preacher “Paul Curtis,” Elizabeth McLaughlin as the preacher’s sultry girlfriend “Alicia,” and Emayatzy Corinealdi as Pernell’s call girl and confidante “Tessie.” The show centers on the powerful Judge Harris, a hard-living, law-bending married man with a high-end call girl on the side, who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who tore his family apart. With no real evidence to go on, Pernell begins to rely on “visions” and “messages” he believes are being sent by God through Pernell's ventilator-bound son. Forster, Watkins, Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King are Executive Producers, and Jillian Kugler is co-Executive Producer.

Hysteria
Hysteria takes viewers to Austin, Texas where social connection has become contagious. In the pilot, members of a girls’ competitive dance team are stricken with a strange, psycho-physiological illness that manifests itself in violent fits and spasms and then begins spreading in the community through technology. Neurologist Logan Harlen (played by Mena Suvari) returns to her hometown to investigate the cause. Fighting her own demons and the growing manipulation of a brother on death row, Logan develops an uneasy suspicion that the hysteria surrounding the girls might actually be linked to social media and her own tragic past. Hysteria is written by Shaun Cassidy, who is known for genre thrillers such as Invasion and American Gothic, and directed by Otto Bathurst, who won the BAFTA Award for his work on the critically-acclaimed U.K. mini-series Peaky Blinders. The show also stars James McDaniel (Orange Is The New Black) as “Carl Sapsi,” Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight Rises) as “Ray Ratajeck,” Adan Canto (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as “Matt Sanchez,” Laura San Giacomo (Saving Grace) as “Grace Pelayo” and T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy) as “Carter Harlen.” The show is written by Cassidy, who is also Executive Producer alongside Adam Schroeder, Sharon Hall, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bryan Zuriff, and Bathurst. In addition to Suvari, McDaniel, Stewart, Canto, San Giacomo and Knight, Hysteria also stars Ella Rae Peck and Jenessa Grant. Pilot guest stars include Jason Douglas, Heather Kafka, Asjha Cooper, and Evie Thompson. Amazon Studios is collaborating with Universal Television and Alcon Television Group on the production of Hysteria.

Really
Written, directed and starring Jay Chandrasekhar, Really is a funny, extremely, honest behind-the-curtain look at the complexities of marriage and the charged dynamics of a tight-knit group of friends. The show is about four hard-charging suburban Chicago couples trying to grasp on-to their dwindling youth. At the center are the happily but messily married couple “Jed,” played by Chandrasekhar, and “Lori,” played by Sarah Chalke. When Jed is faced with the choice of keeping his pal’s secret or destroying his friend group, he winds up digging himself into a very deep hole. Really explores marriage, friendship and the stifling peculiarities of suburban Chicago life. The pilot also stars Selma Blair, Travis Schuldt, Hayes MacArthur, Collette Wolfe, Luka Jones, Lindsay Sloane and Rob Delaney. Really comes from Main Street Films’ Craig Chang and Harrison Kordestani, and Executive Producer Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings).

Red Oaks
Directed by Sundance award-winner David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound and Down) and produced by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven), Red Oaks stars Craig Roberts (Submarine) as “David Myers,” an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club in suburban New Jersey in 1985, who is both reeling from his father’s heart attack and conflicted about what major to declare in the fall. While there, he meets a colorful cast of misfit co-workers and wealthy club members including an alluring art student named “Skye” (played by guest star Alexandra Socha) and her corporate raider father “Getty” played by Paul Reiser (Mad About You). A coming-of-age comedy set in the “go-go” 80s that is equal parts hijinks and heartfelt, Red Oaks is about enjoying a last hurrah before summer comes to an end—and the future begins. Red Oaks also stars Jennifer Grey (It’s Like, You Know) as “Judy Myers,” Richard Kind (Luck) as “Sam Myers,” Oliver Cooper (Californication) as “Wheeler,” Gage Golightly as “Karen,” and Ennis Esmer as “Nash.” Red Oaks is written by Gregory Jacobs (The Knick) and Joe Gangemi (Eliza Graves). Soderbergh, Green, Jacobs, and Gangemi are Executive Producers.

About Amazon Studios
Last year Amazon Studios launched its first two prime time series, Alpha House and Betas, and recently debuted its first three children’s series, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival Award-winning Tumble Leaf from Bix Pix Entertainment, as well as Creative Galaxy from Angela Santomero and Out of the Blue Enterprises, the creators of Blue’s Clues, and Annedroids, from Emmy nominated Sinking Ship Entertainment. Amazon Studios recently announced six additional, original series including Chris Carter’s The After; Michael Connelly’s Bosch; Jill Soloway’s Transparent; Mozart in the Jungle from Paul Weitz, John J. Strauss, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman; Wishenpoof! from Angela Santomero; and Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street from David Anaxagoras, as well as a second season of Alpha House. Upcoming pilots include The Cosmopolitans, Hand of God, Red Oaks, Hysteria, and Really. Amazon Original Series are available exclusively to Prime members through Prime Instant Video.

Amazon Studios launched in 2010 as a new way to develop feature films and episodic series—one that’s open to great ideas from creators and audiences around the world. Anyone can upload a script and Amazon Studios will read and review all submissions. Those who choose to make their projects public will also receive feedback from the Amazon Studios community.

Comprehensive cast and crew information, including bios and filmographies, is available on Amazon's IMDb (www.imdb.com), the world’s most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content.

About Amazon.com
Amazon opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by three principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

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