This is…the World of Matmos!

Posted in news with tags , , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by worldofmatmos

Since the dawn of the 21st century, science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and genre films have made a resurgence in the cinematic world. Studios and independent producers are no longer reluctant to finance these projects, as audiences salivate over the newest genre films being brought to the silver screen.  This blog is dedicated to the industry news surrounding the world’s most anticipated upcoming sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films, and will offer reviews of genre films and television.

Cocaine, Ninjas, and Y.K. Kim: Celebrating 25 Years of “Miami Connection”

Posted in action/adventure, cast & crew, cult status, directors, film, filmmaking, news, pop-culture, trailers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2012 by worldofmatmos

Okay, so it’s been nearly four years since the blog’s been updated, to wit, I’ve been busy since my twins were born shortly after my last post. But I’m back. Anyhow, World of Matmos is back online, and this first post is about a film that was literally near (but not-so-dear) to me, as it was shot in my backyard–Orlando, Florida. In the mid-1980s, Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster Y.K. Kim was all over the television, and as a kid I remember seeing him around town. A local celebrity. Plus, like many kids my age back then (circa Karate Kid I & II) I was into martial arts, so Y.K. Kim was kind of a badass.

Miami Connection was released in 1987, playing the local drive-in circuit (and according to IMDB was released in West Germany during its initial run) before being relegated to home video, where it eventually gained cult movie status among B-movie genre geeks like yours truly and has earned its place as golden VHS fodder over the years.

The plot revolves around a band of ass-kicking musical martial artists called Dragon Sound (with their authentic mustached-and-mulleted eighties rock track “Against the Ninja”) as they try to thwart a group of coke-smuggling ninjas running the yeyo out of Miami. What ensues is 90 minutes of absolute badassery with some of the best action scenes this side of a Golan-Globus production. If you can get past some of the inane dialogue and characters, you’ll get to witness Y.K. Kim dole out beatings to packs of wild coke thugs, showcasing his awesome Tae Kwon Do skills (and not-so-awesome writing/directing skills). Overall, this movie is a blast to watch and I for one am glad to see that it will be getting a proper theatrical release this November in Chicago.

A new trailer surfaced a couple of weeks ago from Jason Eisener, the fine young film cannibal behind the very fun and twisted hit (and one of my favorite films of the last few years) Hobo With a Shotgun. The man gets the vibe of these 80s action movies and he cuts the shit out of this trailer.

Behold Miami Connection:

-Matmos the Terrible

Where Have the Wild Things Been?

Posted in adaptations, books, cast & crew, cult status, directors, fantasy, film, filmmaking, news, writers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by worldofmatmos

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Undoubtedly one of Generation-X’s greatest filmmakers, Spike Jonze is known to film geeks worldwide for his magnificent visual style and ability to evoke the beauty and the strangeness of the stories and characters he films. With the long-gestating production of his adaptation of Maurice Sendak‘s beloved classic children’s tale Where the Wild Things Are, Jonze and company seem to have crafted a jarringly beautiful representation of the prose. Despite studio interference, visual effects set-backs, and rumors of Jonze having to go back to square-one and shoot everything completely over, it looks like things may be on track, as the film is still looking at an October 16 release.

Whilst that is still months away, Jonze will have the time to perfectly craft the picture and hone the performances of the characters. Beautifully photographed by Jonze’s long-time collaborator Lance Acord, and shot in the Australian wilderness, Where the Wild Things Are will have a “look and feel [that] is very naturalistic—when our creatures knock down trees, they really knock down trees,” explains Jonze.

The production, which has been ongoing since 2006, has been plagued by studio interference on many of the artistic decisions. First, there were issues with the creature work – CG versus practical effects – and Spike’s decision to go with an unknown lead, 9-year-old Max Records, who plays Max, who apparently received ill reviews from some during an early test-screening last year. According to the production team, Records is fantastic as Max, and it will be his performance that will ultimately carry the picture. When will studio suits realize that when they’re dealing with an artist of Jonze’s caliber, they just need to sign the checks, sit back, shut the fuck up, and the let the man do his job? Seriously.

where-the-wild-things_lWith an excellent script (with much approval by Sendak himself) by Jonze and mighty scribe Dave Eggers, the film stars Jonze-favorite Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Lauren Ambrose, and Tom Noonan. This film will not only be embraced by fans of the book, nor only by film geeks, but it looks destined to become a children’s cult-classic in its own right. It will definitely be one of the most personal films of the year. Hopefully it will receive its dues and the studio suits that have denounced it will get their comeuppance.

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The Dark Dystopia of “Eden Log”

Posted in film, reviews, sci-fi, suspense/thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2008 by worldofmatmos

In this interesting little French science-fiction film from 2007, director Franck Vestiel has crafted an eerie, dystopic underworld which leaves viewers as unsettled and engaged as the film’s protaganist. With its heavy silver-tint, dark, unnerving sets and characters, and the slow unfolding of the what-went-horribly-wrong scenario, Eden Log opens in complete darkness. Blinding, sporadic flashes of light reveal a man emerging from a thick mud, almost as if he were being born from the earth itself. Disoriented, he tries to acclamate himself to his surroundings. He fumbles through the darkness, and eventually comes upon a portable light source, which helps him to navigate the dark corners.

His first human encounter is with a man who is mounted to a wall, with strange, tree-like roots growing out of his body. This image reminded me of when the team of Space Marines encounter the first cocooned host on LB-426 in Aliens. He warns our hero, whom we discover has amnesia, of the impending doom ahead, as his body is wrought with pain as the tree roots further engulf him [we learn late in the film that our hero’s name is Tolbiac (Clovis Cornillac), and he has a unique connection to Eden Log]. Out of the shadows comes a roar, which apparently affects Tolbiac profoundly, as he races off, gripping his head in agony. Tolbiac continues his journey through the dark labyrinth, and begins to find clues that lead him to encounter the hideously deformed subhumans, the subterranean tactical police unit, and a stranger in white that helps him in his escape to the surface, all while trying to find out his identity, and what happened to him.

The film is beautifully shot by Thierry Pouget, who manages to keep the film feeling dark and dirty, whilst contrasting the cold and clinically strile areas of Eden Log. Great handheld and dynamic wide-angle camerawork reminiscient of Terry Gilliam’s films also lends a feel of claustaphobia to the frames. Vestiel plays his characters with little dialogue, just enough to move the plot along; the script places emphasis on the world, and the visuals (particularly the production design) are as fantastic as those of Vestiel’s contemporary Chris Cunningham.

Another great aspect of this film is the score by Seppuku Paradigm (aka Alex & Willie Cortes). The haunting, Vangelis-esque ambience it creates perfectly compliments the imagery, and is at the same time neither overly electronic nor symphonic.

The film has a decent plot twist at the climax of the third act, and overall I dug the whole picture. The pacing was good, the story simple and unique, and the visuals all that one would expect from French sci-fi; the design is very Moebius at times, and even feels like it could have graced the pages of Metal Hurlant. I highly recommend this to anyone who is tired of the big, lazy Hollywood effects pictures that seem more concerned with CG explosions and character animation than crafting a good story and atmosphere.

“Half-Blood Prince” International Teaser Online

Posted in action/adventure, fantasy, film, news, trailers with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2008 by worldofmatmos

Over the weekend, TrailerAddict added a new International Teaser for the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for all of us Muggles to swoon over. The sixth in the epic series of books (and films) brings Harry ever closer to the climax of his destiny as the “chosen one”.  The film opens on July 17, 2009.

Great Scott! Ridley’s Return to Science-Fiction!

Posted in action/adventure, film, news, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by worldofmatmos

As anyone who knows anything about film, there is resounding agreement that Ridley Scott is one of the few remaining master filmmakers still working. The man has undoubtedly “the best eye in the business” and has proven himself for nearly 40 years. The legendary director’s earlier films are some of the most beloved films in history, particularly in the realms of science-fiction and fantasy. Two of his most iconic works – Alien and Blade Runner – remain as pillars of the industry, still inspiring filmmakers today, and surely for all time. Nearing the end of the 1980s, Scott began delving into other genres, and whilst still creating magnificent pieces, geeks yearned for his return to sci-fi. Well, it seems that it may actually be happening.

Recently, news has been circulating webwide that Sir Ridley has finally rescued one of his long-entrenched-in-development-hell dream projects, the adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s classic epic novel The Forever War. The director had been trying to get the project into production for 24 years, but to no avail…until now. The thought of Ridley Scott helming something as huge [in narrative and scope] as this has left film geeks salivating.

The story involves a deep-space soldier who is thrust into intergalactic warfare that lasts only seven years, yet when he returns home to Earth, he finds that 20 years have passed and the world is much different than it once was. Expect a beautiful dystopic vision of the future as only Ridley Scott can portray it on the big screen. There is sure to be a great cast, majestic visuals, dramatic action, and cutting-edge effects in this highly-anticipated film. More on this as it comes in…

Warners to Adapt “Ninja Scroll”

Posted in action/adventure, anime, fantasy, film, horror, news, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by worldofmatmos

Yoshiaki Kawajiri has been one of the Japanese anime industry’s greatest influences for nearly 30 years, and his seminal period piece Ninja Scroll (Jubei ninpuchou) is another one of his masterful works adored by fans worldwide. So, it’s only natural Hollywood wants to cash in on a live-action adaptation.

According to this past Sunday’s article at Variety, Warner Brothers in association with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way production house will produce an adaptation by the currently red-hot scribe Alex Tse. The production will be co-produced by Madhouse. Tse pulled writing duty for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Watchmen and has also adapted Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man for Snyder. Appian Way is also currently making headway with their adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s masterpiece Akira.

On a personal sidenote, this news comes as bittersweet. Sure, it is cool that Hollywood has the ability to make such films these days, and there is undoubtedly some talent working on these adaptations, but being that the original works are [to some] untouchable – or at the very least should have the input of the original creators, directors, and/or artists, all of which has been thrown to the wayside in lieu of remaking these projects for American audiences.

Hopefully, Appian & WB will pioneer this with their joint production with Studio Madhouse, the original anime production team. As of yet, there has been no word on the level of their involvement, but hopefully if these great talents play a major role on these live-action anime adaptations, it may ensure that these projects do not ultimately fall prey to cinematic acculturation.

SciFi “Sanctuary”

Posted in action/adventure, fantasy, horror, reviews, sci-fi, suspense/thriller, television with tags , , , on October 27, 2008 by worldofmatmos

Sanctuary (SCIFI, Fridays 10/9C, TV-14)

The Fall schedule this year is full of new and interesting sci-fi, fantasy, and horror projects, and the premiere of the new series Sanctuary on the SciFi Channel has quickly become a part of the top ranks of the genre. The fascinating horror hybrid is a look into the otherworldly titular organization run by the mysterious Dr. Helen Magnus, who collects and studies that which has been all but forgotten in the human world. Cryptozoological monsters and other supernatural beings are “residents” at the Sanctuary for All.

The very well-produced series from creator Damian Kindler (Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Stargate: Atlantis) includes a variety of great effects work, ranging from the subtle (lots of green-screen composites that are seamless) to great make-up and other practical effects. The cast is well rounded and have good writing to guide them through the dark corners of the Sanctuary world. Amanda Tapping is Dr. Helen Magnus; she is revealed as the proprietor of the Sanctuary for All, where she protects the secrets of the world (and netherworld) with her daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), a headstrong ass-kicking young lady who stalks the creatures of the night and helps her mother with her research. At the center of the story is our main character Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), a forensic psychiatrist who has been searching for answers to a tragedy that had befallen him as a child, and whose secrets are revealed to him by Dr. Magnus when he crosses the threshold towards his newfound destiny. Dunne is likable in the role; his keen sense of perception is an asset to the team, and he is equal parts nerd and hero. Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) is the goofy yet brilliant tech expert at the Sanctuary, and provides the comic relief in the series. The rest of the cast is equally good, and the pilot sets up future relationships with them. Will must now divide his time between the world and the Sanctuary, and hopefully survive the team’s future encounters.

I look forward to reviewing this series, as it seems like a lot of fun and could go somewhere. However, I have only watched the pilot episode, but look for more on here soon.