Sunday, March 20, 2016


April and the Extraordinary World is a steampunk adventure that will open in New York (IFC Center) next Friday, March 25, followed by an April 1 launch in Los Angeles (Nuart Theater), and will have limited national expansion on April 8. 

Based on the iconic graphic art of French comic artist Jacques Tardi, April and the Extraordinary World is set in an alternative electricity-less Paris, circa 1941, where a family of scientists on the brink of discovering a life serum is kidnapped by shadowy forces. Their daughter, April, continues the family’s research in secret, only to become entangled in a far-reaching conspiracy that puts her “on the run from government agents, bicycle-powered dirigibles and cyborg rat spies.”

I first ran across Jacques Tardi's work in an international anthology comic called Cheval Noir put out on the Dark Horse Comics imprint.  Tardi's artwork is fairly simplistic, but the stories were always fun to read.  Directed by Persepolis animator Christian Desmares and Boyster producer Franck Ekinci, April won the Cristal for best feature film at Annecy last year.

  • Paul Giamatti – Pizoni
  • Tony Hale – Darwin
  • Susan Sarandon – Chimène
  • J.K. Simmons – Rodrigue
  • Angela Galuppo – April
  • Tod Fennell – Julius
  • Tony Robinow – Pops
  • Mark Camacho – Paul
  • Macha Grenon – Annette
Speaking of foreign animation, if you've not seen The Illusionist, it's well worth your time.  It's a French-Scottish 2010 film by Jacques Tati, who also did Mon Oncle and Play Time, so it has a light air about it.  It's  about a magician who meets a young lady who is convinced his magic is real.  To me, I thought it was a romantic relationship perhaps about an unrequited love that never happened, but upon looking at the Net, it's about the relationship between a dad and his daughter.  Youtube has it up now if interested. 

    I was at Walmart the other day picking up groceries and they must have gotten in a new shipment of DVDs as it looked like it had been stocked recently.  It's bad for me to go into that section as I always see a few things I want to buy. I noticed they had a new set of the Universal Monsters, which contained Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Dracula, the Wolf Man, and some others for around $30.  I'd eventually like to own that.   There's also a new complete slim-packaged set of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century with Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (which I already have).  I saw two new sets of the anime Voltron among some of the newer releases.

    I recently picked up St. Vincent with Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts, a comedy that I enjoyed some months back.   Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), which I believe is the third cartoon, which came after the hand drawn movie known as Star Wars: Clone Wars--Volume One (2003).  Confusing, I know.  Then I picked up a Steve Martin 3-disc set, and the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is the second film in that series.  Those I picked up fairly cheaply at pawn shops for a couple of bucks.

    But going back to the Dr. Who set.  It surprised me as it is a boxed set of four DVDs from the long running BBC SF series.  It contains Warriors of the Deep with Peter Davison (4 eps. 97 mins) When the TARDIS is forced to make an unplanned visit to Sea Base Four, the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough find themselves accused of being enemy agents.  However, there is a greater threat of the Silurians and the Sea Devils who have formed an alliance.

    The Sea Devils with Jon Pertwee (6 eps. 147 mins), When the Doctor and Jo Grant pay a visit to the Master at a top security prison off the south coast of England, the Doctor soon finds himself pitted against the Sea Devils, an ancient race of reptile intent on eliminating humankind. 

    Doctor Who and the Silurians (2-disc, 7 eps. 175 mins), Stars Jon Pertwee as the Doctor who is summoned to an underground research center to investigate a series of inexplicable power losses and soon discovers that the nearby cave system conceals a colony of an ancient race called the Silurians.  Supposedly available in color for the first time (I don't know if these were re-colored or what or the history on that, but perhaps the Bonus features will address it).  This package has a bunch of Bonus features as well.   So all three classic Who stories are about the Silurians and the Sea Devils.  I've seen the two Pertwee episodes, but don't remember seeing the Davison one. 

    The odd thing about the box set is that it was priced at $9.96, which I thought was cheap.  I came home and checked on Amazon, and there it's around $24.  So I don't know if it was miss priced or what, but I was happy to pick it up at the discount.  So you might check at the Walmart in your area if interested. 
    Over on the Inkstuds site you will find a podcast with Gilbert Hernandez.  He and his other brothers are the creators of the comic, Love and Rockets.  I'm not a huge fan of that particular series, but they've done other stories, which I have enjoyed, and I always enjoy looking at their art.  The Blubber story looks fun to me.  While digging through some of my back issues the other week, I ran across one of their stories in comic called Measles.




    At 9:36 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

    Some good finds there.

    I grew up with the old Universal monsters who back in those days romped regularly on Saturday and late night TV. They seem like old friends. Anyone who hasn't seen the half dozen Frankenstein films from the 30s and 40s will miss many of the parodies in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. I was partial to the Wolfman. I don't know why.

    At 11:13 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

    Yes, I liked the Wolfman as well, and probably either The Mummy or The Creature From the Black Lagoon the least. The Invisible Man is a fun one. There are a lot other ones like Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman that are also worth watching. The first Frankenstein is hard to beat for gothic. I agree about the Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, it's funny and draws on a lot of different takes on the Frankenstein mythos.

    As far as Frankenstein, I ran across this odd cartoon about that character:

    At 4:57 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

    I need to give the Universal monsters another try. I found "Dracula" painfully slow moving and not very involving. I liked "Frankenstein" and "Bride of Frankenstein" quite a bit more. I know I've seen "The Mummy" but I don't remember too much about it. I was surprised how many elements the 1999 film borrowed from the 30s version.

    I need to watch more classic "Doctor Who". I resisted some of Bakers adventures and they were fun. But I really haven't seen too much from the other classic folks.

    At 11:33 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

    Yes, I've always enjoyed the Universal monsters, particularly Frankenstein and Wolf Man. I think I've grown to enjoy them even more since I've gotten older perhaps due to their gothic atmosphere and staging. The Invisible Man is a fun film too.

    Classic Who can be addictive once you get used to their lower budget. Granted they aren't perfect, some feel they should have been edited some, and indeed they have been depending on where you get them from--I saw on a board that the streaming of them on Netflix edited them down some. But you have to bear in mind they were made for a weekly series, so some of that is to reiterate the story line from the week before. What's odd is that I'm not much of a fan of the newer incarnation. They are hit and miss for me. But if you don't like one, you'd probably enjoy the other, maybe both.


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