- DR. STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
- Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olson
- Directed by: Sam Raimi
- Ratied: PG-13
- Running Time: 2 hrs 6 mins
- Walt Disney Studios
Let me preface this review by stating that, while I have seen a majority of the MCU films, I have not seen “Doctor Strange” or the “WandaVision” series. I say this because “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is the first film I’ve watched from the MCU where I think having seen previous adventures would have been helpful in discerning the story. That being said, I found “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” both dark and intriguing.
Time has passed since Spider-man found his way into the Multiverse. We are quickly drawn into a horrible scene involving our hero (an excellent Cumberbatch) trying to save a young girl (Gomez) from a pretty scary creature. Try as he might, he cannot get the upper hand. WHOA! Thank goodness it was only a dream. Right?
Full of everything that makes the MCU one of the best made, and received, film series in history, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is a roller-coaster ride of action and emotion. The girl in the dream, with the great character name of America Chavez, has been searching for her family, jumping from Multiverse to Multiverse without incident. Everyone in these films has a superpower of some sort and America’s is being able to move through the Multiverse without incident. There are 862 Multiverses, she tells Doctor Strange, all of them very similar. And different. When the Scarlet Witch (Olsen) pops by on a mission of her own, things get a little hectic for our heroes.
The one thing I dislike about reviewing a film like this is that, as much as you’d like to, it would be a betrayal to the reader to spoil key scenes or characters that arise. That being said, if you’ve seen the television spots for this film, you know at least one new face shows up in the MCU.
The script is an excellent combination of action and humor, with Cumberbatch in great form as the pompous Doctor. Olsen is equally strong in a role that shouldn’t play as sympathetic but, thanks to her performance, does. And young Miss Gomez holds her own on screen against these two talented performers.
So great to see Sam Raimi, the director of the first Spider-man series with Tobey Maquire, back at the helm of a superhero film and he puts his trademark eye for pacing and character development on full display.
All in all, even without a lot of background on the good Doctor, I found “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” amazingly good.
Easily one of my favorite films to come out of 2012 is a probably one you haven’t heard of called “Strange Frame”. This movie is brilliantly animated and directed by GB Hajim, co-written by Hajim and musician Shelley Doty, and co-stars voice talents including Tim Curry, Cree Summer, Juliet Landau, Ron Glass, Alan Tudyk, Michael Dorn, Claudia Christian and George Takei. It centers around the theme of the transformative power of love between two women. It is definitely a trippy fun beautiful film that needs to be seen by everyone!
Well, after that long intro, the reason we are here is that GB Hajim is back with a new feature film that is currently in production called “Mermaids’ Lament”. The film is a psychological drama with elements of fantasy. According to the director it pays homage to an 1986 foreign film titled “Man Facing Southeast” and deals with the issues of depression, anxiety, and trauma. It follow a woman drowning in trauma who takes a therapist beyond her own depth into the darkness and together they find the surface and the sun.
Here is the film official synopsis from the director: “It’s about two women: One who suffered an incredible trauma that left her mute and she may or may not be a mermaid. The other, a therapist who has crippling anxiety, is trying to help the first woman overcome her delusions of being a mermaid and fit better in the world. They end up helping each other out and finding a middle ground because the world is crazy and we need a little mermaid inside each of us to cope.”
Hajim has gathered together another amazing collection of creatives to bring this project to fruition which is apparent in these first official images:
To find out more about GB Hajim’s first film “Strange Frame” and how to watch it, click here. I honestly cannot wait to see what he puts together for this next film. I am sure it is going to be something very special. Be sure to check out the film’s official Facebook page here to follow the film’s production and plans for release, which the director mentions he is aiming for 2022 release.
Albert and Joe Bouchard are best known as founding members of Blue Öyster Cult. The original line-up sold millions of albums for Columbia Records, with such classic songs as “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and the #1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart “Burning For You”. Both contributing to songwriting, and lead vocals on some of their greatest songs, such as Albert’s vocals on “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”, and Joe’s on “Hot Rails To Hell”.
Albert’s infamous cowbell part in “Don’t Fear The Reaper” was the basis of the classic Will Ferrell skit on SNL, which also starred Christopher Walken. With “The Reaper,” an all-time classic on YouTube and every other digital platform, with zillions of views, the Bouchard brothers are forever cemented in pop culture.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE – MORE COWBELL
ALBERT EXPLAINS THE COWBELL
Now they are ready to embark on their next venture together with RockHeart Records. With multiple albums being readied for release, the Bouchard’s manager, Jeff Keller, suggested the idea of forming a new imprint label that would be owned and operated by the Bouchards, with Keller’s assistance. Keller sought a partnership with a label that could assist with the new imprint label and the distribution, manufacturing, and marketing. “I had previously worked on a release with Deko Music and I was impressed with their team, experience, and the enthusiasm. Deko loved the idea of the imprint label and their team was excited to work with us,” said Keller. This led to the birth of RockHeart Records and a new partnership with Deko Music. Deko Entertainment president Bruce Pucciarello states, “Deko is thrilled to be partnering with RockHeart Records in releasing Joe and Albert’s new music. Having been fortunate enough to preview this material I can promise fans (because I am a big one) that they won’t be disappointed.”
Joe Bouchard will release his brand new solo album ‘Strange Legends’ on July 31st. The first single and lyric video “Forget About Love” will drop on June 19th, with the follow up “She’s A Legend” dropping on July 17th. Keep checking back at Deko Entertainment as Joe will continually take you on a special behind the scenes song by song look at ‘Strange Legends’.
For the last two years, Joe has worked tirelessly on his 6th and best solo album. For the production of this album he enlisted the help of Micky Curry, a drumming powerhouse, who has played with Hall and Oates, Alice Cooper and more. He is currently the drummer for Bryan Adams, playing on all of his big hits. He has over 40 gold records in his archives.
Several of the songs were written by Joe Bouchard and lyricist/sci-fi writer John Shirley. John Shirley is a long-time lyricist for Blue Öyster Cult, and has written dozens of sci-fi novels. He was the co-screenwriter for ‘The Crow,’ starring Brandon Lee. Other songs on the album were written by the late John Elwood Cook, a very prolific songwriter, who wrote many songs on Joe’s earlier solo albums. Joe’s album also includes a cover of Ray Davies and the Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night.”
Joe says, “I really got to explore the production and mixing of this album like nothing I’ve ever done before. The guitar sounds are especially well produced. I play all the bass on this album, one thing that many of the Blue Öyster Cult fans miss on other projects, and wanted to hear more of. The vocals and guitars fit so well with Micky’s drums. It’s the best I’ve ever done.”
There are limited edition bundles (while supplies last), which can be ordered via:
JOE BOUCHARD STORE
– One (1) Joe Bouchard – Strange Legends (Autographed) CD
– One (1) Joe Bouchard – Signature Guitar Pick
– One (1) Joe Bouchard – Strange Legend Poster
– One (1) Joe Bouchard – Strange Legends Shirt
– Exclusive Early Download of “Forget About Love” Before Anyone Else
LOOK FOR ALBERT’S ALBUM RE IMAGINOS this fall. This is his own personal updated take on the Imaginos Album by Blue Öyster Cult from 1987.
Coming soon on RockHeart Records and Deko Entertainment.
“Strange Legends” Tracklist:
1.The African Queen
2. Forget About Love
3. Walk of Fame
4. Hit and Run
5. Racin’ Thru the Desert
6. She’s a Legend
7. All Day and all of the Night
8. Once Upon a Time at the Border
9. Bottom for the Bottomless
10.Strangely in Love
WATCH FOR MUSIC PREVIEWS, LYRIC VIDEOS, AND MORE ON SPOTIFY AND YOUTUBE.
Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen
Directors: Scott Derrickson
Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Run Time: 115 minutes
Film: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars
“Doctor Strange” is easily of the best films that I have seen. It is definitely one of the best Marvel flicks that I have seen in a long time. I am honestly getting a little or more like a lot superhero fatigued. This film deals with time-traveling, world-bending and supernatural powers, which really interested me a lot. A must see for any fan. Cumberbatch is perfect in the role and I can’t wait to see what he does in “Avengers: Infinity War” and hopefully “Doctor Strange 2” on day soon.
Official Premise: From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange”, the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident renders his hands useless. When traditional medicine fails him, he travels to remote Kamar-Taj in search of a cure, but instead discovers the mystical arts and becomes a powerful sorcerer battling dark forces bent on destroying our reality.
“Doctor Strange” is a visual marvel (no pun intended). I love this film and the way it looks is just perfect. The 1080p transfer looks amazing on Blu-ray. I am sure it looks even better in 4K. I personally prefer this film in 3D, which just looks so amazing. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is amazing. I believe that this is in the running for top Blu-ray A/V merits for this year already.
The special features are quite awesome. Kicking off with a exciting and fun audio commentary track with director Scott Derrickson, which gives awesome into into the film and it’s production. It was recorded a day before the film was released, I would have preferred to have Scott cover more post release tidbits from fan requests etc otherwise it is great.
There are five featurettes that dive into the production. The first is “A Strange Transformation” which covers the basics – the cast, locations, story etc. “Strange Company” dives more into the character development. “The Fabric of Reality” looks at costumes and set construction. “Across Time and Space” looks into the stunts and digital effects. Lastly there is “The Score-Cerer Supreme”, which focuses on Michael Giacchino’s score.
There is a piece called “Marvel Studios Phase 3 Exclusive Look” which looks at the films in the phase and Doctor Strange’s place within them. “Team Thor: Part 2” is follow up to the short film that nearly broke the internet last year! Can’t wait till “Thor 3”! Lastly there are a few deleted and extended scenes included as well as a fun gag reel.
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Today’s a big day for Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina). After spending the past 39 years together, they’re finally getting married. It’s a joyous occasion, accompanied by friends and family, who’ve watched the couple stick it out through thick and thin for nearly four decades. The honeymoon, the real and metaphorical one, is now over and an unexpected snag begins to take hold.
George, a respected teacher and member of the Catholic school he works for, has been fired because of his marriage. With his meager salary and Ben’s pension, they can’t quite make the bills anymore. They now can’t afford their apartment and need to seek a new residence. Because of George’s work, they’ll have to split for the time being. Ben goes to live with his nephew Elliot (Darren Burrows) and his wife Kate (Tomei). George has to move in with a pair of gay policemen who party on the weekends and play Dungeons and Dragons on the weeknights; Far from ideal for both men.
While their current predicament may not seem like the worst thing in the world, their calls and conversation hint at much tougher hurdles in the past that have been overcome. “Love is Strange” teaches that love can become stronger through adversity, but it’s not their love that’s in for a bumpy ride. The real struggle lies within Elliot, Kate and their son Joey (Tahan). They’re a decaying family. Elliot is constantly busy, but one may suspect he’s having an affair. Kate is usually at home attempting to write her latest book, but finding that most of her daily stresses are hampering that. Then there’s Joey, a real enigma. He can tell his parents aren’t on the best of terms and it doesn’t help he’s not on the best of terms with both of them.
There’s so much conflict told visually that many of the problems are never solved or fully developed verbally. It leaves the audience wondering what, if anything, is actually happening. While that’s off putting to some, that’s perfectly fine with me. Speculation is the most fun one can have during a movie and after leaving the theater. Joey seems to resent Ben at first, but…that’s the biggest mystery in the movie. While Kate may believe Ben is the reason things are imploding, the family dynamic appears to have been festering for years. Elliot seems to believe nothing is wrong at all or is too busy to care.
The most telling moment is when Joey has trouble answering a question from Ben. “Have you ever been in love?” Joey immediately takes offense wondering if Ben is implying he’s gay. That can easily be chalked up to a typical teenage homophobic concern that’s rooted in one’s own sexual confusion. But instead it tells me that he hasn’t grown up in the most loving of households. That watching his mom and dad slowly drift apart is taking a personal toll on him and he’s slowly losing grip on everything else.
The ending comes after a traumatic event that has clearly impacted Joey. Tahan is given the arduous task of portraying the only real tearful, emotional moment of all the characters and he’s spot on. It’s not an ensemble cast, but it’s definitely one that has the swagger. Lithgow leads the way perfecting every little word he speaks and every little facial movement. He lives and breathes inside Ben and has never done a more believable job in a role. If he doesn’t get a nomination at this year’s Oscars for his performance, it would be a damn shame.
“Love is Strange” is short and thoughtful. Outside of being a touching film, it’s shot in a very beautiful way. Most times people love to focus on the cold concrete structures of New York, but director Ira Sachs finds the grandeur of nature breaking through the cracks. It’s a bittersweet symphony that displays a different message to different people. It may tell you that life, in essence, is short and that we need to cherish it. Or maybe it’ll tell you that even in the most desolate of circumstances, you can come out in the end a happier person.
G.B. Hajim is the co-writer, cinematographer, producer, and director the animated lesbian rock musical “Strange Frame”. The film can only be described by seeing it. The film itself is a real trip and extremely unique. It also packs a very strong voice cast including Tim Curry, Claudia Black, Ron Glass, George Takei, Alan Tudyk and Michael Dorn…just to name a few. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with G.B. about the film, his love for science fiction and his unique animation style.
Mike Gencarelli: You acted as Co-Writer, Cinematographer, Producer, and Director on “Strange Frame”, which is such a unique film; how did this come about?
G.B. Hajim: I read a lot of science fiction and it seems like science fiction film and TV always falls short of what science fiction literature is doing. So, I am a big John Varley fan and also Neal Stephenson. It seems like most of the science fiction film or TV is a just a setting for action or battle scenes. It is not really setup to take that heady trip and imagine what is humanity going to become in the future. Right now, we are already experimenting with genetic engineering and bio-modifications. We are also at the cuff of basically beginning to be a spacefaring race. I really wanted to explore those ideas here. I am also influenced by some of my favorite science fiction like “Blade Runner”. That is the short of it. From the tone of the movie you can see that I have experimented with psychedelic drugs. So all these kind of things gelled together. Shelley Doty, who co-wrote it with me, also comes from a very similar space being a big sci-fi head. We might have crammed a little too much into the movie but we really wanted to lay out a world that was different than you have seen before.
MG: How did it end up being a lesbian rock musical?
GBH: Shelley Doty, who co-wrote it, is an African American lesbian and also a rock guitarist. She has been on the cover of Guitar Player Magazine and is a very accomplished musician. So when we sat down to write this, we thought about who would we want to write about. What is great about writing about musicians is that they are seen as the lowest end of society like playing the dingiest clubs or street corners but also seen as the rock star when they are at the highest level of society. You get this unique perspective of being able to transcend all the class barriers. Since we wanted to show so much of this new universe that we were laying out, we wanted a character that could transcend all that. It seemed like a really good fit.
MG: How did you end up working with an amazing voice cast including (deep breath) Tim Curry, Claudia Black, Ron Glass, Juliet Landau, Tara Strong, George Takei, Alan Tudyk and Michael Dorn…to name a few?
GBH: We were very lucky. Early on I knew that sound was going to be very important for our film, especially since it was a musical. I was reaching out to some of the best sound guys in the business. Finally, I was introduced to Gary Rizzo, who was mixing at the time a little film called “The Dark Knight Rises”. He looked at our film and wanted to be on board. To have an Academy Award Winning sound guy on board gives you a lot of cred when talking with voice and cast directors. They were very jazzed that we had Gary on board. We ended up working with Jamie Thomason and they asked who we wanted in terms of voice actors. Shelley and I are big sci-fi fans, obviously, so we picked through our favorite people. We ended up getting mostly everyone that we wanted. So it was really awesome. They saw what we were doing with this project and how it was very unique but they also saw how we were doing it. I trained local kids here in East Hawaii, which is a super poor area. These kids have nothing to do, so I brought them on board and trained with in animation and they became the animation crew. They really resonated with our actors.
MG: Tell us how you got music in the film by Roger Waters?
GBH: I am a huge Pink Floyd fan. When I was animating this, most of the time I had live Pink Floyd music blasting. I think “The Final Cut” is such an under-rated album and “The Gunner’s Dream” is just such a beautiful song. It was also related to what we were talking about in the movie. So I approached Roger Waters’ management and told them about what we were doing with the kids and the movie. Roger was really stoked about it. First you have to get the rights from the artist but then you also need to go to the rights organization, Warner/Chappell Music and those guys dragged their feet. Roger gave us this track for next to nothing but they wanted tens of thousands of dollars for this. We are this little production and didn’t have that type of money. Roger’s management stepped in and hammered at these guys until they gave this to us for virtually nothing. It is a real rarity, if you look at Roger’s credits, he hasn’t done many domestic films. So it was a real honor.
MG: Tell us about the development of the unique type of animation used in this film?
GBH: I have done all kinds of animation. In school, I had experimented with all types and even helped developed some of the first CGI when I worked at the San Diego Supercomputer Center. That aspect is very technical and gets devoid of the hand of the artist and creativity gets riddled down and sterilized when you use that type of animation. It is also very time intensive and expensive. When I moved to Hawaii, I didn’t have clients that could give me a budget where I could do that kind of animation. So I developed this new style of cut-out, which is very economic and also very easy to train with. It is mostly drawn and photoshopped by hand. We break up the drawing into mini-pieces and then move those pieces in a compositing program. It is much quicker and as an artist also much more fun since you can just throw stuff in and get it to look really rich and dense quickly. It is a very different way of animating and it is also pretty unique. I think if we get a chance to do a follow-up movie we would be able to rival the big boys like Pixar or Dreamworks. We worked out the kinks in this movie and really sharpened it up. If we get to do a sequel it will be guaranteed to knock peoples socks off.
MG: I would have loved this seen this film on Blu-ray? Any plans?
GBH: When you go to a distributor, they do things a certain way. Unless we sell tens of thousands of DVD, they are not going to do a Blu-ray release. That is the reality of it. It is very hard to make an economical Blu-ray release. With that being said, I do feel though that people that encoded this DVD made it look fucking phenomenal, especially with the data rate that they were given.
MG: What do you have planned next?
GBH: You have to have a lot of irons in the fire. I just did a pitch to Comedy Central for a bunch of shorts. I can’t talk about that more since it is still in the works. I have got plans to pitch Sony also for another TV show, maybe based on “Strange Frame”. I am also developing an animated feature for younger teens called “Ali Jamal and the Rat Prince”. It is more of a fantasy project than sci-fi but it will be in the same animation style. Then I also have a few live action projects that I am also developed but which are much lower budget. I have a background in live action and since animation takes such a long time, I would like to get a few projects done with in that format as well next.
Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars
What the fuck? No really. What the fuck? I must have said that at least twenty times while watching this crazy, visual trip of a film. This bizarre sci-fi lesbian rock musical animated film is like nothing I have ever seen before. Through the rich and very colorful CG rendered animation, this film tells the story of transformative power of love between two women in a world of space pirates, indentured slaves and genetic mutations. The film feels like a really messed up dream or a hallucination. If you are tripping on acid, this might be the film to watch while you are doing so. It is not for everyday viewing but I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen and will be tuning in again for repeat viewings (and no I was not under the influence).
The voice cast for this film is unbelieveable including Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Claudia Black (TV’s “Stargate SG-1,” “90210”), Ron Glass (TV’s “Firefly,” “Barney Miller”), Juliet Landau (TV’s “Green Lantern: The Animated Series”), Tara Strong (TV’s “Ultimate Spider-Man,” “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic”), George Takei (“Star Trek” franchise), Cree Summer (TV’s “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” “A Different World”), Claudia Christian (TV’s “Babylon 5”) and Dawnn Lewis (TV’s “Futurama,” “A Different World”). There is also a voice cameos from impressive talent like Alan Tudyk (“Firefly”, “Wreck-It Ralph”) and Michael Dorn (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”). I mean for a film that I have never heard of, they sure didn’t skimp on getting talent to be apart of this project.
Official Premise: Set at the end of the 28th century, the human race has long since abandoned a desolate earth. In order to survive, humanity has been using genetic engineering to adapt to otherworld environments, to the point where changing one’s skin color or gender has become commonplace. On the moon Ganymede, saxophonist Parker (Claudia Black) and guitarist Naia (Tara Strong) develop a close relationship. The two embark on their new relationship and form a new band — but they also must fight for their freedom from the evil Mig (Tim Curry).
The main aspect that I was very disappointed about this release is that it is only on DVD. This film would have honestly looked and sounded 100% better on Blu-ray or even converted to 3D Blu-ray. Now that would have been a trip. I hope that they are considering this somewhere down the line after this DVD is release because I would be very interested to see that. The special features includes two behind-the-scenes featurettes: “Claudia Black: On Strange Frame, Sex Scenes and Sci-Fi” and “In the Studio with Claudia Black, Tara Strong, Ron Glass, Cree Summer, Juliet Landau, Michael Dorn and George Takei”, as well as a deleted scene. If you enjoyed this film then you should definitely check out these extras.