Category Archives: Film


Trailer Time – Fantastic Four Official Trailer


We’ve seen sneak peeks, we’ve seen coy trailers, we’ve seen bits and pieces, and we have all heard the crazy rumors. Hell, I’ve done entire podcast episodes on this movie. Now we’ve got a complete, revealing, and intriguing trailer for Josh Trank’s new Fantastic Four film. Meet me after the jump to see it.

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Courage Above All Things: Interview with Toa Fraser and The Dead Lands’ Warrior Saga

Savage and beautiful, Toa Fraser’s The Dead Lands (2014) is a gripping warrior’s tale. A tribal chief’s young son finds himself the only survivor of a massacre, and vows vengeance. But to have any hope of repaying the grim blood debt, he must enlist the help of a mad warrior, feared by all. So begins a remarkable Maori action epic, featuring the little known art of mau rakau, a Maori martial art based in part on the brutal wielding of a serrated paddle called a patu. Kind of like a nasty ping pong paddle, properly wielded it can slit your throat or bash your brains right the fuck out. I was fortunate to be able to interview director Fraser, from a safe distance. Let’s leap into the fray, after the jump.

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Brinksmanship: The Films of Ruben Östlund

There’s a traveling retrospective of Ruben Östlund’s work going around; it was in New York earlier this year, and lands at TIFF in Toronto starting tomorrow. While four films is a bit light for a retro, the Swedish director does have a definite perspective, and seems on the verge of something. The same words keep cropping up to describe Östlund’s films: unsettling, provocative, audacious, perceptive. And the critics aren’t wrong. This guy likes pushing your buttons. Hard. He knows where they are and he goes after them with slow determination. So with his static camera and glacial skewering of public mores is Östlund a sadist or a satirist? You say tomahto, I say let’s make some soup after the jump.

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Loretta Sisco On… Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI

Thom Matthews

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

The 80’s were a great decade for horror, especially my favorite subgenre, the slashers. Many one hit wonders were released, but a few franchises were born. Friday the 13th brought us Pamela Voorhees, followed by her son, the hockey-masked killing machine, Jason Voorhees. Jason may not be portrayed by fan favorite Kane Hodder in the film I most enjoy, but it does include a fine mix of horror, humor, hard rock, and a hot car, not to mention my favorite kill in the series.
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Jim Knipp On… Time Travel

...yeah, you and everyone else...

…yeah, you and everyone else…

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

Something happened to me in the Seventies

Sometime after I was introduced to the world of convulsive horror that is Rankin Bass, but before I was infected with my omnipresent zombie obsession, Holly Marshall met her future-self in the “Elsewhen” episode of The Greatest Show in the History of the World.

...this one...

…this one…

Of course, neither Holly nor I knew it was her future self. But when we found out, well suffice it to say my seven-year old mind was blown. And when the episode ended with older Holly sadly telling young Holly to treasure her father and brother because they wouldn’t be around forever, I learned two absolute truths. I’ll tell you what they are after the break.

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Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd

You know how it goes. We all do it. The barista gets your name wrong, it’s awful. Rogers raises their internet rates again, it’s terrible. Kanye acts like an idiot at an awards show, again again. It’s appalling. But really, these complaints are the frills of cushy Western living. We’re pretty lucky to live in a society where we can freely bitch about these things (just don’t talk about the environment if you’re a Canadian government scientist, but nevermind). And it’s both astounding and so very depressing to see how easily such cherished freedoms can be tossed aside by governments ostensibly founded on those very principles. What’s awful is being persecuted for your beliefs. What’s terrible is being unlawfully imprisoned for years without representation, a trial or even formal charges. What’s appalling is being held prisoner by a nation founded on basic rights, when that nation itself acknowledges your innocence, but then lacks the will to set you free. That truly is absurd, and it’s the unsettling reality that the documentary Uyghurs: Prisoners of the Absurd sets out to reveal.

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A Review of Monster Mania 30 Part I – The Guests


I’m convinced that the Monster Mania convention is the Disneyland for the demented. It’s one place where like-minded fans of horror and all things scary can come together for one weekend and feel comfortable in their skin. If you’ve never been to this or any other horror convention, you’re in for a real treat. Read the rest of this entry

The Ten Percent: Blazing Saddles (1974)


“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

There is a strong case to be made that the western is the most versatile and quintessentially American of all film genres. Certainly it is one of the most mythic. Born out of 19th century dime novels and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, with deeper roots in the Leatherstocking Tales of James Fenimore Cooper and the even earlier captivity narratives of the colonial era, western films have continually been reinvented and repurposed to address American social, cultural, and political issues since the early 20th century.  Though occasionally out of fashion, the western has proven to be a genre capable of almost continual renaissance from Stagecoach (1939), to The Wild Bunch (1969), to Unforgiven (1992), to Deadwood (2004 – 2006) and Breaking Bad (2008 – 2013). Along the way, the genre has been used to address everything from McCarthyism to Vietnam to racism. It is this last category that brings me to this week’s Ten Percent, a western that managed to expose the ridiculousness of racism and the ignorance that lies behind it, by making absolutely hilarious fun of its every single aspect: Blazing Saddles (1974).

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The Strange Case of Hou Hsiao-Hsien and the Very Very Long Take

Tony Leung is torn between two companions in the sumptuous Flowers of Shanghai

TIFF’s got a retrospective of Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien on right now. Which could make you swoon, if you love lush cinematography, oblique story-telling and very long takes with a free-wandering camera. Or it could be as exciting as a long night with your second cousin’s family, driving around aimlessly, wishing these people you barely know actually had something to say. Beautiful, meditative, complex, tedious, distant, and meandering are all words that could apply to Hou’s mesmeric take on movies. Sometimes the spell works. Others… Join me after the jump to find where you fall on the Hou scale.

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The Ten Percent: Red Beard [Akahige] (1965)

Japanese Poster for Akahige (Red Beard).

Japanese Poster for Akahige (Red Beard).

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Hello, Readers All, and welcome to another edition of “The Ten Percent,” where K. Dale Koontz and I take turns talking about the corollary to Sturgeon’s Law, and all of the things that fall into the 10% that is anything but crud. This week I’m going to take a look at Red Beard [Akahige] (1965), one of the greatest of Kurosawa Akria’s films, which is really saying something, because over the course of a directorial career which spanned fifty-two years and thirty-three films, Kurosawa managed to flip Sturgeon’s Law on its head, and then some. There might be 5% of Kurosawa’s films that are arguably crud, but even in his earliest efforts, there is a gleam of genius.

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