Thursday, September 21, 2023

10 Things I Want to See in a Criterion UHD 4K Blu-Ray for Lost in Translation


Every September 21st (with the exception of the 2020 pandemic that temporarily destroyed any sense of time) which is Bill Murray’s birthday, I watch what I consider to be the greatest film of all time in Lost in Translation as I have written a lot about the film including an essay and a list of 10 reasons why I think it’s the best film ever made. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, I was hoping to do a massive project devoted to the film that would uncover some of its mysteries and other things about the film. Unfortunately, an essay that I was writing that was meant to be an introduction to this project didn’t meet to my expectations. Plus, I was hoping to do a lot of things on a visual level but I have no clue on any of those things I don’t know how to create backgrounds for a blog or anything to save my life. I also was hoping to present some visual stills from the film but I feel like my DVD copy isn’t good enough even though I did get the Blu-Ray recently but I feel like it’s not enough.

There is still this feeling that I want to do to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary just as Sofia Coppola has premiered her eighth feature film in Priscilla at this year’s Venice Film Festival to an excellent reception that won its star Cailee Spaeny the Volpi Cup for Best Actress. Of course the film can be seen in various streaming services though there are those who still prefer to have a physical copy of the film despite the fact that its Blu-Ray release from 2010 could do so much more. Even as there’s companies like Arrow and Kino that puts out amazing Blu-Ray releases with lots of extras and such for fans to get. Yet, I feel like Lost in Translation deserves more than that as its original DVD does have extras that are still worth watching. However, there’s more that a solid Blu-Ray release can do for that film and while Kino is set to release a 4K Blu-Ray release for the film sometime this year. It is probably best that a film like this should be given a release from the Criterion Collection.

The Criterion Collection has a library of amazing films (and a few duds) with its dedication to classic foreign films, American cinema of the past, silent films, cult movies, and anything else. While Arrow has done the same though it leans more towards some mainstream titles and notable cult classics. Criterion is the top place for home video releases as they do great work with not just the films they release but also in some of the extras and essays they put into their releases. Some which have been upgraded to 4K ultra-high definition format as one of those films that was released is Coppola’s 1999 feature film debut in The Virgin Suicides which came out in that format last year following a DVD/Blu-Ray release from Criterion four years earlier. Fans of Coppola probably would’ve expected the same for Lost in Translation yet nothing hasn’t been confirmed for this year.

Yet, let’s say there is a future Criterion release for the film that is to come out and what would fans of the film want. Well, here are ten things I want from a Criterion release for Lost in Translation:

1. A Newly Remastered 4K UHD version supervised by Sofia Coppola in Collaboration with cinematographer Lance Acord, film editor Sarah Flack, and sound designer Richard Beggs.
When the film was released in the U.S. on Region 1 DVD on February 3, 2004 at the time when the film was still in theaters after Oscar nominations were announced. It would be a film that was popular in rental and for purchase as the DVD was still sort of new since its emergence in the late 1990s. The DVD release was a popular release as it sold well and helped bring more money to the film as the DVD was a big thing at the time. Then in 2007 came the short-lived HD-DVD and three years on December 7, 2010 is the Blu-Ray release as home video technology would evolve and such with some filmmakers being involved with these releases to ensure that their films are given the best presentation for home video.

In June of this year, Kino announced a release for a new 4K release for an Ultra HD Blu-Ray release for the film set sometime late in 2023 yet there hasn’t been any word if this release has any involvement from Sofia Coppola. If it was to be released from the Criterion Collection, there would be a mention into the involvement on who supervised the new transfer as many films under these new 4K digital transfers often involved the filmmakers or those were associated with that filmmaker. Coppola has had involvement with Criterion for the DVD/Blu-Ray release of The Virgin Suicides when it was released in 2018 under the supervision of the film’s cinematographer Ed Lachman that was approved by Coppola herself as she also took part in some of the special features in its release including the most recent 4K UHD-Blu-Ray last year.

Now there are a lot of technical things that need to be involved in a 4K digital transfer for a film that was shot on 35mm as it wouldn’t just need to have Coppola’s involvement but also the involvement of cinematographer Lance Acord as well as film editor Sarah Flack who both played a key role in the film. There’s also the sound as longtime Coppola collaborator in sound designer Richard Beggs would also play a major role for the film’s sound as a Blu-Ray/UHD-Blu-Ray release would present the film in an uncompressed soundtrack that would do more for the film from an audio perspective. A casual consumer might not care for these things but for anyone that loves this film will want a lot to expect to recapture something close to what they might’ve seen when the film was released in theaters in the fall of 2003.

2. Retaining the Original Special Features from its 2004 DVD Release.
One of the key aspects of the film’s 2004 DVD release that made it so special were its special features as they’re something fans of the film wanted when it first came out. Among those features include a music video for the song City Girl by Kevin Shields that was directed by Coppola as well as a making-of documentary, a 10-minute conversation with Coppola and Bill Murray on the set of Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, five deleted scenes cut from the film, and the full version of Bob Harris’ appearance on Matthew’s Best Hit TV Show. The only special features that was added to the 2010 Blu-Ray was a trailer for Coppola’s 2010 film Somewhere and a promotion for the film where Coppola, cast, and crew members talk about the film (as it was an unnecessary extra).

With the exception of promotional stuff relating to Somewhere, many of the features of the original DVD release should be included as part of the release in a newly-remastered form as it will allow fans have something as they can watch these special features on their big TVs and such.

3. New Interviews with Sofia Coppola, Bill Murray, and Scarlett Johansson.
For years ever since the inception of DVDs and the extra material involved with the film, one of those extra features would be the audio commentary as it is a fun viewing experience to hear a filmmaker talk about the film with the cast or crew members. Yet, Sofia Coppola is among those that has no interest in doing audio commentaries as she prefers to do interviews and not reveal too much about her work. A new interview with her on the film and its legacy would be a nice addition to the many interviews she had done about the film while it would allow her to close the book on a key chapter in her life.

Then there’s film’s lead actors in Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as getting the two to do new interviews would be a challenge. Notably as Murray is often elusive and doesn’t do a lot of interviews as well as the fact that he’s a target in the world of cancel culture due to his behaviors in the past which is just fucking stupid. Murray’s involvement would likely happen if he’s asked by Coppola as the two have collaborated on two other projects directed by Coppola. Then there’s Johansson who is currently one of the biggest film stars as of 2023 as the film was a major career breakthrough for her. An interview with is iffy due to her schedule and such though she is willing to discuss the film and her role while questions about why she and Coppola hadn’t collaborated since might be a question she and Coppola won’t answer. 4. A Perspective from the Japanese and Asian on the Film and its Polarizing Response.
Since the film was set in Tokyo and areas in Japan, the film had gained criticism from Asian audiences and film critics over the way people are depicted in Japan. While Coppola has maintained that her intentions wasn’t to insult the Japanese or Asians in general. A documentary about the response in Japan and why the film has garnered mixed reactions in the country is something that is needed where a balanced perspective of where Asians are coming from on their critique on the film but also a perspective on those who think the film isn’t trying to be insulting to the Japanese. It would be something that modern audiences will need without deviating into this realm of cancel culture which has unfortunately done a lot of damage in making people accept the ideas of what is entertainment and such.

5. New Interviews with Music Supervisor Brian Reitzell and Score Composer Kevin Shields on the Film’s Music.
The film’s music soundtrack was a key factor to the film’s success yet the film did the unthinkable in obtaining the services of My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields in creating new and original music since the release of the band’s 1991 landmark album Loveless. With Shields being more available in recent years to do interviews, him having to talk about the soundtrack and what took him so long to create new music. Brian Reitzell should also be interviewed not just cultivating the soundtrack but also playing a key role in the music with Roger Joseph Manning as they also go into depth about the film’s soundtrack including the karaoke scene in the film.

6. New Art Work for the Blu-Ray release.
Criterion isn’t just regarded into the work they put into the Blu-Rays as far as extra features and the overall presentation but it is also in the packaging of these Blu-Rays. Criterion is lauded for their art work in not just the front and back covers but also in the booklets as they do a lot in creating packaging that is suitable for the film. Fortunately, there’s fans that have created ideas of what a Criterion packaging for the film should look like instead of just a bland recreation of the film’s poster as its DVD/Blu-Ray cover. It should look like the film itself as well as maintain a color scheme that is faithful to the film.

7. Anatomy of a Scene on the Commercial Shoot & the Mysterious Dialogue in the Film’s Finale.
The film is notable for 2 key scenes in the film as it adds a lot of intrigue for the film. The first is the commercial shoot where a director is talking to Bob Harris in Japanese as to American/Western audiences. They have very little clue in what this man is saying as the translator is telling Harris “with intensity” though Harris is aware that he’s saying a lot more. It was a scene presented without subtitles as it should get some insight into why Coppola chooses to shoot that whole scene without subtitles as it would then be re-presented with the subtitles. Then there’s the film’s ending as it relates to mysterious words that Bob whispered to Charlotte before he leaves to return to the U.S. as it is one of the great mysterious events in the film. Some insight from Coppola, Murray, and Johansson could divulge into what was said but it’s probably best if it remains a mystery.

8. A Documentary on the Film’s Famous Locations back in 2002.
Tokyo is a major character in the film as the many locations that Coppola picked out in the film are unique including the Hyatt Hilton Hotel that the characters were staying in. Tokyo is a city with some notable landmarks including the Shibuya walkway in the middle of the city as a documentary on some of these locations should be noted including the restaurants Bob and Charlotte went to as well as the key location in Kyoto where Charlotte made a visit there. It’s something that hardcore fans of the film should want if they ever decide to travel to Tokyo and Kyoto in the hope of seeing the places of their favorite film.

9. A Documentary on the Film’s Promotional Trip from Telluride to the Oscars.
The film’s theatrical journey from its premiere at Telluride in late August of 2003 that was followed by its screening at the Venice Film Festival that year where the film won two awards for Coppola and Johansson. It would be a documentary that should consist largely of archival footage and interviews from that time and the buzz it got into the Oscars.

10. Essays on the film from various film scholars (myself for consideration) and filmmakers.
One of the great things about Criterion are the booklets as they often have essays that are fascinating to read along with interviews and such from other publications. It is a film that has gained a lot of acclaim and love from a lot of people including filmmakers and film scholars. It’s not just film scholars and critics that have something but also various film bloggers including myself as I have written a lot about the film. I would also include an excerpt from Hannah Strong’s book on Sofia Coppola that was released last year as she had some great things to say about the film.

It’s been 20 years since the film has come out and it’s high time for a proper UHD 4K Blu-Ray release from Criterion. Hopefully, it would set the way for more films from Sofia Coppola to be released from Criterion as it is a great home video label. Until then…
Related: Lost in Translation - Lost in Translation OST - Favorite Films #1: Lost in Translation - 10 Reasons Why Lost in Translation is the Best Film Ever...

© thevoid99 2023

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Air (2023 film)


Directed and co-starring Ben Affleck and written by Alex Convery, Air is the story about the origin of the Air Jordan shoe line by Nike and how an employee from Nike makes a discovery about the then-unknown Michael Jordan and to build a shoe line around him. The film is about the creation of a shoe line that wouldn’t just save Nike from shutting down but create something that would play a key role in the world of popular culture. Also starring Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Marlon Wayans, Chris Messina, Chris Tucker, and Viola Davis as Deloris Jordan. Air is a riveting and exhilarating film from Ben Affleck.

Set in 1984, the film follows talent scout Sonny Vaccaro (Matt Damon) who works for Nike’s basketball division as it is on the verge of shutting down due to low sales where he decides to bet on an idea in the hope of saving the division by building a shoe line for a future NBA prospect in Michael Jordan. It is a film that is about the creation of the Air Jordan shoe line and its origins as well as the impact it would have on Nike at a time when they were falling behind other competitive rivals in Converse and Adidas as Nike’s CEO Phil Knight (Ben Affleck) was forced to lay off people ever since the company has gone public. The film’s screenplay by Alex Convery, with un-credited contributions from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, is largely straightforward in its narrative as it follows Vaccaro who is tasked by Knight and marketing VP Rob Strasser (Jason Bateman) to come up with a new spokesperson for Nike’s basketball shoes with a limited $250,000 budget. Yet, the choices he is given aren’t impressive with the exception of Charles Barkley while trying to nab Michael Jordan is impossible as he has already expressed interests from both Converse and Adidas who are preparing to make their offers.

While re-watching the 1982 NCAA championship where Jordan scored the winning shot, Vaccaro makes a discovery about that winning shot while also watching a commercial that Arthur Ashe did for Head tennis rackets as he came up with an idea that he knows is a major risk since he knows Jordan has no interest in Nike. After a dinner with George Raveling who coached Jordan for the 1984 Olympics, Vaccaro makes the decision to visit the Jordans at their home in Wilmington, North Carolina against the advice of Knight, Strasser, and Jordan’s agent David Falk who doesn’t like Vaccaro. Yet, Vaccaro’s meeting with Deloris Jordan about what he wants to do for her son has her intrigued as well as influence her about her upcoming meetings with Converse and Adidas. Vaccaro’s determination would win over Strasser as well as another VP in Howard White (Chris Tucker) and shoe designer Peter Moore (Matthew Maher) as they realize what they have to do to stand out against their competitors despite a rule by the NBA about shoes. Even as Nike knows they have a lot against them as well as trying to convince Jordan to sign with Nike where they would make a move that would prove to be groundbreaking.

Affleck’s direction is definitely stylish as it is shot in areas around Los Angeles but also places in Oregon including its headquarters at Beaverton, Oregon to create a world set during a fruitful period in time as basketball was about to reach newfound popularity in the NBA due to the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. While there are some wide shots to establish some of the locations including the look of the basketball division floor at the Nike headquarters. Affleck maintains an intimacy into the direction with its usage of close-ups and medium shots as well as some unique tracking shots with the usage of the Steadicam to get a look at the entire basketball division floor as it would show people at work as it feels more like a place where everyone is enjoying themselves despite the fact that they might lose their jobs. Affleck also plays up to a certain look and feel of the times that is the 1980s as it does evoke some nostalgia but it also plays into a world that is changing with American basketball becoming big business as Nike struggles to keep up with their competitors.

A key aspect in Affleck’s direction that is very notable relates to Michael Jordan (Damian Young) as his face is never shown throughout the film while he rarely speaks as Affleck focuses more on the people at Nike as well as Jordan’s parents as they play a major role in his ascent. The conversation between Vaccaro and Deloris Jordan at the latter’s backyard is a key conversation where Vaccaro reveals certain small details about her upcoming meetings with the people at Converse and Adidas as the meetings would reveal what Deloris sees in those small details but also in questions she needed to ask. The meeting between the Jordans and Nike is a key moment that begins the film’s third act as it relates to what Nike wants for Jordan where Vaccaro talks to Michael about his future and what he will face as it raises a lot into the decisions they would make. A decision that Deloris Jordan would make that isn’t just game-changing but also would give Vaccaro a wider view on the future of sports. Overall, Affleck crafts a riveting and evocative film about a Nike talent scout who takes a big risk in nabbing a future icon to be the face of a new shoe line made exclusively for him.

Cinematographer Robert Richardson does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its low-key yet colorful look to play into the look of the 1980s with its emphasis on low-level lighting as well as maintaining some grainy colors for some of the daytime exteriors as it is a highlight of the film. Editor William Goldenberg does excellent work with the editing as it has some stylish montage-style cutting but also some straightforward cutting to play into the drama and some of the comedic moments in the film. Production designer Francois Audouy, along with supervising art director A. Todd Holland plus set decorators David Smith and Henry Somarriba, does amazing work with the look of the Nike building interiors including Knight’s office as well as the exterior of the Jordan family home. Costume designer Charlese Antoinette Jones does fantastic work as it plays into the style of the 80s clothing including some of the Nike tracksuits that Knight wears as cheesy as it looks.

Hair stylist Jessica Allen and makeup artist Kerrin Jackson does nice work with the look of the characters with Knight being the most notable with his hairdo as well as the look of Deloris Jordan. Special effects supervisor Mark R. Byers and visual effects supervisor Hansjeet Duggal do terrific work with the visual effects as it plays into some of the TV footage as well as some set-dressing for some of the exterior shots. Sound editor Susan Dawes, plus sound designers Ai-Ling Lee and Tobias Poppe, does superb work with the sound as it play into the atmosphere of the offices and phone calls as well as the sounds of cars and such to play into the atmosphere of the 1980s.

Music supervisor Andrea von Forester does incredible work with the film’s soundtrack in cultivating a slew of music from late 1970s/early 1980s that include music from Dire Straits, Bruce Springsteen, Run-DMC, Violent Femmes, Mike + the Mechanics, Dan Hartman, the Alan Parsons Project, the Clash, Cyndi Lauper, Harold Faltemeyer, His Name is Alive, Tangerine Dream with additional score music by Paul Haslinger from the group, Squeeze, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Night Ranger, ZZ Top, REO Speedwagon, Big Country, George Clinton, Grandmaster Flash with Melle Mel and the Furious 5, the Dazz Band, Miami Nights 1984, Chris Boardman, Zapp, Pino Donaggio, Thomas Newman, Alexandre Desplat, Andy Partridge and Harold Budd, Mark Isham, and Be Chi. It is a soundtrack that is filled with a lot of the music from that time and it is such a fun soundtrack to listen to.

The casting by Lindsay Graham and Mary Vernieu does wonderful work with the film’s ensemble cast as it feature some notable small roles from Jessica Green as Knight’s secretary Katrina Sainz, Asante Deshon as a 711 clerk that Vaccaro chats with often about basketball, Jay Mohr as the American Adidas executive John Fisher, Gustav Skarsgard and Barbara Sukowa as the Adidas sibling executives in Kathe and Horst Dassler, Julius Tennon as James R. Jordan Sr. and Damian Young as Michael Jordan. Matthew Maher is terrific as shoe designer Peter Moore as an eccentric man who is going through a mid-life crisis as he also figures out the kind of shoe that would be marketable but also be something beautiful. Marlon Wayans is fantastic as George Raveling as Jordan’s coach during the Olympics who converses with Vaccaro about Jordan but also reveals to have owned something historical as he gives Vaccaro some words of wisdom in approaching the Jordans.

Chris Messina is excellent as Jordan’s agent David Falk who came up with the name Air Jordan as someone who is quite volatile towards Vaccaro while trying to do everything in the best interest of the Jordans. Chris Tucker is brilliant as Howard White as a Nike executive who is reluctant to get Jordan due to the fact that Jordan doesn’t like Nike’s products as well as understanding the culture though he is won over by Vaccaro’s determination. Jason Bateman is amazing as marketing VP Rob Strasser as a man who is often baffled and frustrated by Vaccaro yet is won over as he realizes there’s a chance that this move to get Jordan could save his job and hopefully more time with his daughter. Ben Affleck is incredible as Nike CEO Phil Knight as a man that is trying to keep his company away from a board of directors while is also trying to run Nike in the hope that he doesn’t shut down their basketball division as Affleck brings a lot of humor to his character but also some grounded aspects that makes him someone who does care about Nike and its employees.

Viola Davis is phenomenal as Deloris Jordan as Michael Jordan’s mother who is surprised by Vaccaro’s visit as she is aware about her son being a hot prospect as she also understands what Converse and Adidas are offering yet she realizes that Nike is offering something more that she wants to ensure her son’s financial future. Finally, there’s Matt Damon in a tremendous leading performance as Sonny Vaccaro as this talent scout who is trying to find a new spokesman for Nike’s basketball shoes as he makes a discovery in Michael Jordan where he is aware of the risk he is taking but is also someone that is direct in his pursuit where Damon brings the everyman quality to his character from his physical appearance as well as the sense of humility he brings as it’s one of his finest performances to date.

Air is a spectacular film from Ben Affleck that features a great ensemble cast led by Affleck, Matt Damon, Viola Davis, Jason Bateman, Chris Tucker, Chris Messina, and Marlon Wayans. Along with its stylish yet nostalgic look, its study of a man taking a risk to capture an once-in-a-lifetime megastar, and a killer music soundtrack. It’s a film that isn’t just this fascinating sports film of sorts but also a film that shows the origin of one of the greatest shoe lines ever created. In the end, Air is a tremendous film from Ben Affleck.

Ben Affleck Films: (Gone Baby Gone) – The Town (2010 film) - Argo - (Live By Night)

© thevoid99 2023

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Showing Up


Directed and edited by Kelly Reichardt and written by Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond, Showing Up is the story of a sculptor who is about to open her own exhibition while she also tends to her family life as well as friends and competing artists just as she is convinced she’s going to get her big break. The film is an exploration into the art scene in Portland, Oregon where a woman is eager to make it while trying to devote much attention to her job, family life, and friendships. Starring Michelle Williams, Hong Chau, Andre Benjamin, James LeGros, Maryann Plunkett, John Magaro, and Judd Hirsch. Showing Up is an engaging and somber film from Kelly Reichardt.

The film follows the week and the life of a sculptor living in Portland, Oregon where she works for her mother at the Oregon College of Arts and Craft while is set to have her first major art exhibition while dealing her neighbor who is a competing artist as well as issues with her family and tending to a wounded pigeon that her cat attacked. It is a film that follows a woman who is struggling to work on her sculptors and manage other things in her life yet her apartment doesn’t have hot water as her neighbor isn’t fixing it in favor of her own work with her own exhibition. The film’s screenplay by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond largely explores the life that Lizzy (Michelle Williams) has as her father Bill (Judd Hirsch) is a retired artist while she works at the college with her mother Jean (Maryann Plunkett) who is trying to do her work but also have this major exhibition that could be the break she needs as an artist.

Yet, her neighbor Jo (Hong Chau) hasn’t been able to fix Lizzy’s water heater as she is often distracted with other things relating to her own exhibit as well as having to care for a pigeon that Jo found which had been attacked by Lizzy’s cat. It all plays into the many things that are keeping Lizzy from completing her work for the exhibition as well as some family issues as it includes her reclusive brother Sean (John Magaro) who had been estranged from the family. Lizzy is also dealing with the fact that there’s other artists who have been doing exhibits that has been very successful as there is a pressure for her to get some attention as well as get some validity as an artist.

Reichardt’s direction definitely has some style as it is shot on location in Portland as well as places at the Oregon College of Arts and Craft in Portland, Oregon as it is a character in the film. Reichardt would maintain a simplistic presentation as she emphasizes on some long shots and a few static shots in either some medium or wide shots in certain rooms. Yet, the film opens with a shot that lingers for a few minutes as it moves around various sculptures that Lizzy has created. Much of the sculptures that Lizzy creates is mainly created by artist Cynthia Lahti as it has a unique style as a lot of the art work such as the work that Jo has created showcases a vibrant world that emphasizes on craftsmanship through all sorts of means in the world of art. Even as the college that Lizzy and her mother work at is filled with things that are unique where Reichardt maintains a looseness to the world and the many things that occur to ensure someone is always being creative or how sculptures are refined in a kiln. The attention to detail that Reichardt shows in what Lizzy would do to create her sculptures with its close-ups on her hands is a key aspect of the film.

Also serving as the film’s editor, Reichardt would allow shots to linger while deviating into stylish fast cuts in order to play into the drama that includes Lizzy’s family life as she is upset that her father would often surround himself with drifters. Reichardt’s careful framing and sense of looseness in her direction does give the film a tone that feels free where there are moments where nothing is staged. Notably in the film’s climax at Lizzy’s exhibition is where a lot of the characters come in to support her including this pigeon that she has grown fond of while is also trying to resolve issues with Jo. Overall, Reichardt creates a compelling and wondrous film about an artist trying to get her break while dealing with the chaos in both her professional and personal life.

Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its naturalistic yet low-key approach to the photography as well as giving it a grainy look of sorts for some of its interior scenes as it is a highlight of the film. Production designer Anthony Gasparo, with set decorator Amy Beth Silver and art director Lisa Ward, does amazing work with not just the homes of the characters but also some of the art exhibitions as a lot of it were created by local artists. Costume designer April Napier does nice work with the costumes as it is largely casual and low-key to play into the personality of these characters with some of whom are wearing hippie-inspired clothing.

Visual effects supervisor Chris Connolly does terrific with the film’s minimal visual effects as it is largely based on the pigeon in a few key scenes with a lot of emphasized on animatronics rather than computer effects. Sound editor Daniel Timmons does superb work with the sound to play into the natural elements of the locations as well as how sound is presented from afar or up close. The film’s music by Ethan Rose is wonderful as it is largely a low-key electronic/ambient score with some woodwinds that includes flute performances by Andre Benjamin aka Andre 3000 while music supervisor Dawn Sutter Madell creates a soundtrack that is largely low-key and played on radios with a lot of being indie music.

The casting by Simon Max Hill is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles and appearances from Amanda Plummer and Matt Malloy as a couple of drifters who are crashing at Bill’s home, Lauren Lakis as a colleague in Terri, Denzel Rodriguez as a young administrator in William, James LeGros as an older administrator in Ira, Heather Lawless as an artist in Marlene who just had her own successful exhibit, and Theo Taplitz as a young neighbor of Sean who watches over Sean. Judd Hirsch is fantastic as Lizzy’s father Bill as a former artist who still creates pots yet prefers to enjoy retirement and hang out with drifters which worries Lizzy. John Magaro is superb as Lizzy’s brother Sean as a former artist who has turned into a recluse as he becomes paranoid as it relates to his own mental illness and such as he hasn’t talked to his parents in months.

Andre Benjamin is excellent as Eric as an artist/teacher who watches over the kilns as he is a colleague of both Jo and Lizzy as he does what he can to help the latter while is more interested in the former. Maryann Plunkett is brilliant as Lizzy’s mother Jean as a top administrator at the college who is hoping to keep Lizzy busy while knowing that she has an exhibit to present that she wants to attend with the whole family. Hong Chau is amazing as Jo as this artist who is also Lizzy’s next door neighbor/landlord who is already on the verge of a breakthrough with her own exhibition yet is often distracted to help out Lizzy as it causes some tension and such. Finally, there’s Michelle Williams in a phenomenal performance as Lizzy as this artist who is set to have breakthrough moment as an artist yet is coping with dealing with things in her family life as well as work and other distractions where Williams captures a lot of the struggles and anguish an artist has while also coping with her own family issues as Williams brings a lot of restraint as well as realism to the character as it’s one of her finest performances to date.

Showing Up is an incredible film by Kelly Reichardt that features a great leading performance from Michelle Williams. Along with its supporting cast, realistic visuals, and its study of artists struggling to get a break. It is a film that follows a week in the life of an artist who is trying to get her moment but also deal with the many struggles that artists go through in trying to balance their lives with their art and the people around them. In the end, Showing Up is a sensational film from Kelly Reichardt.

Kelly Reichardt Films: River of Grass - Old Joy - Wendy & Lucy - Meek's Cutoff - Night Moves (2013 film) - Certain Women - First Cow - (The Auteurs #72: Kelly Reichardt)

© thevoid99 2023

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Under the Sun of Satan


Based on the novel by Georges Bernanos, Sous le soleil de Satan (Under the Sun of Satan) is the story of a priest who is tormented by the world in general despite his gift to do good amidst a tumultuous time in 1920s France. Directed by Maurice Pialat and screenplay by Pialat and Sylvie Danton, the film is an exploration of faith and a priest’s attempt to save a young woman and others from sin and the evils of the world. Starring Gerard Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, and Maurice Pialat. Sous le soleil de Satan is an eerie and evocative film from Maurice Pialat.

The film follows a priest working at parish in a small town in 1920s France as he is consumed with doubt and uncertainty as he also deals with the chaos created by a young woman who seeks help only to be tempted by her own vices. It is a film that is an exploration of faith in a tumultuous world where this priest has just been ordained by the Catholic Church though he is convinced that he isn’t ready to be a priest. Especially as he asks God about his worth after learning about what this young woman had done as she is the daughter of the local brewer. The film’s screenplay by Maurice Pialat and Sylvie Danton explores the many doubts that Donissan (Gerard Depardieu) is going through as he would punish himself at times as the first act is about Donissan’s insecurities but also this story about Mouchette (Sandrine Bonnaire) who has been having affairs with a local marquis and a doctor as she learns she is pregnant with the former’s baby but things have gotten complicated as she’s also the local brewer’s daughter.

Donissan and Mouchette wouldn’t meet until the halfway point in the film in its second act as the former would have this encounter with a horse dealer (Jean-Christophe Bouvet) who isn’t exactly who he seems as he is a much darker figure that would play into Donissan’s faith. Especially as he would add more doubt to Donissan upon his meeting with Mouchette where he realizes what she had done as he wants her to confess in order to save herself yet she isn’t interested as she is filled with her own turmoil in her life. It would add to these things that Donissan would see as he turns to his mentor Menou-Segrais (Maurice Pialat) who is trying assure Donissan in that he can be a good priest though he also becomes aware of Donissan’s mental issues. The film’s third act plays into the things that Donissan had seen as well as his own struggles with faith as people see him as someone they can go to for a miracle but he sees it more as a burden.

Pialat’s direction is entrancing for the way it plays into a man’s struggle with faith in this small French town set in the 1920s as it is shot on different locations in the small towns of Montreuil-sur-Mer and Fressin. Pialat’s usage of wide and medium shots don’t just play into the locations that the characters are in but also into Donissan’s disconnect with the world around him as he feels like he is unworthy to serve God. Pialat also uses a lot of long shots for some of the conversations including the ones that Mouchette would have with her lovers where Pialat’s close-ups add to the striking look of the film. Even in the conversation between Donissan and Mouchette is added with intrigue as they talk with a destroyed house in the background as it play into the chaos that both characters are dealing with in their respective lives. There are also these intense acts of violence that is committed by Mouchette as it plays into her troubled state as well as the fact that she’s a young woman that feels like she has no control of her emotions and desires.

Pialat also plays into these elements of surrealism as it relates to Donissan’s encounter with the horse dealer as the look of the film changes into something far colder as the film would progress into something much bleaker. Yet, there are these elements of hope that the small town would see in Donissan but it only adds to his own anxieties. Even as he tends to a family with a boy that is dying as it plays into his desires to be worthy of God’s love though he is tempted by hate and doubt. Pialat also has these moments that play into people eager to be saved through Donissan as it plays into him figuring out his role but also the fact that evil still looms as its finale is about him giving in to God or Satan. Overall, Pialat crafts a riveting and haunting film about a priest’s struggle with his faith and his attempt to save a young woman from madness.

Cinematographer Willy Kurant does incredible work with the film’s cinematography with its naturalistic look for some of the film’s daytime exterior scenes along with unique lighting for some of the film’s interior shots along with some stylish blue filters for the scenes where Donissan meets the horse dealer. Editor Yann Dedet does brilliant work with the editing with its stylish usage of jump-cuts that allows the long shots to be cut abruptly yet it works to enhance the dramatic effect including Donissan’s meeting with Mouchette. Production designer Katia Wyszkop and set decorator Gerard Marcireau do excellent work with the look of the rooms that Donissan would live in during his time in different parishes but also the posh home of one of Mouchette’s lover in the marquis.

Costume designer Gil Noir does fantastic work with the costumes from the robes many of the priests wear as well as some of the posh-like clothing that Mouchette wears. The sound work of Louis Gimel is superb for its natural approach to sound in capturing everything that is happening on the location while enhancing some of Mouchette’s screams. The film’s music by Henri Dutilleux is wonderful as it is this low-key classical piece that plays into Donissan’s doubt and struggles with its soft yet brooding string arrangements.

The film’s terrific ensemble cast feature notable small roles from Marcel Anselin as the Bishop Gerbier, Philippe Pallut as a young quarryman whom Donissan meets on his walk, Marie-Antoinette Lorge as a housemaid at the home where Donissan and Menou-Segrais live in, Corinne Bourdon as a woman whose child is dying as she turns to Donissan, Brigitte Legendre as Mouchette’s mother, Jean-Claude Bourlat as a priest in Malorthy, and Jean-Christophe Bouvet as a horse dealer that Donissan meets during his walk as he is revealed to be something far more sinister. Yann Dedet and Alain Arthur are fantastic in their respective roles as Mouchette’s lovers in the doctor Gallet and the marquis Cadignan with the former being concerned and troubled by Mouchette’s confessions and desires while the latter is someone who is also married but is unsure about wanting to continue until things suddenly go wrong.

Maurice Pialat is brilliant as Menou-Segrais as a veteran priest who mentors Donissan as he also becomes concerned about Donissan’s struggles and other mysterious events as he also tries to assure his protégé about what to do. Sandrine Bonnaire is incredible as Mouchette as a young woman who is pregnant yet consumed with guilt and anger as well as her own sense of uncertainty in her many affairs and her own place in the world. Finally, there’s Gerard Depardieu in a phenomenal performance as Donissan as a newly-ordained priest who struggles with his role as well as his own faith where he often questions his worth but also the world around him believing he couldn’t do anything as the sense of anguish and humility adds to the restrained and grounded performance that Depardieu brings.

Sous le soleil de Satan is a tremendous film from Maurice Pialat that features great leading performances from Gerard Depardieu and Sandrine Bonnaire. Along with its ensemble cast, eerie visuals, a haunting music soundtrack, stylish editing, and its exploration of doubt and devotion. It is a film that explores a priest’s struggle to maintain his faith in a chaotic world while trying to save a young woman from her own sins. In the end, Sous le soleil de Satan is a sensational film from Maurice Pialat.

Maurice Pialat Films: (L’amour existe) – (Naked Childhood) – (We Won’t Grow Old Together) – (The Mouth Agape) – (Graduate First) – (Loulou) – (A Nos Amour) – (Police (1985 film)) – (Van Gogh (1991 film)) – (Le Garcu)

© thevoid99 2023

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Films That I Saw: August 2023


Summer is coming to an end and it’s been one hot fucking summer as it’s not fun to be outside as it makes me worried for my niece and nephew as they both love to go outside but the heat is horrendous. My mother is from Honduras as she’s experienced heat that is intense but she will admit that it’s not like this here in Georgia as I even read from a fellow blogger who lives in Minnesota of all places stating that she experienced heat that is above the 100s. That is fucked up and with a hurricane coming to Florida as well as all of these wildfires and other shit. This has been a chaotic summer not just in terms of nature such as the hurricane happening in Florida as well as the wildfires on Maui but also what’s been going on all over the world as it relates to shootings, political barbs, and all sorts of shit as I’m just like “I’m tired of this shit”.

The WGA-SAG strike still continues with several films being delayed such as Dune Part 2 being pushed to next year which sucks but it does allow me the chance to save more money to see Priscilla hopefully as Sofia Coppola comes first before everything else. The fact that it’s still on-going is proof that these actors and writers are in need and with films and TV projects continuously being delayed. Studios are going to have cough up not just a lot of money but also these studio executives are going to have to take a massive up pay cut in order to keep these actors and writers not just happy but content. Even as the fall film season with its many film festivals coming and many of the actors appearing in these films won’t be able to appear because of the strike.

The world of professional wrestling was a big up and down this year as the big came in the form of AEW’s All In event in London at Wembley Stadium as it broke the all-time paid attendance record with 81,035 people at the event breaking 2 events from WWE in WrestleMania 32 and WrestleMania III as both events stated false records in 101,763 people at AT&T Stadium and 93,173 people at the Pontiac Silverdome respectively with real numbers being 79,800 for WrestleMania 32 and 78,000 at WrestleMania III. The events at Collision in Korea from WCW and New Japan at North Korea in 1995 doesn’t count because the people attending both shows in 1995 were forced to attend. The event itself is monumental for a professional wrestling company that hasn’t even been around for five years yet it shows that AEW is going to be here for a while no matter how much money and fake records WWE can tout. While AEW is going to do a second event in the U.K. next year and even opening the possibility of doing an event in Mexico at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.

It is a company that needs to be successful despite the fact that Tony Khan doesn’t have a lot of guts when it comes to confrontation as All In had a recent incident once again involving CM Punk due to words said by Jack Perry during the pre-show and the two got into a brawl before Punk’s match with Samoa Joe as both men are currently suspended as they will miss All Out at Punk’s hometown of Chicago this coming Sunday. Even though Punk was in the right over what had happened with Perry, Punk’s fight with Perry didn’t make him look good as he’s already gotten into some trouble with other people as he had some of the banned from AEW Collision. It is Warner Discovery that wanted Punk back in AEW as did Tony Khan but it’s doing more damage than good as it’s another thing that David Zaslav has touched and has fucked it up even more. It’s bad enough what he’s done in cancelling films and gutting Turner Classic Movies but him getting involved in professional wrestling is a bad sign as it’s going to hurt AEW.

Then there’s the big downside in the world of professional wrestling in the passing of two major figures. The first is Terry Funk who is truly a legend in his own right having crossed over many different generations and decades through many different promotions and was always his own man. His work with his brother Dory Funk Jr. as a tag team to winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in the 1970s to his work in Japan in the 80s and 90s including participating in death matches with Mick Foley and Atsushi Onita in which the latter had both taken part in the exploding ring match in the 1990s. There was also his legendary feud with Ric Flair in 1989 that served as a prototype for hardcore wrestling in the 1990s as well as the empty arena match with Jerry “the King” Lawler in the early 1980s. The man did so much but he was also one of the most generous people in professional wresting as his passing at the age of 79 is sad but he lived a full life and a career that will never be duplicated. Even through is many retirements throughout the years including this great moment in Japan.

The day after the announcement of Funk’s death came another death but one that shocked me and in an unexpected way and that is in the passing of Windham Rotunda aka Bray Wyatt. Rotunda’s death at the age of 36 is tragic not only because he died so young but also leaves behind four children who will never grow up with a father as well as the untapped potential he had. While the booking of Wyatt in WWE for the past decade has been spotty with some amazing matches but also some shitty matches yet he did a lot in his brief career that many wish they would’ve accomplished. He had recently returned in late 2022 and did a match with L.A. Knight at the Royal Rumble which wasn’t a good match and was set to face either Brock Lesnar or Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 39.

Unfortunately, Wyatt was hit with COVID that triggered a serious heart condition and it was life threatening as he spent the last several months trying to recover. This passing just as he was set to return and also get married is just soul-crushing yet he did make an impact through his audience as well as other wrestlers as many of them from different promotions paid tribute to him in some way or form as he will be missed though it is a real shame that he never rose to a level that he should’ve had due to some poor booking by some aging old fart who is more into oily bodybuilders and jingoist attitudes than something different.
In the month of August 2023, I saw a total of 17 films in 11 first-timers and 6 re-watches with four first-timers being films directed by women as part of the 52 Films by Women pledge. A decent month despite the fact that I didn’t see much because of two energetic kids but I still saw a good amount of films. A major highlight of the month has been my Blind Spot film in Kiki's Delivery Service. Here is the top 10 first-timers that I saw for August 2023:

1. Oppenheimer
2. Education
3. Alex Wheatle
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem
5. Eyes Two Times Mouth
6. A Pure Spirit
7. I and the Stupid Boy
8. Pitch Black Panacea
9. Then a Year
10. Sorcerers: A Conversation with William Friedkin and Nicolas Winding Refn
Monthly Mini-Reviews/What Else I Saw

Then a Year

A short film by Kelly Reichardt that I was fortunate to find on YouTube as it had been unavailable for years though its presentation is a bit substandard in comparison to the quality often shown on YouTube. Still, Reichardt’s experimental short film is a fascinating look into her arrival into Portland with images of the city and its nearby locations filled with sound collages including love letters by Mary Kay Letourneau, TV commercials, and other voiceovers as it plays into this air of disconnect that was looming in the early 2000s.

A Pure Spirit
One of two short films I saw on MUBI as the first is from Mia Hansen-Love as it is mainly a silent four-minute short film of a young woman walking through a park. Even as she watches a lot of things happening around as she thinks about the world around her as it is something fans of Hansen-Love should seek out.

Pitch Black Panacea
The second short from MUBI that I saw is a strange mixture of live-action and animation by Thomas Hardiman as it explore two people with lazy eye who live in a dark room for 10 days as they endure surreal moments through animation. It is a short filled with a lot of imagination as it also play into what these two people have to endure in order to cure their lazy eye as it is worth seeking out.

Sorcerers: A Conversation with William Friedkin and Nicolas Winding Refn

This 77-minute film of sorts made in 2015 revolves around a conversation between William Friedkin and Nicolas Winding Refn in talking about the former’s 1977 film Sorcerer. It is an entertaining conversation that has Friedkin busting Refn’s balls throughout the whole conversation while they talk about Friedkin’s original casting idea that was to include Steve McQueen, Marcello Mastroianni, and Lino Ventura along with other things that impacted the production. Friedkin also revealed into why it didn’t do well in the box office when it first came out as well as how films were promoted then as to how they would be promoted in the 21st Century. It is something fans of both filmmakers and the film Sorcerer should seek out in lieu of the recent passing of William Friedkin who will be missed as he died earlier this month.

Ahsoka (season 1, episodes 1-3)
The stuff that the Star Wars franchise has been doing with TV in The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Andor has been great though there’s been a lot of negativity towards this show before it even came out as it reminds me that there’s a group of fanboys who are nothing more than a bunch of whiny little bitches with sand in their vaginas. Three episodes in so far and I’m enjoying what Dave Filoni has created as it is set years following the end of the Empire where Ahsoka Tano teams up with her former Padawan in Sabine Wren and their old friend in General Hera Syndulla over rumors that Admiral Thrawn is alive. Rosario Dawson is perfect as Tano with Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Wren and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Syndulla who both provide great performances. The show also features Ray Stevenson in one of his final performances as a former Jedi in Baylan Skoll who has his own Padawan in Shin Hati, played with such grit in Ivanna Sakhno as they both are great antagonists so far. It’s already starting to come around as I look forward to watching the rest of the series.

Wrestling Match of the Month: MJF (c) vs. Adam Cole for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship – AEW All In – 8/27/23

The main event at AEW All In is also the hottest story in professional wrestling as it involves two guys who started off as rivals early this summer only to team up via raffle to fight FTR for the tag team titles to suddenly become best friends. There is a lot of intrigue into the growing friendship between Adam Cole and MJF as neither of them are trustful but they somehow made it work. The match they would have at Wembley in front of 81,000 people is full of drama but also hesitation from both men along with false finishes and interference from Cole’s soon-to-be-former-friend in Roderick Strong trying to help Cole cheat. It is a match that is just fun to watch as well as the fact that it will continue the hottest story in wrestling right now that isn’t from WWE or has any relation to the Bloodline or the Judgement Day.

Top 6 Re-Watches

1. Sex & Lucia
2. Thor: Love & Thunder
3. Sleeping Beauty
4. Ring of Fire
5. South Beach
6. Dead Tides
Well, that is all for August. I am not sure what theatrical release I will watch other than My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 with my mother who wants to see it as she rarely goes to see films in the movie theaters. Aside from whatever I can watch on various streaming services, I hope to watch Kelly Reichardt’s Showing Up as I’ve managed to get a few things for my Auteurs profile on her written while I plan on pushing the one on Michael Mann to early next year as I’m not sure if I will do J.C. Chandor next in anticipation for Kraven the Hunter or just push him to next year in favor of David Lean. As for my next Blind Spot choice, I’m unsure what film to do as it’s likely to be India Song.

Before I leave, I want to express my condolences to those who have been lost in these recent events in shootings and deaths to Mother Nature as well as the following in filmmaker Nancy Buirski, Belgian actor Roger Van Hool, cinematographer Gabor Medvigy, Notre Dame sportscaster Tony Roberts, Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake, voice actress Arlene Sorkin, Hersha Parady of Little House on the Prairie, TV writer David Jacobs, Ron Cepha Jones, Bobby Eli of MFSB, original Pavement drummer Gary Young, Sir Michael Parkinson, American football legend Gary Barnes, Robbie Robertson, Johnny Hardwick of King of the Hill, Sixto Rodriguez, John Gosling of the Kinks, music composer Carl Davis, Mark Margolis, and the greatest game show host ever in Bob Barker. We will miss you all. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2023

Monday, August 28, 2023

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem


Based on the comics/animated TV series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is the story of four mutant turtles with martial arts skill who go undercover to hunt down a mysterious crime syndicate that is terrorizing New York City where they deal with other mutants causing mayhem. Directed by Jeff Rowe and screenplay by Rowe, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Dan Hernandez, and Benji Samit from a story by Rogen, Goldberg, Rowe, and Brendan O’Brien, the animated film is a reboot of the film/TV series that is set in a modern world with an array of different animation style as it plays into these four teenage turtles trying to find themselves but also use their skills to make the world a better place. Featuring the voices of Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Nicolas Cantu, and Brady Noon as the titular characters along with Seth Rogen, Ayo Edebiri, Maya Rudolph, John Cena, Rose Byrne, Natasia Demetriou, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Ice Cube, Hannibal Burress, Paul Rudd, and Jackie Chan as Splinter. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is an exhilarating and ravishing film from Jeff Rowe.

The film revolves around a series of thefts committed by a mysterious figure where four teenage mutant ninja turtles find themselves battling this mysterious figure as well as trying to be accepted despite the fact that they’re mutants and their adopted father in a mutated rat in Splinter warns them about humans. It is a film that plays into that these four teenage turtles who want to be part of the world even though they’ve been trained by Splinter in the art of ninjitsu in order to get things from the outside world. Still, there is chaos looming throughout New York City as it relates to a mutagen that was developed by a scientist working for a mysterious corporation as it would play not just how the turtles and Splinter would be mutated but also a mysterious figure known as Superfly (Ice Cube) who would hire thugs to steal things and then kill them as they would be witnesses. The film’s screenplay is largely straightforward with a few backstory as it relates to Splinter, the turtles, Superfly, and his gang while it also play into what is at stake as well as these four turtles who all want to be part of the world and be accepted.

Notably as the turtles themselves are teenagers with different personalities that all want to be in the world as Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu) is sort of the leader of the group but is also awkward and unsure of himself. Raphael (Brady Noon) is brash and sarcastic but is also full of energy and aggression that he needed to let out. Donatello (Micah Abbey) is the nerdy one who knows how to work tech while also wears glasses. Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr.) is the goofball in the group who is good at improvising while also wanting to party. Superfly was someone that was cared for by the scientist Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito) along with other creatures until he was attacked by the corporation he was working for lead by Cynthia Utrom (Maya Rudolph) who wants to weaponized the mutagen for her own reasons as the opening scene is about her gang attacking Stockman with a mutagen canister falling into a sewer on Splinter and these four young turtles. Yet, it was Superfly who would save other animals that were being mutated as they would be part of a gang as they would meet the turtles and realize that Superfly’s plans in dealing with humans might not be the right thing to do. Even April O’Neil (Ayo Edebiri) who would meet the turtles after retrieving her scooter as she sees their intention as well a story she is trying to cover in her high school despite a disastrous moment in her attempt to be a news journalist.

Jeff Rowe’s direction is definitely wondrous for not just its story but also a look that is unlike a lot of animated films as it aims for a look that is crude, unpolished, and at times were drawn by children. Yet, it works because it not only adds to the tone of the film but also this world that is off-kilter at times while a lot of its look plays to the fact that it is a film about teenage turtles who are dealing with growing pains but also this need to connect with a world they’ve been sheltered in. With help from co-director Kyler Spears and an immense team of animators that include character designers James A. Castillo, Justin Runfola, and Woodrow White. Rowe would maintain a look and feel to the film as it play into not just the grittiness of New York City but also in the sewers the attention to detail in how it looks thanks in part to the work of production designer Yashar Kassai, along with art directors Arthur Fong and Tiffany Lam in maintaining that look. Even with the work of cinematographer Kent Seki in the lighting as well as the visual effects work of Chris Kazmier and Matthieu Rouxel to help play out the look including the design of the mutants.

Rowe’s direction also has these unique compositions in the close-ups and medium shots as it relates to the turtles and their desire to connect with the world as there’s a scene of them watching a bunch of people watching a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. There are also some unique wide shots that includes the film’s climax which is grand in terms of what the turtles have to face as it plays into Superfly’s own plans to destroy humanity. Rowe would maintain a massive canvas for the climax as it plays into what is at stake but also what the turtles have to do as they not only get some life lessons about acceptance as well as doing the right thing. Overall, Rowe and Spears craft a riveting and imaginative film about four teenage mutant ninja turtles trying to fit in with the human world as well as take down some bad guys.

Editor Greg Levitan does amazing work with the editing with its fast-cutting style for some of the action and fight scenes but allows shots to reveal what is going on along with stylish moments such as a montage sequence of each turtle fighting bad guys is a highlight of the film. Sound editor Mark A. Mangini does fantastic work with the sound in some of the sound effects for the weapons as well as some of the tech characters use. The film’s music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is phenomenal with its electronic-based score ranging from pulsating, industrial-based themes to some low-key yet plaintive piano-based bits as it is a major highlight of the film. Music supervisor Gabe Hilfer does excellent work in cultivating the film’s soundtrack that largely features 80s/90s hip-hop and other music with contributions from Blackstreet with Dr. Dre and Queen Pen, Wayne Newton, M.O.P., A Tribe Called Quest, BTS, Bobby Vinton, Natasha Bedingfield, Vanilla Ice, Liquid Liquid, De La Soul, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Gucci Mane with Bruno Mars and Kodak Black, ESG, Hugh Masekela, and variations of the 4 Non Blondes song What's Up? that includes a famous remix made for He-Man.

The casting by Rich Delia is great as it features some notable voice cameos from comic creator Kevin Eastman as a human in the film’s climax, Alex Hirsch in a dual role as the voice of a mutated cockroach in Scumbug and a small crime boss who is hired by Superfly, Michael Badalucco as another local crime boss hired by Superfly, Andia Winslow as a TV news anchor, Raechel Wong as a TV news reporter on the scene during the film’s climax, and Giancarlo Esposito in a small but crucial role as the scientist Baxter Stockman who created a mutagen in order to create something unique rather than use it as a weapon Other notable voice performances as members of Superfly’s gang include Hannibal Burress as Genghis Frog, Austin Post/Post Malone as the mutant manta ray known as Ray Fillet, and Natasia Demetriou as the mutant bat Wingnut as they all get the chance to stand out and be funny. The voice contributions of Rose Byrne, John Cena, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd in their respective roles as Superfly’s gang members in Leatherhead, Rocksteady, Bebop, and Mondo Gecko are a joy to watch in how they bring in a lot of nuances and humor to the roles with Rudd being the standout as Gecko who seems to find a friend in Michelangelo.

Maya Rudolph and Ice Cube are excellent in their respective roles as the antagonists Cynthia Utrom and Superfly with the former being a corporate executive who wants to weaponized the mutagen as she sees the turtles as a threat while the latter is a more complex individual who is protective of his family but also has some valid reasons into his own hatred for humanity though his plans prove to be extreme for some. Ayo Edebiri is amazing as April O’Neil as high school student who wants to be a reporter as well as becoming the first human friend of the turtles with Edebiri also bringing a lot of charisma to a character that is often sexualized in films as she is presented as a street-smart African-American high school student as it feels fresh. Jackie Chan is brilliant as Splinter as a rat who also becomes mutated by the mutagen ooze as he teaches his turtles ninjitsu but also warns them about not going into the human world due to his own prejudice towards humanity until he would discover about Superfly and his own intentions where he does what he can to make his adopted sons happy.

Finally, there’s the quartet of Nicolas Cantu, Brady Noon, Micah Abbey, and Shamon Brown Jr. in incredible voice performances as Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo. Rather than having adult actors voice teenagers, the casting of actual teenagers to play these teenage turtles as they all bring this sense of energy but also a realism that adds to the performance as the kids who are just trying to find themselves. Notably as Cantu, Noon, Abbey, and Brown were able to provide a sense of personality and charisma to their respective characters as they are a major highlight of the film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is a sensational film from Jeff Rowe. Featuring a great ensemble cast, inventive animation, a compelling story on the desire to be accepted, gorgeous visuals, and an incredible music score. The film is definitely an animated film that manages to be more than just a fun action-adventure film but also a compelling coming of age film that also has references to past films from other franchises relating to these turtles. In the end, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is a phenomenal film from Jeff Rowe.

Related: (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 film)) – (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze) – (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III) – (TMNT (2007 film)) – (The Mitchells vs. the Machines) – (null 16)

© thevoid99 2023