Director Jean-Jaccques Annaud is known as a master weaver of epic adventures, most of which feature an animal (or two) as its protagonist, and his latest feature Wolf Totem continues his passion for the wild kingdom and nature. The feature, now available on Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD, is definitely worth a look for a number of reasons which we’ll cover below.
Shot in Inner Mongolia, and based on a novel by Jiang Rong, Wolf Totem centers on Chen Zen (Shaofeng Feng), a Beijing student who is tasked with living in Mongolia to teach Mandarin to a group of nomads. Chen is immediately intrigued with their culture and strong connection with the wolves that surround the area.
Against the wishes of his new living mates, he brings a Mongol wolf cub into their fold. His decision, though done out of respect for the cub’s well-being (wolves are being killed by the area’s inhabitants to protect their livestock), may come back to bite him – literally!
Though most of the narrative deals with Chen’s passion for his new and potentially endangered environment, the plight as well as the complex nature of the wolves is also an integral aspect of Wolf Totem’s storyline. Annaud’s penchant for evocatively capturing beautiful landscapes, as witnessed in The Bearand Seven Years in Tibet, is on full display with Wolf Totem, and the picture is also blessed with a rousing score from late composer James Horner.
Wolf Totem’s Special Features:
1. “The Director’s Adventure” (5:26) – A profile on director Jean-Jacques Annuad.
2. “A Look At The Cast” (3:20) – The lead actors in the film talk about working with Annaud.
3. “Saving the Environment” (5:29) – An interesting featurette on how the production ensured the safety of the grasslands of Mongolia by dramatically reducing their footprint on their environment.
4. “The Nature of the Wolf” (11:28) – A definite must-see segment on trainer Andrew Simpson, who raised the wolves as cubs and spent three years in China getting them ready to work on Wolf Totem! At the end of the featurette, Simpson also gives an update on their move from China to Canada and their acclimation to their new surroundings.
Grammy winner Michael Bublé is back on the music charts with another hit single The More You Give (The More You’ll Have). Throughout out his whole career Bublé has had his share of criticisms from music reviewers, and surprisingly the singer has actually used some of those critiques to his advantage. Part of his process, even in the midst of all his success, is to not take himself too seriously, and this freedom allows him to take the good and the bad reviews that come his way.
(Click on the media bar below to hear Michael Bublé)
In a career spanning over four decades Academy nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson seems like he has done it all. He has been in so many beloved movies and is also one of the most respected actors working in films today. Whether it’s taking part in the Star Wars franchise or serving as one of Quentin Tarantino’s original go-to actors, Jackson has had a storied acting career.
For Jackson, the one thing that has surprised him is how certain movie choices have both been a gratifying artistic experience and have resonated with moviegoers. Often the two don’t go hand in hand, but Jackson has been blessed with starring in a healthy share of box office and critically acclaimed features.
Samuel L. Jackson reunites with director Quentin Tarantino once again in The Hateful Eight opening Christmas Day.
For generations, the Star Wars has been an alpha-male centric universe thanks to Han Solo, Darth Vader/ Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian. However that is all changing with Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the appearance of Rey (Daisy Ridley) into the Star Wars universe.
For writer/director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, making a woman a driving force in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the intent from the development’s inception, and thanks to a knockout performance from Ridley, their creative decision paid off.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now playing nationwide.
Birdman, Babel and Biutifulshowcase director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’sambitious approach to storytelling, and his latest feature The Revenant was probably his most mentally and physically challenging experience to date. Whether it was insisting to shoot the movie in natural light or setting most of the film in the outdoors, the cast and crew had a ton of seemingly insurmountable responsibilities on The Revenant. One of the film’s biggest obstacles was shifting to Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego when the snow started to melt in Canada!
Set in the 1820s, the story centers on Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fur trapper who is determined to find the man (Tom Hardy) responsible for killing his son. Glass, slowly recovering from a bear attack, fights the unforgiving, snow filled climate as he embarks on his fateful journey of vengeance and redemption.
During the press conference for The Revenant, the filmmaker explained why shooting in natural light was the only creative avenue to travel during The Revenant production: