Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Depressing realism with an atrocious narration...

Having literally just finished watching Life After People, from the History Channel, here are my thoughts.

Fascinating at best, intolerably annoying at worst.

The best stuff - for me at least - was the very real Pripyat (being "gay for STALKER" as fellow blogger Danny (Underground Slacker) might say, would obviously lead me to that realm of fascination with the place).

But for me, the most annoying thing about it was the narration. The delivery - using that movie trailer guy - as well as how it was written was piss-annoying beyond belief. It treats the viewer like a fucking idiot who can't understand that if there are no people to maintain anything, everything is fucked - it's a simple concept, yet we're bashed over the head with it for 90 minutes like we're retards of the highest order.

Also, the constant re-using of certain footage - mainly the stuff they rendered specifically for the show - is aggravating to say the least. How many times did we need to see Golden Gate Bridge collapse?! Twice at most - not six or seven shitting times!

*sigh*

So, remove the annoying over-use of the same footage, and especially remove the god-awful narration, and it's a fascinating watch ... although I can actually understand the reaction some might have had that it was rather anti-mankind, ultimately & depressingly saying we're potentially pointless within 10,000 years of our end.

But I'd not call it propaganda either. It's depressing-yet-fascinating-realism at most ... with an atrocious narration.

The outright superb and the pretty much meh...

No Country For Old Men:

The Coens are most definitely back to their absolute best. NCFOM is a reserved, considered and intelligent film of nothing but pure talent. Chigurh is now one of cinema's most iconic bad guys, who walks through the measured tension of this thoughtful journey, much like the flashes of vibrant violence which pierce the story suddenly and sharply - with gripping intensity.

Brolin and Jones are nothing less than compelling. The execution of the cinematography and the editing leave nothing to be desired. It is quite simply a superb piece of filmmaking which deserves all the recognition it no doubt has coming to it. Nuff said.


Hitman:

Videogame to movie adaptations ... it's a surefire way to get a fairly ropey film most of the time, certainly if a particularly barmy German has anything to do with a chosen franchise. I'd have to say that Silent Hill is probably the best videogame to movie adap there has been, but it wasn't stellar. This brings me to Hitman - a franchise which I've actually played (unlike Silent Hill), paying particular attention to the last two games "Contracts" and "Blood Money" as my favourites - because I was expecting garbage (after short lived, initial excitement), the film isn't a complete travesty.

Olyphant doesn't look anywhere near as ridiculous as he did in the trailers, but I'm still not all that convinced by the choice to be honest. But if it was a toss up between him and Vin Diesel, I'd stick with who ended up on screen. The violence is at times quite entertaining, with some sufficiently gloopy blood gushers scattered as liberally around the film as the bullets are.

This of course brings me to that particular aspect - all guns blazing. So much for Agent 47's sub-title of "Silent Assassin", save for one scene (which feels ripped off from True Lies) which is just too daft. So in terms of assassinating, he's far from silent - and indeed in terms of chit-chat, he's not exactly shy. I'd dread to think how much waffle was in the script before Olyphant and the director pared it down, because Agent 47 doesn't half chat up a storm, which unfortunately makes the character far less threatening and indeed convincing.

The trailers initially made the inclusion of the token Russian boob flasher look more franchise savaging than it ultimately was, at least they kept 47's ding-ding locked up - and yet he still hangs around the boob flasher far too much, this shouldn't be a buddy road movie. Save for a pet budgie, 47 is a loner - and even then he's not bothered about snapping its neck to achieve silence (as in "Blood Money"). 47 doesn't have friendships or relationships, he cannot be seduced or softened ... and he doesn't buy women vineyards!

The plot is, of course, ridiculous and cobbled together as quickly as possible. It isn't a complete write-off, but it doesn't exactly keep you bothered enough to care, and once more, it undermines the eponymous anti-hero.

I've seen worse adaptations and I've seen worse movies, but it's a real shame considering the jumping off point of the videogames themselves.

Agent 47 is a lone wolf. He is contracted to kill tycoons, criminals, terrorists, kidnappers, dodgy dealers and the like. He is paid to keep it quiet, to make his work appear as an accident preferably. He doesn't tolerate taggers on, he is never caught and is - to all intents and purposes - a ghost. His methods of execution are improvisational, his guns silenced and his fibre wires employed as frequently as possible.

What we get in the film however, is one brief (and pointless) use of his trademark weapon, is for his guns to mostly be non-silenced and his methods to be far from devilishly improvised. This film could have worked well, brilliantly even, but the script lacks the franchise knowledge, intelligence and balls to roam free away from the inside of Hollywood's box. It's not complete gash and is passable to a point, but sadly (although not surprisingly) it's all a bit meh.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Because a good rant soothes the soul...

Hopefully I can pour some of my current ire into my script writing, which I have resumed after a short break. Whilst continuing to fiddle here and there with IAZM3 preparation, I have returned to a script called "The End", which I originally started (and quickly halted) in October last year (during a break in writing for "GenPro" as the muse had left me). "The End", as I might have said some time ago, is a zombie short with animation in mind, and is all a part of getting a series of scripts written - and ideas into treatments - to be 'banked' so-to-speak.

Anyway, previously suggested ire of course relates to Gordon Clown's shite excuse for a government (thanks to Tricky for the smirk-inducing mock surname). In Labour's continued assault on the worth of education in the United Kingdom, his great new idea (sarcasm overload) is to have 'McDonalds A-Level equivalents'. Sure this is a tagline simplification of the issue, but the continued assault on education remains - by which I mean the watering down of what these qualifications mean.

An A-Level is supposed to be for those who are academically capable - and willing - to proceed. Likewise, University is not a right, it's a privilege. A privilege for those - of any race, gender or class - who are capable and eager to utilise a degree at the highest level of academic education to forge a path into certain types of work, which truly require degree level education.

If you continue to water down the meaning of academic qualifications, you might as well equalise a PhD to a GCSE. The problem Labour has is that massive, class-based chip they have on their inept shoulder. I don't know about you, but I couldn't give a bollocks about class and frankly such aggression is not in the least bit productive and is merely an ill-considered squabble.

Besides, all their talk of narrowing the gap between rich & poor has (predictably) been of no consequence. Hell, it's produced the opposite. Their ill-conceived policies have widened the gap and left an entire generation - my generation - disaffected and angry (on top of all the other problems which have arisen or are rising or will arise).

Back to education however, the idea to extend the school leaving age to 18 again devalues A-Levels yet further - and of course this absurd "diploma" idea of Ed Balls' (that bug-eyed dimwit) doesn't help matters much either.

To be honest, 16 is the absolute maximum compulsory 'stay until' age for education. Hell, when I was taking my GCSE's, some of the non-academically minded had long since left and as a result acquired at best a couple of dud GCSE grades. The reason is they were disaffected, the last place they wanted to be was locked up at school taking subjects of no meaning or importance to them. Frankly, these people shouldn't be left dossing around in school obstructing the learning of those who really want to be there. They should be moving on to their own things, rather than being forced to play the lagging behind fifth wheel in a system which just - isn't - designed - for them.

Instead those who aren't academically gifted - which is far from a fault - should of course be provided with the basics within the standard educational framework. Reading, writing, arithmetic and I.T. skills pertinent to the workplace. At this point they should be encouraged to enter the workplace for real, hopefully stemming their educational disaffection, and putting them not only to good use, but in a position to improve themselves. To provide them with opportunities and pride in themselves.

Working in McDonald's does not require an A-Level equivalent, it requires on-site training in the specifics of the industry itself - removed from the academic institution - and unless the individual wishes to proceed up the Mickey D ladder towards management (from where they have wider workplace options), where are they going to go? Burger King, where else of note?

Much like Andrew Marr was saying earlier today on The Daily Politics, the government are failing our young with worthless gimmicks. They are failing to provide the actual opportunities that are required.

...

To be honest it's sickening. Darth Clown most definitely is to be 'seen next Tuesday' (if you catch my drift).

The sheer volume of bastard within that dithering lost bottle of his knows no bounds. Whilst parading around in that farce of a leadership election in 2007 (which might as well have been a Coronation) he professed his patriotism and his nationalistic credentials, while at the same time giving the go-ahead for Britannia to be removed from our currency - a symbol of Britain that has been there for hundreds of years...heaven only knows why the Queen went along with this common sense defying plan. It even appears that Britannia will make a return in a few years apparently, so I ask the obvious question - WHY BOTHER? Why on earth waste good money that could be spent helping a myriad of people, a mass which includes our own armed forces.

Which brings me to Darth Clown's next brilliant idea, a national holiday (as if there weren't enough already), this time to celebrate being British and showing our support for our armed forces. How? By bunking off work legitimately? You know what really shows support for your troops? Not some gimmick that is as hollow as a Labour-spun promise (*ahem* Referendum! *glares*), but providing the money - the weapons - the ammo - the armour - and just as critically, the support both overseas and at home for the veterans returning and their families, particularly those returning with horrendous mental and physical wounds. That is how you support your troops, you gigantic fucking prat of an excuse for a man!

*an exceptionally long, relief-laden sigh*

Much better, a good rant really gets the weight off your shoulders ... if only the United Kingdom wasn't buried under so many troubles thanks to nigh-on 11 years of socially engineered, politically correct defiance of common sense.

It's at times like these that all I can do is sympathise with our American friends who detest their government equally ... still, at least the tide is changing both over there and here at home. Darth Bastard - your days in power in numbered.

*a somewhat shorter, sequel-like sigh of relief*

Rant over!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Aliens VS Predator VS Me...

After the abomination that was Aliens VS Predator by Paul 'franchise fucker' Anderson, my sights were obviously set pretty low for AvP: Requiem.

Needless to say, without P-double-eff-A on board the film is far better than its predecessor. If only they'd started here, rather than where they had done, eh? Why take two R-rated franchises and condense them into 90 minutes of lame-brain limpy-wimpy teen-hugging PG-13 nonsense?

As for Requiem, while the first half has a few decent moments, it's mostly dull ... almost intolerably so ... I literally had to pop a couple of Pro Plus to keep from nodding off - literally. I just couldn't give a single shit-fart about teenage pizza boy and his crush on cardboard-cut-out-blondie, who - like seemingly all attractive females in these sort of films - hangs out with bullying jocks.

The first half just feels formulaic, it feels like an equation that is being followed ... a checklist written by one Civil Servant, handed to another Civil Servant who then hands it to a secretary who then emails it to another Civil Servant who then turns up on set to get another Civil Servant to do the actual ticking and dealing. Perhaps this was why I was actually nodding off - and it wasn't like I didn't get any sleep the previous night, I got my usual thank you very much.

Fortunately, the first half isn't entirely devoid of decency. The stuff centering on the Aliens and the Predators is entertaining (although a tad uninspired).

Fortunately though - again - the second half is where things pick up. We forget about these boring humans and their MTV-reality-soap-style problems and get on with watching the pair of eponymous species kick seven shades of intergalactic turd out of one another. Woodruff & Co can finally show off their mastered craft and provide us with the lashings of R-rated violence we were all after ... although here in the UK it's a mere 15, unlike the 18 certificates that pertain to the separate franchises.

Annoyingly, the final battle - the purpose of AvP Requiem - isn't exactly a massive ruck after the ceremonious stand-off, and if you don't see the final minute coming three-and-a-quarter-miles-off, then you mustn't have had any Pro Plus to get you through the first half.

All-in-all, it kicks the chuddies off the first AvP with utter ease, but ultimately doesn't pack the punch you might have expected ... to be honest, I think the Earth setting (and those pesky teenagers sucking up precious time) removes some of the mystique of these two beastly species ... although because the second half rocks a decent amount of cock, maybe the fault was quite possibly just down to the mainly laborious humans rather than the setting.

First half = 4.5/10
Second half = 6.5/10
Overall = 6/10

Movie Musing Madness...

Now that my personal collection has passed 1300 titles, I figured it was time to catch up with some mini-musings on some of my latest viewings.

3:10 To Yuma - I haven't seen the original, but I thoroughly enjoyed this quality slice of Western gun-slinging. Christian Bale is, as always, a joy to watch. The action is tense and constructed with flair and skill, and while Russell Crowe is dangerously charming it is Ben Foster who really (for me at least) punches above his belt, which suggests he is one to watch. Yuma feels like a classic, quality Western.

Death Sentence - James Wan continues to show he's a talented horror & thriller director. SAW was superb and Dead Silence was a deftly classical horror show. As for Death Sentence, he continues to demonstrate his clout, which at times feels reminiscent of Dario Argento's past work - look out for the parking garage sequence. Kevin Bacon is compellingly real - the opening montage telling more back story in a few minutes than many modern thrillers can muster in 100 of them. There is a real tragedy to the circumstances, mainly played through Bacon himself, and as a result the violence (which is brutally upfront and blaring) is all the more meaningful. It packs the kind of balls you rarely see from Hollywood these days.

Eastern Promises - on one hand it's a shame Cronenberg doesn't plunge into the depths of the 'new flesh' and body horror anymore, but on the other this film, and the previous A History of Violence, show off his maturing talent and taste for characteristically upfront and honest violence. Viggo Mortensen is as engaging and intense as ever, and despite the loose nature of the finale - you most definitely come away having watched something worthwhile, produced from talent and a maturing mastery of the craft.

The Kingdom - while not as political as some other Iraq-based, 9/11-prodding pictures of recent times (thankfully so, perhaps) it still carries a fair package of punch around in its holster. Sure, it's fairly populist in its approach - but it at least considers the characters, the cultural divide and your expectations or even prejudices. You aren't battered over the head with up-to-date political aggression and the grim reality of corporate dealings - we've certainly had our fill - but you do have to wonder, with Gulf War One having barely been covered on film, aren't we rushing a bit too fast to appraise a complex conflict that's far from over?

Oh, and I gave Resident Evil Extinction another chance - but it's even worse than I remembered. Oh my GAR is it poorly scribed. It's crap like Resi 3 that keeps the zombie genre down in the depths all-too-often (save for Land of the Dead, which is a rare glimmer of reason in the genre of late).

And finally, I gave Blazing Saddles a spin - I know, I only just got around to watching it, but damn there's so many movies out there - and it was bloody good fun, it certainly had me chuckling along. It's interesting to watch these 'old' classics that pre-dated/originated so many things that are now either hackneyed or over-done - but even viewing it in hindsight, it's still a gloriously daft ride.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Jason Myers Takes Haddonfield: Part Umpteenth: 2-D! ... PART TWO!

Part one here, or below this post: http://deadshed.blogspot.com/2008/01/jason-myers-takes-haddonfield-part.html

Now actually to the point of this rant, comparing the franchises directly. First off, I would say - over-the-piece - Friday 13th has more interesting sequels than Halloween ... and well, yes, more in number, but it does mean that the Friday franchise isn't devoid of dufters...but let's get on with it!

Halloween: Cinematic classic, even if it is in debt to Black Christmas - a film which is unceremoniously ignored far too often in various countdowns, lists and appraisals of the slasher genre. Myers is at his filmic best.

Friday the 13th: Almost no Jason at all, but it too is a genre classic. Dark, gory, scary and iconic.

Halloween 2: Continuing the same night as the first is compelling, the best sequel of the franchise, Myers is still scary.

Friday the 13th Part 2: Jason comes forth, the franchise is young, in shadow and dispensing the gore with gay abandon. Manfredini's score is nerve-shredding.

Halloween 3 Season of the Witch: No Myers ... bit of an odd plot ... Tom Atkins rules ... still has that Carpenter feel, which was so important to the franchise.

Friday the 13th Part 3 3D: Continues from #2, the icon is complete, Jason is played brilliantly despite the goofy 3-D gags.

Halloween 4 The Return of Michael Myers: Crap mask, crap plot, crap characters ... but at least Pleasence is entertainingly unhinged.

Friday the 13th Part 4 The Final Chapter: The best Friday franchise sequel, Jason is utterly awesome, Savini is back in town, they kill the killer and the plot continues on from #2 and #3.

Halloween 5 The Revenge of Michael Myers: Crap mask remains, crap plot continues, crap characters are still hanging around ... but at least Pleasence is even more entertaingingly unhinged.

Friday the 13th Part 5 A New Beginning: No real Jason, generally quite dodgy ... cack robot dance.

Halloween 6 The Curse of Michael Myers: Decent mask, decent-ish plot, decent-ish characters, decent Myers portrayal...sad to see Pleasence go.

Friday the 13th Part 6 Jason Lives: Zombie Jason! Series gets a bit out-there from here-on-out, but solidly entertaining. Whatever happened to Thom Matthews? Alice Cooper!

Halloween H20: Idiots ended up calling it 'Halloween Water' by mistake, Myers at his fourth-best portrayal (behind #2, 2007, and the original), continuation of the story (and ignoring that cult gubbins) is great ... a bit too Scream-like. Myers IS killed off in a proper ending.

Friday the 13th Part 7 The New Blood: Zombie Jason versus ... telekinetic-flung couches. Severe lack of gore, damn you censors! Kane Hodder takes over with perfect gusto ... BEST. UNMASKED. JASON. EVER.

Halloween Resurrection: Can't even be considered true franchise canon. Reeks of corporate greed. Rapper trying to act and that guy from American Pie looking thoroughly out-of-place. An utterly, irredeemably retarded film.

Friday the 13th Part 8 Jason Takes Manhattan: Actually, Jason takes a boat ride and then sight-sees for 20 minutes. Hodder is still awesome ... violence is still horribly censored, weak, tame and lame all-in-one. Odd ending, even though the drippy-goo-faced Jason shot is pretty cool.

...I've run out of Halloween movies (RZ's is coming up, do be patient!)...

Jason Goes To Hell The Final Friday: Sold on to New Line, franchise loses its proper name. Cack plot with all that body switching. Just dodgy. Gauntlet thrown down for a future (and shite) combo-sequel-punch-up.

Jason X: I personally enjoyed it, but it's so far removed from what the franchise once was (and should be) that, as a Friday/Jason movie, is just not good enough. If 'Michael Myers IN SPACE!' was rejected, why wasn't 'Jason IN SPACE!' as well?

...

Halloween 2007: 3rd best/tied-second-best film from the franchise. True, it is a remake, but from Rob Zombie - so it's done properly. It stays true to the source material, but shows us something new through a considered, fresh viewpoint ... shame about the rocky production. Tyler Mane is the best Myers/"Shape" since Nick Castle and successfully makes Michael Myers scary again!

...

Now, this brings me on to the question of a Friday the 13th franchise reboot...would I be in favour considering my love of Rob Zombie's reboot (and justified, well achieved killing off, come to think of it)? Yes and no.

Yes if it was rebooted by Rob Zombie, which is unlikely ... or at least rebooted by someone who is willing to put the graft in and really analyse what the films and the character is really about. Someone who is willing to take the time (two hours) to show us what we haven't seen before, as well as successfully rework the formula Casino Royale-style. Give the insane man his balls back for goodness sake!

No if it just ends up being another name-rape, quick-buck making Yawn04-like fist-of-ham.

...

These films may be 'just slashers', but the fans are invested, lovingly pedantic and ultimately deserve the best film that can be mustered.

Jason Myers Takes Haddonfield: Part Umpteenth: 2-D! ... PART ONE!

I've recently been on a bit of a Halloween binge, having bought a copy of the Unrated Director's Cut of Halloween 2007. After watching the film twice (and liking it even more than when I first saw it), I decided to give the 4th through 6th films in the franchise another viewing as I'd only done so once before for those three flicks.

No wonder. While out of those three they progressively get better, it's like saying a case of some hideous disease is better after time - but you'd rather have something better really wouldn't you?

Then of course, being a bit obsessive/compulsive/completist I got all riled up and had to watch Halloween H20 as well ... although I absolutely refuse to sit through Halloween Resurrection, which even the franchise fans (I guess of which I am one actually) don't consider proper series canon because of the ludicrous 'oh the end of H20 wasn't real' twist - no, it was, but the studio just wanted more cash.

Then I realised I still hadn't watched Halloween 3: Season of the Witch - ever - so that was the next port of call with a re-viewing of the best of the franchise's sequels, Halloween 2 to follow.

...

The point of the title however, was because I got to thinking about the two leads in these franchises - by that of course I obviously mean those two monolithic mutes who have a rather obsessive predilection towards sharp objects piercing teenagers ... and the parents of teenagers ... and law officers ... and paramedics ... and random people.

I was thinking about the franchises and then thinking about the deadly protagonists. Michael Myers definitely is the better character, and has a better all-round story (except for all that cult bollocks in 'Revenge of' and 'Curse of') ... but I think Jason Vorhees is still my preferred movie serial nutjob.

Also, when I think about it now, Jason has been played better throughout the series than Michael has. Halloween 4 and 5 were atrocious, Myers wasn't who he was supposed to be, he moved far too freely and viciously than how he really should (while Rob Zombie's Myers is more violent in action than Carpenter's, the mix was handled perfectly...unlike in 4 and 5). Also - the Myers mask in 4 and 5 just sucked. By part 6 he'd recovered a little, but it wasn't great. H20 was an improvement, but still a fair distance (for me at least) from what Myers is supposed to be when he's 'at his best'.

As for Jason Vorhees, he's rarely been portrayed poorly - even to the point where Kane Hodder became synonymous with the name ... I guess the less rigid back story of Jason helps in this respect, it provides a greater spectrum of potential movement and killing flair than what Myers is afforded.

To be continued...

Monday, 14 January 2008

Success!

Finally, "GenPro" is finished. I polished off the solid first draft last night, it's done & dusted Sir's and Madam's, oh yes.

Now I think I might return to a short script I had initially started writing a few months ago, but ditched in favour of other things (including GenPro), it's a zombie script and is quite big scale for a short - hence the intention for it would be animation...probably 2-D, but 3-D would be rather interesting but probably least likely out of the two.

I've almost finished "Roadside Picnic" as well, so I can get started on the third book I got for Xmas, the new one from Jeremy Clarkson - "And Another Thing".

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Ah for the lack of the quippy-title-muse...

Well, still no muse for smarty-pants blog titles, but at least the muse has been working away solidly so far this month.

The third act of "GenPro" has been completed (in it's raw form at least) last night (technically very early this morning...my prime writing time)...so all I need to do is polish the third act (like I've done with the previous two) and then that'll be the script done. Currently standing at 91 pages, so I'm rather chuffed that's it's all coming together nicely.

Friday, 11 January 2008

January 11th...

Indeed, there's literally no idea for a quip-tastic blog title in my noggin' today...

Well, I've got some editing work to be getting on with, chopping up stock news footage, but otherwise I've returned to the script writing, after having had the holidays away from it to clear my head and get psyched up about it again.

The third act is planned out, and I started on it t'other night, but didn't do any last night because:

1) Just wasn't really in the mood, wasn't feeling it...
2) The lure of STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl was too great
3) I fancied reading some more of Roadside Picnic
4) I ended up watching half of The Big Lebowski (finishing it off later)

lol, but hopefully very soon I'll have a complete script to put in the DeadShed bank, so-to-speak. I'm really chuffed with this "GenPro" script (again, that's the shortened nickname of the working title, for ease & laziness) ... hopefully sometime soon I'll get the opportunity to actually make it. :)

Monday, 7 January 2008

The first long-arse blog of 2008...

Well, we're firmly into 2008 now and I figured I'd knock up the first big post of the year with a kind of seasonal round up, although I mostly just indulged and watched DVDs, but still...

One thing is for certain, now armed with a new digital photo camera, I have been taking pictures of all sorts of things around the house. I'm particularly transfixed by close ups...I guess it's my background in art coming back through this device which has enabled it in a more quick & easy way. Plus it makes making graphics for my own short films easier.

But the holidays are for lazing about, and yes I certainly relished the opportunity. It was a DVD marathon alright, so I guess I'll give a quick run down of my viewings (or indeed re-viewings):

Superbad - even better than the first time I saw it now that I'm familiar enough with it to quote-as-it-goes, so-to-speak. Seth Rogen & Co are unquestionably comedic masters. Bring on Pineapple Express!

Alien, Aliens, Alien3 - I got all hot & bothered to get the Ultimate Edition DVDs for them, and I now appreciate them even more than I did, especially the first and third (Aliens is one of my absolute all-time faves). Alien is a masterpiece and Ridley Scott is a genius. Alien3 is a troubled gem with an air of greater things, thanks to David Fincher.

Long Way Down - not as good as Long Way Round, because LWR was just perfect, but still a bloody good adventure to admire and inspire. Bring on Long Way Up!

The A-Team: Season 4 - the majority of the episodes are actually rather good, though the celebrity guest episodes are just pandering, but the show over all has improved at this stage in it's life. Still awesome.

28 Weeks Later - I once scoffed at it, assuming it'd be a cheap and nasty money-spinner trash sequel, but it actually turned out to be equally as good as the original film. It even had a good story to match the visuals!

Spider-Man 3 - wordier than I remember it in the cinema, but still a great romp with a story to boot. Leaving it at three would be no crime, and Sam Raimi could do with returning to his roots for a laugh with his mate Bruce.

Halloween 2007 - having seen the work print, the unrated director's cut is much tighter. Not perfect and not as good as the original (obviously), but is a proper remake - not "name rape" like the new versions of "Dawn of the Dead" (Yawn04) or "Day of the Dead" (Day of the Remake -aka- Day of the Flying Bulgarian Vegetarian Zombies -aka- Careers of the Dead). Michael Myers is at last scary again!

Ricky Gervais: Fame - the least of his stand ups, still mostly funny but nowhere near the quality of the Extras Christmas Special, which was just superb.

I Am Legend - not complete trash, but the infected a bit gash and the final third is a bit cack-handed. At times though it's rather spiffy, and Will Smith actually gets to act instead of wink at the audience. The Omega Man was better though.

SAW IV - least of the series. A convoluted re-hash of the earlier films with a shite continuation of Jigsaw's work. The impact of the first film has long since worn off, and the suitably twisty script of SAW III has been snubbed. Surely it's all downhill for the two coming back-to-back sequels?

American Gangster - not Ridley Scott's best film by far, nor Denzel's. It's not shite, not by a long shot, but I've certainly seen the 'rise & fall of a criminal figure' story several times before, and at times done better I feel. To me it didn't have a strong enough Ridley vibe, to be honest.

This Is Spinal Tap - yes I've only just gotten around to it. Didn't laugh uncontrollably, but appreciated it nonetheless. I guess it just doesn't resonate with me personally as much as it does with others, but regardless I can appreciate it's quality.

Jackass 2.5 - it sucks that the Vito/Lambo tooth yank was excised. The deleted Wildboyz footage is hit & miss, but the rest is decent enough. Hopefully the DVD will plump it up a bit more and provide some more laughs, once it's in stock anyway, I'm still waiting for it.

...

So a well appreciated couple of weeks to lounge around and eat it was, although the wickedly harsh spot of indigestion I got a few nights after Xmas Day sucked big style...now though, the decorations have been cruelly yanked out of my life and stored away for the ass-end of 2008 ... this of course means that I've returned to writing.

For the past few days I've been busy refining the second act of my comedy script, which I'll just refer to as "GenPro" (a short nickname of the full, working title). Next up - planning out and then actually doing the third act...and of course, after that it'll be onto one of two horror scripts I've got percolating in the old noggin.

And there you have it, the first beast-sized blog of 2008!

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

First post of 2008...

And just like that, 2007 was over and done with...now it's onwards with 2007. It barely seems any time since 2007 was starting...before I know it I'll be turning 24, then before I know it we'll be in the height of summer, then the welcome return of autumn and then the inevitable blast back into Xmas and New Year.

I wonder where I'll be in a year's time ... I thought the same thing last year around about this time, and fortunately I've made good progress since then, hopefully this time next year I'll see greater progress comparatively speaking...although some amazing success or a big-ass lottery win wouldn't go unwanted either!

I'm giving "28 Weeks Later" a second viewing, and it's still bloody good stuff. Certainly equal to the original film...also, "Roadside Picnic" continues to be awesome, getting me re-interested again in the videogame "STALKER" (probably my favourite for 2007), and importantly (for Q1 2008) the prequel "Clear Sky", oh yes.