Wednesday, 30 April 2008

141st post spectacular...

GTA IV arrived this morning ... just getting used to the controls (moving & looking, and driving are a bit fiddly off the bat) ... watched the entirety of the Weazel channel straight away before even venturing outside of Roman's apartment ... will go off and play more later ... otherwise, awesome.

Laters...

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Deadly anticipation...

*sigh* you'd have thought having GTA IV pre-ordered for over a year would have entitled me to have it arrive at least on launch day from the online retailer ... but no ... lame.

I could have gone to town this morning and gotten one at the local Woolies, but of course my money was already taken as it was posted yesterday morning ... so I continue to wait ... tomorrow (Wednesday) is possible, but who knows, a big dollop of lame could spoil my day and make me wait yet another 24 hours to gawp in utter awe at the gaming event of the year ... now yes, there are famines and all sorts of nasty things in the world that actually matter ... but I'm not talking about GTA IV in the global realm, but rather exclusively in the realms of entertainment ... this much anticipation is insane, and having to wait longer and longer is of course - annoying.

Still though, when it gets here ... awesomeness will be had.

...

Anyway, onto other things - speaking of anticipation, I'm proper looking forward to checking out Gary Ugarek's Deadlands 2: Trapped. He sent me a short zombie clip from it and bloody nora does it look awesome - for those not in the know, it was on the DVD of Deadlands #1 that I Am Zombie Man appeared, it even appeared (along with IAZM2) at the theatrical run at the Hagerstown 10 cinema (where DL2: Trapped was shot), so we tend to share clips of what we're up to back and forth, teasing each other with little snippets of entertainment anticipation.

Good stuff indeed.

...

Onto another thing, I was off out filming today for this not-for-profit campaign film that Joe Jenkins is doing. I'm shooting and editing it, and it'll end up being something like 10 minutes and will be shown in his local parish, or ward, or whatever you call your local area/village in rural communities. Not sure of a title yet, but that as well as other info regarding will be posted as-and-when-appropriate.

...

One more thing - VHS-2: Long Play is currently being edited, even though I've got a bit more filming to do for it ... I've done some rough editing (cutting down the footage basically for the more choice cuts), and next up I'll be doing the colouring via the superb Magic Bullet - after that the proper editing will be done, and of course, as soon as it's up on YouTube I'll pimp it about.

Oh yeah, on my YouTube page I recently posted a short, random 'behind the scenes' sort-of video for VHS-2, so check that out if you will ... it's rough-as-old-boots, just a bunch of clips really, but well it might be of interest to those wanting to check out the film itself as-and-when.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

VHS-2: Long Play...

aka VHS-2, aka Long Play ... haven't decided which way I'll swing on it, but probably just stick with Long Play as the official title as this semi-sequel, semi-remake is supposed to be able to stand on its own.

So this afternoon I had Ben come over (who has also been in IAZM2, the original VHS - which was shown at the Bristol Bloodbath 2006 film festival, and the Borderlines Film Festival 2007 - as well as the likes of Smack Addict), and we got all the shots involving him, as well as his voice over.

This film - the first DeadShed short since IAZM2 over a year ago, come to think of it - is much looser in its making, I guess more along the 'production lines' of the original IAZM, but with better filming and editing. I aim to make it a lean 5-minutes-or-under, and generally it's fairly experimental in a way ... it's loose, it's experimental, it's oddball ... well the central theme is a guy who's been imprisoned in his own 'vertical helical hell' because he ditched VHS in favour of DVD so unceremoniously ... so odd indeed, quirky you might say.

I originally wrote the script a few months back, so I'm glad to have been able to get this one going, now it's all down to me to film the last little bits and pieces, then edit the whole thing...so that'll be something for the next wee while and of course I'll be pimping it out on YouTube when it's done ... might even send it to Total Film to see if they fancy pimping it for their "Your Shorts" side-column, it might very well be up their street, who knows.

So aye - that's what's going on right now, ta-da!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Waiting for GTA IV & other stories...

Aye, it's a mind-numbing thing waiting for the gaming event of the year to land on your door mat, however it's on its way ... ahhhh the impending awesomeness ...

Otherwise, the first of the new projects for the summer is upon me - a campaign film regarding the ludicrous speed that some absolute chumps insist on driving on a particular stretch of road. I'm shooting & editing it and work has already begun, with a day of filming 'on location', if you will, on Tuesday.

It'll probably be somewhere around 10 minutes, and feature a mix of interviews, stock footage, shot footage, stats and so on regarding the issue. It's also a timely film, considering a recent case here in the UK where some rich kid from some wealthy family, was driving a beastly Range Rover 4x4 through a 30mph zone at 75mph. The complete bastard hit some poor wee girl who is now brain damaged for and on a ventilator for life. If that wasn't bad enough, he was clocked at 95mph on the motorway (which is 70mph limited by law) 2 months later while the case was pending.

Clearly that scumbag has no remorse or consideration for other people, I mean I can't even comprehend how he managed to do 75 in a 30, most 30 roads are impossible for such speed in theory, especially considering the bulk of the 4x4 that absolute piece of shit was driving.

Here's the kicker - he only got 21 months. Miscarriage of justice doesn't cover the half of it, meanwhile that poor girl has a life sentence and her life has been destroyed, as well as the lives of those around her being forever changed for the worse.

It might sound bad, but in a way the poor kid would have been better off dead, but it's such an impossibly hard situation to even think about let alone live through, so ... well ... all I know is, if I was in that position (the victim I mean) I'd rather be at peace. I still can't get my head around that lunatic in the car though, what an absolute freak.

Anyway, getting off on a tangent here, it's all gotten a bit dark and oddly placed considering the start of the post (however GTA is fiction, this case in the UK is a tragic reality).

Right, back on track, my point being is that this campaign film regarding speeding on the road in question, is very timely. The purpose of the film obviously, is to try and get the council to put measures in place to stop certain idiots from doing preposterously over-the-limit speeds on that stretch.

So aye, that project is underway now ... oh, and I'll hopefully be roping Ben in for an afternoon to get a new DeadShed short film shot. What film is it? A semi-sequel, semi-remake of VHS so it is, currently titled VHS-2: Long Play ... although it'll end up as Long Play in the end, as I'm aiming to have it be capable of standing on its own. So hopefully I can get that going as well, it's been a very long time since the last DeadShed short - I Am Zombie Man 2 - so it'd be great to get a new one under my belt so I can have something that represents where I'm at now.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

In Bruges...

Another week and another trip t'cinema, this time to check out the gleefully non-PC and rather foul-mouthed In Bruges. According to the advertising it appears to be a fairly straight crime-based comedy caper, but within the first few minutes you're not entirely sure if you're watching the same film - no wonder, because while the trailers capture the humour on show, they completely ignore the sheer depth of the darkness to the surrounding black comedy.

At times it gets exceptionally dark and you sit there wondering 'how on earth are they going to come back from this', but then a couple of fuck-laden lines of Bruges-weary dialogue later and you're back to laughing heartily, right before it gets pitch black again ... which precedes yet another guttural, lingering chortle.

Plot wise it's simple, two hitmen who were on a job that went arse-up have been shunted off, by their foul-tongued boss, for two weeks to Bruges - a place that is apparently like a living fairytale - so that the heat surrounding them can die down. It's funny, despite the derogatory comments regarding Bruges (which are mixed with plenty of pro-Bruges sentiments of fairytale medieval magic), you end up really wanting to go and check this place out for yourself.

The bulk of the film centres of just being in Bruges itself, hence the title, and the weird inhabitants there-in who keep dragging our two leads into a variety of odd situations, and occasionally quite heart-felt and serious ones.

I can certainly say, the Americans would never make a black comedy this unashamedly politically incorrect (bravo on that, by the way) and so relentlessly bleak at certain intervals. This is most definitely a very British (or indeed Irish) film, it's pitch black dark but honestly hilarious.

It's not the first time, and it won't be the last...

Un-shockingly, Leak didn't get picked up by the LFA to be made for this year's round of 2 minute long short films.

Not at all shocked, it was probably too anti-Labour, anti-Mugabe and anti-whoever's-in-charge-of-China for them (which relates to the starting basis of the idea of the plot for the script) ... or maybe it was too serious a script, maybe they just wanted funny stuff...meh. I'd be interested to see what they actually end up making. Don't take this as bitching the LFA out, by the way, so put your word twisting tools back in your suitcase of manipulation...

It's a tough old game, but patience and perseverance pay off in the end ... either that or casting couch favours ... ewww ... patience it is then!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Thumb twiddling...

Well that's BioShock completed, I've spent the last 3 weeks or so, on-and-off, playing it and it was a rather spiffing game - even if the several uses of 'gather a bunch of whatever so you can proceed to the next level' got a bit lame - but otherwise, an excellent game.

However, said completion leaves a gaming dilemma - GTA IV is still 9 days away from release. It might be sooner or (hopefully not anyway) later before I get to play it (depending on dispatch dates as I ordered online) ... so I've got a bit of a gap there.

However again, I've got some editing to get further stuck into, as Joe and I have started on one of our two projects this summer. One is an educational DVD, the other (the one I'm currently on about) is a campaign film for the local area regarding speeding, so I've got a bit of editing to do there right now in the prep stage of the project...

Anyway, there's a new Underground Slacker blogcast out, go and wrap your lug'oles around that why don'tcha.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Day08: The Bitch List (Part Three)...

*NB. Parts One & Two can be found below this post.

101) "What is Project Wildfire?" - Doc Logan, still a douche, but actually in charge of some apparent plot.
102) From unloaded, to loaded ... Corporal Cross is still devoid of actual threat.
103) Bio-chemical agents - I fucking knew it - genre ultra-cliches pile up like flying 'zombies' at a hospital.
104) Of course your crap bio-chemical weapon caused the outbreak you ninny-brained n00b!
105) Convenient video evidence remains despite what the hard-drive deleting Windows 3.1 display told us.
106) "Some people have a natural immunity" - thank fuck we just so happen to be following those individuals, huh?!
107) Nick Cannon still thinks he's Rambo, but is actually an idiot because you can't fire and reload a pump-action shotgun with one hand on an out-stretched arm.
108) Everybody wastes a ton of ammo, completely missing the slowest moving 'zombie' thus far seen in the movie.
109) The Nip/Tuck, barely legal slag-bag is still useless and Nick Cannon still thinks he's on MTV.
110) Hey, let's all fire off more ammo at the ceiling because we heard a noise!
111) Pretty-boy Doc Logan informs us we're now facing a super-brain 'zombie' for the third, lamest act.
112) Nick Cannon is now history boy and missile expert, leading our band of morons to their escape route from the in-escapable super-serial-secret underground army bunker!
113) Quietest attack from above ever. Pretty-boy Logan's gone, finally we're close to the end after another lame 'jump scare' attempt.
114) "Why do white people always wanna split up?" - self-referential, lame, race-based 'comedy' returns.
115) Despite being ever-so-referential and cool, let's all split up anyway like it's never been done before.
116) "You look hot" - amidst death and carnage, teenagers still like to think about fucking.
117) Hey Presto! Within seconds they've found history-boy's silo!
118) Nick Cannon wastes a shit-load more ammo by firing at nothing for no good reason beyond "just in case".
119) No more Wild'n'Out for Cannon, but we still don't care.
120) Seriously, we're gonna do the McGuyver thing again?
121) "Hey, Sarah. Don't get eaten" - the world groans.
122) Infected people! We must have wobbly cameras and fake-film-grain! ... I begin to lose the will to live.
123) 'Zombies' turn on 'Veggie-Zombie' Bud ... my eyes can't stop rolling, the momentum has taken over.
124) The biggest, longest fireball you've ever seen disintegrates all the 'zombies', we're still laughing.
125) A plague which makes dead people run, leap, fly and rot super-fast is "flu-like", huh?
126) Another crap 'jump scare' attempt - another youfail.org - still with the fake-film-rot effects.
127) Credits - everybody should be completely ashamed of themselves.

I've seen some absolute stinkers in my time, particularly in the knock-off end of the zombie genre (Return of the Living Dead 4 & 5, or Children of the Living Dead, or Zombie Nosh to name but four), but Day08 is an absolutely colossal, steaming pile of fetid, 1,000 year-old crap.

Day08: The Bitch List (Part Two)...

*NB. Part One can be found below this post.

51) Meanwhile, after plenty of chaos, Ving Rhames has only just discovered shit has hit the fan.
52) Since when did a pistol sound like that? And was that seriously a ketchup bottle fart noise for some digital blood?
53) So are all the zombies put into double-speed in editing?
54) Fuck, we're only a third of the way through?
55) 'Zombie' jumps up to a first floor window.
56) Yet more unnecessary flash-flash-skittery camerawork/editing to attempt to wake you up.
57) "What kind of soldier are you?" - exactly - a shit one with an unloaded gun, geez!
58) "What is with you two?" - "It's complicated" - WHAT is complicated? You met a few hours ago, you're both rubbish recruits, how is that complicated?!
59) Yet another cliche - 'teens banging at a door whilst being chased'.
60) "Are you one of them?!" - do they run at 2x speed, sound like Raptors and are they covered in insanely premature decomposition? NO, you fat prat!
61) Oh-my-g0dz0rz you guys, a sick person in our midst! Why didn't anyone think of that in the history of cinema?!
62) Did we see Rhodes die? Either they dropped the ball (again) or it left so little impact it was as if it never happened.
63) Why the fuck would 'zombie' Rhodes eat his own dangling eye ball?! Zombies don't eat themselves, you fucking ninnies!
64) Is it me or is 'zombie' Rhodes barking like a dog?
65) Why bang the ceiling with a mop when you can apparently crawl across them? Par-for-the-course stupidity precedes a bunch of pogo-hopping 'zombies' trying to grab at Corporal American Pie, who evidently doesn't need hands to hold herself up as she dangles from the cleanest air vent you've ever seen.
66) This Doc Logan continues to be utterly pointless.
67) Yet another 'he's been bit and will zombify, but I won't let them be killed' scenes.
68) "I put bleach on it!"
69) 'Zombie' Mom gets a tip-off from the radio broadcast...lame.
70) Nick Cannon constructs ... a saw on a stick ... he does ... I laughed.
71) Doc Logan props up a wall - the most useful thing he's done throughout the movie.
72) "Nice spear" - yet another foot-in-mouth white guy VS over-sensitive black guy stereotypical scene...is this their stab at social commentary? Is this just a lame joke that's an offence to comedy? Methinks the latter.
73) Since when does a saw cut like a machete?
74) The remainder of the budget is spent on digital gore, perhaps this was why they couldn't afford to over-crank the camera to get slow motion, so instead they just did the reverse of what they've done with the 'zombies'.
75) A bunch of 'zombies' dive out of various windows of the hospital - yes, hospital - not underground silo, a friggin' hospital ... how is this a remake of "Day of the Dead" again?
76) "Come on y'all" ... Nick Cannon continues to annoy amidst the digital blood.
77) "Where's Logan?" - "What a dick!" - finally, I agree with something here ... which only saddens me ... fuck you, movie!
78) Evidently fire disintegrates 'zombie' arms and makes their heads pop ... okaaaaay.
79) "Nice shot" - "It was kinda gangsta, huh?" - the world weeps.
80) Everybody turns on each other ... we all still don't care.
81) Nick Cannon - covered in guns, still annoying.
82) Nick Cannon - amidst a town ridden with chaos, still finds the time for a punk-ass attitude ... the annoyance continues unabated.
83) "We're getting out of here?" - "We are?" ... sigh.
84) Amidst a town over-run with leaping Raptor-zombies, let's take the time for emotional exchanges in the open street.
85) "He's a vegetarian" - the collective nightmares of the genre fans is realised, their mocking groans ring out into the night.
86) 'Zombie' crush ... Nick Cannon's still a twat.
87) 'Zombies' with guns - a good idea done badly - and they seem to have unlimited ammo.
88) "The fuck was that?" - oh, gee, probably one of the things that have been running around for the past several hours perhaps!
89) More digital ketchup blood, as bad as the cack-handed sibling in-fighting 'back story'.
90) Teen-drama-style 'zombie' crush continues ... generations of genre fans roll their eyes.
91) Nick Cannon - still a twat ... 'zombie' crush is still a shit idea.
92) The sibling relationship is "complicated" - no, it's boring and weak.
93) Because a gigantic Humvee, designed for warfare, couldn't survive dinging into a small tree in the woods, they've all pissed off back to the woodland teen sex romp building, but within 2 minutes the plan's gone to shit - why bother?
94) All of a sudden they all think they're Rambo in the operations room attack in "Aliens" ... but they're not.
95) More digital ketchup lameness.
96) A 'zombie' crawls across a wall like a spider, and now anybody can be a 'one hit wonder' gun-toter.
97) No doubt a secret military bunker - worst defended and worst kept secret ever.
98) A poor-man's Windows 3.1 display gives us the lowdown on *gasps with surprise* - a secret biochemical test!
99) Why kick open doors to small rooms, which are fully viewable through the massive windows they all have?
100) Mena Suvari - least convincing Rambette ever ... apart from maybe Dakota Fanning ... or a brick with lipstick on.

Day08: The Bitch List (Part One)...

127 reasons in 87 minutes why Day'08 is utter shite (Part One):

1) Shite, bargain basement budget titles.
2) Moronic 'scary' quick cuts for no good reason.
3) ADHD-addled first shot.
4) Second shot - shite music, couple of idiots slow-dancing.
5) Teenagers like to have sex ... what a novel and never-before-used idea! One couple are essentially dogging on a sofa for the entire world to see, while the other are the nervous breed of teenager sexers.
6) Ah geez, is that the skank from season 5 of Nip/Tuck?
7) "Hey, let's explore."
8) Figure flashes through frame, 'scary' music cue...why didn't anyone think of this ever before in the history of cinema-history history?!
9) Stupid flashes of colour for no apparent reason during the 'bunch of idiots complaining in a traffic jam' shot.
10) Ving Rhames rapes the legend of Captain Rhodes within seconds.
11) Corporal Cross - aka that-one-with-the-forehead-from-American-Pie ... she'd never last a day in the army, but thank fuck for that cap.
12) Rhames might as well say "fuck all y'all" when he talks to Cross.
13) The awful flashes continue, and we're still following this idiot following strange noises.
14) Oh my g0dz0rz, she jumps out at him! I'm so scared!!!11!1!!
15) Government-hating radio jockey, originality strikes again!
16) God-awful semi-thrash-nu-metal garbage music.
17) Alone in the woods, strange noises ... I genuinely don't know what's going to happen!!!1!1!11
18) Insane amount of noise from unseen 'zombie'.
19) Slut-bag has a tattoo ... oh how clever, after she's dragged away that neatly severed chunk of flesh lands in front of the camera, oh wow you guys.
20) Nick Cannon is introduced ... within 3 seconds he dives into the bossy, attitude-filled gangsta stereotype. He's already annoying.
21) Soldier who can't do anything right, originality continues to reign supreme. Wasn't he in Nip/Tuck as well?
22) Nick Cannon's got nothing but sex on the brain ... America weeps for the representation of their military.
23) Cross has seen exciting? She hasn't just joined up? And there I was thinking she was still best suited to hanging around fucked apple pies.
24) "Nothing ever happens in this town anyway" - fate is tempted with the subtlety of a barge pole.
25) Oh Jesus - THIS GUY is Howard Sherman's replacement?
26) Teenagers like to fuck, therefore we MUST see it.
27) Nobody's actually intimidated by Mena Suvari...camouflage or not.
28) Suvari's performance is as lifeless as her character as she checks on her fate-temptingly ill mother.
29) Everybody's ill, but nobody is at all worried.
30) Jesus ... we're only quarter of an hour in. Why are televisions always displayed static after the place has been turned over?
31) "Don't worry, it's not loaded" - then you're even more useless, Corporal Cross, aren't you?
32) Oh my god, there's blood all over the bedroom ... but it's fine that the living room is smeared all over with it too.
33) Why would two bodies be standing and hiding behind a curtain, aside from specifically to set up an awful 'jump'.
34) So mobile phones are still always useless in a crisis in movie-land, huh?
35) The reason for your unloaded gun is "complicated", eh? Guess you shouldn't be in the army, huh?
36) "I'm a vegetarian by the way" ... evidently the 'vegetarian zombie Bud' thing wasn't just a nightmare.
37) Remind me how this has anything to do with Romero's original movie aside from name-rape?
38) Evidently platonic working relationships are a thing of the past as future-veggie-zombie tells Cross' mother her daughter is hot ... clearly Steve Miner's army have nothing better to do than each other.
39) It's a virus, see?! Oh you don't? Oh well, we'd better chuck some weird sound effects and fake grain onto the wobbly footage then, huh?
40) Doc Logan is now 'handsome guy'.
41) Shed-load of cash wasted on dumb-dumb shots of the big, bad virus taking over some guy's cells...thus apparently justifying months of decomposition in 5 seconds ... and leaping ... and running.
42) So nowadays people zombify by standing still?
43) Velociraptor-style screaming zombies run really fast in a really silly way before attacking random bit-parter.
44) Rubbish digital blood on one component knocks out the entire electricity sub-station, and thank fuck for that too, because I was feeling desperate for another horror cliche after that 15 second absence.
45) Despite zombification here meaning you just sit still for a few minutes, we still have zombies driving cars - which aren't dented at all. You'd have thought you'd crash during your paralysing zombification, wouldn't you? Digital zombie gets up and shames a generation of the living dead to genre newbies.
46) Another rubbish 'scare' scene.
47) The genre-faithful weep, or laugh mockingly, or do both as random soldier guy gets literally pounced on by three 'zombies', one of whom literally almost flies ... fuck it ... it just flies.
48) Another 'zombie', with an even sillier scream, jumps through glass - but can't do it twice for some reason.
49) More leaping, more insanely-premature-decomposition, more silly screams.
50) "Oh my God, you're fucking kidding me!" ... is what I actually said as a shitty CGI 'zombie' scuttles across the ceiling. SERIOUSLY.

Monday, 14 April 2008

*wagh!* I forgot the title! ...

Well, that's Leak submitted to the London Film Academy, although knowing my luck they won't pick it, but I did put the effort in on writing this 2.5 page long script. I had a lot of ideas swilling around specifically for it, and it was about cramming as many of those into such a short space, without making a hash of it.

If it is picked (which it won't be, colour me pessimistic, lol) I'll know after the 23rd of April...

...

Otherwise, BioShock is a great game. For those interested, I've just gotten to Hephaestus ... well over half way through and the plan is to get the rest bashed out prior to GTA4's triumphant return so it can suck away my life force like the life force-chugging whore it is, ha!

Also, thank buggery SModcast is back, and it's friggin' hilarious this week.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The Last Man On Earth...

First there was Richard Matheson's book I Am Legend, then came this - The Last Man On Earth - starring he of that great voice and 'tache, Vincent Price. Then it was the recently departed Charlton Heston gruffing up the silver screen in The Omega Man ... then the mediocre, dripping-with-Hollywood big budget Will Smith pop-corner I Am Legend.

The Will Smith flick is pretty good for the first-half-up-to-two-thirds, then it all just goes rather arse as the CGI monsters with their silly rubbery jaws go yomping around and all tension, intelligence and effort goes right out the window. A missed opportunity for post-apocalyptic greatness ... next stop, the adaptation of World War Z, which could quite possibly be an astounding zombie apocalypse epic ... or it could suffer the same fate as I Am Legend's recent incarnation, or worse.

Tracking back and we have The Omega Man, which upon first viewing I really liked, it certainly has that 1970's charm when films could hold a simpler thrill without being absolutely retarded. However, upon a recent re-watch, I was much less impressed, I'm genuinely shocked to say. It is showing its age worse than I originally recall, the music is almost entirely camp and out-of-step with the over-all pace, and the brotherhood of infected nut-jobs don't play out as well as they once did. They bitch about the machines of man, right before they roll out a complex catapult to fling fireballs about ... then again, there's no reasoning with nutters.

That said, it's still a great little flick, but nowadays it feels too cheap to have really pulled off what it set out to do, as well as the fact that it ignores the majority of Matheson's book. Indeed, the Will Smith version of Legend feels more like a 'no-more-than-based-on' adaptation of the book mixed with a hefty dollop of a remake of The Omega Man, with a dusting of 'lets make the monsters really shitty CGI things' zest.

Track back even further to the mid-60's and we find ourselves with Vincent Price as The Last Man On Earth. An incredibly faithful adaptation of Matheson's cultural landmark book it most certainly is, a big budget extravaganza it sadly is not. Evidently it's a mish-mash of American and Italian filmmaking (originally it was going to be a British Hammer Horror effort), seemingly foreseeing the likes of Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 (aka Zombie Flesh Eaters) and other such cheapy combination horror flicks.

Price isn't exactly the Robert Neville in the book, mainly due to the main man's underlying reputation as a mad cackler and entertaining scenery chewer (he was gleefully so in The Pit & The Pendulum, which I fortunately got to see at the Bristol Bloodbath 2006 film festival, in true grindhouse fashion on a rickety old print which broke down twice - it was certainly a memorable viewing which took me back to my Uni days watching the old prints of classics like The Maltese Falcon, or some Godard flick when the reel got jammed and the projector burned out the film...) ... hmm, gotten carried away with a tangent, ah memory lane...

Anyway, Price is perhaps 90% the Neville we know from the book, although he's now Robert Morgan. It's sad in a way because this, still the most faithful adaptation of I Am Legend, is such a low budget affair. Again, the process of aging hasn't been especially kind, but the downsides of a cheap-as-chips, USA/Italian partnership is clearly the harshest mistress standing over this otherwise solid film.

Many performances are wooden, lazy or just unskilled (meanwhile Price is overtly dramatic, but a comparative thespian of legend). The production value is rock bottom - either that or Morgan is a magician and can drive a car at night and at day at the exact same time. It really is an incredibly cheap film, insanely cheap sometimes, which is the main flaw. However, as previously stated, a wonderfully typical turn from Price and the sincere nature of the adaptation ends up making this quite possibly the best I Am Legend re-telling. At the very least, it is in terms of storytelling.

Meanwhile, the Will Smith version pimps great visuals (aside from the awful compu-monsters) but a story that holds few resemblances to the source material, ultimately raping it in the third act. As for The Omega Man, it's somewhere in the middle. Middling production value, middling script and retrospectively rather camp, even kitsch.

Perhaps, if only, instead of Smith's I Am Legend partially remaking The Omega Man, it could have looked a decade further back and taken several pages out of TLMOE's book.

Maybe the fourth book-to-film adaptation will get it properly right? Any Hollywood players with bundles of cash who fancy giving me said green backs would easily tempt me into doing it justice. Scale and story, both of which are intensely important for this particular tale.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Charlie Wilson's War...

While the content is before my political time, and certainly even (for half of the plot at least) just flat-out before my time full stop, the subject still makes an impact. It's certainly understandable why this film was made, what with the current situation in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

What I found most affecting about the film, was that it showed us how much money and effort was put into fighting the 'Commie Bastard' Russians in Afghanistan ($1 billion) and how 'they' just ditched the battered and bruised people (over half of which were under the age of 14) by not ponying up a comparatively measly sum of cash for education and the like.

It speaks volumes about the current situation, a catch 22 even. Either leave the troops in both territories and lose further lives (on both sides), or pull out too soon yet again after turning two country's population's lives upside down before the bad guys ultimately regain control, therefore making the entire war completely pointless, thus making the lives lost on both sides mean absolutely nothing - nobody would have died for anything. You get the feeling that the US government doesn't have a great deal of patience for anything outside of easy-to-understand 'shoot and kill' that lasts for anything longer than a year ... both from this film, and from the current political climate.

News flash, wars take a long time, they're devastating and horrible things which happen because they seek to put a stop to something else that is devastating and horrible from happening. It's the ultimate catch 22, but it cannot be achieved in six months, and the fighting certainly doesn't stop after the last bullets have been fired.

History is tragically repeating itself, and this is one of the issues that the darkly comic Charlie Wilson's War flags up for our attention.

While I didn't understand certain things regarding the American political system (hell, it's hard enough to understand the absolute garbage being thrown around by the current government here in the UK), just as a subtle black comedy it works, and reminds us that there's not enough Tom Hanks on the big screen these days.

A bit more thought is required for this one, and at times it can become quite dark when signaling up the horrid reality of the Afghan plight, but it can equally be enjoyed as a political farce in some respects, and indeed the two central performances (Hanks & Hoffman) are a joy to watch.

Ultimately it is a refreshing watch, it never decidedly strays into either side of the political spectrum, instead deciding to leave the politics and ethics balanced and open to the viewer's own interpretation. Indeed, the closing statement denoting "...we just fucked up the end game" speaks volumes in itself.

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story...

What with the horrid likes of Date Movie/Epic Movie/Meet The Spartans floating around, like floaters in the porcelain bowl of life, it's a genuine pleasure to come across a proper spoof - rather than a 'Vague Genre Movie' (check out Maddox's site for a witty-as-usual piss-take of such piss poor efforts as Meet The Spartans).

Walk Hard pretty much lampoons one movie only - Walk The Line (the excellent Johnny Cash biopic) - and then goes off on it's own, as if Walk Hard wasn't based on anything at all. It takes one idea, then runs with it on its own. It doesn't take clips from YouTube and insert them hap-hazardly into 300 vs Transformers mash-up 'jokes'.

It truly is a shame that Spartans can take the number one slot, it really is, because it means there's enough people stupid enough to pay to see such garbage.

Anyway, back to a quality spoof in the shape of Dewey Cox ... while perhaps a tad overlong (the 1970's period begins to flag a little), there's a genuine sense of humour amidst the quite faithful spin on the Cash biopic. It's silly throughout, but in a smart way - rather than stupid in a really dumb, moronic, un-original way like Date/Epic/Meet.

There is a danger with all this though, by which I mean the flood of Apatow-related flicks coming out. While he and his various teams are all highly talented, very funny people producing genuinely hilarious movies with real heart & even soul behind them, you don't want to overdose the audience. You never want to hear "ANOTHER movie with Seth Rogen?!" - mind you, such a thing is far from a depressing vision, but even too much of a good thing too fast can be bad.

Hopefully they've already realised this issue, it would be a shame for audiences to tire of the Apatow/Rogen/et al freight train, especially prior to the sure-to-be-excellent Zack & Miri Make A Porno.

Apatow & Co fans, rest assured, Walk Hard will be right up your street. As for the Date/Epic/Meet morons, this is how you're supposed to make a spoof movie - if you're still not convinced how to do it, watch Airplane! as well.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Contempt of Conscience - done & dusted!

Just got word today that Contempt of Conscience is finished, done, sorted, dusted, wrapped up, signed, sealed and delivered ... complete, basically.

I'll be receiving my copy next week methinks, so I definitely look forward to seeing my work (as well as the long haul of Joe's - the director - come to fruition) all there, presented on the screen.

As for release, that's still 'out there' so-to-speak, I think the plan is a tour of various festivals first and then a proper DVD release. Details of both as-and-when.

...

Otherwise, there's another project potentially on the horizon, bringing the current horizon tally to three. Busy times ahead indeed, but then again that's part of the nature of 'the bizz'. Some times are quiet, some times are busy. All-in-all, it's good.

...

Plus - GTA IV is almost upon us! Prepare for the gaming event of 2008, people! ... Well, except Danny, he's not fussed apparently, lulz.

Juno...

Yep, a late-comer to this as well, and like before I did so to specifically avoid the various hype surrounding it - especially the whole Oscars thing.

So now, with that out of the way, I was able to check out this charming and entirely involving indie-vibed treat from Jason Reitman. Much like with Thank You For Smoking, this is an intriguing story filled-out with witty, individually crafted characters. There's a sweetness to Juno (both film and protagonist), that makes this a rewarding watch.

Each character has their own tweak, reinforcing their individual identities amidst the joyously witty dialogue, which fortunately never strays into glib self-knowing parody. Indeed, this isn't as straight-forward a flick as the basic premise might suggest, the ending may still be rosy, but certainly not in the Hollywood tradition.

Praise indeed should go to Diablo Cody, a colourful character herself, who managed to produce something which ticked all the feel-good boxes, while striding confidently through more original pastures.

Considering the all-round success of Juno - the bulk of which is owed to the script itself (with praise also to the direction and performances) - it's a real shame, and hard-to-understand situation, that Hollywood isn't doing more to seek out such original and entertaining stories. Sure we all need a clutch of explosions and tits to dazzle our eyes, but even such films drown amidst the stickiness of youfail.org when there's no story to back it up.

What we have with Juno, is a charming tale. Entertaining, sweet natured, intelligent, witty ... I could go on, but it'd just delay you in checking out this superb film.

P2...

Honestly, with Alexandre Aja co-writing this parking lot terroriser, I expected more. Switchblade Romance was a deliciously gore-soaked, nerve-shredding, twisted slasher flick - it should be noted that France doesn't "do" horror movies 99.9% of the time, but Switchblade showed there was no reason they shouldn't be.

Then Aja followed that skull-crushing blood feast with a remake. Now yes, in this day and age there's far too many remakes, however not all remakes are bad, some pretty effective...but many are gash and uninspired - at least of late, most of which circle the horror genre like a starving Hyena. The Hills Have Eyes was the target this time, a pretty fair one at that. The original film wasn't incredible, but nor was it atrocious, and this time round Craven was back on board - a much better situation than the name-raping bucket-of-shit crap-fests sticking themselves to George Romero's coat-tails (Day of the Dead 2008 - need I say more? How about Day of the Dead: Contagium ... or Creepshow 3).

Indeed, Hills 2006 was a production of respect and genuinely went for a terrorising thrill. The flick went for the audience's jugular, not as gimmick, but from pure and honest intention. In some ways Aja's vision improved on the original (I personally preferred the new third act - taking place in a mock American town circa the Cold War - over the original's mountain-based escapades). In other ways it simply matched the original's nasty attitude, with the odd hint of cheap scares here and there. However, over-the-piece it was a surprisingly genre-loving effort from Aja & Co.

Now here we are with P2. Prior to this we've had the most visceral throat slice ever committed to film. We've had decapitation by chest of drawers, axes hacking off limbs, the whole KNB-riffing side show. P2 however, despite being nestled amidst the adult ratings of respective territories, feels neutered. Only two significantly gory set pieces shadow the 90-odd minute running time.

What happens for the rest? Nothing much, the dark parking garage setting is spooky, but not menacing. The antagonist feels Dawson's Creek bad guy, rather than deranged nutjob ... what it feels like, is a diet meal. You've had a taste, but now you're ready for the main course ... only then do you realise this is a bit like if Weight Watchers made a horror movie. Gore isn't everything of course, but in horror you have to have tension and chills, but this is sadly lacking those as well.

It feels like it could have been a sinister, rather crafty short subject, but nothing more than that. Mind you, Aja merely co-wrote this piece ... but still, considering his name is splashed all over it, you honestly expect more.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Cloverfield...

Needless to say, I'm behind the bandwagon on this one, but then again that was entirely intentional. This is one of those movies that drowned in an absolute torrent of media blitz advertising and audience anticipation, mixed with a dressing of excessive hype.

Therefore, I stayed well clear of it - especially with Diary of the Dead coming soon after it, which I wanted to be my first POV-horror experience of 2008 (a year seemingly teeming with the blighters).

I find myself quite polarised by it, half of me digs it, and half of me is rather "meh" about the whole affair. It's set up as a piece of Department of Defence evidence (preceded by the massive Paramount logo). So surely, putting that DoD header on the front of the tape would involve editing - which leaves me wondering, why on earth wouldn't the government lacky cut the 15 minutes of not-that-interesting character stuff? It's got absolutely nothing to do with 'Cloverfield', nothing to do with monsters, or things exploding in anyone's faces.

Clearly it's there for our benefit - we the audience - but of course, this is one of the problems when it comes to POV horror flicks. Seemingly, only The Blair Witch Project has handled the style with the most precision and attention to realism.

What I'm getting at, is there are several instances where I just don't buy the supposed realism. The major set pieces (explosion, lady Liberty's head flying down the street etc) all involve heavy use of CGI, which not only feels smoother than real life, it doesn't look enough like real life when compared to the generally convincing POV footage surrounding these moments.

Even still there are certain times when the POV schtick feels kicked aside to specifically get in some narrative elements. I either thought 'why would anyone record this?' or 'well a tape doesn't do that'. A tape doesn't do what exactly? Well, from my experience with cameras, stopping and starting does not leave a few-second gap between what you just filmed and are now filming. If anything, the camera rewinds about 3 seconds. This of course means we get to see convenient snippets of the two leads to provide character development, but it's not realistic to video camera operation.

You should only see these clips whenever someone rewinds the tape to see something played back (which we don't see of course - unless it's [Rec.], where we actually saw the rewind, which makes absolutely no sense at all), and we do - but the other instances between only some of the 'in-camera edit points' doesn't make sense.

Also, there's a variety of sneaky, hidden edits. Again, you're fiddling with the realism of the POV style - such hidden cuts are really only seen when you're trying to create a sense of a superbly long take (think Rope, or Snake Eyes). Perhaps the average punter wouldn't notice, or care about such things, but as a filmmaker myself who's had many hours with a camera in his hand, these middle-fingers to the technicalities of POV realism just annoy the crap out of me.

Also - while the 'tape glitch' vibe is nowhere near as ridiculous as in either Diary of the Dead or [Rec.] (I've never seen a miniDV tape act like that - ever), it's not entirely missing. The ending, while remaining spoiler free, resorts to juggled patches of images, noises and colours in a way that's not true to the sort of camera the protagonists would have bought at their local Dixons (or where-ever).

Anyway, enough technical-rantings, the film itself - 6/10 stuff I'd have to say.

The over all spectacle is entertaining (even if certain parts seem a bit too daft ... two buildings ... nuff said), and most of the 'POV-panic' keeps you gripped and within-the-moment...but not always. Quippy lines of dialogue here-and-there seem misplaced, helicopters seem to fly way too close to fighter jet bombing runs, and the CGI beasty - while not completely over-exposed - doesn't convince once you've seen it all. Also, how could anyone not see a gigantic, many-many-storeys-tall monster, coming right at them. Just because the camera isn't pointing at it, doesn't mean those in front of it can't see what's behind 'us' (the camera).

Essentially, it's 9/11 with a monster. The times when the film works best is when it's riffing on the infamous terrorist attack, it feels real. It is gripping, and it takes something awful and helps digest it in a more palatable way, if that makes any sense. We in the West, or at least, those in Hollywood, digest disaster through TV and film. You take elements, and filter them out thin enough, so that the people en-mass can come to terms with something huge, one piece at a time.

Anyway, Cloverfield ... definitely worth watching (although those with motion sickness be warned) ... obviously, it doesn't live up to the intense amount of hype that was all around it, and at times it can be just stupid or unconvincing, at other times it can be almost entirely convincing and intense. At the very least it's a more interesting way to have a monster movie, especially after the 'meh-fest' that was the American version of Godzilla.

Sweeny Todd...

I'm not generally one for musicals - although I certainly appreciate the genre - heck, I even did an entire course one semester on The Hollywood Musical, which proved rather informative and quite enjoyable. It was nice to learn about something I didn't really know much about, something I hadn't paid much attention to in the past.

Then of course we now have Sweeny Todd. My first exposure to this being in Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl, and once I found out it has as it's tie-together-theme, essentially murder and cannibalism, my interest was piqued.

Pretty much, if you dig Tim Burton flicks - you'll no doubt lap this up. Sweeny Todd fans will also no doubt dig it, even musical fans in general will probably dig it ... even if it is all a bit uber-goth. Speaking of which, you do wonder how many 'goffs' were sniffing around this flick like it was the second coming, be they posers or not.

Anyway, amidst all the wonderfully drab and dark design, lies a slice of the classic musical...which in this day and age of *sigh* Never Back Down and all the other 'Fast & The Furious, but with...' popcorn escapades, is a nice change of pace.

Finally, I myself could certainly be labeled (one of many labels, surely) as a gore-hound - and this certainly taps into that vein. A horror musical with lashings of the red, red kroovy.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

There Will Be Blood...

As far as epics go for the 2007-2008 period go, my top slot has already been assumed - as you might well know by now - by The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, an absolutely spell-binding, myth-meditating western.

However, there is another heavy weight contender out there - PT Anderson's There Will Be Blood. Mark Kermode has ranted and raved about this film with similar passion as I have for The Assassination of Jesse James (or as my fellow online movie nerds would say, "flat out flaming for it").

It's a timely movie, considering the fuss surrounding oil - the black, liquid gold. It's a tale of ambition, greed, deception, corruption, attempted redemption, anger, murder, capitalism unbound ... basically it's bloated with the sheer volume of narrative themes.

Admittedly, I found the last 40 minutes or so to, not drag, but just lose some of that special something - for me anyway. What preceded this sedate third act (or indeed fourth act) was gripping to say the least. Beautiful images, weighty performances, direction of absolute craft and obsessive precision ... I guess the comparative stroll of the final scenes didn't strike me as hard as they might have done. However, there's always the second viewing, which will no doubt confirm the power of these final scenes for me - not that I deny this now. Perhaps I was personally just beginning to tap out a smidge by that stage, there is a fair shift in gears for the final act.

As already said though, it's a film of brutish strength in all its creative extents, a coming together of artists, which culminated in a modern epic (see also Into The Wild). It seems that amidst the cheap ideas, remakes and MTV-sucking tat, that there is a bit of a renaissance going on somewhere inside Hollywood. Those with plenty of clout (such as PTA and Brad Pitt) are pushing the boundaries of artistic filmmaking, they're trying to seek out something more, something epic, something meaningful. Today it seems, after the inspiring renaissance seen on the small screen during recent years, the 'New Hollywood' era is making a come back.

Such bold entries into the annals of cinematic history will never go away, but will hibernate from time-to-time, now though - the grizzly has awakened, and it's impressive.

Alvin & The Chipmunks:

What it heaven's name am I doing watching this kid's flick, you might well be asking. Simple - Jason Lee - that's why. Be he Brodie, or Earl or any of his well known characters (even his not so well known supporting roles), he's just a joy to watch...that's why.

As for the flick itself, obviously it's kids stuff all over, but it's sad to see even a kid's film sporting so many huge plot holes. Only Dave seems to struggle to accept singing chipmunks, but the entire world is on board immediately.

Then of course, to be 'hip', they all end up getting sucked into the record industry and basically become hip hoppers ... *sigh* ... although I do like the (albeit simplified) arc of success, fame, industry corruption and ultimate redemption ... except with CGI chipmunks. Perhaps some kids will take home a valuable lesson, instead of aspiring to be the next paris hilton (who's not deserving of capital letters) ... speaking of whom, great to see the return of My Name Is Earl after the whole Writer's Strike hooplah, but why-oh-why did they have to include that whore-bag-skank-bitch in the episode? Yes, you could say they were taking the piss by just having her say that pathetic 'slogan' or 'catch phrase' of hers (two words is not a catchphrase, it's two fucking words) ... but still, pick someone else, or do a parody of her without actually using her, or her whore-bag-ridden name.

Why she's still being entertained by the media industry is beyond me, what we need is far more anti-paris stuff. I mean seriously, what has she brought the world? Being a whore with no talent who's only famous for shagging some douchebag in night vision ... meanwhile there's a slew of industry deaths at the moment, including the famous demise of Heath Ledger - a man of integrity, intelligence and acting skill that is seen all too rarely these days. A genuine artist who left behind iconic portrayals - such as in the absolutely superb Brokeback Mountain - so he has to be taken, by an accidental overdose as well, and that waste of oxygen hilton is still strutting around like she's awesome...

How the crap did I get here? Well it just goes to show what state 'the industry' is in at the moment, to some extent at least, and I guess that ties in with this Chipmunks movie. It just feels cheap and tacky, but I don't blame Lee for taking the role - he's the lead, he basically carries the whole human side of it entirely, he gets out there to a wider audience...I get it.

But hh yes, I will go all "in my day" now, because the sort of flicks I grew up watching were the likes of Ghostbusters, *batteries Not Included, Short Circuit, The Money Pit, Big ... all sorts of classic 80s greats. All family classics in fact, with wit, humour, morals and true entertainment.

By comparison - and looking at it objectively, rather than personally (I'll never be six years old again) - Alvin just doesn't have the balls of past family classics...that said, there are family flicks of recent years which equal the greatness of those from my childhood ... silver lining, eh?

Bit of a rant, but there you go.

Friday, 4 April 2008

AvP: Requiem...

Some more thoughts regarding this flick as I was having a think about it earlier.

Firstly, it really is complete shite, but secondly it's a complete rip-off of Alien 1, 2 and 3 as well as both the Predator films. It seems the script writers watched those movies, stole a variety of scenes and lines of dialogue, smooshed them all together to make a kind of purply-brown splodge of crap (like when you mix a load of different coloured paints together) and then sprinkled some MTV-chumming, O.C. style dandruff on the top and called it AvP: Requiem.

It's abominable, it really is. The only good part - or decent-ish part anyway - is the violence and gore, and even that is mostly in the pitch dark so you can't see anything at all, or it's just been thrown around so much you couldn't give a bollocks.

Also, what's with the Predalien? Why would a hybrid be that half-and-half? Surely a mixture of two vastly different sets of DNA wouldn't come out so clean - it is of course just two pictures (one of each beasty) laid on top of one another, and then the designer shouted "done!"

It's a real shame, because the first 3 Alien films and the 2 Predator movies were awesome ... Alien 4 is a bit of a bastard step-child that smells a bit, as well as being completely unnecessary ... then AvP came along with it's PG-13 mish-mash, garbage-juicer, franchise-raping ways ... then AvP2 appeared, and the pompously-self-titled "The Brothers Strauss" kept banging on about how awesome their movie was going to be because of all the gore they've put back in.

If the characters are stupid, boring, lame and uninspired cliches, and if the vast majority of the movie's good parts are actually just pilfered from the previous entries in the respective franchises, and the script is just a cluster-fuck from start to finish, then how is that a good movie?

Hindsight is a powerful thing, originally I think I was far too kind on this crap-fest, upon second viewing it's just gotten worse. It's head-in-hands time people. Sometimes a second viewing can make a movie better, especially in over-hype situations like with Superbad (awesome movie, but the intense hype around it led to my first viewing being not as juicy as the second), but sometimes a second viewing flings a turd into the light for all to see it's nutty crapness.

Now before anybody might start thinking 'fanboy rant', well shut up, because if the movie genuinely was good I'd be praising it. Also, if someone said "I'd like to see you come up with a better script" - well invent a time machine, organise for me to write the film and pay me for it and then I bloody well will!

Ugh, what a waste of time and effort it all is ... such a shame ... still, the original franchises remain in existence and continue to be awesome, so it's not all bad then.

Plus, in a world where BioShock exists, it just goes to show that creative talent hasn't completely vanished under the crushing weight of My Super Sweet 16 and other such intelligence-sapping crap.

Into The Wild...

Action packed this is not, but if you thought this character study was going to be a roller coaster, you're clearly not the target audience for this gradually-paced, man VS nature true story re-telling. At well over 2 hours, even the more cynical among the audience will become enchanted by the tale, and quite possibly spare a moment of thought for the real-life nature boy, whom the film is all about.

Initially I wasn't quite feeling 'it'. It initially feels like 'well-to-do middle class kid takes a disliking to capitalism and goes off on some parent-aggrieving adventure' ... it even feels a bit, dare I say it, Hollywood in the idealism of the adventure being undertaken. Simply destroy all your ID and burn your money and start hiking.

However, given the chance, the film proves to you that is has a valid story of a yearning for simplicity and freedom from the young mind, and spirit, of the protagonist. It ultimately becomes soul-searching stuff, amidst the poetic cinematography which draws you into the journey and allows you to sit beside 'Alex Supertramp' throughout.

Of course, the cynicism in most of us will see that it's absolutely stupid - no matter how spiritual - to attempt to 'live off the land' with absolutely no survival training. It's a bit too idealistic for 'kid surburbia' to go it alone in the woods and not expect tragedy which, as anyone remotely familiar with the true life story, is signaled up early on.

Despite this, and the apparent copy-cat journey-makers, and the severity of the tragedy itself (apparently he was merely a few miles from sanctuary, and indeed 1/4 mile from a trafficked cable car route), it is an inspiring film. You shouldn't run off to the wilds with the naivety and idealism of someone tired of the fast-spinning-world of commerce, but perhaps you should step outside of your wallet for a spell ... at least understand that the importance of modern life's accoutrements is merely relative, and ultimately (in a more spiritual sense) unnecessary (they're just nice things to enjoy a bit along the way).

It's inspiring to me in a similar respect to the McGregor/Boorman journeys (particularly Long Way Round) - seeing more than your own town, going on a little adventure (or even big adventure) and coming out of it (or indeed going through it) with a greater appreciation for life and the lives of others, and of course for the world around you.

As a film itself, it's a campfire tale with a camera turned onto it. It feels like a kind of mini-legend, a fairy tale almost, of self-discovery and a search for something meaningful and for a place to be. It's a tale of a free spirit, if I dare to use such a cliched and overused phrase, to describe a profoundly moving piece of artistic filmmaking.

Although as far as recent poetic, meditative character studies surrounded by tragedy go, I'd still plump for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford first ... but then again, I'm a complete whore for that instant classic (also thanks to Total Film for sending my free DVD of it out so quickly, ahead of street date too, nice one).

8/10

[Rec.]

It seems that 2008 is the year of FPS scare-stories, what with the likes of Cloverfield, Diary of the Dead, and the as-yet-unreleased-in-America The Zombie Diaries (released in the UK in 2007), and this is where [Rec.] comes in.

Basically, it's a bit like 28 Days Later in an apartment block ... and it's Spanish, although the Americans are already hammering out a remake, thus strengthening the stereotype that 'them thar Yanks don't like foreigners, cos their mooovies are stoopid and makes them's brains hurt'.

A shame really, because it's a tense, fast-paced horror thrill ride.

There are downsides though. At times some of the scares seem a bit forced, or indeed flat-out 'obviously coming' (to seasoned genre veterans). 'Oh the lights went out, let's put the spotlight on - oh of course - a zombie-thing screaming in close up right in my face'. Scares like that, are obvious and forced, while others are unexpected or are surrounded by a genuine sense of palpable tension. At times - particularly the final moments - you are just creeped right the hell out.

If you got especially wigged out by the bit in Blair Witch in the abandoned house, you'll be in familiarly damp undercrackers during the final minutes of this flick.

One other annoyance - at times the characters can be cliche-level stupid, or ultra-panicky-Petes. For some reason, these sort of movies never feature a law enforcer who commands respect and has an idea of how to control a situation, especially one involving quarantine. Also - for me anyway - the television reporter (who speaks at a million miles an hour, which makes for absolute subtitle-reading joy *sarcasm overload*), annoyed the crap out of me at times. You're trying to film secretly through an open window, within earshot of the authorities, so yes, keep pestering your cameraman really loudly by repeatedly asking him what's going on. How about you shut up and let him film!

Speaking of filming - the FPS angle - yet again, several instances of 'well that wouldn't really happen in real life'. Yet again - for one - the insistence on unrealistic tape glitches. When a tape goes from one thing to another, it just cuts straight to the next thing, not wiggly lines, no audio buzz, no visual fuzz - here though, that happens all the time. Also - for two - at times the audio goes all 'Saving Private Ryan' - which makes no sense, because knocking a mounted shotgun microphone won't have that effect, you'll get a loud bump and scuffle, or the sound will cut out completely - it won't sound like Tom Hanks having a moment of nervous breakdown on a Nazi-riddled beach!

And - for three - is this supposed to be one continuous tape (you get that impression, as the reporter says she doesn't want to waste tape) - however, it's okay to waste tape for moments that are obviously only there to provide some sort of narrative continuity. Again, in real life, you wouldn't bother filming your host strapping on microphones.

As a filmmaker myself, these sort of things bug the crap out of me. Oh yeah, and - for four - this is supposed to be a professional cameraman, yet he is insistent on zooming in and out almost constantly during action scenes, as well as wiggling the camera around like some scared little girl running away from Leatherface!

Regardless of these few annoyances, this flick is simply a must-watch for horror hounds. While not exceptionally original (especially considering the apparent flood of FPS flicks out there this year), and at times sporting cliched character actions, or forced jump scares, the over-all sense of tension, dread and being trapped makes this an affecting tale of horror. It certainly doesn't outstay it's welcome, at a mere 70 minutes it darts in, steals your sense of calm, and scarpers into the darkness again.

7/10

Thursday, 3 April 2008

tippity-tap-tap-tap...

...the sound of me finger-doodles waggling over the keyboard of course...

(by the way, that "Sa!" "Cla!" advert is fucking annoying, ugh!)

Anyway, "Leak" is coming along spiffingly, it's only got to be 2.5 pages long at the most - according to the parameters set by the LFA in their advert on Mandy - and as previously stated I've got a lot of ideas floating around in it, but I'm quite pleased with the script too. A bit more fiddling on it and that'll be that, off it'll go.

As for other script writing, perhaps I mentioned a while ago about "Zed Heads", can't exactly remember. It was a whole thing about two zombie nerds fighting and it was supposed to be funny, but it ended up being a long, serious rant that wasn't funny at all, so I completely ditched that idea by the side of the road like a hitch-hiker who's just mentioned their penchant for burberry-clad murdering.

Some ideas work, some ideas don't. Meh...

Indeed, it's been a bit slow of late, here in these final chilly months of the winter season, the beginning of 2008 proper, but that's how it goes as well sometimes. The point is to keep the old chin-wagger up, keep searching for work and establishing future work and then take the time to do other things - I've been up to all four of those - the latter being a lot of script writing, and of course, just enjoying some time to consume media like a right whore, haha!

I've got a couple of projects already lined up to start soon, and with Contempt of Conscience being wrapped up, hopefully that'll get out there and get the attention it deserves. So, with busy times on the horizon, and chin ceiling-scraping a-go-go, back to enjoying the temporary quiet zone.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

April fools! ... oh wait ... bugger ...

A day late, but meh, didn't have a title.

Anyway, I've been busy writing "Leak", and have done two passes of it thus far. There's a lot of ideas to cram into a very short script, but I'm really pushing the boat out to try and maximise my chances of my script being picked up for production.

Oh and BioShock is rather spiffing.