Monday 28 February 2011

Flavours of the Month: February 2011...


Breaking Bad: Season One - FX repeated the first season over the last several weeks, so I took the chance to finally check this show out. I'm gradually getting into it, and I look forward to seeing season two.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation - for some reason I had a hankering to see this woeful sequel again, but despite being utterly rubbish, there are numerous aspects to the film that are actually quite good, but blimey is it a cobbled together hash of old tat for the most part.

Curb Your Enthusiasm - yet another show I never saw during its original run that I'm now catching up on, thanks to Sky Atlantic, from the very first episode. Cringe-inducingly good.

Piranha 3D (Blu-Ray) - I've blogged about it already, so go and read that post.

The Sopranos - I missed it entirely during its original run, so I'm catching up from the very beginning on Sky Atlantic. Three episodes in and I dig it.

Clerks 2, Zack & Miri Make A Porno, Zodiac, and Twin Peaks Making-Ofs - I guess it must be all the SModcast network shows that I listen to during the week that inspired the first two, finally getting to see Fincher's latest for the third, and requiring some inspiration for the last one.

The Social Network (DVD) - I've also blogged about this in an earlier post, so have a read of that.

Dead Island Official Announcement Trailer (and music) - a wonderful teaser trailer, with heart-string-tugging musical accompaniment. Let's hope the actual game lives up to the memorable trailer.

The Oscars 2011 - another year, another four or five hours of content to skim through on Sky+ the morning after (having avoided practically the entire internet, and television, due to the tidal wave of spoilers that nobody gives a shit about putting out there ... I mean, it begins airing in the UK at 1.30am - nobody is watching it live in the UK, so come on already with the bloody spoilers!) Christopher Nolan getting overlooked was ridiculous, Hailee Steinfeld getting nommed for Supporting Actress instead of Leading Actress was bizarre, and Melissa Leo dropping the "f-bomb" was highly enjoyable. At least Inception did well on technical awards, Aaron Sorkin got a win, and Toy Story 3 was always going to walk it - but it's no less well deserved. Generally speaking it was another year of few surprises, but well, it is kind of like the Superbowl for movie fans, so I enjoy it all the same.


Foo Fighters - from their first to their most recent, in anticipation of this year's new album, I've had a retrospective tour through Grohl & Co's awesomeness.

Green Day "Warning" - this month got off to a very bad start with the death of my Aunt, so in my own little personal tribute and source of rememberance, I listened to this album several times. Why? Because in 2000 she bought it for me as a present (my first Green Day album to boot), and it was one of the albums that came along at that point in my life when my musical horizons were expanding - indeed prior to that point I hadn't been much into music - so the album meant a lot to me already, but it has now taken on an extra special meaning.

Basement Jaxx "Dracula" - as heard on the advert for the Audi A7 Sportback. Particularly enjoyable in a cinema setting.

The Social Network - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross most definitely deserved that Oscar.

Eric Prydz vs Pink Floyd "Proper Education" - the original track is a classic, and I recently was reminded of this remix, which I also quite enjoy.


Crackdown 2 - got it cheap and bashed through it. A mixed bag - all the orb gathering and city-leaping stuff is as fun as ever, but the "Tactical Locations" aren't in the least bit tactical, the inclusion of Freaks isn't a particularly interesting plot (or gameplay) device, the aiming system is frequently annoying, and it can at times be rather frustrating ... and yet it's still addictive, and can still be jolly good fun. If only they'd put some more thought and effort into it all - let's just say that I'm very glad I got it cheap.

"The Man In The White Suit", Ben Collins - The Stig speaks, and while he's not the greatest wordsmith, I found his book and enjoyable and surprisingly interesting read, particularly as a huge Top Gear fan. I don't in the slightest bit begrudge him revealing he was the man behind the world-famous helmet, particularly after eight years of loyal and influential service to the show. A combination of his career behind the wheel professionally, as well as during his time on the vastly successful Top Gear, and his army training - the latter of which proved to be actually quite interesting, not to mention impressive to read.

"A Simples Life: My Life & Times", Aleksandr Orlov - I couldn't give a stuff about the website these meerkats are supposed to be advertising, but they have proved to be the most consistently entertaining adverts on television. If only all adverts could be this welcome on my television screen. As for the book, it's a fun little extension of the whole thing.

"The World According to Clarkson Vol. 4: How Hard Can It Be?", Jeremy Clarkson - another year, another collection of Clarkson's musings on life, the universe, and everything. Good as always.

Allen Bridge - returning to a screenplay idea that's been brewing gradually over the last several months hasn't been easy, but it has been fruitful as I begin to claw back my creative juices after a rather bad start to 2011. This is shaping up to be my most interesting, but also most complex and difficult-to-figure-out, script to date.

Double Bill Mini-Cine Musings: Stoner aliens and Amber Heard in 3D...

Compared to the comedic writing style of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (which is often intricate and fast paced in terms of call-backs, observations and references), that of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (who co-wrote this action/comedy/sci-fi/road movie) isn't so much about intricacies. Rather it's more about a central concept - two British nerds (Pegg & Frost) go on a road trip across America's alien-related sights after their visit to fanboy central (the San Diego Comic-Con), and end up having to escort an alien - named Paul - to a certain site (kudos to those who figure out the loving reference an hour before it occurs) so that he can get home.

Where Paul shines are the characters - from Pegg and Frost's loveable duo of alien-obsessed nerds, to Kristen Wiig's Darwin-denying Creationist (whose entire belief system is exploded in one moment), to a certain sci-fi legend cameo that's damn good fun in the third act. In between it all though, for added enjoyment, are a series of cameos and bit-parts ... and then there's Paul himself, as voiced by Seth Rogen - possibly the most fun-loving alien ever on-screen.

While it may not have the wall-to-wall, frenetically-paced chuckles, guffaws, and gaspers of Shaun of the Dead, or Hot Fuzz, it's a movie that can't just be slotted into the comedy genre and left. It's as much a road movie as a comedy, and there's a decent slice of action, and sci-fi, drizzled on top.

It's bloody good fun, and I'm hoping that there'll be an extended cut for the home video release - because by the end of the film I wanted a little bit more of the little character moments and interplay that no doubt had to be left on the cutting room floor for the theatrical release - so we'll have to see what's what, but this is a definite DVD/Blu-Ray purchase no matter what.

Drive Angry 3D:
Using 3D like it's supposed to (shoving guns, baseball bats, skull fragments, and bloody stumps deep into the lens), this romper stomper of a genre flick is good fun from-the-get-go. It's not meant to be deep, so if you were expecting anything remotely like that, then you're a fool - it's clearly about muscle cars, guns, Nic Cage doing his badass thing, and Amber Heard in Daisy Dukes ... in 3D.

Speaking of which, even though the 3D is a bit of fun, I'm really starting to lose interest in it. It's not just the bloody glasses you have to wear, nor is it just the damned cheek of charging a considerable slab more on your ticket for 3D, but it's just how damn-near-pointless 3D is. If a movie is shit, it's shit, be it in 3D or not, and vice versa. 3D isn't necessary to tell a story either, far from it, so it becomes either unimportant or a gimmick - and neither path is going to mean it properly taking off.

Moving on though, Drive Angry 3D was - at times - a little disappointing. William Fichtner's "The Accountant" is a thoroughly entertaining baddie, but there needed to be more of him throughout, meanwhile all the Satanic Cult stuff wasn't as developed (and therefore not as interesting) as it could have been, so that all became a case of generic bad guy cannon fodder for the third act. What does work are the exploitation elements - the cars, the sex, the violence, and the black humour.

Compared to Lussier & Farmer's previous 3D outing (the underwhelming remake of My Bloody Valentine, also in 3D and also featuring genre icon Tom Atkins), this is a decided step up in all respects ... it's just a shame that the pacing and plotting faltered throughout, and that some of the dialogue seemed lazy ("I'm going to kill you" - intentionally ironic in its simplicity or not, such lines came off as damp squibs when the audience was all expecting a much more creative kiss-off).

The flick would at times have a real sense of purpose propelling it forward, but then it would inexplicably lose it from time-to-time throughout (times when I'd be waiting for Fichtner's scene-stealing Accountant to turn up). Indeed, the aforementioned Satanic Cult was the most undercooked element of the script, lead by a one-note bad guy, who was entirely trumped by, yep, Fichtner's grin-inducing Accountant-from-Hell.

So it's a mixed bag, but ultimately it gets a thumbs up from me because - several scripting and pacing faults aside - it's just a bloody good time. It is called Drive Angry after all, and features sexy cars, sexy chicks, badass dudes and pounding jolts of violence ... in full-on gimmick-driven 3D.

Saturday 26 February 2011

Double Bill Mini Musings: The Good Tenenbaums...

The Good German:
If it wasn't for the post-war-cinema period aesthetic of Soderbergh's intriguing drama, it might not have been quite such an interesting film. That's not to say the plot was boring - far from it - post-war Berlin, divided into a series of zones, is a powerful thematic element, and one which was perfectly employed in the wonderful The Third Man. However, Soderbergh's flick can at times feel a bit like the style is taking over from the sometimes-tricky plot. Is it an exercise in cinematic style more than anything else?

However, when it comes to style - staying really quite true to the aesthetic of 1940s black and white post-war cinema - The Good German handles it deftly. Clearly taking major inspiration from the aforementioned The Third Man, it's a joy to see the original Academy Ratio (4:3), the limitations (a relative term, really) on sound recording, lighting, and camera moves, but all done in a way that shows the same creativity and arresting vision that the likes of The Third Man demonstrated. The one big difference however, is Soderbergh and Co. weren't working under the strictures of the Hays Code ... so the language is salty and the sex isn't metaphorical.

The Royal Tenenbaums:
It's an odd thing, I've gone so long without seeing any Wes Anderson movies, and then all of a sudden three come along in quick succession - Fantastic Mr. Fox, Rushmore, and now The Royal Tennenbaums - in which an oddball, well-to-do family, replete with a host of early-blooming children, is broken up and brought back together by Gene Hackman's obtuse and selfish patriarch.

Like the other two, Anderson's approach to filmmaking is ever-present, as is his quirky humour and presentation. From the cinematography, to the choices in the editing room, it feels every bit a Wes Anderson-guided product. I don't particularly laugh out loud at the comedy present in these films, rather I sit pleasantly amused by proceedings and, come the end credits, I'm thoroughly glad I took the time to watch.

A decade ago I don't think I would have liked these flicks, but a decade is a long time, and that degree in film certainly expanded my cinematic horizons and appreciation to no end.

Thursday 24 February 2011

A return to "Allen Bridge"...

Back in May/June of 2010, the seed of an idea was planted that has since gone on to be referred to as "Allen Bridge", and over the intervening months I've been in-and-out of thinking about it. I first started thinking about it (with ideas, and indeed maps of entire scenes, exploding forth with creative fervor) when I was getting the final draft of Summer Road finished off.

Then I had a break from it ... then I tried to get back into it, and did so for a couple of weeks more planning and thinking ... and then I was distracted by this-and-that-and-everything-in-between.

Now, after a rather bad start to 2011, I'm looking to turn the 2011 boat around and turn this year into something much, much better than it has so far been - and so I've returned to "Allen Bridge", my next feature length script - a mystery/drama that is inspired by local folklore. I'm getting myself geared up on the inspiration front, watching and listening to certain things to get my head into the appropriate mindset.

There's dozens of pages of ideas, character info, roughed-out sequences and scenes, and everything in between to go back over, but hopefully this is the beginning of a decided upswing for 2011.

Monday 21 February 2011

"Just War" in Borderlines Film Festival 2011...

Just got word that Just War (read about it here) will be showing at the 2011 Borderlines Film Festival.

I'll pimp relevant links as-and-when.

Speaking of Borderlines, here is a pic of Joe and I, from last year's festival when Gaia & Genesis was shown.

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Two Very Good, One Decent, One Dreadful...

I've been aware of Wes Anderson for quite a while, but for whatever reason I'd never seen any of his stuff - until recently - with Fantastic Mr Fox, and now Rushmore. The latter is less a cohesive A-to-B plot (with similarly structured subplots) than it being more a collection of generally-related sequences and characters, but all underpinned by a slightly skewed humour, and awkward intelligence - which is well portrayed on-screen by Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. Odd and charming at the same time, the central plot of a student attending a posh school who falls in love with a teacher, gets kicked out, and faces rivalry from an elder gent has been done before - or elements of that, in certain ways at least - but in the hands of Anderson & Co it feels fresh and satisfyingly quirky.

The Social Network:
It's David Fincher, so I was going to watch it no matter what, but the idea of Fincher making "a movie about Facebook" was a particularly odd-sounding thing, however it's not a movie about people poking, tagging, liking and generally annoying each other with embarrassing photos from the night before - it's actually about how an idea can at first be generated, then evolve, and go on to not only change the world (and how hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people interact daily), but also destroy friendships along the way.

The Social Network isn't the true story, but then it's not a false story either. Nobody will ever know the truly true story, so it's a version of the story - and a well told, and skilfully performed one at that, replete with blisteringly fast dialogue and off-kilter scoring, that helps turn a story about entrepreneurs and legal battles into a passionate tale of the fragility of human interaction.

Far from making any of the players heroes or villains, Sorkin's script is complex and subtle in its shaping of your opinions of these characters - in that it merely guides you to make your own opinions along the way, and then modify them continually. In lesser hands it would just be a tale of 'some nerd screws his friend out of a shedload of money and gets insanely rich doing it' - but Sorkin's script, Fincher's direction, and the cast's performances elevate it far beyond such simplicities.

Stylishly precise, like all of Fincher's work, it's a surprisingly fascinating flick that deserves to be held well above the dismissively ill-informed "Facebook Movie" moniker it initially attracted.

Miller's Crossing:
Being that True Grit was just released, a handful of Coen brothers flicks are appearing on the movie channels at the moment, and this was one I hadn't seen. A prohibition era gangster tale of a right-hand-man who gets caught between two warring factions as he struggles to pay off his gambling debts. To be honest I struggled a bit with the characters along the way, getting lost with which name belonged to who, and how everybody fitted together, and indeed I didn't find the plot particularly enthralling. However, it is the Coen brothers, so it was still worth watching, but it wasn't one of my favourite flicks of theirs. I've seen it once, so that'll do me.

Clash of the Titans (2010):
Heaven's above, this was shit. Sometimes a movie can bore you into reading a magazine, or staring out the window, but this movie bored me into nothingness. A bunch of limp set-up happens, then some CGI, then some giant Scorpions, then some travelling, then some manky old hags holding an eyeball (the Stygian witches), then a laughably fatal encounter with Medusa, and then the Kraken (or "Craaah-kehn" as Hades keeps pronouncing it) makes a lot of noise and gets killed pretty damn quickly. The end.

I haven't seen the original in many, many years, but I'd much rather watch that with it's charming and skilled stop-motion animation, than this modern-day load of old cobblers. I mean bloody hellfire was it dull.


Oh and by the way - this is blogpost #600.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Double Bill Mini-Cine Musings: True Fighter...

The Fighter:
Like a new Rocky for the new millennium, The Fighter shares the same sense of an underdog from a tough, blue collar neighbourhood trying to overcome that which keeps him down, and punch above his weight in the process. Actors Wahlberg, Bale, Leo, and Adams all give inhabited performances, particularly Bale who once again transforms himself into his chosen role.

There's a subtle sense of humour dotted around the flick too, which helps keep the overall feel of the movie as tough, but not joyless, and similar to the final chapter in the Rocky saga, the fight scenes are handled with the same pay-per-view TV immediacy. By the final fight I was damn near ready to leap to my feet and start cheering with my fist thrusting into the air.

True Grit:
Of the Coen's recent batch of films, I really dug No Country For Old Men, enjoyed the 'standard Coens' Burn After Reading, and respected their unapologeticly exclusive A Serious Man - but out of the three, No Country was the one that really stood out to me as the Coens at full speed. Similarly, True Grit has that same sense of the Coen brothers in full swing.

At the time of writing this I haven't seen the John Wayne version - but I plan to at some point - so I can only go on this 2010 version (more a re-telling of the book, than a re-making of the movie, according to the Coens), but in short I loved it.

Jeff Bridges does a fantastic job at portraying the gruff, almost belligerent Cogburn - the mix of the eye patch, the grumbling near-unintelligible drawl, and a sense that this is Cogburn makes for a potent package ... it's not Jeff Bridges, it's not The Dude, it is Cogburn, and he's a tough man you would hate upon first meeting until you had been through some trials side-by-side that would earn you his respect.

Matt Damon plays it much more straight-laced, with a few flourishes here and there (his cocky flashing of his lawman's badge), but it's Hailee Steinfeld who steals the entire show. Her performance is phenomenal, and all the more so as this is her first movie. For a 13 year old girl (at the time of filming) to be so in command of her scenes - and indeed in command of Bridges and Damon throughout the movie - is just superb. Quite frankly the Academy have done themselves a disservice by not putting her into the Leading Actress category for the Oscars (she was instead nominated for Supporting Actress - when she's unquestionably the only prominent Actress in the entire movie), but then it's not the first time that the Academy have made a daft decision (and not the first for this year's show either - after all, where is Christopher Nolan's Best Director nomination?!).

Roger Deakins cinematography is, of course, beautiful - albeit less adventurous than what he provided in 2007's luxurious, poetic, and meandering The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Rounding out the package even Jarlath Conroy turns up in the movie. "Who?" you might ask - well, if you're a fan of George A. Romero's Day of the Dead, then you'll know him as the hard-drinking Irish radio operator McDermott. So that was a nice little cherry on top of a decidedly well made Sundae.

Highly recommended.

Double Bill Mini Musings: One Hard, One Gooey...

Generic, predictable, rushed, undercooked, underacted by actors who have all done far, far better work, not terribly exciting (or even slightly exciting) ... in short, it was pish and pointless. The only plus was that Fred Ward was in it, who I remember fondly as playing Earl Bassett in the first two Tremors movies.

The Stuff:
I've seen the poster/cover art for this flick all over the place - a typically unsubtle image of a man's deforming, agonised face expelling thick, white gunge from every hole ... so, pretty cool then. Annoyingly, that never really happens in the entire movie, which is suggested to be a gory horror, but it's decidedly not.

In fact it's got quite a decent budget behind it for this kind of flick - replete with sequences in studios, supermarkets, abandoned towns, private jets and so on - but it's all utterly wasted on a dreadfully unfocussed script which is machine-gunned with plot holes ... a problem only exacerbated by further machine-gunning to any shred of plot consistency in the edit.

The flick leaps from one sequence to another with sudden gear changes, the appearance of entirely excised scenes, and knocks to simple logic or common sense. It barely makes a lick of sense, and the opening scene is laughably to-the-point ... perhaps this was intentional, but it seems to take itself too seriously with it's apparent subtext of consumer and capitalist criticism, for any suggestion that it's a spoof or horror comedy to convincingly hold water. Remember how The Happening was called a tongue-in-cheek spoof after it turned out to be rubbish?

This all said, the scale afforded by a seemingly decent budget is impressive - most notably for the inclusion of some lovely visual effects, model work, and whenever large quantities of the thick, gooey "Stuff" gets loose and starts sliding up walls, out windows, bodies, and generally consuming all in its path ... indeed it begins to feel like an homage to The Blob at times.

Furthermore the protagonist - an industrial snoop/saboteur/investigator/blackmailer - gets some entertaining dialogue to chew on, but the rest of the film drowns in the afforementioned gargantuan plot holes and complete lack of screenwriting, directorial, or editorial focus.

It could have been a really good flick if it wasn't for the film's pervasive flaws, which over-ride the things it gets right. A pity. Perhaps it's a movie held in high regard by some fans who came to it in their formative years back when it originally came out - and all the power to them - but I personally didn't dig it. Enough was more than enough, to ham-fistedly parody a particular line of dialogue.

Saturday 12 February 2011

Contempt of Conscience - full documentary online...

A few years back now I was involved in a documentary project called Contempt of Conscience.

It has now been uploaded in-full to YouTube, and you can watch it via the links (or embedded windows) below - or you can visit Top Documentary Films and see it there.




Friday 11 February 2011

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: February 2011...

Didn't fancy it last year in the cinema, but it was a decent watch on Sky Movies. The most impressive thing about the movie was the ideas proposed by the script - a society in which humans are an endangered species after vampires have taken over the world. The issues of blood supply running low, of capturing and harvesting humans for blood, of blood rationing, of vampire canibalism, and a near-future world that runs exclusively in a nocturnal fashion.

That was all very impressive and interesting, but it's somewhat skimped on in a 90 minute movie that has to hit certain basic plot points along the way to bash through the action. If it didn't have any thought put into it, it would have been a rather dull and generic action movie, but with the inclusion of a relatively complex society it was elevated to much better fare. It's just a shame it wasn't a much more thoughtful two hour movie that really explored the socio-political themes in far greater depth.

Having recently seen Meatballs, I understood certain references in shows like Family Guy - and once again with Stripes it's the same deal. It's not amazingly funny, and I'm not of the generation that would have been teenagers when this flick came out, however Bill Murray's comedy is timeless - and it's worth seeing just for that alone - plus you get earlier work from the likes of Ramis, Candy, and Reitman.

Coogan's Bluff:
It's an "offbeat police drama" - according to the Electronic Programme Guide - and I only watched it because of Clint Eastwood. I didn't much care for it, to be honest. There are some nice dialogue moments (such as Clint's Arizona Sheriff Coogan dealing with a New York cab driver), but it's not particularly dramatic, or exciting, or all that interesting. Plus the sexual politics are very out-of-date by today's standards ... so it hasn't aged especially well in that respect.

Piranha 3D (Blu-Ray):
I wasn't particularly interested in seeing this in the cinema - not least because of the jacked-up price of a 3D cinema ticket - and for the same amount of cash I was able to get the Blu-Ray, which features the movie in 2D as well as both Stereoscopic and Anaglyph 3D. I don't have a 3D telly, but if I knew someone who had one sometime in the future I could watch it over at their place.

As it is though I watched the flick in good old 2D - with a skim-through afterwards in Anaglyph 3D, which, let's be honest, hasn't improved as a technology in the slightest. Even in a darkened room the 3D effect was minimal at best, and just gave me sore eyes with the red/blue glasses. Perhaps the Stereoscopic version works better, but Anaglyph 3D - for sure - is still rubbish. In fact you can practically watch the Anaglyph 3D version without the glasses on as most of the time the layers are so close together there's barely any noticeable difference.

In 2D however it was an enjoyable, 1980s throwback-style romp. It's the sort of flick in which a CGI piranha regurgitates a bitten-off and half-eaten male member into the camera lens ... which pretty much sums up the approach this flick has to the subject matter at hand. It's not meant to be taken seriously by any stretch of the imagination, it's not supposed to be scary either - it's supposed to be lurid, funny, gross-out, and just a bloody good chuckle.

Richard Dreyfuss cameos as "a version of his Matt Hooper character from Jaws" at the very beginning, and indeed Christopher Lloyd resurrects his crowd-pleasing wild scientist schtick as a fish-fascinated pet shop owner. From the outset the flick is drenched in gore, nudity, and silliness - this is a movie custom made for six-pack home viewing with some buddies.

It licks along at a fair old pace too (the deleted scenes clearly being cut to keep the flick under 90 minutes, as they're mostly pretty good scenes in themselves), so it never outstays its welcome, and it all builds towards an end-of-second-act orgy of boobs, blood and gruesome gore at a marina party. It's an audacious, over-the-top, gag-a-second drag race through as many naked bodies and half-devoured limbs, torsos, and faces as possible - in no uncertain terms, KNB FX have royally out-done themselves on this flick. The gore is copious, entertaining, and endlessly creative - so you gore hounds are most definitely catered for here. In fact, it's the ideal teenage movie - chock full of sex, violence, and general daftness - I really enjoyed it as a 20-something, and I would have likewise enjoyed the hell out of it as a teenager.

Apparently a sequel is in the works, and if it's as good as this flick - one of the handful of worthwhile horror remakes out there (including The Hills Have Eyes, also directed by Alexandre Aja) - then I'll be there with bells on.

Monday 7 February 2011

Pentuple Bill Mini Musings: January/Febuary 2011...

Point Break:
The only other Katherine Bigelow film I had seen up to this point was The Hurt Locker, however I was quite familiar with some of the iconography of this flick - namely 'the ex-Presidents' robbing banks, and the sky diving stuff - turns out it's a really fun action flick, and the sort that the film school graduate in me could have a field day with for an essay on sexual subtext. It's very much of the time of the early 1990s, but that's no bad thing. Plus the foot chase later on in the movie is great.

Harry Brown:

Like Gran Torino, only British - which, unsurprisingly, means 'set on a council estate and really goddamned bleak'. Perhaps that comes off as a bit snippy, but it is true that British film seems to be either obsessed with costume drama, or the criminal underclasses of the nation's inner city council estates and tower blocks - there's far more to Britain than that, and likewise the films produced here should expand beyond that more decisively.

That little rant aside though, it's a decent film - albeit, yeah, properly bleak. Gang crime, drugs, violence, intimidation, a police force that's completely divorced from giving a stuff about the problem ... it's a tough watch at times, but on the other hand you do get to see Caine's elderly avenger deliver vengence (in a British way). If only the darkness of the council estate featured wasn't representative of too many situations across the nation.

Where The Wild Things Are:
I had no knowledge of the book before reading about the film adaptation in Total Film, and while I didn't quite get what all the fuss was about, once we get to where the titular wild things actually are my interest did pique. Thematically it's a subtle film, which is a welcome change of pace - it could have so easily crammed the issues and character lessons down your throat, but it takes a different route ... although perhaps it could have been a little clearer in how it dealt with the themes, while still avoiding the usual bludgeoning approach we're so used to.

Still, when the kid eventually leaves the wild things, it was a really well handled and touching moment - and who doesn't want to watch a movie where James Gandolfini voices (movingly so) a big hairy monster that likes to smash shit up?

Ninja Assassin:
It has a standard enough revenge plot, so it's nothing to particularly write home about in that regard - however the action, violence and OTT Japanese-style gore is endlessly entertaining. So if you want to see some insane Ninja-related fighting, sword play, and shadowy action then it's well worth a look - oh and it's produced by the likes of Joel Silver and the Wachowskis ... so you should have an idea of the movie's style.

Youth In Revolt:
I'd intended on seeing this at the cinema last year but never got around to it. Turns out it's a decent little flick with Michael Cera getting to explore a different type of character than he's often considered to portray (namely, a laid back Breathless-inspired troublemaker). Enjoyable cameo performances and moments of animated whimsy round this out to be an entertainingly quirky tale of trouble-courting young love.

Thursday 3 February 2011

Search for a 2D animator goes onto

The recently begun search for a 2D computer animator for my short script "The End" (a zombie mini-epic) has extended to - you can find the advert listing here:

To show sights unseen in the zombie genre’ are the key eight words of inspiration for this project, and I dearly hope I can get it off the ground and indeed completed.