Sunday 30 September 2012

Flavours of the Month: September 2012...


All Star Celebrity Bowling - as-seen on the Nerdist YouTube Channel. I did a second run through of these episodes, and while I'm pretty crap at bowling, I rather enjoy it. The best episode would have to be the one where Team Breaking Bad went up against Team Nerdist, with the episodes featuring The Walking Dead and Mad Men also being decided favourites.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - a recent discovery on YouTube. Jerry Seinfeld picks up comedian friends and takes them out for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat in a different car every episode. It's just two comedians chit-chatting, but it's a bloody good laugh. The season finale even brings a touch of melancholy, regret, and ever-lasting friendship to the table.

The Paralympics - Channel 4's coverage was a bit iffy from time-to-time (such as the last three minutes of a wheelchair rugby match getting lost because they simply had to run off to an advert break and, despite saying it would, it didn't appear on the Interactive Red Button menu), but on the other hand I quite enjoyed the daily round-up show "The Last Leg". I wasn't madly into it, similar to the Olympics, but I dipped into it frequently and kept an eye on the medal count. The opening ceremony was perhaps a bit too earnest, but it was a stronger vision than the Olympics closing ceremony which was a bit naff, and then the closing ceremony was pretty strong with it's Mad Max visuals and so forth.

Touch of Cloth (Sky 1) - co-written by Charlie Brooker, this two-part spoof of British police dramas was bloody hilarious. Crammed full of sight gags, cliches were meddled with playfully - properly good fun.

Click "READ MORE" below for sharks, beavers, zombies and more flavours of the month...

Saturday 29 September 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3 Memes/LOLs - Beth, Maggie & the Guys Edition...

Find more Walking Dead memes HERE.

Season 3 of AMC's wonderful The Walking Dead is a mere couple of weeks away, so to help get us all in the mood for some sweet-arse zombie-slaying drama, here's a couple of new memes.

Click "READ MORE" below for two more memes...

Thursday 27 September 2012

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Nostalgia, Punching, and Bureaucracy...

American Pie Reunion:
What's it about?
Third official sequel to the 1999 teen sex comedy smash-hit in which four graduating high school seniors sought to lose their virginity after their Prom. Now in their early thirties, the gang - the full gang this time (nevermind the missing faces of American Wedding) - reunite for their high school reunion.
Who would I recognise in it?
Everyone from the original movies plus Katrina '30 Rock' Bowden's arse.
When such an extended ensemble cast are involved - and with nostalgia reigning supreme - the traditional focus of the three act structure gets somewhat lost between the "hey, remember me?!" reunion scenes, not to mention the sheer amount of spinning plates which, fortunately, do a solid enough job of keeping everything in-check. There are some nice bittersweet touches thrown in that keep the evolving yarns of these teens-no-more fresh - they're fully-fledged adults with their own separate lives, so they have to come to terms with being usurped by another group of breast-obsessed lads. Furthermore, Stifler has failed to really move on since college, so his pining for the old days leaves a tinge of melancholly that fits right in with the overall tone of nostalgia. Even the infamous "MILF Guys" are given deeper recesses to explore (relatively speaking). There's the requisite amount of raunch thrown in (more-so in the slightly longer "unrated" cut), and while many characters can get a bit side-lined (the primary focus was always Jim and his closest male buddies), it packs in enough variety to keep the surprisingly long running time (1 hour 54 minutes) ticking along nicely. The effect might be lost on new-comers, and those who caught-up on these flicks years later, but these movies hit my year-group at just the right time - a couple of years on either side of my graduating year is where American Pie always hit hardest, and its no different here. Thoroughly enjoyable - and it's nice to see they didn't give away all the good bits in the trailer - good.

Click "READ MORE" below for the low-down on gut-punching tower block action, and a beautiful Orwellian nightmare...

Wednesday 26 September 2012

YouTube Finds: Honest Trailers...

Twilight, Titanic, The Dark Knight, The Avengers and more all get cut down to size in these hilarious "honest trailers". Check them out, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday 20 September 2012

And so begins a new screenplay...

Blogging has been a bit light in the last few weeks, and there's a reason for that.

For one, having wrapped up "The Problem of Evil", I returned to my comedy/drama feature screenplay "Summer Road" - which has been retitled "Drifting" - to do a couple of fresh drafts on it to bring it up to standard. That in itself was a great learning opportunity, to see how I could further develop a screenplay, how I could add more flesh to the side characters, introduce numerous subtleties, and generally bring fresh ideas to the table, after having had some more writing experience since I had last touched it. So that re-drafting was finished a couple of weeks ago and since then...

I have been focusing on my next - brand new - screenplay. While Drifting and Allen Bridge were both feature length screenplays, my next - Eyes In Your Window - will be for the television drama format, specifically a three-part post-watershed serial. So far it's a working title, and a title that I struggled to find at all - I'll see how it fits as the writing gets underway. At the very least it has a name for the time being.

Click "READ MORE" below to find out more about my next screenwriting project...

Monday 17 September 2012

The 2nd worst movie I've seen all year...

Screamers: The Hunting
What's it about?
Sequel to the 1996 sci-fi thriller "Screamers". A distress signal from the mining planet Sirius 6-B brings a ship-load of rescuers to search for survivors some thirteen years after the events of the first movie.

Who would I recognise in it?
Lance Henriksen, and a bunch of people you probably won't recognise from the odd flick you might have seen.

While the first movie wasn't perfect by any means, it had a robust script, a solid premise, and good actors (led by Peter Weller) ... the sequel has none of these things. The original didn't have a massive budget, but it really looked far more expensive than it was - The Hunting (generic enough sub-title for you?) on the other hand, just looks cheap. Really cheap. Despite a handful of grand CGI shots (such as the factory where the screamers originate) and some nice touches in the production design (some spiffing hand-held computer devices), the rest of the movie really feels cheap-as-chips, and this most definitely extends - in abundance - to the, frankly, atrocious script.

Incredibly, Screamers: The Hunting was written by the co-writer of the first movie (the other writer being Dan O'Bannon, he of Alien, and Return of the Living Dead fame) ... goodness knows what happened then, because the script for this sequel is lazy and generic - endlessly so. The characters are weakly drawn, and if they have any motivations at all, they're as done-to-death as the dialogue (which often repeats itself ad-nauseum), and idiotic as the plot. A ham-fisted 'ticking clock' device just makes the rescue team look even more moronic than they initially appear - they seemingly have so little time, yet they're forever bunking off work early to catch yet another nap. Furthermore, if the killing of the only black man on the team right up front wasn't a deliberate piss-take of a genre-convention, then deary me. Deary me indeed.

Click "READ MORE" below to continue reading about just how awful this garbage is...

Thursday 13 September 2012

YouTube Finds: All Star Celebrity Bowling...

I've been a fan of this web show since it first started, and recently I re-watched all the episodes, and I figured it was about time I flagged them up to anyone not in-the-know about them yet. Created by the Nerdist crowd, who have their own podcast network, Nerdist-in-Chief Christ Hardwick started All Star Celebrity Bowling in which teams of bowlers (e.g. musical comedians, cast & crew of TV shows, etc) would face off against Team Nerdist (featuring Hardwick, son of professional bowler Billy Hardwick) in a tournament to try and win $10,000 for charity. Taking part would get them $1,000, beating Team Nerdist in a game would get them a further $1,000, and whoever would come out victorious over all other teams would win the big money for their chosen charity.

I do rather enjoy bowling - although I'm rubbish at it as I never go regularly (not even remotely so) - and I found these to be bloody entertaining, even the episodes featuring people I either didn't know or barely knew who they were. There's a really fun and relaxed atmosphere to these videos too, so the show is doubly enjoyable to watch. Below are the three episodes that I enjoyed the most (and have re-watched several times a-piece)...

1) Team Nerdist vs. Team Mad Men

2) Team Nerdist vs. Team Walking Dead

3) Team Nerdist vs. Team Breaking Bad

YouTube Finds: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee...

Surfing around YouTube last week, I stumbled upon this brilliant little web series featuring Jerry Seinfeld talking to his comedian friends as he takes them out for coffee and chit-chat in different cars every week - Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a ruddy fun way to spend some YouTube time, so check it out.

Below are a couple of my favourite episodes so far:

1) Larry David, 2) Alec Baldwin, and 3) Joel Hodgson.

Saturday 1 September 2012

The Walking Dead – Season 2 Deleted Scenes Review...

The DVD and Blu-Ray box sets for Season 2 of The Walking Dead are now available, and among the special features are a range of deleted scenes. The following is a review of those scenes, and naturally there are season two spoilers ahead.

“What Lies Ahead” (2x01)

The bulk of the cut scenes comes from the opening episode of the season, which was originally to be two episodes, but problems arose and Frank Darabont either walked or was pushed from the show during the editing process. The true story will never be known as to what went down, but anyway, on with the deleted scenes:

1)      It appears that a sequence is missing here showing Shane running away from a hoard of walkers as he desperately screams for attention and fires his shotgun (as glimpsed in the season two Comic-Con trailer). As evidenced from the conversation they have once Shane hops aboard the RV and they continue their escape, Shane's vehicle must have run out of fuel and he honked his horn to alert them. Then they come up with a plan to buy them some time – head to the Vatos' hideout at the old folk's home within the city.
2)      Our gang arrive at the Vatos' hideout, but discover a series of dead bodies outside being feasted upon by walkers – Rick says to hell with the noise and they gun down the zombies.
3)      They enter the building and discover yet more dead bodies. Sophia begins to cry and make too much noise, so Daryl tells her to shut up in no uncertain terms (before his character was softened as he became more involved with the group during the season).
4)      The men continue to sweep and clear the building upstairs. Bodies lie everywhere and there is an increasing sense of hopelessness. Meanwhile downstairs the others hide from a passing walker outside the now-barricaded front door, and when Sophia begins to panic Carl calms her down. It's a nice little beat for Carl, who is clearly coping with the situation far better than poor Sophia, and it's a nice juxtaposition to all the death and despair around them.
5)      In an excellent moment of foreshadowing, after they plan to stay the night in some of the upstairs rooms, Daryl points out (in a sneering spat with Andrea) that the people have all been executed before the zombies arrived – clearly there is now a human danger out there, somewhere, waiting for them.
6)      “Cough drops and bonzo beans” - the group, huddled in a small room, lay out their meagre supplies for Glenn to ration between them all. Shane makes friends with Daryl with a peace offering of a bottle of booze he pinched from the CDC. There's also an extra moment between Dale and Andrea – no doubt the first moment for the two of them to have a chance to debrief after he convinced her not to die in the CDC explosion – which adds a horrific reality check from Andrea. Furthermore Rick begins to blame himself for not following Shane's lead in heading to Fort Benning instead of the CDC, but Shane and Lori say he shouldn't blame himself. After Glenn makes a comment about their dire situation, the men exit to formulate a plan – to ditch some of the vehicles, siphon the fuel, and head for Fort Benning. Numerous small character beats here, as well as some exposition which covers a couple of minor plot holes – particularly explaining why their vehicle count is markedly different between the last shot of season one, and the opening montage of season two.
7)      Fast forwarding to the highway, Rick returns from his woodland encounter with walkers after Sophia ran off, and quickly discovers the girl didn't make it back.
8)      Carol stands alone by the roadside late at night looking into the woods.

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of the deleted scenes in-review...