Thursday 31 January 2013

Flavours of the Month: January 2013...

How time flies! Before I knew it, it was 2013, and now we're already cranked out January - it's onwards to February already! Anyway, here's what was influencing the tone of my January...

Click "READ MORE" below for the looks, sounds, vibes, and flavours of my January 2013...

2012 Films In-Review...

2012 wasn't exactly a bumper year for cinema trips. I used to go as many as thirty times in a year, but with the rising cost of fuel (it's a 70 mile round trip to our nearest decent multiplex), and the piss-take ticket prices, not-to-mention the devolving abilities of multiplex staff, I've reduced my cinema attendance to only what needs to be seen immediately and on the big screen. Otherwise, the money you would have spent on a cinema ticket can pay for half-or-most of a DVD or Blu-Ray (replete with extra content and available for repeated viewings).

Anyway, here was my 2012 at the cinema in-review:

Click "READ MORE" below for the list...

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Wolves, Muppets, Hoover, and Pirates...

The Grey:
What's it about?
A handful of Alaskan oil workers survive a plane crash that leaves them stuck in the frozen wilderness surrounded by wolves - and so they must head south, hunted every inch of the way.
Who would I recognise in it?
Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale, Frank Grillo.
Director Joe Carnahan burst onto the scene with his tough and gritty cop drama Narc, and then went on to breezier and more bombastic fare like Smoking Aces, and The A-Team, however the serious heart behind Narc was always lingering in the background with a dramatic sense of flair. With man-versus-nature action drama The Grey, Carnahan has allowed himself to show his maturing and more serious heart - there's even a poetic sensibility weaved throughout the film that speaks of loss and those raw emotions that are buried to ensure your day-to-day survival. This all said, action fans will still get their fill as a dwindling rabble of bearded, half-frozen men face-off against ravenous wolves - at one point going all MacGuyver and fashioning 'bang sticks' out of tree branches and shotgun shells. The Grey is a tense, gripping and altogether very strong outing from all involved - Neeson and his cast sink their teeth into the material which allows back stories to unfold in subtle snippets of dialogue, hallucinations, and slowly-unveiled memories. There's no shortage of action flicks out there, but while rambunctious outings such as Safe House ultimately prove to be forgettable, The Grey goes for something deeper, more satisfying, and far more memorable. Easily one of the best action/drama/survival films of the last several years, although some might not agree. Stick around to the very end of the credits for an extra snifter of footage, too. Generally pretty great.

Click "READ MORE" below for Muppets, Hoover, and Pirates...

Monday 21 January 2013

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Sleaze, Hippies, and Iron...

Father's Day:
What's it about?
Troma-produced low budget exploitation action/horror/comedy flick about a demonic killer who exclusively rapes and murders fathers - but now a male prostitute, a stripper, and her monocular gun-toting, syrup-loving brother must come together to track down the bloated beast and put an end to his reign of terror in this town north of Tromaville.
Who would I recognise in it?
Lloyd Kaufman, and the Astron-6 regulars.
From genre-loving indie filmmaking collective Astron-6 (who together fulfil most duties on both sides of the camera), Father's Day is a brash, sleazy, gruesome, and knowingly-humorous dose of nouveau-grindhouse grot. Presented as if recorded onto videotape from a late night triple-bill on some dead-end TV channel that specialises in trash cinema (replete with "coming up" menu of programming and mid-film advert break), there's a charming sense of fondness for a bygone era of film viewing that people of my generation took to heart.

Click "READ MORE" below for more from Astron-6, Paul Rudd & Jennifer Aniston letting their hair down, and that film about the most dominant woman in British politics...

Saturday 19 January 2013

The "Eyes In Your Window" blog series in-full...

Continuing to expand my screenwriting skills, this series of blogs covers the writing process of "Eyes In Your Window", my first foray into the television format - specifically a three-part post-watershed television drama serial. You can also see the full series of blog posts covering the writing of my drama/mystery feature screenplay "Allen Bridge" here.

Ty Hemmings is a fifteen year-old boy, whose dark family past and voyeuristic tendencies are about to clash with deadly force, as the rest of the residents in his block of flats must similarly contend with drip-fed temptations and the transference of evil.

Eyes In Your Window is about the stories hidden behind closed doors and peep-holes, but on full-display to those who are tempted to spy through wide open curtains. It is about the transference of evil, the everyday drip-feed of temptations, and the on-going turmoil that is churned up when choosing a path – be it right or wrong.

Entry #1 - 20th September 2012

Entry #2 - 3rd October 2012

Entry #3 - 9th October 2012

Entry #4 - 26th October 2012

Entry #5 - 7th November 2012

Entry #6 - 6th December 2012

Monday 14 January 2013

Quadruple Bill Mini Musings: Carnies, Cinephiles, Adventure and Argento...

The Funhouse:
What's it about?
A group of teens go to the carnival on a double date and then dare each other to stay the night, but as they hide out inside the titular attraction, they witness the bloody results of the beast behind the Frankenstein's Monster mask getting out-of-hand. Will they get out alive?
Who would I recognise in it?
Elizabeth Berridge, Cooper Huckabee, Kevin Conway.
Impatient viewers might tire of the build-up (it's at least forty minutes before the first blood is shed), but those into a beautifully captured atmosphere will be very happy indeed. Tobe Hooper's ghoulish little 1981 horror flick is a visual treat and populated by hyperbole-spouting carnies - the sort of crazy-eyed fringe-elements he covered so well in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Eaten Alive. Violence-wise it's pretty tame by today's standards (and yet this flick was at one point caught up in the Video Nasties scandal here in the UK), but blood and guts isn't the business that The Funhouse is in - this flick is more interested in the carnival atmosphere and that garish sense of fun mixed in with (sometimes cheesy) scares. In some ways it's dated, and despite some apparent behind-the-scenes troubles regarding how certain scenes were shot, Hooper's film is jolly good fun. As an aside, it's interesting to note that while it does play along with genre conventions, it also breaks them too - the "final girl" smokes pot and gets saucy with her fella. It's a big, hearty "BOO!" scare from a grease-painted freak with booze on his breath. Good.

Click "READ MORE" for Hugo, Sherlock Holmes 2, and Inferno...

Thursday 10 January 2013

Oasis of Fear (Umberto Lenzi, 1971) DVD Review...

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

Umberto (Almost Human, Cannibal Ferox) Lenzi toured a variety of genres during his time as a director, bringing exuberant smash & grab style to his films. Interestingly, Oasis of Fear (aka Dirty Pictures), is a more claustrophobic and restrained effort from Lenzi when compared to some of his more famous flicks. That said, the first act is a typically Lenzi opening – all crash zooms, fast cuts, spiralling camera angles and a generally fevered pace (good work from editor Eugenio Alabiso) with a hip-swinging pop soundtrack.

Click "READ MORE" below to see more screenshots and to continue the review...

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Triple Bill Mini Musings: Hobbits, Sounds, and Cockneys...

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:
What's it about?
Peter Jackson & Co return to Middle Earth with Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit (a new three-part movie extravaganza), where a young Bilbo Baggins is reluctantly pulled into a quest with a collection of Dwarves to take back their home from the dragon Smaug.
Who would I recognise in it?
Martin Freeman, Ian Holm, Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis, Sylvester McCoy.
If you didn't like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you won't like this, but inversely, if you were into those films (or, indeed, the original texts) then you should be happy here. A lovingly crafted fantasy world, unending glory shots for the New Zealand tourist board, Orcs, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Goblins and so on - you know what to expect by this point if you're familiar with "the other trilogy" that took the cinematic world by storm in the early 2000s. It has to be said though, that the pace is a bit slow up front - there's only so much time you can spend at the dinner table in the company of Dwarves before you start thinking "shouldn't we be cracking on with this quest of yours?", and those who complained about the LOTR trilogy being nothing but 'three movies about people walking' (the Randall Graves' of this world) won't be in any danger of changing their tune.

Click "READ MORE" below for more Hobbits, weird noises, and undead rhyming slang...

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Flavours of the Year: 2012...

For the last few years I've done monthly run-downs of what's been flavouring that past four weeks - the sorts of things I've been watching, listening to, reading, playing, or doing that have been most prominent - and so I figured I'd do a retrospective of the fullest flavours of the year of 2012.

Click "READ MORE" below to see the Flavours of the Year 2012...