Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

La Vie Est Un Long Fleuve Tranquille…

October 17, 2009

… so long as you’re not watching rubbish French films. Yesterday I was going to a college to observe a couple of lessons in which the students were discussing the titular eighties baby-swap drama/comedy film, so on wednesday, during a rare flash of initiative I figured I might as well watch the film myself so that I would know what was going on. I borrowed the DVD from someone one my course, and that evening settled back to watch  it on my PC…

After the film had finished its dreary consumption of one and a half hours of my life however, my computer upped and died, refusing to turn back on. *Pfft.* Just like that. I was reminded of the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy tale where a Vogon, upon reading some of his poetry, is strangled by his own intestines attempting to end the horrible experience.

Long story short though, my graphics card had overheated, but the relevant technological deities have been appeased and all is back up and running.

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Hamlet still isn’t finished though 😳
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Avatar Again

September 3, 2009

Avatar

I saw the Avatar teaser-trailer yesterday. Couldn’t help it! It was shown before Final Destination 3D, and while I closed my eyes for some of it (not wanting to spoil the film for myself) the sounds drew my eyelids back open and I resigned myself to staring, rapt, at the events unfolding on-screen. There was so much going on it was incredible, and the 3D was utterly involving; there was a bit where an avatar is sitting on a lab table, wiggling its toes, and just the whole thing looked amazing… ahhh I can’t wait ’til January, when I’ll finally get to see it (due to going to Thailand over Christmas). Final Destination 3D was decent enough fun, but what I saw of the Avatar trailer was probably better than the entire feature film…

Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus

August 6, 2009

“There’s poetry here,” says the protagonist of Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus as she potters about beneath Arctic waves in her poorly rendered cgi submarine.

The titular titans of the prehistoric seas were engaged in a battle to the death millions of years ago when they were encased in ice (those ice ages certainly do jump up on you), only to be released – rather dubiously – into our time by an unexplained sonar device and some pissed off whales, an event the monsters deal with by going on a global ocean killing spree while people in tactical emergency rooms utter subtle, nuanced lines like “There’s something big out there; something really big.”

Wordsworth, eat your heart out. (Or a Megalodon shark will do it for you.)

ms5

Meet mankind’s intrepid eco-warrior saviours. Looking at the above picture, you might think that lead character Emma looks less than excited/distraught/insert-dynamic-emotion-here to be caught up in this clash of monsters. She’s certainly pretty nonnchalant about it all in the film, going in the space of about twenty-five minutes from “We have to make every attempt to capture these creatures alive. For science.” to a half-hearted “It’s going to be a bloodbath :)”.

Not that I blame her, mind you. If I was surrounded by a cast of such horrific stereotypes, I think I’d be gunning for a bloodbath too. I wouldn’t get one though; not with this kind of budget. There are entire scenes where a boat or something will be destroyed without a single shot of whichever beast it is performing the attack, leaving the viewer wondering if the crew had perhaps succumbed to realisation of where their careers had taken them, and sunk themselves.

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The film is, of course, still a blast to watch 😉

(Not even the clouds are safe from GIANT OCTOPUS!)

Con Artists

July 25, 2009

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My favourite artist Dan Luvisi has officially launched his Last Man Standing project, and has been at Comic-Con promoting. The website for it is wicked, mirroring the project’s retro candy-junkie videogame cool:

Last.Man.Standing Site

And sticking with that same retro-videogame theme for a bit, one of the biggest pleasant surprises from the Con seems to have been TRON 2. A massive viral experience has been getting people excited about the upcoming sequel, and they have an actual lightcycle there. Sweeet. This is the concept art:

Lightcycle

And here’s the actual thing:

tron2-flynnlives-viral-lightcycle1

Pretty cool eh? The footage they’ve released to promote the film is also worth a watch, and you can do so here.

Slightly less interesting, but still worthy of note, is that…

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Pirates of the Caribbean 4 starts filming next year, supposedly the first of a new trilogy with a plot that has been scaled right down from the ridiculousness that was the final part of the last one. And Gary Oldman has mentioned that the next Batman film will also begin filming next year, though Nolan hasn’t said that he’ll be directing it again yet, so who knows what could happen there…

Anticipating Avatar…

July 23, 2009

Affiche_Teaser

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So, Avatar, a brief introduction:

Fourteen years since its original conception, and four years in the making, it’s the latest film from the director of Terminator 1+2, Aliens, The Abyss, True Lies and Titanic. A sci-fi, the plot is set around a war between humans and the Na’vi, the native inhabitants of a planet called Pandora. Who happen to be blue, and ten feet tall.

In order to better their chances in the conflict, the humans come up with a way of transferring the mind of a human into a Na’vi ‘vessel’ body (thus creating the avatars the title refers to). The main character undergoes this process and is sent down to the planet, where he becomes entangled with the Na’vi people and their culture. That’s about all I know, as I’m intentionally staying away from further details from now on.

As I’ve mentioned before, what’s really got people excited is the supposedly mind-blowing 3D technology and CGI, that makes you feel as if you’re actually in the fictional world itself. A few people have described watching the film as similar to tripping, in that it’s impossible to tell what’s real and what isn’t.

And daaamn, the first ever footage is being shown over at the Comic-Con right now.

Waiting for updates on the IMDB forums…

Yep, I really am a bit too excited about this 😀

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Edit 1 : Been following a live update from Stephen Johnson, one of the people in the crowd:

3:28
Stephen Johnson:  They’re going to show nearly a half hour of footage, here, people! Amazing!
3:28
Stephen Johnson:  But sadly, there won’t be live blogging. Screen must be closed. Sorry. be back soon.
3:54
Stephen Johnson:  Back… Wow.
3:55
Stephen Johnson:  Okay. I just became one of the first 6000 or so people on earth to have seen part of Avatar. I’m still sort of soaking it in, but I’ll give you my fresh-off-the-dome impressions:
3:56
Stephen Johnson:  First off: This is like no other movie you have ever seen. It’s ambitious, and entirely original, full of digital effects, flawless executed, in an entirely imaginative world.

😮

😀

Alex Billington from FirstShowing.net:

“Just finished watching a full 25 minutes and holy shit it was phenomenal, just amazing. It does indeed look like nothing you’ve ever seen, it is groundbreaking, it looks incredible. Every single second in this looked real. And most of it was a completely CGI created universe that does not at all look CGI. It is truly amazing!”

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It’s a kind of special awesome that amongst all the copycat comedies, sequels and book/film adaptations these days, an original vision can still come along and just have everyone all over the world buzzing 😀

Edit 2 : Woah there… From the Q&A session with director James Cameron:

Q: Do you have any projects in mind for Arnold [Schwarzenegger] when he’s out of office?

A: Well Arnold and I have discussed the possibility of him returning to action, I wouldn’t rule that out.” But he’ll let him do the announcing.

My face, once again = 😮

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Fanboy mode disengaged.  The next thing I find out (intentionally, at any rate 😉 ) about Avatar will be when I’m sitting in an Imax cinema and the film is starting, on the 18th of December!

Official Avatar Website

Comic-Conned

July 22, 2009

Added my mock-analysis of the first page of the sci-fi ‘epic’ Moon People (oh, you’ve never heard of it?) into the Imaginarium, which you might enjoy if you’re in need of a chuckle, a writer, a sci-fi reader, or anyone who appreciates a bit of satire on their cornflakes:

Linky

Also, just read that Sam Raimi will be directing a World of Warcraft film after he finishes Spider-Man 4… crikey! Something to keep an eye on, that. [/geekout]

In the here and now, the 2009 Comic-Con festival is about to begin over in San Diego! While comics don’t do much for me, it spans into all sorts of things; film, TV, games, arty stuff, etc, and the main thing I’m looking forward to this year is the first footage of James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’, which, after a lot of exciting-sounding feedback from industry insiders and directors,  I’m hoping is going to be something absolutely incredible. He’s using some supposedly ‘revolutionary’ filming technique that could ‘change cinema’. Skepticism goggles firmly on, of course, but if anyone can pull something like that off, it might well be Cameron.

What won’t be blowing minds any time soon, by the way, (because I know everyone’s interested) is the new Universal Soldier film, with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren back in their cloned boots as a couple of reanimated army experiments. I saw some footage today, and oh. Oh dear… don’t think it could even be redeemed if they chucked someone in a combine harvester again. Which is saying something.

I’ll be keeping up to date with the various things going on at Comic-Con, so I’ll make a few posts over the next few days on the interesting stuff going on over there in an attempt to curb my bitterness at being on the wrong continent.

Edit: The trailer for Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland has been released:

Click Me

I see Johnny Depp’s branching out his acting technique… Hard to sum up much from rest of the brief snatches of scenes but it has promise. Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee look great!

Time Flies Like The Swine Flu Virus

July 19, 2009

Blimey; has it been that long since the last entry? It’s been a busy week, but a good one, spent with my cousin Indi and aunt Den dodging swine flu, although now I’m back in Leicester for how much longer that will continue I’m not sure, seeing as I live next to a hospital and two universities… Although when you look at the statistics that normal flu actually kills more people a year than swine flu has, it kinda lessens the impact of catching it. Apart from for those who have died from it, of course, who would no doubt tell me to shove those statistics somewhere unpleasant.

Moving on from the viral outbreak of the year, yesterday the Farndale household was merry with all the excitement that comes from getting a new games console; my housemate (the infamous capnscar) got an Xbox 360 and I bought the game Left 4 Dead for it, so the day was spent doing some wholesome zombie shootin’ and completely and utterly failing at the driving challenges in Burnout. Great stuff!

Oh, went to see The Half-Blood Prince this week as well. In a word: brilliant.

In more than a word: while people who haven’t read the book would probably find the plot development choppy and slightly lacking, the cinematography was stunning. I’ve not enjoyed just ‘watching’ a film as much in ages, there’s so much going on in each shot. The humour and heart of the film is fantastic too, warming up a gloomy and foreboding film that the director has clearly structured as a ‘set-up’ for the grand two-film finale of The Deathly Hallows. The removal of a large fight scene at the end suggests that he’s gearing up for a massive one in those films, which is something to look forward to. And to be honest, a battle scene would have been out of place in this film; it’s a lot more of a low-key, character focussed film. Not to say that there aren’t epic and exciting scenes in it, but the overall mood is one of the gloomy calm before a storm

There was also a fair bit in the film that was not in the book at all, which personally I enjoyed. In an adaption from a source that I know very well, it was nice to be surprised and given something new. The whole ‘Half-Blood Prince’ aspect of the story was barely focussed on, which made it a bit strained when a certain ‘announcement’ is made from one of the characters at the end.

Looking forward to seeing it again on Wednesday and catching more of the ace little details going on in the background.

HBP

Dragged To Hell

June 3, 2009

And enjoyed every second of it!

Just got back from seeing Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell and gotta say, I haven’t had as much fun watching a film at the cinema in a long while 😀 We  were sitting right at the front, so it was wham-bam-shocks-and-gristle-in-your-face close, and Hell take me, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film where quite so many things were spewed. Maggots, blood, slime, eyeballs, flies; you name it, this film spews it.

But it does so with a Raimi grin on its face – there’s some brilliantly sick humour poking its charred fingers through the cracks in the floor (though more subtle shades are also present), and everyone in the cinema was shrieking, cringing and laughing. It was, as Tom Cruise would say, a blast – one of the few kinds of movies where audience ‘participation’ is actually bearable, as it’s usually a real pet peeve of mine – and there was applause at the climax which is always heartening.

And every single one of us came out of the film having learned two extremely valuable life lessons: Never piss off a gypsy. And keep track of your envelopes…

drag-me-to-hell

Set Blog Headlines to Predictable!

May 21, 2009

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While the old idioms and adages remain, Star Trek was seriously cool. And very lens-flarey, which is fine; it reminded me of Mass Effect’s visual style – no bad thing. I won’t review it, but suffice it to say that it was one of the most fun sci-fi films I’ve seen in a while.

Had some great news today; I’ve been waiting to hear back from Leicester University about my application to do a French PGCE teaching course, and this afternoon I got a letter telling me I’ve made it to the interview stage… Now these things usually come back to bite me on the arse, so I’m not getting my hopes up, but it’s a good start. The interview day’s on the 11th of June, so got a bit of time to get myself back into French mode – it’s been a year since I’ve *really* focussed on the language, so better start greasing the old cogs with garlic butter and wine…

Got a load of documents that they sent me to read about why nobody’s bothered with taking Modern Languages any more that’re filled with charts and graphs ranging from the useful and interesting, to…

Freemealsareveryimportant

To be fair, my decision to study languages was greatly influenced by free lasagne and chips.

So does the future begin here? We’ll see.

Hush, and shush, for the beldam might be listening…

May 15, 2009

coraline

Went to see Coraline 3D this afternoon, and in a brilliant stroke of luck ended up being the only person in the showing (unemployment, it seems, is not without its perks). So it was screw standard seating; head into the premier section, off with my shoes, feet up and 3D glasses on to enjoy a personal screening of an excellently eerie, bizarre and funny film.

The story in a nutshell is that Coraline, whose life at home is dull and is ignored by her parents, finds a doorway that leads to a parallel universe, wherein she discovers her ‘Other Family’ – a seemingly perfect mirror image of her parents, with a few notable exceptions, primarily the fact that they have buttons for eyes.

I’m sure you can piece together what kind of direction the plot takes, but while the story acts as a fairly predictable backbone, it is fleshed out with an amazingly fresh set of characters, locations and concepts that make for some of the most engaging horror comedy I’ve ever seen. About the horror angle… For what is a family-rated film, there was clearly a lot of effort put in to make sure the disturbing aspects of the story came across, with scenes ranging from eerie, (without wanting to give much away, one example is the Other Mother asking Coraline to let her sew buttons into her eyes… all the while grinning from ear to ear) , to creepy, to outright horror – this ain’t no Finding Nemo.

The 3D was put to good use drawing the viewer into the film rather than just throwing stuff out at you, and given the choice, I can’t think of any reason to see it in 2D. I’m one of the people who reckon 3D could well be the future of cinema; James Cameron’s upcoming film ‘Avatar’ is sending ripples through the industry with its reportedly ‘revolutionary’ 3D tech, and if that does take off, who knows? For the time being though, plastic glasses are doing the trick pretty nicely… 😛

So yeah, Coraline: laughs, gasps and chills. Highly recommended!