Archive | January, 2012

Grunting at the Screen (78)

25 Jan

The information age has not finished with us yet




Against expectations news on Tsukamoto’s latest project has emerged.

I had thought Kotoko was documentary, but instead it is a return to the “mainstream” style of Vital and Snake of June.

It involved a new mother into self harm (eek) getting involved with a character played by Shinya Tsukamoto (and judging the characters he’s played in the past, this is not a good idea)


I’m not sure if this scenario excites me a lot (and what is it with Japanese movies and self harm?) But it’s Tsukamoto, so I’m in.


It looks like British distributor Third Window and all set to release it in the UK.





OK, if it’s January it’s time to make ill-informed speculation about Sci Fi London. This festival used to start the year off, but just because it has moved, why should I?


Last year’s speculation was way way off; I expect the same this year. What would I like to see? Well for a start some of the films that failed to turn up last time.



Garo the Movie

Upside Down


Shockwave Darkside (war on the moon.)

All failed to show up and have not had a mainstream release either.



As for stuff that might actually be under consideration this time around try.

“Storage 24”.  (Noel Clarke’s first Science Fiction venture)

“White Space” (the Moby Dick in space thing.)

Abel Ferrera’s “4:44 Last Day on Earth” (another in the trend of Armageddon movies where we all go with a whimper.)

“Antiviral” (Brandon Cronenberg’s debut.)

“Juan of the Dead” (Cuba’s best zombie movie.)

“Y2K” (the no-CGI film.)

“War of the Worlds: Goliath” (animated sequel to HG Wells’ Original)

“The 25th Reich” (Nazi’s from the future)

“Lockout” (prison in space, yeah!)

And finally Mark Millar’s “Miracle Park” (described as “X-Men Meets Trainspotting”- I still can’t picture it.)


But what would we want to see at Sci Fi London?

“Looper”, a well designed time travel adventure.


I doubt any of the stated films will actually turn up. We’ll probably get the usual parcel of cheap crap.


What did I get right last year?

Lunopolis turned up as did Gantz (Less said about that the better.)



Shockingly a number of DVDs turned up right after Christmas, including First Squad, the Russian Anime made by Production IG in Japan.

Also an almost bare bones disk of Cowboys and Aliens, Apollo 18. Not Bare bones is the DVD of Kill List (well reviewed, somehow the idea does not excite me) Lots of additional material on that disk.

Sneaking out without fanfare is Futurama Season 5. Cool. Always loved the show, I think it’s better than the Simpsons.



Rampart is opening in February. It does not look like my usual thing but I’ll try it. I seem to be into movies about dirty cops. I like The Shield, Training Day and Brooklyn’s Finest. Should be fine.




OK, what is he up to? Predators director Nimrod Antal is working on a project called Repossession of Max the Companion Robot,

it is being described as “Repo Men meets Blade Runner and I Robot.” Hme. Sounds expensive, and very urban. I’m not the biggest fan of Antal, perhaps if I’d seen his debut Control I’d be more excited. Anyway, this project has no deal yet so there is only an outside chance of being made. In fact, the very fact that a film might resemble Blade Runner seems to be the death knell. Nervewrackers, Mute and Arcana all crashed and burned. Only the aforementioned Repo Men got made. 

I’ll chuck it in the cyberpunk folder and see if progress is made.



Talking of Blade Runner

Maybe Ridley Scott could spin some of the cool unused design from here into the Upcoming prequel. Assuming he makes it





Soul Weaver: Requiem for Earth. I’m confused. This film is from Finland. Quiet Earth are calling it “No-Budget” but still describing it as “Ethereal and Epic” (Both expensive qualities).

Basic scenario. Man has been destroyed but in the wake of his passing a new species is arising.

I’ll keep an eye out.


Prometheus is rising. OK, its due in March and the advance stills look good. I still have misgivings. Ridley Scott has not done a sequel since Hannibal (an unnumbered follow up taken from a novel and treated as an original) and now suddenly he has become Mr. Prequel; working on follow ups to both of his major Science fiction classics. It feels all wrong.

On the upside everyone who has read the script says it is superb, he has attracted only praise from his cast, and he has largely eschewed CGI in favour of building vast sets. It’s very encouraging. But I’m still worried.  It’s been almost thirty five years since Alien. It is a different world. You couldn’t make Alien today; your audience would walk out during the opening credits. Remember just how gradually they ran? No one got killed in the first thirty minutes.

Ridley has adapted to the times. Body of Lies is a fast moving spy thriller.  Can he bring current values to his classic style? Perhaps. Can he unite his astonishing visuals with a great story? I don’t know. The cast is great. Fassbinder, Rapace,

Theron; you have to work hard to screw that one up.

He brought in HR Giger.

On paper it looks magnificent.

Maybe that’s the problem; it has the specs and the only thing it can do is disappoint.





I’m going to quit reporting on Asylum’s knock-off straight-to-video features, I’ve never seen one, but they don’t inspire confidence. Anyway, one last time: latest “me too” project is Abraham Lincoln Vs Zombies, rushing out to pip Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to release.

Anyone for Confederate undead? I thought not.




It’s the year of Cyberpunk. Just kidding but you could make that argument regarding  NBC’s Beautiful People, a planned series where humans and androids live side by side yet androids are second class citizens.

The “mechanicals”, as they are called, are starting a civil rights movement, but all is in jeopardy when it is discovered that one of them has developed forbidden emotions (i.e. any emotions at all)

Hme. This couldn’t have anything to do with the forthcoming Blade Runner reboot? Androids? Emotions, inequality…I’m just saying..



Now I’m narked! Seeking a Friend at the End with Steve Carell. It’s the end of the world and Carell is looking for his high school sweetheart to ride it out with. Why am  I so pissed off?

Well. here we go again: Melancholia, Perfect Sense. What is this trying to take the end of the world and making some kind of a… a . I don’t even know how to put this.

We are heading for a genre loosely titles: the end of the world is my private crisis. well guess what? it isn’t.





Ah, here is something Vincenzo Natali’s next film will be Haunter, a haunting by a women as seen from the point of view of the spirit.

‘But what of Neuromancer?’ you ask (actually you’re saying “Told ya!”) Actually I have been expecting this. Neuromancer is being developed as Film and Game together, Games take two years minimum to develop, so Natali is not going t sit on his hands for the next year, it was inevitable there would be something between now and principal photography on Neuromancer. So, it’s not down for the count yet.

In the Meantime all Eyes will be on Haunter. Much more Natali’s usual speed it looks like a mid budget genre project. Splice showed he had grown immensely as a director. Haunter will tell us if how his skills are holding up.





How about a horror movie set in prison? The last time they tried this it did not go well (that would be Shadow Dead Riot, it mystifies me how they could not pull off a monster movie set in a women’s prison… sounds like a no-brainer to me) Anyway. Here we are again. “The Incident “. This one features a rock band trapped in a high security asylum, when a riot kicks off . Doesn’t sound promising (no werewolves) but who knows. I’ll keep an eye out.



There are a lot of films out there claiming to have Lovecraft connections. Not every movie with tentacles is a Lovecraft movie.


Latest claimant is Grabbers. an Irish feature about a tiny coastal village in the midst of an attack by blood sucking sea monsters. I would not want to encourage you too much, it’s a comedy. Some are describing it as “The Walking Dead meets Tremors”. Sounds like lazy analysis to me.


Looking though The Metro Newspaper I noted that seven of last year’s top ten movies were sequels,  prequels adaptations of widely known intellectual properties or remakes of some kind. Bad news. The laziness of studios who cannot be bothered

create new stories has now been reinforced with monetary reward.

Inevitably that means we will see more of same, and less that is new.


What does that bode? Oh I expect it will eventually collapse in a spectacular fashion. In between, We may get some weirdness. Like films that have the name and visual identity of a popular  property but otherwise have very little to do with the substance of that well known story. This seems likely because it will be the only way film makers can squeeze some originality and stamp their own mark on the inevitable flood of Me-too productions. I expect a lot of fan outrage. Actually this could work either way, who knows, in the struggle between art and commerce… we might get something good.


 I saw the trailer for Battle ship. It’s very…. pretty. I still think the premise is silly.


Saw the trailer for Wrath of the Titans. Clearly it is using the visual playbook of the first one, but the use of Marilyn Manson’s Sweet Dreams, and the tone of general Gotterdammerung gives it a very different feel; tougher, darker, more serious.



Here’s something new.

The novel A Discovery of Witches has just been optioned

A direct descendant of one of the Salem witches has just discovered her ancestry, suddenly she is in a race to stop an interspecies war breaking out between witches and vampires.

When I said new I mean “new”. This feels like a prime slice of genrefuck here. The set up feels very much like the Werewolves vs. Vampires scenario in the Underworld Quadrilogy (well it will be one by the end of January.)

Well, it could be worse, could be the third sequel of a TV adaptation… I’m just saying.



When Mark (Kick Ass) Millar said he was shopping around his American Jesus project I expressed some doubts. I knew America wasn’t ready for a satirical look at Christ.

Well I was right and wrong. Millar hasn’t been able to raise any Hollywood money for it, but he has obtained a substantial amount of foreign cash to make it and it is a go project. Who knew?


Mark Millar has been climbing the pole towards the summit of comic book movie mavens, sure he isn’t up there with the Kevin Feige’s of the world, but he has so many projects in play that he has considerable heft. despite his protestations that he never writes a comic with an eye to the film deal, most of his latest independent comics now have deals, and that doesn’t happen by accident.
















This not so much a news blog I get my own news from Dark Horizons.



My Own Favourite Film Blog is John Scalzi’s. Not much in the way of news but his opinion is on the point



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