Archive | July, 2012

Grunting at the Screen (98)

30 Jul

The information age has not yet finished with us

 

 

Well, it’s different. Heaven is Hell. (Oh Man!) God has let things slip and Heaven is full of warring undesirables, and the army of Jesus has to clean house. This one has a teaser trailer, which could mean anything. It’s also low budget, if it actually gets as far as a review I’ll get back to you.

Why? Well, I’m kind of into movies with angels in them. I liked Legion and I love Christopher Walken’s the Prophesy (i.e.. not the one with the mutant bear.) It gets me hot when angels go toe-to-toe.

 

We have some info on Last Days on Mars. “What?” you might ask. We;; I didn’t mention this one for very good reasons. See it’s a   film. Robinson has been a wunderkind for some time. He made a well received short film called, Blinky and since then great things have been expected of him, what kinds of things? Things like the Akira live action movie, and other projects; a thriller with aliens called The Farm, Imaginary Forces with Polish FX artist McGregor, crashed spaceship movie The Fallen. None of them appeared. So you understand that I was reluctant to tell you he was now working on a film called Last Days on Mars. Except he’s actually made progress.   It’s a science fiction horror movie with some heavy hitters in the cast including Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas. The good news is that Principle photography has wrapped. Basic plot is that a group of astronauts have made an exploratory landing on Mars, one has a fatal accident the rest face a race against time to survive. Not the most engrossing of scenarios but Robinson is an ace visualist and I’m sure he will do something interesting with it. It’s due for release in 2013 (Damn, wish he’d done the crashed alien ship movie instead…) 

The Superhero film genre is truly dead,  I can tell you this without fear of error because the latest property to be optioned for the screen is…Captain Canuck. Now I have no acquaintance with this all Canadian hero. But like the appearance of two headed goats and moons turning to blood there are signs to the coming disaster and this is one of them.

 Captain Canuck appeared in the 1970s as a comic and has sputtered one since then failing to be made into a TV series or movie. With The Avengers and Dark Knight its chances are better than ever before and its coming shall herald the end of all things (comic book movie related). 

Here’s something you don’t see much of. Kiss of the Damned ; two French vampire sisters, (in Connecticut) one is good one is bad, they fall for the same guy, so you know that’s got to end badly. The whole vampire sisters thing was a genre that  mostly died out in the seventies when we figured out other ways of undressing women. I didn’t expect to see the return of the genre. This one is finished and doing the rounds of festivals.

I don’t know here to start describing this. First the facts, its name is Taeter City. It’s out on US DVD  on September 15th.

As for the plot; there’s a dictatorship that used radio-wave mind-control to force criminals to commit suicide. The bodies of criminals are served up in fast food chains. This go well (so much as it can under a ruthless tyranny) until the radio system malfunctions and criminals instead of dying get stronger and Taeter City is in real trouble.

That wasn’t so bad. Expect blood, guts and mayhem.

 

It’s not just this year I developed a love for movies no one else liked.  I was also quite a fan of the movie Jumper. Well Doug Liman is back. Since he did so well with jumper…no wait, it kind of crashed and burned. OK, despite his last science fiction outing he’s at it again talking an adaptation of  Jack Finney’s Time and Again (wait,  wasn’t that made before). Now here’s an interesting thing. Liman intended that Jumper be the first in a franchise. The next one was to explore… well jumping in time. Hme.

 

Anyway, he’ll have to tackle it after he finished All You Need is Kill, the time loop thriller with…it’s with Tom Cruise, OK?

 

 

Starship Troopers: Invasion has a review and the news is not very good. How so? Well they say it extracts anything resembling satire or politics from the plot; this is not Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. They also says it throws in heaps of female nudity (Oh yeah, hot CG Ass, that gets my motor running) It’s reputed to be crudely written, with poor dialogue and characterisation. As for the story? Tension-free.

This is a pity because the director, has delivered some pretty good digitally animated films.

Perhaps we should have got the heads up when we noticed the really short time between greenlighting the film and its emergence.

Pity.

This is also a harbinger for the Live-action reboot in the works. They too intend to strip out the awkward politics and add armoured suits (they call that “being authentic”). I expect similar results.

 

What is Ridley up to? He’s just announced yet another project. (As if he doesn’t have enough on his plate already).

It’s a reworking of the fictional documentary The Day Britain Stopped. A disaster epic.

When he will have time to make it is anybody’s  guess.

 

Another busy little bee is JJ Abrams. As well as Collider (which may be the same project as his earlier “The God Particle”) he has announced a disaster movie Earthquake. Script is by  Dustin Lance Black.

 

 

Ben Wheatley of  Kill List fame has announced a new project,  “Freakshift” (sports hunters verses mysterious creatures of the night) filming due to start in spring 2013.

 

 

The Dark Knight Rises

Review

What can I say? It is epic, intimate, spectacular and pretty good.

By now you must know the set up; it has been years since the events in the Dark Knight, Wayne and Gordon’s plan worked- Harvey Dent became a martyr, the Batman took the blame for Harvey’s crimes and went to ground. In the meantime the back of organised crime has been broken by the Dent Act.

Gotham’s peace and quiet can only last so long, there is a new threat, Bane, a mercenary who has a plan to bring the city to its knees. Once again the city needs a hero, a dark knight who can do what no policeman of politician can.

 

Honestly most of the review writes itself, if you know the Dark Knight you know Christopher Nolan has made this with a huge amount of artistry and realism, you know the performances are very fine (there is no stand out performance like Heath Ledger’s Joker, but them this is an ensemble piece and having balance is no vice.)

 

I like this film a lot, I like the characterisation of Bruce Wayne and Alfred. I like the way the action set-pieces fit into a proper plot and I admire the way it integrates elements of the Batman comic history from Catwoman to the Batplane (sorry just plain “Bat”) and make it natural. I like the way it quotes from and alludes to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns; many of them so sensitively placed I cannot tell you without spoiling it for you. What I can admit is it does not have the resonance or depth of emotion of The Dark Knight. Still I have to insist this is a film as good as the Dark Knight on each level from the technical to the narrative, it is classy movie-making by a director firing on cylinders. What distinguishes it from its two forbearers is the sense of finality that pervades it from beginning to end. 

But, for the life of me I cannot figure the title…why “Rises”

 

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.

 

http://www.darkhorizons.com/

 

 

I’m Jack Eris and if you know me, you know Jack.

Advertisements

Grunting at the Screen (97)

20 Jul

The information age has not yet finished with us

 

 I’ve already seen more films at the cinema by July than I saw all of last year. And there is so much more to see.

The Dark Knight

Total Recall

Branded

Looper

Dredd

Jack the Giant Killer (hell, one of this year’s fairy tale movies has to be good)

and at the end; World War Z.

It’s looking good.

 

 

I haven’t said much about The Dark Knight Rises, I haven’t had too, I’m seeing it, most of you are. If you are not you just didn’t see The Dark Knight, you just didn’t see Christopher Nolan reinvent the comic book movie and prove audiences did have the patience to sit though intelligent movies. As for The Dark Knight Rises. it’s built around the armature of the Knightfall storyline, where Batman takes on an adversary as smart and tough as he is; Bane. Knowing Nolan, he will have stripped back the story to its essential and built up a realistic and surprising alternative.

So I’ve seen the TV Spots, read some of the articles. It looks good.

The formal reviews have at last emerged, they are positive; they reveal a powerful thoughtful and spectacular film. And although none say it has bettered the Dark Knight, it is suggested that this is a worthwhile end to this Batman trilogy.

 

 

Looking back through my files, I note the very obvious absence of the Metal Hurlant Chronicles; I thought it would be on TV somewhere by now. I know episodes were made. Now where have they been shown? Apparently nowhere, but the project is still in play. There was a presentation at the recent Comicon director, Guillaume Lubrano, was there; they showed stills from the series. No word on the debut yet. So what do we expect from a Metal Hurlant series. Well it would be nice if it was visually innovative, but that is a bit much to ask on a European TV budget. I’d be happy if there were some ideas in there.

 

 

 

We have some more details of Neil Blomkamp’s next film Elysium: Mat Damon plays Max, a man from the impoverished earth who has five days to live, he accepts a dangerous job. Go to space station Elysium and hack into the mind of millionaire John Carlyle. He does not know what information Carlyle is carrying or why his shadowy employers want it. People who have seen the showreel currently screening are impressed by the visual style (Ain’t it Cool described it “a Kubrik’s Halo”). But this is the least I expected from the director. More exciting are visceral scenes of cyber surgery. Sharlto Copley plays a sword wielding crazy man. The whole thing is sounding like mid-eighties cyberpunk. Given Blomkamp’s record, this boosts interest levels, well…into orbit.

 

Now this is interesting. Elysium isn’t due to open until spring 2013, but Neill Blomkamp is already thinking about his next film and it looks like it will be something called “Chappie” a science fiction comedy on a much smaller scale than Elysium.

 

 

Seeing that both Total Recall and Elysium are trending toward cyberpunk, I got to thinking; whatever happened to the BubbleGum Crisis movie?

A little background here. First word of this project surfaced in 2009. BubbleGum Crisis was one of the first Anime to take on the phenomenon of literary cyberpunk, it had a character named Gibson and featured a conflict between an evil corporation named Genom and power-armoured vigilantes called the Knight Sabers. The arena was MegaTokyo after a massive earthquake and rebuilding, a world of Terminator style cyborgs called “boomers” and police armed with military weapons.  It was one of Shinji Aramaki’s (Vexile, Appleseed, Starship Troopers: Invasion) early gigs. It also gave generated spin off series like Bubblegum Crash, AD Police, and Parasite Dolls. When it emerged that a live action movie was planned, there was considerable interest from the fan community. Then the project developed in er… an interesting fashion. The producers took what could be seen as a courageous path. I’d reserve my own opinion. First of all there was the casting process. They turned it into a reality TV show, actors from all over the world competed in a show to fill the roles. Then there was the financing, the film was financed from an international coalition that included partners from across the world; Australia, Canada, China, The United Kingdom, and a company from Singapore acting as executive producers. In Britain we have a lot of experience with international film finance coalitions, and to be honest until the last decade to decade and a half, it has not been good news. The competing interests of the partners tend to produce compromise detrimental to anything resembling artistic vision. By 2010 the film was announced as a greenlit project, filing was due to start in Australia, the director announced as Anthony LaMolinara. All of this went down in 2010 and since then.. well we’ve been waiting for news. Principle photography was due to start in may 2011 and must be over, and post production? Well no news of that. On the other hand the deafening since may be telling us the project fell apart before frame one was filmed. I’m curious. Even if the project collapsed there should be some word.

 

 

 

I was having a good feeling about Branded; the movie where adverts have taken over the world and aliens are about to eat our brains. (Put that way you might be asking why I had such a good feeling…) Well I finally watched the trailer. Now I don’t bother with trailers, much, but I wanted more information on the film makers and where they were coming from and I happened to click on the go arrow. Not good. OK, it’s a kind of They Live scenario, where the aliens are hidden in plain sight manipulated us etc. But the CG! It was terrible. I kept hoping this was the pre-visualisation CG and the final version would be better, way better, but I’m thinking this is what you’ve got. Now this is not the be all and end all of it. But with effects so bad, you’ve got to think they didn’t pay attention to that they didn’t bother with little things like story and performances.

 

 

OK, here’s an update on the Guardian’s of the Galaxy movie. I have seen some concept art; it features Rocket Racoon and the walking tree Groot. I find it so hard to follow up that.  I’d assumed they’d write out those characters… but why should they are the only recognisable ones. Also in the team will be those fan favourites Drax the Destroyer, Star Lord and Gamora…Sorry? Not familiar with these characters? Well I only recognised Groot because he was a tree and Rocket Racoon because… he’s a racoon! (and not a man sized racoon, or a human with a racoon head, or a person with a racoon like coloration, I am talking literal gun-wielding racoon). Marvel Studios… what are you thinking?

 

Incidentally this all happened when Marvel announced phase two of its film plan at Comicon. They announced the title of the next Thor Movie (Thor: Dark World), screened test footage Ant-Man, footage of Iron Man 3, yadda yadda… and they announced the name of Captain America 2; Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Oh yeah! In the comics this is a landmark storyline so stop now if you don’t want me Spoiling it for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bucky Barnes is not dead.  The fall and immersion in the cold gave him amnesia. In the comics he was saved by Russian Intelligence who gave him a cyborg arm and turned him into their most effective assassin ever, between assignments he was kept in hibernation so as Bucky catches up with the Captain in the modern era, neither have aged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK Spoilers over. The thing about the Winter Soldier storyline is that we delve into the murky world of dirty wars fought in faraway places, miles away from the certainties of the Second World War. The Captain of the War was one with moral certainties. In this new age of secret wars and dirty deals he is a stranger and out of his depth. If Marvel play this right they can lift the series to undreamt heights, if they do it badly they will undo all the good they did in Captain America 1.

 

 

Korea does not do a great deal of science fiction, hey don’t think they are any good at it. I beg to differ, Natural City is as wonderful as movie as they get. But anyway. From time to time you do get a Korean Science fiction film and Doomsday Book is one of them. This time they’ve gone for the anthology format with the theme of the end of the world. it has three segments;   Brave New World  the  zombie holocaust by  Yim Pil-sung,  Heavenly Creature by Kim Ji-woon, where a robot experiences spiritual enlightenment and  Happy Birthday  from Yim Pil-sung again featuring a girl who buys an 8-Ball from an alien website.

The first review has come out and it’s pretty positive. the film has great production values, the stories are good and kind of fit together and best of all is the middle section, talky but full of ideas to think about. I think I’ll look out for it.

 

 

I promised I’d feature a straight to video science fiction movie in every issue, that wasn’t possible, there just aren’t enough of them. If you want zombie movies or dragons I’ve got lots for you. So our dips into the sewers of the science fiction genre will have to be occasional.

Luckily one of those occasions is now. I was in a popular supermarket and happened to notice the new DVD of Alien Infiltration. It looked.. well it looked pretty appalling, the strapline promised “humans verses aliens verses robots” (Hmph) but the cover seemed to indicate none of the above. So I went in search of information.

An alien crashes in a junkyard the owner offers a hundred grand bounty to get that alien, this attracts every tough guy and madman within miles to try their luck, but the wily alien is ready with booby traps and improvised weapons.

This one stars Rowdy Roddy Piper of They Live fame.

The reviews (and there are quite a few) are divided down the middle. Neither will grant it classic status, nor even say it has the appeal of the cheesy science fiction classics of the seventies and eighties. Some reviews say it is a waste of time with bad performances and a confused story, others claim it is a load of fun with non-stop action and a profusion of ideas. Both types acknowledge two things. The alien design is pretty good, and the practical FX are well executed. But do not go looking for an actual story.

From this exercise I learned two things. One; there are all sorts of websites I never visit and they should go on the list. Two; Starbust magazine reviews some of the weirdest disks out there. I’ll get the URL for you.

 

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/

For the main site

http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews

Just for the reviews

 

 

Shock. The 25th Reich is here. It snuck out on DVD. This one actually got plenty of coverage on the websites.

A film made in Australia. five US soldiers in 1943 desperately try to stop the 25th Reich (I am guessing in the far future.)

Breaking with tradition I sampled just one review, you can check it out too at the Starburst site. the word is not good, it sounds typically boring, filled with questionable performances, cheap FX and low production values, without the redeeming factor of entertainment, intended or otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The information age has not yet finished with us

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.

http://www.darkhorizons.com/

 

I’m Jack Eris and if you know me, you know Jack.

 

 

Grunting at the Screen (96)

14 Jul

 

 

 

The information age has not yet finished with us

 

 

Now here’s something. Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element was some years ago. We can quit looking for the sequel because Besson has decided to go in a different direction. He has gone to the source; he has signed the contracts to make Valerian. This is something of a Bande Desinee classic. The comic artist, Jean-Claude Mézières, was one of conceptualists on the Fifth Element. Valerian is about an eponymous spatio-temporal agent (and his girlfriend Laureline) who travels the breadth of space and time protecting the universe from time criminals. Besson has been kicking around the notion of a large scale science fiction film for some time. He described it as “The Fifth Element to the power of ten”. And hinted he would be using the technology developed by Avatar to make it and he’d already done a lot of the creature design. Some blogs even speculated that he was talking about his Space Prison movie Lockout. It is now much more likely Valerian was the unnamed project.

Besson will tackle Valerian after finishing the thriller Malavita.

 

 

The 2012 Frightfest line-up has been announced. I can’t say I’m impressed.

Some of them we have covered before like Cockneys vs. Zombies; bank-robbers fight their way out of a zombie infested London. Several filmmakers associated with Dr. Who made this one. The heyday of the British crime movie has come and gone (more than once) the same could be said for the zombie movie.

Grabbers, an Irish take on Tremors. It’s well reviewed but it somehow does not excite me.

V/H/S welds a tired genre (reality horror) to a problematic one (The horror anthology) and reviews suggest it is less than the sum of its parts.

[REC] Genesis, third instalment of the [REC] series. The first one was acclaimed and earned an unrequested English language remake; this third one reportedly abandoned the winning formula of the series, and fails to rejuvenate the idea by adding romance and comedy.

Guinea Pigs, eight volunteers fight for survival as a drug trial goes wrong, no reviews at the moment.

The Victim, a psychological thriller starring Michael Biehn.

Errors of the Human Body, a thriller set in the world of Genetic Engineering. It has been described as “the next Splice”. This one actually sounds interesting

Outpost 2: Black Sun. They are already working on a third Outpost movie and I find it impossible to work up an appetite for the first sequel, what can I say? Nazi Zombies (or maybe ghosts, it apparently wasn’t clear in the first one).

Dead Sushi; the inevitable Sushi Typhoon entry. For some years we could reasonably expect something out of this cabal of Japanese horror film makers, in previous years we had Dracula Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl, Tokyo Gore Police. As the years continued the quality of Sushi Typhoon movies has plummeted and their charming absurdity has descended into simple silliness. Dead Sushi (for all who are still interested) gives you a plucky chef and zombiism, enjoy.

Tower Block, a British thriller set in a tower block where a sniper is picking off the residents, but no help is coming. It has potential.

May I Kill U. This one sounds different, a British comedy horror, obviously a quickie because it’s set in 2011’s summer riots; a uniformed copper is pushed to the end of his tether during the disturbances and snaps, dispensing is extreme street justice on the rioters, all captured by his helmet cam. Sounds like a bit of a reality horror, but still, it’s fresh.

American Mary has an unpromising title, but it turns out its set in the world of underground surgery, the directors claim it is their tribute to Asian and Euro shockers. Not sure what that means but I hope they mean the extreme cinema of Takeshi Miike and the Maury/Bustillo partnership.

OK, maybe not a dead loss. But I’m still waiting for that unmissable feature.

 

 

 

I don’t cover a lot of the remakes, reboots, sequels (prequels and sidequels) out there. I’m bored of them and hope you are too. But I have mention some for one reason or the other. Paul Verhoeven is the target of the moment, (it seems John Carpenter has fallen out of favour as the most remade director of the decade). Three of Verhoeven’s science fiction classics are being violated…sorry remade Total Recall is first followed by RoboCop and Starship Troopers. Utterly pointless (especially the last) because there is so little room for improvement here. Especially in Starship Troopers which I hear will be done straight (so satire, no irony), I fully expect the film makers will realise late in the game that Starship Troopers done straight is very much in danger of becoming the American Triumph of the Will. Heinlein wasn’t a Fascist but his ideas are radioactive in the wrong hands. Meanwhile, look out for an animated sequel to the original Starship Troopers-Invasion, (yes, I know, it’s confusing) produced by Casper Van Dien, the old characters will be back from the movie (well the ones not already brutally killed) I saw the trailer, looks good and it is DVD-only out on August 28th (I’m buying).

 

 

Here’s a rumour (boy I’m losing all my values now) a rumour that Katie Perry wants a part in Blade Runner 2. I don’t see her as a replicant myself (maybe she thinks she can take the Rachel role. I always saw her more as a Disney princess type myself, no really, if you made one of these animated characters flesh, they’d look just like Katie Perry.) No Word on Ridley Scott’s response.

 

More idle speculation. It is unlikely Blade Runner 2 will get made at all, but if it does what is likely? Now, if Scott takes the same approach a he did with Prometheus we can expect several things: a name change, it may start out as Blade Runner 2 but it may end up with a different name and the “DNA” of Blade Runner. A grand theme, Blade Runner played with the theme of uncertainty; what makes a human and what makes a replicant and what is the difference? In Blade Runner 2 (following Ridley’s recent concern with big themes and ideas) he may be more direct asking something like “What is the responsibility of the creator to his creation?” (This theme was touched on in Prometheus). Updated and improved visuals; Blade Runner looked great back in 1982, but its look has been copied endlessly, it is not unreasonable to expect it will be refined at every level. On Prometheus Scott used Steven Messing as the conceptualist on Prometheus. He may do so again. He also consulted with HR Giger (though Giger is credited with no new design) so it is not inconceivable that he may bring original Blade Runner conceptualist Syd Mead in as consultant rather than designer (Mead is still active- he worked with Neill Blomkamp on his forthcoming feature Elysium) but it’s not unreasonable to expect Blade Runner 2’s look to be slicker and revamped. Some interviews with Scott suggest the sequel will start completely outside of the city; this would be a way of putting clear blue water between this film and the revered classic. With Prometheus they film maker veered away from fantastical imagery towards an impressive yet far more naturalistic approach. He may take that tact again: turning away from anything that looks too studio bound and going for something that looks like it was shot on location. Scott also indicated the film would have a female protagonist. Will she be human or replicant? A replicant protagonist would be more exciting and give a new perspective. And where will he shoot the film? Reflexively I’d say Eastern Europe, or Canada or anywhere cheap. But Ridely likes to shoot in England where he knows the quality of the crews and technical expertise is close to hand.

Of course all of this is highly speculative. The film’s backers will be doing their calculations right now: Prometheus was Scott’s second strongest opening yet (you would not think so from the scorn dumped on it) but is that enough to justify another blockbuster budget for Scott. And the landscape has shifted beneath them: Total Recall comes out this year with visuals ripped from the original Blade Runner and plans are being laid for a string of urban near future features (many of which will not get beyond the planning stage, but still…) Neuromancer, Snow Crash, even Speilberg’s Robopocalyps (which I suspect will have more than a little resemblance to his abandoned Ghost in the Shell movie), Moon director, Duncan Jones is still threatening his near future thriller and he is known to be a Blade Runner fanatic. The RoboCop reboot is near certain and no-one knows which way that will jump (although the director is aiming for “gritty”). Even television is trying to get in on the act with NBC’s Beautiful People. In the end does it make sense making a sequel to Blade Runner? Does the world need it? Does the world want it?

 

 

Now that it has been confirmed that Marvel are making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie websites are falling over themselves asking; “who the fuck are the Guardians of the Galaxy?” I’m not going to answer that question, you can scoot over to Den of Geek or io9 to find out if you like, but it underlines the flaw in Marvel Studios’ plan: is there an actual audience? Now, Marvel built an audience for The Avengers with careful positioning, the characters they started with Iron man, Thor and Captain America were thought of as second string properties but they built them up and allied them to the Hulk and ended up with a one and a half billion dollar hit. With Guardians of the Galaxy all they have is the Marvel name itself. It is a high risk strategy and unless they some combination of the golden triangle of success: Stars, extraordinary FX and a budget so huge it becomes part of the marketing itself, well then we might be looking at Marvel Studios’ first flop. So how does Marvel intend to prevent this., They are not saying, but if we assume they’ll follow previous pattern then it will involve a lot of post credit teasing; we have seen Thanos (I’m still thinking he is being prepped to be the Guardians villain) coming up

will be Iron Man 3, Captain America 2 and Thor 2, rich opportunities to trail members of the Guardians, or introduce their background and otherwise build anticipation for the forthcoming feature. Other things to look for include activity in the comics and animated versions. Thanos is presently getting a comic miniseries; it would be unsurprising if we didn’t get appearances of the Guardians across the spectrum of media that Marvel controls. If not, it will certainly be an uphill battle to get people into the cinemas, remember, for decades The Incredible Hulk was Marvel’s most well known character and even he could only raise $140m at the box-office.

 

 

The first review of French Canada’s latest Science fiction epic*, Mars & Avril, has at last emerged. It’s very mixed. On one hand the story is a muddle and the acting is for the birds. On the other, it looks great. It wears its Bande Desinee credentials well, earning it comparisons to Jeunet et Caro’s Delicatessen, and Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. It is full of visual innovation; in fact director Martin Villeneuve’s work is positively compared to Lang’s Metropolis and Gilliam’s Brazil.

Hme. We get a lot of this in the genre. Science fiction film is littered with films which are visually sumptuous and bereft of content.

 

First reactions to the Dark Knight are out there. Not reviews as such, just tweeted reactions from its first screening in New York. Reactions were only positive, sometimes embarrassingly so (Apparently there were some tears.)

 

 

John Carter is out on DVD, I don’t care if you didn’t like it, I bought it.

 

 

Scott Sanders is working on a wrestling comedy … with robots. It’s called Aztec Warrior (I’ve seen a concept of the robot, quite ED 209 looking). As it is now being cast, it has a better than usual chance of getting made.

 

A while back I mentioned Lithuania’s best Science fiction movie** Vanishing Waves. I’ve now seen a review. Apparently it starts strongly it has impressive visual and sound design.  Kubrick and Tarkovksy are invoked. However it falls down in the basic areas of story, action, dialogue … you know everything that makes a film.

However it does have an interesting flesh melting orgy…what? You know, it may prove to be a rewarding experience.

 

 

Once again the games world is being raided for film material. And with increasing vigour.

For once they are choosing something not quite vanished from general notice;

Deus Ex is over ten years old but has had a notable revival in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. We are talking conspiracies and human augmentation. Could be fun. As ever we are still at the deal level, once we get a script and director attached, we know they are more serious.

Joining it is Assassin’s Creed, which actually is moving to the next stage. No director yet but it does have a star attached: Michael (Prometheus) Fassbender. The original games were historical in nature, but it seems the film will shoot back and forth between contemporary and historical settings (what… like Highlander…? Just saying).

 

Finally a project I’d thought long dead has proved to be prematurely buried. It seemed God of War has survived its encounter with Tasim Singh’s similarly themed Immortals. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are working up a new draft of the screenplay (I wish them better luck than the last ones)

And finally The Darkness was first a comic but is now even more famous as a game; it too is nearing a film deal.

 

 

Mike Mignola’s is best known as the creator of Hellboy, but there are way more string s to his creative bow. He just sold the movie rights to Joe Golem And The Drowning City, set in an alternate 1925 New York where the seas have risen and turned the streets into canals, sounds visual. and the very visual director Alex Proyas is pencilled in to direct.

 

 

Dredd screened at Comicon just recently, the fan reaction is in and I haven’t read any negative reactions. It’s also had its first professional review and I am impressed, on the negative side it shared the set up from the Recent Indonesian film the Raid (AKA The Raid: Redemption) on the positive it seems to have got all of its elements right from the performances of its lead Karl Urban, to its sparing use of CGI. The story is praised for its simplicity and the action; let’s say it’s more violent than your usual twenty-first century blockbuster. What intrigues me most of all it is described as a “character study” Hme.

 

 

Although we reported Joe Cornish has signed up to direct Snow Crash, it may be some time before he starts. He has also been offered the comic book adaptation Rust, about a boy and a giant robot (on a distant planet). It joins a number of other ‘boy plus robot’ projects which are out there (and equally as likely- or unlikely- to be made): Gigantor (not to be mistaken for Tetsujin-that’s another project), Gareth Edwards’ Forever and A Boy and his Bot (from Daniel H Wilson.)

 

 

It’s halfway through the year and so far as Science Fiction fans are concerned it’s been a pretty good year. Even including the films that a lot of people didn’t like. You could have gone through this half year without seeing a single comic book move, or without seeing any remakes or sequels and still had a good time. Even the clunkers were interesting.

And it’s not over yet.

 

 

*Don’t you hate it when I do that?

*and no, I will never get bored of that joke.

 

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.

Index Page

 

I’m Jack Eris and if you know me, you know Jack.