Archive | October, 2012

Grunting at the Screen (104)

20 Oct

 

The information age has not yet finished with us.

 

 

There is yet another Horror Anthology in the works, Silent Terror, this one is for all Asian directors and the special theme this time is each will produce a short without any dialogue at all. OK.

Directors signed up are

Noboru Iguchi from Japan

Joko Anwar from Indonesia

Woo Min Jin from Malaysia

and

Erik Matti from the Philippines

 

 

First summary is coming though for Jason Statham’s Parker movie. Now I am a big fan of Richard Stark and I’ve read a fair number of the novels.

I find the latest news disturbing. It’s apparent that this is a rip off and revenge narrative; in fact this is a reboot of Point Blank and Payback.

Both of which are adaptations of the first Parker novel the Hunter.

I’m disappointed. There are twenty three Stark novels and twenty one of them Parker novels; the film producers had plenty of latitude to give us something that had never been brought to screen (or even only brought to screen once!)

now all we can hope is that director Taylor Hackford gives us a spin on the subject not covered in the two previous excellent adaptations.

 

 

Well the Prometheus DVD is out, and as predicted it only bears a lousy six deleted scenes.

OK, so I’ll get it, but I’ll watch the other material on line because this is where the corporations are driving us. If they think we are going for their overpriced Blu-Rays they are kidding. It offers nothing we can’t get on DVD, except HD, which we don’t need. And the world agrees they are bypassing HD Disks of all kinds to go straight to downloads. In five years there will be a lot of useless Blu-ray players to be junked while DVD, with its vast installed base will still buzzing away under the TVs of the world.

 

 

Way cool. The Rza’s debut film The Man with the Iron Fist is not on release yet, but he already has another gig; an adaptation of Grant Morrison’s comic “Happy!” it’s another assassin film, but one with a  twist, apparently this stone killer starts seeing (hallucinating?) A blue horse named Happy. Sounds insane.

 

 

London Film Festival is back. I haven’t been in a while, because frankly it has sucked. This year it opens with Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (which is a positive move).

My question is “has it turned around?”

Not a lot here. Robot and Frank by Jake Shreier. Antiviral from Brandon Cronenberg, Doomsday Book, (the Korean anthology film), John Dies at the End (ooh! Don Coscorelli’s adaptation of the web phenomenon)  Kiss of the Damned from Xan Cassevetas (vampire sisters.)

 

It’s not bad, in fact most of those films come from a strand specifically devoted to genre and cult film. 

Unfortunately most of them will likely get a theatrical or DVD release.

The One thing that may be left without is the Korean Anthology (but do I want to see a Buddhist* Robot that much?)

So, again nothing so vital that I would take the trouble of going to festival to see. I will definitely see John Dies at the End when it gets a release.

 

 

 

We mentioned Stronghold back in GATS 37, but that was way back in 2009. Well it seems progress has been made.

Now you know I don’t report on zombie films (otherwise this would be “The Zombie Report”. However  Stronghold has a twist in it; Zombies attacking a medieval castle. This has all of the mash-up values I love.

It’s based on a book by Paul Finch (published by 2000 AD’s Rebellion Publishing)

Now we hear that Stellan Skarsgard has signed on to star in it. Apparently

Jason (Dredd 3D producer)  is helming this one. He did a pretty good job on Dredd so I have confidence (with a new twist on an old idea) he should be perfectly fine here.

I had not realised but Kingsley has a couple of decades experience making video games, finally fulfilling my prediction that the next wave of film makers would come out of the games industry (took long enough).

 

Ever since the demise of Tartan (and a long goodbye it was indeed) there has been a hole at the more outré end of the video market. A while back we wrote about Arrow Video which has taken some measures to plug that hole. Well yet another company has leaped into the breach, Shameless DVD.

This one concentrates on vintage trash and exploitation film, I particularly noted Flavia the Heretic and The Killer Nun (which may say, more about me than the label.) Anyway, they do more than naughty nun movies (Venus in Furs, Torso, etc.) I’m encouraged by their showing, and I hope when they (and Arrow) are  done with the seventies and eighties they will get to work on some of the marginal cinema we have in the twenty-first century.

you can get to Shameless at;

http://www.shameless-films.com/

 

 

This leads me to wonder, should either of these speciality labels suddenly go contemporary, which direction would they go in? Now Tartan pretty much strip-mined Asia, (only Vietnam and Cambodia remain to be fully exploited; does Burma have a film industry?) I’m thinking it could all come back to Europe and Serbia is the place of the moment: they seem to be producing the most taboo cinema in the world right now, serial killers and naked nuns are no longer cutting it, if we want to wake up the jaded film audience and shake the censors to the core then the war-atrocity fuelled visions from the Balkans might be just what the doctor ordered. 

 

Woah, this one was missed by the blogs. Ridley Scott was quizzed in the Metro Newspaper; they tossed in a standard Blade Runner question at the end of the Prometheus Blu Ray interview: “It’s happening. With Harrison Ford? I don’t know yet. Is he too old? Well he’s a Nexus-6 so we don’t know how long he can live [laughs].” Shut the front door! Now this could mean nothing or may indicate it is going with the assumption (already signalled in several video interviews with Scott) that Deckard is a replicant and it will be built into screenplay. Dyamn!

 It seems big is the way to go. Big monsters, that is. The latest to jump on the Kaiju bandwaggon is Andre Ovredal of Troll Hunter fame. he’s just contacted to develop

Tim Daniel’s and Mehdi Cheggour’s comic “Enormous”: a post apocalyptic scenario where civilisation has been destroyed by enormous monsters.

Interestingly this one is being worked up as a ‘multi media’ project. Ni details as f yet, but I presume this means there will be Web, Gaming and Movie elements.

 

But before that will be a Big Fu*king Monster from Canadian director Ryan Nicholson. Aimed at the horror sector, land surveyors go up against environmental activists not knowing they are rousing an ancient evil from cursed land (oh those Indian curses!)  No word on a release yet (there is a trailer we are assuming it is complete.)

 

 

J. Michael Straczynski is most famous for creating Babylon 5, lately he has been writing a variety of movie and television projects. The Latest is an adaptation of Patrick Zircher and Justin Jordan’s comic Shadowman; Master Darque and his forces of evil are on the verge of invading New Orleans, only Jack

Boniface a born Shadowman can stop them. Hme, sounds like Buffy…

 

 

A whole lot of Anime to live action projects have been announced, few have made it to the screen. One that has a better chance than most is Gatchaman, known in the west as Battle of the Planets. Because it is Nikkatsu Studios making it, it’s more likely to bypass the gamut of film industry B.S.

Sato Toya is directing and visual FX are by Yamazaki Takashi (who made the visually remarkable, but narratively flawed film The Returner.)

 

 

I may not have been impressed with Looper, but I’m in the minority and the film opened at £50m in the US.

Early success is not to be ignored, which begs the question; are there any other Time Travel pictures out there ready to roll?

Well you know they are. Disney are planning a twist on the Terminator formula with The Runner (usual post apocalyptic scenario, a man sent back in time to prevent the end of the world, but secretly the man actually wants to meet a woman he has fallen in love with.)

Doug (Jumper) Liman is planning the Matheson adaptation Time and Again (I don’t doubt Liman wants to youth it up.

Neatly reversing the premise of Looper is Hiding in Time; the Witness Protection Program stashes its clients in the past; Warner Bros. is looking at this one.

Warner have also been looking at World War X with a premise of Time Travelling Terrorists from the future.

Now Loopers success may or may not ignite interest in the sector and there is no guaranty any of these films will be made. 

This also excludes the time loop movies recently completed or in production

like the Tom Cruise vehicle All You Need is Kill.

 

 

Well, the summer has wound down. It’s not only the weather that’s shifted. The hulking movies of the mid-year have moved aside.

It’s a good time to look towards the coming year, what am I Looking forward to; Elysium, Pacific Rim and Neil Marshal’s Burst 3D sound good.

And of course the next and severely belated instalment of the Chronicles of Riddick.

As for the Autumn of our discontent; the Man with the Iron Fists has possibilities.

 

 

I’ve held out on the fairy-tale movie stakes on the expectation that Jack the Giant Killer would be better. And what did they do? They change the movie’s name to Jack The Giant Slayer, fair enough. 

You can get down to giant slaying on, or about March 1st 2013.

 

 

 

Now we don’t like Tom Cruise, something about his little munchkin ass gets up our nose, but it seems he wants to be “Mr. Science Fiction: after he does his time loop movie All you need is Kill and his space picture Oblivion, he’s off for another one. But this time it’s all mysterious.  There is no name and no details attached to it all we know is that T.S. Nowlin wrote it and Mary Parent is producing.

 

 

 

I’m a little excited, it looks like there is a little competition running here.

Warner Bros. has just bought the rights to the short True Skin, I mentioned it before when the trailer came out, but the whole thing is done and on line. Take a look.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/hot-short-true-skin-grabbing-hollywood-377830

They intend to make a feature out of it.

They are keeping its director  Stephan Zlotescu, but they intend to do it on a tight budget (it was compared to Chronicle’s which topped out at about $12 million.

So what’s the competition I’m talking of? Well making its leisurely way to the box office at the same time are Vincenzo Natali’s  Neuromancer adaptation and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner Sequel. (it’s just as well that Stephen Speilberg passed on that Ghost in the shell adaptation..)

Of course, any or all of these projects may hit the skids. But at this moment I am quite excited.

 

OK, back to True Skin; the director is and FX tech who’s worked on music videos for Nicki Minaj, Kanye West and Lady Gaga. He made it in Bangkok with a tiny budget and a small team.

Of course there have been a bunch of promising shorts that are still going begging for a feature;

Rashad Haughton’s Love Like Aliens

Federico Alvarez’s Panic Attack!

Ricardo De Montreuil’s The Raven,     

Jesus Orellana’s Rosa,    

and let’s not even talk of the debacle that was  Carl Erik Rinsch’s The Gift.

I’m hoping it will be different this time and we will get an actual finished product equal to all the promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*perhaps if it was a Shaolin monk…

 

 

 

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

http://www.darkhorizons.com/

And if you want to walk the wild side of genre video try Starburst’s review section

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grunting at the Screen (103)

4 Oct

The information age has not yet finished with us

The Cops are Robbers
Max Landis, the Chronicle writer, has been a busy lad; he’s been taking writing commitment left right and centre: a new take on Frankenstein, Pied Piper; his own take on the fantasy boom, even a science fiction movie for Disney (OK, so everyone’s done that). However his efforts have not been confined to the big screen. He’s been working on a TV series.
“Vigilant”. Again he’s dipping into the superhero genre, this time with a twist. A girl’s father has been leaned on by the Police Internal Affairs department, so she creates a superhero persona to take on the corrupt elements within the police department itself. Cool.
Landis is working with 20th Century Fox Television.

Talking the P***?
Taken 2 is getting reviews. I’m not going; apparently it is repeat of the first one, with more confusing action scenes. *

But that is not the point. Even if there were no sequel you just would not be able to get away from it all. Back in the twentieth century Polanski made Frantic, which is arguably the grandfather of the Taken phenomenon (but that did not set off a string of Frantic clones).
However It seems there are at least a couple of films coming out that flirt with the Taken formula; First up is (yet another Nicholas Cage move named (I kid you not ) Stolen. Where his daughter (!) is kidnapped and he has to go all Nic Cage to get her back.
Following that will be Prisoners with Hugh Jackman, who thankfully does not have to go to Europe to have his wife kidnapped and the police indifferent to the crime, of course he has to go all macho and hunt her down himself.

Taking the Long Way Around
How is about this for back and forth? A few years back Guillermo Del Toro put together a proposal for a vampire TV series. He got no takers so he teamed up with Chuck Hogan and turned it into a trilogy of novels starting with The Strain.
Well guess what? The studios have come sniffing around it and they want to make it into… a TV series. What goes around, comes around. The FX Channel has ordered a pilot which Del Toro is directing.

Classic in the Making?
Reviews for Looper have flooded in, they are universally positive, some even anointing it as a science fiction classic.
Oh dear. because that only means the pressure is on to deliver.
I’ve been there before with movies like Moon, which everyone else loves but I find a little slow (I’m lying, it’s glacial.)

Looper (review)
What if John Conner was Hitler? Instead of saving the world he would be blight upon it. And instead of going back to protect him, you had to kill him. Would you? Could you.
It’s OK, solid acting good characters some nice ideas and action. You’ll probably enjoy it.
I didn’t like it….
No contradiction, I can believe it is a competently assembled and skilfully made film while still not warming to it.
First the positive. Both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt deliver solid performances, very believable at the emotional level (not what you generally hear about science fiction performances).
The background is interesting, it deftly avoids the Blade Runner problem but being very gritty, very real with embedded indicators of futurity (an odd blunderbuss, levitating motorbikes.) It even nudges towards social commentary (the milieu appears to be one where the recession has continued for decades, vagrants roam the street, working people protect property with shotguns, the streets appear to be governed by crime lords).
The time travel visuals are unfussy (the machine is like a spherical bomb, the materialisations lack any fanciness).
All very good.
I am not even over fussed about the pacing; it never outstays its welcome though it has moments which are very languid for me.
And once the action gets going it is quite stirring.
So what is my problem?
Time travel films are inherently problematic; play around too much and the story collapses under the weight of the paradoxes. Director X makes an early decision to not explain any of the time travel ideas- I think this is a mistake. Loopers takes the lead from Time Cops; whatever happens to the present individual is repeated on the future individual’s body. They have not extended to the prohibition against individuals touching themselves.**

I’m not happy about the whole time travel aspect. I don’t believe it; either visually or in terms of ideas. And if this part falls down, no matter how good the rest of the elements are, it just doesn’t work.

But note well; I am in the minority here, most reviewers love it and given that, you will probably love it too.

From France..
Once again I have to heap on my apologies. This time for not reporting on Holy Motors.
I’m forced to mention it because critics are loving it, and it’s right here, it actually is on release in England.
But I had a problem.
The problem was twofold, first of all it’s French (and you can’t really blame me for this) second I didn’t really understand what it was about, and still don’t.
So here’s the facts; people are calling it science fiction (no evidence why but what the hey), It is about a man who changes his face his identity had is sent on various ‘missions’, he operates out of a limousine.
Well they say it looks great at a cinematographic level.

The director is Leos Carax, famous for being one of the triumvirate (with Jean Jacques Beineaux and Luc Besson associated with the Cinema Du Look movement).

And From Hostel Territory
The first review has come out for Aftershock, directed by Nicholas Lopez and produced by our horror fave Eli Roth.
The word so far is very positive, it is based on the real Chilean Earthquake and the mode it takes is of heightened realism; all of the events from reality but crammed into the space of an action packed disaster movie. Roth has a major role in it (playing a big time douche) and it has the scale of a big budget film with the edginess of an independent one. (It’s also violent as all hell).

New on Disk
The DVD news is not great, aside from the usual dragon movies, the only low budget thing catching my eye is Oh no, Dragon Wasps?
Oh yes; giant wasps that breath fire.

Of course in terms of major DVDs the big news is Avengers. Once again they have hived off the best special features to the Blu Ray. However the DVD does have a documentary, so I suppose I’ll get it. Just not now.

Prometheus is also coming out on disc. Once again the DVD customers are getting gypped***. There are a heap of extra features on the Bu-Ray but only deleted scenes on the DVD. I’ll get it anyway (a half-assed effort is still an effort).

By the way, coming out at the same time is Prometheus To Alien The Evolution Boxset, an absolutely essential set which collects the latest movie plus the previous four Alien movies… unless of course you have Alien and Predator box set, or the Alien Quadrology Set or… or you sensing a pattern here.
Anyway. Blow you cash on yet another cash-in collection.
*I quite liked the first one
**Oooh!
***Can we say “gypped”? Is that politically correct.

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.
http://www.darkhorizons.com/
And if you want to walk the wild side of genre video try Starburst’s review section
http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews

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

Grunting at the Screen (103)

The information age has not yet finished with us

The Cops are Robbers
Max Landis, the Chronicle writer, has been a busy lad; he’s been taking writing commitment left right and centre: a new take on Frankenstein, Pied Piper; his own take on the fantasy boom, even a science fiction movie for Disney (OK, so everyone’s done that). However his efforts have not been confined to the big screen. He’s been working on a TV series.
“Vigilant”. Again he’s dipping into the superhero genre, this time with a twist. A girl’s father has been leaned on by the Police Internal Affairs department, so she creates a superhero persona to take on the corrupt elements within the police department itself. Cool.
Landis is working with 20th Century Fox Television.

Talking the P***?
Taken 2 is getting reviews. I’m not going; apparently it is repeat of the first one, with more confusing action scenes. *

But that is not the point. Even if there were no sequel you just would not be able to get away from it all. Back in the twentieth century Polanski made Frantic, which is arguably the grandfather of the Taken phenomenon (but that did not set off a string of Frantic clones).
However It seems there are at least a couple of films coming out that flirt with the Taken formula; First up is (yet another Nicholas Cage move named (I kid you not ) Stolen. Where his daughter (!) is kidnapped and he has to go all Nic Cage to get her back.
Following that will be Prisoners with Hugh Jackman, who thankfully does not have to go to Europe to have his wife kidnapped and the police indifferent to the crime, of course he has to go all macho and hunt her down himself.

Taking the Long Way Around
How is about this for back and forth? A few years back Guillermo Del Toro put together a proposal for a vampire TV series. He got no takers so he teamed up with Chuck Hogan and turned it into a trilogy of novels starting with The Strain.
Well guess what? The studios have come sniffing around it and they want to make it into… a TV series. What goes around, comes around. The FX Channel has ordered a pilot which Del Toro is directing.

Classic in the Making?
Reviews for Looper have flooded in, they are universally positive, some even anointing it as a science fiction classic.
Oh dear. because that only means the pressure is on to deliver.
I’ve been there before with movies like Moon, which everyone else loves but I find a little slow (I’m lying, it’s glacial.)

Looper (review)
What if John Conner was Hitler? Instead of saving the world he would be blight upon it. And instead of going back to protect him, you had to kill him. Would you? Could you.
It’s OK, solid acting good characters some nice ideas and action. You’ll probably enjoy it.
I didn’t like it….
No contradiction, I can believe it is a competently assembled and skilfully made film while still not warming to it.
First the positive. Both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt deliver solid performances, very believable at the emotional level (not what you generally hear about science fiction performances).
The background is interesting, it deftly avoids the Blade Runner problem but being very gritty, very real with embedded indicators of futurity (an odd blunderbuss, levitating motorbikes.) It even nudges towards social commentary (the milieu appears to be one where the recession has continued for decades, vagrants roam the street, working people protect property with shotguns, the streets appear to be governed by crime lords).
The time travel visuals are unfussy (the machine is like a spherical bomb, the materialisations lack any fanciness).
All very good.
I am not even over fussed about the pacing; it never outstays its welcome though it has moments which are very languid for me.
And once the action gets going it is quite stirring.
So what is my problem?
Time travel films are inherently problematic; play around too much and the story collapses under the weight of the paradoxes. Director X makes an early decision to not explain any of the time travel ideas- I think this is a mistake. Loopers takes the lead from Time Cops; whatever happens to the present individual is repeated on the future individual’s body. They have not extended to the prohibition against individuals touching themselves.**

I’m not happy about the whole time travel aspect. I don’t believe it; either visually or in terms of ideas. And if this part falls down, no matter how good the rest of the elements are, it just doesn’t work.

But note well; I am in the minority here, most reviewers love it and given that, you will probably love it too.

From France..
Once again I have to heap on my apologies. This time for not reporting on Holy Motors.
I’m forced to mention it because critics are loving it, and it’s right here, it actually is on release in England.
But I had a problem.
The problem was twofold, first of all it’s French (and you can’t really blame me for this) second I didn’t really understand what it was about, and still don’t.
So here’s the facts; people are calling it science fiction (no evidence why but what the hey), It is about a man who changes his face his identity had is sent on various ‘missions’, he operates out of a limousine.
Well they say it looks great at a cinematographic level.

The director is Leos Carax, famous for being one of the triumvirate (with Jean Jacques Beineaux and Luc Besson associated with the Cinema Du Look movement).

And From Hostel Territory
The first review has come out for Aftershock, directed by Nicholas Lopez and produced by our horror fave Eli Roth.
The word so far is very positive, it is based on the real Chilean Earthquake and the mode it takes is of heightened realism; all of the events from reality but crammed into the space of an action packed disaster movie. Roth has a major role in it (playing a big time douche) and it has the scale of a big budget film with the edginess of an independent one. (It’s also violent as all hell).

New on Disk
The DVD news is not great, aside from the usual dragon movies, the only low budget thing catching my eye is Oh no, Dragon Wasps?
Oh yes; giant wasps that breath fire.

Of course in terms of major DVDs the big news is Avengers. Once again they have hived off the best special features to the Blu Ray. However the DVD does have a documentary, so I suppose I’ll get it. Just not now.

Prometheus is also coming out on disc. Once again the DVD customers are getting gypped***. There are a heap of extra features on the Bu-Ray but only deleted scenes on the DVD. I’ll get it anyway (a half-assed effort is still an effort).

By the way, coming out at the same time is Prometheus To Alien The Evolution Boxset, an absolutely essential set which collects the latest movie plus the previous four Alien movies… unless of course you have Alien and Predator box set, or the Alien Quadrology Set or… or you sensing a pattern here.
Anyway. Blow you cash on yet another cash-in collection.
*I quite liked the first one
**Oooh!
***Can we say “gypped”? Is that politically correct.

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.
http://www.darkhorizons.com/
And if you want to walk the wild side of genre video try Starburst’s review section
http://www.starburstmagazine.com/reviews/dvd-and-blu-ray-home-entertainment-reviews

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