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.

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