Archive | October, 2013

Grunting at the Screen (134)

19 Oct

The information age isn’t finished with us.

Skip Woods is adapting Denis Bajram’s bande desinee series Universal War One for Belgian company uMedia.
Although the comic was originally published in France by Soleil Productions, it got a reprint from Marvel (of all publishers..)
The background is your basic “earth verses solar-system colonies war”; until a third force appears.

uMedia have been busy they have also acquired Black Op, a spy thriller taking in Post cold-war politics and the Russian Mafia. Also an adaptation it is based on the Graphic novel series by Belgian writer Stephen Desberg an artist Hugues Labiano.

Ed Brubaker wrote a series or noir comic called Criminal. One of stories in that series, Coward, is being adapted as a feature; helming it is Korean Director Kim Jee-woon. Brubaker himself is writing.
In this story an ex heavy-hitter is dragged back into the criminal life.

It looks like this is the month for comic adaptations. David Yates has just signed to direct Image Comics’ Who is Jake Ellis? by writer and artist Nathan Edmondon and Tonci Zonjic; CIA analyst Jon Moore is on the run, but he is protected by master spy Jake Elis, problem is, only Moore can actually see him.

And comic publisher Boom! Studio have entered into a first look deal with 20th Century Fox.
Boom! have previously been known for 2 Guns which Fox also adapted,
also 28 Days Later, and Mark Ward’s Series Irredeemable and Incorruptible. Irredeemable turns convention on its head with a “what if Superman turned evil” plot (“Superman”, here being a hero called “The Plutonian”) and that could be interesting.

This one came out of nowhere. Paradox Alice; an expedition to Jupiter’s moon, Europa runs into trouble when they can’t get home because the earth has been devastated by nuclear war. From there it gets strange as a crew member spontaneous changes from male to female. Oh. And that’s not the most bizarre thing about it.
It’s already finished and heading for Shock Till You Drop’s YouTube Channel.
I took a look at the trailer, it’s got a very 1980’s Alien look to it with some cheap yet charming CGI effects. Director is Eric Dapkewicz and the Writers are David Babbitt and Eric Dapkewicz

Director James Gray, better known for his independent features is planning to shoot his first Science Fiction film next year, it’s called To the Stars (although it never gets beyond the solar system). Basic plot involves a space ship crew bringing a renegade colonist to earth.
And we have more Science Fiction projects. Yeah, I’m beginning to form some kind of opinion here.
I really expected the big Science Fiction boom right after Avatar hit big. Hollywood is, after all, predicable. It follows trends, it apes success.
Whet seems to have happened is a great deal of time-lag. The reaction has taken time get work but now the engines of movie creation are finally getting into gear.
The question is, has it been nimble enough? This past year we have seen the mixed response Science Fiction has attracted, there have been moderate success, outright bombs and one or two genuine phenomena. It looks like Gravity will be one.
This puts the film industry in a quandary. Science Fiction is as big boy’s game (and the girls better be hefty too). The kinds of budgets that major motion pictures command mean that they can make or break careers (as witnessed when Rich Ross, the Head of Disney left under the storm created by John Carter crashing.) They can make or break entire studios.
Avatar cost $300 million. Imagine that bombing and you have the level of risk being played with.
So it is refreshing to see that the usually risk adverse film studios are sticking their necks out. Sure they are largely sticking to: remakes, sequels and reboots, but the number of original Science Fiction feature are rising (not all of them Youth oriented either).
It is heartening, and a little scary.

Now you may have noticed that I don’t do short movies but I did notice Miguel de Olaso finished his long gestating short Sililo and took a look (the trailer is back on Grunting 110 with the other Shorts). It is tasty, every bit as slick as Joe Kosinsky’s Oblivion (it’s also very naked, so you don’t want to watch it at work.)
While doing this I found this “not exactly news” It seems Miguel de Olaso and his partner, Bruno Zacarias sold a pitch for a feature to Warner Bros; “Law Zero”
It has been described as “a futuristic action adventure”. This was more than a year back, so who know if it will ever get made. But at least the talents of these extraordinary film makers has been, at one level, recognised.

Machete Kills: Review
It’s insane.
But you knew I would say that. The plot is ramshackle, it’s pretty much Moonraker but with a Texan spin; the president sends Machete south of the border in search of a revolutionary who threatens to level Washington with a nuclear missile. When he gets there he finds it is way more complicated than expected with booby trapped bomb, a megalomaniac industrialist, and a face swapping assassin on his trail.
This is the bare bones of a story that spits ideas at us with increasing frequency until we just throw our hands up and surrender,
there are no plot holes just a void into which all story logic disappears never to be seen again.
If you know the Rodriguez style; Desperado, Planet Terror, Machete, you know what to expect. This is light hearted stuff and it’s in tern funny and exciting without engaging any deeper feelings or profounder thought.
The performances all over are solid Lady Gaga’s is minimalist and exactly right for the part, Charlie Sheen was just the right side of manic, but the breakout here was Amber Heard she was hitting her mark, very natural, but also looking like she was having a blast.
Marko Zaror played the chief henchman and he looked better here than in his own movies.
It is hard to explain but Machete Kills both is and is not a classic. It is too trivial to be great, but at the same time it entertains, thrills and there are some surprises. It will lift you if you are down and make you forget your woes.
It’s also tremendously and unnecessarily violent and bloody (which is how we want it).
And if any of you had notion that Rodriguez was kidding about making
Machete Kills Again…in Space, then I assure you, it will happen.

And if you want some real movie news you know what to do.
And if you want to walk the wild side of genre video try Starburst’s review section

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