Archive | September, 2014

Grunting at the Screen (161)

20 Sep

The information age isn’t finished with us.

Cyberpunk Special: Autumn.

We have news on Blade Runner 2.

Kind of… at the end of August Ridley Scott said that there are several finished screenplays for future projects. Including Blade Runner sequel. It is co-written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green. Harrison Ford’s character Deckard is definitely featured, and Scott thinks there will be no problem with the actor playing it, despite his recent injury.

Scott is planning to shoot it after he does The Martian.

There is no actual date as of yet. But given, say two years to make The Martian, we might expect work to start on Blade Runner 2 in late 2016.

Although expecting two Science Fiction films in a row from Scott may be a little too much.

Scott also indicated a number of other scripts are finished including the Prometheus sequel. Whatever plans Scott has they may get derailed by financing, or the availability of cast or a dozen different reasons.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For crashed and burned at the box office.

Of what significance is this? None I hope, but Robert Rodriguez publicly stated that his next project was Nerverackers.

Just how likely is this to happen? The Sin City sequel was based on a well-known and successful original. Nerverackers is a totally new property.

This (to beat and old drum) is the age of sequels.

If Rodriguez can’t get a hit with a follow up of one of his biggest hits, just how much confidence will an untested project garner?

I suggest Nerverackers is in danger.

On the plus side it is a Rodriguez projects, if anyone can bring it in at below average budget he can.

And on there are a number of strategies he can take to raise the project’s profile before it reaches cinemas:

He can publish a comic book prequel. (As Guillermo Del Toro did for Pacific Rim) Or even a full comic of the Movie (as Darren Aronofsky did with The Fountain and Noah).

He is the boss of his own TV studio so he can promote the movie through that.

The best thing he could do is what he did for Machete: Make a fake trailer for Nerverackers. (If he’d done it already he could have attached it to Sin City….)

A trailer showing the FX (since he keeps comparing it Blade Runner I would expect a lot of flashy urban FX) and maybe the fast pace of the story would firm up any reluctant backers and distributors (it would also create demand).

I don’t know if Nerverackers will be any good. But we deserve the opportunity to see for ourselves.

Well here is a surprise, progress on Ghost in the Shell.

They are casting and the first name out of the box is Margot Robbie, who does not strike me as the ideal Major Kusanagi type but then she is presently in her blond phase.

Rupert Sanders is still the director.

It looks like we’ve been looking in the wrong direction. While looking out for Neuromancer another William Gibson project has been edging to the screen; it’s Pattern Recognition and there has been progress.

To be fair we have to admit Pattern Recognition is not exactly “Cyberpunk” more like Mr. Gibson’s attempt to escape the label.

Norwegian director Morten Tyldum has been pencilled in to oversee the project, Anthony Peckham is writing the script.

Of course we don’t have anything like start date.

TV is the new film, which is the excuse I am using to report that Keanu Reeves is teaming up with Roland Emmerich to make New Angeles, a TV series where Reeves stars as a young man who escapes ordinary life in a virtual reality called… New Angeles.

Some reporters are comparing it the Matrix… but strangely none to Johnny Mnemonic…

More if and when it develops.

Talking of Robert Rodriguez I had been wondering what happened to his Heavy Metal project, so I went looking.

The latest word is Rodriguez is thinking of putting it on TV at his El Rey channel.

Rodriguez has launched Quickdraw Animation, his own Animation studio, separate from Trouble Maker Studios.

The screenplay for the Heavy Metal movie is done and pre-production is in progress.

The programme for The 58th BFI London Film Festival is out. There are a few films of interest to readers of this blog including:

The Dead Lands; described as the first Maori martial arts movie, it is entirely in Maori language.

The White Haired Witch of Lunar Kingdom; essentially a remake of the wuxia classic “The Bride with White Hair” It has received mixed reviews but it was a big hit in China.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; self-explanatory but if you ever wondered where all of the wild and woolly straight to video films of the eighties came from, well here you are.

Robot Overlords; ah, this one was sold as “Our Robot Overlords” during its making but appears to have undergone a slight title change. Directed by Jon Wright who made Grabbers a while back. (You know we still haven’t seen that one, has it had a DVD release? Anyway).

It’s a teen movie (but don’t hate) in the 1950s style (!) about the aftermath of a Robot Revolution. Five kids go in search of their missing father (I have to hazard robots are involved.)

The 58th BFI London Film Festival will run from Wednesday 8th October

The Syfy’s miniseries of Arthur C. Clark’s Childhood’s End is a go.

What can I say except, I hope they don’t screw it up.

Dwayne Johnson has admitted that he will be playing Black Adam in the planned Shazam movie from Warner Bros. No director has been announced.

Looks like Portuguese science fiction film RPG (aka Real Playing Game) is getting a DVD release.

There is one review over at Starburst and, sorry to say, they don’t like it very much.

James (V for Vendetta) McTeigue (an underrated director to my mind) has signed on to direct the science fiction feature Alien Sleeper Cell, they are comparing it to The Bourne Identity (only like… with aliens).

Script is by Morgan Davis Foehl.

And, by the way, Michael Mann’s Cyber Crime feature now has a name, it’s Blackhat and yes, script is again by Morgan Davis Foehl.

You know I have been wondering what happened to Shane Abbess. Who? You know Shane… oh; it seems I have never blogged him. I don’t know why not. This Australian director first popped up in 2007 with Gabriel, a film anticipation the boom in Angel related films to come.

He then spent years in LA doing what foreign directors do; trying to get a Hollywood gig. In fact he was associated with Source Code before Duncan Jones took over.

Finally after years of development deals but no camera time he did the other thing that foreign directors do; go hope and actually direct a film and the new project is called Infini.

A space rescue team pull the lone survivor out of a mining station called “Infini”.

But they also have another payload: a lethal biological cargo set to arrive on earth in an hour.

I have seen some pictures and it looks and sounds very 1980s-90s; sort of Alien/Event Horizon. Abbess assures us, however, there will be surprises.

In fact Abbess has been busy down under and his is fostering the talent of another Australian director Marc Furmie .

The result is Terminus (a title even cooler than “Infini”) not that there are a lot of details all I am hearing is: “a small town mechanic who makes a shocking discovery which may affect the fate of the fate of mankind.”

That could be anything.

Anyway, when reviews appear we will get back to you.

Infini’s 80’s stylings are something of a trend: It joins Animus from Thomas Konkle in harking back to the golden age of science fiction.

We don’t blog DC movies that much, (which is a little unfair because we will be seeing ‘Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice’) any way we are hearing that Warner Bros. are preparing a Legion of Superheroes movie. Now it is claimed they are competing with Guardians of the Galaxy, but there is no evidence although the Legion is quite cosmic and they do live in the 30th Century.

Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover are staring in a new science fiction feature called Andron; a bunch of men and women wake up in the black labyrinth of Andron, they do not know how they got there, but they must decipher codes and pass tests to escape. Hme… sounds like Cube.. anyway. Franceso Cinquemani is the screenwriter and director.

When Ninjas Attack…

Well imagine my surprise when I came across… no scratch that… I stumbled upon Ninja Apocalypse in the supermarket.

Now the golden era for trash home-video was the eighties and early nineties , it was the wild west out there, at the beginning the tapes were not even rated and any kind of weird-assed junk could slide its way into your innocent VHS slot.

Even after the Video Nasty scare forced rating and censorship into the home entertainment venue the combination of low budget and a new platform drove an era of extraordinary creativity and madness.

This largely faded when DVDs came in. But there is indication that spirit of crazy low budget creativity is seeping back to the home market.

I saw Ninja Apocalypse and thought; that sounds pretty cheesy. The back cover looked pretty funky too; a hundred years after a war holocaust the population is living deep underground, Grandmaster Fumitaka is assassinated, and the Lost Ninja Clan has been falsely blamed. The clan must battle its way past zombies and monsters (and the other revenge crazed clans) to reach the surface.

It is described as “The Raid meets the Warriors”.

Looking at it that way it still sounds well cheesy. But I googled a few reviews and although they said the acting was questionable, they mostly liked it.

They say the CG is not offensive, the visual design is exciting, the action scenes are cool and the funniest thing about the film is the title (they take it all dead seriously).

Expect a ton of kung fu.

Who knew?

Damned sequels, they can’t make a film without a template to copy off of… ooh look the Next Skyline film has been scheduled.

Now a lot of people didn’t like Skyline, I don’t care, it was weird, lively and full of bizarre ideas. Best of all the way it ended making us desperate to know what happened next.

Well, Beyond Skyline is in preproduction and should be shooting in December. It is about time.

Liam O’Donnell is directing (he co-wrote the originals) and Greg and Colin Strause are producing,

Cool.

Now here is something; Index Zero a piece of social science fiction (we have not seen much of this since the 70’s.) Unsurprisingly it is from Italy.

In the future United States of Europe, you do not get in unless you score on the ‘Index of Sustainability’ .

Eve was born in the abandoned lands outside of Europe, she does not meet the criteria, and she is pregnant.

Sounds like it has potential.

Lorenzo Sportiello is the director and it will go to festival soon.

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 (160)

4 Sep

 

 

The information age isn’t finished with us.

 

 

Alien Abduction, the found-footage style horror film is now out on DVD in the UK.

 

 

 

Check this interview with Douglas Trumbull.     

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/31782/douglas-trumbull-interview-2001-silent-running-the-future-of-cinema

Trumbull is the special effects supervisor responsible for the look of my youth:  Close Encounters, Blade Runner. He has some interesting things to say about the state of current cinema: CG Effects, blockbusters etc.

 

 

 

Norway has made a post-holocaust film called Dawn, director is Anders Elsrud Hultgreen. It is set in a desert in which water is a scarce commodity (well of course, but I think this is a plot point). Hme, another desert based post-holocaust feature, you would think it being Norway…

Anyway, there is hardly any information, if it gets a review we’ll get back to you.

 

 

 

Ed (Small Town Murder Songs) Gass-Donnelly is to write and direct a Science Fiction feature called Pivot; a scientist’s wife is killed, his response is to build a machine that will allow him to find her a parallel world. Problem is, once he gets there he has to kill his parallel self.

(Because nothing says love like screwing with the time-space continuum).

Hey, that sounds like Bob Shaw’s novel The Two Timers (Curse my childhood reading!).

Hmme, now if the scientist was real smart he’d tune his machine to go to a universe where he’d been previously been killed and his wife survived… but that would not be much of a story.

 

 

 

I’d like to tell you about a Mexican Science Fiction movie called The Similars, but I got nothing.

No wait, I’ve got Google; eight strangers wait at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere in the rain, strangely and unexpected their faces start changing so they all look like one of them.

Violent and emotional conflict ensues when they try to assert their individual identities.

Now this is actually original.

Director is Isaac Ezban

It is based in 1960 during the Tlatelolco Massacre (as if I know anything about that): but the word is this is not a political film.

Filming has wrapped there is no word on when it will appear at festival or get a release.

 

 

 

I’m getting word of a new Science Fiction project called Departure, it explored the supposed phenomenon of air liners which disappear from the air and mysteriously reappear later.

Based on “Ghosts of the Air” by Martin Caidin, the film is to be directed by David Frankel.

 

 

I liked New Zealander Jonathan King’s debut feature, Black Sheep. In retrospect the tale of zombie sheep gone wild was perhaps a bridge too far over the chasm of horror silliness, but it showed enthusiasm, and some directing skill.

Well King is back and this time with what he describes as “arthouse Science Fiction”. Oh dear, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt

His second feature is called Realiti.

King compares its style t 1960s new wave films.

I’ve checked it out and even with a summary I am not sure what is going on.

There is some kind of drug that “bends time”. Some mind control stuff going on, a political undercurrent.

At best it may be a mindf*** on the order of John Dies at the End, at worse it may be an unwatchable shambles, I will look out for reviews.

 

 

We are just hearing that Chinese director  Lu Chuan is collaborating with  effects house Prime Focus on a Science-Fiction feature.

There are no details, or even a title yet. But if and when more word arrives, I’ll let you know.

 

 

 

 

I have ignored this for too long. Guardians of the Galaxy is shaping out as a juggernaut.

Of course it debuted at number one. Then the soundtrack went to the top and the artists on the “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” started running up the charts again.

Now , after briefly dipping it is back at number 1 and it has become the biggest box office draw in America this year.

There is no doubt.. it is a phenomenon.

 

 

 

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Review

you know that little voice that appears in your head while you’re watching a film:

why are they doing this, after all these years? You know you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. You can tell this was the sequence not from the comics.

Well, yes, I had that voice in my head.

Then about twenty minutes into the film that voice, packed its baggage, hailed a cab and sloped off outa there without me noticing or missing it.

 

I was wrong on so many counts. at every technical level A Dame to Kill for is more refined than its forebears, there was no scene that jumped out as jarring. And the title sequence is exquisite, it takes Frank Miller’s art and pulls it into 3D.

 Performances from the newcomers is very satisfactory; Joseph Gordon-Levitt  looks like he was born to this job, Dennis Haysbert is surprisingly  effective, taking over as Manute. Jamie Chung  takes over as Miho without fault but sadly without distinction. Josh Brolin fits right in there; gritty, desperate and lovelorn.

And Eva Green really is the star of the show, you know how they keep saying they just don’t make film stars the way they used to? Well they can put a sock in it because Eva Green has that quality you find in 1940’s heroines; there is every one from Bette Davis to Rita Hayworth in her, she was born to play the Femme Fatale.

As for the regular cast; Rosario Dawson is effortless, Jessica Alba is stretched as Nancy out for revenge. Even Bruce Willis comes back for a ghostly cameo and Mickey Rourke as Marv? Well Marv is just Marv, as someone else said, he has a very short Character arc, but what an arc it is.

 The new stories (never seen in the comics) are OK; so Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Poker game skit follows the same beats as every other poker tale but does it stylishly (and the ending is genuinely surprising).  Jessica Alba’s revenge drama takes us to dark places before we come out the other side.

However the title story is the heart and soul of this movie, it has the verve and sass of the comic, and it has that Frank Miller voice going through it. 

 So yes, lightning does strike twice in the same place. This is at least as good as the last one; get a march on this other guys who gave it a miss and get an experience they never will have: see it in the cinema.

 

 

Whatever you do, you won’t be able to make it a Box Office smash, that boat has sailed. With it has gone the chance of a Sin City 3 (which was widely discussed before the sequel’s opening).

But there is a chink of light in the Tunnel. Robert Rodriguez already controls a Cable station called El Ray Network, and it needs product. He has already adapted From Dusk to Dawn for the network and there has been talk of a Sin City TV series.

The economics of TV are different from those for Movies; things are possible on the small screen that are woefully difficult on film.

It might actually have been awkward making a third sequel and a TV series at the same time… It may be a boon; Frank Miller can write more stories, utilise the large cast of already existent Sin City characters and the whole thing can be a kind of anthology series of Hard Boiled crime. Who Knows? Quentin Tarrentino might come back to direct an episode…

 

 

 

I just took a look at my records and I noticed a whole bunch of films I was anticipating got snowpierced* into next year: The Green Inferno, Kingsmen: The Secret Service, Almanac/Welcome To Yesterday.

Is this normal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Hme.. still not catching on…

 

 

 

 

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

Index Page

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.