Grunting at the Screen (184)

25 Jul

The information age isn’t finished with us.

I need to do cyberpunk specials more often; in every one I should say “there is no news today”. It seems every time I do this, we get some news.

This time it is news about Duncan Jones’ long gestating project, Mute.

He is on the verge of finishing World of Warcraft, however it will not be released until 2016.

He thinks he can squeeze in another production in that time, and he wants that production to be Mute.

Whether he can raise the financing, that is another thing.

Mistakes I think the Blade Runner sequel will make.

I’ve been watching the Blade Runner workprint (amazing quality, set design, cinematography). I got to thinking; how will the sequel attempt to rise to the challenge of following up this classic.

I think they will try to emulate the production design and cinematography… and I think that would be a mistake.

First of all even Ridley Scott never tried to repeat the distinctive look. Second because we can do so much more.

Blade Runner was mostly studio based, and it looks like it, even in the so called exterior shots. Looking at the cinematography established in say films like Neill Blomkamp or Spielberg’s Minority Report, it is plain that current cinematography can look very natural, even while adding copious effects.

Second I suspect they will attempt to match the remarkable production design. I doubt this is even possible, the original Blade Runner comes from the tail end of an era of production design, art direction and props. Ridley Scott pushed these disciplines to the endpoint, providing a density of visual information so intense at to be insistent of the film’s reality.

I doubt there is the talent of money to do this again: this is the era of CGI and bluescreen.

Perhaps in a country where the talent is there and the labour is cheap it I possible… maybe China.

One mistake I don’t think the sequel will make: Pace. There is no chance of the sequel moving at the gentle 1984 pace.

How did I miss this one?

William Gibson is working on a comic called Archangel. It is a time travel story taking place in the last days of WWII and an alternate present.

Publisher is IDW and artist is Butch Guice. Look for it in 2016.

Now, what has this to do with movies?

Before Archangel was a comic, it was to be a film project with actor Michael St. John Smith.

This actor is a screenwriting teacher in L.A. He was co-writing the screenplay for Archangel with William Gibson, and the project was, for a time lodged at Red Cedar Films Inc. (A company right in Gibson’s native Vancouver).

Apparently the project fell though and now they are going for the Comic book option (a brilliant move because, as I mentioned before, film executives can’t read.)

Reviews of Self/Less are out and the verdict is… curious. Well Tarsem Singh has cured himself of his addiction to elaborate imagery, the visuals are competent but not as eye popping as previous films. However his facility with storytelling is no better than before.

Apparently the feature has a great premise which is not exploited at all.

One sequel I always have time for is Resident Evil. Any Resident Evil. The first one was under rated and quite good, subsequently they have become more and more absurd, but you know, they have a sense of their own absurdity and I’m willing to just go with it.

After a hiatus, they are on again for just one last entry. Milla Jovovich is back and is filming with husband, the director Paul W.S. Anderson in South Africa for Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

Since Heavy Metal was bought by David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz they have been looking around for film and television projects. Their latest acquisition has been the comic Roche Limit by Michael Moreci. It is a mystery with horror elements set on a space station descended into anarchy.

Seth Sherwood is writing the screenplay.

Since the demise of Tomorrowland I have been gloomily predicting a world without original science fiction film, but it seems people are still willing to lose their shirts on futuristic flicks. Case in point ,  The Dark Side, a new feature film project adapted from Anthony O’Neil’s eBook; an android goes berserk on the moon, a detective is set to stop it. OK, not the most the engaging material but who knows, it might be goof. Besides, it is set in a space prison.

Twentieth Century Fox have optioned it. Screenplay is to be by Javier Gullon.

Ant-Man opened to solid, if unspectacular business, because its budget was lower than Age of Ultron, it will easily earn back its cash and there will be sequels.



Let’s Get Small.

It is a thoroughly pleasant film. It moves along quickly enough, the characters are adequate, the story structure solid.

I had a good time.

Scott Lang has recently been released from prison, his ex-wife has remarried, he can’t keep a job but he needs a stable resident and lifestyle so he can have regular contact with his daughter.

He is determined to go straight but the lure of cash to finance that stable new life is too strong and he finds himself breaking into the home of a retired corporate CEO named Hank Pym. A mistake because Pym has a plan for Lang: he wants him to become Ant-Man.

This is not your usual Marvel Movie, it’s a heist, and it follows the beats of the heist. And there is no city wide destruction at the end, although there is a knock-down fight.

There are some provisos. If scientific accuracy is important to you then this is not the film for you. It violates the laws of physics and maths so often you may as well abandon all hope of credibility and go with the flow.

More seriously (No really, it’s a comic book movie) is the tone of the feature. It is funny, light-hearted and very much a family movie. Why is this a problem? It’s a film about a bunch of ex-cons pulling off a heist. Criminals here are portrayed as funny hapless and sweet. It there was any edge in this movie it was neatly filed off. And this worries me, ever since Tony Stark’s Alcoholism was mysteriously cured in Iron Man 3, I have noticed the creeping hand of Disney making everything marvel Touches child-safe, and that hand has new ceased creeping and is now swinging a rod. It bodes ill for the future.

Otherwise feel reassured, Ant-Man is inoffensively watchable. And don’t forget to stay ’till the end of the credits for a preview of a forthcoming Marvel feature.

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.


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