Sunday, 30 January 2011

Film-a-day: Week 2: 23-29 Jan 2011

Another week passes and I didn't even made it to the required seven films I set myself, I only got to 6 and even that was a push! Bad Carl! Still, I'm sure I'll make it up to myself and any readers that feel ripped off by this week's instalment! As with last week, the best of the week is here, and the others follow after the cut!

Up (2009) *****
A geniune classic of modern cinema, and there's no two ways about it. Up joins Wall-E as the best Pixar films so far. It's my third time watching it and I was still in tears for the opening scene, and my worst blubber scene, when he looks at the adventure book again. Of course, it's incredibly funny like the majority of Pixar films, but also quite emotionally affecting, which sets it hugely apart from every other animation studio out there, including their owners, Disney. One of the most powerful parts of the film is truly the score, as Michael Giacchino continues to build an impressive back catalogue of the best soundtracks you will ever hear. If you haven't seen it, it's more than just worth getting a hold of, as it was definitely one of the best films of 2009.

After the cut: Black Swan, 300, I Could Never Be Your Woman, MacGruber and Pokemon: The First Movie.

Why won't you die?! #002: Starbuck

Another great sci-fi show in the spotlight this week, with Battlestar Galactica's Kara Thrace (aka Starbuck) coming under scrutiny in the Top Trumps fashion. It may not be obvious but HUGE, MASSIVE spoilers are contained within this post!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kevin Smith to give up directing

I have been a huge fan since I caught up with a lot of Smith films around about the time Dogma came out on video, so it's with a bit of a heavy heart that I heard Kevin Smith say that his next film 'Hit Somebody' would be his last as a director.

This was in his speech at the Sundance film festival which you can see here. It's 26 minutes long, but having seen some of the Kevin Smith Q&A DVD's it pales in comparison. What the speech is mainly about is distribution of his latest film Red State, and how with this film, Smith is going to break the mould and take his own film out on the road in March, to try and make back the $4 million spent on making the film, before the full US release on October 19th. Where that leaves the international market is another question, but for that reason alone, I'm pretty chuffed with this decision. Not only is it different and interesting for a director of his place to be taking a film like this in such a direction but it is a direct 'fuck you' to the system as it is.

However, the decision has it's critics (as do Kevin Smith's talents as a writer and director) and it doesn't take long to find someone who isn't keen on the idea. However some, like this IFC article, seem more concerned with the fact that it's not a new idea. Twitchfilm even go on to slate his remarks about anybody being able to release a movie in the same way being an entirely plausible idea, "Will this prove, as Smith states, that 'anyone can release a movie'? Not at all. It proves that people with a pre-existing and very large following can release a movie provided that they are willing to spend an extended period of time on the road with it using their own celebrity as a substitute for traditional marketing dollars. It's a smart decision for Smith given the size of his fanbase and the general way he is viewed in the mainstream industry post-Cop Out but hardly a game changer in any way."

This kind of thing, I think it's a little unfair on Smith, who has taken to doing something most directors in Hollywood would shy away from, especially considering within the same speech he announces he is stepping down from the directors chair after 'Hit Somebody' (which I'm more excited about to be honest) to move into helping distribute the new kid on the block's movie. The media at this point are in a frenzy over the speech but I think everyone at this point has made up their minds on Smith and nothing he does will edge them any closer to changing their viewpoint.

Like I've said before, I am a huge fan of Smith and loosing his talent as a director seems crazy to me, especially given his new found lust for making original films out-with his safe zone, where 9 films deep he decides to make a horror, when all he's know so far is comedy-drama. It's an admirable move followed by an odd one, followed by another incredibly admirable move. So, while I'm going to hate the day that Smith's director's chair is put away for the last time, I still have love for the reason he seems to be doing, and I'm confident that if he had another story to tell down the line he would come back out from 'behind the scenes' (who am I kidding, when has he ever been that?) and direct another classic film. Be it 'Mallrats 2' or a war epic, I'd be front and centre when it hit the screen.

With love,
Carl England

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Film-a-day 16-22 Jan 2011

Another regular feature I plan on updating every week is what film's I've been watching during the week. My plan for the rest of the year is to try and watch a film every day, or at least seven films in a week. I haven't done brilliantly this first week (this is more of the last 10 days really), but the plan is to update every week with a little review and star rating for each one. The best one of the week is here, the others are beyond the jump!

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) ****/
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) *****
Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983) ****
Of course, what a way to start! While it's easy to pick out the bad parts of the trilogy, if you just let it wash over you and just enjoy it the good parts are brilliant and plentiful. Of course Empire is the best of the three, especially considering most of Jedi can be boiled down to Jabba the Hutt, Ewoks and a lot of shots of Luke Skywalker waiting to get angry enough to almost turn to the dark side. While it's not as easy to pidgeonhole A New Hope, it barely misses the five star mark and is as fine an introduction to a trilogy as there has ever been. But of course, The Empire Strikes Back is the best! It introduced Yoda, Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett and included the brilliant scenes of the battle on Hoth, the wonderful looking Cloud City and the classic training scene from Yoda on Dagobah. And that's just for starters. Superb!

This week was a bit all over the spectrum of film with Lord Of War, Safe Men, Inception and Dog Day Afternoon getting a look after the jump!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Why won't you die?! #001: Harry Kim

In the first of a regular feature, I explore the seemingly unkillable characters on television by examining situations in which they have died (or at least appeared to have) and returned from. Needless to say, spoilers are held within the jump!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Batman round-up!

Let's get down to it

  • Anne Hathaway is Selina Kyle which is alright, better than the rest of the hopefuls, but a far cry from a brilliant choice. However, I have faith in Nolan to make it work. Also, she's been confirmed to be Kyle, not Catwoman, so maybe they won't tackle that!
  • Tom Hardy is Bane which is actually pretty cool, as James Hunt at Denofgeek states "In the comics, Bane was invented for one specific purpose, the storyline Knightfall, in which Bane, an ultra-intelligent, superhumanly strong, expert strategist managed to best Batman on every level, breaking his back and forcing him to quit superheroics (for a while, at least). That version of Bane sounds like a threat that might legitimately test Nolan's Batman. And with Tom Hardy in the role, it's safe to say they probably won't be going the monosyllabic, muscle-bound henchman route." Which sounds perfect to me!
  • Darren Aronofsky is turning his Batman script into a graphic novel in the hopes of impressing studio executives into taking the reigns for the fourth film. This sound brilliant, and as if it's a plan that just might work, and even if it doesn't, we'll still have an Aronofsky penned graphic novel! Hurrah!
I can only hope either of the two follow ups will be as good as either of the two previous Nolan's!

Carl England

More X-Men First Class pictures revealed

In what seems like a rush to try and overshadow the horrid little promotion picture that was released yesterday, a coffee table book's worth were thrown up on the internet today. And they look terrible. Wait, hold on these ones actually look pretty good!
It's an actual picture of people really standing in the same place together! It's magical isn't it? Matthew Vaughn spoke to Slashfilm about it too, saying "When I found out, I said, what the fuck is this shit, and Fox is running around trying to figure out what happened as well. I agree. It’s like a bad photoshop, which maybe it was by someone. It didn't reflect the movie." And as I expected, the costumes feature less that the previous picture would have you believe. "Also, by the way, those costumes are hardly in the movie. The main costumes are like these cool 60’s James Bond…"

What follows are tiny versions of the pictures and the teaser poster that you can see in full at Totalfilm.

And now? It actually looks classy! Well done guys, good quick work!

Carl England

P.S. There's a higher resolution version of the one released yesterday... but that's better left forgotten, me thinks.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

X-Men First Class cast picture arrives

As reported at Den of Geek, the first image has been released by Marvel for the upcoming X-Men First Class film. And it looks terrible.
It's all shiny PVC and ugly looking make up, and while I understand it's just the first shot of the cast and there will be many, many more before the film is released on the 2nd of June, first impressions are always important. Not only is this leaving way too much in the dark (quite literally) but Emma Frost looks all wrong, Magneto looks completely the opposite of the presence which he is in the X-men trilogy and Azazel looks like the devil from Human Giant. (If you haven't seen it, it's a sketch comedy show, with the Devil sporting some of the most ridiculously awful make up possible.

X-Men Trilogy (X-Men/ X2 - X-Men United/ X-Men - The Last Stand)Not to mention Nicholas Hoult as Beast? Unless your going to CGI the fuck out of him, you really need someone with a broad frame to carry the Beast's ungainly features, and he is stick thin! Also, Mystique looks in her late teens, so if they are going to try and pull off the storyline which see's her and Azazel get it on to create Nightcrawler, it's going to cause some raised eyebrows. Not least for the age gap between the two actors which is 24 years, which engulfs the 20 years Jennifer Lawrence has spent living. Creepy.

On the good side however, the costumes look a bit more like the comics, instead of the slightly dreary garb the teams were made to wear in the trilogy. However, I have only just found out that Moira MacTaggert is in this one and I am dreading hearing the accent they give her, because it has been terrible in the cartoon and the games. She better not be saying "Och aye the noo" or any of that shite, or heads will roll. ROLL, I TELL THEE.

Carl England

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I'm coming back, I promise!

I know it must be an obligatory thing for every blog to have at some point, but this is a genuine promise to return to this thing with full speed on. When I started it I had very few ideas and was hoping that making this happen would spark my imagination. The internet is very deceptive that way, and my 250ish Stumble's will agree with that.

However, I have begun work on a few ideas that have been knocking around my skull and I'm pretty proud of the one that has finally come to fruition tonight, with ridiculously terrible awesome photoshop animation at it's core. It's set to become a weekly thing for Carlmageddon so you'll at least see one thing per week from me.

I'm hoping to have everything set to go by the start of February, so fingers crossed I can stop procrastinating long enough to type some coherent thoughts down!

Also, the photo of Nick Cage is because I've been watching quite a bit of his filmography recently, and with the aid of my Lovefilm, this shall continue!

Back soon,
Carl England