Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Where have I been eh?

Busy, that's where. I've been devoured by the monster that is editing.


Otherwise, Signing Off has been getting good responses from those who see it, which is rather nice. Also to note, it should be playing in support of Gary Ugarek's new zombie flick Deadlands 2: Trapped at the Hagerstown 10 cinema, so that's rather cool as well.


I'm also in the midst of brainstorming a new script, a full length version of the script upon which Signing Off was based, in fact. Thus far the brainstorming is going well, noiiice.


Finally - I've come over all 1994 as I've gone all X-Files mad after having seen the new movie recently, actually I think I forgot to write about that on here ... well, I totally dug it. Definitely not for newcomers, but great for fans of the show. So aye, I've just finished barging through the first season and will be starting season two shortly.

Such a bloody good show so it is!

Saturday, 16 August 2008


As I've said before, I have a lot of films in my collection, and some have been taped from the telly years and years ago, but never get watched. I'd recently watched North By Northwest for the first time, and rather enjoyed it - it took me back to my time at university, that film viewing vibe I was so accustomed to at the time ... then on the same tape, after NBNW, was another Hitchcock film - Marnie.

Quite early on, I wasn't enjoying it at all. I was bored half way out of my mind, couldn't ignore Sean Connery's complete lack of accent skill, and just how slow-paced and stilted it all felt - to me anyway. Fair play if you dig it, but I wasn't having any fun watching it - except for one sequence. When Marnie finally steals cash out of the safe at her new place of work. That sequence was classic Hitchcock suspense. Wonderfully paced, beautifully shot and edited ... what a shame the rest of the movie wasn't like that.

Also - it's a kind of messed up movie in a way, and speaks for other films of the period. There seems to have been a rather odd opinion or view of relationships during movies of this time.

For instance, in Marnie, the eponymous 'heroine' (if you could go that far) is a thief with serious mental problems (resulting from some punch up-turned-murder involving her mother, who was whoring herself to docked sailors) and gets found out by Sean Connery's sore-thumb accent. Instead of turning her over to the authorities, this twisted bastard forces her to marry him, takes her on a honeymoon cruise, forces himself upon her sexually repeatedly until finally essentially raping her ... she then tries to top herself.

Oh not so easy Marnie...she gets rescued by Connery's accent, then gets dragged back to America where she has to continue her farce of a marriage-cum-blackmail job from Connery, she ends up going nuts and breaks her favourite horse's legs - whom she then has to shoot. Then she's too messed up in the brain to even manage to physically steal money from the family safe, then she's dragged back to her mother's home and the whole truth of the sailor murder comes about.

After all that, will she get banged up in the slammer to do a stint of porridgey bird? Who knows, but in her own words, she'd much rather be with Sean Connery's accent ... ... ... what the fuck, you daft bint?! He's the sort of bloke who'll happily aide a known criminal by forcing them into a sham marriage, during which he rapes his so-called wife.

You know, when you dig even a smidge below the surface of the apparent code or morality in some of the films from this era, they are actually quite fucked up. So it's a bit odd for anyone to consider this heyday of filmmaking to be especially squeaky clean, or some how more upstanding ... just because no backpackers are getting hacked up by foreign businessmen, ha!

Batman: Gotham Knight...

As is my way, when I get into something, I really get into it and practically - to all intents and purposes - become obsessed with it.

Case in point - The Dark Knight - since seeing it, I've rarely been able to stop thinking about it and how bloody good it was. My desktop background has been a series of Dark Knight promos since viewing the film also ... and yep, I went and snatched up the Batman Begins/Gotham Knight box set.

Batman Begins, as anybody with half a brain knows, is an incredible piece of superhero filmmaking - and a great piece of filmmaking in general too. So it was cool to get to check out the extra features at long last. Then - Gotham Knight. There seems to be a bit of a tradition starting up now, Anime-style films (mostly shorts collected together) acting as prequels to big releases - or indeed just to get a bunch of pre-plot story out of the way (seemingly in the case of Dead Space, a new videogame coming soon).

Anyway, I guess I should finally talk about Gotham Knight - I dug it quite simply. I liked the story of the first one as an idea, but I didn't really like the first story over all. It certainly stood out from the others visually ... but I don't think the look quite suited the franchise.

Fortunately the rest of the films followed the franchises roots and stylings a bit more closely and came up with interesting new 'in between' stories that pre-date the events of The Dark Knight. It's a neat idea, although clearly some aspects wouldn't have fitted into the 'Nolanverse' (I'm mainly talking about the giant Crocodile bloke).

A great little accompanying piece, and quite enjoyable for someone like me who digs Anime, but isn't really, really into it. Basically, if you dug The Animatrix, check out Gotham Knight (especially if you dug the 1990s cartoon).

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Signing Off - now online!!

View now on YouTube!

Yes indeedy, my new zombie-themed short is now online and ready to view on YouTube. It's 9 minutes in length and features Sean Connell, brother of DeadShed regular Ben.

"The United Kingdom has been ravaged by a viral infection that brings the dead back from the grave. Eventually all that remained was the West Midlands Refugee Camp #3 ... then it too fell, and then Mason Wood was the last man alive in the country."



Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Black Xmas...

Having seen the original many moons ago, and then again fairly recently, I came across the remake on Sky Movies recently and figured I'd tape it and have a look ... what a shock, it's as shite as the vast majority of all of the other rape & pillage remakes out there at the moment.

Shite script, shite acting, shite directing ... it's just a load of shite really. It either rips out entire chunks of the original flick and just pastes in new actresses, or it goes off into weird new territory that both makes little sense, as well as acts as a hardy new yard stick, for new levels of yawn.

Seriously, why bother at all? Even the title was lazy. Shite, shite, shite, shite ... SHITE.

The X-Files: I Want To Believe...

Off down the cinema t'other day with the lads it was, this time the new X-Files movie.

As a fan of the show I was wanted to check out where Mulder and Scully were now at, several years down the line from where we'd left them. While I've now forgotten a lot of the show itself, I was quite quickly right back to the 1990's as Mulder re-appeared under a ceiling cluttered with flung-up yellow pencils.

It's a low budget affair (relatively speaking) at a mere $30 million, so it's not an action-packed, large-scaled extravaganza. Rather it's more an extended episode, and not one of those episodes all about vast conspiracies, super soldiers and/or aliens. No, instead it's like an extended one of those episodes that were just one-offs (and often some of the best), this time involving transplants and a psychic, peadophile priest ... indeed.

The makers aren't seeking to gain any new fans with this entry, it's clearly just for the fans of the show and anyone else can just bloody well catch up, I mean honestly - who was alive in the 1990's and didn't watch The X-Files - losers that's who, haha...yes.

Charlie Bartlett...

I'd seen the adverts on telly, I'd heard something about it being compared to a film I liked (maybe it was compared to Napoleon Dynamite or something), and I knew it had Robert Downey Jr in it. Didn't know anything else, gave it a shot, and after a dull first five or ten minutes, I actually got quite into it and ultimately rather enjoyed it. Basically, rich kid gets shafted out of yet another posh school, turns up at an American comprehensive where it's all a bit rough and such, uses his family's on-call psychiatrist (and some psychology books) to gather a bunch of pills so he can medicate the entire school to deal with their problems.

Essentially, Bartlett just wants to be popular, and this is his elbow into the room so-to-speak. A fairly quirky, high-school set comedy drama type dealio ... with a great, and rather deshevled Downey Jr ... and that chick who was in a few scenes in 40 Year Old Virgin, playing the daughter of the woman that Steve Carell's character ends up boffing ... and the dude who's gonna play the Russian geezer on Star Trek, apparently.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Signing Off - nearing completion...

I've been hammering out some editing for Signing Off over this weekend (as I'm busy during the week doing other editing tasks), and it's nearing completion.

It's been taking a wee while, but then again I've only been fiddling with it on weekends, but it's all coming together nicely now, I should have it finished next weekend and then I'll go about putting it on YouTube.

Now if you don't mind, I'm off to see The X-Files: I Want To Believe...

Friday, 8 August 2008

Black Sheep...

I'd been meaning to see this flick for a while, being that it's along the same vibe as Braindead (in style, as well as country of origin), and the F/X were done by Weta "Them Lot Who Done Lord Of The Rings" Workshop ... also, it's essentially a zombie movie but with sheep, set in New Zealand, the home of countless numbers of the woolly jumpers in-waiting.

I spied the DVD on the cheap and figured why not? Off the bat, it doesn't live up to the "if you liked Shaun of the Dead" tag, but then again basically all films that use that, never do. Mind you, Black Sheep is far from a write off, it's still quite entertaining, pulls out a few nifty gore gags, gets a few great character moments in here and there, and generally isn't disappointing.

Now - this use of Shaun of the Dead on the cover reminds me of Dead & Breakfast ... dear god was that a sack of shite and a half. Dead & Breakfast doesn't have the humour of Shaun, nor does it have the gore, the style, the intelligence, the comedic acting skill, the script or a whole host of other things.

So basically, Black Sheep is a good bit of modern B-movie fun ... and it's loads better than Dead & Breakfast, another movie which used the name of Shaun of the Dead to flog itself (yeah yeah, that was most likely entirely down to the advertisers, but still).

It'll be interesting to see what the writer/director comes up with next.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Stuff and/or things...

* Editing for Signing Off is going nicely, it's a case of piecing it together now (even though most of the main performance was pieced together prior to cropping & colour - because I didn't want to colour stuff I wasn't gonna use, it takes a while to render and such like, you see). So I've started piecing it together with a nice piece of music by Brian Wright (one of the chaps involved in Deadlands: The Rising), who I have used music from beforehand (e.g. I Am Zombie Man 2 and VHS: Long Play).

* I've found myself getting more swamped of late, I seem to be finding myself falling behind in my daily routine/schedule of things to do ... but I'm still on-time if I have to be somewhere, I can't be doing with "yeah, whenever I get there" mentality. I like to be more in the Charley Boorman school of time-keeping, thank you very much. So yeah, I seem to be kinda buzzing around all over the place of late, ticking things off my various physical and mental lists, stuff that needs doing/editing/watching/uploading and so on...hmmm.

* I'm still deep in editing the Sexual Ethics DVD. These things certainly take their time, you can only go as fast as the project will allow really.

* Yesterday/Today, I finally took a bit of time-out to play my Xbox, which I hadn't touched in weeks as I've been too busy in editing/buggered out due to the heat/humidity. I bashed through most of Call of Duty 3 again, now onto COD4, woo woo!

* My left middle finger hurts ... lame.

* This week's, and last week's, SModcast rocked.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

North By Northwest...

Back on my degree, we covered Hitchcock fairly often - indeed, one of my prof's was an epic Alfred-fan. So, again, this was a case of 'record it as we might use it on the course, but then leave it in a box of videotapes for years' ... quite.

Now, being a fan of Captain Scarlett when I was younger, I think I'm right in saying, that North By Northwest is my first proper exposure to Cary Grant (upon whom Scarlett was based closely).

Yes, it's a spiffing film, and Grant rocks, and it's one of Hitch's best. Nevermind the obvious, what NBN did was take me right back to my days at university. Watching those cinematic classics in the campus' theatre on restored prints (something I think I'd appreciate even more now, than back then). I dug the old school colour palette, the rear projection, the epic matte paintings, the innuendo of trains going into tunnels, the rough hidden edits (when panning in and out of the train, which in turn took me right back to Hitch's excellent Rope).

So, whilst it was actually my first viewing of Northwest, it managed to feel familiar, to take me on a trip down memory lane thanks to its romantic vision of the time in which it was shot.

I guess you and I could say, with multiple meanings, those indeed were the days.

Starship Troopers 3 - Marauder...

For crying out loud Ed Neumeir! Not only does he need to do something other than Robocop or Starship Troopers, but he needed to have not bothered at all with ST3: Marauder (which he also got to direct). Considering he wrote the first - which was great stuff - and the second, which was Oscar winning when compared to Marauder - it's quite odd to find Ed just taking the piss out of his own creation in such a half-arsed manner. It isn't becoming of the franchise, it leaves you groaning throughout (and not just because the characters are awful and mostly acted by planks of 2x4).

Whilst having more than twice the budget of ST2: Hero of the Federation, Marauder still manages to look cheap, really cheap. At least ST2 knew it had a teeny budget and created a story around that. ST3 on the other hand, has all gone arse up. The plot is cack, with ham-fisted religious "discussion" slapped around uber-facistic, traitor-hanging all-but-Nazi's.

The performances ... oh dear ... yes, the first film was essentially a sci-fi soap opera, but at least it did it well and you did actually believe in the characters. Marauder though, you just sit there studying the dodgy-career-aging on Van-Diem's face, or marvelling at how ill-considered that cook guy is, or how atrocious that propaganda song is.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What a load of shite.

The Caine Mutiny...

Yep, another Bogart movie from my collection, one that - as it was on at the same time as Action In The North Atlantic, hadn't been watched, despite being sat there for five and a half years.

Similar to North Atlantic, there isn't much Bogart - yet he's headlining the flick - and, indeed, the simple flippancy of marriage crops up again. It really is amazing how many movies from "back in the day" took marriage so care free. It is odd to think of people only saying that now marriage is taken lightly, but if marriage was taken as lightly back in the day as it was in the movies of the era, then there's no room to complain.

Indeed, divorce has shot up, so maybe it's a case of these days people are actually bothering to end their flippant marriages? Who knows, back to The Caine Mutiny, I did get quite into it - even though it's not got much in the way of action, and it does go on a bit ... however, the main interest is indeed Bogart (when he finally turns up on screen that is). How so? He's playing a mentally disturbed, pain-in-the-arse, rule-Nazi Captain of the lazily-staffed Caine.

Rather than playing the hero, here in his later career years, Bogart plays a fairly tragic figure. One who has most likely become shell-shocked by years of service, a paranoiac, a stickler for detail and harsh punishment. Interesting stuff indeed.