Thursday, 29 July 2010

Interviewing cast of THE TORMENT - and meeting FRODO'S MUM?!

I've been invited to the movie premiere of indpendent horror movie THE TORMENT next friday.

I'm also looking forward to interviewing the cast!

The premiere will be held in London's Prince Charles cinema. Nestling alongside London's Odeon, Empire and Vue flagship behemoths, the Prince Charles is well-known for its tireless support of independent cinema.

THE TORMENT belongs to the shaky-handcam school of cinematography. References to BLAIR WITCH, REC and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY are inevitable, as the plot follows our hero who tries to escape possession by fleeing from one friend's house to another - though the demonic force in question is attached to him, not the house.


EDIT: Have now interviewed the cast. Only a small dictophone but they passed it around like a talking stick and the interview turned into wonderful chat and silliness about the best secret recipes out there for making SFX blood.

Also, pop fact: One actress had a starring role in Doctor Who and the other actress has passed a couple of auditions now for The Hobbit and is truly in with a chance of being Frodo's mum! PS The staff at the Hobbit auditions seemed to take it as read that Peter Jackson was back on the case as director. Oh, hurrah!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Trajan is the movie font!

I ask you for one brief moment to consider movies from another angle - the design angle.

Did you know that one font gets used over and over for movie titles?

The font's name is TRAJAN. Speak of it in hushed tones...

So many elements in a movie are designed to manipulate the viewer in the most delicious ways...

Sound. The howling of violins in PSYCHO.
Colour. The prevalence of green clothing and props in THE MATRIX.
Immersive 3D: The swooping into vertigo-inducing drops in AVATAR.

So why not fonts?

TRAJAN was designed to epitomise the feeling of a Roman Epic Movie. Then it just symbolised Epic Movie. Finally, as the hilarious video shows, it just meant Movie...

Food for thought, that even a font could make a difference to how you feel about a film!

Monday, 26 July 2010

UK Film Council scrapped

A while back I wrote an article about how there were so many great British movies in the last decade that managed to tick all the boxes: Plot, acting, cinematography, box office.

That could all be set to change because the UK Film Council is being scrapped by the Government. Dagnabbit.

I think this could spell really bad news for the British Film Industry. It's not impossible to consistently make great films without funding - but the money and the backing does really help.

Britain has seen so many great directors crop up in the last few years. Some of my favourites are:

Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire)
Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent)
Duncan Jones (Moon)
Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, Sherlock Holmes)

These guys all cut their teeth on small projects where they did their best with the funding they had.

There'll still be a dribble of funding for British films from the National Lottery and the like... but with the UK Film Council to be disbanded, I worry that the sunshine days for up and coming Brit film-makers will be over.

It was a nice day until I heard this news. Now it is a sad day.

Please sign this Save the UK Film Council petition if you feel sad too.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Haiku Movie Reviews - Bladerunner and Bill & Ted

I think I might just have invented something - movie review haikus. They do say it's harder to write less than it is to write more. Maybe this will sharpen my film critic skills.

There are a million rules to haiku and many of them contradict each other; I've gone for a 3 line haiku with 5, then 7, then 5 syllables per line.

My two haikus below (BLADERUNNER and BILL AND TED) are beyond terrible. I'm honestly very sorry.


If you comment with your own haiku, I'll be delighted to add it to the list with a link back to your blog. Anything to take the onus off mine...


Dude, if you can't chill
you'll never hang with old dead
greek guys. Excellent!


Old grey kippled world.
Small men take on industry.
Yes... but are they men?

Friday, 23 July 2010

I do like a good knees-up. It's the Carnival of Cinema...

Come one and all... you are welcome to revel in the Carnival of Cinema from the nice folk at Good News Film Reviews.

Everyone is talking about INCEPTION, Nolan's latest yarn. But it's not all about Hollywood. They also cover ROAD MOVIE, the NORMAN K. COLLINS documentary and other good things.

Even TWILIGHT ECLIPSE gets a mention, which is great, because it's nice to see such an underexposed movie get a little affection :)

SUCKERPUNCH movie posters... Upcoming film from the director of WATCHMEN

Is the world ready for what Zack Snyder describes as "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns"?

Well, yes. In fact the world has been waiting a while in the cold and tapping its feet. But never fear, a down and dirty version of Wonderland is almost here... SUCKERPUNCH is due release in cinemas in March 2011.

The pic above shows 2 of the 6 SUCKERPUNCH gals - Babydoll and Amber. See the full set of 6 Suckerpunch movie posters for the film characters - it's looking very pretty indeed.

Now we all know... just because a film looks pretty and ticks the genre boxes, that doesn't mean it will necessarily deliver.

But I have to admit... as an old comics fan who read the original, I really did like Snyder's adaptation of WATCHMEN. And I am tentatively looking forward to to SUCKERPUNCH - at least I know it will be in good hands.

Plus, look at the visual references. Steampunk? Check. Lolita Goth japanese babydoll fashion? Check. Victoriana? Check. Old-fashioned fifties vision of The Future? Check.

Oh, and the plot?

Envision a mental hospital in the 1950s. Baby Doll, a mental patient there, seeks to escape her evil stepfather and impending lobotomy. So she retreats into the dark and visceral world of the imagination...


New Ghibli film - Borrower Arrietty

A Studio Ghibli production is timeless. If you don't like the consistently high quality output from the Ghibli studios, then there's a chance you might actually be a typically Studio Ghibli villain - namely a slightly crotchety antagonist with obvious flaws but redeeming qualities. J'accuse!

In spite of my quirky taste in cinema, I don't automatically love all that is anime - nor do I rush around saying everything is kawaii all the time - but I have never been able to resist the vision and worldview of Ghibli animator/director Hayao Miyazaki.

A film-loving friend of mine described watching a Studio Ghibli film as 'going to film church'. Such films have... transcendent qualities. They're not about making you feel good. They're about making you feel... uplifted. Taken out of your humdrum worldview and offered a glimpse of a bigger, better, wider world.

A studio Ghibli film appeals to our childlike sensibilities, not our childish ones.

Certain elements repeat themselves in a Miyazaki film. Watch 'Spirited Away', 'My neighbour Totoro', 'Kiki's Delivery Service' and 'Castle in the Sky' and all his other efforts and you'll see the same themes again and again: A shinto-influenced love of and respect for nature. A need for the child to be the main protagonist, with no parents to help them. Villains who shift morally, meaning that nobody is out and out evil, they are a lost soul needing change.

And of course, the feminism. Ghibli films tend to feature independent young girls on a mission. However, a Japanese friend assured me that the films were not quite as feminist to a Japanese eye. Little boys are trained for success from birth, and cannot be expected to play and be free in the same way as a little girl - so it's in part a cultural imperative that the independent young children at the centre of whimsical and freewheeling Ghibli films are actually female. In fact, my Japanese friend asserts that it is actually the Ghibli films that feature free-thinking, spirited and independent little BOYS that are the ones addressing gender issues. Interesting.

So now we have the latest offering from Studio Ghibli, and you can view the film trailer here: Borrower Arriety.

It's a Victorian-styled creation based on the classic Borrowers books. Arietty is a miniature girl who survives by borrowing from the house she and her family live in. All goes well until Arietty is discovered...

I've not seen Borrower Arietty, but I'm sure it will feature beautiful animation, characters who progress and engage the emotions, a paean to the natural world, surreal visions and a feeling of looking through the mirror glass like Alice.

I think it's about time for me to go back to Film Church...

If you've already seen the film, or are looking forward to it - or even if you think Studio Ghibli is hugely overrated - I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The female werewolf in films - Once bitten, twice shy

Ooh, I wrote about lady werewolves and the lack of them in films yesterday. Hurrah.

Man, it felt good to namecheck Dog Soldiers and Ginger Snaps!

Twilight Peaks - part 1

Haha! Catch it before it's pulled?

Twilight Peaks

In this YouTube twinkling gem, Twilight is re-edited to be more like TV show Twin Peaks, including being re-scored with the Badalamenti music. Traces of the original Twilight score survived, but only just.

Twin Peaks has dated pretty well. I think Twilight benefits from the makeover, to be honest. If Twin Peaks was wish fulfilment the way Twilight was, I for one wouldn't be too keen to blow out the candles on the birthday cake.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

I love the smell of diligence in the morning

Or rather, afternoon. But diligence smells sweet at any time of day and I'm glad I finally got this blog up and rocking.

Why did I set it up? Well, I have a vested interest.

I work for the wonderfully acid-tongued UK film reviews and news site, Best For Film. They will soon be looking to take on guest posts. Good.

I'm also the editor of Mookychick, a rather brilliant site for alternative girls and women. It covers all the essentials of life - movies, girl gaming, alternative style, quixotic thought, a little bitta feminism and, of course, how to genuinely try to survive an earthquake.

Team Mook is always looking to make new friends and get new content from lovely people with something to say (what do you mean you haven't read our submission guidelines? Scurry over there as fast as you can!)

Mookychick is always up for guest posts. It's always up for lovingly pimping our guest bloggers with full bios and links to their blog/site and such. Anything other than would be rude.

As a result - well - I got a blog. My first one in years. How else will I be able to speak to you all?

Actually - thinking about it - it would be much classier if my first post was entirely in lorem ipsum.