27 Aug 2013

Much to do about nothing

To make up for the anticipated sheer horror of  Sharknado  I agreed to take my girl to Joss Whedons contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's Much to do about Nothing.  Small films like this do not last overly long at the cinemas and my girl had wanted to see this for ages.


Don Pedro(Reed Diamond), arrives to spend time and celebrate with his friend and ally  Leonato (Clark Gregg) after defeating his brother Don John (Sean Maher). While there Claudio (Fran Kanz) intends to pursue Leonato's daughter Hero (Jilllian Morgese).  Don Pedro offers to help the shy Claudio by wooing Hero at the masquerade party that Leonato is holding in Don Pedro's honour. 

Meanwhile Don John, who has been taken prisoner along with his lover Conrade(Riki Lindhome)and his henchman Borachio (Spencer Treat Clark), discover Claudio and Don Pedros plan and are determined to interfere and create as much discord as they can.

But while this is going on the real focus is on Beatrice (Amy Acker), Leonato's neice and Benedick (Alexis Denisof), a henchman of Don Pedro's constant bickering and repartee. This has its basis in a failed affair set before the story.  While Don Pedro and Leonato are happy for Claudio and Hero to be wed, they decide that Beatrice and Benedick should also wed, and concoct a plan to bring these two enemies together.

Ensue Shakesperian hijinx!

While you may think  "well you can't go wrong with Shakespeare right?" you would be wrong. Having seen Romeo and Juliet the musical, I know you really can.  But this film does the bard proud. Simply but cleverly shot in Joss Whedon's own home, he  manages to combine a good ensemble cast of friends to present an excellent adaptation. This play is a comedy, and the script and direction is a nice balance of slapstick and wit. A little of the former and a lot of the latter.

While the cast is made of "the friends of Whedon club" of actors, that should not put you off. Clark Gregg, Sean Maher and frequet favorite Nathan Fillion are excellent in their respective roles. The scenes with Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof are hilarious and also poignent. Whedon may be casting his friends, but he is also making the right choices. 

Tom Lenk and Nathan Fillion as Verges and Dogberry
If you like Shakespeare you will enjoy this film. If you are a fan of Whedon, you should see this film. It is a clever little project that he snuck into his schedule somehow. I hope he does Macbeth. 

7 Monkeys from me.

25 Aug 2013

Oh yes I went there!

If could I would go to a movie every 3-4 nights and review it. However I am currently saving every penny that the government pays me for our impending wedding. And saving means sacrifice and compromise, and watching a movie every 3-4 weeks.  However once and a while a cinematic event will come along which means I throw economic caution to the wind and I have to attend. Films that are important, socially, politically, historically or have Scarlett Johansson or Monica Belucci in them.

I am talking about movies that posh people refer to as cinema, creative aesthetic masterpieces that are evocative and compelling. Those films are terrific.

Sadly none of them were on so we went and watched sharknado at Reading.

When I told my lovely film mad partner that I had spent my hard earned pennies of two tickets to the only screening I instantly knew how Jack felt when he told his mum he swapped a cow for some magic beans. Except I think my fiance would have preferred that I spent the money on beans,. And not even magic beans, jelly beans would have made her happier than two tickets to this "movie".

A synopsis which contains several spoilers:

Fin Shepard (The actor some guy form 912010 who I can't remember but who all the women have fond teenage memories of) is an ex surfer who is surfing with his Tasmanian mate Baz (a guy who was once in Bay Watch)  when A hurricane filled to the brim with Sharks hits the coast.  Then despite the clear Sky's, sun and pancake flat sea, LA is swamped with waves filled with more Sharks than a Cronulla league team. These Sharks cruise the drains and roads hunting for Californian commuters.  Baz, Fin, Nova a barmaid from Fins bar and George (John Heard who is in fact a real actor) join together to try and rescue Fins ex wife (Tara Reid) daughter Claudia and son Matt.  These kids are so old I think Fin and Tara must have conceived them at West Beverly High School. But of course this ignored as once Fin battles through Shark  infested down town to discover that his son Matt is not at home, but training to be a pilot. The Sharkey gang take off to find him, saving a school bus filled with kids along the way. Lucky ex surfers and bar managers keep abseiling gear in their cars. They get to the aerodrome just in time before the Hurricane (which has turned into three tornadoes) hits them. 

The Aerodrome is wrecked, except for a helicopter which was completely untouched. It is decided that they can stop the tornadoes by blowing them up! So Matt and Nova (who has gone off Fin due to his adult children and has decided to go after Matt, one of Fins adult children) get in the helicopter and blow up two of the Sharknadoes with IEDs.  But Nova is eaten by a flying great white and the Helicopter spins out of control. Fin then gets into the hummer and drives it into the last Sharknado saving the city from this spinning Selachimorphic threat.  he then leaps through the air to defeat the final shark with a chainsaw, rescuing Nova from it's belly.


The acting is appalling, it is in fact so bad it is like a cliche. Watching Tara Reid and Ian Ziering is like a after school special for why cocaine is bad.  But competing for why this film sucks so much you have the terrible special effects versus the footage stolen from documentary footage of Sharks from the last forty years. I am fairly sure I saw Jacques Cousteau at one point.

Cousteaus cinematography added drama to the film.
The special effects were worse than a secondary school student project, the acting was fourth rate, the story was beyond ludicrous and for the most part made absolutely no sense. I obviously needed to drink more, because there were several parts where I had no idea what was going on. Not the suspension of disbelief, but just basic narrative holes you could drive a truck through.

But it was fun and I will tell you why. One of the great cinema traditions you don't often get in New Zealand is a bad movie night. Oh sure you can invite a few friends around and laugh at a terrible film on the 40 inch Plasma (take that metric system!), but nothing compares to doing the same thing with a hundred people on the big screen.  You shout out witticisms, certainly wittier than the script writers came up with, eat popcorn, share popcorn with strangers and enjoy a poorly crafted movie as a community.  My girl was surprised by how she enjoyed the experience, and the only thing I can compare it to is those sing along  Grease and Rocky Horror  movie nights where people dress up and sing along. It is a unique experience and one we should have more of.

But let me be clear this is the only way to enjoy this drivel. It is a shockingly bad movie and while there is a certain kind of wonderful in a film this bad, it is still awful.

Two Monkeys from me.

If you want more monkeys watch Baboonami, yuuuus

20 Aug 2013

Movies in development

Movies, like the weather, are seasonal, and also like the weather movies can be erratic and have the potential for ruining your day. Unlike the seasons of the year, there are five movies seasons; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and the Holiday season.
I can't seem to see heart?

The movies are carefully released like farm bred Pandas in the hope that they will flourish. There are of course exceptions to the soft and slow rules of movie releasing. When a studio has a couple of films that could be Oscar worthy (The Great Gatsby) they might be delayed, or if there are terrible problems that need to be resolved (World War Z), and of course when movies are released straight to DVD where the overheads are less (i.e. the film appears to suck).Generally you get the blockbuster movies released for the American summer and holiday season, but as that includes such movies like Transformers 3, it is not really an indication of quality.

One of the favorite things to do in our house is to see what films are coming up. It is something fun to look forward to, or complain about.  So in an attempt to give you the same sort of thrill or sense of dread here are a few films currently in production.

King Harald
Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and written by Mark Smith who wrote The Hole. This appears to be a film about Harald Sigurdsson better known as Harold Hardrada. A king of Norway who is probably most famous for not conquering England in 1066.

I am a student of Nordic history and culture so this movie both excites me and fills me with dread. There are very few good movies about Vikings (as they are incorrectly but more commonly known), but hopefully the recent TV production by the history channel will set a good standard.
Dead Space
The movie about the Computer game. Mostly these movies are fairly bad, but as Uwe Boll has not been named as the director it might not truly suck.  I have never played this game but I understand that this is a good combnation of science fiction horror. Well it will be if it isn't directed by Uwe Boll.

Justice league
The current eta for this is 2017 and I have not seen anything specific online. But as you expect it will be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash and Green Lantern smashing bad guys in high def 3d action. Watch this space.

Prometheus 2
I wanted to love the first film, and there should have been so much to love; Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender, and Rafe Spall. It was the dazzling prequel to one of my favorite movies. But despite  some pretty good stuff, over all it was a bit dumb.  And here is the sequel. While I imagine that it will be Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender fighting aliens and that in of its self could be fun I am done. Ridely Scott is still a great visual director but all the asthetics in the world can't save a rubbish story.

Bladerunner 2 
Also directed by Ridley Scott  here is the plot summary
"Set some years after the first film, in which an ex-detective had to hunt down and eliminate a team of humanoid androids that had escaped from an outer space mining company."
Again filled with excitement and dread. Mostly dread. 

 "A young man returns home to uncover the mystery behind his father's death only to find a pack of flesh-eating squirrels hell bent on destroying everything in their path."

The guys behind this are complete unknowns so make of this what you will. Better than Sharknado? your guess is as good as mine.

Doctor Strange
So along with the current successful run of Marvel super hero movies we have Dr. Strange.  Disney/Marvel are looking at several of these  which is good news for the fans. But I think we are all nervous after The Green Lantern,  but then I am not a massive fan of comics. 

Dodgeball 2
Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller are forced to team up to fight an even bigger threat. The original film starred the two as rival gym owners who agree to compete in a winner-takes-all dodgeball championship. While I loved Dodgeball I am less than enthused by this sequel.

How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack   
A production by the famous Robert Zemeckis ( Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) about
Garden Gnomes who mount a home invasion. I think this will depend on the writers and directors.

Point Break
Well well this classic cop movie is being remade. But this time instead of surfing it is extreme sports. This is good new for Gary Busy who hasn't realised that the first film has finished, but bad news for Chris Hemsworth who many studios confuse for Patrick Swayze.

War craft
The movie based on the ludicrously successful online computer game. While this will probbaly be hated by the hard core fans, if they can spare the two and a half hours away from their addiction to actually watch it of course. Even if it is bad with over 8 million subscribers world wide it is of course a great investment with a ready audience. Duncan Jones  who directed the rather silly  Source code  is the director for this project which does not inspire me. It is currently scheduled for release in 2015.

Flight of the Navigator
A remake of that classic 1986 film. Another oppertuity for hollywood to crush my childhood no doubt. 

The Forever War
This is a great book, and it would make a great film.  A classic sci fiction novel that hasn't dated all that much. Unfortunatly it is been made by Ridley Scott, who undoubtedly will fill it with fantastic actors, wonderful cinematogrpahy and a rubbish script. It is the sort of movie that I wonder if I should even see in the worry that it will marr the story I love so much.

Animal Farm
Another adaptation of the book. I quite like the 1954 version myself. Interestingly it is directed by
Andy Serkis so this good be a good film as he is a good director. But I think we need to know more.

Creature From the Black Lagoon
 Another remake of a 1954 classic, no doubt filled with great effects and A list actors but absolutly no soul. Hopefully the studio who has learn the lesson of The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008 (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/day_the_earth_stood_still/)

This is of course just a wee selection of some of the movies in development.  Some good, some well we'll have to see. Is there any film that you would like to see? Let me know.

13 Aug 2013

Indiana Jone's best mystery ever

I had planned to do a post about movies that are coming up, or one about wedding speeches. However recent events have stunned me into action. I have started an exciting new project which I am hoping will gather great success.  I just discovered that I was part of a great mystery, a mystery that needed to be solved.

But who to solve it? The greatest detective in the world is of course Sherlock Holmes, but he was currently working on the mystery of Scotty's accent aboard the Star ship enterprise. Batman? Far too angry. Miss
Phryne Fisher? My fiancĂ© would not let her in the house she is far too saucy. 

I need someone with of intelligence, education and action. The next obvious choice is INDIANA JONES!

Indy in the greatest challenge of his life

But what is this mystery you ask?

Well today we recived the preview photographs from our exceptionally talented photographer from when we did the trial shots. And they are great, I really feel that he will give us the pictures that will last a life time. And even though they were just preview shots, he really captured the moment and my girl looks beautiful.  But as I admired the photographs I realised that something was wrong, something was missing? It took me a moment but then I realised what it was.

My Jawline!

At first I thought that the photogrpaher had accidently captured some Lovecraftian monster trying to capture my darling girl, but no on closer inspection it was me.  I have, of late been quite slack on the excercise front and through a daring process of replacing running with donuts, I have replaced my jaw with several chins. 

It was a bit of a shock, but a shock I needed.  So I have spoken to a friend of mine who mind numbingly strong and powerful as a ex power lifter and international rugby player, and he will wring the pie out of me and turn me into a normal human male, not a bloated villian from 30's schock horror.

Hopefully Indy can find my missing jaw, but until then it is on the excercise bike for me.

4 Aug 2013

Who is who?

Tomorrow  6AM New Zealand time the BBC will announce who the next Doctor will be.  The 50th anniversary of the first episode rapidly approaches and the BBC, with a great deal of hype is putting on a live 30 minute show of Doctor Who Geekery, and will end with the announcement of the 12th Doctor. We won't be able to see it (unless you can stream the BBC of course) which is a shame as it sounds cool.

I think if you are of a certain age, Gen X you grew up with the Doctor. He was a staple of our after school viewing.  I also think we led the charge to get behind the reboot even after Paul McGann starting being all  American  in that movie we do not name. 
I mention this because the Doctor is not just a important British science fiction icon,  the Doctor is also part of at least two generations of  New Zealand men and women.  he was part of our child hood, and he has returned with the usual rag tag of companions to be in our life now.

So who will take the mantle from Matt Smith? Many people got quite attached to David Tennant, more so than Christopher Eccleston even though he rebooted the series. I have spoken to Whovians who were quite apprehensive with such a young unknown taking on such a mantle. But Matt Smith has owned the role and is a very popular doctor.

The UK bookies who are so cupidinous that they even bet on what they will bet on next, have some favourites on who will replace Matt Smith. And here they are?

Peter Capaldi

I will always remember this Scottish actor for starring with a young Hugh Grant in that weird but wonderful film  Lair of the White Worm.  You might know him from the Hour. He has of course already been in Doctor Who as a prominent roman in The Fires of Pompeii Episode. He was also in Torchwood. Great actor, but I am not sure that he is the man for the job. He is totally capable and would make a great Doctor, but I think he is too connected and also too well known. Sorry Peter I don't think you are the next Doctor.

David Harewood

The 12th Doctor, the last generation (according to folklore) is rumoured to be something a little different. The most common theory is that he will be coloured. So here is David Harewood. He has the right TV pedigree, and you might know him from the US show  Homeland. But you might also know him from Doctor Who episode The End of Time.  I just do not believe that they will use an actor who has cameoed before. I could be wrong, but I do not think I am. Great actor but not the Doctor.

Ben Whishaw

I know him as Sidney from  Layer Cake,  you might know him from  Cloud Atlas  or  Skyfall. Good actor but I think he has a solid career in film and will probbaly be in the next Bond. I don't think he will be the next Doctor.

Olivia Colman
  The other theory is that the new Doctor will be a woman! Great googily Maloogily a female Doctor?
If this idea fills you with hate and dread I suggest you look at this cool video and song from Rebecca Eisenberg

Also misogyny is the lamest thing I think a geek can be, but sadly I have known far too many.  To you, stop being dicks!

In regards to Olivia Coleman being the next Doctor? I don't know she has sold props as a comic British actress, maybe too many. If you don't know her she was the female constable from Hot Fuzz. If the new Doctor is going to be a woman I just don't see her at it.

Rory Kinnear
The son of the late great comic actor Roy Kinnear,  Rory  like Ben Whishaw was recently in  Skyfall.  He is a solid actor with a familiarity but not an rising star like Ben or David Harewood. I do note however that he has been pegged as a contender before. Red herring or someone to watch?

James Corden 

James Corden? C'OMN!  You may or may not know this writer/actor from Gavin and Stacey and the hilarious  Lesbian Vampire Killers. He is a very good actor and very funny. Sadly while he would make a grand Doctor he has also been on Doctor Who previously so I sadly rule him out.

Damian Lewis

A grand actor who you probbaly know from Homeland or  Life, but sadly maybe a bit too grand for Doctor Who.

Dominic West 

Also from  The Hour  he has a successful film and TV career in the US. Talented but a bit to 'man of action' to be the Doctor I think.

Sheridan Smith
Sheridan Smith is a very familiar face to me; Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps,
Gavin and Stacey, Hysteria,  and most recently  Quartet.  Once I was presented with the idea I have to admit that Sheridan is a good option, smart, cheeky and strong she would make a great Doctor. Also less well known than Olivia Colman.

Ok so those are the bookies picks, here are mine

Paterson Joseph
  While I have seen him in various shows he will always be the Marquis De Carabas from  Neverwhere.  I think that Paterson is a much better choice for a black Doctor.

Robert Carlyle

I reckon Robert would be grand, c'mon he would. And I bet he would do it. Sadly I think he has other commitments.

Julian Rhind-Tutt

 A poor mans Paul Bettany, Julian has also been in the hour and many other productions, but maybe he would make him self available for this. Although he also has a career in Hollywood. He was recently the voice of Jarvis in  Iron man 3. 

 I don't really know who it will be. But I do know that I will be up tomorrow to find out. 
Good night.