Archive for October, 2005

Audio Edition - October 31st 2005

Welcome to The Audio Edition Holloween installment. Well… there’s really nothing “holloweeny” about the show, it just happens to be Holloween. Whheeeee!

On todays show Doug and I are join by regular Monday guest Darren “The Hammer” Conley and together the triumphant trio talk about how much comment spammers deserve to die, Doug and I review The Legend Of Zorro, the upcoming film Transamerica and how politically left and right movies get praised for all the wrong reasons and a few things more.

You can download this installment of The Audio Edition here

To subscribe to the podcast of The Audio Edition on iTunes copy this link and then paste it into iTunes-Advanced-Subscribe to Podcast.

SHOW NOTES: ** This is important. The Audio Edition is meant to be conversational… and it’s your turn to be involved in that conversation. Use the comments section of The Audio Editions to post YOUR show notes. Thoughts you had about the topics… interesting links to things related to the topics. Share your thoughts and links with the rest of us to keep the conversation going. The “show notes” are now yours to write!**

The Movie BLog’s Top 10 Most Gruesome Movie Maniacs

Happy Halloween kiddies! That’s right it’s me, your old pal Brad, back from some brief adventures in not so sunny California. I hope you missed me; and if you didn’t; well I’m back, to push your buttons and perhaps rub you the wrong way once again.

As promised before, I was compiling a Movie Blog top 10 List: Of the most gruesome movie maniacs in film. What makes this list special is that it was tallied up based on your comments. So after a month of deliberating on the Movie Blog, here are the results.

The Movie Blogs Top 10 Most Gruesome Movie Maniacs    
10. Bruce: from Jaws
9. The Burger King: hey this is your votes
8. The Firefly Family (inc. Dr. Satan): from House and Rejects
7. Hannibal Lecter: from Hannibal series
6. Jigsaw: from Saw
5. Jack Torrence: from the Shinning

Read on for the next five…

Unrealistic Expectations for Chicken Little

Chicken Little is one of those projects that I catch myself really looking forward to that no one else seems interested in. I remember a few months back I put up a couple of posts with some Chicken Little news and most of the comments and feedback were neutral to negative about the whole thing.

Chicken Little represents Disney’s first full blown venture into 3D animated films. What was once the absolute King Pin of the animation world has quickly fallen out of relevance at all with companies like Pixar, Dreamworks and Sony pushing ahead of them. Getting back into the animation game is a good move on Disney’s part… the question of “can they compete?” is another issue… but they at least have to get into the fight.

Having said all that, I came across an interesting article on Guardian where it seems that expectations for Chicken Little are a little unrealistic. Here’s what they had to say:

Investors are looking for worldwide box office of around $350 million from “Chicken Little” according to David Miller, an analyst at brokerage firm Sanders Morris Harris.

The film’s performance could affect ongoing talks between Disney and Pixar. After an ugly public split last year, in which Pixar chief executive Steve Jobs called off talks for a new distribution deal, the two sides have been negotiating again. “I think Steve Jobs is watching ‘Chicken Little’ very closely,” Miller said. “If the film underperforms relative to his, he may use that as a nugget of leverage.”

Are they serious? $350 million at the box office? Honestly folks, I have no idea what they’re thinking. Personally I’m looking forward to Chicken Little… but the fact of the matter is that I haven’t heard much excitement about the film from the wider film fan base at all. The trailers frankly have not been that good, and the overall marketing campaign hasn’t been very creative. It seems like Chicken Little to most people is just an afterthought.

So what do you think? Can Chicken Little hit say… $120 million domestically? Damn I sure hope so… if it’s any good.

What scares you the most in movies?

Sadako-Ringu.jpgI recorded a programme on UK TV this weekend about the technicalities of scares in movies. In the first five minutes I watched John Carpenter and John Landis talking about the things they believe scare people in movies.

Since it’s Halloween I thought it a good idea to ask you what you find scary in the movies? I don’t mean the film itself, but what actual techniques and physical things scare you? Here’s a few from my list that I thought of…

Creepy kids
Not seeing what should be seen - hidden faces, action off camera
Seeing something the character can’t
…and similar to that one, seeing something before it happens
Thick forests at night
Noises off camera

There’s a few, are some of these the ones that scare you the most? Is there anything else? What are the vehicles and devices that scare you?

Here’s an excellent quote from John Landis during the Channel 4 show exploring the scariness of movies (the show was pretty poor)…

What really scares me? People. People really scare me because people kill people. I don’t know one person killed by a vampire or a werewolf or Godzilla. I really don’t. People scare the shit out of me.

In Memory of Ailsa: Your Favourite movie animal

WestHighlandTerrier.jpgThis weekend one of my family dogs passed away, a very traumatic experience for the family as we really do treat dogs as part of the family, a testament to this is the food and titbits they receive from my parents!

Ailsa, our West Highland Terrier passed away on Sunday, quite suddenly, quite unexpected, and after a very long and we hope happy life. I’m not ashamed to say I had a little cry yesterday, and while I was thinking of finishing the Movie Blog Top Ten lists page, I thought that this would be a good way to say something for her.

So here’s to Ailsa, a dog the Brunton’s dearly loved, and here’s to Prince who’ll miss her just as much. (As soon as I get a photo scanned in I’ll put it up)

Now, with that, what is your favourite movie animal? We’ve always had trouble watching movies with animals in our house, we all get very upset when something bad happens. However there are a few I remember with fondness. Lassie, Tarka and Orca.

What movie animals hold a fondness in your heart and why?

Jennifer Garner in erotic thriller!

JenniferGarner.jpgWell that’s how it’s being billed! Sabbatical is a story that, according to Coming Soon,…

…follows a couple that hits the doldrums in their seventh year of marriage. To inject some life into their union, they decide to take a two-week sabbatical from each other during which, within a set of rules, they can do whatever they want. When the wife returns to the agreed-upon meeting place two weeks later, however, she discovers that her husband has disappeared.

It sounds an interesting story line, and it’s a good break from the roles that Garner has so far been attached to so far. Perhaps stretch her acting ability and move her onto other roles than agent and superhero? Do you care, or are you just more interesting in the word erotic?

Gerard Depardieu to retire

GerardDepardieu.jpgThat’s according to the man himself. From IMDB:

Paris newspaper Le Parisien reports the Green Card actor told the cast and crew of Michou D’Auber on Friday, it was his last ever day of filming. He said, “I’m about to stop filming! I’m a guy that is leaving. And for once, I’m not drunk! I’ve got nothing to lose. I did 170 films, and I’ve got nothing else to prove. I’m not going to keep up like this for ever. I finish in style with film director Thomas Gilou, who has made lost of successes, and has made a really good film with this Michou D’Auber. I retire in style with this film. It’s wonderful.”

Well that’s sad news indeed, I just recently saw 36 Quai des Orfèvres and it’s an awesome film with a superb performance from the man hiimself, it shows that he’s far from finished in acting.

He’s had some memorable roles and he’s such a great on screen character, filled with charisma. Will anyone else miss him? What’s your favourite role of his (please not Green Card!)?

Is Uwe Boll finished?

UweBoll.jpgA little while ago I wrote about how Uwe Boll is managing to keep making such awful movies at a loss in this post. Basically he’s exploiting some extremely favourable tax laws in Germany which mean he gets just about all his money back.

Today Twitch are carrying news that the tax laws look set to be closed and therefore Boll won’t get his money back anymore! Yipppeeee! He’ll either have to start thinking about making money on his productions or he’ll go bankrupt. From Wikipedia:

It has been recently reported that the loophole in German tax law has been revised. Starting January 2006, contributors to failed films will no longer be able to profit from failed films through a tax writeoff at the end of the year. This may well result in an end to Boll’s film career, as it would make it impossible for him to capitalize on films that fail at the box office, resulting in a loss of investors.

Three cheers for the German Finance Minister…

Richard reviews the Saw II soundtrack

Saw2Poster.jpgI haven’t seen Saw II yet, but the vein is similar to Saw. It’s to be dark, tense, thrilling, unsettling, and above all, frightening. The movie is intended to take you out of your comfort zone and drop you into the minds of people trapped in a complex puzzle, to lose that comfortable feeling and to be put on edge.

Listening to the soundtrack for Saw II I was well aware this was out of my comfort zone, I am far from a metalhead. Still, after listening to it a few times I’ve actually really begun to enjoy it.

Germans film in Edinburgh

ScotlandFlag.jpgWell there are movies still coming to Scotland, and surprisingly from the film tax haven of Germany. According to the excellent newspaper The Scotsman - I say that because I met the online Editor recently, nice guy - a German film has been around Edinburgh and Scotland filming last month. It’s a movie that appears to be…

…described as a German Da Vinci Code crossed with Harry Potter

Now there’s an interesting sounding concept!

With a budget well in excess of £1 million, The Secret of the Stars, about an intrepid scientist and his bid to unravel the secret of a mysterious historic artefact, is likely to be a big hit in Germany.

German company Nova Productions has spent the last 23 days filming the entire adventure in Scotland, with car chases around the streets of the Capital mixed with high drama on a train in the Highlands. The production is expected to finish shooting today, after completing a car chase sequence around Arthur’s Seat.

Oh how did I miss that? Oh…because I live and work outside the center, that’s why! The great thing is that they’ve not missed out the local use of talent.

…the film features Scottish actor Bill Barclay…who appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York…has also appeared in several episodes of Taggart and other Scottish TV productions…

…Glasgow-based company La Belle Allee…

The company assisted with hiring cast and crew. See this is fantastic, and it’s what we need to keep the film industry alive here. That and the incentives to get the companies here in the first place in order to spend money. Why doesn’t out Goverment understand speculate to accumulate?

Audio Edition - October 28th 2005

It’s the end of the week and time for another installment of The Audio Edition

Today Doug and I talk about why we’ve been missing for the last two days, the decision by Fox to release Fantastic Four 2 on the exact same day as The Transformers, sad news that there may not be another Bubba Ho-Tep film, asking why on earth its going to take Peter Jackson 3 hours to tell a King Kong movie, Rambo 4 and Rocky 6 stuff as well as a few things more.

You can download this installment of The Audio Edition here

To subscribe to the podcast of The Audio Edition on iTunes copy this link and then paste it into iTunes-Advanced-Subscribe to Podcast.

SHOW NOTES: ** This is important. The Audio Edition is meant to be conversational… and it’s your turn to be involved in that conversation. Use the comments section of The Audio Editions to post YOUR show notes. Thoughts you had about the topics… interesting links to things related to the topics. Share your thoughts and links with the rest of us to keep the conversation going. The “show notes” are now yours to write!**

Shyamalan says no to multiple release

MNightShyamlan.jpgLooks like John Fithian, the heads of the US association of Cinema Owners, is not the only one who doesn’t like the idea of simultaneous releases of films in Cinema, DVD, Cable and Internet. Now M. Night Shyamalan is unhappy too. In fact he doesn’t even want the release window shortened. According to the Guardian:

“It’s greed,” Shyamalan told delegates at the ShowEast industry convention in Orlando, Florida. “It’s heartless and soulless and disrespectful. And of course, cable companies are behind it, and internet companies. They need their product. But they have to wait their turn. Wait for the thing to finish its life.”…”If you inspire audiences, cinemas will be packed,”

Yes they will, and he’s totally right. I also do think that despite the product being the same I do view the releases in Cinema and DVD as two distinctly separate things. In the Cinema you enjoy the Cinema experience, in the Home Cinema you (if produced correctly) can enjoy the experience as intended by the creatives behind the movie, plus you can enjoy the experience of understanding about the movie and the filmmaking process. These things are very different to me, and I enjoy both - however it’s well documented which I prefer more!

Yet he goes on a short rant…

Superman II DVD restoration with Richard Donner

SupermanII.jpgLook I can’t tell you how speculative this is…actually I can…this is really speculative. From Superman Homepage the suggestion is that Richard Donner is to work on a version of the DVD edition of Superman II.

So what, well most of you will know that after he filmed most of the movie he departed the production and it was taken over. Fans have tried to recreate the original version by copying it from obscure TV sources, et al, but never really bringing it back to life. Could Donner be hired to do just this?

The latest edition of DreamWatch magazine includes an article on the fan-made “Restored International Cut” of Superman II, but even better than that, it notes that director Richard Donner (who was removed from the film after having already directed most scenes) has now been hired to work on a Special Edition DVD of “Superman II”. It’s still very early days, so anything can happen from here on in

Very early…still…this could be the DVD version the fans have been waiting for…well? Fans?

Brick trailer

Okay this has really intrigued me. It’s dark, broody and quite noir-esque, yet it’s all juxtaposed against the battles in school and images like “I’m going to stir things up…” and he pulls someones straw from their mouth, knots it, and puts it back in. It looks as though it promises much darkness and some twisted humour. The critics are certainly up for it too, amongst the cool trailers there are some good names and good quotes.

Have a look at it over at Movies Online, and yes, this one did work for me. It starts loading instantly.

“Brick”, while taking its cues and its verbal style from the novels of Dashiell Hammett, also honors the rich cinematic tradition of the hard-boiled noir mystery, here wittily and bracingly immersed in fresh territory…

I would suggest not reading the blurb provided, it’s not that sexy, and gives away a couple of small explanations that might be more suited to actual viewing. Check the trailer and say what you think in the comments.

Fantastic Four 2 To Open Same Day As The Transformers

Twentieth Century Fox has just pulled one of the stupidest “strategy” moves I’ve seen in a long long time. They’ve just announced that Fantastic Four 2 will be released on July 4th 2007. Why is that so stupid? Well because Dreamworks has already announced that they are going to be releasing The Transformers on that exact same day!

Are the people over at Fox totally insane?!?! Do they actually think that Fantastic Four 2 has ANY hope at all of standing up toe to toe against a Transformers movie?!?! Have they totally lost their minds?

Let’s see… on one hand we have one of the most anticipated live film projects of my generations time (Transformers), and over on the other hand we have a sequel to a film that made $153 million (not exactly MASSIVE blockbuster numbers) and disappointed most people who saw it. Hmmm… who would win that weekend? Hmmmm…. it’s almost a toss up… oh wait… no… no it’s no toss up… Transformers will kick the crap out of Fantastic Four 2 if they open on the same day.

Dear Good Folks at 20th Century Fox:

Do yourselves a favour and blink. Take Fantastic Four 2 off the July 4th 2007 date and move it 2 week earlier or later. You’ll make money with this film… but if you go toe-to-toe with the Transformers you’ll sink like Hoffa in a NY river.

Maybe they’re trying to play chicken with Dreamworks and think they can get them to move off the date first. If Dreamworks is smart they’ll stay right where they are. They’re going to make a crap load of money on that weekend with or without Fantastic Four Moving off it.

Rambo 4 Starts Shooting In Spring

I loved the Rambo movies when I was a kid, especially the first one. I remember thinking it was the coolest damn thing in the world when Rambo got cut open from his fall and then stitched himself up! Holy crap my friends and I all thought that was wicked (that’s the word we used at the time).

But today I find the idea of another Rambo film (Rambo 4) just rather sad. A sad commentary on a star who has basically failed on almost every other film project outside of his two staples (Rambo and Rocky) and is so desperate to be relevant again he’s returning to them both far too late.

Don’t get me wrong… I would love nothing more than for Slyvester Stallone to make a triumphant return to A-list status… but I fear that by going the route of Rambo and Rocky he may end up just making a joke out of himself (hey, I hate saying that… but it’s what I actually fear).

The good news in all this is that Rambo 4 seems to be making a return to the style and feel of the original film as opposed to the blow-em-up action style of the sequels. The good folks over at Coming Soon give us this:

Millennium Films in conjunction with Emmett/Furla Films and Equity Pictures are partnering on a $50 million Rambo IV, says The Hollywood Reporter. Sylvester Stallone is attached to star.

The story centers on former Vietnam vet John Rambo, who is living a reclusive life back home in the U.S. But when a girl goes missing, he is forced to abandon his quiet lifestyle and take justice into his own hands.

$50 million seems a little low… but perhaps that’s also a good thing if they’re trying to keep it to the feel of the first film. The movie is set to start shooting in the spring after Stallone finishes work on Rocky 6 which starts shooting in 2 months.

Slither Trailer

I just watched the Slither trailer and I’ve got to say it has officially caught my attention. Slither has the appearance of a David Duchovny’s Evolution style horror/comedy film… only a bit better looking and on a lower budget (and keep in mind, I actually kind of liked Evolution).

Slither is about a small town taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters. Yeeehaa! For all you Serenity fans out there the film stars Nathan Fillion, and for all you 40 Year Old Virgin fans out there it also stars the hot hot hot Elizabeth Banks (did I mention this woman is hot?).

The trailer is actually pretty funny too. I suggest you go check it out. To see the Slither trailer you can just go here.

Bubba Ho-Tep sequel dead?

bubbahotepdvd.jpgOh I wish it wasn’t true. For those of you who haven’t seen the amazing Bubba Ho-Tep you have to go and see it. It’s a wonderful movie which is about something much more than all the marketing material says. It’s, I beliveve, Bruce Campbell’s best role to date, one that is heart warming, touching, and a wake up call to show us how lonely getting old can be and that losing self belief and purpose is more or less giving up.

I loved this movie, it’s one of my all time favourites, and Cinematical have the story that its sequel might just never get made.

Cult hit director Don Coscarelli, the man who brought the world Beastmaster, Phantasm, and Bubba Ho-Tep is a kingpin of culture’s geek underbelly. During a recent appearance at the NYC Horror Film Festival, Coscarelli discussed the possibility of returning to two of these franchises with Icons of Fright. Sadly, recent rumors claiming a new Phantasm movie…have since fallen through. As for the rumored sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep, Coscarelli stated that he would love to return to the story, and indicated that Bruce was “rarin’ to go again.” Unfortunately, the studio that funded Bubba Ho-Tep is no longer in existence, so money needs to be found elsewhere if a sequel is to ever happen.

I’m glad Mark over there is as passionate on this project as I am, I just hope someone has the vision to bring this one back. If the sequel is anywhere near as good as the original then it would be fabulous. Let’s start the rallying call here.

Man who Fell to Earth to be remade

The news from Coming Soon is that the classic The Man who Fell to Earth starring David Bowie is to be remade:

Warner Independent Pictures and Cherry Road Films are remaking The Man Who Fell to Earth, with screenwriter Oren Moverman set to adapt, reports Variety….

…The story is about an alien who comes to Earth disguised as a businessman to procure water for his parched planet. Along the way, he becomes the head of a powerful international conglomerate and discovers just how greedy mankind is, falling into a metaphysical crisis.

It’s not clear if the remake is from the novel or the movie of the novel (with Bowie) but they have both been optioned. I actually wouldn’t mind this remake more than the rest because the story is even more relevant in todays society than back then. I really think that this could make for a good, insightful and quite reflective story of our times.

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World Trailer

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is written by, directed by and stars Albert Brooks… which is totally good enough to get me pumped about seeing it. I think Brooks is one of the truly funniest and intelligent minds in comedy today. I still remember the first time I really noticed him… it was in the brilliant Broadcast News. Man he almost stole the whole show in that film.

Anyway, now he comes along with Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. If you haven’t heard of it yet… here’s the simple synopsis:

To improve their relations with Muslim countries, The U.S. Government assigns comedian Albert Brooks to find out what makes the Muslim people laugh.

That’s it. The trailer looks wonderful and had me giggling from the very first line of it: “Millions of Muslims around the world hate our guts”. Brooks has done some real stinkers… but you’ve gotta admire his moxy for doing a project like this one. I hope it’s as funny as it looks.

You can see the Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World trailer by going here. I recommend it!

Goblet of Fire teaser

HarryPotter-GOF-Poster.jpgHere’s another Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire teaser, and by all accounts this one is a lot darker. As usual I can’t see the damned thing, so I’ll leave it all up to you…watch the clip from AOL from Monsters and Critics through Cinematical. Then head back here and drop everyone a review…is it more exciting now it’s becoming a bit more grown up?

Transamerica Trailer

Transamerica is one of those films that’s been getting some buzz ever since it started shooting, but not because of who was making it or because of the depth of the script… but more because of the topic of the film.

instead of trying to explain it… it’s best to just let the synopsis do the talking:

Stanley is a perfectly adjusted, conservative trans-sexual who’s about to take the final step to becoming Bree, the woman he always wanted to be - until he finds out that he is the parent of a long-lost 17 year old son. Afraid to tell the rebellious teen-ager the truth, he embarks on a journey with him that will challenge and change both their lives while bringing them closer to the truth of their connection.

To me that’s an amazingly creative and original story idea and makes me excited to see it. It’s getting lots of positive pop from a bunch of critics and some film festivals which is all good news… HOWEVER…


I get really nervous now when a clearly politically LEFT or RIGHT movie comes out with a bunch of people raving about it. I’ve found that a lot of these films only get “big” buzz because the point of view of the film happens to agree with some critics or industry people’s views and the movie gets applauded more for it’s position than for it’s quality.

For example: But I’m a Cheerleader. For those of you who don’t know, Cheerleader is about:

Megan is an all-American girl. She’s a cheerleader, she has a boyfriend, etc. But she doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend very much. And she’s pretty touchy with her cheerleader friends. And she only has pictures of girls up in her locker. Her parents and friends conclude that she *must* be gay and send her off to “sexual redirection” school, full of admittedly homosexual misfits, where she can learn to how to be straight. Will Megan be turned around to successful heterosexuality, or will she succumb to her love for the beautiful Graham?

Oh this little indie film got LOADS of buzz. Words like “Brilliant” and “Amazing” were tossed around like autum leaves. I was pumped about seeing it. After all it was a bold topic and I was interested in see how the story was told. But in the end… the movie SUCKED. No… not just sucked… SUCKED HUGE. It didn’t suck because of the topic or the theme… it sucked because it was a terrible movie.


Transamerica looks very brave, and for that I give it full marks in advance. Hopefully the film will turn out just as good as it is brave. I just hope it’s not getting all this buzz just because of its theme.

To watch the Transamerica trailer you can go here.

Hostel Trailer

Hostel looks good. I’m one of those guys for whom my enjoyment of horror style movies comes and goes. One year I’m all about horror flicks… the next I could care less. But the new Hostel trailer has me freaked out… mostly because it’s something that I can actually imagine happening.

From what little I can gather from the Hostel trailer, it looks like it’s a place where you can go and butcher, maim, kill, or rape people. Sound horrible… well yeah it should… I think that’s the point. This little synopsis I found makes it sound even more horrible:

An amalgamation of many of the terrifying things about human nature and the world at large, culled from lots of pulpy-but-true stories of international organized crime, human trafficking, and sex tourism. Relentlessly graphic and deeply disturbing, the film is rife with explicit sex and brutal violence that may delight hard core genre fans, and prove difficult to stomach for general audiences.

Yikes! Sounds totally freaky. Quentin Tarantino is an executive producer on the film… which really doesn’t mean much but it was at least worth mentioning.

To see the Hostel trailer you can just head over here.

Watchmen gets second chance?

Watchmen2.jpgOh lord I hope so, and from the people who have given rebirth to the Batman series no less, Warner Brothers.

Remeber the heights us Watchmen fans were lifted to as the project gained a good Writer, a good Director, and things were actually moving? Then of course Paramount decided to be tight…Just check the related posts for the history.

With the latest story from Cinematical:

Well, today, the emotional roller coaster ride for Vertigo fans takes another wild jump, as Entertainment Weekly reports that the good folks at Warner Brothers are now in talks to bring the project into their fold. Hey, this is the company that brought us Batman Begins, right? But of course, it is also the company that brought us Catwoman.

This is exciting news, but they are right, let’s not get too excited. The deal might not go through and worse yet, WB might just make a mockery of it, after all they’ve been known to do that with the odd movie now and again. Although have they learnt the error of their ways with the comic adaptation?

Lindsay Lohan joins Bobby

LindsayLohan.jpgHonestly, Lindsay Lohan from the Herbie: Fully Loaded movie, and of much celebrity gossip fame in the States, is to star in the all cast movie Bobby. Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, and starring Anthony Hopkins, as well as many other big names.

Really? I have to say I’ve not seen anything with her in it, but from what I’ve heard she doesn’t strike me as the type of actress to be joining such a weighty project…mind you, Demi Moore is in it.

From Coming Soon:

Anthony Hopkins, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Nick Cannon and Freddy Rodriguez already are cast in the film, which is set to go into production next week in Los Angeles. Estevez also has a role…

…Lohan plays a woman who marries her boyfriend’s brother (Wood) to keep him from going to Vietnam, only to fall in love with him.

The US readers will have been exposed to her more than I have…so what do you think of the casting choice? Inspired career move?

Order of the Pheonix to film in UK

There were fears that the next Harry Potter movie was going to leave the UK, as has the latest Bond movie Casino Royale, however it looks like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is going to film here after all.

It was said that it was leaving the UK because of the tightening of UK tax laws on movies, basically your rebates were out the window. Studios were turning to foreign climates where you could receive most, if not all, of your tax back during production and pay it back when the film was successful. All sorts of similar incentives are on offer in other countries, not here anymore thanks to our greedy and short sighted Goverment. From Coming Soon:

Warner Bros. has decided Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will shoot at Leavesden, north of London, like its predecessors, as well as on location around the U.K.

Variety says that the value of Hollywood films shooting in the U.K. is expected to drop 40% to $592 million this year due to the strength of the British pound and changes in the U.K.’s tax-break schemes. Further changes to the tax regime, set to take effect March 31, are likely to hit hardest those films budgeted above $35 million.

The good news for them is that they are likely to get the filming started before the current tax breaks disappear, filming starts February. However the next movie is a different story.

Harry Potter lead to change?

DRadcliffe.jpgThis is either one of two things, the media making a big thing out of a simple comment, or Daniel Radcliffe trying the James Bond style of pay negotiation, but Radcliffe is hinting he may not be on board for the whole series.

Daniel, 16, who has been the boy wizard since he was 11, is considering other projects, says the Mirror….

…Asked what he will do when the role comes to an end, Daniel replied: “We’ve got a while before the films end.

“I’m not absolutely confident that I’m doing them all. I’m definitely doing the fifth, but after that who knows?”

Ah, The Mirror, says a lot. However, these do appear to be his words. Personally I think it’s an offhand comment about the fact he’s not signed up for them all, a nice friendly reminder to the Studio to get his contract sorted and give him a pay rise in the process!

King Kong long and expensive

No surprise here, but what always hits me is that people can’t seem to Project Manage well enough to anticipate such huge hikes…and I don’t want to hear any baloney about creatives can’t be managed. I ran a team of hapless creatives before, and Project Management was working…until I left and the company has since failed…anyway, I’m getting sidetracked again!

According to Coming Soon King Kong is running over budget and over three hours.

The New York Times reports that Peter Jackson’s King Kong is substantially longer than Universal Pictures had anticipated and the extra length (mostly due to the special effects) has helped increase the budget by a third, to $207 million…

…with seven weeks to go, they have agreed to release King Kong at a length of three hours.

Wow, well the Lord of the Rings films were all sitting about that time, so there’s no huge surprise here is there? The budget though is. That’s a huge leap! Still, I think they’ll reap the rewards of bowing to Jacksons vision. Another Rings size hit?

Saw 2 Reviews

I’m predicting Saw 2 will be the hands down winner at the Box Office this weekend. But I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t thrilled with the first “Saw” movie. Don’t get me wrong… I didn’t dislike it… but many other people enjoyed it more than me. I thought it was ok.

However, for some reason Saw 2 looks a lot more promising to me than it’s predecessor did. Surprisingly the critics seem to be enjoying to too. At this point Saw 2 is holding down a 75% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which also makes it the critics choice for this weekend (I never thought I’d say that).

Here’s what some of the critics are saying about Saw 2:

“Rest assured that there will be blood and lots of it as the Saw franchise looks to be around for a long time.”
Stefan Halley, HERO REALM

“Cooking up new Rube Goldberg torture contraptions isn’t enough to get Saw II out of the shadow of its unnerving predecessor.”
Robert Koehler, VARIETY

“improves on all of the first film’s problem areas, while leaving intact everything that was good about the concept.”
Luke Y. Thompson, NEW TIMES

“Bigger budget, bigger cast, and more blood. Will deliver for Jigsaw’s fans. ”
Victoria Alexander, FILMSINREVIEW.COM

Yeah I’ll probably make this one the first on my list for the weekend. Like I said, the first Saw didn’t blow me away… but it had enough that I think the second could be cool (much like my feelings for Underworld). I’ll let you know how it turns out.

The Weather Man Reviews

The Weather Man is one of those poorly marketed films that I just can’t get a handle on what it’s about. It’s suffering from the same marketing mistakes that Stay had… and I fear will suffer the same box office results as well.

The Weather Man stars Nicolas Cage… who I’ve been starting to appreciate more and more again in recent years. Add along side him Michael Cain and you’ve got a double blast of Oscar winners. But so far… the critics aren’t sold on it. As of this moment The Weather Man is holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Split right down the middle.

Here’s what some of the critics are saying:

“… small-scale, character-driven, and textured in a way that I found quite involving.”

“The movie blows all over the place, too, as its meandering plotlines do flesh out this portrait of a success who believes himself a failure, but never expands any further.”

“This may be a great film for people out of touch with how their negative behaviors effect those they love.”

“One of the biggest downers to emerge from a major studio in recent memory.”
Justin Chang, VARIETY

So it looks like it could be hit or miss. But like I said… it’s the same problem as Stay, only not quite as bad. The trailers don’t really give me much of an idea what I’ll be walking into if I buy a ticket. All I know is that Cage is a dad. Whhheee. Oh well… I’ll still see it… but only for Cage and Cain.

What film means the most to you?

CinemaSeats.jpgI get pissed off with the way John continually says “subjective” on just about anything we talk about. Sure, the whole thing is subjective, but we love lists, we all have our favourites, and that promotes discussion and that’s what the site is all about - not angry people who can’t type properly! (I don’t mean John!).

It’s this subjectivity on the top lists that we’ve seen recently on the Top Films of all time post and John and Doug talk about in the Audio Edition that is the most interesting thing, forget the movie title itself, it’s the personal story behind it.

Recently I had an idea about music, and I think I might try the same with cinema, I published the Soundtrack to My Life, a collection of songs that really mean something to me and the story behind them. I found it a brilliant thing to do and also discovered that it wasn’t really about the song, I mean Barry Manilow is in there!

So what has this to do with the movies? Well they’re just like the songs. When you’re listening to the Audio Edition this week John’s off on a little story about how he saw a movie, named his cat after a character, etc etc., and it got me thinking. Some of the top lists are not just about great movies, they are about the experience you had around them. The effect of Star Wars is surely heightened because you were at the right age, the time was right and everyone shared the experience. Think Star Wars and you don’t just think the movie, you think of being in the cinema with loads of your friends, trading the toys, talking about the movie, playing with light sabers…Okay…well I do!

When I actually listed my top list I decided to use the movies I’ve voted on IMDB with a 10 score. It missed loads that really mean a lot to me and I would have thought should be up there. The reviews of these movies exclude me, if I were to sit down and think what movies should be in my Top list, I’ll start thinking more of my life. Indiana Jones with my Dad, probably the last time I can remember being in the Cinema with him, we’ve just never been since, but it feels like a big Field of Dreams moment to me now.

So, on that. What movie (or movies) mean a lot to you personally, what movie carries a huge story for you and why? Can you even tell us what the story is? Are there movies that really did affect you, like Batman did for me (I raided a Bus Shelter with a claw hammer at 3am to get a poster!), or Always (see my soundtrack for details)…?

Claude Van Damme and Wesley Snipes

jean_claude_van_damme.jpgWhat a combination. Both great martial artists, and both looking for some form or revitilisation for their careers, Damme more than Snipes I think, and so the potentials here are high. Potentials for cheese, disaster, and also a damn good kick ass combination. I think Snipes is superb, and this has nostalgia written all over it.

Wesley Snipes is set to join Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Hard Corps, written and to be directed by Sheldon Lettich, who wrote Van Damme’s first starring vehicle, Bloodsport.

Production Weekly says that in The Hard Corps, Van Damme will be playing battle-hardened combat veteran Patrick Sauvage, who has just spent the last three years fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Sauvage is hired to be a bodyguard to a former World Heavyweight Boxing champion. The boxer has run afoul of a dangerous Rap Music Mogul, and because of that he needs some serious protection.

Van Damme is tasked with assembling a team of combat vets - “The Hard Corps” - to guard the boxer and his family. But interpersonal complications arise when the boxer suspects that his sister may be falling in love with his new bodyguard.

Coming Soon had me all the way up to the love interest. I was starting to think that this was going to be some kind of Dirty Dozen idea…but no. Bodyguard with more beef? Still, let’s not try and categorise already, let’s think of that combination…

British Independent Film Awards 2005 - Nominees announced

BIFA-Award.jpgFrom here on out referred to as BIFA’s, okay? Thanks to a story in Timeout we’ve just found the nominations for the BIFA’s this year.

Some interesting things are afoot, for instance Neil Marshall has The Descent in three categories, Best British Independent Film, Best Director of a BIF and Best Technical Achievement. I actually agree with the last two categories, however I haven’t seen enough British Independents this year to judge if it belongs in the first category.

Let’s list them all out though, courtesy of BIFA themselves, and you really should check out the Foreign film category, there are some superb entries there…

The Legend of Zorro Reviews

I really enjoyed The Mask Of Zorro. So naturally I’m looking forward to The Legend of Zorro right? Well… not really. You see, where The Mask of Zorro was funny, adventurous, fun and had likeable characters, The Legend Of Zorro looks just plain campy to me.

If nothing else, the one shot in the trailer where Mr. and Mrs. Zorro both use their swords to cut out a “Z” and “H” on the guy… well let’s just say the marketing totally lost me at that point. How stupid. Not to mention the horrendously ANNOYING little boy in the movie. Oh wow!

Anyway, the critics are now starting to chime in on The Legend of Zorro… and predictably it doesn’t look very good. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“Demand a director’s cut — at least 30-40 minutes shorter — before you see … this long and tedious stunt extravaganza.”

“What have they done to the Zorro movie series? It’s turned into Spy Kids!”

“The Legend of Zorro passes corny right by and goes for silly, and stupid, and boring.”
Devin Faraci, CHUD

“Lacking any of the original thrills, excitement or personality of the first film, this legend will be a quickly forgotten one.*”
Stefan Halley, HERO REALM

Sighhh… oh well. Yet another film to add to the long list of sequels that should never have been made. They should have known that without Anthony Hopkins this just wasn’t going to fly. Listen for my personal review on Monday. As of this moment The Legend of Zorro is carrying a sad 22% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes. Ouch. But really… did any of us expect anything better?

Casino Royale explains all

CasinoRoyale.jpgThe story is everywhere just now, and I was trying to avoid it, but I read it over at USA Today and it actually sounded quite interesting, here’s some of the key points from Martin Campbell:

Bond is teamed with female agent Vesper Lynd, who later helps him recover after he is brutally tortured.

“She’s the one who forges him into the Bond that we all know and love,” Campbell says. “He certainly falls in love with her, and it does change him forever. It’s a genuinely deeper relationship. The film deals much more on a personal level with Bond.”…

…The reason the hero treats subsequent love interests as one-night stands also will be revealed.

“He talks about how it’s too boring to have a relationship,” Campbell says. “You meet, and it’s all exciting, then it starts to fade, and you go through the uncomfortable part of having to get rid of the girl, etc. It’s a very interesting observation, given his sort of misogynistic views.”

The film also will feature a lot of “embryonic stuff” about why Bond prefers his martini “shaken, not stirred,” and why he favors the Aston Martin sports car.

I’m quite interested in this, from the point of view to see where this character came from and how he was formed…that’s it though. Is that enough to be interested in a movie?

Indie Films on the Web

IndieFlix.gifOver at Cinematical they’ve just pulled up a story that’s really good for filmmakers and viewers alike. A new site called Indie Flix has started to allow filmmakers to distribute their movies through the Internet. The plus side for viewers is that movies are cheap and very accessible, the plus side for the filmmakers is that it gives them a distribution channel and it is not Internet download…

…a website that allows filmmakers to submit their films, which are then featured on the Seattle-based company’s website. Viewers can then purchase DVDs of the films they are interested in through the site for $9.95, and IndieFlix burns the DVDs on-demand and ships them out…Filmmakers would still, of course, have to market and promote, but hey - they have to do that with distributor deals now.

I think this is superb news, for everyone. It’s great that we could pick and choose a bunch of movies then receive a DVD a week or so later with all the movies on it. Sure it’s not an Internet download model, but you know what, I’m happy about that. There’s not the protection to look after the filmmakers work yet, and quite frankly I have a kick-ass Home Cinema system and I don’t want to watch a movie on a monitor with poor audio quality stereo speakers. So I love this idea.

So, if Indie Flix are reading, or any filmmakers are on the site already or just thinking about going there for the deal, give us a shout. We’ll happily review and promote your movie! Back to you though, the reader and the viewer. What do you think of this idea? Like it?

Audio Edition - October 25th 2005

Welcome to your special Tuesday installment of your favorite podcast… THE AUDIO EDITION!

Today is a special show as Doug and I run down the list of what to us are the 10 greatest films of all time. Now remember that all lists are totally subjective and these are just the greatest films of all time according to us… but man the conversation was a lot of fun. Make sure to give us your thoughts in the comments section!

You can download this installment of The Audio Edition here

To subscribe to the podcast of The Audio Edition on iTunes copy this link and then paste it into iTunes-Advanced-Subscribe to Podcast.

SHOW NOTES: ** This is important. The Audio Edition is meant to be conversational… and it’s your turn to be involved in that conversation. Use the comments section of The Audio Editions to post YOUR show notes. Thoughts you had about the topics… interesting links to things related to the topics. Share your thoughts and links with the rest of us to keep the conversation going. The “show notes” are now yours to write!**

Encrypted Screener DVDs

The funny thing about this little movie piracy thing that the film industry is always crying about, is that most of the good pirated copies of films come from movie industry people who get screener dvd copies of films and then pass them around (like this story on a SAG member found guilty of pirating his screener copy of Million Dollar Baby).

But it looks like the industry is finally doing something smart about this problem. Disney is going to be the first company to distribute encrypted DVDs that will only play on certain machines that Academy members will have. The good folks over at ABC News give us this:

Cinea, a division of Dolby Laboratories, distributed 12,000 machines last year, but it was too late for the studios to produce the encrypted discs. Most studios instead distributed unencrypted DVDs or specially watermarked VHS tape copies of their films.

Meh… you know me. Usually I like to rant about how stupid the industry is most of the time… but from where I’m sitting this looks like a pretty good move. It’s simple, effective, and if it works will take away the vast majority of the higher quality bootlegs out of circulation without going after and suing little teenagers.

Romance of the Jedi

Ok, I had to post this. Being a slower news days I thought maybe it would give you some chuckles. I found this neat little trailer for a film called “Romance of the Jedi” through a link over at Digital Theater.

Basically what it is, is re-cut trailer and movie footage from Revenge of the Sith to make it look like a gay romance story. No, I’m serious. And they do a pretty neat little job of it too. Oh well… it made me giggle. If you want to check out the trailer for Romance of the Jedi you can just click here.

(Note: the streaming for me didn’t work and I had to right click it and save it to my computer first… but maybe you’ll have better luck than me.

Kung Fu High School

A title like Kung Fu High School doesn’t exactly generate a lot of excitment does it? Kung Fu High School? Kinda makes you think of 3 Ninjas doesn’t it? So what are the Weinsteins thinking putting up some big money to get a hokey little teen ninja movie? Well… maybe it’s not quite as lame as the title makes it sound.

Reading the synopsis of the book for which Kunk Fu High School will be based sounds a little more hard core. The good folks over at AICN provide us with the aformentioned sysnopsis here:

The student body of the titular high school is armed, girded with armor and versed in martial arts in this ultraviolent, dystopian debut novel from Gattis, the spawn of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Cormier. With a corrupt, ineffectual administration, Kung Fu High has become a prisonlike society ruled by gangs and neglected by the law. The novel’s teenage warrior narrator, Jen B., tells the story of her cousin Jimmy Chang, a world champion martial artist and hero to his peers who vows to his mother that he’ll never fight again after he’s arrested for drubbing a band of thugs.

But Jimmy faces a brutal initiation ritual when he transfers to Kung Fu High, a beating he takes without resistance until Jen’s brother, Cue, attacks Jimmy’s tormenters. Cue, in turn, is murdered, and Jen must negotiate complex school politics while fighting for survival and trying to avenge her brother’s death. Jimmy, her only trusted ally, must break his pacifist vow or see his cousin destroyed. With clinical detachment, Gattis splashes graphic descriptions of violence and gore throughout the novel. The ” ‘gangbanger’ Armageddon” final chapters of this story may feel predictable, but the martial arts mayhem is as detailed and balletic as a John Woo movie.

Ok, color me interested. After reading that my menetal association goes from 3 Ninjas to Battle Royale (and that’s a good thing). But come on. I don’t care how “true” to the book they want to stay… they’ve GOT to change that title. Don’t ya think?

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