Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Rumours are Pointless

I know it's a fairly obvious statement, but the amount of time journalists (and consequently readers) waste on arbitrary guess work on how a film might pan out is ridiculous.

Case in point, Christopher Nolan today announced the new Batman film title is to be The Dark Knight Rises. He also (more interestingly) pointed out that it won't feature The Riddler. I'm not sure quite how many articles I've read on possible casting rumours for The Riddler, but it's probably in the double digits. Will it be Depp? Will it be Levitt? Heck, even Eddie Murphy was a serious contender for a brief period. And now he's not even in the frickin' movie!?

But at the end of the day, it is purely up to the director on what he chooses to put in his movie. I don't think anyone could have guessed how awesome Heath Ledger was going to be in The Dark Knight. So should we just trust them enough to let them get on with it? And perhaps speculate when we have some actual solid facts? A small part of me hopes Nolan has actually gone out of his way NOT to include The Riddler in protest of such trivial speculation. See how the Fanboys like dem apples.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


  • Old cast are back
  • Rory Culkin
  • Hasn't strayed too far from the other films
  • The new 'rules'
  • iPhones
  • Hasn't strayed too far from the other films

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Paranormal Activity 2 - aka the Modern Day Ghost Train

Remember a year ago when that film came out that scared the crap out of everyone? Paranormal Activity was this decade's Blair Witch Project: a film that cost nothing, made millions, and had a really disappointing ending.

Paranormal Activity, the film that made everyone 'ZOMG!'

Much like Blair Witch, the inevitable sequel is with us just 12 months later. But unlike Book of Shadows, Paranormal Activity 2 is watchable and... actually quite scary. Despite watching the film in what seemed like particularly noisy classroom (Vue sucks ass btw), PA2 provided scares in the plenty - but little else.

Watching the first half you'd be forgiven for thinking you were watching exactly the same movie - same ol' cheeky demon antics: pans falling off hooks, pool hoovers climbing walls. Those pesky demons! Then the film goes into OVERDRIVE. The 20,000% increase in budget (I'm not kidding) means the movie is a lot more action-packed, with people being flung around like rag dolls in a tornado. It's impatience for scares makes the film feel a lot more relentless, as those dreaded night scenes come around a lot quicker this time.

Expect a lot of creaky door action.

It's far from a perfect horror movie, however, as the plot seems more like an afterthought. It somehow ties in as a prequel to the first movie, which works pretty well if you ignore most reasonable logic. And the 'inexplicable filming everything' motif makes everything feel a little contrived. But then again, Paranormal Activity 2 isn't a movie in the conventional sense of the word. It's an experience, much like a fairground ride. Questioning the plot feels like questioning the reasons for having corkscrews on a rollercoaster.

So for all intensive purposes, it's a 5 star ride but a 3 star movie.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Rosemary's Baby: The Remake

So I was watching Rosemary's Baby last night, and it reminded what an original, amazing fucking movie it is. For a horror film it's abnormally short on 'scares' - mainly a pregnant woman hysterically running around New York. But it's 2 hours of almost solid suspense, which leads up to a climax so chilling you'll be thinking about it several days after viewing.

The eyes... The eyes!?

In recent times, Hollywood has decided that contemporary horror films "just aren't working", and have begun remaking/rebooting every single horror film that was ever great: The Thing, Let The Right One In, Scream, I Spit on your Grave, Alien revamps are all out in coming months. So it's only a matter of time before Polanski's masterpiece gets it's inevitable Hollywood makeover. To save those busy studio execs' time, I have kindly formatted the film into a contemporary and marketable feature.

Rosemary's Baby Demon Child

Rosemary (played by Megan Fox) is moving to a new apartment in New York with her seemingly perfect husband, Guy (played by Ryan Reynolds). Rosemary befriends a young beautiful blond woman in the building, who is quickly found hanging outside the window (can get a big scare there).

After a couple of graphic sex scenes, the couple are introduced to their peculiar (but outrageously sexy) neighbours, the Castevet's (played by Eric and Pam from TV's True Blood). Eric appears to be drinking something that looks like blood, but we don't find out (ooo, intrigue).

After Guy hits it off with Eric, Rosemary becomes suspicious of their new found bond. The next night Rosemary meets a mysterious man (aka Satan, played by Justin Timberlake) at a bar, who then rapes courts Rosemary and they have mad passionate consentual sex (possibly covered in blood). But then he gives her a roofie so she forgets all about it (topical).

Then some scenes of Rosemary seeing phantom children singing nursery rhymes in her apartment (always scary). [NOTE: must ask Fox's agent to see if she'd be willing to get a haircut]. After the 9 months Rosemary gives birth in a horribly bloody birth scene - and reveals the baby is half demon (has claws and teeth)! [Fucking hell, this is good]

After the baby tries to strangle her and flee down the fire escape, Rosemary shoots a nearby pylon which falls on the baby, killing it (or does it?). Guy turns back to a normal because he was under a spell or sumfink, and they live happily ever after in some generic Suburbs.

END.... ?

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Zack Snyder Syndrome

Despite currently attending a book fair, I have managed to squeeze in some precious movie devoted time. One such instance involved accidentally stumbling into a talk on 'Self-Marketing in Filmmaking and Publishing'. One of the panelists was a man named Shaun Rana, a filmmaker who has recently signed a contract to make a feature film after his concept trailer was seen by a major studio:

The trailer was shown to us with very little context, and therefore there were a few giggles from the audience (especially at the "dominate this" part). So we were quite relieved to hear this was purely a 'concept trailer' made for 1000EUR, and not an actual feature-length film. Shaun then explained how he had 'self-promoted' his highly stylised trailer by mentioning it on message boards and fan forums - before being plugged on the prestigious IMDB NewsDesk. After "4 or 5 days" he was contacted by a studio (didn't mention which one) and is now in the works to make a feature length version. Impressive indeed. But I can't help but feel this new wave of Zack Snyder wannabees is going to start a very tiresome trend: the movie/video game look.

After box office hits such as 300 and Sin City, studios have gone a little mad with trying to replicate these successes, and failed spectacularly (The Spirit and Watchmen to name but a few). This goes to show CGI and clever lighting is not a worthy substitute for a good ol' fashioned storytelling. However, the public have spoken and demanded more green-stage based films. Which means computer whizzes/geeks like Shaun are seen as the next generation of filmmakers, despite having little concept of cohesive narrative or non-cringeworthy dialogue.

The end of life as we know it? Probably not. Just expect to find films such as Warren Lich littering a bargain bin near you very soon.

True Grit Trailer

This makes me want to listen to Johnny Cash all day.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

World's Greatest Dad

That guy from Police Academy, and that guy from Flubber

Bobcat Goldthwait first appeared on the feature film scene with his debut movie Sleeping Dogs Lie, a film about a woman who performs oral sex on her dog. After a 5 year absence from the big screen, Bobcat is back and packing more morally ambiguous filmmaking than ever before.

World's Greatest Dad is a story about Lance Clayton (Robin Williams): failed novelist, poetry teacher, and not-so-proud father to his son, Kyle - the teenager from hell. Kyle spends all his time being rude to his father and talking about bizarre pornography with his one and only friend Andrew, until one day he accidentally hangs himself in a wanking accident. In an attempt to cover it up as a suicide, Lance pens a fake suicide note, which unintentionally gains him all the fame and praise he could ever hope for.

WARNING: This film does feature full-frontal nudity from this man.

It's certainly an attention-grabbing premise, and one that is both the film's greatest strength and weakness. The first half of the movie plays out like an average high school comedy; full of swearing, sex, and internet pornography chat. Then the film suddenly shifts gears when the main plot device kicks in, as the film starts to focus on Clayton's fantasy of achieving credibility as a writer - even if it's indirect and morally questionable. Whilst insightful and quite often hilarious, I can't help but feel the concept is stretched a little too thin, with some scenes feeling like it's repeating itself.

But on a whole World's Greatest Dad succeeds as a funny little indie comedy. And it's even nice to see Williams back on our screens, no matter how much we all hated
Bicentennial Man. I just wish they'd cut the film down by 10 minutes or so!

RE: Change of Blog Name

I've just found out Jaffa has certain racial connotations and also means 'impotent man'. Thanks a lot, UrbanDictionary.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Brand Reinvention

Lets face it, Grad Reviews was a shit name. It was meant to be like 'Rad Reviews', but I'm a graduate, so it was like an ironically bad pun. Unfortunately, much like my ironically bad PS3 username (RichSnake3000), it was just a bad name. Therefore I've decided to give the blog some sense of identity (and unintentional colour scheme), so I thought I'd name it after the snack I eat most when watching movies - Jaffas! Not much better, but at least I might get some free McVities goods if I plug them enough.

Here's a Jaffa Cake related video featuring one of my favourite British comedy duos: