Friday, October 30, 2009


It's Halloween tomorrow, so to get you in the mood, here's a post solely focused on nothing but zombies, zombies and zombies...

First item of interest: [REC] 2. If you haven't already heard, there's a marketing challenge out there to create as much buzz as possible for the New Zealand theatrical release of this sequel to the Spanish horror hit. There have been some cool ideas floating around already - visit the website to see them - and one of the niftiest is probably the zombie insurance auction ("Revenant Emergency Coverage 2") that's up on trademe at the moment (Bid now to avoid losing out...).

This Balloon Boy mash-up is cool too:

[REC] 2 opens on November 13, and is having its premiere this weekend at the very sold-out Vendetta Films 24 Hour Movie Marathon (which a few of us here at fatso are crazy enough to attend).

For those going out trick or treatin' (probably no one in that age group will be reading this) or dress-up Halloween parties and need some tips, check out this amazing zombie invasion in Monroeville, Pennsylvania where around 2000 people, fully caked in pasty, skin-peeling make-up, took to the mall where Dawn of the Dead was shot. Read more here.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, a man was called a zombie and punched twice (!?).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trailer: 24 - Season 8!

Yesss! A trailer for 24 - Season 8 has finally leaked online! Chloe, Kim and Jack seem to be the only recognisable returning faces in the trailer (what's happened to Almeida??), but I guess that's what you get for killing off your regulars regularly. Most exciting is probably the addition of Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) in the cast - I think this will give the show an interesting dynamic with Kapoor and Sutherland acting off each other. There are rumours that this could be the last one, so let's hope for a season that's on par with 5 - the sharpest, most consistent 24 thus far (Season 7 promised a return-to-form but kinda fizzled at the end after a strong opening). Season 8 is opening in Jan in the States, so I guess we'll get it a few months later, if not sooner.

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything... #3

I really don't know what to say about this one. Click on the image to see more of this DEAD TAUNTAUN WEDDING CAKE.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before They Were Stars: Keanu Reeves

Keanu talking "bearness" on 80's Canadian kids TV show Going Great

Educating Jenny

A quick rave for Carey Mulligan in Lone Scherfig's An Education. I'll have to echo the chorus of praises for her superb performance as Jenny, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who's seduced into living the life of her dreams by Peter Saarsgard, a smooth-talking charmer twice her age. Next to Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds, this might be my favourite piece of acting in any film this year: pure exuberance and unaffected beauty just radiating from the screen and seemingly without any effort. Hard to imagine one else in the role and definite shoe-in for Oscar material. The film's good too, nicely played coming-of-age tale (penned by High Fidelity's Nick Hornby), but definitely wouldn't be what it is without the positively mercurial presence of Mulligan. Check out the trailer:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trailer: Black Lightning

This film produced by Timur Bekmambetov - the hotshot Russian director behind Night Watch and Day Watch (and also, unfortunately Wanted) - looks pretty darn ridiculous, but man I'm getting a buzz off it. Maybe it's that '80s vibe that seems to be written all over the trailer (you can easily imagine Back to the Future-era Michael J. Fox in the car seat), and besides it's been a while since we've had a good movie about a FLYING CAR! And it's not just some flying car, it's a Volga sedan - love that it's an old vehicle, not some flashy Initial D. machine. I'm not too sure about plot details since the trailer's in Russian, but I think it'd be safe to say that it's about a young guy-turned-crime-fighter-with-a-flying-car. Bekmambetov has been quoted as saying that it's "Russia's reponse to Transformers and Batman".

Monday, October 19, 2009

CineAsia Spotlight: The Message

One of the more gratifying things to come along to our local multiplex in the past year or so has been the availability of more Asian cinema programming in the form of CineAsia. It seemed like it came out of nowhere, without any fanfare; the first CineAsia flick I recall seeing was the Donnie Yen bone-snapper Ip Man earlier this year (which reportedly packed houses consistently during its run). Since then they've supplied a steady stream of Asian flicks (Korean, Hong Kong, Chinese etc), including Ong Bak 2, The Underdog Knight, Murderer and the brilliant Accident - all which I'm totally thankful for being able to catch on the big screen. Not everything's super, but making them available is a great thing for fans.

Currently playing is the Mainland Chinese feature The Message, an old-fashioned wartime spy yarn that's worth a look if you like twisty whodunits. Set in Nanjing during the 1940s Sino-Japanese war, the film's premise involves the Japanese Intelligence trying to capture a resistance leader who's been bumping off their officials. They think there's a mole (dubbed "the Phantom") in their counterinsurgency center, and to flush them out, 5 of the suspected department's officers are sent to a remote castle where they'll be submitted to a succession of brutal interrogations and devious mindgames.

I dig red herring-peppered Agatha Christie-style drawing room mysteries, and The Message definitely engages on that level. Though there aren't that many suspects, it keeps us guessing and fingers pointing like any good mystery should. The film also features a number of fairly gruesome torture scenes - the most grisly probably too R-rated to talk about in detail here (let's just say it employs a rope and positions a woman in a compromising position) - and its dark, grungy palette occasionally makes you feel like you've just walked into some sort of Saw-inspired torture-fest.

The Message doesn't quite make it to the finish line with the assuredness of its opening scenes: the non-stop swooshing, hand-held camerawork wore me down eventually and detracted from the film's suspense, while the uneven CGI work is distracting and at odds with the gritty subject and tone (I'm sick of blatantly digital aerial shots being used to capture a sense of grandeur; see most recently, Red Cliff, and pretty much any other big battle epics of the last 10 years). Also the wrap-up isn't as satisfying as I'd like; it's neatly resolved, but didn't quite give me a case of the HOLY-SH*T-SO-THAT'S-WHAT-HAPPENED?! Still worth checking out though, and it's been getting positive notices around the place. Here's the trailer (no English subs):

Friday, October 16, 2009

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything... #2

This bit of news is too daft not to mention, especially in the light of today's absurd mass global media hysteria over Balloon Boy... Someone actually sold a used Starbucks cup that George Lucas drank from on eBay! The seller claims it's the real deal and they acquired it from a "press event at Skywalker Ranch". The item went for $51 to, who've posted a pic on their site which validates the authenticity of the cup! Ridiculous! Click here to see the auction.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Trailer (Unofficial): The Expendables

The first footage of Sylvester Stallone's star-studded action-fest The Expendables has leaked online in the form of an unofficial bootleg teaser. As far as I know there seems to be two versions doing the rounds: one's a version that was shot by an audience member at the Venice Film Festival and the other's a proper, non-shakey cam version. Either way they seem to be getting yanked off the web by Lionsgate really quickly, so better get in fast if you're itching to get a glimpse of this much-anticipated star-studded project. The trailer's only so-so and put together in a really slapdash manner. We do get to see Dolph Lundgren duking it out with Jet Li though, and it does promise a lot of bang - and cheese - for your buck.

Friday, October 9, 2009

For the Star Wars Fan with Everything...

Remember that scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Han Solo saved Luke Skywalker's life on the ice planet of Hoth by slitting open the belly of a Taun-Taun? Well, thanks to a great company in the U.S, you too can re-enact that famous scene with your kids! Just in time for Christmas!

(More details about this crazy item can be found HERE)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making Waves

If you've been to the movies in the past few months you've probably seen those amazing-looking tsunamis in the trailer to Roland Emmerich's upcoming disaster juggernaut 2012. Yahoo Movies have just posted a little behind-the-scenes clip featuring the effects guys talking about creating those waves:

But for a funnier and more interesting 2012-related clip, watch this, a re-edit of the trailer which cuts out all the visual effects and leaves the actors "acting". Needless to say, this movie is not a showcase for them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Combo: A Collaborative Animation by Blu and David Ellis

I know zilch about Blu or David Ellis, but this animated vid blew me away at my desk yesterday - check it out, it'll make your day!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Damn, No Signal

Have cellphones ruined the movies? I think it's taken a little bit of magic out of the problem-solving aspect of film narratives. Everything seems a bit easier and lazier today with cellphones, though sometimes it's a necessity: just watch 24 and try to imagine it being made without them. In the realm of horror movies, it's become a tired device for generating tension and this great clip below shows you it's now as common a cliche as the car-that-won't-start or fumbling-key-drop. Lull in the narrative? No problem. Just strand your characters out of coverage area! Or give them a nearly empty battery! Perfect. They're screwed.