Monday, April 26, 2010

Short Film: The Raven

Ok here it is, the latest web short film sensation thing that's probably on the way to create some District 9-like buzz soon. Apparently Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil made it for only $5K. There seems to be a growing trend with these "calling card" shorts: show how much bang you can deliver for a small buck and you'll have studios lining up to make you offers (also related: the declining need for A-list names). And sure, The Raven is a glossy, polished product with impressive special effects, but also terribly derivative and not the least bit interesting. It falls in the same boat as Panic Attack! - no matter how fancy the CGI is, it looks like dozens of other films (clue: aliens/robots/end-of-the-world etc).

I should add that Montreuil isn't some newbie but already an established filmmaker in his home country with many commercials, music videos and at least two features under his belt. So it's not a "calling card" for a young filmmaker as such, but it is one for Hollywood, who're all about the kind of blockbuster-ready spectacle which The Raven so slickly provides in bitesize form.

THE RAVEN - 720 HD from THE RAVEN FILM on Vimeo.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rutger Hauer is... Hobo with a Shotgun

AICN is reporting that Rutger Hauer has signed on to star in Jason Eisener's Hobo with a Shotgun, the former fake grindhouse trailer-turned-feature length film. The Nova Scotia filmmaker won the contest at the 2007 South by Southwest Film Festival to create a fake trailer as part of the promotion for the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse. The trailer's a pretty good attempt to recreate the kind of grungy, sleazy exploitation films that played grindhouses in the '70s, but it's hard to tell whether the translation to feature length will be as entertaining, and there's all the chance in the world that we could have another Snakes on a Plane on our hands. Still, the prospect of seeing Rutger Hauer as a Hobo with a Shotgun is keeping my hopes afloat.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Herzog Goes Caving

If there's anything I love more than Werner Herzog's films, it's hearing the man speak himself. Watch these two great clips below (via Roger Ebert's blog) where the German auteur talks about his new film, an endeavour which will see him venture into the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in Southern France to shoot a documentary about 32,000-year-old cave paintings in 3-D! While I'm not crazy about 3-D at all, anything Herzog does will pique my interest, and even if it turns out to be a glorified IMAX nature doc or something, enough of what he reveals in this interview will make for fascinating viewing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

DVD Commentary: The Movie

This clever College Humor send-up of DVD commentaries just made me wonder how many people actually spend their time listening to audio commentaries anymore? (or sift through extra features for that matter?) Speaking for myself, it's been a long, long, LONG time since I've been tempted to re-watch a movie with the director/cast audio commentary on. Back in the early years of DVD, it was definitely a pretty cool novelty - all these little bonus features which you could check out to "enrich" your viewing experience of a particular film. Now, meh, not so much. I'd rather spend those two hours watching another film I haven't seen before... life's too short!

By the way, AV Club do a great column called Commentary Tracks of the Damned which spotlights cringey audio commentaries of shoddy movies - worth a read to see how NOT to do an audio commentary. Anyway without further ado, here's DVD Commentary: The Movie:

Death by Pixels

End of the world, pixel-style. Instead of tsunamis and earthquakes, Tetris and Space Invaders! File under: Worth 2 Minutes of Your Day.

Uploaded by onemoreprod. - Arts and animation videos.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Many apologies for the lack of a post last week. The Easter break got the better of me.

Date Night - Steve Carell (40 Year Old Virgin) and Tina Fey (30 Rock) star in this screwball comedy about a suburban married couple who, on their regular romantic night out, encounter a series of unrelated coincidences that lead to a series of misunderstandings and slapstick. Has been described as a "hybrid of middle-aged rom-com and Hollywood action movie". Directed by Shawn Levy (Night At The Museum) and co-starring Mark Whalberg, Mia Kunis, James Franco, Kirsten Wiig. Looks pretty fun and a good one for a date night of your own!

Kick-Ass - The latest super-hero spectacular has been causing controversy wherever it screens. Intersecting stories of a young guy dealing with his own secret identity, an 11-year-old foul-mouthed female crime fighter, her gun-obsessed father and assorted other masked wannabe vigilantes, this ultra-violent super-colourful fight-fest does its best to be super-cool and appeal to geeks everywhere. Unfortunately, at a screening recently it left me a little indifferent, but that may be because I like my violent comic-book action a little more intense than most. Worth catching if you're at all interested in the super-hero genre, need something geeky to relate to or have read the original graphic novel.