Thursday, October 27, 2011

Depp vs Gervais

Ricky Gervais (whose mouth seems to land him in trouble every now and then) has a new BBC sitcom coming out called Life's Too Short, starring dwarf actor Warwick Davis (Willow) as the head of a talent agency for actors under five feet tall. Here's an amusing preview clip featuring Johnny Depp taking Gervais to task for some stuff he said at the Golden Globes. I love watching actors be arseholes to each other.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unofficial Credits Sequence: The Adventures of Tintin

This "unofficial" opening credits sequence to Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin by James Curran (aka slimjimstudios) is one of the most charming bits of animation I've seen in a while. It also charmed the pants off Spielberg, so much so that he's invited Curran to the premiere and given him a job!
The Adventures of Tintin from James Curran on Vimeo.

In sort of sucky news, we're going to be among the last in the world to see this movie...

60 Years of Cinema (in 40 Seconds)

A stunning little montage, with many iconic images. See how many films you can pick out... (via Wonders in the Dark)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trailer: Premium Rush

David Koepp's name is more widely associated with the scripts he's penned for some ginormous blockbusters (Spider-Man, Jurassic Park), but he's also directed a couple of interesting smaller movies in his career like The Trigger Effect and Stir of Echoes where he's showed some deftness in executing an economical thriller (let's not talk about Ghost Town). His next directorial effort, Premium Rush, looks to be in the same modest scale as those films (albeit on a bigger budget), relying on smart thriller writing rather than big expensive effects to sell itself. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a bike messenger who's carrying an envelope that bad cop Michael Shannon really wants to have. Trailer shows off some cool stunts, vibrant location shooting in New York and a brisk sense of pace that promises it'll be an adrenalin rush.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Trailer: The ABC's of Death

Highly anticipated horror anthology The ABC's of Death now has a trailer for the competition they've been running to decide who will be the 26th director to make the cut. Click here to see all the entries so far and vote for your favourite. Lots of gore and nasty stuff to follow so consider this NSFW...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seems like such a long time ago...

This almost had me in tears. It's so over-the-top it's almost like a Tim and Eric spoof.

Death of the Film Camera

Woke up to this distressing news. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but it doesn't make it any easier!! I'm trying to look on the positive side and imagine when Digital = Film as technology improves but right now it's hard to get excited about this development.

Just as a side point - this is not so much about film cameras as such but digital projection, and to illustrate the "unevenness" of all things digital (not saying 35mm is perfect but humour me for a sec). A quick run-down on three films I saw projected digitally recently and what they looked like:
  • Source Code (St. Lukes) - this was the best of the bunch. Crisp, fine-grain-look, great colour. But the image also felt like there was no life. The flicker is missing!
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (Gold Class, Queen St) -  it looked like Blu-ray projected on the big screen. Sharp, but sterile and lifeless image.
  • The Devil's Double (Rialto) - one of the worst I've ever seen. Smeary, blown-out, lacking detail. It was pretty much DVD on the big screen.
I guess what I'm saying is there is a "living" aesthetic to film that digital lacks at the moment. When I go to the movies, I want to watch something that moves. I can save sharp Blu-ray/HD-whatever for the home. I want a different experience at the movies.

Anyway, back to film cameras - a massive pet peeve I have is when you can detect the video-y look slipping into an otherwise good-looking digitally shot pic. Way to take you OUT of the goddamn movie. This occurred when I watched Fright Night recently. 80% of the film looked ok, but then in the last reel heaps of shots started to exhibit really awful video blur/motion that looked like they were last minute re-shoots (imagine a slick big budget film that suddenly looks like something you could've shot on your consumer-grade DV cam). I'm not the most technically minded person but I appreciate aesthetics and I see what I see, and if I see something crap... well, it's crap. If anyone can explain to me the nature of this "effect", I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trailer: The Avengers

There's this shot in modern action blockbusters that I'm becoming increasingly weary of: a crowded New York street, a massive explosion or three, cars being flung into the air and peeps making a dash for it. It's like a Roland Emmerich signature that seems to be poppin' up with frequency in superhero films too. And it's definitely in The Avengers. Okay so it's an attention-grabbing way of conveying destruction of an enormous size, but it's not surprising anymore guys. It looks too easy. It was quite a thing back when Twister air-lifted an oil tanker in 1996. But today it's just another multi-million dollar CGI set-piece you can gawk at with jaded indifference.

But I digress. Let's talk The Avengers. Casting aside my usual hang-ups with the genre (enough already!), this looks fun, if only for the geeky satisfaction of having characters from different franchises coming together for a men-on-a-mission-type deal. There's always a danger of character-overcrowding with this kind of project though, especially with a star cast that could be awkwardly vying for equal screen time. But I think fans can rest easy knowing that fellow fanboy Joss Whedon (Firefly) is at the helm, it looks like he knows what he's doing. The Avengers is scheduled for a May release next year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

R.I.P. Bill Barounis

The name Bill Barounis may not mean much to a lot of people reading this, but for anyone who's into lost Turkish genre films - or weird world cinema in general - Bill was King. Sadly I just found out that Bill, who started the one-man-company Onar Films to make available some of the rarest Turkish movies ever, passed away over a week ago (yep, I'm falling way behind on my Google Reader updates...). From dipping in and out of discussion forums, I'd been aware that he was battling cancer for a couple of years now, and that he recently had a bad stroke. It didn't look good, but it still comes as a shock to find out that he's actually gone.

I first dealt with Bill some years ago when he was selling tapes on eBay under the name deathland. I bought a few things off him (still have J.P. Simon's Supersonic Man gathering dust somewhere), and he was a great guy to deal with, but I mostly liked to check back on his items-for-sale to see what kind of oddities he was selling - and the crazy prices they would go for. These were super-rare, original, often bootlegged Greek pre-records of horrors, gialli, superhero films that were highly sought after in the collectors' market.

Onar Films was a godsend to fans of these films. Because of the rarity of these films, and the lack of decent sources, these prints generally look less-than-stellar (HD snobs need not apply), but they were the best he could find and he packed the DVDs with many neat extra features. Plus they were all subtitled. Have a peek at the opening minutes of Casus Kiran (Spy Smasher) just to get an idea what they're like:

I tried to pick up almost everything he put out, and it's a real bummer that Onar will cease to exist now that he's no longer around. We're talking the preservation and distribution of movies that an industry had zero interest in archiving or caring for. There's no cushy vault somewhere housing a mint print of 3 Dev Adam. These aren't films that'll likely get released in New Zealand. One can only hope someone else will continue the legacy that Bill left behind, and do it with same kind of dedication that could only come from someone who did it solely for the love of these films.

Friday, October 14, 2011

For The Star Wars Fan With Everything #17

Our Inventory Administrator, Joel, is a huge STAR WARS fan and a very talented bass player. This post is especially for him.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Liquid Television is Online!

Not sure how many of you out there remember MTV's Liquid Television from the '90s, but it's one of my fondest adolescent TV memories and I've just discovered that a sizable collection of shorts from the show are now available to watch online! Featuring heaps of wild, seriously screwed-up cartoons (some like Beavis and Butthead and Aeon Flux would later achieve cult status), it's a one-of-a-kind programme that I'd religiously set the VCR to record weekly when it aired on TV3 late at night. I've never seen anything like it, with that kind of anarchic creative freedom, on TV again. Browse the archives here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

End-of-Week News Round-up

Sorry it's been a bit of a mad week so haven't had a chance to post anything! Here's a quick round-up of interesting/topical news and stuff from the past week split into easy-to-digest categories:

  • Steve Jobs, visionary former CEO of Apple, passed away at 56. While he gave us MacBooks, iPhones, etc and revolutionised personal computing, we should remember he was also a crucial player in jump-starting Pixar. See also: amazing, powerful tribute image from a 19-year-old graphic designer in Hong Kong, and a typically great Onion piece here.
  • Also RIP Charles Napier, a legend in his own right, a classic "Hey, it's that guy!" character actor who specialised in playing tough authority figures like cops and military dudes. You may not know his name, but you will have seen his face: 

  • Looks like Kurt Russell is stepping in to replace Kevin Costner in Quentin Tarantino's due-in-2012 spaghetti western Django Unchained. I would've loved to have seen Costner in the role but absolutely not complaining about Russell. 
  • The weirdest, and most awesome casting news of the week has to be Werner Herzog playing a villain in Tom Cruise's next thriller One Shot, based on Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels.  
  • I'm also excited to hear Steve Carrell will be tackling a non-comedic role in Foxcatcher, which, based on the subject matter, sounds like it could be a great true crime film.

  • Magna Pacific have pulled They Call Her Cleopatra Wong and The One Armed Executioner from their October schedule, citing "high rating costs" (both titles were going to be R18). A real bummer, I was very much looking forward to having these in our library.
  • Horror fan-fave Hellraiser and its sequel are on the way from Vendetta next month. Strangely these have never been on DVD here, though we've had III and IV on our site for a while now.