Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Hollywood stars lose their lustre

by Warren

A number of big Hollywood stars have released big Hollywood films this summer which have taken big Hollywood nosedives. This downturn in the drawing power of many A-List stars is starting to worry the movie studios, and as usual they’re blaming technology. Apparently the fact that someone can text, Twitter or email their friends and give a film a scathing review in real time is a bad thing. Of course, as Gawker points out, if the movies themselves were any good this wouldn’t be a problem. I just saw District 9 on the weekend and (like everyone else) who saw it, I’ve raved up and down about the action, effects, and great story. And there’s not a star to be found in that film (which was shot for $35 million, and delivers every cent.)

Then there’s the fact that the old saw about people “escaping through movies during tough times” just doesn’t hold water anymore. That may have been true in the Thirties or even the Seventies, when the alternatives were few and far between, but nowadays people can either play video games, watch Youtube, or find any other number of free alternatives on the internet. Sure, they may not be quite as shiny as Hollywood product, but they also don’t take away $15 from your wallet and steal two hours of your life away.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Why summer blockbusters generally suck

by Warren

Hollywood insiders spill the beans to the Guardian.

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Clowns vs. cops!

by Warren

All in a weird still picture tableau. Dunno what in the hell it’s saying, but whatever it is, it’s mighty cool.

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Art film created from solar wind imagery

by Warren

Black Rain from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

Coronal mass ejections and solar wind make for a film reminiscent of something from the deepest depths of the NFB circa 1965.

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Radio Free Skaro #131 – The Sweet Serenade of Sarcastor

by Warren

With all three of the Three Who Rule firmly back in their respective command chairs, it was back to good old fashioned sniping, infighting and jocularity as Pedantor made battle with both his old nemesis Rubbishor and a new, more deadly enemy named Sarcastor. Somehow in the midst of this pantheon of perfidious poltroonery some discussion of Doctor Who came into play, but not by any means on purpose.

Direct download: rfs131.mp3

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Radio Free Skaro interviews VFX genius Dennis Muren

by Warren

Not strictly Doctor Who this week, but a cool interview all the same. The local chapter of SIGGRAPH (a group of computer graphics geniuses) brought Industrial Light and Magic special effects legend Dennis Muren to Vancouver, and Warren was able to interview him. Apologies for the dodgy audio during Warren’s questions….the details are too boring to go into, but at any rate Muren’s thoughts on visual effects, art and the motion picture industry are the good stuff.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

So You Want To Podcast Doctor Who: The Director’s Cut

by Warren

Now with more swearing! And some more keen insights from the fine fellows at Tachyon TV and Podshock, as well as the Three Who Rule, at the “So You Want to Podcast Doctor Who” panel at Gallifrey 2009.

Direct download: SoYouWantToPodcastDrWho-FinalMaster-DirectorsCut.mp4

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Watchmen triumphs

by Warren

As a preamble, let me just say that I’m a massive fan of the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I picked up the original 12 comic run when it first arrived in comic book stores in 1986, and it (along with Frank Miller’s the Dark Knight Returns) blew my 15 year old mind.

Of course Hollywood being the avaricious creature it is, plans were soon put in place to make Watchmen into a film, but if ever the source material for a movie could be deemed “unfilmable”, Watchmen was it. The plot jumps back and forth over forty years of history, the supposed superheroes are at best washed-up and at worst psychopaths, the story delves into philosophy, human nature, politics and serves it up with dollops of sex and violence. Oh, and one of the main characters is a detached Superman who sees time differently than mankind and walks around with his (blue) dink hanging out.

Miraculously, Zack Snyder has taken all of those unfilmable elements and made a stunning bit of cinema. Snyder stuck very closely to the source material (even setting the film in 1985, as per the comic), and it’s paid off in spades. Watchmen’s alternate universe (explained brilliantly in an opening-credits montage that tours the audience through decades of could-have-been 20th century events) is a feast for the eyes. Add to that standout performances by Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan and especially Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach, and Watchmen does not disappoint. I have a few minor quibbles, like the presence of Ozymandias’s cat Bubastis (which makes sense in the comic but seems out of place in the film), but my tiny complaints pale in comparison to standout sequences like Dr. Manhattan recalling his life on Mars, or Rorschach revealing just what drove him over the edge from grim vigilante to full-bore lunatic.

Opinion on the film seems to be split; geeks love it, and critics scratch their heads, admire the pretty pictures, and go back to worrying about their increasingly irrelevant jobs and worshipping French art films. I think we know where I land on this debate.

See Watchmen. Revel in its geeky fidelity to the original comic, but enjoy it on its own terms as a bold, visually stunning, thought provoking superhero film of the kind you never thought Hollywood could make. I plan to see it at least once more in the theatre.

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Roger Ebert likes Watchmen

by Warren

The reaction to Watchmen has been mixed amongst those who have seen the film, with a sharp division between geeks expressing adoration and film critics giving it a “glossy but meh.” But now Roger Ebert, who is about the only film critic I have any respect for, has given the film four stars (or “thumbs up”, for those of you who miss At the Movies.) I was a little worried that the story I’ve waited more than 20 years to see on the big screen would be a visually arresting failure, but Ebert’s endorsement is reassuring. I’ll know tomorrow, when I finally get a chance to see the film.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

NY Magazine on the Twitter founders

by Warren

Twitter, for those not in the know, is a “micro-blogging” platform that lets you jot off quick notes in 140 characters or less. At first I was in the same boat as most, not “getting it,” but soon I found that if I dashed off quick notes about whatever struck my fancy, I soon developed followers based on those topics. Besides the digerati I already know here in Vancouver, I’ve also built up a small community of fellow videographers, and we spend a lot of our time firing advice back and forth. It’s also a great way to interact with the small and highly-connected audience of my podcast.

At any rate, New York Magazine has a feature on the guys behind Twitter, who are neither in New York nor making any money with their service. But it’s still an interesting peek into the world of a hot start-up.