Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Childrens > Drama

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The story of Prince Caspian takes place 1300 years after the events of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Narnia has changed considerably since the Pevensie children last visited. The story is much darker than the first, dealing with murder, war and the loss of hope or religion. The land has been wracked by civil war between the old Narnians and the new, with the creatures of myth now thought to be extinct and the land ruled by men – the Telmarines.For the most part the film is quite faithful to the story and there are some very strong performances from several supporting characters, Peter Dinklage is scene-stealing as Trumpkin bringing deadpan delivery and charm to the role. Sergio Castellitto plays King Miraz wonderfully; rather than the over-the-top villainy we would usually expect his portrayal is restrained and believable. Skandar Keynes is also surprisingly good as Edmund, I’m glad we’ll see more of him in the next adaptation which is in production.The tone of the film is much less family oriented bringing greater focus to the action with a light brush of romantic subplot. There are some really wonderful effects on show by several houses; the main digital actors by Framehunter – Aslan and Trufflehunter are brilliantly realised and their interaction with live action characters is wonderful. The River god by Scanline is also spectacular (however the compositing with live action elements is a little rough). There are times however when it feels like we’re watching Lord of the Rings-lite or that Reepicheep is really just Puss-in-Boots from the Shrek films, but in a mouse costume.This leads me to my main criticism of the film: I don’t appreciate the director adding elements which don’t fit the characters ethos. A screenplay adaptation often requires a change of pace and the streamlining of elements; while I may miss the bear sucking it’s paw but I don’t blame the film makers for not including it. What I do blame the film makers for is situations which don’t fit – for instance Peter and Caspian’s rivalry through the film. Peter also leads a raid on King Miraz’s castle which is not only rash, poorly written, and out of character, but it also fails spectacularly leading to massive losses of life.The acting which on the whole was ordinary, had some noticeable exceptions and these were really quite terrible. William Moseley is wooden and melodramatic as Peter, coming across as petulant rather than regal. Warwick Davis who plays Nikabrik is still just as bad an actor as he was when he played Willow.  I have to note that Ben Barnes plays Caspian with a such a terrible Spanish accent in one scene I kept expecting him to bellow “Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die! The direction seemed uninspired and appeared to shy away from the central theme of the book; a representation of a world without faith or wonder. Instead the film came down to killing people and good guys beating the bad guys. It was overstated rather than subtle, and lacked any real finesse.For me the film fails to live up to the expectation placed on it, although it is better than the first attempt. If this wasn’t based on a such a classic novel by C.S. Lewis then it wouldn’t have been judged so harshly, but it is, and it has to be. There is someone who loves the books involved at some point in the process, this is evident by the random touches such as calling Trumpkin D.L.F, but these nods to the original work can’t make up for a generally charmless execution and the terrible additions to the story.2.5/5

Because what I really needed was another reason to despise the French.

Transporter 3 is in production, try to contain your enthusiasm. Yet another director of dubious lineage is at the helm of an undoubted masterpiece of creative fiction by Luc Besson (he wrote Léon and the Fifth Element don’t you know, then did something to his hair which effected his brain and the result was Danny the Dog and Taxi 4). I’m torn between being offended by an additional one of these films, and the numbing realisation that Jason Statham is still employable.There is a trailer, it looks very exciting with the running and the jumping, but there’s none of the charm of the first film and no Qi Shu. Not interested.

Fulltime Casual Now iPhone Ready

As i write this, the Sydney Apple store is opening its doors. What better way to celebrate that then to make Fulltime Casual iPhone / iPod Touch ready? I have a look on the googles and the oldest and most linked to plugin was iPhone-Wordpress by Content Robot. I tested it out, but i wasnt really happy with the results. A bit more Google juice gave me Brave New Code’s WPTouch, which is just all kinds of sexy. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, check it out now! To be honest, i only installed the thing because Justin and FixedR6 keep writing damn good posts I want to read, so an iPhone ready version was important. But it does beg the question, if this shitty little blog can be iPhone ready, then why the hell isn’t The Sydney Morning Herald, News.com.au and the like? More baffling, a year after the iPhone’s release, why aren’t technology blogs like TechCrunch, Engadget or Valleywag iPhone ready? Could it be the obscene amount of ads each of these sites want to push on there readers? Get your bloody act together kids! 

We’re lucky Mickey Rourke wasn’t Gandalf

Listen up, New Line execubots.

 

I know it was almost like you could feel again when you re-enacted scenes from Indecent Exposure with the cash that Peter Jackson made for you, and I wish you well in your perverse hobby, but there’s something you don’t know: the human film-going population you hold in tenuous thrall thought the Lord of the Rings films themselves were actually pretty cool.

 

You didn’t know Peter Jackson was a good director. You didn’t even know who he was, did you? It was pure blind luck that you were too coked up to realise you’d stumbled into a Video Ezy instead of a 7-Eleven when you went for ciggies at the Mortal Kombat II wrap party.

 

Rayden is still waiting for his hot chicken roll, by the way.

 

See, we little people, we like films. And we’re happy for you to rub Benjamins all over yourselves provided it comes from good films. We don’t like people who make money by selling us shit and telling us its chocolate. We really start to hate them, actually. But we like it when people who do good work succeed. When Clooney makes twenty mil on a picture, we say “Good for him!”, and “What a great guy”, and “Even though he’s rich, I’d buy him a beer. Go date a supermodel, you big lug! I’d turn for you, George!”

 

But I digress. Let’s talk Gears of War.

 

Don’t mistake me, Empty Suits – I’m all for putting a squad of Colonial Marine wannabes in hulking power-armour and having them battle a hideous alien menace. I haven’t seen the game, so I’m only guessing that’s what it’s about, because they’re all about that. Probably there’s something called a “Gear”, which is either a giant fighting-suit or mecha-type arrangement. But I’m pushing my luck now.

 

Postapocalyptic dystopia optional.

 

These are all great elements for a film. I desperately want to see power-armoured dudes shooting aliens. But please, Soulless Corporate Cash-Vampires, please just make it a genuinely good film? One that we’ll buy on DVD even though we don’t have to, and that we’ll make our friends watch and annoy our girlfriends by quoting all the great lines?

 

A film, for example, totally unlike Underworld?

 

Oh. I can see you’ve hired Len Wiseman.

 

You’re nothing like Clooney.

Burn After Reading poster

Beasting! As the kids say. The poster for the latest Coens flick, Burn After Reading, has been released onto the interwebs, and it’s gorgeous!  

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 Seriously – how damn cool does that look? Tell me It’s not totally beasting.   For them as aren’t in the knowin’, It’s in the style of Saul Bass, the man responsible for the most elegant, dynamic and original title sequences up to and including Fight Club. And, of course, posters to match. It might be a bit too much if the Coens executed the title sequence in the same style, but damn I’d love to see it. Still – between the Coens and composer Carter Burwell, you can’t go too wrong on title-sequences… Miller’s Crossing? The Big Lebowski? Hudsucker Proxy? Fuggedaboudit.  Of course, I’m looking forward to everything that happens after the titles too. When they followed the decent but undistinguished Intolerable Cruelty with the downright bad Ladykillers, I was worried that they’d lost their touch… and maybe they worried were too, because they took a few years off. Then they came back with arguably their best film, No Country for Old Men, and made me feel guilty for ever doubting them.  It was a bit like I turned on my best friend Al because I overheard him saying. “…I’m gonna make the cops think Justin did it. Then he’ll get his just desserts. Ha! Ha!” But I didn’t hear the first part, which was “I handed in that lost property at the police station, and I found out there’s a reward, so… “.And we’d been friends for 20 years, and he saved my life once. And it was my birthday that day, for Christ’s sake. What was I thinking? Where was the trust? I don’t deserve a friend like you, Al.  Point is, Burn After Reading is gonna be awesome!  Hey – the kids do say ‘beasting’, right?  

Film Geek News: Stan Winston

I only just heard that Stan Winston died a couple of days ago, which is a bit sad. You might not know the name, especially if you’re not a scifi film geek, but you’ve definitely seen the work. Even really CG-heavy films need a practical special effect every now and then, and Stan was the go-to guy when it came to your horrible monster, especially its horribly monstrous head – he built Predator, Terminator, the aliens in Aliens, the dinos in Jurassic and loads more.  Memorable, iconic stuff! He generally didn’t do the design work, but he made it work on-screen, which is just as important. Where would we be if Predator didn’t have the creepy, spidery mandibles? “Living in some kind of wonderland where there’s no such thing as AVP:Requiem”, I hear you say. Maybe so, but you’re missing the point. Deliberately, by the sounds of it. Why do you have to be so difficult? There’s a story about fellow practical effects pioneer Phil Tippett working on Jurassic Park. Apparently, when looking at CG dino footage, Spielberg turned to him and said “I think you’re out of a job.” and Tippett replied “I think you mean I’m extinct”. It’s probably apocryphal, but Tippett started out as a stop-motion animator, and whether he said it or not he certainly knew it – he moved into CG animation and directing (well, trying to direct… ). It’s kinda cool that Stan, although he had a brief flirtation with CG, always found work doing the practical stuff. Rumour is that he was doing more of the dino heads on Jurassic Park 4. I’m sure that whoever they replace him with will do a bang-up job, but when I see Jurassic Park 4, I’ll be thinking of Stan. “Jurassic Park 4 can go get fucked”, you say? Well, I can’t say I approve of your language, but… finally you’re making some sense. Thanks. I’ll go and watch Predator and think of Stan instead. UPDATE: Kudos! Charlie’s Angels director McG has declared his intention to dedicate Terminator 4 to Stan.