Daily Archives: 03/19/2012

“Snow White & The Huntsman” – second trailer ups the fairytale ante

Hmm...pretty fantasy gubbins, ahoy.

In the battle of duelling “Snow White” movies, I long since pledged my viewership to Brit helmer Rupert Sanders and his “Snow White & The Huntsman” effort – despite multiple viewings of differing trailers, I’ve not been able to warm to the Tarsem Singh-helmed Julia Roberts-starring “Mirror, Mirror”, which seems to be going down a fluffy sitcom direction which will doubtless speak to a lot of folks.

I’m just not one of those folks.

My cautious nerd-jones for the Kristen Stewart/Chris Hemsworth/Charlize Theron effort has been stoked somewhat by the second trailer for the film, which is now online.

Ooh - she's SO evil.

And, no, it’s not due to Charlize wearing a lot of milk and not a lot else – I’m going with the trailer’s frequent bat-shizz insane flights of fantasy, bonkers action and epic scale shenanigans which promise that, if nothing else, this will be a feast for the eyes.

It’s due to open on June 1st, opposite that Ridley Scott film we were discussing the other day – option paralysis engage!

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You’re Doing It Wrong!

I suspect a cunning double-bluff of some kind...

When confronted by this kind of genuine pleasantness online, I must sadly confess that I’d be expecting a sucker punch of some kind.  Sad, huh?

(Via Reddit)

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Multi-Player? What Multi-Player?

It’s at times like this that I’m glad that I don’t have many online friends.

(And now, a pause – whilst the world’s tiniest violin picks out a plaintive melody…)

Corporate Titans and All-Round Mr Moneybags Electronic Arts have announced that they’re going to switch off the online servers for a number of titles – the likes of “Burnout Revenge” on Xbox 360, “The Godfather 2” on PC/360/PS3 and “Need for Speed: Pro-Street” are all going offline as of April 13th.  I guess you can make a case for this, as the games have either seen multiple iterations since or were not as popular online as the developers and publishers might have hoped for.

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Fair enough.  What’s a bit sketchy is that some of the games – the EA brawler “MMA” and stealth action title “The Saboteur” were marketed with measures like Online Passes, which afford gamers who buy the game as new access to features prohibited to people who buy the game second-hand.  If you pick up the game when it’s used, you have to spend £10 or $10 to buy an online code to unlock content.  Developers and publishers get paid, stores still get to sell second-hand games, gamers get content, everybody goes home happy.

The upshot is that if you bought either of the aforementioned games, had put them on your pile of shame and hoped to go back to do stuff online with them later on, you had best get a move on.

I find it a little cheeky of EA to cry and moan about people buying second-hand titles, and loudly put a strategy in place to reward people for buying new and then take that functionality away – does it really cost that much for engineers to maintain and potentially police online game environments if those games are so sparsely populated online as EA‘s press notice would have us believe?

Does one, perchance, get a refund on the price of an online pass if that access is rescinded?  No?  Thought not.

Only in this hobby would consumers put up with a large part of the product being arbitrarily removed almost without notice – would Stephenie Meyer’s fans be happy if the studio decided that the special effects at the end of the latest “Twilight” flick were a tad ropey, they couldn’t justify the expense in fixing them and just hacked a bit off the movie on streaming services?

The tweens would be even more revolting than usual: Blood on the carpet – anarchy in the streets – cats and dogs, living together!

The moral of this tale is ‘be careful what you buy’ – there might not be as much game there as you thought there was…

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“Attack The Block” – Urban Terrors

Outer Space vs On Your Case...

I am, as ever, a bit late to the party when it comes to discussing this film.

Partly due to the fact that I don’t go to the cinema nearly as much as I used to and partly because my backlog of stuff to watch is absolutely hilariously long, I didn’t get around to seeing this much-praised film from last year until yesterday.

Like all fine things, it was entirely worth the wait.

I had seen John Carpenter’s name banded about in connection with the film and I think that he would be happy with what writer/director Joe Cornish has delivered in “Attack the Block”.  Carpenter’s protagonists were often anti-heroes, stoic and wholly unable to trust authority for a second – Cornish’s band of teenaged  would-be gangsters fit into that mould really quite well, terrorising their middle-class neighbours and running from encounters with the Police during one spectacularly bonkers night on their London council estate.

Ordered a pizza, mate?

Whilst Cornish is adept at humour – British fans of his work from Channel Four’s “The Adam and Joe Show” to his BBC Six Music show with frequent comedy partner Adam Buxton won’t expect this film to be anything less than hilarious – he’s also got an eye for staging action, horror and some surprisingly poignant moments of drama.

He’s also got an eye for actors – the ensemble here is utterly outstanding, with lead John Boyega a star in the making as gang leader and nascent hero Moses.  I can’t say enough good things about his work – he’s  capable of embodying sullen teenage attitude, quiet terror and the kind of charisma which would have you follow him into battle and he does it all with his brilliantly expressive eyes and a gruff, one or two-word statement.

He’s a classic Western hero transposed to the mean(ish) streets of South London and the only guy that his posse of fairly rubbish crooks can rely on – if you’re not punching the air and yelling “YES!” as he makes his climactic face-off against the alien invasion force then I’m afraid there is no hope for you. And given that, at the outset of the film, you don’t care whether his thuggish no-mark lives or dies, that’s quite a turnaround.

That’s the skill of this film, really – the ‘heroes’ are anything but at the outset of the film.  It’s via dialogue, performance, even set design at one point, we see that the kids you hope to avoid are – well – just kids and not quite the urban blight that politicians, tabloids and popular opinion would have to believe.

It’s instructive that this film finds ways to show all of the sides of its hood gang via brief, economic exchanges of dialogue and staging – there’s very little in the script which feels forced or Hollywood-simple. The world it creates is realistic and compelling, so it means something when the implacable alien aggressors arrive on the scene and start taking apart a high-rise complex which looks like the one you walk past every day.

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As for that alien menace – they’re brilliantly realised because they’re seen in flashes and never fully explained to us, making them more threatening as their motives are only guessed at.  They’re not the kind of planet-enslaving, portentous threat which might present itself in a “Trek” movie – these dudes are primal forces of toothsome, furry horror rather akin to the kind of malevolent pet which you might expect the Predator to have hanging around.

Oh, I LOVED this movie – it’s the best flick of its kind since “Shaun of the Dead” shuffled into our lives in 2004 and munched agreeably on our brains (not for nothing is this film produced in part by that film’s director Edgar Wright or does it star comedic good luck charm Nick Frost).

Give it a go, bang on the subtitle track if you’re having trouble with the accents, but make sure that you see it – it’s a reminder that you don’t need $300 million smackeroos to make a brilliant, taut sci-fi movie.

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