Daily Archives: 04/10/2012

Best Double Bill Ever?

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Rock jesters The Darkness are supporting noted alien glamstress and Mother Monster, Lady Gaga, on her optimistically titled UK ‘tour’ (two stadium gigs in England and a show in Ireland counts as a tour, does it?  I must be getting old).

GagaNicko - the REAL dynamic duo...

My sniping aside, this is clearly the greatest meeting of minds since wily old goat Gene Simmons decided to fund his latest house extension by going on tour in the States this summer with Motley Crue.  La Gaga loves herself some rock – witness  evidence of Mother Monster with a right old gargoyle above (sorry Nicko) – so this blend of pop glam and glam rock revival seems like a match made on a particularly prescient spreadsheet.

The shows are in September and – I’ll wager – probably sold out by the time that you read this…

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Whatever happened to action movies?

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An interesting and thought-provoking piece today over at about the unbearable heft of the latter-day action movie – as you may reasonably fear, it set me thinking…

The premise of Simon Brew’s feature is that contemporary action movies fail because they have concerns which are impossible to relate to – who, amongst us, will ever be called upon to duke it out with our giant robot buddies and face off against meaner, bigger robots in a tumultuous struggle to save our very planet?

There can be no inherent suspense or drama in a premise like that because we can’t relate to it – we can only behold it, with mouths wide and brains in idle, as one would take in a theme park ride.  As an audience, we’re hostages to which ever kitchen sinks the film maker chooses to lob at us (in 3D!).

It wasn’t always this way.

A man of thought and action in nice Tweed - that's what's missing nowadays...

Harrison Ford used to own the summer movie-going season by playing broadly plausible, fallible and identifiable action heroes who were at least as gifted with thought as talented with fists.   Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan, Dr Richard Kimble – not an indestructible, CG-assisted, weightless sketch drawing of a character amongst them.  If you wanted a moderately grumpy voice of reason who could kick your ass and fix your roof, Ford was your man.

I love a superhero movie as much as the next nerd but I have to confess that the last couple of decades have robbed the honest-to-goodness action movie of a lot of its impact – why would you pay your cash to see an actor in their thirties foil conspiracy and bust crooked cops when you can have a quippy stud in a unitard fling cars and thunderbolts at your barely believing noggin (in IMAX!)?

This isn’t a thinly veiled pitch for a return to the glory days of Shane Black penned, acerbic crime thrillers (Hell, even the Black-meister’s now writing and directing the third Iron Man for Marvel, which actually seems like a good fit), as that era had more than it’s fair share of unwatchable crap.  But it would be nice to balance out the CG juggernauts with smaller scale action fare which has a more human-sized premise to induce mayhem and reduce metropolitan property values for our entertainment.

Perhaps our collective world view is now so jaded that a nineties action movie can’t seem like anything but a quaint remainder of when film directors really had to blow things up with practical explosions as opposed to giving Chip, the ILM work experience guy a plate and letting him go nuts with his PC.  I’d like to think not – but a glance at this summer’s putative blockbusters-in-waiting is short on old school action heroes and big on funny book follies.

You’ve got your Jeremy Renner rebooted “Bourne” spin-off, soon-come Superman Henry Cavill in “Bourne”-like The Cold Light of Day and the unapologetically retro sequel to old school icon Sly Stallone‘s “The Expendables” to look forward to if you prefer to have your asses kicked by veterans rather than n00bs, but the real-world action is thin on the ground this year.

I’ll be honest with you – I love my Sci-Fi, horror and fantasy, but I miss the 80’s and 90’s lunk heads, heroes from a time when all you really needed to make it big in Hollywood was a dubious mullet, noxious reactionary politics and a million-dollar grin.

"Go on, mention 'Tooth Fairy' one more time..."

My point, and I think I do have one, is this – why the hell isn’t Dwayne Johnson doing this kind of stuff and being the biggest movie star in the world?

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Filed under Films, Geekery

“Prometheus” footage reviewed at Empire Online

"You there, with the long hair - get off my lawn!"

Greatest Living Irishman and newly ordained fave Fluffrick Podcaster Chris Hewitt has seen 12 minutes (and change) of Prometheus footage and was kind enough to gab about it over at the Empire Online blog.

You’ll be stunned to learn that it looks fricking awesome, is definitely deeply redolent of Alien down to planetary names, has scares up the wazoo (possibly literally, Hewitt didn’t let on…) and single-handedly makes a case for 3D being used by talented film-makers who can get the most out of it.

And, most happily of all, director Ridley Scott is still a massive curmudgeon and thinks that the MPAA should get their act together.  Well, the BBFC managed it, after a fashion, so I suppose that anything is possible.

“Prometheus” opens in the UK  on June 1st.  Coincidentally, this blog will probably be receiving few, if any, updates on that day due to  your writer gibbering and clucking like a maniacal chicken as he awaits his IMAX 3D viewing…

Lovely image, isn’t it?

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Filed under Films, Geekery