Tag Archives: Source Code

“WoW” movie gets “Moon” director

Could it be true – is Hollywood starting to get the whole ‘hire a good director = half-decent film’ idea finally?

I wish my beard looked as cool as that...

I wish my beard looked as cool as that…

Duncan Jones, director of the superb “Moon” and “Source Code” has signed on to direct the long-stewing adaptation of Blizzard’s MMO powerhouse, “World of Warcraft” (why, you don’t suppose that the runaway success of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” had anything to do with this surprising development, do you?) and that’s clearly brilliant news.

He’s played WoW and is a self-described gamer (fan of the property, formerly in a Brit-based Call of Duty clan) which indicates that he might just have an idea of how best to marry the disparate worlds of live action film making and the wibbly-wobbly, digital realm and not just default to knocking together some sub-Tolkein tropes and letting the CG guys do the real heavy lifting.    Make no mistake – it’s perfectly possible to make a good movie from video game material and I suspect that someone who knows the culture might be in a better place to helm an adaptation than some dude hopping up from commercials and music vids to his first feature gig.

Nerds - stand up and be counted! Who doesn't love a bit of raiding?

Nerds – stand up and be counted! Who doesn’t love a bit of raiding?

IMDB lists an Ian Fleming biopic on Jones’ to-do list, but producers are apparently keen to get this rollercoaster on the tracks this autumn for a bow sometime in 2015 – strike while the +10 to Melee Damage Iron Sword of Sundering is hot, and all that.  Is it too much to hope for for a Leeroy Jenkins shout-out?

You’ll be unsurprised that Gabe and Tycho have some good advice on what not to do with this movie…

 

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The 2011 Minnie Movie Awards

Inspired by Geek Soul Brother’s splendid Mulder awards, and because Gold Globes and Naked Fellows are so last century, I take no small delight in presenting the inaugural Fluffrick 2011 Minnie Awards – the virtual awards ceremony which celebrates great nerdy things and the sleepy terriers who tolerate them (as long as they’re not too loud).

 

The Filmic Pup Who Know's What's Up - Minnie

 

Without further ado, the Minnie for Best Science Fiction Film of 2011 goes to…

Any film which gets me out of the house and headed towards a multiplex cinema nowadays is deserving of some kind of award.  Any film which has me thinking about its implications long after leaving the cinema is clearly doing something right.   Any film that has you scouring IMDB and the trades to see what all concerned are doing next is one that’s more than worth a view if you haven’t seen it already.

Runners up in this category were:

Coping with the twin demands of launching a franchise and establishing more continuity for this summer’s “Avengers” extravaganza, Kenneth Branagh had more than enough on his plate with “Thor”.  That he delivered an entertaining movie which delivered laughs, action and some quite excellent performances (Idris Elba – represent!) indicates that Branagh is a film maker to call if you want your widescreen spectacle balanced with character comedy.

and

Yes, the latest Paul Anderson movie is the polar opposite of the movie at number one.  It’s dumb, noisy and historically so bizarre as to constitute some kind of public call for better teaching of the subject in our schools.  All those issues aside, this latest adaptation of “The Three Musketeers” was quasi-Steampunk mentalism of the highest order.  Worth it just for Orlando Bloom channelling Adam Ant and confirming that sneering villainy is something that he’s really rather suited for.

Every great (or middling) film must be counterbalanced by one which isn’t so enduring.  A film which saddens and irritates in equal measure.  To wit, the next award is the Most Disappointing Movie of 2011.

As the second movie was a shrill, misogynistic, racist and overwhelmingly brain-dead effort, this third sequel didn’t have a lot to live up to.  Being in focus and not giving you a migraine might have been considered a major result,  but this film managed to make massive destruction, rocking-socking robots and jaw-loosening spectacle somehow unforgivably dull:   If a skyscraper falls in Chicago, and you’re busy checking your smartphone because the stuff on-screen is so overblown that you don’t care if anybody lives or dies, does anyone hear it?

Perhaps we were spoiled in 2010 by Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”, which balanced the demands of action cinema and arthouse style and showed us that mainstream summer movies can be pump up the adrenaline and intellect alike?  Perhaps the impressive 3D tech could have been used for a purpose other than ogling Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s admittedly compelling posterior? Perhaps we realised, at long last, that Shia LaBeouf really isn’t much of a star and why were we watching him again?

For whatever reason, the third “Transformers” movie arrived in the summer, did the predicted, gang-busting business worldwide and barely troubled the memory for longer than it took to say “Was Alan Tudyk really in this film?”  Some more questions. Why did they end up in Chicago?  Who was double-crossing whom?  Did Huntington-Whiteley really outwit a robot by appealing to its mechanoid vanity?  Is it possible to make a movie which mostly erases itself from your memory almost immediately after viewing it?  Because I believe that this franchise may well have pulled it off.

Runners up?

Ah, DC’s much-vaunted “Green Lantern”.  With a galaxy-spanning police force composed of imaginative alien creatures, gigantic cosmic phenomena/villains and decades of comics continuity to draw from, how did this film’s creative talents decide that what we really wanted to see was a piss-taking Ryan Reynolds leering at anodyne anon-o-blonde Blake Lively and a resolutely Earth-bound story.  Such a missed opportunity.  There’s talk of a sequel, but unless it’s a ground-up reinvention, does anybody really want to see it other than DC Entertainment’s accountants?

and

“Season of the Witch” wasn’t scary enough for horror fans, wasted Ron Perlman and Robert Sheehan in nothing roles and was so tired, predictable and half-hearted that I expected it to peter out rather than actually finish.  I know that we’ve come to expect comparatively little of Nicolas Cage in films these days, but “Season of the Witch” so completely drops the ball and wimps out in its final act (Hey! All the stupid, evil creatures are actually real and it’s not just man’s inhumanity and irrationality which is causing all the horrible stuff to happen to people!) that it becomes an ordeal to watch.

For shame, Dominic Sena, for shame!

A final Minnie category for now?

Most Disappointing Movie Development of 2011.

Whether you want it or not, whether it works or not, and ensuring that you have to see a movie in the format because there’s never a 2D screening when you want to see it.  The good uses are few and far between and the bad ones are seemingly stinking up a multiplex near you every weekend.

It’s here to stay, because there’s a lot of money invested in it, but it’s not my first choice for entertainment and I doubt that it’s many of yours either.

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The Best and Worst SF Movies of 2011.

Sucker, Punched.

My very favourite blog in the world (clue: irony is being employed here), i09.com today breaks down their list of the best and worst SF movies of the year, because it’s the law to make these kinds of lists at the end of the year.

It’s illustrative to me personally that I’ve seen one of their top ten best films – the Marvel adaptation, “Thor”, and have a bunch of the other titles on my DVD rental list: Do I share a taste in films with my enemies?

The year's most underrated movie?

It’s a bummer that they couldn’t find a place on their list for “Source Code“, Duncan Jones’ follow-up to “Moon”, as I felt it did a lot to confirm that Jones could make mainstream, science fiction-inflected adventures as well as occupying the more art house territory of his debut – is “Limitless” really that much better?  “Source Code” had provocative ideas about the notion of the self, our Western responses to terrorism, personal freedom and found time to balance intellectual concerns with pulse-racing action, a romantic sub-plot which didn’t make you want to gnaw off your limbs in annoyance and some great acting work from Jake Gyllenhaal and Vera Farmiga, amongst others.

Tell me if I’m off-beam here, other viewers of this film – it was as good as I remembered it being, wasn’t it?

Meanwhile, in the realm of terrible films, io9’s blogger really didn’t like Zack Snyder’s fetish farrago, “Sucker Punch” and I can see where they’re coming from.  It’s a difficult flick to recommend to anybody as it shoots for the moon and misses primarily because it makes some utterly inexplicable, divisive choices in the process of doing so.

We’ve got a cast of young actresses playing young girls who are essentially imprisoned in a 1950’s reform school/mental home only to find that they’re now victims of what we might call people trafficking.  Yeah, I know – Friday night fun for your multiplex demographic!  In order to escape the very real horror of their surroundings, each girl escapes into a fantasy world which sees them transformed into super-cool, uber-skilled warriors battling all manner of sci-fi/high fantasy bad guys in order to retrieve dream world totems which become real world items which will allow them to escape.

Sounds like trashy fun – but it really isn’t.

The major problem for most thinking viewers of this film will be the way that it spends a lot of time getting leery over these young women, dressing them up in lingerie (not exactly practical for the battlefield, last time that I looked) and then photographing them in a way which makes Michael Bay’s soft-porn “Victoria’s Secret” adverts look like a Jane Campion film.

It’s that old chestnut – when does empowerment become exploitation?  If you answered “When a film director old enough to know better has his cast inexplicably dressed up like anime schoolgirl hookers”, that’s probably the correct answer.

Elsewhere on the list, you’ve got your usual candidates for terri-bad viewing during the year.  “Green Lantern” gets a nod, for mostly eschewing the cosmos-spanning comics lore in favour of a desperately dull, earthbound adventure with supremely dull characters.  “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is cited, mostly for being shrill and still persisting with the idea that Shia LaBeouf is an actual leading man.  For the record, I could do without the human beings in the film (noted exception, the glorious Alan Tudyk) and felt that the action sequences were frequently extraordinary – it’s just a shame that the movie they appeared in was so unlikeable.

I would have to say that “Green Lantern” was my pick for the worst film of the year – as much of a missed opportunity as “Sucker Punch” was, it at least managed to provoke you to object to sections of it and had some bravura action (Baby Doll’s fight against the Giant Robot Samurai, the steampunk WWI Nazi Zombies, the dragon battle) to distract the audience momentarily from it’s profoundly misguided sexual politics.

They're letting anybody be a member of the Green Lantern Corps nowadays...

“Green Lantern” was chuffing terrible.  Sexless, character-free, action-light, played broadly by a cast who seem alternately bored, uncertain as to their role or believe that they’re in a pantomime and that mugging is therefore perfectly acceptable (For shame, Tim Robbins, for shame!).

It’s not entirely the fault of the actors – the script is wretched, the cinematography bathes the on-screen action with a murky green tinge that makes on-screen action hard to see and Martin Campbell shows so little interest in the character that he flashes back to the hero’s father’s death a matter of minutes after we initially saw it, apparently in the belief that the audience has nodded off in the intervening moments.  Of this film – which is apparently getting a sequel – I can say only ‘Ugh!’ by way of summing up.

Let’s hope that 2012 offers a few more things to look forward to – on the evidence of trailers for “Prometheus”, “The Dark Knight Rises”, dark superhero ‘found footage’ tale “Chronicle”, part one of  “The Hobbit” and even Greek Mythology sequel to “Wrath of the Titans”, things are already looking a lot better.

 

 

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