The Ministry of Truth (Minitrue)

Resplendent in Newspeak and Doublethink.

Blasphemy?

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September 22, 2010 Posted by | Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

Rest In Peace, Kevin McCarthy 1914-2010

‘They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next, You’re next…!’

It would no doubt surprise anybody that I write this with a heavy heart, for one of my favourite actors and star of one of my most cherished movies, Kevin McCarthy has passed away.

Don Siegel’s ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’ is to this day a timeless classic Science Fiction movie, stocked with paranoia suited to it’s time and an (unintended) allegory on McCarthyism and the perceived ‘red threat’ that swept the United States during the 1950’s.

McCarthy had a steady career, one which delivered an Academy Award nomination in 1951 for his performance in ‘Death Of A Salesman’. Along with the inimitable Dick Miller, he was also a firm favourite of Joe Dante, who cast him in ‘The Howling’, ‘Piranha’ and ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ (which saw the tragic death of Vic Morrow) and ‘InnerSpace’. A brief cameo in the (dreadful) ’78 remake of ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’ kept him in the public consciousness, but always as the desperate and paranoid character of Dr. Miles Bennell which he will forever be associated.

I’m watching ‘Body Snatchers’ as I type this, savouring every frame of a movie which I hold in such high regard. I may not see it in the same light if not for Kevin McCarthy.

September 12, 2010 Posted by | Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

London Film & Comic Con 2010

Showmaters really did put on a fantastic show yesterday. So much to keep all those there entertained and enthralled. Particular kudos for the DC Comics Exhibition which was excellent, rounded off with a goodie bag which included a limited Alex Ross ‘Green Lantern’ print and a copy of ‘Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic’ on DVD!

There was much more room in EC2 this year also, what with the DC show, larger video gaming area and mini-theatre for live streaming from crunchyroll.com. Therefore, unlike previous years, I hardly ever found myself pressed up against unwelcome body parts. Phew! The crew also did a fantastic job keeping it all running smoothly, and aside from a little hiccup regarding Shatner’s photo queue, they hardly faltered. They do a great job.

A plethora of toys, comics, DVD’s, posters, clothing and various other merch kept the dealer’s tables buzzing with traffic and the sound of opening and closing cash tins. So much great gear, never enough cash! (bit too much ‘Twilight’ crap, but it’s this year’s fad so…). I picked up a nice ‘Quatermass 2’ reprodution print, an inexpensive Joker canvas print, a reproduction Freddy glove (finally! I regretted not getting one back at LFCC ’07. Could have had Robert Englund sign that too.), another Gundam kit, a ‘Flash’ figure and the find of the day: a die-cast ‘Starsky & Hutch’ model ’76 Ford Torino! In the words of one Arnold J. Rimmer: “marvellous!”.

As for the guest, they we’re really well set out with both ‘Star War’ guests and William Shatner having been separated from the other, more generalized guests. This meant that it was easier for the traffic to move around the main signing area than in previous years and it really worked.

As for The Shat, it was hardly surprising that both the autograph and photo lines were HUGE, with the former a little more organised. Naturally, being so popular it really was an ‘in-and-out’ experience. No chatter, no personalisations. This was ok by me, but some, including the really annoying couple in front of me found this hard to accept (she kept faffing about with her camera!).

Robert Rankin was as warm, charming and dapper as ever. He always has a tale to tell and every show he’s at I always pick up his latest book, this time, ‘Retromancer‘. He even signed a limited print too while we talked for a moment about his yearly appearance at LFCC.

Sean Pertwee was cheery and full of his usual brand of swagger. Happily added ‘Sausages’ to my ‘Dog Soldiers‘. Just as I suspected, it wasn’t the first time he’d done that!

Tom Noonan looked somewhat nervous but was nonetheless polite and friendly. I figured it was probably that he rarely does conventions and therefore was somewhat overwhelmed by the reception he was receiving.

Julian Glover was a complete gentleman in every way and really rather busy. Very quiet but utterly charming. Whilst signing my ‘Quatermass & The Pit‘ DVD, he asked me if I still thought the film stood up today. I do and said so. It remains not only one of my favorite Hammer movies, but one of my most treasured flicks of all time.

Greg Rucka was just exceptional. After signing the story ‘Delivered’ from the ‘Hellboy: Odd Jobs’ collection, we talked about the origin of the story and it’s inspiration. He proceeded to tell me about the time when working at DC in NYC when, at the end of the day he and a few of the DC guys would sit at sundown in Central Park and have a smoke. As dusk set in, he would marvel at the change in the park’s population. Change as in species. Rats. Hundreds would descend at twilight to relcaim the park as their territory and this, Rucka recounted, unnerved him somewhat (‘Delivered’ tells the tale of Hellboy loosing his gun (the Samaritan) in Central Park, whilst looking astounded at the rats taking over the park in a similar fashion. In his attempt to discover who (or what) has taken it, he is introduced to Mick, a six-foot talking rat, who arranged for the theft of the gun so he could introduce himself to Red in an attempt to forge dealings with the BPRD. A quintessentially ‘Hellboy’ notion)

I didn’t take a multitude of snaps, but here’s what I did get:

July 18, 2010 Posted by | Comics, Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

Blogs ‘n’ Tweets from LFCC ’10

I’m gonna be at Earls Court tomorrow for the annual London Film & Comic Con, from Showmasters. It’s THE big event to attend every  year and always eventful. So, seeing as I’m now running my own blog, I’m gonna be tweeting from the Con via JonCottage/twitter.com or by trending #lfcc.

My autograph list this year is pretty small compared to previous years, with Sean Pertwee, Julian Glover, Tom Noonan and Greg Rucka. I might see if I can get into Sean Young‘s queue for a signature on my ‘Blade Runner‘ BluRay, but the biggest name event of the day will be my photo op with The Shat! Yep, William Shatner will be at EC and I’m getting my pic taken with him. I’m taking the VHS sleeve from ‘Undiscovered Country‘ with me if the chance arises to get his auto but his line’s going to be shocking so I’m not holding out much faith there.

What with The DC Comics exhibition, Warner Bros. providing one of the Tumblers from ‘The Dark Knight‘ plus talks, anime streamed directly from crunchyroll.com and, of course, the dealers room; it’ll be a busy day!

I’ll be posting an review blog with pictures from the Con sometime on Sunday.

http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com/

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Comics, Film, Movies, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

Vader has left the building….

This is pretty shitty from LFL. Ok, so Prowse has played the Vader card so often it’s become somewhat pathetic. The man is so much more than one role, one in which we never even saw his face. For my generation, he’ll be the Green Cross Code man as much as Luke’s Father (spoiler?), and just as much for me as ‘ol Frankie in the Hammer classic, ‘Revenge Of Frankenstein’.

I met David Prowse (finally) at last year’s London Film and ComiCon. He signed my ‘Star Wars’ poster, along with Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker and Gary Kurtz. He signed in his usual fashion: “Dave Prowse IS Darth Vader”. So was James Earl Jones, Sebastian Shaw and *cough* Hayden Christensen. I was happy to meet the man beyond the mask that terrified me so much as a kid, but I couldn’t help but feel that to sign such a comment, one which he has committed to a multitude of different photos and pieces of memorabilia, was somewhat of a cheap shot over his dismay of being overdubbed by James Earl Jones way back in ’77. Bill Bailey put it best: how could have Vader come from the West Country? “Ooh, the Force is strong in this’un!”

Even after all this though, I still got to meet someone who’ve I’ve admired for years and, regardless of what he wrote, or his slight sullenness, I’m still happy I met him. I’m the only person I know who has and that means a lot.

LFL have enacted a pathetic swipe at Prowse. Leave him well alone. Let him say what he wants to say and sign what he wants to sign. Maybe if the Bearded One had been upfront from the start and stipulated that his vocal performance was not going to be used in the final cut, then none of this sorry tail this evening would have emerged.

Here’s the link: http://scifiwire.com/2010/07/darth-vader-actor-david-p.php

July 10, 2010 Posted by | Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

‘Alien3’: A difficult relationship.

For some time now, Sunday mornings have been known as the ‘Sci-Fi Sunday Breakfast’. Coffee, cereal and the aforementioned, carefully selected and nutritional, Sci-Fi movie. A hearty way to start the day.

Going back some time ago, when the ‘old gang’ used to congregate every Saturday night around a huge round table (something akin to the Geek Knights of the Round Table) in my local seafront pub (I live by the sea, but I guess you figured that out), we would spend an inordinate amount of time pickling our livers, doubling our bladder density whilst debating (read: arguing) over our shared love of movies and Sci-Fi. To do this EVERY Saturday night was the norm for many years.

I would be regularly flamed for being the only sensible one who saw through the haze of cliché and tedium to admit that the James Bond franchise was shit. Scott (Rest In Peace old friend) would harp on about how much he adored the ‘Highlander’ franchise and ‘Quantum Leap’, quoting endless ‘Simpsons’ references along the way. Chris, Ben & I would bang on about ‘Batman’ and the DC/Marvel universe (‘DareDevil’ is STILL BLIND, Mark!). I would harp on relentlessly about the ‘Hellboy’ comics. As for ‘Star Trek’ &’ Star Wars’ (eventually the ‘Rings’ trilogy would be added to this roster), countless observations and arguments would arise and be debated until way past last orders and distended bladders.

Every so often, I would be alone in my hatred of one particular movie. Everyone else I know loved it and saw something in it I couldn’t. I detested it. I found it’s Director overrated, the plot contrived, the FX lame and the whole experience a waste of time where I could have been watching, I don’t know, ‘Star Trek V’. That’s how much I hated ‘Alien3’.

Then, on the release on the ‘Quadrilogy’ box set, I found it included the long-mooted ‘Assembly Cut’. The cut Fincher intended but the one Fox ditched.

I think it was a further eighteen months before I could muster the vague interest to watch it again.

I can be man enough to admit when I’m wrong. I WAS wrong. There, I said it. The ‘Assembly Cut’ changed my whole outlook on the third instalment of the saga. Gone was the horrid ‘dog birth’, replaced with the intended ‘Ox birth’ and the explanation of a second Facehugger on board the escape pod. The character of ‘Golic’ and his descent into madness would now be shown in much more depth (the FX were still shite though). The thirty minutes added by this cut changed my experience entirely. I finally found what it was that made ‘Alien3’ a more enjoyable movie. What I could never fathom, however, was if it took the ‘Assembly Cut’ to make me finally appreciate it, how come everyone else was sufficiently satisfied by the theatrical release?

By the time the group disbanded, I could never convince anyone that ‘Alien: Resurrection’ wasn’t that bad. Once again, I was alone. Nuts.

March 14, 2010 Posted by | Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

“Get to da chopper!”

This could be great or a colossal arse-ache of a event. From Robert Rodriguez:

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment

Comic Book Movie Roundup

A couple of weeks ago I was FB messaging with an old friend, who, for the purposes of my blog, shall be referred to as ‘McDaddy’ (or, seeing as I love Apple Macs, I guess I should be the ‘Mac Daddy’? No? Ok).

It all stemmed from a link he sent me posted on YouTube from www.reelzchannel.com which talked about live-action adaptations of ‘Robotech’, ‘Ghost In The Shell’ and ‘Akira’ (for the record it’s a big Siskel & Ebert ‘two thumbs DOWN’ from me on all three). Here’s that link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_DarhYERwI

Anyways, I took the opportunity to evaluate the plethora of big-screen adaps of established comic-book characters. I think I’m bang on the money with my take on things. So, I thought I’d post them.

DC:

‘Batman’: Started poorly with the campy saga (Burton/Schumacher). Redeemed with Nolan (NOTE. Maggie Gyllenhall gives a performance in ‘The Dark Knight‘ that’s so poor that she has you begging for Katie Holmes to have taken that role again!).

‘Superman’: Classic start. Downhill from there, culminating in Singer’s dreadful ‘Superman Returns‘.

‘The Phantom’: As vacuous as the apparition.

‘Swamp Thing’: Reasonable casting, with Louis Jordan making a suave Arcane. Little else is that memorable though.

‘Constantine’: Is John Constantine a cynical, morally ambiguous, hard-drinking, chain-smoking, foul-mouthed Scouser in this? No. What’s the point then?

MARVEL:

‘Iron Man’: Almost flawless. It’s problem. Terrence Howard. Said problem removed for ‘IM2‘.

‘X-Men’ (inc. ‘Origins: Wolverine’): Overblown saga with some truly ropey performances (Halle Berry, James Marsden, Rebecca Romjin-Stamos…..). ‘X3‘ not as bad as some say but still below-par. ‘Wolverine’ does have Gambit but royally fucks up Deadpool.

‘Ghost Rider’: * enter your own derogatory comment here*

‘Hulk’: ‘Lee’s version is an utter travesty. Leterrier’s ‘Incredible Hulk‘ vast improvement, but not great.

‘Captain America’: Is there any more polite way of saying “shite”?

‘Spider-Man’: Un-gripping start, great sequel, diabolical third act. Showed some classic Raimi shots but not enough to keep you interested. Dunst is just tiresome in all of them.

‘Fantastic Four’: First movie. Boring. ‘Rise Of The Silver Surfer‘. It had the Silver Surfer. It had Galatcus as a huge fart cloud. Still boring.

‘DareDevil’: Moments of good action and faithfulness. Dreadful casting. The ‘Director’s Cut’ is much improved.

‘Punisher’: Lundgren’s is instantly forgettable. Thomas Jane is just as dreadful as Frank Castle. As for ‘War Zone‘, Ray Stevenson makes a pretty good Castle. Still ropey thanks to the casting of Colin Salmon and some dodgy dialogue. Get’s the level of violence and bloodshed just right to the source material, making this the best attempt so far.

The rest:

‘Hellboy’: I am biased, but a great start and a brilliant sequel . Extremely close to the source material and excellent casting. Didn’t really need the creation of John Myers to help the audience along though.

Alan Moore: ‘V For Vendetta’ still stands as the best adaptation so far. ‘Watchmen’ is the best we could have hoped for but is still flawed. ‘From Hell’ is ok in parts. ‘The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ was fucked from the outset.

‘Spawn’: Still waiting for the reboot. A great character utterly wasted on an under-developed script, atrocious dialogue and under-produced FX. ‘Clown’ looked reasonable at the time but hasn’t dated well.

’30 Days Of Night’: Ok. Not as astounding as the Niles/Templesmith series, just ‘ok’.

‘Wanted’: Was it? Really? No, didn’t think so.

‘Sin City’: More typical mysogonistic tripe from Miller (who should just not develop female characters EVER). Over-cooked, over-hyped and utterly tedious.

‘300’: Inferior to the graphic novel and drawn out to the edge of boredom. A good cure for insomnia though.

‘The Spirit’: (*see ‘Sin City’). Refer to the cliché of Will Eisner spinning in his grave.

To come:

‘Thor’: RSC master Kenneth Branagh bringing the son of Odin to the big screen? Really? Heavy on the dialogue. Little comic-book action to be expected. No balance.

‘Green Lantern’: Great character, especially as the Hal Jordan/Parallax is the one being worked on for the L/A. However, his superpower being a ‘glowing ring’? Expect ridicule. Also, Ryan Reynolds? Martin Campbell? Expect derision.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Comics, Film, Sci-Fi | Leave a comment