Archive for the Entertainment Category

The Great Wolverine Workprint Internet Leak (and Other Tales of Horror)

Posted in Entertainment, film, media, News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by law7355
I had a look at the Wolverine workprint that found it way onto the internet (passed on from a friend of a friend who knows a guy who once dated a girls who’s brother etc etc – I would never myself download any movies…)
Anyway, as I was saying, I had a look at it.
It’s an early cut with lots of pre-vis CGI and probably edited before the recent reshoots, but on the whole I must say I’m pretty damned excited. Yes about the movie but more so about what it could mean for the industry and film fans.
I don’t believe it should be seen as a threat to the movie industry and serve as a watermark incident in Hollywood’s fight against internet pirates, although if the movie does anything less than fucking brilliantly at the box office I’m sure the knee-jerk reaction of the industry execs will be just that: blame piracy again and clamp down on sub-contractors and employees, all the while crying about the holes in their pockets and the mass-market thievery by internet thugs who fund terrorism and eat babies.
So far (and true to form) Twentieth century Fox’s response has been to claim it is an old rough cut without FX, music etc (fair) and that it “may contain an April Fool’s Virus”.
Awesome, well done; like that tactic has worked so well for you to date.
Seeing this version gives an incredible glimpse into the moviemaking process, particularly at how complex a ‘simple’ scene can be, with its many layers of composited videos and all the work that will ultimately go into colour-correcting them, masking them and then applying FX to convincingly blend it into the scenes we take for granted in the cinema. It’s exciting to see. It certainly makes we want to check out the final release to compare and see how they polished it, cleaned up the editing, smoothed out the narrative and so on.
And I’m not the only one: according to a great article over at newteevee.com, the torrent forums are full of fans eager to see the final cut. After all, the FX, explosions and blood-n-guts are what they want to see, not Hugh Jackman dangling from a wire.
My sincere hope is that the movie does very well, mainly because Mr Jackman has put in a lot of effort and (to my knowledge) is it’s producer so he has a lot riding on it. If it does, the industry would do well to consider the prospect of the opportunities represented by this incident: include the fans in the testing process – allow them to see early scenes (perhaps not the whole movie next time, we want some surprises) and study the responses.
In this case, if this had happened earlier, they could have learned much from the public’s reception of the movie and adapted it accordingly. For example, I think the use of some of the staple characters of the X-Men universe is shoddy in places: not wanting to make the mistakes of the first X-Men and use few characters and waste time on exposition, they’ve chosen to somewhat clumsily throw in many new faces/old favourites all the way through the movie, not really giving us the opportunity to really warm to any of their sociopathic niceties. If much of the response from the forums and fan-sites were to say the same, the film-makers would be foolish not to reconsider some of the characters or the way they’re edited.
Of course, all this is unlikely to happen. As it is, many of the articles written about the incident are what you would expect: Chicken Little responses bleating about further proof of the death of an industry. For example, have a look at CrunchGear‘s John Biggs, who believes “we are witnessing the rise of media terrorism”
What a fucking arsehat*!
It’s nothing nearly that sinister; it certainly wasn’t a deliberate and mutli-pronged attack on a people and their way of life by an opposing group holding mutually exclusive beliefs. In all likelihood, it was some sub-contractor working the nightshift at an FX house pissed off that his hours or pay have been reduced due to the recession and who happened to be working on Wolverine at the time; if it had been the Duchess we would be writing about Kiera Knightly and the scary sight of her flat chest without CGI cleavage. Or not.
Anyway, here’s hoping the movie does well enough at the box-office, until the DVD/Blu Ray is released and pirated all over again. And that they include the workprint-cut on the DVD extras so we can revisit the entire behind-the-scenes joy again and again.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Oscar Nominations 2009 (and my picks)

Posted in Entertainment, film, media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2009 by law7355

So the Oscar nominations were announced today: some surprises (The Incredibly boring case of Benjamin Button as ‘Best Picture’?!!) and a lot of love for Slumdog Millionaire (a very good movie and probably the best of the nominations) but there were too many movies I enjoyed much more that were simply not nominated (or were, but in all the wrong categories): Wall-E, Defiance, Tokyo Gore Police, Iron Man, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Waltz with Bashir, Cloverfield, Gomorrah, In Bruges, The Wackness… I forget, but there were others. And Ok, I was kidding about Tokyo Gore Police – it’s stupid.  Anyway, the list:


BEST PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Simply because Milk had great acting, but wasn’t great, Button was boring, Frost/Nixon was tight and dramatic but too ‘Oscar-worthy’, I haven’t yet seen The Reader (but liked the book) and really enjoyed Slumdog, even if the narrative devices used are obvious and convenient.

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Richard Jenkins – The Visitor
Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn – Milk
Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Sean Penn is fan-fucking-tastic. Mickey Rourke was great [and the Wrestler was great] but he as a person/actor/plastecine model creeps me the fuck out – he’s like Ray Presto with botox! .

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Josh Brolin – Milk
Robert Downey Jr. – Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt
Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

ACTRESS IS A LEADING ROLE
Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie – Changeling
Melissa Leo – Frozen River
Meryl Streep – Doubt
Kate Winslet – The Reader

I thought her performance in ‘The Changeling’ was good, but mainly because I don’t want to see Kate Winslet give another acceptance speech.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams – Doubt
Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis – Doubt
Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Because she was kind enough to show us her boobs (again)

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

Best frikkin’ movie of the year.

ART DIRECTION
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

Like an Oscar for making it look almost exactly like a Michael Mann movie

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire


DIRECTING
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant – Milk
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Benjamin Button got more nominations than people I know who will admit to actually liking it.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

FILM EDITING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhof Complex
The Class
Departures
Revanche
Waltz with Bashir

My decision is based the fact that it is a touching and powerful movie, and that I haven’t seen any of the others


MAKEUP

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

VISUAL EFFECTS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Doubt
Frost/Nixon
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

I guess I should see the Reader, since it pops up so many times.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
Frozen River
Hapy-Go-Lucky
In Bruges
Milk
WALL-E

Beautiful Int’l Space Station and Earth Pics [Big Picture]

Posted in Entertainment, media, News, Photography, pictorial with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by law7355

More beautiful pictures from boston.com’s “the big picture” [http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/11/the_international_space_statio.html]

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Another handful of Internet Wrongness

Posted in Blogroll, Entertainment, Joke with tags , , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by law7355

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Another handful of Internet Wrongness

Posted in Blogroll, Entertainment, Joke with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by law7355

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Charlie Brooker weighs in on the Brand-Ross debacle

Posted in Entertainment, media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2008 by law7355

taken from the guardian online at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/03/jonathan-ross-russell-brand

Want a rush of empowerment? Join the angry idiots registering their disgust with Ofcom

The sad, likely outcome of this pitiful gitstorm is an increase in BBC jumpiness

So it’s here at last. The dawn of the dumb has broken in earnest. Two mistakes occur – first Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross overstep the mark with an ill-advised bit of juvenilia, then someone decides to broadcast it. Two listeners complained, but that’s by the by: it shouldn’t have gone out. But then the Daily Mail – not so much a newspaper as an idiot’s guidebook issued in bite-size daily instalments – uses the incident as the starting point for a full-blown moral crusade. Suddenly everyone’s complaining, whether they heard the broadcast or not, largely on the basis of hysterical, boggle-eyed descriptions of what the pair said. Poor Andrew Sachs, who, having been wronged, graciously accepted their apologies and called for everybody to move on, looked bewildered by the sheer number of cameras stuck in his face. Because, by then, apologies weren’t enough.

The Mail was so incensed, it printed a full transcript of the answerphone prankery under the heading “Lest We Forget” – and helpfully included outtakes that weren’t even broadcast, so its readers could be enraged by things no one had heard in the first place. This was like making a point about the cruelty of fox-hunting by ripping a live fox apart with your bare hands, then poking a rabbit’s eye out with a pen for good measure.

And now, like a lion developing a taste for human flesh after munching on a bit of discarded leg, the paper is on the hunt for fresh victims. First up: Brand’s Channel 4 comedy show Ponderland. Readers were treated to a blow-by-blow account of what kind of depravity they could expect to see if they tuned in that evening.

“As his closing joke, he performs a graphic mime of sexual acts on a butterfly.”

Funniest. Daily Mail sentence. Ever.

Friday’s paper included a rundown of other “obscenities” broadcast by the Beeb, which the paper fearlessly “uncovered” by recording some TV shows and writing down some of the jokes. To protect readers’ sensibilities, all the rude words were sprinkled with asterisks, although since the Mail’s definition of “rude” extends to biological terms such as “penis”, it was a bit like gazing at an ASCII representation of a snowstorm on a ZX Spectrum circa 1983. Perhaps next week it will produce a free sheet of asterisk stickers for readers to plaster over their own genitals, lest they catch sight of them in a mirror and indignantly vomit themselves into a coma.

One of the shows singled out was an episode of the romcom Love Soup transmitted in April that, the Mail insisted, depicted a woman being raped by a dog. I didn’t see the show myself, but I doubt you saw it going in or anything, because I don’t recall seeing Mark Thompson hanging from a lamppost while an angry mob kicked Television Centre to pieces. Maybe we can “devolve” to that point in time for Christmas.

Still, if it’s OK to be retrospectively enraged, why stop at April? Be ambitious! Keep going! There’s an endless list of comedy shows that would qualify for the Mail’s hall of shame. How about Monty Python, which in 1970 included a gloriously tasteless sketch about a man eating his mother’s corpse, then puking the remains into a grave? If Python had been banned, we’d never have seen Fawlty Towers or heard of Andrew Sachs in the first place – problem solved. Steptoe and Son, Till Death Us Do Part, Porridge, Not the Nine O’Clock News, The Young Ones, Have I Got News For You, Blackadder, The Day Today, Little Britain, The Thick of It … by the Mail’s reckoning, each of those shows surely deserves a place on the list too. Hundreds of hours of laughter you’d never have had.

The sad, likely outcome of this pitiful gitstorm is an increase in BBC jumpiness. I have a vested interest in this, of course, because I’ve just started work on the next series of my BBC4 show Screen Wipe, on which we sometimes sail close to the wind. In the past, the BBC has occasionally stepped in to nix the odd line that oversteps the mark – as it should do, when parameters aren’t out of whack.

But when the Beeb’s under fire, those parameters can change. Last year, following the “fakery” scandals, we recorded a trailer for the series in which I mocked a BBC4 ident featuring footage of seagulls, by fooling around with a plastic seagull on a stick and muttering about how you couldn’t trust anything on TV any more. Pure Crackerjack. But suddenly it couldn’t be transmitted, due to “the current climate”. So God knows how restrictive things might get over the coming months.

And that’s just my basic, low-level gittery. If something as sublime and revolutionary as Python came along today, the Mail would try to kill it stone dead, and it’d rope in thousands of angry old idiots to help, all of them bravely marching to the Ofcom website to register their disgust. What a rush. Feel that pipsqueak throb of empowerment coursing through your starched and joyless veins! You’ve crushed some fun, and it feels good to be alive!

Perhaps it’s time to put a “Complain to Ofcom” button right there on the remote control: if enough viewers press it, the show gets yanked immediately, like a bad variety act being pulled off stage by a shepherd’s crook.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s time to establish “Counter-Complaints”: a method of registering your complaint about the number of knee-jerk complaints. And one should cancel out the other – so if 25,000 people complain, and a further 25,000 counter-complain, the total number of complaints is zero. It might lead to a lot of fruitless button-mashing, but at least we can keep our shared national culture relatively sane. Because judging by the rest of the news, if the ship’s going down, a few unrestricted taste-free laughs now and then might make things more bearable for all of us.

• This week Charlie became so dismayed by the number of things in his flat that need fixing, that he contemplated doing nothing: “And seeing how long it’ll take for the entire structure to collapse.”

 

An interwebnet full of wrongness

Posted in Blogroll, Entertainment, Joke with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2008 by law7355

A selection of my favourites, found over at http://www.photobasement.com/

See and download the full gallery on posterous