Hollywood Ain’t All Glamour (Featuring Studio ADI)

Anyone who thinks being an actor is all glamor and copious consumption–which isn’t to say that that isn’t there, but that’s hardly the case for everyone that makes the movies many of us love–needs to spend some time with the actors that bring characters like the Predator and Pred-Alien to life.

As evidence, take a look at this clip from Studio ADI, from the making of the 2007 movie Alien vs. Predator: Requiem.  The video shows how they shot a scene toward the end of the movie, when the Pred-Alien squares off against a Predator sent to hunt it down on the roof of a hospital.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the people playing the Pred-Alien and Predator must have had a particularly difficult experience, despite the efforts of the people working to keep the actors comfortable.  After all, they’re stuck in constricting suits–in the case of the former, probably barely able to breathe, hear or see–in an almost torrential downpour.

Which isn’t to imply that there was any other way to do it, because to go the CGI route would have probably made things like like a middling video game.

Though to make matters worse, to have to discover after the fact that all the hours of hard work you just went through could barely be seen in many instances because the movie was so badly lit…

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” Screening For Free (For A Limited Time Only)!

How limited, you might ask?  I have no idea, though according to The Daily Dead the free period began on the 16th, two days ago, so if you don’t already have in your collection, I’d take advantage of it before someone comes to their senses.

Besides, the last “horror” film I watched was Children Of The Corn: Urban Harvest, which was pretty funny, though the humor was unfortunately of the unintentional variety.

Unlike Halloween, which was one of the most influential horror films ever made.  What’s most interesting is that, despite how iconic the film may seem to viewers now, at the time Carpenter was making it he not only had any idea it would be as innovative as it ended up being, but its success almost defied logic.

Why Is The Upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! Seemingly All CGI?

Thunderbirds Are Go!Maybe it’s just me, but I am just not seeing the logic.  Computer graphics have enabled filmmakers to create the seemingly impossible, and while I think that I will always prefer practical effects, I do understand that the leaps that CGI have reached are pretty impressive and such effects can’t often cannot be done any other way.

That being said, the upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! will be all CGI, but with the characters rendered in the fashion of puppets.

Huh!?  Since they’re working with a tool that gives producers literally the ability to create what they want, why not stretch the medium a bit?  In other words, if they aren’t going to use actual puppets–like in the fashion of Gerry Anderson series like the original Thunderbirds, Terrahawks, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, among others, then why not use people, combined with green screen and CGI?

Would it be more expensive to do so?  Probably, because you’re talking about practical sets, enhanced by special effects.  Then again, Anderson’s series were always innovative and unique, while it appears what they are considering doing is nothing of the sort (besides, it has already been done with the New Adventures Of Captain Scarlet).

I know that Weta, the company that is handling special effects, best known for the work they’ve done for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies, seemingly doesn’t have much in the way of experience with puppetry, though it’s a skill set worth keeping alive.

 

Z Nation: Not Nearly As Bad As It Should Be

When Syfy premiered Z Nation a few months ago, the only thing that I was curious about was what took them so long.  The Walking Dead has been breaking ratings records for AMC for years now, so that it took so long for someone to premiere another series that revolved around the undead was a bit of a surprise (and I don’t mean high-concept pseudo-zombie series like The Returned).

If we forget for a moment the insane idea that Syfy, a network so based on science fiction that it’s actually in the name, was so late to the party and that the series is made by The Asylum (known for schlock like Sharknado, Atlantic Rim and American Battleship), it’s actually not terrible.

Trailers Somehow Possess the Magical Ability To Make Things Less Pathetic

The series revolves around a zombie apocalypse, with a rag-tag group of survivors trying to make their way to California.  The twist is that a member of their party includes a person who is apparently immune to the virus that creates zombies, which means that they have to protect him as best they can as they make their way to the West Coast.

The FX is pretty spotty, character development is just about nil, but for an Asylum feature, it’s actually pretty good.  Now, if it weren’t so lacking in logic–which is saying something considering that we’re talking about a series about the walking dead–and flimsy characterization, it could give critical darling The Walking Dead a run for its money.

What bugs me–beyond that which I already mentioned–is that everyone works way too hard not to use the word “zombie”(as if The Walking Dead has it copyrighted–and they very well may) or something, despite the fact that it’s the first word someone would use under such conditions.

 

Z Nation is currently on Netflix

‘Iron Man 4′ Is A Go!

Iron Man Flying

According to Robert Downey, Jr. Iron Man 4 is happening and truth be told I am a little torn by the decision.  It’s a good thing because Downey, for millions of people (including this writer) embodies Tony Stark.

It’s not such a good thing because Marvel has to know that they’re just delaying the inevitable.  Originally when this question was posed to Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios,  he said something to the effect that the plan was to have the Iron Man franchise to be similar to James Bond, in that the actor who plays Bond is important, but less so than the franchise itself.

In other words, the actor who plays Iron Man would change from time to time.

The thing is that Marvel Studios is known for their thriftiness (or miserliness, depending upon how you look at such things) and it goes without saying that they must be paying Downey a butt-load of money, to put on the red and gold suit again (though in Marvel and Feige’s defense, Iron Man 3 made over $1.2 billion on a $200 million budget, so $50 million–what he earned for Iron Man 3–was just a drop in the bucket).

‘Pride’ Review

Pride movie poster

“”Pride” Is A Prime Example Of Why The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) Has Outgrew Its Usefulness.”

It’s normal, as humans, to try to define the world around us in as concise a manner as possible.  And it makes sense because when we were evolving as a species there were probably many instances where there just wasn’t time to go into a 50-word description about how that other tribe of proto-humans from the far side of the mountain were somehow different than we were.

That being said, a problem simplification brings is that it sacrifices nuance at the altar of  efficiency, often doing a disservice to whatever it is that that’s being described.  I mention this because Matthew Warchus’ Pride will probably be labeled as a gay movie–and while that’s not exactly inaccurate–it doesn’t tell the whole story, because in many ways the movie is about all of us, no matter how we define ourselves sexually.

It revolves around a gay rights organization headed by Mark (Ben Schnetzer) who decides to raise funds to support striking coalminers in Wales.  Both groups are vilified, and despite the miners virtually starving they were at first reluctant to accept support from a group that was openly gay.

So there’s the conflict between those that hold more traditional beliefs, versus those that were more progressive though what the movie didn’t spend nearly enough time exploring the fact that events were unfolding just when AIDS was just beginning to cut a devastating swath through the Gay community; yet Mark’s organization still chose to assist the mineworkers.

It may not have been as clear-cut as that, but the movie does create that impression.

Pride is also very monochromatic, though it’s hard to tell if that’s an accurate reflection of the history, or just the tendency of filmmakers to exclude people of color.  That being said, some do appear in crowd, club and parade scenes, and that’s about it.

Overall, Pride is an entertaining, and at times inspirational, movie that should be seen by as many people as possible because it’s less about sexuality than being true to yourself and people helping people, very often those on the face of it you hold nothing in common, other than a shared humanity.

And if that’s not something to be celebrated, then nothing is.

By the way, I just learned that Pride is rated R, which leaves me a bit baffled.   It’s a relatively tame movie–and while I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s been “Disneyfied“–there’s cursing, and suggestions of some Gay subcultures–there’s nothing that would offend anyone that’s the least bit respectful of the right of other people to live as they choose.

I also may be ranting a bit here, but Pride is based on the lives of real people, so why it is IMDB and CBS Films (one of the companies that produced the film) failed to include the last names of the characters is a bit beyond understanding.

‘Pride’ Trailer

What has bothered me for a long time about a lot of Queer cinema is that it tends to be very white–in that it revolves around white people (generally males) with nary a person of color to be found.  And Matthew WarchusPride doesn’t on the face of it seem any different.

That being said, what it does do is appear to revolve around people that occupy different social strata, which is also something that I think is neglected in in movies that deal with homosexuality in any in-depth, and hopefully meaningful, way (that being said, I do understand that that isn’t the story the movie is trying to tell, per se).