Thursday, 25 November 2010

Scriptwriting in the UK: Frolleagues!

Scriptwriting in the UK: Frolleagues!: "What I love about the screenwriting blogging community - or 'the scribosphere' as it's commonly known - is the inspiration and goodwill that..."

Monday, 8 November 2010

Review of Harvey (1950)

Want to know something I don't understand?

People who say, "I don't like watching black and white films".

"I don't watch black and white films at all".

"Black and white films are boring, i hate them".

In fact, it's not simply something I don't understand, it's something I despise. A close friend once revealed this about themselves, and I struggled against an internal urge to backhand them and walk away. I guess you could say it "grinds my gears". Well, too bad for those people. It just makes me sad that people are missing out on stories like Harvey (Written by Mary Chase), just because they can't appreciate film in monochrome. Some of my favourite films are in Black and White and were made in the 30's, 40's and 50's. When I tell people about those films, they're enthusiastic and interested until they realise the film in question is not in colour. I'll never understand it.

Now, Harvey is a film i've been meaning to give my attention to for a while, and you better believe it deserved it. This beautiful, enchanting movie deserves all of your attention. Now, I was excited initially because one of my favourite actors, and in my opinion, one of the best actors of all time, is the lead man - Mr James Stewart. You have never seen an actor so perfect for a part. The base premise for Harvey is appallingly ridiculous, until you see Elwood P. Dowd for the first time. He wanders through the house, seemingly normal, until he glances up at that big invisible rabbit that is his best friend. He proceeds into the street, and upon signing for a letter, immediately tears it into pieces and chucks it. We then know that Elwood and Harvey are in their own world, detached from reality, but in no way disadvantaged.

Actually, it's exactly the opposite. Harvey and Elwood lead better lives than most. Elwood is mistaken as a drunk by his foolish sister and niece, but he just likes to spend time in bars, socialising with old friends and meeting new ones. He barely touches one drink through the whole film. Elwood himself sums it up in a beautifully poignant moment of conversation between himself, Dr Sanderson and Nurse Kelly. He says to them "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant."

Harvey is full of beautifully written, character defining dialogue. That's one of the magical things about this film, and many other black and white movies. They were full of intense, magical, pleasent, uplifting sections of dialogue.

With this movie, I went through a process of transformation. I felt sorry for Elwood, a loner with an imaginary rabbit as a best friend. But in the end, you feel sorry for everybody else, including yourself. In the end, you want to be friends with Elwood and Harvey. In the end, you want your own imaginary rabbit who can stop clocks and make you smile.

I knew i'd love Harvey but I didn't know I would love it as much as I did. As the film finished, I immediately flicked through to the bonus materials and watched the James Stewart Introduction, which was an excerpt from an interview in 1990, accompanied by a montage of photographs and clips from the movie. You then realise that this movie, and the characters within it, meant as much to James as they do to any audience member. Something specific he said brought a tear to my eye, though I can't exactly explain why. He said: "Every once in a while, i'd be walking down the street, and somebody would tap me on the shoulder and I'd turn around, and here'd be this man, maybe a lot hadn't shaved for a couple days, maybe hadn't had their suits pressed for quite a while, but they look up and say, "Is Harvey with you?". Well when this first happened I thought it was making a joke, but then after several times, i'd come to see that they were serious. And so I had sort of a regular answer, depending on where I was, and i'd say "No, Harvey has a cold and he's decided to stay home", and most of them would say the same thing, they'd say, "My name's Charlie, and the next time you see him, please give him my regards".

What does that say to you about Harvey?

I enjoyed and revelled in every moment wrapped up in this film, and you will too. It is on a mental list of films that I want my unborn, unconceived children to see early on, before they're bittered by the frustrations of life in colour.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Happy Halloween (for yesterday)

So what films did you watch for halloween? I have a confession to make: i'm not a fan of horror movies! So, it was with great difficulty that I watched The Grudge and The Shining yesterday. Both films terrified me to be honest, but I realised that popcorn is a great distraction when you're scared. I found The Grudge a bit hard to piece together, so if anyone could help with that I'd appreciate it. It was the original Japanese version. And, let me know what gems of the genre you think I should see! Have a good week everybody.

Oh, and The Shining - good, but overrated.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Two Must See's...

Following FCRabbaths secret preview of Disconnected, here is the full 30 minute film. It is awe-inspiring.



On a much lighter note, the brand new Pirates The Musical is fantastic. Brilliant writing, and so different.



Enjoy! FCRab is gifted!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

From the distant horizon...

I watch my own shadow grow, large enough to conquer any obstacle that may arise.

That is how I approach my entry into the BA in Creative Writing which I began yesterday.

I have to say our first session went very well, and had a nice fluidity about it, as well as a good level of intellectualism. I have high hopes. It was very satisfying to sit in a room full of stimulated minds and discuss the intracicies of the short story, and I can't wait for next time.

For anyone interested, we read and deconstructed "Bullet In The Brain" by Tobias Wolff. Highly recommended for a short but satisfying read.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Untitled 1.

Paths of life criss-cross inexplicably
Carried by a force as elusive as God
From where I sit I inhale it all
An advantageous position for someone like me.

Invulnerable to every possible threat
Excepting the one that really matters
It comes up behind me as I sit aloof
Watching the World go by.

Don't be afraid, it whispers loudly
Willing the others to hear
Stroking my neck, and cupping my ear
As it stares wildly at them.

It grips me harshly this invisible enemy
Before announcing my death
I turn to face it, to tell it I won't go
But it's already dissipated, gone without telling me.

The enemy is gone, the threat still there
But I am unreachable so I sit and stare
At the faces that frown as they pass on their way
To where they're going on this mundane day.

Briefcases swing like the leafless trees blow
in the passionate movement of the winter gales
Driving pointlessly with no real direction
And lacking any real place to go.

Friday, 27 August 2010

World war 2 Analogies

Here are a couple of simplified analogies of WW2 that i'm posting here for my own future reference, but they might entertain you too, if you're interested in this sort of thing. Both are brilliant.

Germany, Austria and Italy are stood together in the middle of the pub,when Serbia bumps into Austria, and spills Austria’s pint. Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit, because there are splashes on its trouser leg. Germany expresses its support for Austria’s point of view. Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit. Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for cleaning Austria’s trousers. Russia and Serbia look at Austria. Austria asks Serbia who it’s looking at. Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone. Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so. Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should not intervene. Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it? Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action. Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium. Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper. When they come back,Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone. Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium. France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side,but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria. Australia punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings, because Britain made Australia do it. France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up andcarries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, and wakes up with a complete personality change. Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway.Italy raises both fists in the air and runs round the room chanting. America waits till Germany is about to fall over from sustained punching from Britain and France, then walks over and smashes it with a barstool,then pretends it won the fight all by itself. By now all the chairs are broken, and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany’s fault . While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, steal its wallet, and buy drinks for all their friends.

AND

*Hitler[AoE] has joined the game.*
*Eisenhower has joined the game.*
*paTTon has joined the game.*
*Churchill has joined the game.*
*benny-tow has joined the game.*
*T0J0 has joined the game.*
*Roosevelt has joined the game.*
*Stalin has joined the game.*
*deGaulle has joined the game.*

Roosevelt: hey sup
T0J0: y0
Stalin: hi
Churchill: hi
Hitler[AoE]: cool, i start with panzer tanks!
paTTon: lol more like panzy tanks
T0J0: lol
Roosevelt: o this fockin sucks i got a depression!
benny-tow: haha america sux
Stalin: hey hitler you dont fight me i dont fight u, cool?
Hitler[AoE]: sure whatever
Stalin: cool
deGaulle: **** Hitler rushed some1 help
Hitler[AoE]: lol byebye frenchy
Roosevelt: i dont got crap to help, sry
Churchill: wtf the luftwaffle is attacking me
Roosevelt: get antiair guns
Churchill: i cant afford them
benny-tow: u n00bs know what team talk is?
paTTon: stfu
Roosevelt: o yah hit the navajo button guys
deGaulle: Eisenhower ur worthless come help me quick
Eisenhower: i cant do **** til rosevelt gives me an army
paTTon: yah hurry the fock up
Churchill: d00d im gettin pounded
deGaulle: this is fockin weak u guys suck
*deGaulle has left the game.*
Roosevelt: im gonna attack the axis k?
benny-tow: with what? ur wheelchair?
benny-tow: lol did u mess up ur legs AND ur head?
Hitler[AoE]: ROFLMAO
T0J0: lol o no america im comin 4 u
Roosevelt: wtf! thats bullsh1t u fags im gunna kick ur asses
T0J0: not without ur harbors u wont! lol
Roosevelt: u little biotch ill get u
Hitler[AoE]: wtf
Hitler[AoE]: america hax, u had depression and now u got a huge fockin army
Hitler[AoE]: thats bullsh1t u hacker
Churchill: lol no more france for u hitler
Hitler[AoE]: tojo help me!
T0J0: wtf u want me to do, im on the other side of the world retard
Hitler[AoE]: fine ill clear you a path
Stalin: WTF u arsshoel! WE HAD A FoCKIN TRUCE
Hitler[AoE]: i changed my mind lol
benny-tow: haha
benny-tow: hey ur losing ur guys in africa im gonna need help in italy soon sum1
T0J0: o **** i cant help u i got my hands full
Hitler[AoE]: im 2 busy 2 help
Roosevelt: yah thats right biznitch im comin for ya
Stalin: church help me
Churchill: like u helped me before? sure ill just sit here
Stalin: dont be an arss
Churchill: dont be a commie. oops too late
Eisenhower: LOL
benny-tow: hahahh oh sh1t help
Hitler[AoE]: o man ur focked
paTTon: oh what now biotch
Roosevelt: whos the cripple now lol
*benny-tow has been eliminated.*
benny-tow: lame
Roosevelt: gj paTTon
paTTon: thnx
Hitler[AoE]: WTF Eisenhower hax hes killing all my sh1t
Hitler[AoE]: quit u hacker so u dont ruin my record
Eisenhower: Nuts!
benny-tow: wtf that mean?
Eisenhower: meant to say nutsack lol finger slipped
paTTon: coming to get u hitler u paper hanging hun cocksocker
Stalin: rofl
T0J0: HAHAHHAA
Hitler[AoE]: u guys are fockin gay
Hitler[AoE]: ur never getting in my city
*Hitler[AoE] has been eliminated.*
benny-tow: OMG u noob you killed yourself
Eisenhower: ROFLOLOLOL
Stalin: OMG LMAO!
Hitler[AoE]: WTF i didnt click there omg this game blows
*Hitler[AoE] has left the game*
paTTon: hahahhah
T0J0: WTF my teammates are n00bs
benny-tow: shut up noob
Roosevelt: haha wut a moron
paTTon: wtf am i gunna do now?
Eisenhower: yah me too
T0J0: why dont u attack me o thats right u dont got no ships lololol
Eisenhower: fock u
paTTon: lemme go thru ur base commie
Stalin: go to hell lol
paTTon: fock this sh1t im goin afk
Eisenhower: yah this is gay
*Roosevelt has left the game.*
Hitler[AoE]: wtf?
Eisenhower: sh1t now we need some1 to join
*tru_m4n has joined the game.*
tru_m4n: hi all
T0J0: hey
Stalin: sup
Churchill: hi
tru_m4n: OMG OMG OMG i got all his stuff!
tru_m4n: NUKES! HOLY **** I GOT NUKES
Stalin: d00d gimmie some plz
tru_m4n: no way i only got like a couple
Stalin: omg dont be gay gimmie nuculer secrets
T0J0: wtf is nukes?
T0J0: holy sh*tholysh*thoylshti!!!111
*T0J0 has been eliminated.*
*The Allied team has won the game!*
Eisenhower: awesome!
Churchill: gg noobs no re
T0J0: thats bullsh*t u fockin suck
*T0J0 has left the game.*
*Eisenhower has left the game.*
Stalin: next game im not going to be on ur team, u guys didnt help me for ****
Churchill: wutever, we didnt need ur help neway dumbarss
tru_m4n: l8r all
benny-tow: bye
Churchill: l8r
Stalin: fock u all
tru_m4n: shut up commie lol
*tru_m4n has left the game.*
benny-tow: lololol u commie
Churchill: ROFL
Churchill: bye commie
*Churchill has left the game.*
*benny-tow has left the game.*
Stalin: i hate u all fags
*Stalin has left the game.*
paTTon: lol no1 is left
paTTon: weeeee i got a jeep
*paTTon has been eliminated.*
paTTon: o sh1t!
*paTTon has left the game.*

Great stuff!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

DISCONNECTED by FCRabbath

I am excited to announce the upcoming release of FCRabs new short, DISCONNECTED. I am especially excited about it because i've just seen a 4 minute preview, and it looks amazing.

He gave me the opportunity to watch it on the basis that I write a review of the preview. Here is my review:

Well, I don't know where to start with this. I've loved all of your shorts that i've seen, and it's an honour to have seen a preview of DISCONNECTED.

I could tell from the very opening scenes that this would be amazing. The use of V.O gets the situation across quickly and efficiently, but doesn't detract from the story at all. I felt more like I was watching a trailer than an opening, primarily because of the lack of dialogue in the second half of the clip, and also because of the intense soundtrack accompanying the images.

I'm not sure whether the actual movie is going to be more character focussed perhaps, as the clip really doesn't give away any clues in that regard. To be honest, i'm not sure if i would prefer a focus on specific characters, as we get a broader sense of the looming disaster, by meeting a huge range of people as shown in the clip. For example, the contrast between the families, rushing to their cars with bags packed, compared to the mob with signs who beat down a police officer. I love that contrast, and it really gave us a sense of widespread chaos. Then again, if it was character focussed, i'm sure it would still be amazing, especially with your experience of character-focussed shorts.

How do you make your work look so professional? The photography, colouring and sound is perfect. It all combined to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

If somebody said to me that this was a trailer for a feature film, I would pay to see it tonight. It's a damn shame that you're not making money from this, but I really believe that's where you'll be one day.

Other things I liked about the clip:

The newsreader scenes. The deserted buildings, knocked over chairs. The smooth pans. The disregarded mobile phones.

I really don't know how you do it. I'll be getting the word out to all of my film-buff friends to keep an eye out for DISCONNECTED.

Here is the only negative thing for me: The exploding building. Understandably on your budget, you can't go around blowing up buildings. But the graphics, though very good, looked a bit cartoonish. Maybe you could try to enhance that, because I do think it adds to the development of the situation.

That's a very small negative though, compared to the pure awesomeness of the entire thing.

Thanks again for the opportunity to watch this.


Trust me, watch out for this film to drop either on youtube or Vimeo. It's going to be good!

Broken Identities

This week I've been working on ideas for a competition, the theme of which is Broken Identities. Although I have no expectations of winning, I'd still like to give it a fairly good crack. The theme interests me greatly anyway, so what's the harm?

Here are three ideas that I came up with:

A German girl, brought up in a loving family in the 50's, recalls a family trip back to France where her Mother grew up, to visit her dying Grandmother. While there, she discovers the truth about why they had never visited, and they are embarassed and publically dismissed from the town.

A teenage boy, disliked at school and neglected at home, falls in with a crowd of BNP followers; the only people to accept him for who he is, as long as he will embrace their racist beliefs. Then he finds out that his roots aren't exactly English. He worries about how his new and only friends will react, and must find a way out.

After a night of drunken birthday antics with her father, a teenage girl forces her father to reveal all about his past. She is shocked to find out that he is an ex-MI5 agent, forced to move away and live under a new identity, after being caught infiltrating a dangerous gang. She struggles to believe that her entire life isn't a lie.

I've started writing the first idea (1000 words in out of 2500), but don't really have detailed outlines for any of them. I've decided to just write and see what happens. I'm quite happy with it so far, and it's exciting to think spontaneously. I'm pretty sure the best writers write this way.

I am having real difficulty in deciding which story is the most appealing and offers the most opportunity in relation to the theme. I think i'll just write them all up and pick later.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Scriptwriting in the UK: London Screenwriters' Festival

Scriptwriting in the UK: London Screenwriters' Festival: "The big event for UK screenwriters this year is the London Screenwriters' Festival that's taking place at the end of October. If you're thin..."

Monday, 16 August 2010

1940's America - Great Set Of Photographs

Just go to this website. This is really an excellent set of colour photographs, showing lots of little unknown details from the period.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/07/26/captured-america-in-color-from-1939-1943/2363/?source=ARK_plog

I had to share. Enjoy!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Scribd and Me

Hello there! If you've been following my blog and reading my reviews for a while now, you're probably itching to actually read something creative of mine.

If you go to scribd.com and search for a screenplay called "A Will To Forget", that's mine. So yeah, go read it. If you want to tell me what you think then do so via the e-mail on the script. If you don't want to admit to reading it, or just can't be bothered to e-mail me, then that's okay too.

Enjoy. It will only be up for a limited time.

And it IS copyrighted, so no stealing.

Tagline:

A self-centred girl is forced into re-thinking her lifestyle and personality, as she is reminded of a past she had long forgotten.

Peace.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Accidents Happen 2009

I love it when a film just takes you by surprise. Sneaks up behind you in the shadows, reaches around, grabs you by the throat and lifts you high into the air, only to slam you down onto the brutal, unforgiving concrete.

This Andrew Lancaster/Brian Carbee movie is one of the most heart-wrenching movies I have seen for a long time. My eyes are still burning from watching it. The strangest part is, I bought it for no other reason than I liked the look of the sleeve. Call it my one random purchase of the month. I love films like this though. Films that tell a story of human emotion and loss, that we can all relate to, or will relate to sooner or later. I would take ten of these films over any Die Hard type film, any day of the week.

It's not a complicated story in any way. It's the story of two families and their losses through the years, linked by the friendships between their children. It's filmed beautifully, with great care and attention to composition and colouring, which pays off. I love the slow motion that occurs whenever an accident is happening.

All of the actors play their roles beautifully, and sucked me in very early on. I was especially impressed by Geena Davis. Her stand-out scene was near the end, where she finds closure with her vegetable son, Gene. She acts it better than i've seen anybody act before. The young actors don't let the elders down either, unlike many other films where they have to be trusted with major roles. This bunch put the ridiculous child actors in Eastenders to shame. Even the fat brother who I disliked in the beginning (Harry Cook, who plays Larry Conway), acted so well you just had to appreciate the authenticity he brought to his role.

Another great thing about this story and the acting, is that many times, it brought me tears and laughter combined. It does that so well. The best example is of the daughter of Bob at the funeral. The overall mood of the story at this point is sombre and low, but you have to laugh at her, hugging everybody within 10 feet who's ever been touched by disaster in their lives.

I did find the voice-over (narration) as a framing device to be a bit pointless, as the images were more than enough to convey anything we were told through V.O. However, that's just my opinion. As pointless as it seemed, it didn't irritate me, or hurt the story at all.

The twist at the end was kind of predictable, and I saw it coming as soon as the Police admitted finding no bowling ball at the crash scene. But again, the fact that it was predictable didn't ruin it at all, because the scene between Mrs. Smolensky and Billy is so well written that you just get lost in profound thought.

This film is a great combination of many things that combine in perfect harmony to make us laugh, cry, gasp and whince. Hollywood does produce a lot of crap these days, but when I see movies like this come from a studio like Fox, I like to think that there is hope yet.

Accidents Happen is a must-see. 9/10.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

In Bruges

Forgive me, I'm very, very late with this review. But I sat through most of this film either in fits of laughter, or simply with my mouth wide open in amazement.

The concept isn't complicated at all. It couldn't be simpler. It's the simplest, most obvious story option: take two characters, put them in a place they've never been, and see what happens. Simple enough.

It's the combination of Farrells' well timed comedic skill and a great mix of unexpected events that make this movie work. It feels so fresh and quirky. What's surprising is that Writer and Director Martin McDonagh is responsible for only one other film - Six Shooter - which I haven't yet had the fortune to see.

I was so wrapped up in the story that I just couldn't remind myself to pay any attention to other aspects. The film was a lot darker than I expected, and actually quite gruesome in places. It also had a very sad, solemn undertone, which is mentioned so briefly and quickly on only a few occasions that you could quite easily forget about it or miss it altogether.

All of the actors are at their best here, and I especially loved the American Midget; Easily one of my favourite performances from a midget. I've always enjoyed Colin Farrell and it's been a while since I watched him in anything; In Bruges reminded me why I have always liked him.

I'm off to hunt down the script now! See this movie if you haven't already!

8.5/10

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Exciting times...

Yesterday I went to Birkbeck with my girlfriend and picked up my photo ID and the course guide/reading list. Have about 20 books that I now need to pick up and read before term starts, which isn't too bad really. I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into it.

It feels like the year has dragged so much up to this point, and as the time to begin gradually gets closer, the excitement and anticipation is growing. I'm just ready for it!

Now it's READ, READ, READ for a few weeks.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Yes, I did get back from holiday...

Sorry, did I not say?

Well, I did get back alright. Greece was absolutely breathtaking. Despite the inevitable money troubles that have followed, I wouldn't change a second of it.

Not only that, I have just returned after TWO SIX hour coach journies, to and from Newcastle, where I got to see the beautiful Russian herself, performing. Obviously I'm talking about Regina Spektor. Despite the heavy rain on the day, and getting massively wet while finding the hotel, it was a great experience and well worth the trip. It was very sad though, as they ultimately dedicated the concert to their recently passed cellist, friend and band-mate Dan, who drowned in a swimming pool leaving behind a wife and daughter. Visit Regina's various fan-pages for ways you can help. There was a very real collective mourning in the concert hall as they left the stage last night, and I know I spared a thought or two for Dan and his family as I lay in bed in the dark. Still though, I have been listening to Regina since her first record when I was about 14, so I was just chuffed that I finally got to see her perform. If anything, the sombre atmosphere made me feel closer to her, and I definitely felt I could relate to what they were feeling. I was grateful that they would still perform under such testing circumstances, and share their grief with us.

The performance was still unbelievable though, which leads me on to something that's been rattling around my head for a while; inspiration, and where it comes from.

It dawned on me recently that my writing on various projects had bogged down, and I realised I was lacking motivation and inspiration. You find yourself making excuses not to write, or finding other things to do. I started digging around for magazines, searching the internet and re-reading favourite books, trying to find that inspirational source that would fuel my writing. It didn't come.

But as I watched Regina doing her thing on that stage, it came to me. I remembered why I love writing, and why I do it. It's the creating of something unique, that I know came from my head and my hands, that I want to share with other people and hopefully bring joy, or sadness, or whatever the piece demands, out of them. That's what Regina did to me last night, with her astonishing performance of many self-written fictitious songs. She took me through a range of emotions, and left me feeling inspired. I thought about how much love and effort she must put in to just one of her compositions; it's such a breath of fresh air to watch a real musician perform with her band. On my way home today, I had an endless pool of energy to draw from, and a fresh perspective on many ideas that I thought I had forgotten about. Inspiration can literally come from anywhere, it doesn't have to be relevant to what you're hoping to create. Next time you're stuck for ideas, or feeling like you just want to watch TV instead, think outside the box for inspiration.

Before going, I just want to say how much I appreciated Regina playing, along with her band, despite their loss. I know she won't ever read this, but I wanted to say it anyway. Not many would have done it, so I think they deserve recognition. Spare a thought for Dan and his family tonight.

Finally, check out her supporting artist, Nicole Atkins. What a voice!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Buh Bye

Well, the Great Gods of Greece have summoned me, and I am settling in the coastal town of Tolo tomorrow for a week! I haven't had a holiday in two years.

The hotel is right on the beach, and we're close enough to quite a few ancient sites to go exploring on foot or bikes. Corinth, Epidavros etc. We are so excited. In fact, I have to be up in three hours to go to the airport, but I can't sleep, so I'm sitting here writing this crappy message to anyone foolish enough to actually read it!

HA, I bet you thought this would be about films didn't you :]

Just for you then...This week I watched a couple of brilliant films. Well, one brilliant, and one was a bit meh (probably because i'm a bit older than its target audience).

The much raved-about 500 Days Of Summer, which I loved and can recommend. Not just because of the unique structure, but because the acting, score and cinematography are awesome! Plus, she is mad sexy.

Then last night I watched Ice Age 3, purely because it has dinosaurs in it, and I'm a closet fan of dino's. The story was botheringly predictable, but visually interesting and involving. The dinosaurs were predictably awesome!

Now, I have to catch a few zzz's before we leave. Peace and love fellow movie-watchers. Don't miss me too much.

Oh, before I go, check out FCRabs new short, Modern Gods. The fella knows how to make films.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Leaving Las Vegas

I've just had the pleasure of revisiting this film, thanks to ITV2.

When I first watched it as a kid, it was just a series of twisted images for the adolescent wank bank. After watching it tonight, I feel very differently about it.

You can look at this film in two different ways:

OKAY NICHOLAS CAGE, YOU'RE A DRUNK, WE GET IT!

or

A beautiful study of two massively flawed and psychotic characters, set against the backdrop of one of the most isolated and diverse cities in the world.

The script is beautifully written, and I can't recommend it enough.

I'm definitely an advocate of the latter point of view. There are many touching, emotive moments in this film. I love that they are both able to accept each other as they are (at least, to begin with). This is symbolised by the flask that Sera gives him when he moves into her house, and he tells her strait that he has no problems with her 'trade'. Their chemistry is so natural and visible on the screen. Even as a prostitute, she is endearing.

I'm glad I rewatched "Leaving Las Vegas". I knew I liked this film, but I wasn't quite sure why. Now, I remember.

8/10.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Some Interesting Links

Thanks to Cryptimus over at Triggerstreet for these links.

"Five Types Of Highly Unsuccesful Screenwriters"

http://twoadverbs.blogspot.com/2009/11/unsuccessful-screenwriters.html

I hope I don't turn out to be any of those!

"Three unrepresented writers you don't want to be"

http://twoadverbs.blogspot.com/2009/11/dont-let-this-happen-to-you.html

I found both articles to be informative and entertaining.

Here is a resource of screenplays, categorised into the elements of screenwriting that they represent:

http://www.gointothestory.com/2010/05/gits-recommended-scripts.html

Some great scripts available there, including "The Apartment" and "It's A Wonderful Life". Enjoy.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Addicted To Shorts

While on my search for a decent camera to begin film-making with, I've been watching literally hundreds of short films made by various people. They're so inspiring. Here are a few I highly recommend:

Facts About Projection is poignant and interesting:

http://vimeo.com/8972758

Flying is a short film documenting the flight of one special airplane:

http://vimeo.com/2104162

Galileo is beautiful, hard to describe any other way:

http://vimeo.com/8076404

The Cabbie is a look at what the amazing Canon 7D can do:

http://vimeo.com/8595246

I'm so ready to start filming my own stuff, written and storyboarded, I just don't have the moola! So frustrating! Leaning towards the Canon HV30 for the HD-MiniDV format and awesome lense adaptability. Only £300ish to save then.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Labour Of Love - The Struggle For Perfection

The last couple of weeks I've been quite busy, with my girlfriend staying over and celebrating her birthday. Then a couple of days ago, she went off to her Mum's house, and I had some quality time to actually progress with my new screenplay - or not.

It's never that simple. I opened Movie Magic, browsed to my screenplay's folder, and instead, opened my first screenplay, One Bag Full. Just out of nostalgic curiousity. That was it. I spent three hours tearing it apart. I just couldn't stop re-writing. You might think to yourself, that sounds horrible. But it wasn't. It was satisfying, and exhilerating. I felt so good for improving a screenplay that I'd considered finished. There's a certain feeling that runs through you, when you know you have improved a scene drastically. It's a good feeling. Finally, I managed to close the script and begin work on my most recent venture.

My new screenplay, which will remain untitled until it's finished, is a WW2 escape story, with a similar sort of tone to movies like The Cockleshell Heroes and The Great Escape. I realise the genre has been done to death, but I do think I'm approaching it with a fresh, and slightly unique, perspective.

So, after almost two weeks of zero writing time, I re-draft almost an entire screenplay, and bang out the first thirty pages of my new project. Good times. It's good to be motivated.

I've been dreaming up so many ideas lately too. Even in my dreams I'm coming up with ideas, good ideas, and actually remembering them as I wake, racing to write them down in a panicked moment of almost-forgetfulness. I think I have a large enough bank of ideas to write at least 10 good screenplays. Here's hoping.

Before I go, I have a short script that I want to produce. I have friends/actors willing to 'star' in the short, and I intend to direct it myself, but I have no equipment for production. All I need really is a camera and a microphone. A decent one. Some musicians would be cool too, for creation of an original score. If anybody is interested, and can maybe help, put me in touch with people or whatever (London area), or even if you have an idea for fund-raising so I can buy a camera of my own, please get in touch!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Everyman's War

I'm fresh off the sofa after watching this interesting movie. It's definitely not a terrible war movie. In fact, it could be used to illustrate my previous post on high budget versus low budget; I preferred it over many of last years massive movies. Everyman's War is an interesting look at the closing stages of World War Two, in particular the Battle Of The Bulge which took place in the Ardennes, seen from the eyes of one man, Don Smith. Don't be mislead. This is not the sort of war movie brimming with "ZOMG HEADSHOT", Call Of Duty style action. It's entirely more engaging, thanks to sufficient character development, decent back-story, and a foundationary love interest.

There were two moments that really stood out for me in this movie, and I'd love to know how accurate they really are. There is a take-your-breath away moment when Don is wounded, dragging himself through an open snow-covered field, and a German has his K98 trained on him. Then he sees that he's wounded and lets him go. An honourable moment of chivalry. Then, the whole subplot with a German POW who commits suicide, only for Don to discover the truth behind a letter written in German once he's returned to the States. It's poignant and upsetting.

Despite a mostly unknown team of actors, the acting is mostly believable, and arguably better than the recent First World War based Passchendaele. The actual battle scenes are not as impressive though, in my opinion.

The writing isn't terrible but it could have been better. I can't put it simpler than that. The action is well written, but some of the dialogue seems off, but that could just be the way certain actors delivered their lines. The cinematography is engaging and effective, rarely, if ever, disconnecting us from the movie. The music/score is used sparingly but to good effect.

There was a definite amateur feel to the movie, but it is worth a watch. It's certainly not as bad as many reviews would lead you to believe. Authenticity, always key to a decent war film, seems to have been kept pretty high, with use of seemingly realistic costumes and weapons. In particular, I was impressed with the look of the MkIV Panzer tanks employed by the Germans. The only thing that really annoyed me about the costuming in Everyman's War is that the uniforms were prefectly cleaned and pressed most of the time. It doesn't ruin the movie if you can ignore it, but it is disappointing. I doubt anyone could keep their uniforms looking that clean after months of battle. That's the only real letdown for me.

To sum up, if you like war movies this is worthy, even if there is only one real battle scene. They make good use of realistic sounding artillery and explosion effects throughout, to keep you involved. I can't see any real incentive for someone who isn't interested in War films to watch this. The story outside of the battle isn't deep enough. It's sufficient to make us care for the characters. Considering the budget of this movie is estimated at 720,000USD, it does what it does well. Not quite at the same level as Band Of Brothers, The Pacific or even Saving Private Ryan (do bear in mind that one episode of Band of Brothers cost 12million to produce), it is the story of a real veteran, and therefore worth a watch.

I give this movie a thumbs up.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Film Or Theatre?

I apologise for the gap between posts, I've been a bit busy this month. Today I'd like to talk about Film vs Theatre (as the title suggests).

Maybe this opinion is shared by no other person, but it seems to me that the majority of people these days, would rather see: a movie. That's understandable really. It really is. Cinemas generally offer a much more comfortable seat, a clear, unobstructed view, regardless of seat and less, if any, volume issues (quite the opposite). Those are the basic things we think about, aren't they?

Well, how about quality? The quality of what we are actually going to watch...

Movie budgets, assuming you're watching it in a cinema, are generally in the millions. Hundreds of millions. There are exceptions, such as the recent "Paranormal Activity". But they are truly the exception. Let's assume you were one of the millions who watched "Avatar" in 3D. The quality was indeed awesome, and the production costs were astranomical. Your seat ticket cost between £8 and £10. Fair enough.

Production costs for a play are much, much lower. Significantly lower. So why does it sometimes cost so much more? Well, it doesn't have to. And it can be so much more enjoyable than seeing a movie. You feel like you're part of the scenery almost. A fly on the wall. You feel so much more significant to the show. That's because you are. Those are people on the stage in front of you, and they're there just for you. They are there to entertain you. Movies are churned out for people to flock to en masse, digest, and forget about. Also, despite budgets deep in the millions, some movies are just utter crap.

So what's my point? Well, here is a direct example.

I recently went to see my girlfriends University production of "A Ghost Sonata". An adaptation of the play by August Strindberg. At first you might think that, because it's free to watch, and being put on by students, it won't be worth the journey. Then you're told that you won't be seated. It's a walk-round show. You literally walk into different scenes. Sigh. "So we have to actually stand on our feet", I hear you saying. Shut up. Don't be so lazy. I am happy to report that, putting aside all biases for my girlfriend, the show was awesome. What have I to gain by being biased anyway? The show's finished. It was simply one of the most spine-chilling fifteen minutes of my life. The play, and if you ever read it I'm sure you will agree, is actually quite drawn out and obtuse. Their adaptation was nothing short of professional. A live "horror" show, where the bastards scream in your ear and grab you in the dark. Terrifying. From the excellent costume work to the brilliantly crafted atmosphere, the show was astonishing. I think they had a budget of roughly £300, (did I just make that number up....probably), but you wouldn't know it.

I'd like to compare it directly to the recently re-imagined "A Nightmare On Elm Street". I'll save you a few lines of reading here and say it outright; save your money. Do not see this movie. Just...don't. The story was bland, disgraceful and offensive to my eyes. I actually felt like I was becoming dumber as I watched it. The effects were also bland and ineffective. Freddie is nowhere near as wretched as the original. Compare the visual wonder of movies like "Avatar" and "District 9" to this movie. How the hell did they make it so bad? With todays technology, there is simply no excuse for falling off in the visual department. Actually, bad is not the right word. Inneffective is perfect. It's not scary at all. It's repetitive. The same use of loud strings with a bang to try and scare the audience. The same use of mirrors as every other horror film since the 70's. Is it really so hard to be innovative in the Horror genre? I think not.

There was almost zero character development. Almost zero back-story. Why should we care about these characters that you're killing off, one by one? Just because they haven't slept for a few days? Get real. I felt robbed after paying to see this film. It scared the hell out of my girlfriend though, so maybe I'm just too critical. Or do I mean skeptical? She says I'm negative. Either way, I know crap when I see it.

It's a fact that going to the theatre can be more expensive and more time consuming than going to the cinema. But it doesn't matter, because the theatre is a unique experience everytime, and you're pretty much guaranteed a good performance, good story and strong characters, every time. If I had to choose between seeing a mediocre film for £10, or a great play for £20, even as a self confessed movie lover, I'd pick the play every time. Even between the choice of a great film or a great play, I'd probably pick the theatre show. Then again, maybe not.

But now you know, that if you're ever given the choice between "Nightmare On Elm Street 2010" and a University production of a mostly unknown horror play, you take a chance on the students, because they're acting their hearts out.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Picks Of The 80's

A lot of people look down at the 80's in regards to movies. But after spending a bit of time looking at the selection, I can't see why. There were some excellent films released. Here are my top 20 from the decade of cheese!

1. Once Upon A Time In America (1984, Sergio Leone).
2. Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan).
3. Full Metal Jacket (1988, Kubrick).
4. Scarface (1983, Brian De Palma).
5. Big (1988, Penny Marshall).
6. Empire Of The Sun (1987, Spielberg).
7. Stand By Me (1986, Rob Reiner).
8. Platoon (1986, Oliver Stone).
9. Ordinary People (1980, Robert Redford).
10. Hope And Glory (1987, John Boorman).
11. E.T. (1982, Spielberg).
12. Do The Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee).
13. Back To The Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis).
14. Terminator (1984, James Cameron).
15. Tootsie (1982, Sydney Pollack).
16. Beetle Juice (1988, Tim Burton).
17. Ferris Buellers' Day off (1986, John Hughes).
18. Rambo: First Blood (1982, Ted Kotcheff, David Morrell).
19. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987, Barry Levinson, Mitch Markowitz).
20. Labyrinth (1986, Jim Henson).

Runners up were aplenty. Honourable mention to "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", "See No Evil, Hear No Evil", "Top Gun", "Airplane", "Beverly Hills Cop" (who can forget that theme song) and "The Breakfast Club". How can anybody say this is not a good decade for movies!? Idiots. Watch these movies!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Stephen Ambrose - Massive Fraud?

As far as Historians go, Stephen E. Ambrose, who passed away in 2002, appeared to be the cream of the crop. He had an informative, yet evocative writing style. He was a personal favourite of mine, before Band Of Brothers was even a TV idea. Works such as Citizen Soldiers and The Wild Blue, brought the realities of World War Two in to perspective. Brought them off of the page, and to life. Had a personal feeling, that most other WW2 non-fiction lacks. It's difficult to describe exactly why they were some of my favourite books, when I was in my teens and still naive to many of the key battles of the War.

Now, the writer has been posthumously de-faced, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. I'm not even sure how much truth there really is to the story. About 80% of me believes these stories may have been fabricated. I mean, how can somebody lie about spending, literally, hundreds of hours with a President, and get away with it for so many years? Somebody...a bodyguard, accomplice, whatever, would have spoken up years ago, announcing Ambrose as a fraud. How convenient that this should come out, "accidentally", long after his death.

For anybody interested, here is an article and some BG info on Ambrose:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/25/stephen-ambrose-eisenhower-biography-scandal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Ambrose

I'm not about to cry conspiracy on this, but it just seems very unusual. Apparently, some passages in "The Wild Blue" were also plagiarised, but he claimed that he merely failed to name a source and to place the passages in quotations. Fair enough, I say. We're all human. We make mistakes. Even great writers make mistakes.

As well as questions over how much time he actually spent with the former President Eisenhower before his death, and how much material he fabricated, there's also questions concerning who made first contact between the two; Eisenhower claiming Ambrose, and Ambrose vice versa.

I haven't actually read any of S.Ambrose' works on Eisenhower, and I don't intend to in the immediate future. All I know is that his books were a great source of interest and education to me in a time when I needed it. They will continue to be, despite this mess. Stephen E. Ambrose was a man dedicated to the cause; savouring the words of a great generation for others to learn from them and admire them. I respect him for that. In fact, I may go and re-read Citizen Soldiers.

I do wonder how this will affect his son, Hugh Ambrose, project consultant on the new miniseries "The Pacific".

Friday, 16 April 2010

Images Imprinted On The Mind

The true test of a film is how long it stays with somebody after they've digested it. If a movie manages to succeed in this, there is usually a particular image, or series of images, that the person will always remember from the movie. A defining image, that encapsulates what that person was feeling as they experienced the film. That is what makes movies so special, exceptional even. When we read a novel, we experience the story in mainly thoughts and feelings, and they shape the images and sounds that our minds must slave to create. It's always like playing the lottery when you read a book, because you don't know if you will experience it how the author intended. But when you watch a movie, somebody has spent many hours, maybe days, on creating scenes, creating images and sounds in a certain way, perfecting them, so that they will affect us emotionally and stay with us. Today I want to share a few of the movies, and the key scene within those movies, that have left the deepest imprint on my mind.

Stand By Me

This is one of my all time, favourite movies. The cast is perfect, the story is faultless and the pacing is excellent. There are many memorable scenes, such as dodging the train, sitting in the treehouse or finally discovering the dead body, only to be foiled by the older gang. However, for me, this film is encapsulated by one scene. The movie has climaxed, and they have travelled back to the town in which they live. They've said their goodbyes, and somehow, we know that their friendship will never be the same again. They've changed, beyond repair. It's a point in life that all young boys experience, the passing of a friendship. It can be compared to the parting of friends leaving the military. They've been through everything together, the good, the bad and the sad. They've drank together, sung together, and experienced war together. Then there's the realisation that it is ending, and that it was only ever to be for a limited time. Friendship in the Military is friendship in childhood. A phase of life that must pass. I'm left with the image of Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix, saying their goodbyes among the trees and weeds, below the old treehouse.

Memphis Belle

This is one of the films that I blame for my infatuation with World War 2, in particular the aviation aspects. The great battles fought in the air. Thanks to this movie, written by Monte Merrick, I have been visiting airshows irregularly since I was little, to see the star of the show, B17 "Sally B", take to the skies. At my first airshow, when I was around eight, I had to drag my family closer to the B17 Flying Fortress so that I could see past the nuisance of a crowd blocking my view. The sheer size of the plane struck me at that age. Many have slammed the movie for not being accurate to the real crew of the "Memphis Belle", and their actual war experiences. But I believe that movies based on War Stories have no obligation to be 100% accurate, because they are key to hooking people and getting their attention. Then, those that are genuinely interested enough will go and fish for information themselves. It's not like real stories are hard to come by, with veteran pages and documentaries readily accessible all over the internet, twenty four hours a day. There are other historical innaccuracies that I feel can be ignored, thanks to the era-driven dialogue, excellent footage in the air, and of course, the award winning soundtrack. Again, it's difficult to pick a defining scene from Memphis Belle. There's no feeling comparable to the moment the landing gear locks in place and the tires let out a screech of relief, and we feel so happy for them to be alive. However, something that has stayed with me for my entire life, is the scene as Danny stands, embarassed and belittled under the sun of Spring, and reads out the edited excerpt from W.B.Yeats' famous "An Irish Airmen Foresees His Death". The scene where it is later recalled as a dream of Danny's as he rests close to death, is just as powerful. The words are just so relative to the events, and this scene never fails to touch me.

My Girl

Everybody has seen this movie. It's one of the defining coming-of-age films. It's not the kiss scene, or the poem scene. The most powerful scene from this movie is Thomas J's funeral. The music stirs and we feel Vada's pain as we watch her on the stairs, viewing the ceremony as an outsider. She slowly makes her way to the casket, and breaks down in tears, finally telling everybody "he can't see without his glasses", something only the closest of friends would think of at that moment in life. It truly is a sad moment, that we can or will, all relate to.

I won't go on any further, you all get the point. I challenge you to spend some time, thinking about your favourite movies, and the scene or scenes, that define them for you. Maybe rewatch them. The truly great scenes don't lose their effect, no matter how many times you've seen them.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Picks Of The 70's

I've been thinking about this list for a while. It's a tough one. Many consider the 70's to be the best year for Cinema, although I accuse them of being overly nostalgic. I'm not saying the 70's didn't produce a lot of great movies, just that there have been much better movies in other decades.

So, here are my top 20 movies of the 70's!

1. The Getaway (1972, Sam Peckinpah, Steve Mcqueen).
2. Taxi Driver (1976, Scorsese, De Niro).
3. Deer Hunter (1978, Cimino, Walken, De Niro).
4. Apocalypse Now (1979, Coppola, Martin Sheen, Brando).
5. Jaws (1975, Spielberg).
6. Badlands (1973, Terrence Mallick).
7. Kramer Vs Kramer (1979, Robert Benton).
8. The Godfather Pt II (1974, Coppola).
9. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975, Milos Forman, Jack Nicholson).
10. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Kubrick).
11. Rocky (1976, Avildsen, Stallone).
12. The Warriors (1979, Walter Hill).
13. Grease (1978, Randal Kleiser).
14. New York New York (1977, Scorsese).
15. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971, Mel Stuart).
16. Mean Streets (1973, Scorsese).
17. Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971, Robert Stevenson).
18. Catch-22 (1970, Mike Nichols).
19. Papillon (1973, Franklin J. Schaffner, Mcqueen).
20. Pete's Dragon (1977, Don Chaffey, Helen Reddy).

Pretty awesome list I have to say. Maybe I was talking out of my harris in the introduction. Watch these movies.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Recently Watched and Recommended

Over the last week, i've seen quite a few pretty impressive movies that I had never seen before, and I think it's only fair to share them here with my loyal readers. I'll even give a few reasons for each, why you should take the time to buy/rent/steal them and watch them. How great am I!?

The Hurt Locker - An interesting look at a bomb disposal unit in Iraq, and the daily terrors they amust endure. A semi-character study of the energetic, sometimes erratic leading man, his methods, and how he deals with things outside of normal procedure. I won't say too much as it's a huge movie that you can read about in any of the regular places, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and can say it had a well structured mix of tension, sadness and excitement. I will say you should watch it on Blu-Ray if you have the option, as it's stunning. What it lacks in actual story, it makes up for in detailed, glorious intensity.

District 9 - I never really had much interest in this movie until I saw a clip of it during the BAFTA awards. The first sight of the aliens grabbed me, and i knew i had to see it. Finally got to watch it on Blu-Ray last week, and was not disappointed. I hadn't really heard much about it or the screenplay as i'm not one to seek out science-fiction movies, so i was pleasently surprised with the documentary format to start with, which really draws the viewer in to the story, and also gives us a chance to become close to the primary character, who we later feel deep sympathy for as his predicament deepens. The CGI is amazing, never disappointing, and it's nice that the movie is set in South Africa rather than a predictable LA or NY. Go watch this film if you want to be enthralled for 2 hours.

Life With Judy Garland: Me And My Shadows - This is the story of the wonderfully impressive Judy Garland. Her rise and fall and rise and fall. It's the story of constant ups and downs for the late singer, and anybody who has even minimal interest in Judy Garland should watch this. It won't tell you everything there is to know about Judy and her time, but Judy Davis does an excellent job of portraying the late singer and bringing her energetic passion to the screen. It also gives an interesting insight in to her family life and her addiction to pills. It's a sad story of exploitation and cruelty that we all know the end to, but it deserves to be seen by anyone with even a passing interest in that period of music history.

The Pianist - This true-life movie begins in Poland in 1938 and stretches all the way through to 1945; the end of the Second World War. We experience the war of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a talented Jewish-Polish pianist who eventually, after the capture of Poland, watches his family get taken away to certain death, while he is left to struggle and starve through every day on minimal rations and a constant threat from Nazi thugs, until the Russians liberate Poland once again. This film made me feel lucky to live in such comfortable, safe times. The music is beautiful and fits perfectly. What stood out for me was Adrien Brody's pure and faultless dedication to the part. It's admirable. It's also refreshing to view the Holocaust from a slightly fresh, albeit narrowed perspective. Rather than see the death and decay in concentration camps(portrayed perfectly in Schindlers List and other films), we experience the almost-fatal twists and turns of one mans war as he's trying to survive within a ruined, decaying city. My heart nearly exploded from my chest at the films end, and I won't say any more than that. Watch this film.

The Blind Side - I'm not a Sandra Bullock fan, but i'd heard she was good in this film. Then my girlfriend watched it and recommended it so i gave the movie a chance. It's the true-life sentimental story of one boy, down on his luck, at the bottom of the barrel, being given more than a helping hand by a strange family and eventually being drafted in to the NFL after a struggle through High School. It's one of those films that almost restores your faith in humanity. Some moments are really heart wrenching and sad to watch, other moments make you laugh and sigh in relief, and it's my favourite Sandra Bullock movie since Speed. The rest of the cast ain't too shabby either, although i found the son, S.J., to be way over the top sometimes, but i suppose that gives the film extra comedy points. It's not my favourite movie in this bunch, but it's worth the ticket price. As you all know i'm a fan of unique credit sequences, and at the end of this film we get to see some pictures of the real family that the movie is based on. I thought that was a particularly nice touch.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Review of "Tony", (Gerald Johnson, 2009).

I think this film can be viewed in various ways, depending on the viewers state of mind as they go into it. It can be seen as a sad look at a pathetic failure's downward spiral in to a situation that i think everybody secretly dreads, even if they don't know it. Or it can be seen as a comical, sadistic character study - a close look at the life of a serial killer. Or it can be seen as an interesting look at an East End concrete jungle, and the colourful characters that combine to make it what it is, although it can be argued that there's not enough of a spectrum represented for this to be 100% accurate.

I watched it without expectation though. Somebody at work told me that they didn't think it was very good, but i bought it anyway and stuck it on at 2am with an open mind.

"Tony" is the story of a serial killer who isn't exactly a terrible person, but someone who has been on the dole for twenty years, never really had any friends, and has zero communication or social skills. People openly mock him and make him feel like a mug, (which he is). We don't really know if he is genuinely a kind person, or if that's just a ploy to lure victims into his home. I like to believe he's genuinely kind, as we see he invited the downstairs neighbour in for a drink, and she manages to leave. She's nice to him, so he doesn't kill her. He likes her.

The story isn't exactly high concept, but the lead actor, Peter Ferdinando, is fascinating to watch, and masters the role, making it a very interesting 72 minutes of film. Many of the other characters were a bit too obvious east end stereotype, and reminded me of a Lee Mack bit that i once saw, "So cockney it hurts".

I wasn't at all dissapointed with "Tony", in fact I found myself wishing it was a bit longer. Luckily the DVD included two short movies from the director, to keep me watching for a while longer. So i recommend this little gem to everybody. There were some gruesome moments (foot in the sink, cutting meat in the sink), if you're squeamish i recommend you don't watch this alone. It's a shame this film wasn't recieved more positively, it doesn't seem to have gotten the recognition i feel it deserved. I personally, hope to see more from Gerald Johnson in the future.

Story - 4/5
Characters - 4/5
Dialogue - 3/5
Duration - 3/5
Extras - 5/5
Overall - 4/5

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Picks Of The 60's

I may as well warn everybody now, the 60's was one of the best decades for war films, and my picks are probably going to represent that. So, if you're not a fan of the war genre, or war in general, then you're probably going to think my picks suck balls. I'm sorry if you're one of those people, because some of the best films ever created are films depicting war, and you are simply missing out. I'm a massive war fan though. It all started from a very young age, as it does with many people, with a primary school friend. Visiting his house, i became infected with the aviation bug. He introduced me to "Memphis Belle" and plastic model kits (they hung from his bedroom wall as though in combat), and that was it. I went to my first airshow when i was around 6, and i've continued to visit them when possible ever since. I could answer 9/10 questions in depth on the major air battles of the Second World War, and most questions on the ground battles from both the ETO and PTO. And yet, even after all these years, i'm still learning. A short story i'm currently working on is based on and around an Essex airfield during WW2. Anyway, i'm well off topic now. People who don't have much knowledge on WW2, shame on you. You couldn't go far wrong by watching many of the films i'm going to list, or by reading one of Stephen E. Ambrose's books.

The list itself was actually quite difficult to compile, as the 60's were just a very good year for movies. Some films deserve to be on the list, but didn't make it because of my love for war movies. Anyway, on with the show. Here are my favourite movies from the swinging 60's, in no particular order.

1. The Battle Of Britain (1969, Guy Hamilton).
2. Oliver (1968, Carol Reed).
3. The Longest day (1962, Ken Annakin, Andrew Marton, Bernhard Wicki).
4. The Great Escape (1963, John Sturges).
5. The Guns Of Navarone (1961 J. Lee Thompson).
6. Bullitt (1968, Peter Yates).
7. Bonnie And Clyde (1967, Arthur Penn).
8. Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961, Blake Edwards).
9. The War lover (1962, Phillip Leacock).
10. Cool Hand Luke (1967, Stuart Rosenburg, Screenplay Don Pierce and Frank Pearson).
11. The Jungle Book (1967, Wolfgang Reitherman).
12. Mary Poppins (1964, Robert Stevenson, Screenokay Bill Walsh).
13. Sink The Bismarck (1960, Lewis Gilbert).
14. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, Norman Jewison).
15. Wait Until Dark (1967, Terrence Young).
16. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968, Ken Hughes).
17. Where Eagles Dare (1968, Brian Hutton).
18. Vixen (1968, Russ Meyer).
19. Psycho (1960, Hitchcock).
20. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Kubrick).

I feel like i should have put The Apartment in the list, but instead i'm going to give it an honourable mention. My absolute top favourites from this list are Bullitt, The Thomas Crown Affair and The Great Escape (do you see a pattern here?). I also recommend Wait Until Dark very highly, i only saw it recently and wasn't sure what to expect, but it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and it works very well on the screen. Go and watch these movies!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Picks Of The 50's

Here is the first in a series of lists i felt the need to compile, the best movies of each decade. I'm going to completely skip the 30's and 40's as i really havn't seen enough from those decades, so here is my list, the picks of the 50's. It's quite difficult for films to make the lists, as i'm only going to allow 20 movies from each decade.

1. Vertigo (1958, Hitchcock).
2. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Nicolas Ray).
3. Singin' in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen).
4. Roman Holiday (1953, William Wyler).
5. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, David Lean).
6. All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz).
7. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951, Elia Kazan).
8. Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder).
9. An American in Paris (1951, Vincente Minnelli).
10. North by Northwest (1959, Hitchcock).
11. Rear Window (1954, Hitchcock).
12. An Affair To Remember (1957, Leo McCarey).
13. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958, Richard Brooks).
14. The Dam Busters (1955, Michael Anderson).
15. The Seven Year Itch (1955, Billy Wilder).
16. The Fly (1958, Kurt Neumann, James Clavell).
17. The Seven Samurai (1954, Akira, Kurosawa).
18. Ben-Hur (1959, William Wyler).
19. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa).
20. Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder).

That's in no particular order, though if you were going to start watching them, i'd start with Singin' In The Rain, Seven Year Itch or Rear Window. If you don't like those, you probably won't like the rest.

On The Page

I've been listening to a podcast, hosted by screenplay concultant Pilar Allisandra, for the last few months now and it's called On The Page. I recommend this podcast to anybody interested in screenwriting and perhaps movies in general. She hosts the show with special guests, sometimes including published/produced writers and her own husband. The podcasts are always cheerful and funny, but most of all, informative. It's embarassing when i'm listening to the podcasts on my journey to work and they often make me laugh out loud, and everybody on the bus or train is looking at me like i'm crazy. Who is this dick laughing to himself?

Anyway, recommended, go listen to it.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The University Interview

Finally, today was the day of my interview with Birkbeck in Bloomsbury. My girlfriend met me there and we made a day of it. We met at 1pm but my interview wasn't until 2.40pm. First things first, Russell Sq. is a really nice place to chill out, especially with nice weather like today. There's a fountain in the middle and a good amount of tree coverage, creating a nice place to sit and talk or watch people - whatever tickles your fancy. Also the British Museum is right by the University, so we popped in there and enjoyed some ancient artefacts. It got quite tedious in the museum after a while though so we left,and then it was time for my interview.

The two men that interviewed me are both published writers (playwrights, novels, radio plays etc) and both lecturers on the BA in creative writing. I felt like we clicked strait away which released some of the weight on my shoulders, as one of them is a personal friend of one of my favourite authors. They asked me many questions, like why i want to go in to creative writing, what i want to do when i finish, my favourite films and screenwriters, and my favourite books. They also asked if i'm interested in trying a variety of different genres and styles of writing. Of course i answered yes. I'd really love to write a Sci-Fi of my own. Overall, i think the interview was went very well. It was quite a relaxed atmosphere, so it almost felt like talking to two potential friends rather than two potential lecturers.

After all of the work to complete my screenplay and make it presentable, they didn't want to see it, in order to remain fair to the other interviewees. I didn't even think of that. I honestly wasn't trying to corrupt their opinions in my favour. The only way i feel dissappointed with the interview is that i feel i could have spoken more about my interests and the direction i hope to take. The opportunity was there, and i talked a little bit, but then we moved on. But hopefully i said enough to make them see i am a writer full of potential.I won't be hearing from them now until June, so it's just sitting tight and hoping until then.

Next i'll be reviewing "Apocalypse Now Redux", probably within the next couple of days. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and thanks to everyone who sent me good luck messages.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

It's a great feeling...

When you finish that first draft. Which is what i did last night. Finally completed it. Just under two months from conception to completion. The feeling is even better since it's my first draft of my first screenplay, ever. Eighty nine pages total. Errr, slight relief. I have been waiting for this sinking feeling that i've been warned of, when you realise you have actually written the worst script ever created in this galaxy, but that feeling hasn't come for me. I'm not saying that my first is better than anybody elses, just that i'm genuinely content with my content.

I've already begun the second draft, and so far i've rewritten most of the first act. I'm hoping to get the entire script re-drafted by Tuesday night for my Wednesday interview. Act three will need the most work i reckon, as i literally wrote the entire act in two nights fuelled by chicken nuggets and Doritos. That's how it's done.

I spent about an hour trying to decide on a title and it depressed me, so i left that. Now to create a logline and a synopsis. Can't be that hard.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Shocked And Embarrassed

Some of you might have read my post the other day, revealing my concerns over the creative writing group that i was thinking about attending. I said i wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Well, i was right to be worried. What happened, i could never have expected. I strolled into the library five minutes late, carrying my bag complete with script-in-progress and creative piece, and stood at the reception. "Hello, name's Daniel, i'm here for the creative writing group". Cool. The receptionist gave nothing away, not even a slight hesitation to inform me of what was about to come. "Ah ok", she says, "right this way, they're in a room in the back". Kushty, i thought, as i followed her through the library to the meeting room.

Oh shit. I should have seen this coming. A writing group at 10.30 on a wednesday morning. She opened the door, and i found myself confronted with a rather awkward situation, and one that i'd never like to enter unexpectedly again. A room full of women, conversation in full swing, including child pictures out of purses (ok that last bit was added on, there were no pictures). Not one male. Fourteen of them to be precise. Twelve of the lovely ladies were over sixty, and the other two were in their late twenties or early thirties. Now, don't get me wrong here. I didn't resent the situation. In fact, i'd say i was in my element. Old women love me (not like that). Every woman over forty i've ever met has told me i'm handsome like Clark Gable.

It was the initial shock of the situation, and their faces as i entered the room. "Ooops, are men allowed in?" i rapped, "Yes, of course, grab a chair" was the resounding answer. I could have turned around and left, or made some excuse to leave, but for some reason i stayed, and endured. They were all pleasent enough, and fortunately i sat next to two quite chatty specimens, and the whole event turned out to be quite productive. The thirty something whos name i've forgotten is actually a film studies teacher at a local secondary school and she's offered to read my finished screenplay. Result. It seems she's a fellow film enthusiast, but i'll have to wait until next time to find out more. The next meeting isn't until the 21st of April. Most of the women were only looking for a creative outlet for personal satisfaction or to waste some time.

The session consisted of three activities. Firstly, the lady who organised the whole session had made up a set of questions and handed them around the room. We had a free but organised conversation about each question. The questions were things like "What do you write?", "Where do you write?" and "What have you written?". After getting to know each other a bit, we moved on to activity two. Word association on paper. We chose a central word which could be a flower or vegetable, and then we had to branch off in six directions and list words that we linked to our central word. For those interested, my word was rose. Then, we had to create sentences using the words we had written down. One of mine was highlighted as one of the best, in all of its simplicity. It was "The sunflowers brought happiness to the insects of the garden". I tickled myself with "People were crying and cuddling as the plane fell from the sky". I can't remember anybody elses sentences but some were pretty good.

Our final activity was on character development. This is more like it. We had several categories, including hobbies, clothes, friends, habits and moods, which we had to pick up to five different things for. For example, Friends - Mr Ted, The Animals, No young people etc. It was quite fun and interesting. I created a completely wacky, eccentric man who owns an allotment. He shouts at everybody, and only likes celery. Before the next meeting, we have to write about a day in the life of our character. No idea how long it's supposed to be, but i'll probably write about a thousand words. Should be adequate. I plan on killing him before he harms a stick of celery.

You're probably surprised that i'm going back. I know i am, but why not?! It's something to do, it's productive, and they were all nice enough. Honestly though, i don't know what i was expecting from a wednesday morning writing group. It must have motivated me quite a bit though. I came home and added 30 pages to my script and re-drafted Act one.

Now i'm looking forward to my interview with Birkbeck next Wednesday! Getting nervous about it a little bit. I need to come up with some questions i can ask them, otherwise they'll think i'm retarded and uninterested. Any suggestions, let me know.

Thanks for reading about my exploits!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Alive Or Dead

I was buried alive. Hardly able to breathe and not knowing where i was, i panicked and smashed my head on the roof of my temporary accommodation. I could hear my heart pounding in my head. I'd been taking oxygen for granted, and now it had me by the balls. It laughed at me menacingly from afar, knowing i was helpless. I just had to be conservative, which was very difficult, having woke up in a dark, restricted place with no idea how I'd got there. I wasn't even entirely sure why i was there, in the body shaped container under the ground. Nothing was clear. The structure creaked and moaned under the pressure of the earth. Panic took over and i started kicking and shouting, screaming, using my final breaths to try for any chance of help. I was distraught, about to die. Finally, i gave up. What's the point in resisting the inevitable. So i froze still and stared into the darkness in front of me with enormous courage. Whatever i was due, i was ready to take head on.

Then i began to think. My breathing relaxed, and my heart rate dropped significantly. A sharp, stabbing pain intruded my head, accompanied by flashing images of absolutely nothing. That continued for what felt like an hour, and then the images started to feel like memories. Clothes on the floor, messed up sheets, used condoms on a bedside table. A beautiful, beautiful woman straddling me, going for gold. Then a gunshot, and blood. A lot of blood. My wife screaming at me in the hotel room, hitting me, threatening me with a gun. She must be why i was in a container somewhere. Why didn't i run out of air? I'd been conscious for at least five minutes, and yet the air supply was still adequate to keep me going. I remembered my wife grabbing me by the testicles and dragging me naked into the rain. It was raining so heavily. My testicles hurt, a lot. I thought she was going to shoot them off. Then i panicked and grabbed where my testicles should have been. Still there, fuck, what a relief. Laying in my early grave, i couldn't help feeling that the punishment didn't fit the crime.

After all, my wife was guilty of the same sin a year predating my own betrayal. We'd gone out one night for her friends birthday. Just some club in town and a few drinks. She'd met him after we had a brutal fight in the street, about why it had taken me so long to marry her, of all things. Why did it matter when ultimately the knot had been tied. It was irrelevant why we hadn't been married earlier. So I stomped off in a rage and grabbed a taxi home. Unfortunately, this one opportunity was enough for her to slip off with him. She gave in to his charms at a bus stop, and fucked him that night. Apparently he was bigger than me. She knew how to make a man feel good. Now there I was in the ground about to die, and all I could think about was my inadequate penis. I wonder how much bigger he was. If he was so good why didn't she just leave me for him, and spare me that painful, inevitable, unavoidable situation.

How could i get out of there? There must have been a way. I remembered her driving in the rain, not telling me where we were going. She became very quiet and subdued. It scared me to see her holding in her anger and pain. Then she turned to me, laughed, and smashed the side of my head with the same weapon that murdered my lover. That must be how she got me there. I didn't feel a thing. I wonder if she planned all of it, or if she followed us, or if she finally just snapped. At least i had my revenge. I got to give her the same pain she'd given me. It was the least i could do. But what good is revenge if you don't live long enough to enjoy the blossoming beauty of it? No good. Now I'm sitting in a park, on a bench, with my legs outstretched and my arms spread across the length of the backrest. The sun is caressing my face, warming my heart, and assuring me everything will be alright. My head still hurts, but it's bearable now that i have my fresh air. I'll never take it for granted again. I'm watching some kids play basketball. Another boy is walking his dog. It's amazing how beautiful everything looks. Every blade of grass is vibrant and energetic. Every tree is looking to the sky and stretching to reach its neighbour. I don't know how i got here. I don't even know if I'm alive or dead.

Alive Or Dead © 2010, Daniel Jama.

Monday, 8 March 2010

What the hell does a creative writing group do?

So there i was, minding my own business, reading the newspaper, when i see that there's a local creative writing group. The advert informs me that it's newly formed and the number to ring if i'm interested. Well, it's free, so i am definitely interested. However, i don't want to turn up at the library at 10.30am and have to spend the next two hours with a couple of old blokes and their dogs, who have nothing interesting to say or write. I'm essentially flying blind. In fact, come to think of it, i'm not even sure what a creative writing group is for. It would be an experience just to find that out alone. Maybe it's to bounce ideas off each other, which in my opinion, is only damaging the natural creative process of the author. There's a name for this: callaboration. And if i wanted to collaberate i'd do it with a friend.

So, now i have an internal conflict blooming. Do i give in to the curiousity and go? Curiousity killed the cat, apparently. So maybe i should just stay home and work by myself on something of my own? No, this won't do either. The group meeting is on my day off work, so i might as well occupy myself productively. I hope you can see my problem here. Maybe i'll turn up early for the meeting but stand outside, across the road, watching the aliens going in to the meeting place. That way i'd get a better idea of the sort of creatures i'm dealing with. Actually, that's no good, because i could miss out on a lay in. So I'll ring the contact tomorrow and be up front about it. How many are going? What age range? What's the whole point of the group anyway? Are you a sexual predator, out to rape me and sell my material?

What a dilemma. If i havn't returned by midnight on Wednesday the ninth, call the police, and tell them i risked my life by attending a creative writing group.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland - Is that it?

When i was little, i was never really a massive fan of Alice In Wonderland, not like other people that i knew were. It just never really grabbed me like certain other Disney classics: Robin Hoon, Dumbo, Pinnocchio. So i'm glad i went into the theatre on the opening night of the new Tim Burton creation, without watching the original "Alice" beforehand. In fact, i was probably about eight when i last saw it. This meant that i didn't go into the movie with any premonitions of what it should be or how it should look, or even how the story should unravel. However, i did go in with high expectations (thanks to pre-hype and previous Burton + Depp experiences), which sadly, were not met. I've spent almost twenty four hours trying to figure out why, and i just can't put my finger on it.

Let me get this out of the way now. Visually, it's a masterpiece. Anybody who doubts that can shut the hell up. The 3D experience only helped to enhance the visual utopia. I just love everything, from the fat boys, to the talking flowers, to the Red Queens' Army of Cards. My personal favourite was the Cat, absolutely adorable and enchanting. The acting and voice acting was also excellent from the majority of the cast. I felt Alice could have been cast better. I don't really rate Mia Wasikowska after seeing her performance in this. It was actually quite stale and hard to believe, and probably actually contributed to the general feeling of dissapointment once the credits began to role. She never really seemed to react to anything as you would expect somebody to, or as you would yourself, which was odd. Fair enough she thought it was a dream until half way through, but i'd still be pretty chuffed about stumbling on a place like this, and being told i had to slay a gigantic Jabberwocky. She just plods along, not reacting to anything as she should be. The dialogue was like a British summer, some good and some bad, constantly up and down, none of it notable enough for me to remember and quote here. The story was undoubtably lacking something, although there were no obvious flaws or plot holes. The music, although well composed, was too bland and generic to really impress me. Tim Burtons' direction was faultless as always, utilising the best angles and applying just the right amount of light to get the full effect from a scene.

A friend pointed out to me, and i wholeheartedly agree with this, the film did seem to focus on Mr Depp aka "The Mad Hatter" a little bit too much, but who am i to question this!? It is their creation after all. It's not like his character was disappointing and shouldn't have allotted so much screen time, because he was awesome. You just expect it to be more about Alice. Maybe they were trying to distract us from her mediocre acting. The film had funny moments, although not really laugh out loud funny, more like a little chuckle and smile moment. It also had dramatic, heart racing moments, where you're genuinely scared for Alice and friends. I'm going to be a bastard here and say the credits were disappointing. The Credits are a unique opportunity for some fun outtakes or removed/extra scenes, or even just for some fancy effects to be shown off, but they were dull and dreary, with no visual sweetness to keep the audience involved once the movie finished.

I could sit here and speculate for hours about what may or may not have left me feeling dissapointed with this film, but as i honestly pointed out, i really can't put my finger on it. Maybe it was inevitable as a result of my dissinterest when i was younger. Therefore, this review was probably pointless and useless. I don't want to give the impression that i hated the movie. It was definitely worth the ticket price. It's just that the story was too obvious/linear/predictable (there's never any real surprises), the music was bland and the dialogue was adequate. The ending was predictable, corny, and seemingly rushed. I've decided that if the movie was made by someone other than Tim Burton it would be amazing, but my expectations were way too high. Go and see the film, i recommend it, that's all i can say. Just don't expect your expectations to be filled or exceeded. It's no "Nightmare Before Christmas". That way, if it does blow you away, it will feel even better.

Overall, i'd give this movie 3.5/5.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Bonnie And Clyde - 1967, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway

Now i'm sure most people, especially movie lovers, have seen this movie. But for some reason, i've never gotten round to watching it. Until today. I'd been planning to watch it for a long time and luckily my girlfriend had a copy, so i snapped it up and finally watched it tonight. Where do i begin? I always try to watch a movie from an unbiased perspective, not taking into account what i've been told or what i might of read about it. But for some reason, as i pressed play, my expectations were undoubtedly high. The synopsis on the DVD cover didn't help matters, tauting the film as "no ordinary gangster movie". I was rubbing my hands together in anticipation, as Bonnie and Clyde executed their first job, five minutes after meeting. Believable? Maybe it's not supposed to be, but in the context that it takes place, we sympathise for these two characters caught in the grip of the great depression. They're so cool i can't help liking them from the very beginning. It's adorable how they drink coke and he teaches her to shoot at a tyre. I digress.

The story held no surprises, but the action was frequent enough to keep me entertained. Faye Dunaway is stunning and Warren Beatty is charming. Both are in their prime, using all of their acting prowess to build this complex relationship up on the screen. We naturally favour them, despite them being the bad guys. This is down to their kindly disposition to "normal folks", such as shooting the bank sign and clarifying whether money belongs to the bank or the customer. They're good people it seems. But the media blows all of their movements out of proportions, making them appear worse than they really are. But hold on a minute. The gang have killed many police officers, and robbed more banks and stores than you can count on your hands. It says alot about Arthur Penn that we watch these two animals commit so much crime, and yet we still care about what happens to them. Let's not forget the other characters either, Moss and Buck are both so dumb you have to love them. Blanche, annoying as she is, is just along for the ride, so we can forgive her piercing shrieks.

Not much can be said about the music in the film. It doesn't seem like much, but it matches the theme and the setting perfectly. The hillbilly soundtrack is used sparingly so that it doesn't become too annoying, and it's comical at times, watching them speed off in a stolen car to this distinctly southern music.

I felt truly sad when the two criminals came to the end of their road. Especially heartbreaking was seeing Moss' relief from the hardware store window as they drove away. He thought they were safe, and that they'd made it out alive. As soon as we see Moss' father acting shifty on the roadside, we know what's about to happen, but poor B&C don't have the foggiest. Their death is brutal, with no opportunity for redemption. Not completely deserved, i felt. As their murderers stand over the dead bodies, they almost look sad that their prey is no more. They seem to mourn the passing of old friends, and so it seems that the audience has a connection with the murderers, as we too, feel the loss of our two bandits. I was only happy that B&C found the right time to consummate their relationship before they "bought it", thanks to Bonnies wonderfully crafted poem, which seems to finally set Clyde at ease with his complex towards sex.

Overall, i'd give the movie 8/10. It was enjoyable, a good length, and full of action. The characters were all wonderful (i especially enjoyed Gene Wilders small part) and the script and direction have stood the test of time. Go and watch this movie if you havn't already!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Great short movies.

Well, today i've watched a series of short films by a youtuber called F.C.Rabbath. So i thought i'd give them some publicity and talk about the shorts i watched.

Lost In Your Eyes

This short intrigued me. The concept and story are enough to keep the viewer interested, but the colour, cinematography and acting really hook you. There's a great twist at the end that was unexpected, to me at least. I felt like i was really able to connect with the protagonist, because i'd been in similar situations myself. The sense of going from reality to dream was conveyed particularly well, and never leaves the viewer wondering where they are. The actors all deserve credit. Especially the one who plays "death". I love how she gives an evil little smile when she's setting up, which kind of gives her away, except for the fact that nobody expects it. The music/composition was also top notch. Great job from production to screen.

Militant

As an avid fan of war movies, this short really got my attention. The colouring harked back to films like Saving Private Ryan and some episodes' of Band Of Brothers. I found the two actors playing the brothers to be a little weak in their characters, but not so much that i had to turn it off. They were just convincing enough. The music was excellent again. The composer is really something. Although this short was not as dependant on its story, i felt compelled to watch once the hunt was on. I really enjoyed the acting by the commander.

The last two films were over 5 minutes long. The next film was 23 minutes in length, so i watched it while i ate my dinner.

Listen

Now, this really is taking it up a notch. An excellent story, great script, music that is on par with or better than many Hollywood "blockbusters", memorable performances from all talents involved, and great cinematography. I loved it. If this guy isn't winning awards for this, i'll stick my finger down my throat in protest. Music is central to this short. It illustrates just how important music is in setting the tone and mood in, not just a movie, but our everyday lives. The actors are smooth and believable in showing this. It's interesting that it all starts because he couldn't get a girlfriend. So he's using the apparatus to woo her, but she liked him all along anyway. He didn't need the kit. It's very high concept. I can't think of anything like it. It was a pleasure to watch this all the way through to the end, as i enjoyed every second.

I recommend everyone to go and watch this guys movies. I'm sure one day we'll be seeing his name on the big screen, "FCRabbath".

It is BORN.

Today, we have seen the birth of something magnificent. It may not appear so immediately. In fact, it may not even appear so within the foreseeable future. But in time, it will become apparent.

This blog is exclusive. Only a select few will really know what goes on inside my head, but this blog gets alot of people alot closer to seeing my thoughts.

Want to see random thoughts of mine? Read film reviews? Hear what i think of certain albums or artists?

Check back here and all will be revealed. My name is Daniel Jama, and today i started this blog. I'm an aspiring screenwriter, with a focus on feature films. I do enjoy writing many different things though. I like to write poetry, short stories, reviews and more. Hopefully one day i will find people who share my vision and help me to create it.

Here is my top 10 list of movies:

Pulp Fiction
Elephant
Reservoir Dogs
Falling Down
Stand By Me
Memphis Belle
Wait Until Dark
Once Upon A Time In America
The Getaway (1972)
OldBoy

Thanks for reading!