Posts Tagged ‘star wars’

Starting at the bottom has never been easy, but now it’s never been so competitive. I’ve covered the ‘who you know’ angle previously.
Starting my own company to support untapped talents has given me rewards, but none- financially. That said, I’ve met and worked with some cracking people and some in the most unlikely of industries. Some of which have gone onto do much bigger things. I know my limits and some of my promotion stuff is beyond what I could ever have produced.
I received a survey from an individual for a project as part their degree. It was about the UK film Industry pre and post 2008. It’s not through trying but I must admit I’ve never been supported by any UK bodies (and it’s a sad for the UK) but all my film has been US funded. Surprisingly, even viable commercial ideas are passed on in favour for ‘quirky’ films that have ‘named’ talent attached even though they have little return or success.
That’s fine don’t get me wrong art is art and other stories should be told, but as it is the public’s money,dramatic bold and different films can be made and can also appease a wider audience. It is a business after all. Again there are lots of angels and opinions on this and once again this up for debate, I’m speaking from my own experience. My hat goes off to ‘self financed’ indie-film makers who do there’s research and pre-pro and go out –  putting it crudely, in simplistic terms, just make it, and make a film well, like David Paul Baker and Oklahoma Ward to name a few.

Terminus

Presently, I’m looking to sell some of my foreign rights but it’s a back rubbing exercise that I’m just not willing to play.  People talk about being transparent but there’s almost no such thing.  So I’ll wait until the right sub-agent or literary Agent  one comes along. I’m not looking for Michael Landon’s Jonathan Smith to turn up and say hey we’ll do your horror travel reads in thirty-three other languages, I just don’t want another unscrupulous suit to make me an offer.
So when we talk about retaining rights and so on what do we mean?  I’ve said many times I’m happy for my work to be played with by the right creative people. Sean P. Parsons Terminus was wonderful and I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI) [Blu-ray]The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Edition

So what ‘s that got to do with the The Hobbit and Star Wars? Well if you are are fan of either you’ll probably know there’s a lot of fan made stuff out there, some good, some bad, some legal and some not. (Never support anything illegal, it costs people jobs, seriously). Those who are fans of the aforementioned and have missed these are in for a treat.These are fan made films in the truest sense and are not for profit or to infringe on the rights of the official films… Enjoy.
Makazie One is set in the Star Wars universe during the time period between Episodes III and IV, an elite soldier has been sent to track down and destroy a known threat to the Empire. http://www.makazieone.com
Award winning unofficial prequel to The Lord Of The Rings dramatising Aragorn &Gandalf’s long search for Gollum. This 40 minute film, made by fans for fans is based on the appendices of LOTR and was painstakingly shot on a low budget as a homage to Peter Jackson’s trilogy and the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Like horror, enjoy reading, suffering technophobe? Don’t read on…

Call me old-fashioned but I liked using a circular dial on a phone, listening to it chink, chink, chink and speaking to an operator. These days we have mobile phones, touch phones and who know what the future holds. I’ve listen to an audiobook in bed, but never read a book for enjoyment on a PC or an electronic device unless editing or typing my own work. I may sound like a crusty old man, out of time but believe it or not I’m of the Star Wars and He- Man generation. Nevertheless, I do enjoy the tactile feel of a book in my hands, turning the pages the but times have changed… You can curl up on a dark night, grab your latest Herbert or King and not physically have to turn a page as such.  

Blood Hunger was published in June 2010. Times have certainly moved on since, woodblock, typewriters and Spirograph, everything has a cross over medium and choice for the consumer is paramount. Already there is an audio book on version of my vampire horror in iTunes, read by a lovely actress Sarah Leigh.

Moving swiftly on  Blood Hunger was released on Kindle. Kindle? I must admit I didn’t really know what it was, it’s been around for a while, I’d heard of it but never gave it any attention during my web surfing (which consists of usually keeping update with horror and film news). So what is Kindle? A Kindle is a thin electronic device used to download e-books and some magazines wirelessly and read them.

What is Blood Hunger? Blood Hunger is my latest horror offering, inspired by the spirit of Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula’, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella ‘Carmilla’, ‘Hammer Horror’s’ film series and cult horror ‘The Hunger’.

An explorer makes a discovery in Romania, dubbed the ‘Ice Prince’ find it is significant enough to put him and his girlfriend Lucia Ferrara in the media spotlight. Iliana and her sister’s journey to the United Kingdom, news that the ‘Ice Prince’ had been discovered ceases their many years of blood abstinence and they unleash a bloodthirsty terror on humankind leaving a trail of death from London to the Welsh countryside.

From the fall of the vampire and the Dracul brothers in medieval Europe to their return in the present day. Prepare yourself, their first bite will be your last! A definitive and fresh reinvention of the vampire legend.

Kindle is not a one trick pony, it’s much more that you  can no get Kindle on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, Android and Blackberry! This allows you to read books on the go if you wish. 

Blood Hunger on Kindle click below for:

Science fiction, a long, long time ago in space the final frontier…
Way back in the USA 1916 a pioneering underwater film based on Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was made. In social commentary contrast the European Metropolis(1926) followed. Then the atomic bomb caused a renewed interest in science, a boom in science fiction happend in 1950’s,  1968 saw the Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey and the rest is history as they say. Is so difficult it pick out sci-fi films because there are so many and they such an array of topics.
I’ve covered some of the mainstream ones, including Alien, Blade Runner, Moon and Stars Wars in in my previous posts
and

So below are some modern notable Sci-fi films that are either underrated or overstated, that is in my personal opinion.

Ultraviolet (2006)
The opening few minutes of Kurt Wimmer’s Ultraviolet is a rip roaring, pulse pounding set up of action sequences and chases. Then the film calms down for a little breather until the next amazing fight sequence.
Following a holocaust some humans have become Hemophages, a sub-species with enhanced physical abilities. Violet, must protect a nine-year-old boy who has been marked for death by the human government.
In the wake of 2005’s disappointing Aeon Flux, underrated Kurt Wimmer director of Equilibrium (2002) writer of The Recruit (2003) and Salt (2010) set about creating an up-to-the-minute Sci-fi.However, after shooting wrapped Kurt left after being pressured to deliver less emotional PG-13 rated film. In turn, Ultraviolet was completely re-edited by the studio and unfortunately this lowered the quality of the film significantly. Acting wise, William Fichtner puts in an unusual performance, Sebastien Andrieu and Nick Chinlund both seem unsure what’s going on.
With an abundance of forgettable bad guys, Milla Jovovich excellently plays Violet who has enhanced speed, incredible stamina and acute intelligence. Her character at first seems very one dimensional as she plays her usual Resident Evil kick-ass self. But even in the short running time her character develops, you’re given glimpses into here past, as she bonds with six played well by Cameron Bright.
There’s great effects, stunts and a thumping score. A lot of reviews have criticised the CGI usage, however, it’s stylised, hyper-real and sleek. It’s not meant to be faithful representation of a real world. Holograms, swords, a new invented language, gun-fighting and martial arts. It’s science fiction entertainment, set 21st century, nothing more, nothing less.
It’s fast, it’s fun – Ultraviolet is an pleasing sci-fi action but possibly could have been so much more if Wimmer was allowed to deliver his cut.
The Road (2009)
The Road is a touching film of a father bonding with his son in post-apocalyptic setting where stealing, gangs and cannibalism has become the norm’.
John Hillcoat delivers a breathtaking dark vision, and while the story is emotionally engaging it never becomes captivating. It is excellently written and Viggo Mortensen is first-rate as the troubled father, who tries to educated and prepare his son for this new harsh world. However, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce are sorely under utilised.
Its not a film to be enjoyed and you need an acquired taste. Nevertheless, it is arguably the most truthful and touching post-apocalyptic film to date, but also the least rewarding.
Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Made the same year as The Matrix, Thirteenth Floor was lost in ‘bullet time’, leather coats and guns and sadly failed to be appreciated or reach a large audience.The set decorations are of a high-quality, the CGI effects are very subtle and mostly used to recreate L.A.
The cast are excellent, notably Armin Mueller-Stahl as Fuller and the charming Gretchen Mol. Writer/Director Josef Rusnak delivers a perfect vision of a virtual reality simulation of 1937 Los Angeles against the distinguished cold sleek computer enterprise. The contrast of the past and present is astounding, this murder mystery oozes atmosphere.
Craig Bierko plays Douglas Hall who cannot recall the night his colleague was murdered. Now a suspect he tries to uncover the truth, but the reality is harsher than he could ever imagine.With a twisting script based on the book by Daniel F. Galouye it is a well made grounded sci-fi that is sorely underrated and overlooked.
It’s must see for those who don’t need big bangs and explosions in their Science fiction.

Æon Flux (2005)
Æon Flux was lost in the flurry of 2005’s sci-fi films, including Doom, Star Wars: Episode III, Serenity and War of the Worlds. Not even Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd or Charlize Theron in tight outfits (even though less revealing than in the cartoons) could draw in the crowd.
Looking back fans of the MTV animated Æon Flux felt short changed, and I don’t blame them. The character of the film adaptation is very different to what fans had grown to love, an amoral, egotistical, volatile and sharp Æon. Where as the movie incarnation of Æon is plain moody and vulnerable. However, if you view Æon Flux as a standalone movie it’s a more rewarding experience.
Æon is assigned to assassinate the leader of last city on earth, but she uncovers a world of secrets and conspiracies. Packed with styled sets and costumes, there’s plenty to enjoy on screen. It’s different to most films set in the future, no grit, everything in 2415 is bright and hopeful but there is an atmosphere of something lurking under the facade.
There are some great special effects and action sequences. Marton Csokas is the perfect protagonist and Theron delivers a physical performance that she clearly put a lot of time and effort into. Nevertheless, the usually great Pete Postlethwaite is wasted and Jonny Lee Miller appears subdued throughout.
The film is competently directed by Jennifer’s Body’s (2009) director Karyn Kusama, it’s packed with some great sci-fi idea’s, including an array of weapons, genetically enhanced characters and gadgets. However, the screenplay is full of clichés and some jarring editing that’ll make you feel a lot of interesting stuff maybe on the cutting room floor.
While Kurt Wimmer’s Ultraviolet (2006) is slightly better and more fun and if you put aside the fantastic animated series, Aeon flux is still entertaining.
Avatar (2009)
Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) as Neytiri is fantastic, as usual Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) is well cast in a strong lead role. Giovanni Ribisi, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez’s brief appearances are welcomed. Also Stephen Lang, as the tough Colonel Miles Quaritch gives a great performance.
Avatar is a visual spectacular with great acting and effects. It’s a moralistic tale, of following orders or protecting an alien world. However, the story is lazy, reminiscent Cameron’s own Aliens, Dances with Wolves, Apocalypto and Pocahontas to name a few. It mirrors Custers last stand, Vietnam and many other conflicts throughout history.
While the effects in creating the moon Pandora are mind-blowing, the lack of originality leaves you disappointed. I’m sure teenagers will teens love it, it’s the perfect money maker. James Cameron is a fantastic director and is instrumental in pushing industry movie techniques forward. However, in all the special CGI effects the great writer Cameron appears to have forgotten about his older fans, who wanted a meatier, original and complex story.

Carriers (2009)
Carriers follows a group of young survivors who make some tough choices after an infection has spread worldwide bringing civilisation to its knees.
There are a few harrowing and emotional parts in Carriers but it fails to connect with the viewer. Unusually pretty Piper Perabo and Chris Pine (of Star Trek fame) leads an excellent small group of unknown actors in a well directed virus survival film. However, Carriers is simply an anomaly, there’s no gloss, it has the spirit of big budget ‘The Road’.
The cinematography is great, the music and the script are fine but it feels too long and flat. It’s missing that impending doom atmosphere considering the characters hopeless situation.It is by no means a bad film, it explores morals and values, however, its just not very engaging or entertaining.
I’m sure directors/writers Àlex Pastor and David Pastor will go on to do something really great, but this just isn’t it.

Star Trek (2009)
J.J. Abrams incarnation of the phenomena known as Star Trek, wisely sticks closed to the spirit, look and fun of the original TV series. It follows the young James T. Kirk and his fellow USS Enterprise crew-members as they battle in space against a time travelling alien species.
With a star studded cast including Eric Bana, Bruce Greenwood, funny man Simon Pegg, reliable Karl Urban, and the exquisite Zoe Saldana as Uhura, it really is a pleasure to watch.
If you’ve never seen Star Trek it doesn’t matter as the story can be viewed as a stand alone sci-fi adventure film. However, die-hard fans will love the references to earlier Star Trek stories and characters.
Recommend, new version of a sci-fi classic.

Science fiction is a huge spanning genre of fiction. It’s an incubator for imaginative minds to create visions that help us to glimpse not only the future, but also something about ourselves. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible. I’ve left Terminator and Alien(s) out both I’ll visit in the future, in the meantime here are my comments on a few old classic films and new comers of Sci-fi…

Repo Men (2010)

It’s is the near future, Jake and Remy are repossession men for body organs. After a repo’ goes wrong Remy’s heart is replaces and he finds himself on the run before his heart is repossessed.

It’s a high concept idea with a twist at the end. The gory repo scenes are cringe worthy and action scenes backed with a pumping music score are amazing. The sets, location and effects are attention-grabbing. Miguel Sapochnik’s directing admirable but its failing is the screenplay, Repo Men is a jarring mismatch of a film, it doesn’t know what it wants to be, one minute a social commentary, the next minute a comedy, then an action, a serious thriller and so on. It just doesn’t gel and as a result it’s a let down.

Schreiber’s Frank is menacing as one of “The Union” heads and there’s a welcomed cameo appearance by John Leguizamo (Asbury). A lighter, healthier Forest Whitaker makes an impression in this odd toned movie, quirky lead and ever reliable Jude Law looks uncomfortable with the role Remy. Alice Braga’s (Beth) performance is average and she isn’t atheistically beautiful enough to convince the audience of Remy’s infatuation with her.

Unfortunately, Repo Men tries to cater and appeal to a spectrum of movie goers and as a result fails to entertain or satisfy in any capacity or arena.

Planet of the Apes (1968)


Franklin J. Schaffner is never given enough credit when it comes to the genuine sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes. The talking points are usually the twist ending, or the late great Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall.

A philosophical sci-fi made in 1968 and nominated for two Oscars it still holds up today as a social parable, effective drama with a relevant and underlining social commentary. It’s the primitive depiction of an ape civilisation rather than technologically society made Planet of the Apes standout as the iconic film it is haled as today.

‘Apes builds up nicely, there’s a wonderful score, (groundbreaking for the time) by Jerry Goldsmith, creating eerie and ominous atmosphere with the first exciting ape reveal at about 30 minutes in.

The film is wonderfully directed and has a solicitous and thought proving screenplay by Michael Wilson & Rod Serling. That said source material was from Pierre Boulle’s very wry, whimsical and thoughtful novel. Astoundingly Boulle is also author of The Bridge over the River Kwai.

The few visual effects are sufficient but the ape make up is admirable and star of the show. Recognisable only by their voices Kim Hunter as human conservationist Dr. Zira and the anxious Cornelius played by McDowall are splendidly magnificent as they assist Taylor played by the boldly cast film legend Heston to escape the command of the apes. The attractive Linda Harrison, who plays Nova is effective and the British classical actor, in orangutan make-up Maurice Evans is outstanding, giving a weight of believability to the subject matter.

Planet of the Apes is an original science fiction must see.

Blade Runner (1982)

I must admit I’m a huge fan of Ridley Scotts’ and Blade Runner is one of
his finest moments, panned by critics and by most on its release, it was ahead of its time on every level.

Whichever version of Blade Runner you prefer, it has atmosphere, great costumes and a mood of gritty realism about it. The neocityscapes, the dark street life and polluted air all paint a grim futuristic picture complimented by a score by Vangelis , which is touching and haunting. The lines are memorable and there are fantastic performances from Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos. Harrison Ford is perfect as the moody ex- Blade Runner and Joe Turkel should have won an award as the Frankenstein -like creator.

Blade Runner is quite a simplistic tale that is complicated by the fantastic visuals and effects. Lying beneath the plot that many writers contributed to there’s heart and soul, questions of what it means to be human and delves into our own mortality.

Its edgy hi-tech art-house that brings science fiction to life and while it’s not the most fulfilling sci-fi film it certainly is a fantastic visual experience.

RoboCop (1987)

A cop is brutally murdered in the line of duty only to be resurrected as a robot cop. With a mission to clean up Detroit stopping criminals and corruption unwitting Robocop meets his killers.

 Social commentary, religious connotations and cutting satire, Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is now over 20 years old, some of the effects have dated and some of the acting is like two-day-old chicken, but it holds up. It is indeed an often-imitated sci-fi classic. It could have been just another Terminator rip-off but all it shared was a machine theme as it had a whole world of its own. That said, it borrows heavily from lesser known films Jean-Claude Lord’s The Vindicator and The Wraith both made a year prior.

Amongst the rival robot ED-209 and TV commercials what’s more interesting about Robocop (played by the now elusive Peter Weller) is the loss of his family and how they have moved on after Alex Murphy’s gory death which is only partly explored. There’s a lot going on in Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner writing underneath all the action pieces.

Miguel Ferrer as ‘Bob’ is excellent, his performance has all the 80’s Wall Street feel of the time, doing whatever it takes to get to the top. Ronny Cox plays ‘Dick’ Jones and gives the bad guy dimension. It shows a corporate structure and how they also use the underworld to get an immoral job done, in this case using Clarence and his gang played terrifically by Kurtwood Smith.

Basil Poledouris’ music is fantastic and heightens the films punches and subtleties, the action is great as to are the costumes and practical effects. It is a comic book film for adults but is unusually grounded in a surreal plausibility.

It’s Orion Pictures fine production, part man, part machine. All cop.

Moon (2009)

David Bowie’s son directs his debut film. Duncan Jones comes out of his fathers’ shadow and into his own in this low-key sci-fi which is destined to become a classic.

The style is without a doubt influenced by Silent Running and 2001: A Space Odyssey. You could argue that there is also a hint of Gattaca in there, but this does not detract from the strong emotional story line.

Sam Rockwell’s subtle and edgy performance is Oscar worthy, as to are the effects. As Duncan Jones first film it certainly doesn’t show, it screams traditional in the modern sense of film-making. Kevin Spacey voices the robot GERTY, his smooth tones and look are reminiscent of 2001’s HAL and his monotone voice adds tension.

The film is not an action; Moon is a well-rounded package, almost pure sci-fi, and thought provoking playing out a believable premise. It’s a tighter 2001 for a 2009 audience, compulsive viewing.

Star Wars (1977)

It was a long time ago when I first saw Starwars, I watched it as part of a trilogy and then Lucas’ CGI altered edits.

There’s not much I can add that isn’t already littered on the, net, countless books and so on. It has become ingrained in popular culture and it is impossible for me to watch it with fresh eyes. It was great to see my son watch it for the first time and no doubt his children will enjoy it too.

The story is that Luke Skywalker must try to save Princess Leia from the evil clutches of Darth Vader. It could have been an awful b-movie but its strength is a great bold script, memorial characters, fantastic effects, costumes and John Williams timeless orchestral score. It has a princess, lasers, alien creatures, spaceships, and more. It’s a good old fashioned tale of good versus evil and there really isn’t much not to like.

It has inspired and has been imitated in numerous films, books and games. It has changed the way Sci-fi is made and will remain a timeless charming classic.

If you only ever see five films in your lifetime, this is one of them.

Surrogates (2009)

In a world of masks, who’s real and who can you trust? A well made sci-fi, a hybrid reflective of high concept low-budget 70’s-80’s films. Sadly it was in and out of the cinema so fast I missed it.

Bruce Willis character tries to unravel the mystery conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon and is forced to abandon his own surrogate, risking his life.

Excellent direction by Jonathan Mostow Radha Mitchell is as usual on top form, Rosamund Pike (give a poor performance) and Ving seem out of place. That said, the effects and music are amazing – I was pleasantly surprised. Overall very entertaining, suspenseful and while not totally original, it combines the best ideas around to deliver a thought provoking piece.