Showing posts with label film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film. Show all posts

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

LoEB: I Have A Dream... (Updated 01/08/13)

Get There!
League time! I wasn't able to partake in last week's assignment due to barely being in one part of the country for long enough, but I'm back on it now. And the topic this week?

I have a dream…

Not so much one word as one idea, for me this open topic is about what we want to achieve within our increasingly short lifespans. I know I'm older than many of my competitors for my own ambitions, but I guess that means that I just going to have to work even harder...

I'm on the cusp of turning 30, and I've been jokingly saying to family and friends that my ambition for my fortieth is to have a pool party at my LA mansion. In reality I'm a lot less assuming than that, and my honest-to-God dream is for me and the Emcat to own a house by the sea, where I make an actual living writing and we're financially secure enough for Emma to pursue whatever ambition she has. As any good writer knows though, it's not the destination but the journey that counts, so how exactly would I get there?

Sci-Fi, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I owe a lot to Star Wars, but I'm pretty sure I would've been fascinated with space even if George Lucas' opus somehow never made its way to my eyeballs. There are so many great science fiction shows - Star Trek, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, and then the fantastical (magical realism?) ones like Lost that combine imagination, incredible designs and epic storytelling with the nuances of the human condition, and an exploration of what makes us human amongst so much noise. To me these big idea stories are the ones worth watching, and telling, and that's exactly what I'm trying to do.
Kinda like this guy: Dave Filoni (minus hat)
I've read that TV and film executives don't watch sci-fi shows, and that's probably correct - but I'm a firm believer in doing what you're passionate about, and doing it well. At the risk of committing potential career suicide, I actually couldn't imagine anything worse than working on a soap like Eastenders or Coronation Street, having to work with incredibly unlikable characters and putting them into increasingly worse situations whilst leaping on the latest social panic. There would be no passion there, besides a fervent desire to cash the cheque and go home, and I don't think I could write like that.

You are cleared for take-off!
Give me starships. Give me mammoth robots and advanced technology. Give me alien life and dinosaurs, and stakes so high they get lost in the stratosphere. Give me relatable characters of increasing complexity and morality, and give me cannon fodder. I've learned a lot over the two years thus far of my filmmaking course, and amongst that I've discovered that the big picture canvas is what works for me.

Hero.
Let's not forget that superheroes fall into my (increasingly loose) definition of sci-fi as well, and that's an area I know a thing or two about. Big stories on the widest scale imaginable with a human being at the heart of it all - I'm not sure why any filmmaker would want to do anything else.

Built by dreams!
So there we have it - my dream is a secure and idyllic future, paid for by creating stories that I love. I hope you enjoy them too!

Here's what other Leaguers see when they close their eyes at night...

Needlessentials Online provides a piece of beautifully whimsical prose about going home again.
Infinite Hollywood wants an end to subscriptions.
Geekshow Ink has a tale to tell...
G.I. Jigsaw is making it happen!
Random Nerdness is inspired by a green great.
And The 30ish Year Old Boy can't abide no stinkin' muties...

Check out the original assignment over at Cool and Collected, and thanks for reading!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Play Arts Kai Dark Knight Trilogy Batman

More than just a Man
Hello, world of high(er) end collectables! If you're as good as my first impressions of the PAK DKR Batman here, I may just stick around...

This is that pre-order I was talking about, and it's pretty incredible. This figure's got fantastic poseability, comes with a great selection of accessories and feels pretty sturdy - I haven't experienced any QC issues as yet (and I'm knocking on wood as I type) - it's without doubt the best Batman I own. Hoping I can get some good pictures with this guy, and maybe one day a Joker to go with him... Everything but my wallet is stoked for this!

Friday, 26 April 2013

LoEB: Sleepover

Totally said I'd do better. This week's assignment from the League sees me choosing somewhere culturally pop to take a break for a day or two...


You have the opportunity to spend the night at any residence in pop culture. Where do you go?

Well, I thought long and hard about this. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends was my first impulsive idea, but I've not seen the show in too long a time, and even then not enough to blog about it. The Addam's Family Mansion would be cool, but summer's finally showing its head; I didn't fancy writing about something so Autumnal (read: Halloween). Then it struck me like a crossbow bolt upside the head: Ladies and Gentlemen, put your blindfolds on - we're going to Sherwood Forest!

The Merriest of Men!
I'm going to maximise my one night stay by not travelling too far; in fact only journeying one hour up the M1. And several centuries back, but that's not important... In '91 I was fully swept up in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves mania (I was 7 at the time); proudly owning the cassette single, the novelization, the Kenner figures, and the first traces of a love of archery. For me the coolest scenes in the film were those of the secret village in the forest, with the tree houses and the huts and the rope swings... With a large woodland on my doorstep, you can imagine how inspirational that was. My homemade attempts were never the same, although a pulley lift made out of an old plastic barrel and a judo belt was remarkably effective. Still, for my trip away, I'd see how the pros did it...

The Coolest of Cucumbers!
And what activity break would be complete without a little sport? It's one thing to get away in the fresh woodland air, but I'd take full advantage of what the village has to offer. Archery contest with history's number one bowman? Yes! Would I have to use my compound bow to even out the odds a little? Most likely!

All in Good Fun...
Then there's the fight training, under Azeem's watchful eye. This vacation is proving to be fun and educational! Funcational, if you will!

...

Some portmanteau words are nice. Most are horrible, and that one just made me a little bit sick in my mouth. Anyway, on with the tour!

SWAG.
After a hard days shooting and fighting, I'd be off to see the more refined sights, like Robin's MASSIVE HAUL OF STOLEN TREASURE. I'm poor. Maybe I could take a spare crown, yeah? Then I guess I'd just kick back around the campfire and swill some mead, as Little John regales us all with drunken tales, before falling asleep under the woodland canopy. 

Next morning I'd get up, be led away, and probably pop in to see my sister in Derby for a cuppa on the way home. After waiting a few hundred years for her to be born, I guess. Man, time travel is confusing...

One last thing: DO NOT drop that cigarette!

"...And now we have to start ALL OVER AGAIN!"
That's pretty much the only rule they've got, so, y'know. It's only polite.

Where would other Leaguers go? Well here's where!

Vikki Verka's hanging out with Darla Dimple...
Rediscover the 80's is digging the perks of the 'Burbs... (and with a smokin' Carrie Fisher living across the road, who can blame 'em?)
Achievements in Gaming is up for a night of snooping around in Government secrets...
NERD RAGE is all about the movable swimming pools...
The 30ish Year Old Boy is up for chillin' with Chuck...
And Retro Toy Safari did the Addams Family house some justice!

There are plenty more too; check out this week's assignment for more posts, and thanks for reading!

Friday, 19 April 2013

The League of Extraordinary Bloggers: First Impressions

I've been a bad leaguer. In fact, I've been such a bad leaguer that I've barely leagued at all! I submitted a LoEB post way back in January, and I've been completely lapse since then; although in fairness my blogging in general has taken a hit as I'm on business end on my Uni course. Whatever the reasons though, it's time to fix things. Time to get back on track. Two birds: meet one stone...

This week's topic is First Impressions: that moment in pop culture that had you saying “Now, that’s how you make an introduction!” -  for me, there was one clear choice...

Here's my Card...
Hands up who doesn't remember the first time they saw The Dark Knight? I would bet that the only people with their arms raised high right now haven't actually seen it - it's impossible for me to think that the scale, the depth and the intensity of this film wouldn't leave an impact on anyone. And everyone who has seen it remembers one humorous, committed, terrifying and intense performance more than any other... Heath Ledger's penultimate and Oscar-winning turn as the Joker.

Now, I'm going to court controversy with this first impressions topic by not picking the very first scene in which we see the Joker at work, the Prologue -

I kill the bus driver.
- But instead, the scene where he announces himself to the Gotham underworld. Why here, exactly? Well, I'm glad you asked! In-story, the bank job is all part of the plan - the Joker setting the wheels in motion, and getting away with it. As a film it's a dramatic and action-filled set-piece that claws the audience in straight away. But the Joker's in disguise for most of it, barely saying a word. It's not until he bursts into the mob meeting, having just stolen all their money, that he puts himself well and truly in the game. And what a way to make an arrival!

A pencil, yesterday.
I'm not a prude but the pencil trick, as much as I guffawed, did make me amazed that TDK got away with a 12A rating. Whatever the certificate though, this scene establishes the difference between the mob bosses, cowering away in the daylight, and the Joker's new brand of anarchic genius. Whether his arrival was truly caused by the Batman or not doesn't matter; with this one ballsy move the Joker firmly establishes himself at the top table.

And, how to make an exit.

As a piece of film-making and as a grand entrance, this scene perfectly pitched the Joker's character and role in the film, and leaves one hell of a mark. It's not the first time we see him, no - but it's the first time we glimpse the moral abyss and wreckless insanity that makes TDK such, dark, horrific fun.

Now, I didn't read any other blog posts before writing this, because I was pretty sure a fellow Leaguer would pick the same film. Was I right? Well, no - but there's more DC out there!

Both Jathniel at Space for Rent and John at The Batcave Toy Room remember the 1978 Superman film fondly. I love the score, and I watched it as a kid, but it's one I'm going to have revisit... 

Chris at Stunt Zombie remembers the first appearance of Doomsday; the creature that came from nowhere to kill Supes back in the 90's. I loved that story as a kid, and seeing those page scans bought back some fond memories!

Han Solo gets his (pre-SE) due over at Retro Toy Safari...

And rounding out the DC, an older Bat-sequel gets the nod (amongst a few other classics) at Pop Rewind.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Shelf Review: Luke Skywalker (Bespin Battle Pack)

Shelf Reviews! Wherein I write bitesize reviews of figures I've acquired second hand. Why let the MISP guys get all the fun?

Five Points of AWESOME.
Ah, Bespin Luke Skywalker. My favourite of all the looks Luke sports during the trilogy, it's the kind of outfit you'd expect a space explorer to wear - well, certainly more so than desert farm robes or 'none blacker' Jedi robes, anyway. That he's also wearing it during one of cinema's most iconic moments doesn't hurt either...

Enjoy that right hand whilst you can, Luke...
I'll jump right into the controversy/outrage surrounding this figure - yes, it has five points of articulation - swivel legs and shoulders, and a ball jointed head. This led to online derision when the set was announced, but since release I gather it's been very difficult to find, and secondary market prices have been high. I'm guessing that's because this is an AMAZING TOY, and well worth picking up if you can find it.

"All His Life Has He Looked Away..."
What makes it work so well is the incredible sculpt, and the feeling from handling it that it's a solid plaything. I'm not anti-SA at all, but as the VC Bespin Luke shows, that increase in articulation can hinder the look of the figure, and considering my collection stands posed on a shelf (awaiting its turn to be photographed, I should point out), looks matter more to me than double-jointed knees or whatever.


The other plus is the fantastic paint job. His outfit is a blanket biege colour, but the detailing on the belt and holster, with silver highlights on the buckle and studs and blaster barrel really set the figure off. The hair being yellow is a nice nod to the vintage Bespin Luke, and the paint apps on the eyes, clearly blue and well painted, is a great final touch. As someone said to me on Flickr, if this were a POTF2 figure it would be the jewel of the collection, and I agree - as an actual update of the vintage 1980 figure, this is definitive.

There's a minor issue of paint flaking on the left hand on mine, not sure if it's been scratched or what - one of the perils of buying second hand. I suppose that indicates this figure shares some of the vintage line's drawbacks as well! A further issue is the lightsaber - the hilt has a belt plug, which is unusable since the belt has no port and the blade is on anyway. Again, not sure if this is the wrong accessory for the figure or if it was a poor choice of mold re-use, but it does somewhat hinder how Luke holds the weapon.

Facing Destiny
Those two issues aside, this is a fantastic rendition of Bespin Luke, and it stands proudly alongside my ANH and ROTJ SA-Lukes without looking out of place. If this level of quality is any indication of what the 2013 Saga Legends collection will be like, it's going to be an exciting year to be a Star Wars fan.

As a final aside, sorry for the lack of updates over the last month - I've been extremely busy with my course, and will continue to be so until May (when it's time to find a real job!) - still, I hope to post when I can.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Worlds Collide

Home Phone?
My girlfriend and I went out to a vintage fair yesterday, scouting out any suitable objects/items of clothing for an upcoming film project. It was a bust for that, but I did pick up this homesick guy for only £1. 

E.T. is a film that gets me every time, and my appreciation for it grows greater as I get further into the world of film-making myself. Whilst Lucas clearly rules the roost in terms of my love of merchandise, it's nice to let another great film take the spotlight every now and again...

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