Saturday, 27 February 2010

Stephen K. Amos: The Feelgood Factor

Last night I went out to see Stephen K. Amos at the Hammersmith Apollo. Amos has been someone I've heard of, sometimes seen but never really someone I've really paid attention to so I was pretty interested to see him live as everything would be fresh for me. Plus, sad but true, I've never been to a live comedy gig.

The warm up act was Sean Walsh from Brighton who was pretty damn hilarious in places, although the constant hitting of the microphone on his head was somewhat annoying. What followed then was possibly the longest intermission in history, during which the cameramen took to reading books and mini-protests were beginning to form...

Eventually Amos arrived, with a dance routine to Beyonce's Put A Ring On It. He was pretty funny but way too patchy for my liking with some jokes falling completely flat. There were a couple of walk-outs mainly over how insulting he was about people from Burnley (go figure!) and some obvious fake audience member gags. Overall it was entertaining and might have been worth the money if the intermission hadn't wasn't so much bloody drinking time!!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Dinoshark and Sharktopus: Seriously!

Imagine a world in which movies with titles like Dinoshark and Sharktopus can exist. Imagine no more... Dread Central brings us some info on what surely must be considered the most eagerly awaiting B-Movies of the year!

And in other exciting news from Sci-Fi Wire, it looks like Steven Spielberg might be returning to sci-fi telly with a time travelling family AND DINOSAURS! If Terra Nova is greenlit I promise to bow down before Rupert Murdoch and never say mean things about Fox again (unless they then cancel it). Spielberg. Dinosaurs. Just keep saying it. *sigh*

Monday, 15 February 2010

Coming Soon - 10.1

Oh... this year we have some real gems coming to a movie screen near me (and you, but I'm terribly important don't you know?! ;) ) Here's the first part of a continuing series...

Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) - a remake, a reboot, a reimagining; call it what you will, let's just hope it can live up to expectations. My first Freddy Kruger experience occurred when I was 5 or 6. My young uncle had been left to babysit me and thought it'd be amusing for us to watch the original movie. Let's just say I found it hard enough to get to sleep at all after that, let alone sleeping anywhere near my bed!

Perhaps because of this experience I've never really been a fan. I love the Friday 13th series, and I love the Halloween series, but Nightmare has never really done it for me. Maybe this reboot might change that... with new actors and perhaps a new twist, it's going to be very interesting to see!

Alice In Wonderland - Tim Burton. Tim Burton. Tim Burton. Is there any director who stirs more emotion than he? I loved Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks. I HATED Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I have grave concerns and huge hopes for what Alice In Wonderland might be like.

Having seen some trailers for it, it does look like it's going to be pretty damn awesome... mixing Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's usual craziness with an already crazy story.

If this works, it might be the best movie of 2010. If it doesn't, Tim Burton will carry on regardless...

Toy Story 3 - Hmm... for my birthday this year I'd like a movie which is fun, light hearted, exciting, charming and full of heart. With Toy Story 3 being released on 18 June, I think I might in luck!

Only the stony-hearted, mean-spirited scrooges among us could fail to have fallen in love with at least one of the first two movies... I cannot wait!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Survivors: Improvements?

After last weeks post on Survivors current series and it's downsides, we were actually treated to a good episode this week.

Despite starting off as your standard Survivors "One/Two Of The Group Is Missing" story, it actually comes off as a refreshingly depressing take on human nature, in which a slave labour camp is being at a coal mine. The characters felt real, there was some gritty scenes involving harsh retribution and tough decisions, and we finally (if somewhat predictable) see a return of Abby's missing son to the storyline.

With possible foundations now laid out for future developments and the group finally seeming to accept the reality of their situation, I'm now eager to see how they round off this series. The Family is now united, the criminal and the nurse, the playboy and the schoolboy, together to face whatever the future holds for them. Maybe there is hope for the future of this series.  

Talking of BBC telly, whilst we wait for more news about exactly how/when Torchwood will be returning, Watch have issued a new online Torchwood comic... featuring Ianto!! Click here for more...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

More Jurassic Park IV News

More Joe Johnston tidbits on the proposed new Jurassic Park movie. When asked about the "leaked" script of a proposed sequel from a couple of years back featuring gun-toting dinosaurs...
Drew: Is that still in the offing, or have you moved on now to a new idea?

Joe: We have. There is an idea now for number four that is different from the first three, and that is more or less the beginning of a new trilogy, in that it sends the whole franchise off in a new direction. It's not about the dinosaur park anymore. It's about all-new characters. So Steven's busy right now with the stuff he's doing and I've got to do "Captain America," but hopefully afterwards, we'll find time to develop it. And really... it's something different that we haven't seen before in the "Jurassic Park" world.

Drew: I'm sorry we won't see the Sayles/Monahan idea.

Joe: Well, you know, Universal and Steven will want to keep making these movies as long as they're successful, and who knows? We may see the Monahan/Sayles version come back.
All bizarrely positive considering this is a project that has been in development hell for years. Let's hope we get some serious dinosaur action... in 3D!!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Fringe And Caprica: Could Be Better?

Fringe and Caprica are the only current US TV shows I watch on a regular basis. Both have interesting premises, but both have flaws.

Fringe is the X-Files for the 21st Century. It has awesome monster of the week episodes and a story arc from heaven. Plus both the monster of the week episodes and the story arc work together so the show feels far less disjointed than the X-Files sometimes did (oh we've uncovered a global conspiracy but next week we'll be in small town America dealing with a Satanic cult because we have no focus). Better yet, we actually learn things about the story arc. Where the X-Files served only to confuse whenever it tried to give you a little bit of info, Fringe slowly builds up the back story to the clash of the two universes.

But it has a few flaws. Astrid is a totally under utilised character even if she was just used for comic relief. The Olivia/Peter romance just doesn't ring true and certainly is being rushed. As we all know shows usually quickly jump the shark once any sexual tension is removed. The fact Bishop is linked to just about every case they investigate is starting to stretch belief. He may be a genius but even he only had finite time available. I think it could do with more focus on the Massive Dynamic storyline and general Fringe weirdness and less random emotional visits to places from Bishops/Olivia's pasts

Caprica is another very interesting proposition. Set in the Battlestar Galactica universe but 58 years before the Destruction Of The Twelve Colonies, it's very different to BSG. BSG was about imminent life/death situations, war and rebellion. Caprica is more a sci-fi soap opera about love, life and intrigue. Which is fitting as BSG at it's best was also sometimes pretty close to becoming a sci-fi soap opera.

The world we are presented with is a very advanced 1950s sort of place, with strange and unusual lifestyles and a new monotheistic religion rising in opposition to the mainstream Greco-Roman polytheism. It's actually pretty damn cool.

However for a soap opera to work you must like at least some of the characters. So far there seem to be very few characters I can actually say I like. And I feel like they are intentionally dragging the story out so it moves at a very, very slow pace. This last episode felt more like an extended middle with no beginning nor end and no great plot reveals or moves forward. I think the writers need to get a little sharper otherwise I know I'm going to be getting very bored soon.

However I think both series do have the potential to become very, very good pieces of television and move sci-fi telly to a new level. Fringe really does the push the boundaries of the imagination and Caprica might push the boundaries of genre's in general. Bring on the next episodes...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Survivors Series 2: We Have A Problem

Thanks mainly to many early Sunday morning showings of the original series of Survivors on UK Gold when I was young, I have a lot of time for the re-imagined series. The first series was alright, nothing spectacular and some of the acting really sucking, but it got us through and it ended with a major revelation which had me eager to see the second series.

Sadly, half way through, it is not living up to expectations. Every sci-fi/fantasy show sometimes suffers from "monster of the week" syndrome. Survivors seems to be trapped by "rescue of the week" syndrome. Episode 1: Anya/Al trapped under fallen debris. Episode 2: Abby finally escapes her imprisonment. Episode 3: Tom is kidnapped by Samantha and her group. Episode 4: Tom and Greg forced to work in a coal mine by a new set of captors. Etc??

This would be bearable if they added some new twists to what is happening to the main group. Instead we have no new additions (seriously, surely there would be people eager to join up with a group??), no permanent base (Abby's group seems to be the only nomadic group in the country) and nothing NEW. Basically the interesting parts of the first season were all those taken from Terry Nation's novelisation of the original series. Now they have run out of that inspiration it would seem like the show's writers have just given up trying to be interesting.

I truly hope something changes, and soon! This is a post-apocalyptic show... we need dirty clothes, tough choices, main character deaths and new additions. Or else this new series may be even shorter than the original!!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

New Judge Dredd Movie... Don't Mess This Up!!

So the new Judge Dredd movie is moving towards production and I have great hopes... and great fears... for it.

I've been a fan of 2000AD and Judge Dredd in particular since forever. The vistas and people of Mega City One are so awesomely freakish and grand that they practically scream out for a movie. Yet when they finally got one, a Sylvester Stallone Americanised mediocre movie, the very character whom held it all together was turned into an All-American hero when in fact he is a conflicted but resolute officer of a fascist state.

If the movie can at least maintain some of Judge Dredd's grittiness, it's freakishness and it's vast and magnificent cityscape then it might very well be the best movie ever made.

And I think it could do it. With the effects that can be achieved now, the inhabitants and backgrounds can really be brought to life.

But something tells me that this movie will be a sanitised version of Mega City One. And it'd be all the poorer for it.

If you've never read any Judge Dredd I advise you to do so immediately!!