Comedy

Fans Demand Return of Lara Croft’s Pointy Breasts

Ahead of the release of the new Tomb Raider film, superfans are complaining because the new Lara Croft’s breasts aren’t triangular enough. Though originally a result of a design error, Lara’s breasts quickly became an iconic element of the franchise, just as much as drowning in the swimming pool on the training level while trying to work out how to resurface. Or maybe that was just me.

While it is of course in the nature of art to advance and cover new ground, there have been concerns that the new film may move too far from the core of what made the original games and films such a success. Boobs. It’d be impossible, for example, to repeat the iconic moment in the first film when Lara pulls a henchman’s head against her chest, blinding him with her pointy breasts. This in itself was based on one of Lara’s more iconic kill moves from the first set of Tomb Raider games. By the third game UbiSoft had created an achievement award for players who were able to complete the game using only Lara’s breasts as weapons, and an unlockable version of the character who would play the whole game topless.

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Review

Review – Black Panther

Given that Black Panther has become a cultural phenomenon, there’s been a lot of hype and backlash around the discussion of the film. Stripping all that away, how good is it?

Firstly it’s a good example of an action adventure – the characters are likeable and spark off each other; there’s a compelling story that flows through the film and doesn’t overstay its welcome; the locales (in both Wakanda and South Korea) are colourful and engaging; and there’s some really spectacular and fun action set pieces. That is the primary scale that Black Panther should be judged against, against films like Doctor No, Armaegeddon and the like. By that standard it measures up well – I’d be surprised if there’s many better action films released this year.

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It’s a REALLY good example of the genre, but Black Panther is still a fantasy about a man in a mask beating people up. / Black Panther screencap via Variety.com

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Quotes

Quote: Mel Brooks on seriousness in comedy

Mel Brooks at the White House for the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors by US Federal Government
Mel Brooks at the White House / Picture by the U.S. federal government
At the weekend (on Saturday February 17th) the BBC aired a special about Mel Brooks – Imagine…Mel Brooks: Unwrapped. As well as new material it included archive interviews, including this great quote:

“All my films are serious, if you examine any one of them. Because they are passionate and the depict human behaviour at given points in human history. They are not dramatic, and that’s the difference. You’ve got to be careful what you say when you use those words.

You can’t make a successful comedy that doesn’t have any passion. It will not be successful. You’ve got to say something about the system. About the social structure. About prejudice, about people, about behaviour. Comedy is not successful unless it deals with… even Laurel and Hardy, you could say they were cheap comedies, they have to deal with the system. The Marx Brothers always dealt with the system.

Every picture I’ve ever made has dealt with some aspect of the social system and human behaviour within it. I don’t want to get clinical about it but The Producers was about the dream of little Leo Bloom, about success. Zero Mostel in it says ‘Bloom, Bloom I’m sinking. I’m part of a society that demands success when all I can offer is failure.’ Blazing Saddles is about racial prejudice. It’s all about the hypocritical west shitting all over a black sheriff, wanting him dead.”

Recommendations

Condition

Just a quick post, as I’ve not written on the blog for a while, and in that time the Film Production Society I’m involved in has completed post-production on a short film.

Condition is a short science fiction film. Jacob is the sole patient in an otherwise abandoned hospital. He feels fine, but Ami, who is taking care of him, refuses to allow him to leave…

I should probably make clear, though I’m credited as a writer, I don’t feel I added all that much to the script. We gathered as an American-style writers’ room a few times in October and November, added a few ideas to the raw initial idea, and Adam Eccles (the first credited writer) did the majority of the heavy lifting – so any credit should go in that direction.

If you enjoyed that film, Emily Raw, the Editor and Visual Effects creator has a  Vimeo channel and Daryl Lim, the male lead and also composer of the soundtrack, has Facebook and Youtube pages.

If you’re interested in seeing more films like this, liking the Teesside Film Production Society’s Facebook page will keep you updated.

Film & Television Opinion

Bryan Singer on Superman Returns

Bryan Singer made a few headlines last week when he blamed the box office failure of his film, Superman Returns, on the fact that it was targeted at a female audience – who didn’t turn out to watch it as highly as he’d hoped:

It was a movie made for a certain kind of audience. Perhaps more of a female audience. It wasn’t what it needed to be, I guess. I think I could lop the first quarter off and start the movie a bit more aggressively and maybe find a way to start the movie with the jet disaster sequence or something. I could have grabbed the audience a little more quickly. I don’t know what would have helped. Probably nothing.

Singer’s quotes have been taken out of context slightly, but the idea that the film was targeted at women is his most solid definition of the “certain kind of audience” he was chasing, and he thinks that there was “probably nothing” different he could have done.

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Egotism

Making a Film

I’ve mentioned in passing that I’m currently studying on a university course – I’m also involved with the university’s Film Production Society.
Members of the Society are mostly involved in the film-making and animation courses, and there’s a lot of talent in these areas, with animation being a university specialty. (The university will be hosting an annual animation festival this week, which is apparently very prestigious in the animation industry. Speakers include Gail Simone and Rhiannon Pratchett, who even I am vaguely aware of.)

While I’ve picked up a few things about cinematography and lighting during Society meetings, the main purpose of the Society is, unsurprisingly, to produce films. The second film of the academic year is currently in pre-production… based on a script I knocked together. Based on the skill I’ve seen others on the course display on previous projects and practice sessions, and the quality of the acting in auditions, the end product might actually end up being half decent in spite of my involvement.

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Review

Neill before Blomkamp! That’s How the Naming Convention Works

This weekend sees the release of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium in the US and UK, in which 23rd century Matt Damon declares war on a space station to force them to cure his cancer. I’m starting to suspect the twist may be that he’s a mental patient and it’s all in his head.

Waging a war against a space station is a challenge, as I know from personal experience.
Waging a war against a space station is a challenge, as I know from personal experience.

Although it’s only Neill Blomkamp’s second feature film (after the excellent District 9) he made a number of short films, all of which are available on Youtube, all of which I watched, and reviewed to give an idea of his career so far.

Click here to read Marathon Man: Neill Blomkamp

Review

Chill-ermo del Terror!!

He directs horror films, is what I was going for with the title – I was doing a Simpsons Halloween special credits thing, you know, trying to be amusing. And yes, I suppose you could probably describe his work more accurately as dark fantasy, but…

Yeah, anyway, my point.

This weekend sees the release of Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s new film, in both the US and UK. (And possibly some other countries as well.)

Ahead of this, writing for the Ann Arbor Review, I’ve re-watched some of his biggest films – Mimic, Hellboy and the majestic Pan’s Labyrinth, which I was surprised to learn is only 7 years old, such is it’s status as a modern era classic.

He's also very cuddly.
He’s very cuddly.

I’ve reviewed the trio, looking at their strengths and weaknesses against each other, to help you decide whether you should spend your hard-earned money on his new release.

Click here to read Marathon Man: Guillermo del Toro

Review

Studying for Monsters University

Pixar is one of the great creative companies of 21st century cinema, impressively prolific and entertaining to a wide audience. This wekeend sees the release of Monsters University, the not particularly anticipated (as far as I can tell) follow up to Monsters Inc.

Of all the ‘what would cartoon characters if they were real’ memes, this has to be the least terrifying.

But I’ve taken a look at some of the less celebrated Pixar films – Monsters Inc., Cars, Ratatouille and Brave,  and I’ve been impressed… at least by the films that didn’t feature characters with combustion engines.

Click here to read Marathon Man: The Lesser Pixar Films

Review

A Series of Hangovers

This weekend sees the release of the third in the Hangover franchise, with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifanakianakis set to spend a couple of days searching for a lost friend, and piece together their lost memories for the third time in 4 summers.

Writing for the Ann Arbor Review of Books, I’ve watched and reviewed the first two Hangover films.

Do you ever have one of those hangovers where your head feels like it's turned to stone?
Do you ever have one of those hangovers where your head feels like it’s turned to stone?

Click here to read Marathon Man: The Hangover