Monday, 31 May 2010
Antitrust manages this juggling act better than some films. It deals with the conflict between monopoly corporations and open sourcers: something that does get programmers' juices going in the real world, such as the authors of this message on the GNU website. It goes to great lengths to explain their concept of "free software" (it's like free speech - not free beer) and how it differs from "open source" (one is a philosophy, the other is a practical way to write software) even though most free software is also open source. As a Blenderhead I have to point out that many open sourcers are pretty idealistic too but I digress. The plot, in which software company NURV (uncannily Microsoftish) tries to monopolize digital communication and shut down its' free software competitors, is plausible. Ryan Phillipe's genius programmer does actually do some programming, and for the most part it all adds up and looks realistic. Naturally Tim Robbins, doing a Bill Gates impression, steals the show...
On the other hand, bypassing the security cameras by looping a tape from two days earlier is now standard practice for all espionagers - but NURV's security contractors thoughtfully added this option into their computer interface to make it easier. Thanks guys: won't be hiring you to secure my Skullcrusher Mountain hideout. I was also a bit confused by both Claire Forlani and Rachel Leigh Cooke's roles but I think I've got it: the one that he thought was helping him but was actually betraying him and may or may not have been involved in trying to kill him was also helping him all along, while the one he thought was helping him and actually was helping him turned out to be betraying him - but still seemed to have helped him quite a lot. Or did they both switch sides? Several times? By the end it had all gone a bit Deus Ex, and while this remains an exciting thriller, the sense of a real underlying issue sort of gets lost in the chaos.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Elephants: Elephant Parade London
Friday, 21 May 2010
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Cruelly overlooked at the Oscars, Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus is nevertheless another such film, and despite aspects which are undeniably cheap and silly, I have to admit as usual that I enjoyed the ride. The plot concerns two prehistoric beasts frozen in an ice-shelf and released due to global warming and military interference - this is a metaphorical film with a strong eco-message but that's not really the point. What's not to enjoy about a film which features an oil-rig eating octopus, an aeroplane-eating shark (technically a megalodon) and, playing their oceanographer nemesis, singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson?
I am inconsistent. I complained here about the poor depiction of gravity in Armageddon which jumped the shark (although I enjoyed that movie too) but I wasn't troubled in the slightest by this shark jumping out of the sea to eat a plane - my sole complaint was that it only happened once! Far too much of this film was about beautiful Debbie Gibson moping around on beautiful beaches watching beautiful sunsets and there was not enough aeroplane chomping.
There is no cure for me. I am lost in the eyes of a giant octopus and I am doomed to continue loving bad sci-fi. Hit it, Debbie!
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
Today's second film is The Slush Pile, a comedy by Keith Kowalczyck and Martin Ott. This is not a 48 hour challenge entry. It's based on a true story, and another screenwriter friend also confirmed that it is very true to life. Martin Ott writes:
An friend of mine in the entertainment industry worked at a top agency where he dumped all of his "reader" scripts in a "Slush Pile" so that he could network his way out of the mail room (which he did).
So part of it is true enough and part of it is "tongue-in-cheek" - obviously a Slush Pile monster hasn't really eaten Hollywood (yet!). However, a town filled with so much nepotism and "connections" for a script to get read deserves this type of "parody."
Saturday, 8 May 2010
Monday, 3 May 2010
Rumours of the discovery of massive deposits of unobtainium beneath the Serpentine lake remain unconfirmed and I am assured that the excavation works all over London are pure coincidence.
Over in Piccadilly Sci-Fi London is in full swing. Accompanied by my two leading ladies I came to the screening of the 48 Hour Film Challenge entries, just as the All-Nighter survivors were leaving. I say "leaving", but what I really mean is "falling asleep all over the foyer." Brave souls, I will join you in your cryogenic suspension pods next year.
Our non-shortlisted film, Half A Million, received a few giggles and some applause - you're a polite lot, Sci-Fi London! More about this in my last post. It was shown alongside some really good entries made by some very nice people, so I'll round up the links and publish my favourites in another post.
Starcraft II was on display. This is news. Look!The amazing Science Fiction cupcakes by Chocoloty (pictured) - which tasted as glam as they look. I'm guessing Chocoloty is a fan of Barbarella, Flash Gordon or old-series BSG rather than, say, new-series BSG.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
This is not that film.
Here I've completely re-made the first few shots using the original bluescreen footage - took a few nights but the clip you are now watching is closer to how the film appeared in my head.
With thanks to the wonderful cast and crew.