Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone - Back in 1993...

I begged Mum for the Jeep. I absolutely begged but, alas, Mum tells me it was sold out. There was no chance. It was gone. "Santa" might be able ... but, we all know about the difficulties there.

Hopes were dashed, I flicked through the Argos catalogue... the dirty, brown-and-red jeep. Obviously that one hadn't sold out. Who on earth would want that crappy toy.

I wanted the bright green-and-yellow, Jungle Explorer. Missiles fired from the back (I don't recall these in the film) and a small-part that could break away from the front. Best friend Richard Fenn had the tyrannosaur - in the Primary School playground, we would be able to set-up the real Jurassic Park.

I had Alan Grant, multi-jointed whilst Graham - the Bangor Rep - had Dennis Nedry and a Dilophosaur...

But there, in my little present pile sat one box... one big box ... oh ... my ... go-o-o-o-od...

That was Christmas '93 in The Columb Family Household

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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009)

"I knew it. I knew it was coming. But this is not the future my mother warned me about. And in this future, I don't know if we can win this war."


So, finally, a short plan to watch all the Terminator films has finally drawn to a close. And it really has petered out - nothing special to finish. I think its fair to say that Terminator Salvation is the weakest of the four films. They really tried to make it special but I think the desire to create a family-friendly big-ass blockbuster sci-fi action film is the problem - where are the darker themes of industrialism and capitalism? Gone, replaced with clear and obvious themes of 'who am I'. An identity crisis - you would think John Connor would've dealt with than in T2.

You Would Think The Revival of Batman was a Good Choice...

Christian Bale is John Connor. I think it is fair to say that, at this point in the franchise, the role of John Connor has to go to someone everyone is excited about seeing. Discussions about Chris Nolans The Dark Knight and Batman Begins often veer into the terriotory of Christian Bale: Is he a good Batman? I think most people feel that he is not flawless - there are issues. A lack of expression and emotion - a sinister charm that could be sweeter? Nevertheless, the gritty John Connor seemed ideal for Bale but I think the biggest problem is the script - and it reckon Bale, therefore, phoned it in. No real effort in the role methinks. His lame gravelly voice - Nick Stahl and Edward Furlong didn't have a destroyed voicebox - whilst delivering lines from the franchise that have simply been squeezed in for no clear reason: Kate Connor asking "What should I tell your men when they find out you're gone?" and John Connor replies - "I'll be back". Eugh. Then there is Kyle Reeses opening line - "Come with me if you want to live". Its non-sensical and doesn't help the film in any respect. Nobody is sitting in the cinema waiting for these lines to be re-delivered. Think McG, Think.


There is none! A franchise rooted in 'turning-the-clocks' back - regret and remorse about our capitalist actions. One of the best aspects to the weak-Terminator 3 was seeing Skynet and their resources build the first terminators. Deleted scenes on the DVD too show a very strange clip as the actual Arnie speaks with a deep-south accent as a military-man states "we'll change the voice". The first two films utilise time-travel to save any depth shown of the future. I think this is a staple of the series. We want to see the smaller-scale story as the bigger-scale story continues in the background. We didn't even see Kyle Reese go back in time - now that would've been cool.

Considering how simple the original stories were, this film is that much more complex. How can this be?  It can be as we follow the story of Kyle (Anton Yelchin) himself and his 'LA' resistance, then we have the pseudo-complexity of Marcus: a murderer placed on death-row, only to be resurrected again as a robotic-human ... but alas, he has a 'strong heart' (Worthington? Strong Heart?...). Finally we also have the huge-scale resistance John Connor is setting up. All of these issues at play ... remember when it was a simple terminator-is-trying-to-kill-sarah-connor. Easy. Everything else was secondary in The Terminator. (I think there is much more depth in The Terminator but, one the surface, it can be seen as a simplistic story ... I think you ca lose your way with Terminator Salvation)


As previously mentioned, the film is less focussed on Capitalism and Industrialism and, instead, focusses its attention on identity. Who makes us who we are? Is John Connor only who he is through who his Mother was? Is Marcus human or not? Is his heart in the right place? And what decides who we truly are? Can we give murderers a second chance?

Ironically, identity is something the film lacks. We have alot of nods to the previous films - much like Terminator 3 - a similar look to The Terminator: industrial settings and boiling molten-metal that is used - the steam lit up by red light whilst we cut to huge chase sequences in (take a guess), the Nevada desert. I felt that the use of a CGI Arnie was appropriate and was a highlight - it reallt was effective and only rang false because we all know Arnie is not that young and will not star in a film for a long time yet. The classic theme is used briefly but is not overbearing - but I missed it a little bit if i'm honest.

Back to the identity issue - all the other films had a consistency regarding the anti-capitalist theme (I would say anti-technology - but in T2 and Terminator 3 - the technology that is Arnie, is what saves the day), but this is not explored in Terminator Salvation. Ironically, with such an epic-scale - end of the world, post-judgment day destruction - the themes are quite small: what makes us who we are? In contrast, The Terminator was actually quite a small-scale story: bad robot tries to kill innocent woman, but with an epic-theme: the progress of technology and the lack of foresight of these companies - ignoring the knock-on effects of their actions. McG brings to the table some nice continuous tracking shots - but its just not good enough. That perfect example of the bad script with a hard-working cast and crew.

John Connor tells us that this is not the future his Mother, Sarah Connor, warned him about - I don't think Terminator Salvation was the future James Cameron predicted either. Hence, Cameron has disassociated himself from the franchise. Forever.

Though, in a very capitalist way, I'm pretty sure he takes royalties from anything made associated with the franchise - going a little bit against the morals established in his two films... And like the franchise, the Terminator-world has turned to shit. Where do they go now? I reckon they will go back in time and reboot the franchise... its only a matter of time.

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Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Grindhouse (Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino, 2007)

"You see, we're both going left. You could have just as easily been going left too and if that was the case, it would have been awhile before you started getting scared. But since you're going the other way, I'm afraid you're gonna have to start getting scared... immediately!"


Only recently was this released on blu-ray - the 'experience' with all the trailers (opposed to the separate releases which have been available for years). I was tempted to buy them both separately, but I held out - I bought it yesterday and watched it last night and I am whacking a analysis up now. Lets be perfectly honest - the 'experience' is the only way to view these films - don't you dare waste your time with the longer cuts! It made financial sense to break them up (damn you America! "three hours - no, I can't do it") but, artistically, this is the only way to view Planet Terror and Deathproof.

Last year, my favourite film of 2009 was Inglourious Basterds - some may disagree. I heard only recently how what was good about The Social Network was how classical it was in approaching the theme - no references to previous films, no constant pop-culture 'in' jokes - think of Scott Pilgrim VS The World - just static shots and clear story-telling built on an incredible script. Grindhouse was a labour of love from two filmmakers obsessed with film - and not just cinema as an art form, but self-referential cinema. I have a funny-feeling that could be a genre all unto itself. Scott Pilgrim, Pulp Fiction amongst many others are the starting points - the doors that reopen a genre again. What is different with Grindhouse is the deep love that both Tarantino have for the exploitation genre - blaxploitation in Jackie Brown, heist movies in Reservoir Dogs. Could you argue that the Grindhouse combo is taking those homages to the next level - verging on parody. I think so.

So, Machete trailer has passed and the Grindhouse experience has truly begun...

Planet Terror

I think that you split the two thus so - Planet Terror is a 70's exploitation film parody, whilst Death Proof is a 2007-movie with the attributes of an exploitation movie. This is a great way to explore the films (what a shame my 11-15 year old film-club can't enjoy this!) and, therefore, mentally analyse the genre. Without watching anything from the genre! You watch the Planet Terror and understand the nature of exploitation and, three trailers later, you get to see what would happen if such a film was made today - because the 70's nostalgia is much more apparent in Planet Terror than in Death Proof.

Planet Terror presents a world whereby a gas has leaked out and is infecting - 28 days later style - the populace. I think what Roderiguez does so well is choose what he wants to pay homage to - and simply does it. The down-and-dirty nature of expoitation means that the use of a 'missing reel' adds comedic effect - and clears up multiple plot-points without actuall showing what has happened. How did Marley Shelton's Doc join the group? How did the strip-bar owner join the clan? why does Michael Biehn respect El Wray? What exactly was El Wray a part of? I might even go so far as to assume Roderiguez splits everyone up - purely to make the missing-reel that much more ridiculous.

Rose McGowan is well-cast too - her not-comedic comedian schtick, the whole idea of 'playing things straight' fits perfectly in the film - a film whereby everyone plays it straight. It does feel a little too much - a small part of me wishes the film ended on the escape from the texan grill ... but alas it does not - ploughing into a breakout-from-jail final act whereby we find Bruce Willis, has in fact, killed Osama Bin Laden. Well done to you Bruce. Ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek, exploitation at the height of parody.

Death Proof

I prefer Death Proof. I know not everyone agrees with this but I think it ties in with my [potentially misplaced] attitude to comedies. Planet Terror is clearly comedy, whilst Death Proof less so - as I said, this film played is neccessarily played straight in Death Proof not for comedic purposes but for the story. When an explosion happens in Planet Terror you laugh - it is so ridiculous. When Zoe Bell is on the front of the car  you are gripping to your seat. It is the type of crazy-stunt that, I assume, these type of films offer - and a modern take is so much more gratifying. The Tarantino-references are not a problem either. We know that Inglourious Basterds has a character who is a film critic, we are suprised at the knowledge Samuel L. Jackson may posess about television series - but it is clear that in an entire double-bill obsessed with exploitation films, we will get a reference to other movies. And we do - Vanishing Point amongst other motor-head fuelled-filled films - "Gone in Sixty Seconds - and the original not that Angelina-Jolie shit". I really am perplexed at how people didn't like this part of the film - its Tarantino at his best. He makes some fantastic references and points you, as a viewer, into a back-catalogue of films to watch post-viewing. Believe me, if Vanishing Point is on TV, it is Tarantino who has inspired me to watch it. Thank you QT. 

Spectacular Double Bill

What is brilliant about these films - is the playful attitude towards cinema. Cinema can be entertainment - believe me, my Dad see's film as purely entertainment. A lot of people think that contemplating philosophy is simply too much - the multiple layers in The Dark Knight, the socio-economical issues that underpin This is England is simply too much. Batman is action film. Horror is just a 'scary' movie - no deeper subtext. Well, I think this is where Grindhouse comes in... it expects nothing. It is purely entertainment - and its nice for us film-junkies to know the references and to explore them more - but these films do this without any force. Simply by watching - and enjoying - the movie, you are soaking in the references. It is just  zombie-movie, it is just a car-chase movie ... but those who care... know the history and this simply makes us love the films more. No waiting around, no expectation or neccessary prior-knowledge - you can get scared - "immediately"

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Monday, 20 December 2010

TSAJFS: 19/12/2010 Catfish/The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest

Season's Greetings Simon and Jo Film Show listeners! This weeks vaguely festive offering comes to you from South London with reviews, news and rand
om banter. Jo has finally caught up with Simon and seen the controversially weird Catfish. We will briefly discuss the film without spoilers during the episode and then go deeper into the issues at the very end, there will be plenty of warning if you want to avoid that particular spoilerific chat. Simon then shows his completist side by talking about the final part of The Girl trilogy as Lisbeth Salander kicks a Hornet's Nest, a film Jo avoided like the plague.
Hearty congratulations to Movies and Other Things by Julian Stark which is the Blog of the Week and features some intriguing Oscar predictions. The Prince Charles Cinema is awesome and has been running great some twitter competitions while Alistair Mills is our Favourite Facebook User. Listen to our take on that Scarlett Johansson news, which prompts Simon into an unlikely invitation.
The music this week comes from Catfish, including the version of Tennessee Stud by Suzanna Choffel which features in the film and is available to watch on YouTube;

Alas we'll be away next week for Christmas but the weekend after we'll be right back with an End of Year show that will rank the stuff we've seen in the cinema this year. There will be the best and worst of 2010 which will undoubtedly result in some kind of argument. There will be blood. Probably.
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Sunday, 12 December 2010

TSAJFS: 12/12/2010 Monsters/The American/Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

You lucky things! This week we have three new releases to discuss! New releases a-plenty! Jo watched The American, Simon watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows whilst both Jo and Simon watched Monsters, the small-film-that could ... costing only £500,000 and making millions!

The usual film news includes discussion of the winners at the British Independent Film Awards whilst we run through the UK Box-Office (damn you Time Out for not updating your London Box-Office in time!) and discuss two mechanical trailers: Real Steel and Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.



Blog of the week is the four-years old Blog Cabins, run by Mr Cabin or everyones favourite Fletch.

Facebook fan of the week is Mr Mike McKenney who runs his own blog, Destroy Apathy (though he hasn't written there for 8 months...),  but more importantly, writes for the Films and Festivals blog too.

Finally, Twitter-er is Charlie Brooker, TV-critic and not a big fan of The American.


The vast majority of music is from the soundtrack to Monsters by Jon Hopkins - an easy find on itunes. Though, the music sprinkled around the Potter review is (new to the potter franchise) Alexandre Desplat's score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Not to forget the little bit of Bon Jovi, Livin' on a Prayer ... (Greatest Hits now available!)
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Monday, 6 December 2010

Simon (without Jo) Prepares For 'Catfish'...

Jo and I have every intention of releasing more videos but, for obvious reasons, they take a little time to put together. We have a few stalled and ready to release at the appropriate time and, it has got to the point, whereby this video has purpose.

The release of Catfish is upon us in England and, luckily, Simon managed to see it a little earlier than young Jo. But Jo has every intention of seeing it ... and indeed he will see it soon enough ... and together we shall discuss it ...

But, as a way of preparing for our review of Catfish ...

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Sunday, 5 December 2010

TSAJFS 05/12/2010 Brighton Film Festival and Harry Potter 5 and 6!

So, we are outside in the snowy streets of London. It really is freezing cold and you can hear it in our stuttery voices. Luckily we get inside to review the films as we finish our coverarge of The Brighton Film Festival by discussing Fleurs du mal and Patagonia starry pop-star Duffy.

The news, feedback and Top London Box-Office (thank you to 'Time Out' for updating your London Box-Office details!) follow and, to finish, Simon has watched and analysed the fifth and sixth Harry Potter years in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.



Facebook following is Nick Jobe from Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob - 'indeed', this is the second week we recommend him so, hunt him down!

Twitter follower Graham Linehan who has his own blog, if you click here, is worth checking out and do follow him on twitter.

Finally, big recommendation for Film Squish for reviving the 1001 Movie Club - a great site for all your classic film needs!


All music is from the Harry Potter films discussed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince composed by Nicholas Hooper.

And, then we also feature Duffy's hit song Mercy and a little bit of Ira Newborn's theme for The Naked Gun trilogy.

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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Favourite Film Faces #15: James Earl Jones in 'The Lion King'

Unlike most people, I first saw James Earl Jones not as Vader or Mufasa - but as the presenter of 'The Making of Jurassic Park' documentary. A VHS copy hunted down in a Virgin Megastore back in the day.

After that, I knew James Earl Jones as Mufasa.

Then, in 2005, as Darth Vader. Well, I knew he was Vader, but I only watched the 'original' trilogy for the first time in 2005 across three days, as I watched all six Star Wars films chronologically.

Amazing how such a booming voice can be so useable (a better word? anyone?)... because, no-one watches The Lion King and thinks that Vader's voice doesn't work because it sure as hell does work.

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Monday, 29 November 2010

A Trip to the Moon/Le Voyage Dans La Lune (Georges Méliès, 1902)

"Le Voyage ..."


Where fantastical film began - the idea that film transports you from one spot to another. A completely fictional universe, created by a filmmaker, for you the audience to step into for a short moment. The 1001 Film Club has returned with thanks to FilmSquish and TheAnswerMPV and they kick-off with freely available short - The Sci-Fi classic by Méliès. I cannot thank them enough as I am keen to 'catch 'em all' - much like Pokémon - one at a time and, as these freebies and shorts are easy ones to get, it is something I intend to watch as soon as possible. Though, I won't lie, i'm not looking forward to the three-hours worth of Triumph of the Will and Birth of a Nation ... one at a time I guess ...


A better critic than I will be able to detail the exact influence this film has had on cinema but I shall merely mention the first films that came to my mind when I watched it. First and foremost, it seemed to remind me of Moulin Rouge. No big dance numbers here, no colour either - just a certain surrealist edge that is toyed with to support the strange french-edge the film posseses. The special effects used is subtle and eerir: a spaceship rammed into a moon - a moon that blinks with human eyes.
Thats not all either - the smoke-and-cut sequences as aliens leap around in acrobatic finesse only to be hit by a stick and, cut, the alien disappears. Reminds me of some films I made at Uni (Yes thats right, first is Georges Méliès then theres me...). The acrobatic forms that dance and move alongside the women, gymnastically poised on the planets give space and the moon an air of beauty that, without the feminine forms, would not be as picturesque.

Sets the Stage for the Future ...

But the, what on earth could this be? It is the new medium of film  it is the beginning of cinema as a narrative. Cinematic-escapism in its primitive form and, through combining special effects and human skill steeped in an alien world - a world which had never been seen before brings another film to mind... could you say Le Voyage Dans La Lune is the Avatar of its day?

But unlike the special edition of Avatar, you can watch it - for free and legally - yourself! As a side note, it is interesting to note that Méliès intended to release the film in America and make millions, but Thomas Edison's technicians nabbed it and copied it and sold it in America and made Edison millions ... whilst Méliès got jack shit.

Who needs Avatar when you have this ...

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

TSAJS: 28/11/2010 Biutiful/Harry Potter and Azkablam! and a Goblet...

*INACCURACY ALERT - I have just been informed that, when we discuss Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I incorrectly recall the start of the previous film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Suffice to say, with all the potter info in my head its become a bit of a blur - so apologies for that incredible inaccurracy. Ironically, the sequence I forgot about - the awesome bus - was one of the best sequences in the entire film!

This week, we travel outside of London to Brighton to cover an upcoming film playing at CineCity: The Brighton Film Festival and we record at the Oldest Cinema in Britain - The Duke of Yorks. Alejandro González Iñárritu directs Biutiful starring Javier Bardem and, believe me, though set in Barcelona it is the complete opposite the Javier Bardems previous outing in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

We then cover the news - that includes DiCaprio as a tiger and Christian Bale as Batman - for the last time. So he says. The UK box-office (Time-Out ... update your London Box-Office!) and feedback from new listeners and Baffler-Planners alike.

Finally, we discuss the next two Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Alfonso Cuarón and Mike Newell try their hand with Potter with serious outcomes ...



Thanks to Jon at Splendor Cinema for his support of the show! The Duke of Yorks truly is the place to be!

Opposing views on Alfonso Cuarón is held by Nick at Random Ramblings of a Demented Doorknob.


I couldn't find the soundtrack for Biutiful but IMDB has obviously got the soundtrack listing so, I have hunted down the following tracks by Underworld, Cafe Tubeca and Lorca. To finish, the final few tracks are from the Harry Potter franchise - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is John Williams whilst Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is composed by Patrick Doyle.

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Friday, 26 November 2010

Favourite Film Faces #14: Ralph Fiennes in 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'

Last night, through watching all the Harry Potter films in order, I have reached the fourth installment: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was tryin to recall at what point Ralph Fienne's turned up as the infamous Voldermort and this is that moment. I recently heard a podcast - Battleship Pretension methinks - and they explained how Mike Newell and Christopher Columbus made Harry Potter films for the kids, whilst Yates and Cuaron made much more darker and sinister films. I understand Columbus, in all fairness, was indeed making a kids film - and good for him - but Mike Newell... I don't know. I think HP4 has many dark elements just with a certain playful tone 'hovering' above it all.

Fact is, with regards to casting - this is the most perfect casting ever. In fact, so good - it seems as if this is what Fiennes was destined for. Ralph Fiennes often plays the villian - Schindler's List, Red Dragon and the complex-figure in the National Theatre's Oedipus, his own worst enemy - and the nose-less being that is Voldermort could not have asked for a better actor.

Ralph Fiennes - you are a legend. 

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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Baffler #5: Bourne's British Brain Baffler

So, we have a new quiz with a much more focus on British Cinema. Jo and I are pitted against each other, yet again, and attempt to out-quiz each other. As usual, Richard Bourne presides over.

As usual - get your results in as soon as a you can and - as it is only 10 minutes long - feel free to use the widget at the top of this page to listen and then comment below with your results.

Its all fun and games really and, feel free to track down Bafflers #1- #4 on podomatic and on itunes...


Scores so far, after the jump ...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (Jonathan Mostow, 2003)

"The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. I wish I could believe that. My name is John Connor, they tried to murder me before I was born, when I was 13 they tried again. Machines from the future."


It ain't that bad. Its no where near as bad as everyone said. Don't get me wrong, its no Jim Cameron movie, but it sure as hell isn't GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra. Again, in my attempt to blitz the Terminator franchise and understand what its all about I ploughed into the post T2 sequels. The films everyone says are awful. I remember the release thinking "Wow, Clare Danes does star in the big films still". Prior to this, everyone was pleased to have the duo of films that preceded - but, in the year of the trilogies (American Pie 3, Matrix Revolutions, LOTR:The Return of the King...), it seemed the perfect time to release the third Terminator movie. Why not hire the director of U-571...

James Cameron hinted at a possible script for T3 many times in the ninties before he left Linda Hamilton for Titanic, but the studios were never going to say no to this franchise. The door was wide open. Interesting details from wikipedia:

The studios had long wanted to make a sequel to the Terminator films. However, they were unsure whether Arnold Schwarzenegger would appear in it. Schwarzenegger initially refused to star in Terminator 3 because Cameron, who created the character and helmed the first two films, would not be directing the third installment. Schwarzenegger tried to persuade Cameron to produce the third film. Cameron declined, however, as he felt that he had already finished telling the story upon the conclusion of T2. But feeling that the Terminator character was as much Schwarzenegger's as it was his own, he advised Schwarzenegger to just do the third film and ask for "nothing less than $30 million." 

So, with 20% of the profits ging directly to Arnie - alongside a little over $29m - the stage was set.

Off the Radar

So many good aspects to this film - it truly is a shame it didn't fall completely into place. The late-teenager John Connor (Nick Stahl) has been 'off the radar' since T2. He has virtually deleted his existence from all the records that tracked him. It is fate that brings him back to Katherine Brewster (Clare Danes). Brewster and Connor, the night before the whole T2 situation, got it on in at some mutual friends party - but, obviously, John Connor was never to be seen again after that whole debaucle. This 'character' development goes hand in hand with a clear, conscious connection to the previous installments. In the same as the previous installments Arnie arrives with the fire-in-the-background silhouette and the vast majority of the film is still set within an LA urban setting or a dusty Nevada desert.

In The Beginning ...

I heard recently about how Ridley Scotts up and coming prequel to the Alien films will 'explain' where the Alien comes from. I additionally heard an opinion whereby the Alien franchise does not need a history lesson. The fear of the alien is in the lack of knowledge behind the creature. In the same discussion, the same could be said about the terminator - but alas, clearly this was directly what was wanted in this film. I feel that this is a double-sided sword - on the one hand we have a great starting point of research: how did the terminator develop? who was responsible for the machine itself? In The Terminator no explanation was given - the terminator was to kill Sarah Connor and she had to kill the terminator to survive. And she does. Terminator 2:Judgement Day expands on the universe - Sarah Connor needs to stop the accelerated-development of the artificial-intelligence to stop the nuclear war which will break out in 1997. This is averted. Terminator 3:Rise of the Machines reveals that the development of A.I. continues and that Judgment Day has not been averted. But, instead of a small case of 'kill one guy and everyone is knocked out' scenario, John Connor has to face SkyNet himself to stop the nuclear attack... despite the terminators initial objective only to protect John and Kate from the fall out. Obviously, by going into SkyNet and seeing their machines we also witness the birth of the machines ... the first terminators. A nice touch I felt.

A New Woman

In skin-tight leather we see the new terminator - with weaponary that fires out of her hand and she can control machines. This whole 'step-up' from the Robert-Patrick-terminator of T2 is clear and, in another homage to T2 we see an update truck chase and attack on John Connor as the terminator protects him. Its bigger and brasher but I think the huge scale of this seems a little too much - as if the budget simply went a little too far. But it is in the final act where it all falls apart...

Arnie Goes Bad

Everyone remembers The Terminator and, to some small extent, we want to see the terminator in destroy mode - rather than protect-mode. I think this finale is a cheap attempt at making this possible as he glitches and switches between kill/protect John Connor - to the point that we see multiple helicopter explosions. Wholly unneccessary. One helicopter crashing down as a smaller, leaner helicopter additionally crashes down into the previous helicopter - and we have a terminator-on-terminator fight. As Kate and John run away.

I don't think the film is perfect - but we have to accept the plus points. Nick Stahl held his own as Connor, the look of the film and some sequences have great parrallels to the previous films and it sits well in the canon that is the Terminator Franchise. But its got little depth - maybe 'accept your fate'? Because thats what happens - everything seems a little pointless by the final reel. Judgement Day comes and goes - and this ultimately negates T2 too ... lets hope Terminator Salvation resolves some of these problems. Will the next John Connor please stand up...

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Sunday, 21 November 2010

TSAJS: 21/11/2010 Chico and Rita and Harry Potter (Part 1)

Beginning from the Clapham Picturehouse yet again, this week we dodge the Potter-madness by watching animated-romance Chico and Rita. But alas, 'Potter' has not escaped us as Simon rewatched Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The usual news and UK Box-Office is discussed and criticised too with discussion about the recent trailers for Source Code, the new Duncan Jones film and The Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds and, much to Jo's distaste, Blake Lively.


The vast majority of music is from the trailer for Chico and Rita, whilst I hunted down tracks by Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonius Monk who feature in the film too. Its strange, but currently there is no soundtrack available to this film ... but if Jazz is your bag then, hunt it down on amazon.

The tracks from Harry Potter are not the originals unfortunately, pulled from the album The Music of John Williams performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.



We mentined Jon over at Splendor Cinema and the Brighton Film Festival which we hope to cover in next weeks podcast.

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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Favourite Film Faces #13: Peter Breck in 'Shock Corridor'

So, this was the first time I have seen Shock Corridor and the first Samuel Fuller film I have seen. It is a great film - incredible acting on Peter Breck's part. The clear influence on Shutter Island is clear from the outset as Breck, akin to DiCaprio, is investigating a 'case' in an asylum... and, inevitably, things go wrong...

When Breck is having difficulting speaking it truly is a terrifying prospect - you can completely imagine that feeling of mentally knowing what you want to say, but your mouth simply not moving. Its not The Matrix-type sealed-up, its a simple case of your mouth not moving ... everyone else just thinks your ebing silent ... you can't prove why it is happening, but it is ...

Peter Breck has you in absolute terror as he narrates the situation: "Who killed Sloane?.... who killed sloane?"...

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Friday, 19 November 2010

Harry Potter Continues ...After the Deathly Hallows comes ...

Having rewatched only Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stones and the Chamber of Secrets I watched this ...  this may skew my perspective on the next few films...

Kudos to Cassette Boy who really does create some incredible videos!

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (James Cameron, 1991)

"On August 29th, 1997, it's gonna feel pretty fucking real to you too. Anybody not wearing 2 million sunblock is gonna have a real bad day. Get it?"


Randomly, I bought this before watching The Terminator. Reason being that I was going through the early-DVD phase of my life and, in a tin box ... with loads of special features ... a 'classic' film I hadn't seen ... I had to buy it. Ironically, I am sure that this film marked the end of my watch-the-film-and-special-features-all-in-one-go phase ... so many special features, many of which are relentlessly dull, simply stalled me pretty soon and I decided I'd bail on the special features, content that I'd watched a 'classic' film. Then I watched it again when Sarah's Mum visited. Lets see what we can pull from the 'flames' of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Future before Modern Day

So, in the same way as its predecessor, the opening delivers the background to 'The Terminator' whilst also setting the scene for entire film itself. As if the previous film did not exist, this film sets Sarah Connor up, now as narrator explaining the nuclear war that killed the vast majority of humans. The nuclear war still happens, the future is still set - and this film is about stopping the nuclear war from happening - opposed to the previous film whereby the focus is Sarah Connors survival to give birth to John Connor, the leader of the resistance. Cameron explands the universe and, as if in a dreamlike-state, we are walked through this nuclear attack: childrens play on swings, the laughter and fun drowned out by the intense light and heat destroying all human kind. This is Sarah Connor's fear - and, the storm clouds that approached at the end of The Terminator has clearly hit home as she is currently in an asylum, whilst her son - John Connor - is a rebellious youth.

Rehash and Renew

In the same way as in The Terminator, he returns in the same way - his point-of-view tinted in red whith details highlighthing his actions. The clock-like 'tick-tock' soundtrack beating as he makes his move. He even finds his 'look' very quick -finding leather and sunglasses to update his style. This is within 10 minutes. I heard the following information from Andy and john on The Hollywood Saloon. If you can imagine watching  Terminator 2: Judgement Day up until he confronts John Connor, you are - again - unsure about his motives. You are supposed to think he is the same terminator, with the same motives - on a rampage and killing John Connor... but things have changed. The terminator has a new motive - he has, in fact, been sent to protect. This is lost on so many people now because the terminator is seen as the protector - the same role played in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

Hope and Humanism

I believe this film has a primary focus on how humans and their personal perspectives is what needs to be valued. There is 'no fate' - no inevitable options. Humans "have feelings" and are "afraid". It is these emotions that stop hope from blooming. But then again, it is these emotions that make people reflect on their actions. T2 builds on the argument set-up in T1 ...captialism and a lack-of-foresight into the effects industrialism. The SKYNET company is given more depth - that one hand being the reason for the quick evolution of technology. We know Cameron's very pro-nature attitude and this is clear in this film too - but it is our ignorance of the bigger-issues that is the concern. We are all responsible.

Miles Dyson - the scientist directly involved in the development of the technology that will, in turn, create the war on Judgement Day - is a good guy. He has a family. He has children. He could be anyone who simply wants to be successful - who doesn't want to be successful?

When Sarah Connor finishes the film, narrating over the ongoing road ahead - she ends on a message of hope - "If a machine, a terminator, can learn the value of life, maybe we can too". The question is - who is she talking to? The Terminator himself? Or the clueless development of military machinery and nuclear power - are they not terminators themselves? Putting the cogs together for someone, with less good intentions, to use. Is that too much depth? Who supplies the armies in the middle-east with their weapons? Technology can be a dengerous thing in the wrong hands ...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Across the Blogosphere ...

I haven't had an 'Across the Blogosphere' in some time, so I thought, now I have a few blogs and podcasts to mention, now would be the time.

First up, and arrogantly so, I featured on the LAMBcast for the first time. Its always difficult for us Brit folks to manage to take part in these things - often the ideal time is in the afternoon on a Saturday and - if thats the time people start across the atlantic - us Brit folks are at that moment in the middle of our Saturday night festivities. Thanks to Nick and Jason for beginning a little earlier so I could take part! I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I hope to take part again in the future.

Secondly, as most people know already, Mad Hatter managed to snag a sweet interview with an Oscar-Winning editor - no other than Walter Murch, who edited the sound on Apocalypse Now! amongst a huge bunch of Francis Ford Coppola films. Do have a listen!

Thirdly, Univarn found his favourite faux-movie trailers. You can find a bunch on YouTube, but some of these you might have missed ... I know I had.

One more? Sure - this site I have only recently found and it is incredible. The 1001 Movies club has not ceased it continues in the form of filmsquish! so check it out! It shall not be long before my review on Melies A TRIP TO THE MOON will be a part of the relaunch!

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Sunday, 14 November 2010

TSAJS: 14/11/2010 The Kids Are All Right/All The King's Men

First off, kudo's to Jo for his new logo for the show - Well Done Sir!

This week, we begin at Leicester Square and move to the Curzon Cinema to record. Jo and I finally watch the highly acclaimed The Kid's Are All Right, directed by Llisa Cholodenko whilst Simon goes back to his Best Picture Oscar winners by watching All the King's Men from 1949.

Additionally, we run through lots of news on The Dark Knight Rises, information on the new Steve McQueen/Michael Fassbender project, Carey Mulligan and Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby.



All music is from the soundtrack to The Kids are All Right, available on amongst other major retailers.


Mike McKenny reminded us about The Leeds International Film Festival which you can check out by clicking here

The LAMBcast this week holds the views Simon has on both Paranormal Activity films - so go and listen to it..

Michel Gondry's solving a Rubik's cube with his nose and his toes ...

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