My book The Victorian Planning System: Practice, Problems and Prospects is now available from Federation Press.
My book Movie Towns and Sitcom Suburbs is out now through Palgrave Macmillan.
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RCI Planning is my consultancy providing expert advice, VCAT advocacy and statutory planning services in the Victorian planning system.
Tag Archives: james cameron
Avatar (James Cameron, 2009)
James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar is at once a state-of-the-art journey through imagined interstellar landscapes, and a rather more prosaic expedition through familiar story-telling terrain. “Great effects, so-so story” is perhaps the classic form of review for post-1977 Hollywood movies, and it’s a little sheepishly that critics have arrived once again at this basic conclusion. Yet, they have, in droves, because at the fundamental level that’s the key conclusion to be drawn about Avatar. The more interesting points to make about the film, then, aren’t those most important but most obvious observations. The sub-plots here – like the progress of James Cameron’s once-imposing directorial career, or whether the film is a giant leap in the evolution of film technology – are rather more interesting.
While I was on holiday a couple of big names passed away. One was Cyd Charise, but I’d never try to pass myself off as qualified to write about her: I did enjoy Jaime Weinman’s commentary though, with some great YouTube clips, here.
Special effects artist Stan Winston, however, has his fingerprints all over the post-seventies Hollywood that I find so interesting. The market for special effects is so big now that nobody can really stamp their name on it the way old-school artists like Willis O’Brien or Ray Harryhausen did, but Winston was as close as we had to that kind of iconic effects artist in the past few decades. He was also the last of a breed, in that he was a master of physical creature effects – achieved through make-up, puppetry, robotics, and the like – in an age where such creatures are increasingly being done by computer. His career paralleled another great effects artist, Rick Baker, but where Baker was probably best known for make-up effects (as with his work on all those films where Eddie Murphy plays multiple characters) and had a sideline in creature work, Winston’s emphasis was the other way round.
Strangest movie rumour ever? How about that James Cameron thinks he’s found the body of Jesus and is going to present it at a press conference?
From the Time magazine Middle East blog:
…film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family… Cameron is holding a New York press conference on Monday at which he will reveal three coffins, supposedly those of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene.
The thing is, James Cameron could have the real Jesus, and he’d still think he was the most important thing in the room. What’s the King of Kings to the King of the World?
Is this it? Is this the sign that in America at least, every single thing that can possibly be released on DVD is already out? I refer to the news that Rambo: The Animated Series is to be released on DVD. I had no idea that such a show ever existed, and it truly boggles the mind. But then, having been about nine or ten when Rambo: First Blood Part II was released, I do recall that the film series had a lot of appeal for small boys. (Who knows what it did to their fragile little minds – although it could do a lot to explain the current political environment). The picture on the front of volume 2, in which Rambo punches out an indeterminate ethnic stereotype, is particularly disturbing. (And have Bruce Lee’s estate signed off on the use of the title “Enter the Dragon?”)
Titanic (James Cameron), 1997
Eight months after it opened, it’s a little disorientating to remind myself that I actually did very much enjoy James Cameron’s epic Titanic. That’s because, somewhere in that time period, the unrelenting crudfest that has surrounded this film has made me hate the film and everything about it. I hate Leonardo DiCaprio. I hate James Horner. And surely I can’t be alone in wishing that Celine Dion’s heart would just stop?