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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Tag Archives: trailers
Having posted every other bit of Tintin promotion, it seems remiss not to post the full trailer released the other day. I don’t really have anything to add to what I’ve said before: parts of the animation (particularly the comic “falls”) look a little off; computer animation is a strange choice; but the retro look of the world has a really nice, indefinable Tintin-ness to it.
And now, further to my post earlier today, here’s the Tintin teaser trailer, giving us (a little) more sense of what the animation will look like. There are some nice shots here, but it’s still hard to tell. The overall look is beautiful from what we can see, but they’re holding back on character animation, which will be the big test.
Eighteen months ago I posted about Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus, the latest opus from the folk at Asylum, the studio noted (until now) for basing its whole business model on getting people confused about which DVD they’re renting. Incredibly, it’s turned up here in Melbourne at the Nova.
What’s even more impressive, however, is now they’ve made a sequel: Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus. While there’s nothing in this trailer quite as hilarious as the final shot of the previous trailer, overall it actually looks a lot more fun.
I haven’t been covering MIFF in quite my usual still-not-very-comprehensive-at-all fashion this year. I am of course tempted to blame a Chinese denial of service attack, but this has actually been due to a deadline on my thesis, with my next chapter due, well, now. I had thought it would be out of the way before MIFF, but no, I’m still plugging away.
My planned schedule has been whittled back to the must-sees: so far that has consisted of Duncan Jones’ Moon and the revival of Richard Lowenstein’s cult classic Dogs in Space, which I saw tonight. I will write up both on here, but as the second sessions for both are sold out I haven’t felt massive urgency. Suffice to say Moon is exceptionally good, and Dogs in Space deserves its reputation, even if it’s hard to make any grand claim for its artistic merit.
Until this evening the work of the low budget studio The Asylum had not made it onto my radar. According to a disconcertingly authoritative entry on Wikipedia – and it is precisely for things such as this that Wikipedia emerges as the most reliable source – the studio’s specialty is low-budget, direct-to-DVD movies that are extremely close in their conception and / or titles to major studio blockbusters. The business model seems to be to rely on legitimate crossover interest, or just plain confusion, for their profit. It was this outfit that made the rival War of the Worlds back in 2005, along with The Da Vinci Treasure, Pirates of Treasure Island, Transmorphers, Allen Quartermain and the Temple of Skulls, The Day the Earth Stopped, and The Terminators. It shows a certain nutty chutzpah that I have to respect, and they fit in with a long tradition of pseudo-shyster filmmakers such as (in their very different ways) Edward D. Wood or Roger Corman.
They were drawn to my attention by Ain’t It Cool’s posting of the trailer to their latest epic, the title of which I won’t give away. Let’s just say nobody will complain they weren’t warned.
Snakes on a Plane proved that even big studios aren’t above this kind of batshit marketing. Of course, Asylum went and made Snakes on a Train to exploit that, just reinforcing the symbiosis between these guys and the majors. And at least they’re getting films made: good filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron came out of Roger Corman’s exploitation factory, so I don’t see why they couldn’t emerge from Asylum, too. And frankly, it would be nice if a big Hollywood blockbuster would feature some imagery as insane as the shark eating the Golden Gate Bridge, or the very last shot of this trailer.
You may have noticed the site spluttering back to life in the last couple of weeks, with reviews of Mary and Max and Star Trek following a period of some inactivity. The irony of this, as I’ve mentioned before, is that I’m actually doing more film writing than I have for ages: it’s just that it’s for a PhD, not this site.
I hope to have a detailed retrospective essay up in a about a week or so, but in the meantime, a quick round-up of various things…
Here’s the new trailer for Pixar’s Up:
I like this a lot. As many others have noted – as early as the appearance of the first concept art – this whole project has a strong Miyazaki vibe. Again, Pixar seem willing to nudge their material in a slightly more whimsical direction: perhaps they did, in fact, learn something from their excursion into formulaic mediocrity with Cars.
Here’s the new trailer for Quantum of Solace (aka the Bond movie with the title that makes everyone snicker but which has actually kind of grown on me).
I’ve said way to much about Bond over the years for it to be worth any detailed comment, but it is kind of cool. I love that finally we have some linkage between the films, in a way we haven’t had since the sixties. This looks like it could be the Bond revenge story that should have, but didn’t, follow the best Bond movie of all, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Baz Luhrmann’s Australia hadn’t really been on my radar, despite its profile. I think it was partly the stink of self-indulgence that hung over the project, as well as my increasing reservations about Lurhmann’s style. I enjoyed Strictly Ballroom without loving it, and Romeo + Juliet really impressed me, but by the time of Moulin Rouge I thought Luhrmann’s self-conscious technique had become a liability.
However, the appearance of the first trailer on the internet has put this right at the top of my list. Luhrmann – as best as we can tell – appears to have limited his stylised approach to the framing story and gone for a more old-school epic style of shooting for the rest of the film. I realise a trailer can make anything look good, but damn: this movie looks absolutely gorgeous. We never really have had a really good Australian classical western, despite a few attempts and the fact that the genre is so suited to being transposed here (it isn’t cool to say this, but Man From Snowy River probably got closest). Luhrmann just might have cracked it.
I saw Iron Man the other day. I enjoyed it, but don’t have enough to say about it to warrant a full review. Suffice to say it reminded me a lot of the first Spider-man film; well-written, with good characters and performances and a healthy sense of conviction in the exercise by all involved, but at the same time lacking the really big show-stopping scenes that would have made it more memorable (the climax is really just two guys in metal suits punching each other.) It made me think of these comments by Paul Rameker in an article I’ve linked to before, over at David Bordwell’s page:
I have a theory. In the contemporary comic-book blockbuster, the sequels will always be better than the first entries. Spider-Man 2 is better than Spider-Man, X-Men 2 is better than X-Men, and I will bet that The Dark Knight will be better than Batman Begins, just as Batman Returns was better than Batman. The pattern seems to me to be that the first film in the series is relatively impersonal – the franchise must be established as a franchise, meaning that few boats will be rocked, and the director must prove that they can handle both a film on that scale, and can be trusted with the property with all the investment it represents.
But once they’ve done so, in the above cases where the first films enjoyed significant economic (and critical) success, the directors are given a bit more leeway, are allowed to drive the family car a little further and a little faster. In each case, the second film in the series by the same director has been significantly more idiosyncratic. Batman Returns has much more of Burton’s sense of humor and interest in the grotesque; X-Men 2 is a much more serious and ambitious film narratively and thematically, more obviously the product of a prestige filmmaker (Singer’s never been an auteur by any stretch, so that will have to do). Spider-Man seemed sort of anonymous in terms of style, but Spider-Man 2 had a much more extensive and playful use of classic Raimi techniques: short, fast zooms; canted angles; rapid camera movements; whimsical motivations for techniques, like the mechanical-tentacle POV shot (virtually a repeat of his flying-eyeball POV from Evil Dead 2).
I would second all that and also add that these days, the sequel will get more money spent on it than the original; this and the more straightforward stories allowed once the “origin” story is out of the way means the second film in a series can usually be more action-focused. (Yes, this is a good thing.) The old idea that sequels gradually fade away in terms of quality should be considered completely dead, at least as far as first sequels go; third films in series remain much dodgier propositions.