October 29th, 2007

There are some great trailers over at, most of which haven’t appeared on the Apple trailer site yet. Here’s a quick look at the ones I find interesting:

Kung Fu Panda
It’s been ages since I heard about this movie for the first time: a panda that does Kung Fu, how can that not be great! The trailer is kind of funny, but I have a feeling the best moments in that film won’t be coming from Jack Black, but from all the other characters. I mean you get: Angelina Jolie as Master Tigress, Lucy Liu as Master Viper and Jackie Chan as Master Monkey!

Kung Fu Panda

I’ve read a couple of reviews about this movie and trust me when I say that this trailer does not give much away. If you’re interested in the film, I would suggest though staying away from future trailers, knowing the track record Hollywood has with managing to spoil a film with their trailers. Oh yeah, it’s got Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alblah in it.

The 10 Commandments
Now this trailer is on the Apple site already and I had actually seen it a couple of weeks ago. I really thought this was a trailer for a fake movie! It just looks sooooo bad, but has a lot of well known voices in it. Are all those actors (Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater, Elliott Gould, Alfred Molina) really that desperate?

The 10 Commandments

Repo! The Genetic Opera!
I’m a sucker for musicals, but I admit most are too cutesy and happy. This movie though just looks deliciously dark and creepy and they’re singing! It just looks plain weird, mixing great musical singers (Sarah Brightman) with actors that can sing (Paul Sorvino, Anthony Head, yes it’s Giles!) with pure trash (Paris Hilton). I don’t know what to make of it, but I am very much intrigued.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
The title above has a link to the first trailer, there’s also a second. I love that they’re trying to market this movie in different ways. The first trailer is more general, showing a bit of everything in the movie. The second is purely focusing on the horror aspects of the film and I heard a third trailer is coming soon focusing on the musical parts. It’s looks dark and disturbing, but what would you expect of a Tim Burton movie with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter? I also love that they cast Alan Rickman and Sasha Baron Cohen.

Sweeney Todd

Review: Stardust

October 16th, 2007

I’ve just gotten back from a screening of Stardust and to summarize it in one word: brilliant. I read the book (by Neil Gaiman) a couple of months ago and to be honest I wasn’t that impressed. The movie, however, took all the elements that did work in the book, altered the story line into something more fit for screen and added some fantastic features. I think this might actually be the first time I like the movie much more than the book. In terms of style, it certainly belongs up there with Labyrinth, The Princess Bride and The Never-Ending Story, but what I love from this movie is that it isn’t a kids movie. Yes, kids will enjoy it, but it’s not purely aimed at them. It’s first and foremost a fairy tale, albeit a very funny one.


The Plot

The movie is set 150 years ago in the small English town Wall, named after the nearby wall guarding the way to the magical kingdom of Stormhold. Our protagonist is Tristan Thorpe (Charlie Cox), a young man from Wall, with an unrequited love for the pretty but cold Victoria (Sienna Miller). While seeing a shooting star fall down to earth, Tristan promises to go beyond the wall and retrieve it to prove his love to her. He finds the star, only to discover it is a beautiful, shining girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes), knocked out of the sky by a jewel. This jewel is the dying king’s solution to the succession to the throne of Stormhold; whichever of his sons reclaims the jewel and survives the assassination attempts of the others, inherits the throne. From the seven sons (all aptly named Primus, Secundus and so on to Septimus) only three still are alive; the rest, having been assassinated by their brothers, are overlooking the whole debacle as ghosts stuck in the form they died in (axe in the head, etc). Next to that there’s also a witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her two sisters looking for the star to regain their youth, beauty and power by eating the star’s heart. While Tristan initially only wants to take Yvaine back to Wall to show to Victoria, he quickly takes on the role as her protector, slowly falling in love with her.


The Acting

Kudos to the casting crew; all the characters where perfectly cast. Charlie Cox was fantastic as the unworldly shop boy trying to find his place in the world. You could really see his transformation into a man unfold on the screen; although it was helped by the makeover and haircut halfway through the movie. I loved how they made Claire Danes literally glow of delight, matching her radiant personality. I was a bit annoyed that in the trailers and promotions it seems as if Ricky Gervais and Rupert Everett both have substantial parts, while they both only appear briefly. The most impressive performances though would have to be Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert de Niro. Pfeiffer is just perfect as the evil witch, slowly decaying from beautiful woman into ugly hag. And Robert de Niro? Superb as the ferocious Captain Shakespeare. This is just a performance you have to have seen to believe it. I won’t give anything away, but it’s unlike any de Niro you’ve seen before.

The Special Effects

I love it when the special effects don’t get in the way of the storytelling or when effects are added purely “because they are cool”. Here all effects were used to drive the plot, exactly fitting into the flow of the movie. In most fantasy films (yes, even Lord of The Rings) most effects look cheesy and you perceive them as cheesy. With Stardust there were also cheesy effects, but it somehow fit against the backdrop of the tale. There’s a great scene where Lamia turns a chariot into a giant inn with stables and everything, which just looks amazing.


The Action

No fairy tale is complete without a sword fight, and boy, does Stardust deliver. It has one of the most original sword fights I’ve seen in ages (The Pirates of The Caribbean Moonlight Dance remains the best), although it could have been a bit longer for my tastes. There are also some great magic battles, with the magic visualized as green flames/light. I’m still waiting for a movie where there’s no need to picture “magic” with pretty colours.


The Funny

This film wouldn’t have worked if it wasn’t for the great comedy moments. My favourite bits included anything with Captain Shakespeare, but as I said before you’ll have to see that for yourself. The ghosts of the princes were also hilarious, giving great commentary during serious moments. The movie is full of little jokes, keeping the mood always light and simple. For instance, there’s a funny scene where the guard of the wall goes completely ninja on Tristan, doing spinning kicks and the like. That actor is 78! Another scene includes a mouse and they managed to get the cutest, sweetest mouse to pose all cute and sweet. I think it was a real mouse; if that was CGI I’m really impressed!



I loved this movie and it certainly has made its way into my favourite movies list. Although at first glance it may seem all fairy tale like and childish, it has some great action scenes and a lot of funny moments. A must see!

New IMDB Feature: Characters

October 12th, 2007

I can’t believe this new IMDB feature slipped by me. If you’re reading this blog, then I assume you have at least an inkling of an idea of what IMDB is. If not, it’s the Internet Movie DataBase and contains info about movies, actors, directors, producers, etc. Pretty handy, if you want to know everything about movies and tv as I do.

IMDB has two main cornerstones: Name pages, for all the people (actors, producers, etc) and Title pages for, ehm, all the titles (movies, tv-series, videogames, etc). Last week they added a new type of page to the mix: Character pages. Every character from a movie or tv-series or video game can have their own page including biography, quotes and appearances. The IMDB staff have already created 20000 character pages of the most well-known characters, but the idea is that users can add and edit pages.

This feature starts to get interesting when considering characters that appear in multiple series/movies or have been played by different people. For instance, did you know that Ursula Buffay, the sister of Phoebe in Friends first appeared in Mad About You? Or that Jack Ryan, a main character in books of Tom Clancy, has been portayed by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck?

Sadly, I have noticed some problems with this new feature. Because the content is user generated, you only need one lazy user to create a new page for someone who already exists. IMDB gives a nice disclaimer:

The content of this page was created by users. It has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.

But does this mean that there are also pages that are screened and verified? I’ve already stumbled on multiple pages for one person (King Arthur) and I wonder how IMDB will deal with this.

It’s an interesting new feature and it gives IMDB that extra dimension to create an even more complex network. If you’re looking to procrastinate, you can easily spend some time just clicking from one page to another. Don’t look at me like that; I never do that ! ๐Ÿ˜‰

By now you might have heard that JJ Abrams, the “mastermind” (/me rolls eyes) behind Alias, Lost and MI:3, is working on a remake of Star Trek and by now you might have realised that I don’t particularly like JJ Abrams. Yes, he does a pretty good job in creating interesting series (Alias, Lost), but his status as “mastermind” has launched a fervent following, blindly going to anything JJ has created (even though it sucks), and causing JJ to think he can do anything, which he can’t (MI:3 was okay, but not great). Instead of sticking with his creations, after a while he seems to get bored with them and jumps to another project, while those creations completely go under the moment he leaves.

Okay, so I’m not that big of a JJ Abrams fan, but the casting of Star Trek has got me more and more intrigued. First, it was reported a couple of months ago that Zachary Quinto (serial-killer power stealing Sylar in Heroes) would play Spock, but that Leonard Nimoy would aslo be coming back for that role. A couple weeks later Anton Yelchin was cast as the Russian Chekhov. Then it was announced that Zoe Saldana would play Uhura. Since then it remained remarkably silent, until two days ago. It was then revealed that Chris Pine would fill the gigantic shoes of William Shatner, taking on the role of Captain Kirk.


Apart from the Zachary Quinto casting, most of that news just left me cold (I don’t even know those actors). But looking at the pictures I understand why they where cast; all of them seem to have that same air as their predecessors.

Now with this next little bit of casting news that I heard this morning, my interest has really piqued: Simon Pegg has been cast as Scotty. Hmm, interesting and potentially brilliant. The thought of casting Pegg (Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz) hadn’t even crossed my mind and I find it surprising that they even considered this. Wait a minute, I just realized I forgot Pegg was in MI:3, which (drumroll please!)… was directed by JJ Abrams. Okay, now the casting makes a bit more sense.


I’m still not sure how this movie is going to turn out, but casting-wise it’s seems on the right track. I’m hoping it’s not going to be the complete disaster my mind thinks it’s going to be. [Via FirstShowing and AICN]

Update: AICN just reported that John Cho from Harold and Kumar, Kitchen Confidential of Off Centre has been cast as Mr Sulu. I loved him in Kitchen Confidential!

Last week I managed to get tickets to a free screening of Daywatch (Dnevnoy Dozor), the sequel to the Russian cult movie Nightwatch (Nochnoy Dozor). Both movies are based on the books by Sergei Lukyanenko and that was the main reason why I hadn’t seen the first film yet. If possible, I always like to read book adaptations, before seeing the film, because you’re otherwise stuck with the film version in your mind, every time you read the book. In most cases once I create my own interpretation of the book, it won’t be affected by watching the movie.

With Nightwatch and Daywatch, however, I still hadn’t taken the time to read the books and a part of me is still regretting that decision. The world and mythology of the series seem quite complex and I think you’ll only grasp the whole idea of that world if you read the books.


So, first up: Nightwatch. After watching it, I did a little googling and wikipediaing to find out there are actually 2 versions. You have the original and the international version, and there are quite some notable adjustments in the international one to make the story clearer for a foreign audience. I watched the original and I really understand why there was the need for an international cut. The version I saw was at times extremely confusing, moving from one storyline to another without any clear indication. There were also subplots that only added to the confusion and I was glad to hear they had been cut from the international adaption.


In the world of Nightwatch you have “Others”, humans with supernatural powers (mages, vampires, shape-shifters), living among us. Hundreds of years ago there was a great battle between the forces of Light (the Goodies) and the forces of Dark (the Baddies), that ended with both sides signing a truce. To keep a balance between Good and Evil, the forces of Light roam during the daytime and the forces of Dark during the nighttime. Both are regulated though by representatives of the other side: the Daywatch consists of Dark Others supervising the Day and the Nightwatch consists of Light Others supervising the night. The story is set in modern-day Moscow and follows Anton, a member of the Nightwatch, dealing with the problems that arise during a watch. I can’t say more without giving too much of the plot away, but that’s basically the gist of it.


I did like the movie, but as I said before it was sometimes too confusing. I regularly had moments that I was going: “Heh? Weren’t we watching another girl? When did it switch to this girl? And who’s that guy?” If you know me, I rarely loose track of the plot of a movie, but with this one I had quite some trouble. I’m hoping the international version handles it better, cause on all other fronts the movie was quite enjoyable. The actors were chosen well, the special effects were great and the atmosphere of the movie just oozed “weird”. There were a couple of great subtle effects, like this faint wisp of red mist forming when a vampire moved. I think this was one of the first movies that didn’t portray supernatural beings as just plain corny.


Next: Daywatch. I can’t say anything about the plot of this movie without giving everything of Nightwatch away. I’ll only say that it’s again about Anton (yes, he survives Nightwatch, if I’ve spoiled the movie for you, boohoo, get over it). The plot of the movie was much better to follow than it’s predecessor, but then this was the international version (I wonder if the original version of Daywatch is also hard to follow).

I loved the actors, music and special effects even more in Daywatch, but that could also be from seeing it in a cinema instead of on a small tv. The special effects used in the end sequence were just amazing. I hate it when effects are too overdone, when you can easily see that they’re not real. Here they seem quite subtle, but the effect is superb. There’s one scene with half a building in rubble and I wasn’t sure which part was real and which part CGI.


Extra kudos to the designers and artists behind the subtitles and yes, you read that right: designers and artists. The subtitles are unlike any I’ve seen before. There have been movies and tv-series that have a unique placement of the subtitles (Heroes) or show the subtitles in another colour (Kill Bill), but here the subtitles are very much a part of the whole experience. For starters, if there are two people on the screen, the subtitles will be placed under the person who it belongs to. Sometimes the words from one sentence wouldn’t appear all at the same time, but with some delay for extra effect. Another example is that words like dead or blood were coloured red. A more interesting instance was when one of the characters was drumming and one of the words in the subtitle was jumping up and down on the beat of the drum. All together, it gave a very unique experience to something as mundane as subtitles. Instead of only reading words, which sometimes causes you to miss the screen action, the subtitles are used to augment
what is seen and heard on the screen.


Both movies aren’t the typical Hollywood movie and they won’t be appreciated by every movie goer. The woman next to me, who was dragged along by her husband, actually said about halfway through the movie that she was bored! Well, I was many things during that movie, but I definitely wasn’t bored. For the guys reading this: in Daywatch there was this one shower scene kind of involving two woman and I don’t think I have to say more. There’s another great scene where a car is driven on to the side of a building (this sentence doesn’t even come close to describing what happened, you’ll just have to see it yourself).

If you like something different and are not scared off by foreign films, I really recommend this movie. This is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you like vampire/werewolf/etc movies and weird stories, you’ve got to check this movie out.

Review: 3:10 To Yuma

September 13th, 2007

I just got back from a screening I was able to go to of the western 3:10 To Yuma with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. To be honest, it didn’t really look that interesting to me and I don’t think I would have gone if it hadn’t been for the free tickets. What convinced me to even show up today was the fact that Christian Bale is in it. Since seeing him in Equilibrium (which is actually on TV now as I write this), I’ve found that any film with him in it, is actually worth watching.

3:10 To Yuma

Christian Bale plays Dan Evans, a rancher who is paid to help bring a captured outlaw, Ben Wade played by Russell Crowe, to a train leaving at 3:10 to Yuma, where he will be led to trial. Bale perfectly portrays Dan as a down-on-his-luck man who is desperate to do anything to sustain him and his family. He believes he has long failed and lost the respect of his wife and sons, which is why he decides to take on the offer of escorting Ben Wade to the train. Adding to that is Russell Crowe as the outlaw Ben Wade. This character could have been so one-sided and just plain mean and unlike-able, but Crowe manages to actually bring some more dimensionality into it. He isn’t really the completely bad-person that he wants you to think he is; just one with not too high morals. The acting of the two main characters was just superb; I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them got nominated for an Oscar next year.

3:10 To Yuma

So what did I think of it? It was… interesting. It’s not as if I didn’t like it, but I also didn’t really love it. The acting was good, the music was good, the setting was good; in fact there was a lot that was good, but nothing that was great. Maybe it’s because I’m not the western type or the “Oscar”-winning movie type. Haven’t you ever noticed that most Oscar nominated movies are quite intense and dramatic? Full of meaningful life lessons and bravery and complicated relationships?Well, this was kind of one of those films. I can appreciate 3:10 To Yuma as a good well-thought-out well-cast well-scripted well-directed and so on movie, but it won’t be one I’ll passionately adore and want to see over and over again.

If you like Oscar-type movies, you really should go here. If you don’t, wait till it comes out on dvd and watch it before the Oscars in February; it has all the requirements to be nominated and I have a weird feeling it will.

Maybe you’ve already heard about this, but yesterday AICN reported that Shia LaBeouf disclosed the name of the fourth Indiana Jones movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Soon thereafter the official IndyIV website also confirmed it, so it’s not some weird rumour just floating about, but the real deal.


Now the title kindles some pretty nice speculation about the plot of the movie. I remember reading about the discovery of a crystal skull which was supposedly thousands and thousands years old and not carved with metal tools, but I’m not sure what part is just Big Foot-loving-Elvis-is-alive-believing-Alien-worshipping-paranormal bullshit and what part was actually real. It does fit right up the alley of the previous Indy films.


But what about the “Kingdom” part? Here’s my prediction: the Kingdom will be Atantis. It would fit, right? Indy searching for an advanced ancient civilization, because of a crystal skull he found with clues indicating to where it leads. Better yet: let’s also use some of the “original” story! The “real Indy” took his 17-year old daughter exploring some temple and she discovered the skull. So for the movie let’s have Indy’s son discover the skull!

But then I read this on

The crystal skulls turn out to be alien skulls, underneath a Mayan or Aztec pyramid that takes off and thus reveals itself to be a mothership of sorts.

I hope this is not true; aliens will make it just too corny. Little grey men and flying saucers?!? Okay, for some movies it can work, but I don’t think IndyIV would be one of them. It could be just a internet rumour and I’ll continue to believe my only little prediction until I hear actual confirmation from the studio.

London Film and Comic Con

September 8th, 2007

I’ve been a bit lax lately with writing about the events that I’ve been to, but here’s finally a report of one of them. Last Sunday I went to my very first nerd fest geek gathering convention: the London Film and Comic Con.

There was quite a good line-up of guests; however, some weeks eariler the event was moved to one week earlier and some guests, like Zachary Quinto (Sylar in Heroes) and Torri Hogginson (Stargate Atlantis) had to drop out. The big guests that they announced (and showed up) were: Patrick Stewart (do I even have to mention were he’s from? If so: shame on you!), Dominic Monaghan (Charlie in Lost, Merry in LOTR), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennett in Heroes) and Jack Coleman (Mr Bennet aka HRG in Heroes). Then 2 days before the event they also added Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli in Heroes) and Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli in Heroes). Wow!! For a Heroes lover like me, it couldn’t get any better. (BTW: there were a whole lot of other “celebrities”, but are people really interested in the “guy who walked in the hallway” in Star Wars?? Sorry, but I’m not one of them.)


I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the whole day, but I have to admit I was at the same time delighted and disappointed. The venue was just horrible; most of the stalls didn’t get enough light and the most important guests were cramped in one corner. You also could only “meet” the guests, if you payed for a signed autograph. This also sometimes only meant walking up to them, them taking the photo/poster/weird fan item and scribbling quickly on it, without even glacing up. As a poor, poor student living in expensive, expensive London, getting one autotgraphs (let alone 6 of them) was not a possibility. I would have loved just to step up to them, completely make a fool of myself and go cheerfully my own way. Alas, it was not to be.


Cristiano and I did manage to get a couple of good photo’s of the main guests, which was quite tricky. You weren’t allowed to make photo’s up close and the stewards were pushing everybody back and standing in your path blocking your view. I only didn’t get a good shot Hayden (I did see her! just a quick glimpse). To see more photos just go Cristiano’s Flickr page.

I loved the stalls, but most of the cool stuff were way to expensive. One stall was selling a replica of the Hiro sword from Heroes, that would perfectly go with out Kill Bill and Last Samuari swords. Maybe next year (one can only hope ๐Ÿ˜€ ). I stumbled across 2 second hand Buffy books for only 4 pounds and got 4 small posters (Ratatouille, Transformers, Aeon Flux and Fealess) for 80p! Next to that we also got a Casino Royale pokerset, which of course we’ll be taking with us to BarCamp Brighton tomorrow.

I’m definitely going to next year’s LFACC (and I hope I have a little bit more money to spend). It wasn’t the “best day evah”, but still very enjoyable.

Ooh, just heard that this was just reported:

Joseph Fiennes, Stuart Townsend and Naomi Watts are the latest addition to the 6th Harry Potter movie “Half-Blood Prince”.

It isn’t known yet what roles they’ll be playing, but my new plaid pants has some good ideas about it. I can easily see Naomi Watts playing Narcissa Malfoy; she was the only suitable actress I could think of that would pull Narcissa off (kind of drawing a blank on young blond English actresses, some help people?). Joseph Fiennes, being the brother of Ralph Fiennes who plays dark and twisty Voldemort, should definitely get the part of one of Voldeemorg’s relatives (grandfather, father, uncle? how old were they all supposed to be?). I think Tom Riddle Sr. (his father); didn’t Voldemort look like him?

But Stuart Townsend? Who’s he supposed to be playing? I looked up which (male) characters appear in book 6 and haven’t made an appearance yet in any of the films:

Fenrir Greyback
Marvolo Gaunt
Morfin Gaunt
The Muggle Prime Minister
Tom Riddle Sr.
Rufus Scrimgeour
Horace Slughorn
Bill Weasley

My guess for Townsend is Bill Weasley; I can easily picture him with red hair and I’d think he’d fit in the Weasley family. There are still some big parts that haven’t been cast yet (namely professor Slughorn). So, who do you want to see cast in the movie?

Busy Week!

July 24th, 2007

It’s been a very busy week for me and I haven’t had time yet to post about any of the stuff I’ve done. So here’s a quick overview of what I’ve been doing. Reviews will come soon, I promise.

Tuesday: Went to Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix
Thursday: Moo’s Hot and Sticky Summer Party
Friday: Read all the summaries of Harry Potter Books 1 to 5 and reread Book 6 (in 9 hours!)
Saturday: Patiently waiting for HP Book 7 and then madly reading once it was delivered :D.
Sunday: Still reading HP7, went to an evening preview of Transformers (very cool!!), continued reading HP7 till 4am and finished it ๐Ÿ˜€