Wednesday, April 29, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine 8.5/10

SHOOT: What I enjoyed about this flick was its sheer masculinity. The proponents of this film are all intensely masculine, and charming, themselves. Schreiber, Jackman and even Gavin Hood himself, a man I interviewed a few days ago. The Wolverine mythos delves into all those things that young boys and men fixate upon - a man on his own finding his own way, wars, blood, physical work, fighting, strength, sweating in nature, rivalry and loyalty, love and betrayal. Perhaps more than anything else, Wolverine taps into the raw nerve of rage - something men and women alike may feel more sympathetic to in Wolverine than they expected.
All you need to know is that I've seen it twice and it works. It has a lot of mutants in it - something I somehow didn't suspect since the title suggests that it's really the story of Wolverine. Well, it is and it isn't. The heart of this flick is about a bond that exists between two brothers, two almost indestructible warriors. Liev Schreiber steals the show, some have suggested. Yes, he puts in a great performance.
Jackman's mission for Origins was simply this: Exceed Expectations.
There's no redemption where I am going...
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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (12A) XX out of XXXXX

tokyosexwhale -> RE: How do you fuck up a wolverine movie????Time for a reboot!!! (29/4/2009 12:20:03 AM)

Review is spot on, it is awful.

The direction is pedestrian and muddled, massive plot holes that have you slapping your face.....SPOILER BELOW:

Wolverine is made 'indestructible' then escapes the facility only to be hunted down by a man in a helicopter with a gun sent by the very man who just told the audience that Wolverine is indestructible!

Only after helicopter man is duly dispatched the titanium tipped bullets come out (why they weren't given to helicopter-guy is a mystery) and it's been said that 'Only these will stop him' only to then be told, 'no it'll just make him forget''s all just so shoddy.

SHOOT: I give this flick a 8.5/10 (or 4 stars out of 5). I don't think this review reflects the average view, but may speak for the comic book fanbase.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Beastly badass Wolverine (Jackman) is a member of elite military squadron Team X. But when he tries to leave violence behind to become a family man, he finds his past catching up with him in brutal fashion — not least his carnage-loving half-brother Sabretooth (Schreiber).


Can everyone stop making moody origin stories now, please? While not a disaster, this isn’t the claws-out, rampaging adventure we hoped for. No-one cares where Wolverine found his jacket — a spin-off with him kicking ass in Japan would have been way more fun.

Reviewer: Nick de Semlyen

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hood and Jackman on Wolverine: "Gavin and I talked a lot about the aesthetic and tone of it. It's a little darker, a little rawer, a little tougher and maybe a little more human."

SHOOT: I interviewed Gavin Hood on Monday last week. I have to say it was the most inspiring interview I've had to date with anyone. I have secret ambitions myself to write an Oscar winning script (or at least the story or premise on which it is based). Movies have had a profound impact on my life - my upbringing, my reference frame, what inspires me. It is an intensely visual medium - suitable for someone coming from an artistic, expressive family.

I will try to post some snippets from that interview and a movie review from the 29th of April onwards.
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"It was a huge shock for all of us when someone stole the movie," said director Gavin Hood, referring to last month's online leak of an unfinished work print of Wolverine. "It's like reaching out to you guys and grabbing your (reporter's) notebooks and saying, 'I'm going to publish whatever you've written, right now. I know you're not done, but we'll just shove
it out there and see what people think of your work.'"


Jackman took center stage, sharing a behind-the-scenes story of an adamantium malfunction that stopped filming for a while and left another cast member bleeding.

The mishap occurred while filming a dust-up between Jackman's Wolverine and Kitsch's Gambit.

"We were in a fight scene," Jackman said, "and Taylor reeled back quickly and someone called, 'Cut!' I looked down at my claws and there were only two left. I looked over at Taylor and it was sticking out of his thumb. He was just looking at it."

Those were some good memories," Taylor joked. "He stabbed me and I bled -- a lot.
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Tracking #Swine Flu Contagion [+ Special Notice to Bloggers]

SHOOT: Please see below for useful source sites to stay informed. Please exercise discretion with information.

Advisory: Bloggers please do be as discerning as you can be with the information you're putting out there. Do not send PANIC or hoax messages. Lives may depend on the accuracy and even the tone of the messages we pass on. At the same time, comminques from government ought to be treated with a certain amount of skepticism. They've lied to us before, possibly for our own good, but there you have it.

Bloggers can provide a vital service by providing on the ground insights into what is happening in your country on the ground. To differentiate these high quality messages SHOOT suggests tagging your content as follows: #swine flu. People searching for these distinctive high quality messages can then google #swine flu. Use #swine flu with discretion, let's keep the 'non-essential noise to a minimum.
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Flu Virus Image

Step 1. Check the WHO Disease Outbreak News Center

WHO Outbreak Image

Step 2. Set up Google News Alerts

Google News Swine Image

Step 4. Find Where the Flu has Spread with HealthMap

HealthMap Image

Stay Calm, Stay Informed

While there’s likely to be much concern on social networking sites about public health incidents, it’s important to keep things in proportion, and go direct to the sources of news rather than spreading panic.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Wolverine in EMPIRE magazine [PICTURE]

o a workprint of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was famously (and disgracefully) leaked online last week, and while Empire is generally anti-piracy, we just can't resist bringing you this link to the full uncut version of the leaked film - sort of.* - EMPIRE

SHOOT: Anyone who thinks an uncut version of WOLVERINE is the way to go clearly knows nothing about the franchise. WOLVERINE is all about cutting and dicing. I do think piracy and these sort of leaks will become the norm as people can increasingly not afford to pay for movies, and web technologies dance around all the controls in place. Great low angle picture here, except that those sabres look sticky taped on.
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 Previously, I brought you some cool set photos and the first pic from the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie. With that first pic we got a look at Wolverine himself showing off some extra-cool six-taloned action. He looked a bit angry and ready to strike at the people responsible for putting him in what appeared to be a very small cage.

Big mistake on their part. You don't try to cage Wolverine. Jeez people, didn't you get the memo?

This latest pic, featured over at Empire Online, carries on the tradition and provides yet-another look at our hero and his famous talons. This time, though, we see in a cool low-angle shot, talons at the ready, about to take care of business.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Movie Review: Monsters vs. Aliens

How to make a successful animation flick? A large dollop of imagination, two scoops of humor and a relatively sarcastic view of the world at large. And don't forget to have fun and improvise while poking fun at virtually everyone (not forgetting Al Gore).
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Got to admit, when you’ve directed, or at least co-directed, the
biggest money-making animated movie of all time, topping yourself isn’t
exactly the easiest thing to do. Such is the case of Conrad Vernon. No
doubt he knew he had a hit when he started calling the shots on Shrek 2. No one would have guessed the film would eventually go on to make nearly a $1 billion worldwide.
Monsters vs. Aliens
Still, as proven in his interview earlier this week, Vernon was smart enough to not go on to do Shrek the 3rd.
Instead he decided to give his properly warped love of science fiction
monster movies of the 50s the treatment they deserved. He and fellow
director Rob Letterman plopped Ed Wood Jr., Roger Corman, Mars Attacks!
(both the original trading cards and the Tim Burton movie) and just
about everything psychotronic since then into an atom smasher. From
there, the now established Dreamworks formula of name stars and a
relatively sarcastic view of the world at large were applied.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Movie Meat Reviews: The Reader

I avoided this flick for a few weeks because I wasn't really in the mood for a Nazi, 2nd World War, witchunt type of movie. But in the end it was either Kate Winslet or movies like Tornado (which IMDB doesn't even rate) and Finding Lenny.

I was surprised how much The Reader made me feel. It really takes you places. I've had a couple of relationships with older women and The Reader gives the right amount of empathy, passion and raw but not over-delivered sexuality to the whole process. A lot of credit has to go to Winslet - she won an Oscar for her performance - for stripping herself down not only in terms of clothing, but in terms of her persona. The flick is at times incredibly bleak, but always intriguing.

Michael: I'm not frightened. I'm not frightened of anything. The more I suffer, the more I love. Danger will only increase my love, will sharpen it, will give it spice. I will be the only angel you need. You will leave life even more beautiful than you entered it. Heaven will take you back and look at you and say: "Only one thing can make a soul complete and that thing is love."

A strange, unsolicited memory floated up to me whilst watching The Reader. When I was a small boy I developed a voracious appetite for reading. It started at the age of about 6 or 7 with Enid Blyton. The Famous Five, Secret Seven, the Adventure stories, and then I ventured into Franklin W. Doxon's Hardy Boys and Willard Price's outdoor adventure stories.

From there I went into everything else - biographies, classical fiction (I loved Wuthering Heights) and at the age of 13 I was so inspired by what I was reading, I started to write. By 15 I was ensconced in a novel (titled Versatile Flying Secrets - a mixture of Highlander, Star Wars, Braveheart and the French Open) which took me two years to write. But I digress.

As a youngster I was the most well read of my peers, and in junior school when lessons were over in some classes (if not all) the teacher would settle down to marking and hand the class over to a reader. I was one of them and eventually I was unanimously elected as the class favorite - mostly because I did not get stuck on words and could explain the meaning of most and so we could move swiftly through one exciting story after another. I remember the books of those times: The Day of the Triffids, Buchan's The 39 Steps, Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals.

The art of reading means you have to anticipate not only the flow and cadence of the writer, but also sense the ethos with which he has imbued his story. You have to represent this in the tone and levity (or lack of in one's voice). It is an incredible compliment to have readers/listeners accept your interpretation. One feels quite a special sense that although one is not the writer, one is a step closer to the magical place the writer sat or stood (the place in his or heart or mind) when he or she wrote it. And this says something important about the acuity of one's perceptions. At least, I like to think so.

The flick made me think that I would love to take my favorite books from right now [The Hours is one] and read the first or a handful of pages and record these as individual podcasts. I've recently recorded my voice and am not happy with the result, so I will probably have to practise in order to be satisfied that the voice does justice to the text (and that the exercise is worth doing in the first place). So that is something I intend to do as another ongoing project on this site.

The other aspect that rang a bell was that when I visited Germany in the late 1990's I visited the camp known as Dachau. Winslet is right to say that you can visit these camps but you get nothing from them. Nothing comes out of them. My experience was the same. The photographs spoke to me more than the clean barracks or the brickwork (which looked brand new). And photos can be found in newspapers or books or online.
I was surprised not to feel the ghosts in an area that had seen so many people die. Even the ovens looked less used than an ordinary pizza oven, giving the impression much had probably been rebuilt, replastered etc.

And I had a very strange experience in Munch, and quite unpleasant. When I left England, I shaved my head with a slight perception in my head of wanting to fit into the German modicum of neatness and precision. One day I went walking around Munich and dressed entirely in black. It was one of the most uncomfortable days I have spent in a foreign city anywhere, before or since. A lot of people shot me strange looks, and it wasn't long before I realised they thought I was a skinhead, or a Nazi. This was crushing experience for an expat South African who has to deal with people who commonly think so he must be a racist once you've told them where you're from.

When I arrived at my friend's flat in Dietramzellerstrasse and I told him how the ordinary German's had stared at me he laughed. In Germany there is still a definite feeling of guilt and unease about the atrocities during WWII. Coincidentally, South Africans carry around similar but obviously different burdens. Some countries of course have no political burdens at all, such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, which is why these are the favored destinations for so many immigrants.

The Reader is a riveting but tragic story. It is a story that demonstrates how small substleties can steer entire lives, and how our stern judgements are sometimes salt in already deep enough wounds. It is also one of the most intelligent movies out there, so I highly recommend you catch it while you can.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gene Gwynne: Story Logs

I have an anthology screenplay comprised of four sci-fi/horror/fantasy scripts of dark comedy, satire, parody, and human angst; intended for the youth/young-adult market. Current advancements in computer graphics may be used for the required sfx. As the emphasis is on story and comedy, top-notch sfx are not required. The young live in a virtual reality world. Target is the largest audience at the least cost.

Each of these short screenplays were once considered for tv shows and/or consistently finish among the top finalists in short screenplay competitions:

A murdered wife, buried within her bio-genetic garden, resurrects in a campaign of revenge.

A small space alien is captured by two boys who mistake him for an action toy.

The commander of a secret military base dares to challenge a UFO that hovers above.

An aspiring young actor makes a pact with an ugly old witch: an evening of romance in exchange for a pot of gold.

I have had representation several times in the past, and was optioned once by a major tv producer. I am currently without representation and am not a WGA member.

Thank you for your time.
Gene Gwynne

(760) 326-5356

MM Says: Send us something with more MEAT, say your own personal pick from this bunch. Not the whole thing, just the first few scenes. Let's see how you color it and how the dialogue goes. If we like it we'll pass it on and if they like it we'll ask for more and start talking dollars and cents.
Also do you have a showreel, possibly something short on YOUTUBE that forms part of your portfolio.

Early Twitter Buzz: Star Trek

Jro_normaljaireaux: I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The cast is superb, the story is compelling, the action is exciting, and Abrams even avoids any blatant cheesy “winks” about his reboot. If Star Trek is the bluebird of the summer movie season, then we are in for a great ride.

SHOOT: Can't wait!
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Star Trek Kirk and Spock

Paramount pulled a MASSIVE bait and switch with tonight’s Alamo Drafthouse’s screening of Wrath of Kahn on Monday night. The announced line-up included some never before seen footage from JJ Abrams Star Trek followed by Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn. Guess what… They didn’t show Kahn at all… The Austin Texas audience because the first audience to see the entire new Star Trek film. Leonard Nimoy, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci were in attandance. I’m so jealous! So what is the early reaction? Lets go to the Twitters….

Twitter_normalchinesedentist: says OMG I just got back from Star Trek and it was AMAZING. The best Star Trek movie ever. Yes, it even bests Wrath of Khan. Believe me.
Me_normalwipeout: Any old Stat Trek nerds out there who are troubled, calm down, all is right with the new Star Trek movie of which I approve.
Becky_and_miss_h_normalbosmon: holy sh** we just saw world premiere of new #Star Trek and it’s AWESOME
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Should South Africa's Politicians Be Obsessed with Race?

SHOOT: If they want to win, yes. because the ordinary citizen is very race conscious. Morally though, it is a device, a ploy that really amounts to a focus on finger wagging, rationalising and justifying and defending. There's not a focus on the merits of what needs to be done for all. South Africa, or any country, can't afford to operate in such a divided and divisive manner. But are unfortunately in the habit of doing so. Imagine an elections in the USA or Britain where one candidate effectively says: I represent the interests of blacks. The other says: I don't represent your interests, I represent the interests of my race group. Isn't it better to - as sincerely and genuinely as possible - represent interests, economic goals and civic values of service delivery for all?
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During a recent interview with Sowetan, DA leader Helen Zille, pictured, was asked about the continuing racial inequalities in Cape Town – a city which her party wants to project as a Mecca of racial harmony.

In response, she argued that she lived in Rosebank “a suburb which is more racially integrated than any other suburb in Johannesburg”.

“Johannesburg is much more segregated than Cape Town. I live in a black majority suburb – coloured and black majority suburb, and I have never found a place in Johannesburg which is as integrated,” she said.

Either Zille does not know Johannesburg and has a parochial view about it; or she ascribes to the dictum by a former Mpumalanga premier that it is okay for politicians to lie. I suspect the latter is the case. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Zille’s response about racially integrated suburbs is a manifestation of the DA’s even worse flaw – its superficial, and therefore racist, approach to non-racialism.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

'Wolverine' is a great movie - You're fired for saying that

The movie, which focuses on the beginnings of Hugh Jackman's clawed Marvel superhero Wolverine, is not scheduled for release until May 1.

SHOOT: If anything this sort of thing (controversy) gives publicity and adds to the anticipation. Fox isn't being smart about this.
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In this March 26, 2009 file photo, actor Hugh Jackman arrives for opening night

LOS ANGELES – Fox News columnist Roger Friedman is out after posting a story of a leaked full-length work print of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."

Fox News said Monday that the company's representatives and Friedman "mutually agreed to part ways immediately."

Friedman was for 10 years a Fox News correspondent and the chief entertainment columnist for He wrote in his Fox 411 column Thursday that he watched a print of the movie on the Internet and that the 20th Century Fox superhero prequel "exceeds expectations at every turn."

The early review of the film, which 20th Century Fox described as a "stolen, incomplete and early version," was later removed from the Web site Friday.
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'Wolverine' leak - Hugh Jackman snarls

"It's a serious crime and there's no doubt it's very disappointing — I was heartbroken by it," Jackman said.

MM: Online Leaks are going to be more frequent as fewer people can afford to go to the movies. But a good flick will always draw crowds. And a very good one will have people watching it more than once (at the movies, again at the movies, on DVD, wherever they can get some more).
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SYDNEY – Hugh Jackman said Wednesday that he is heartbroken his new film, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," was leaked online a month before its official release.

The movie, which focuses on the beginnings of Jackman's clawed Marvel superhero Wolverine, is not scheduled for release in the U.S. until May 1, but a work print of the film began appearing online last week. 20th Century Fox said the FBI and Motion Picture Association of America were investigating and promised to prosecute those responsible.

The Australian actor, in Sydney to unveil 20 minutes of completed footage of the film to around 600 fans, said he was upset about the leak but still thinks fans will flock to see the movie in theaters.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

WIRED: Why the Terminator Is Unstoppable

This a great article on a somewhat unlikely franchise. Maybe the franchise worked because people suspect it is supremely relevant. Doomsday. Machines. The End of the World. Yeah, that stuff.
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Christian Bale plays John Connor, leader of the human resistance, in the upcoming Terminator Salvation.
Photo: Richard Foreman
It's possible because of Terminators themselves. They're the draw here. Like many beloved phenomena—penicillin, the Internet, Letterman—they're not planned. They just happen, and they are awesome. Their programming is refreshingly simple: Destroy. Occasionally protect. And, when necessary, quip.
(Dick Cheney wasn't the first cyborg to devise a doctrine of preemptive defense.) But that's just half the soldier's mission; the other half, the half Connor doesn't tell him about, is to sire Connor by having sweaty terror sex with Sarah in a grungy motel. (Pimping your best friend to your once-and-future mom, from across time, to engineer your own birth—that is so awesome.)
Dodging bullets is fine for a while, but in the long run aren't you more interested in (and terrified by) the guy who just takes it? Who. Just. Keeps. On. Coming?
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Movie Review: Marley and Me

John Grogan: A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn't care if your rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?

IMDB gives M&M 7.2/10. But don't take their word for it. Animal lovers, like religious people, have a different set of values, insights and experiences from everybody else. And this movie has something of a back story for me.

My father bought a Labrador puppy years ago - the runt of a litter. We named him Pasquinel after a french explorer in the James Michener book Centennial. It was a crazy choice that somehow stuck. Pask - I remember that dog licking me awake on sooo many mornings... Pask was absolutely terrified of thunderstorms, but sired three beautiful dogs. Lala and Jessie are all that's left, bitches that are now old tannies, Lala with a biggish tumor on her hind leg. Max, the male, suffered from a degenerative spinal disease that slowly ate up the dog's spine. My father, an old dog himself, didn't want to put the dog down. He said he believed the dog still wanted to live and that it wasn't up to him to deprive him of his right to life. Max suffered more than we thought was necessary, and there was some snot and trane when he was put down.

Barry Ronge's review is one I think you should read too: Paws for thought.
Ronge writes: I know it all sounds very “Disney on sentimental steroids” but it is a true story. Marley was a real dog and the Grogans are a real family, which adds the necessary ballast to one of the best “dogs-and-their-families” movies so far this century.

I liked this flick for a few reasons besides. Based on a true story, about a man, John Grogan, who yearns to be a cutting edge writer (that resonated with me) and at the same time is trying to balance a home life (and keep it happy). Simple and unambitious you think?

Marley & Me is a meaningful flick in that it touches some basics, but big basics, in that great Scheme called Life. Sometimes we forget the simple themes in our gadget-filled and infotainment lives. And one of the basic themes in life is simply to go out there and seize it. Go OUTSIDE, onto the lawns, into the outdoor swimming pools (or duckponds) and get wet, get into the wind and sun. Writing about the Ironman, a day in which people run around all day wearing barely a thread of clothing, I said- The goal is here. Not some time or place in the future, but Now. The world suddenly seems irretrievably large, and glowing. Now look at what you can live, and then leap in to it.

That is what we learn from having a dog or any pet for that matter. That they are there, they seize life by the paws or by the teeth. They live it. They seize each day for its scraps - the fun, the food, the lazy comfort of a square of sunshine on the carpet. And then it is gone. In that simple contrast is a valuable lesson. That we appreciate each other. That we recognise a moment for its fleeting specialness. That we remember that this too, however good it is, or bad, will pass. To honor our moments together, especially those shared. And that the most valuable of our moments and memories are those shared with others - human and other creatures alike.

I cried in this film, and so did other men. A woman I know that works for Twentieth century Fox told me not a single man walked out of her first screening with dry eyes. This is why I highly recommend this flick. Not because you will cry, but because you will be moved in a way that reminds you what makes sense in life. 8/10 and don't you forget it.