Saturday, October 27, 2007

New Line at 40

Shiny Disc Reviews Kick Off Again

I finally got the shiny disc reviews going again today, with my review of the DVD for Tell No One being published on my UK DVD Review Blog and an HD-DVD review of The Reaping almost finished, ready for publication on my HD-DVD Review Blog tomorrow. When I get to finally publish a review on my Blu-Ray Review Blog (probably not until Tuesday) I shall feel I'm 'back in the saddle', caught up again and finally back home for good (just in time to depart to Cyprus next weekend for a week long break with my sister).

Screen International

My weekly copy of Screen International, the weekly industry broadsheet for the film industry, arrived on the mat this morning. The paper is a bit of a disappointment, given the high cost of subscription, and usually comes across as an extremely thin content-free Variety or Hollywood Reporter wanna-be, with little of real interest to those not trying to make money or be a 'mover and shaker' in the film industry. But in this week's issue a few stories I'd missed on the various web sites I usually rely on for my news caught my eye.

Goal! 3

A big surprise is the news that principal photography has started on Goal! 3. The first film in the planned trilogy was a rather tired cliché 'poor boy makes good' coming of age story, and received luke-warm reviews with correspondingly disappointing box office performance, despite being the first football film to be given 'behind the scenes' access to the stars (including David Beckham, who with his 'deer in headlights' performance showed that any rumours of him moving to LA for a possible future career in acting are hilariously out-of-whack with reality).

Goal! 2 lost the writers of the first film, but tried to up the ante by shooting in Spain and having even more of the big name footballers make an appearance, with some clever CGI work meaning that we got to see the star of the film play in a real match. Alas, the film was even worse than the first, was universally panned by the critics, and disappeared within days of opening at the UK box office. Large amounts of money must have been lost, so it's somewhat surprising to read that somehow the financing has been found to complete the 'trilogy'. However news that the originally planned director Michael Apted has been replaced by Andy Morahan doesn't auger well for the project rescuing what, until now, has been an extremely wasted opportunity to present a woefully-unrepresented sport well on the big screen.

Another Dr Who -associated Rant (I can't help myself!)

Other surprising news is that the Adulthood follow-up to Kidulthood is already underway, with the lead 'actor', best known for his performance as Dr Who's side-kick 'Mickey', now taking on both director and lead actor duties. I guess I shouldn't pre-judge based on an appallingly bad performance on TV's most seriously over-rated science fiction show, but one can't help wondering whether the sequel has been commissioned based solely on the cronyism that seems to run rampant throughout the BBC and Dr Who in particular, rather than the commercial prospects or talent involved in the venture!

Stephen Moffat on Tin-Tin. Hoorah!

On a happier note, the one shining beacon in the cesspit of writing that has mostly been the new Dr Who, has been Stephen Moffat and it seems I'm not the only one who thinks so. While Billy Bunter (aka Russell T Davies) may be oblivious to his talents (one meagre story per season of Who), Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson are not. The writer has been hired to perform writing duties on the new Tin-Tin franchise of movies that the two directors are working on together. Suddenly I'm excited about a cartoon character's big screen debut, where before I had little interest at all!

40 Years of New Line Cinema

40 Years. New Line Cinema. Not the Same Old Story

Talk of Peter Jackson neatly brings me on to the subject of New Line Cinema, who receive a special 40 Years of... story in the current issue of the afore-mentioned Screen International. I love a lot of the company's output, if not the man at the top, Bob Shaye. For one of the worst examples of underling sycophancy I've ever seen, check out the extra's on the recently issued DVD of the man's The Last Mimzy - a text book example of why executive officers should NEVER be allowed to direct their own films as some sort of vanity project. The continual fawning from the cast and crew about their director's talent would be amusing if the evidence of him 'handling' his actors weren't so much in evidence elsewhere in the extra's, even if you were to ignore the car crash of a film that was the end-result. It almost makes one want to take Peter Jackson's side in the ongoing, and very public war of words between the two over accountability and ripping people off (I say 'almost' because let's not get carried away here in what has clearly been a case of two pots repeating to each other "You're a kettle and you're black!").

What's fascinating about the piece is to see what the company's biggest box office successes, Lord of the Rings aside, have been over the years. It's a real mixed bag with 2007, 2005, 1997 and 1991 (the years of Rush Hour 3, Wedding Crashers, Spawn and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II) generating good profits from absolute dreck when contrasted with 2004, 2001-2003 and 1995 (the years of The Notebook, The Lord of the Rings movies and Seven respectively.

Interesting film history aside, what I like most about the piece is the lack of mention of the wretched Hobbit project (it's a childish, inferior piece of work that just isn't going to meet expectations set by the Rings franchise so please let's stop encouraging them to do a 'Star Wars' and just set out on a ridiculous money-making venture that just rips off everybody involved) and the war of words between Bob Shaye and Peter Jackson.

Smile of the Day

I make no excuse for making this post's Smile of The Day a link to an advertisement! I'm a big fan of's products, and have several of their famed 'de-motivator' posters framed in my office at home. But their DespairWear Blogging t-shirt seems particularly apt, given the amount of time I seem to have spent blogging over the last few days! Check out the counter underneath the slogan. Genius!


Tamara said...

I've always loved your LOTR reports, so I'm saddened to read your post about The Hobbit films. I was looking forward to hearing your reports from the new events.

What's your opinion of Del Toro's signing on to direct the two films? Of the informaiton that's been released so far, what's your take on the choices made so far? Do you like/dislike the idea of the "transition" film to LOTR?

Ian said...

Hi Tamara,

Well I'm much more interested in "The Hobbit" now that Del Toro is involved, although I'm in two minds about whether adding a new "transition" film is a good thing. It won't be Tolkien for sure and there are several examples of how crass the script can get when Jackson, Boyens and Walsh decide to "invent" stuff themselves (infantile "toss" jokes being just one example).

I saw "Prince Caspian" yesterday and that showed what happens when you try and update a children's book to make it appeal to adults - you end up with something that isn't the original book at all. And if that's the case why did you bother even referring to the book, other than to cash in on its name and audience. My worry about "The Hobbit" is that it's a children's book (where Lord of the Rings isn't) and if they film the book as is it will be Tolkien, but not on a par with Lord of the Rings which has much more depth. And if they try and write something new - well it's not Tolkien and I have little to no faith in the writers ability to craft something special.

But del Toro is a good director so I'm certainly interested again, where before I had no interest.