Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 - Are Your Lights Out?

Tonight at 8.30pm hundreds of millions of people around the world will turn their lights off for one hour to show global leaders that they want strong action to tackle climate change. Will you be one of them?

Check out WWF's Earth Hour and Earth Hour.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clutter Magazine Yoka Competition

The Yoka Competition is back! After a longer than anticipated hiatus its time for those public votes!! Up right now is the 2nd of 7 Rounds of Yoka Voting so head on over to those kind people at Clutter Magazine and pick your favourite!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Moomins and the Midsummer Madness (2008)

I was lucky enough to see this new Moomin film as part of the Flatpack festival at The Electric Cinema in Birmingham this weekend.

An all new Finnish, Polish and Austrian co-production released originally in 2008, this film is a faithful recreation of the fondly remembered TV series screened on British television in the mid 80s.

The story follows the adventures of Moomin family as they survive volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and being incarcerated for vandalism. But whatever happens the whole family and their friends make it to the premier of the Moomin family’s masterpiece “The Lion’s Brides”.

Beautifully animated, this film will take younger viewers on a magical journey, and older viewers back to their youth. The American translation and narration is not a patch on Richard Murdoch version but other than that this is highly recommend to Moomin fans old and new.

Check out the films website in Finnish at Muumi ja Vaarallinen Juhannus

Also check out – Flatpack Festival and The Moomins Website

If your not in possession of the original film on DVD get it now – The Moomins [DVD] [1977]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TV Schedules - What are they good for? Absolutely Nothing!

Happened to be channel surfing last night and stumbled across a promo for the new series of Dirty Sexy Money. Episode Two! How the heck did I manage to miss episode one?

This is becoming something of a trend with TV channels, returning shows just sneak back on to our screens with little or no promotion across channels, it recently happened with both Smallville and 30 Rock, where they returned with little announcement on any of the parent channels. Are shows just promoted on the channel they appear now? As I'm certainly not watching E4 or FiveUSA for other shows how do I know that 30 Rock is returning? TV guides are no help as they are mostly full of celebrity gossip and what is happening in the soaps. And who is the soap catch ups for? Surely soap fans watch the show enough to know whats going on without needing weekly catch ups in their TV guides! There are omnibus editions on all the time for heavens sake, which other TV shows get that - omnibus indeed.

If anyone knows how to keep abreast of when shows return to UK screens please let me know as I sure as hell do not want to miss the new series of Californication.

Any before anyone mentions it, don't get me started on catch up TV or TV on demand - that way leads darkness, pure darkness.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Mark Kermode is no Jonathan Ross

I totally disagrees with Mark Kermode's opinion of Watchmen as seen on the Culture Show Uncut, since when is he an outspoken supporter of the comic book art form like Jonathan Ross. Christopher Nolan is no genius either, so why be so hard on Zack Snyder just because he (Kermode) didn't like 300. And to justify that dislike with a comment like 'they looked like rejects from the Village People' is no great critique.

Let me continue, Christopher Nolan's Batman films have been okay but could also be accused of style over substance, just as Kermode accuses Snyder. Just look at the badly cut final fight in Begins, how can you tell what the hell is going on there, it's all flashy editing. Now don't get me wrong Memento is an amazingly complex and satisfying film but can the same be said of Insomnia, which is not better than the original in my opinion.

Watchmen is a complicated film and is miles ahead of any of the previous Alan Moore comic adaptations, but to try and critique a film based on how you imagine someone else's version may have turned out is insane. Greengrass and Gilliam are amazing directors and that is not in question but would their version of this story been better than the one we have been given? What was the script like, what was the look and design work going to be like? Sorry Mister Kermode your opinion just doesn't cut the mustard with this dyed in the wool comic book geek, I loved the original 12 part comic book and I really enjoyed this adaptation not some imagined one that exists only in my over inflated self important head.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Watching the Watchmen

After over 20 years and several aborted attempts to film it, the unfilmable comic book phenomenon Watchmen finally makes it to the screen. And what a film it turned out to be.

Capturing the essence of a 12 issue comic story was never going to be easy, especially one written by a talent as great as Alan Moore, but Zack Snyder and his crew have achieved what many people thought impossible. This film delivers a complex, adult story that retains the core themes of the original material, whilst adapting it to a162 minute motion picture. The visual style of the comic created by Dave Gibbons is apparent in every scene, with some shots almost exact duplicates of the original comic panel. The colour palette of the film also reflects John Higgins original (or more actually his recently recoloured version) of the comic. What has changed from the source material has been changed to benefit the film and those 162 minutes fly past. Dave Gibbons receives a sole credit as co-creator and it is unfortunate that Alan Moore did not want his name to appear on this film as it is his world and the characters he created with Dave that helps makes this such an mature and well crafted work.

The film retains the 1980’s setting of the comic, its dark, fearful, nuclear shadowed essence and opens in an alternative 1985, with the murder of the Comedian, part of the original Minutemen heroes and now a Watchman. What follows is an amazing title sequence that retells the history of this universe to a Bob Dylan soundtrack. We then follow the Watchman Rorschach as he sets out to uncover a plot to kill superheroes or Masks, as they are referred to. His investigation leads him to warn his fellow heroes, including the god-like Dr Manhattan, Ozymandias and his old partner Nite Owl, that someone is killing off heroes. As his investigation progresses, Rorschach begins to uncover a disturbing conspiracy that could lead to catastrophic events in the future.

The cast performances are superb throughout, the highlight being Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach as he brings the complex nature of this character to life and unlike a certain Dark Knight, gives the character a voice that contains all the hurt and pain he has had to endure in his life. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian, also deserves credit for his portrayal of this pivotal character.

This film took me back to those days back in 1986 when I first read this series, where the threat of nuclear Armageddon was a reality and how this complex year long story showed me that comics could be as valuable and intelligent as any other art form. The film is the best adaptation of Watchmen it could ever hope to be and I recommend it highly to anyone looking for a complex, adult story well told – the comic book movie has finally come of age.

cast & credits
Dr. Manhattan/Jon Osterman – Billy Crudup
Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias – Matthew Goode
Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre – Carla Gugino
Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II – Malin Akerman
Rorschach – Jackie Earle Haley
Edward Blake/Comedian – Jeffery Dean Morgan
Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl – Patrick Wilson
Moloch the Mystic – Matt Frewer
with John McLaughlin Gary Houston

Warner Bros. and Paramount present a film directed by Zack Snyder.
Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse, based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Running time: 162 minutes. Rated 18

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