Friday, 30 November 2007

Tim Burton Por Tim Burton

One of the lovely spin-offs of having written Burton On Burton are the various foreign editions I have lined up on my book shelves. The Japanese one still remains my favourite because, well, it's in Japanese, but I have to say that Spanish publisher Alba has always done a nice job with its edition. This is the revised edition which arrived in the post today.

Even more Sweeney...

Empire online have posted links to more Sweeney clips than you can shake a cutthroat razor at. Check out their story at

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Sweeney junket

Spent some time at the Sweeney Todd junket this week. Said hello and chatted to Tim, Dick Zanuck, and Colleen Atwood. Interviewed Tim, Johnny and Helena again for pieces that I will link to once they go online.

The Tim/Johnny interview was fun. I've interviewed them both many times before, but never together, although I have seen how they are on set, working. But listening to them chat back and forth, finishing one another's thoughts, you could really feel the love, laughter and respect both men share for each other.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Freakin' amazing

First a peak at Rorshach and now this. The geeky fan boy in me is all aquiver today.

Rorschach spotted

As any comic book fan knows, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons's Watchman is a work of unparalled genius. The long mooted movie version is currently shooting under the direction of Zack Synder who so faithfully transferred Frank Miller's 300 to the screen. The official Watchmen site has posted some pictures including a first-peak at the masked psychopath known as Rorshach.

Check out the rest at

Monday, 26 November 2007

Monday musing

Thanks for all the kind words about the book, and again sorry that I could only show the cover for now. But I promise that as soon as I get the okay from the publishers I'll post some inside spreads.

Sorry too for the lack of posts recently. It's been a busy few days and today was the first day of the Sweeney junket which meant I got to see the film again last night, and you know what, I liked it even more the second time around.

More soon...

Friday, 23 November 2007

Say hello to Sweeney Todd (the book, that is)

Alas, I'm prevented from showing any more than the cover at this stage. But at least it's a nice looking cover.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...

To all US readers. Have some turkey for me!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

There Will Be Blood

Paul Thomas Anderson's fifth feature, and his first since 2002's Punch Drunk Love, doesn't open in the US until late December and next year in the UK. Since I was lucky enough to see it the other night, followed by a relaxed Q&A session with Daniel Day-Lewis, I thought I'd toss out a few opinions for you to chew over, rather than write a full-blown review. Suffice to say the film is a remarkable achievement, with a towering performance from Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a gold prospector turned successful oil man, and a marvellous supporting turn(s) from Paul Dano who played the unspeaking son in Little Miss Sunshine. Loosely inspired by Upton Sinclair's 1927 novel Oil, Anderson's first film set outside LA is, as Variety called it "boldly and magnificently strange", with Day Lewis' Plainview a complex, self-obsessed, self destructive, malevolent man, seemingly set on destroying any links to the rest of humanity. Will it win him another Oscar? Maybe. Although my money's on someone else.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Here be monster

The good folk at Empire online have done another trailer breakdown to save us from having to do it ourselves. And one screengrab contains the money shot — ie. the monster.

Monday, 19 November 2007

At last

The Cloverfield trailer is finally here. Hooray! There's even a blink-and-you'll-miss it shot of the monster. Hooray! Find it at Hoo-er-ray!

Very excited

Seeing There Will Be Blood this evening, followed by a Daniel Day Lewis Q&A. Should be interesting.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? That is the question...

I haven't really been tempted to upgrade to either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. Certainly not until a clear winner from the hi-def war emerges. But more than that, I have a DVD collection which I am perfectly happy with. The quality (apart from some of discs from the very early days of the format) is more than acceptable for the size of my television. HOWEVER, I see that Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (my favourite Spielberg movie) is coming out on Blu-Ray in all three versions (I have a Criterion laserdisc of the original and best cut, already) with tons of extras and suddenly I'm starting to think, Is now the time?

Has anyone out there had experience of either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD? And what do you think of them? Are they worth the extra investment? Or should I stick with what I've got?

All opinions gratefully received.

Friday, 16 November 2007

The Other Boleyn Girl

The original BBC TV production of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl was shot on miniDV with bare sets, few props, and even fewer extras, almost Dogma-style, with Jared Harris as Henry VIII. I loved it for its minimalistic approach and for attempting to do something different with period. From its trailer, however, the Peter Morgan-scripted/Justin Chadwick-directed film version looks to have opted for a more traditional — ie. big bucks — tactic: lots of extras, much pomp and ceremony, lush visuals, implied worthiness. Oh well. Still, it's got Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson together at last, I suppose. Plus Eric Bana.

Burton in 3D

Tim Burton has signed to direct two 3D pics for Disney for whom he made Nightmare Before Christmas and Ed Wood. First up is a version of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland which will combine performance-capture imagery and live-action footage. After that, he'll direct and produce a feature length stop motion version of his 1984 short Frankenweenie which is screening as part of the BFI Tim Burton season.

I'm seeing Tim soon, so I hope to have more on these two projects from the man himself.

It's (almost) here...

The Cloverfield trailer is playing with Beowulf in the US from this weekend. Hopefully it'll pop up online soon enough, but if you catch it before that happens, I'd love to hear from you...

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Thanks to Gerard for the heads up.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Tim Burton season

For those readers who live in the UK, may I direct your attention to the Tim Burton season happening next month at the National Film Theatre on London's South Bank.

Beginning on Saturday December 1 with Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Frankenweenie, the NFT will show all of Tim's movies (save Sweeney Todd) along with a number of special screenings, including a Vincent Price night (Edward Scissorhands, Vincent and House Of Wax in 3D).

There's also a Masterclass with Burton's regular costume designer Colleen Atwood on December 7 (although that date might change) and on Thursday December 13 a talk entitled The Cinema Of Tim Burton hosted by yours truly which will feature clips from Burton's career, including some of his little seen early work. Hope to see you there.

More details at

Monday, 12 November 2007


I wasn't terribly impressed by the first couple of Beowulf trailers. But now, having seen the entire thing, in 3D, consider me mightily impressed. Beowulf is an amazing visual feast and a startling display of what's possible with motion capture and CG effects. Director Robert Zemeckis sure loves his technology, and while I'd like to see him make something akin to Used Cars again, he's a far better filmmaker than his friend and USC contemporary George Lucas, and so Beowulf has more thrills, more emotion, and more decent acting than all three Star Wars prequels combined.

The "humans" still have that dead eye look if I'm really honest, but this is a big step on from what Zemeckis achieved with Polar Express. And while almost all the cast's digital creations look more or less like themselves (save Ray Winstone's buffed Beowulf and Crispin Glover's hideous Grendel) the one character who looks truly alive digitally is Angelina Jolie, but that may be, in the flesh, she looks beyond "real". (What I'm trying to say here is that some actors, look different to mere mortals, and she's one of them.)

Anyway, back to the film itself. The 3D is sensational. And having suffered through several 3D films during the 80s revival, I can safely report that the dimensional work is the best I've encountered and after two hours I emerged from the cinema without feeling as if someone had stuck a hot needle in my eye, as I have in the past.

In short, go and see this film. Monster House may, scene for scene, be more inventive, but Beowulf is arguably more spectacular.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Strike! Strike! Strike!

I've not posted about the WGA strike up until now because there are others out in the blogosphere better placed (ie. in LA) and better informed (ie. striking screenwriters) to offer their perspective on the matter. Suffice to say, as somebody who writes for a living, I'm with them. I write a book, I get royalties from it (if it sells, that is). I write an article for a magazine, the article gets syndicated, I get a cut of the fee. Kind of figures that if you write a script to a movie that makes money (be it theatrically, on DVD, or from downloads), you're entitled to a fair share of the profits. The WGA is asking for 8 cents for every DVD sold, up from 4. If you ask me, that's still not enough. Other people are making money from movies, why shouldn't the writer. Maybe that's a simplistic argument, but it seems a pretty reasonable one.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

DVD review: Tell No One

I first met Guillaume Canet on the set of The Beach in Thailand in 1999. Back then he was just a young French actor picked by Danny Boyle to play Virginie Ledoyen’s unlucky boyfriend opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie version of Alex Garland’s novel. Little did I know that eight years later he would have turned into one of France’s most acclaimed writer-directors.

Adapted from Harlen Coben’s best-selling thriller, Canet's second feature Tell No One begins in the tranquil beauty of Lake Charmaine before moving to the streets of Paris where widowed paediatrician Alex Beck (played by Dustin Hoffman-lookalike Francois Cluzet) receives an email from his wife (Marie-Josée Croze) — eight years after her death. It’s a brilliant hook and with the police suspecting his involvement in both her brutal murder and that of her best friend, Alex goes on the run and the film transforms into a frantic action thriller, full of non-stop action and smartly-staged chase sequences.

As with the book it’s based on — an airport novel if there ever was one — Canet’s film twists and turns from minute to breathless minute, moving at such a cracking pace you’ve scarcely time to question the logic or ludicrousness of the plot, before Cluzet is again off, running for his wife.

With top notch support from a French-speaking Kristin Scott Thomas as Alex’s lesbian sister-in-law and the always dependable Jean Rochefort as a sinister senator and sleek, fluid camerawork from Christophe Offenstein, the film falls off the rails towards the end as the plot slows down sufficiently to explain itself, but the Parisian settings offer a refreshing change to the streets of New York or LA.

Andrew Dominik interview

My interview with Jesse James writer-director Andrew Dominik can be found in this week's Time Out or at

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Love this cover

Awards Season

The awards season, counting down to Oscar night, has already begun. Oscar sites are up and running, "For your consideration" ads have started to appear in the trades, predictions have been made, proclaimations posted, even though some films have yet to be released or screened.

I'm a BAFTA member. I get to vote for the BAFTA awards, which means I get sent a ton of DVD screeners between now and the end of December. So far two have turned up. A film called Man In The Chair starring Christopher Plummer as well as a screener for Knocked Up.

I'm always very dilligent in my voting and watching, and I'm going to attempt to keep you up to date on my viewing habits and my favourites over the next couple of months.

Last night I saw Sidney Lumet's Before The Devil Knows You're Dead which I'd been hearing good things about for a while now. It was great. Really great. If it's on near you, do check it out, although try to avoid seeing the trailer beforehand because it gives far too much away.

I'll have more to say about it another time, but for now I have a pressing deadline that I must attend to...

Monday, 5 November 2007

Monday musing

American Gangster made $46.3 million at the US box office this weekend. That's incredible. Especially considering it's two plus hours long and R rated. Many of the reviews voiced the same "it's good, but..." as me, but the public spoke and went in their droves. Is it this year's The Departed? Only time will tell.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Yes, I've seen it. And yes, it's amazing

I'm talking about Sweeney Todd here, in case you're wondering. I wasn't going to say anything but since others have gone and gushed, I thought I'd join them. I don't want to go into many details right now, but it's as good as you've heard. And bloody too.

Thursday, 1 November 2007