Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Hulk smash

As someone who really liked Ang Lee's take on the Hulk, I was always a tad dubious about the need to reboot the franchise quite so soon. But Ed Norton's a first-rate actor, and I do have a soft spot for director Louis Leterrier's Transporter movies. Plus the first trailer looked promising. And now this. Consider me sold.

See (and hear) Scarlett sing

Listen, if you must, to Scarlett Johansson's cover of the Tom Waits classic Falling Down here. It's taken from her album Anywhere I Lay My Head which out on May 20. I suppose if William Shatner can do it...

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Iron Man

It's not the greatest superhero movie ever made, but Jon Favreau's Iron Man is pretty darn good fun, a rollicking comic book adventure with a fine line in irony, some mighty impressive effects, and a stellar performance from Robert Downey Jr as billionaire/playboy/genius Tony Stark that should finally win him entry onto the A list. Smartly if not sensationally directed, Iron Man follows the Batman Begins template almost beat for beat, an origin story with lots of set up, a slambang third act and the satisfying promise of a sequel to come. Favreau (who contributes a cameo as Happy Hogan) pitches the humour and action at just the right level, making this superior in every way to the last Spidey film, not to mention X3 and Superman Returns. Not as dark as Nolan's Batman but almost as adult, the decision to update the story from Vietnam to Afghanistan gives the film a real-life resonance that never feels crass (this might well be the most commercial movie made about the War on Terror). Gwyneth Paltrow makes the most of a slightly underwritten role as Tony's faithful assistant Pepper Potts, while Jeff Bridges is sensational as the oily and treacherous Obadiah Stane, but this Iron Man truly feeds off Downey's persona. His Tony Stark begins the film as a whisky-drinking, fast car-driving, womanising arms manufacturer whose private plane comes complete with gyrating stewardesses and a stripper’s pole. Stark, who funds his opulent lifestyle by peddling weapons around the globe (earning himself the nickname the merchant of death in the process), is incredibly smart but strangely naive with it, until his near death experience in an Afghan cave opens his eyes to human cost of his chosen profession, and gives his life new purpose. Having turned his own round after various well publicized career-threatening battles, Downey nails Stark’s transformation inside and out of his various iron suits with aplomb, while Favreau shows that loving a comic book character doesn't necessarily mean stifling it onscreen. Even the obligatory Stan Lee cameo works fine.

Fooled again

I was convinced that the recent countdown on would end up with the online debut of the latest Dark Knight trailer when in fact it turned out to be a call to arms for fans to congregate in twelve venues around the world. Since I was on my way home from watching Iron Man last night, I failed to take advantage of the London gathering. Damn.

Just saying...

A new Steven Soderbergh movie is always worth celebrating, and while I won't be seeing his Che double bill at Cannes, I can at least console myself with the news that America's most versatile filmmaker has lined up his next but one movie. According to Variety, he will be shooting The Girlfriend Experience this autumn after he's finished filming the Matt Damon-starrer The Informant. Written by Ocean's Thirteen scribes Brian Koppelman and David Levien, the project will be the second in a series of six low-budget HD movies he's agreed to shoot, following the flawed but fascinating Bubble and focuses on the world of prostitution from the point of view of a $10,000-a-night call girl.

Monday, 28 April 2008

In a hurry...

A few quick, initial thoughts on Speed Racer which was everything I thought it would be and more. Visually stunning, innovative, and groundbreaking, envelope pushing, thrilling, and exciting. For a kids' movie, it might be a little long. But for a big kid like me, it was terrific fun. I can't wait to see it again.

Off to Iron Man...

Coens open Venice

Cannes is still a couple of weeks away, but already the Venice line-up is taking shape. According to Variety, the Coen Brothers latest Burn After Reading will open the 65th Venice Film Festival which will take place Aug 27-Sept 6.

Friday, 25 April 2008

In Bruges

One of the great things about working for yourself is that you can slope off every now and again and go see a movie. Which is precisely what I did today, finally catching up with Martin McDonagh's In Bruges. Reviews had been mixed, some were wildly positive, others had called the film, his debut feature following his Oscar-winning short Six-Shooter, uneven. It is that, but when it works it's quite brilliant. Wildly funny, deeply emotional, and very, very black, In Bruges is all those and much more besides. As suicidal Irish hitman Ray, dispatched to Bruges with fellow assassin Ken (Brendan Gleeson) following a hit gone wrong, Colin Farrell hasn't been this good before, while Gleeson is his typically dependable. The film delights in this odd-couple pairing — Ray thinks Bruges is a "shithole"; Ken laps up the culture — and their verbal sparring, and McDonagh doffs his cap at a plethora of cinematic, literary and artistic references. But what I loved most was the film's unpredictability, a quality seldom present in mainstream cinema but running through the spine of this savvy, smart, frequently hilarious film.

Holy Bat poster!

Seeing Speed Racer on Sunday, Iron Man on Monday. The summer has officially begun. But the one I'm really looking forward to is...

Quelle surprise

Guillermo Del Toro has signed on to direct The Hobbit. Never saw that coming.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Admen of the web unite

The makers of Watchmen are offering you a chance to make an ad that could be included in the final film. How cool is that?

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Cannes line-up announced

Cannes officially unveiled its competition line-up this morning although the opening and closing films have yet to be announced. Full details can be found here.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

More Harry

Watched The Enforcer, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool in the last 24 hours and have now started on the copious extras that make up the new Dirty Harry Ultimate Collectors' Edition Box Set. The quality sure did go downhill rapidly after Magnum Force...

Robert Downey Jr

Less than a week till I see Iron Man and I'm trying to manage my expectations because hype and excitement are so often the root of all disappointment. Posters for the film have been all over the London tube network for a while now, while the press machine is in overdrive. Of the several Robert Downey profiles I've read, this is perhaps the best, from the NY Times' David Carr.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Are you feeling lucky?

Over the weekend the postman brought with him many goodies, including review discs for the Dirty Harry Ultimate Collectors Edition DVD box set which is out in early June. So far I've managed to watch Dirty Harry and Magnum Force with The Enforcer next in the player. The set features a host of new extras as well as commentaries from many of those involved in the making of the series. Should keep me busy for a while.

Friday, 18 April 2008

No Cannes do

Normally by this stage, with opening night a matter of weeks away, the Official Cannes Competition lineup would have been announced. This year, however, there's been a delay that, if you believe the gossip, is down to a dearth of good films being available and the organisers leaving it until the last possible moment to announce their selection. Variety's Todd McCarthy mulls over some possible choices.

One confirmed Cannes title is Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. And Entertainment Weekly writer Steve Daly recently sat down with director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas for a chat about all things Indy.

You wouldn't like him when he's angry

Entertainment Weekly has the scoop on the behind-the-scenes drama involved in making The Incredible Hulk. "According to [director Louis] Leterrier, he and [Edward Norton] hit it off beautifully, and there were no issues with Marvel while the movie was being shot," writes Gregory Kirschling. "During post-production, though, the relationship with Marvel hit a snag. The company wanted to release the most commercial film possible: lots of action and a running time under two hours. Norton and Leterrier, however, lobbied for a more meditative cut of the film that ran about two hours and 15 minutes. Tempers flared between Norton and Marvel. 'Everyone was exhausted; it was like a little burst,' Leterrier says. 'I'm angry with you!' 'No, I'm angry with you!' And me in the centre saying 'Boys, calm down.' It didn't come to blows. It was just a remark here and there.'' And it would have ended there. But, Leterrier says, 'then it became public.'''

Thursday, 17 April 2008

GI Joe

I, like so many of my generation, had an Action Man as a kid. My first had rigid plastic hands and strange, immovable eyes, though I later graduated to one with "extra gripping hands" and "eagle eyes". It was a cool toy, and I had the usual military uniforms, as well as an Arsenal kit, but once I got to a certain age, I moved on. And so I have zero knowledge of the world of GI Joe (as the Americans call AM), nor can I say that I was remotely interested in the movie version currently being filmed. But then, this photo appeared on the net, featuring the lovely Rachel Nichols as Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara and, suddenly, my attention was, well, piqued.

Even more Ridley

I've been a Ridley Scott fan ever since I was at school and first saw Alien (on laserdisc at a friend's house but that's another story). And while there are movies of his over the years that haven't connected with me, his hit rate is incredible. He's one of the filmmakers of my generation, a supreme stylist sure, but more than that, Scott creates onscreen worlds that totally envelope the audience in a way that few directors can. Scott's in his sixties now, but he seems to be working hard than ever. He's the kind of filmmaker who simply can't sit still. He's wrapping up Body Of Lies starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe for release this autumn, and has both Blood Meridian and Nottingham in development. And now he's added The Kind One to his busy slate. A period noir drama set to star the great Casey Affleck who was in the Scott-produced The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, the film is based on a novel by Tom Epperson, who will also pen the screenplay. According to Variety, the story, set in 1930s Los Angeles, "centres on an amnesiac who finds himself working for a mobster — a killer nicknamed "the Kind One" — and falling in love with the thug's girlfriend". It's an era Scott's not tackled before. And having produced the definitive future LA on film, I'm excited to see his period version.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Wall-E sneak

Of all the summer movies, Wall-E and The Dark Knight are probably the two I'm most looking forward to. While we patiently await the next Dark Knight trailer, here's a peak at Pixar's next cashcow.

From the humorous...

Variety likes Forgetting Sarah Marshall: "Reprising his successful Knocked Up formula of uninhibited bawdiness and chick-flick sweetness, with side orders of slapstick and showbiz satire, producer Judd Apatow looks to have scored another long-legged hit with Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Crowd-pleasing confection sees the comedy auteur once again hooking up with fellow vets of cult-fave teleseries Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared — including, in this case, director Nick Stoller and scripter-star Jason Segel — who are perfectly in sync with his snarky romantic-comedy sensibilities. Result is a film that, like Knocked Up, should generate repeat biz among ticketbuyers and memorable homevid sales and rentals."

... to the ridiculous

But doesn't think much of 88 Minutes: "88 Minutes can't even live up to its title," writes Todd McCarthy. "With 19 — count 'em, 19 — producers, including director Jon Avnet, ensuring that every aspect of the film, from the script to the star's haircut, is ludicrous in the extreme, the picture easily snatches from Revolution the prize as Al Pacino's career worst. Available on DVD in some territories as early as February 2007 and rolled out theatrically in France and elsewhere beginning in May of last year, this gape-inducing fiasco is getting a token domestic release that at least saves its star the indignity of a dump straight to homevid."

If anyone's seen this, do tell.

Luhrmann's Australia

I saw some footage from Baz Luhrmann's Australia a while back and although it looked nice and pretty, I wasn't exactly bowled over by it. Still, Luhrmann's an interesting filmmaker and Nicole Kidman was pretty great in his Moulin Rouge, so I'll no doubt be giving this one a go when it opens later this year. For now, though, Luhrmann and Fox have teamed up with Apple to produce a series of web only featurettes that Luhrmann says are designed to help students get involved in the creative process.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Titter you lot

A friend saw Iron Man recently and (mainly) loved it. Alas, I'm going to have to wait until the multimedia screening on April 28 to see it. But, in the meantime, this tickled me.

Wildly Popular 'Iron Man' Trailer To Be Adapted Into Full-Length Film

Holy cow

When the Wachowski brothers were pitching their idea for The Matrix to uberproducer Joel Silver they famously played him a clip from Masamune Shirow's Ghost In The Shell and said "we wanna do that, but live action". Well, it seems that Spielberg is doing exactly that. And in 3-D too.

Monday, 14 April 2008

The horror, the horror

I have yet to see either The Ruins or the remake of Prom Night and yet their respective performances at the US box office bothers me. The Ruins, based on a gruesomely entertaining book by Scott Smith, met with reasonably good reviews, was R rated and pulled in a disappointing $5 million in its opening weekend. While Prom Night 2008, "a lazy, lifeless, senseless insult to the horror genre", was a PG-13 and made a whooping $23 million at the weekend. What does that say about the current state of horror? That crappy, bloodless remakes are the way to go? Or that adults aren't interested in horror anymore?

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Never a sure thing

I remember when Steve Alten's bestseller Meg was released in 1997, swiftly followed by the trade announcement that a film version would soon be with us. It seemed like a no-brainer. A movie about a Carcharodon megalodon, a 80-foot, 70,000-pound prehistoric shark. I was there. But Meg, like so many before and since, failed to make it out of the murky waters of script development, despite the best efforts of Jan De Bont and Guillermo Del Toro. According to this article in the LA Times, Hellboy 2 producers Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon now have the rights. And since they have a history off pulling off the impossible, Meg might finally chomp its way into cinemas.

Critical fraternity

Everybody's got their own favourite critic(s). I love reading Philip French in The Observer because you learn stuff, not just about the film in question but how it relates to art, culture, history, literature and, of course, cinema in general. French has been doing it for 31 years and yet he still retains his enthusiasm, passion and love for cinema, despite seeing every film on release week in week out, which, let's face it, isn't as good as it sounds. I used to love Anthony Lane when he wrote for the Independent Of Sunday and try to follow him in The New Yorker, but I know he's not everyone's cup of tea. He's a smart alec sure, more prone to stick the knife in than to praise, but there's no denying he's a hugely entertaining writer. I'm also fond of The New York Times' Manohla Dargis who's incredibly smart and immensely readable. And then there's Roger Ebert who's probably the most famous film critic in the world, not least because his syndicated TV show with its catchy "thumbs up" scoring method. Ebert's been battling cancer for a while now and had to dramatically cut back on his workload as a result. He's saying goodbye to TV but will continue to write. In a time when US critics are being laid off at an alarming rate, it's good to have him back.

Oh yeah 2

I think it's fair to say that Speed Racer's international trailer rocks. Although I think my brain's about to explode.

Oh yeah

Saturday, 12 April 2008

3-D or not 3-D...

Sorry for the lack of posts in recent days, I've been busy writing the notes for a two-month season I've been helping programme at the BFI Southbank (formerly the NFT) this July and August. Can't tell you the subject matter yet, but I'm very excited about how it's all shaping up. Also had a meeting on Thursday to lock in one of the side events, and if we get everyone that we're after, it should make for a very interesting evening's entertainment. More as and when.

Meanwhile, I was fascinated to read James Cameron's comments on 3D cinema that appeared in Variety. I'm dying to see what he's been cooking up with Avatar, as well as what Spielberg, Jackson and co, have in store for Tintin. I've seen a bunch of 3D movies in my time, mostly recently Beowulf, and while some have been akin of having a screwdriver poked through my eyes for two hours, not many of them have really utilised even half the full potential of the medium.

"A 3-D film immerses you in the scene, with a greatly enhanced sense of physical presence and participation," Cameron explains. "I believe that a functional-MRI study of brain activity would show that more neurons are actively engaged in processing a 3-D movie than the same film seen in 2-D. When most people think of 3-D films, they think first of the gimmick shots -- objects or characters flying, floating or poking out into the audience. In fact, in a good stereo movie, these shots should be the exception rather than the rule. Watching a stereo movie is looking into an alternate reality through a window. It is intuitive to the film industry that this immersive quality is perfect for action, fantasy, and animation. What's less obvious is that the enhanced sense of presence and realism works in all types of scenes, even intimate dramatic moments. Which is not to say that all films should be made in 3-D, because the returns may not warrant the costs in many cases, but certainly there should be no creative reason why any film could not be shot in 3-D and benefit from it."

My favourite ever 3D shot was in an otherwise crappy 80s horror movie called Parasite in which woman was killed by a pipe which then "swung out" into the audience, followed by a drop of blood which slowly rolled along the pipe, directly into our laps. Nothing sophisticated admittedly, but a lot of fun.

The Guardian also have a potted history of the genre.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

75 and a day

A day late (again) on this one, but a Happy 75th birthday nevertheless to the great Jean-Paul Belmondo which is a good enough reason to show this trailer for Jean-Pierre Melville's fabulous Le Doulos. If you've never seen it, then may I suggest you do.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

More Buzz and Woody!

Pixar unveiled its line up for the next four years in New York yesterday. I wasn't there, but having read the amount of coverage the event generated I feel I was. More Pixar, as far as I'm concerned, is only a good thing. Among the projects revealed were a Cars 2 and a Toy Story 3 plus an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story King Of The Elves. Click the headline for Variety's story.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Talking of Clooney...

The New Yorker has just profiled him. Click the headline to read.

Wishing for a star...

I was asked yesterday whether Daniel Craig was an A list star up there with George Clooney and my answer had less to do with Craig than it did with Clooney who, as regularly readers will know, I have a lot of time for. He's a smart man with great taste in material, a very good filmmaker, and, given the right role and director, he can be a terrific actor. He's also (damn him) a very handsome and charming fellow who both the press and public seem to love and connect to. But can he open a movie the way Cruise did in the 80s and 90s? Or Hanks can. Or Gibson and Ford did. Does he get the masses into the multiplexes on Friday and Saturday nights? I'm sure those involved in Leatherheads' would have been somewhat disappointed by its opening weekend in the US where it was predicted to finish top but made $12.6million and was beaten by 21, a film with no real stars, which clung on to the number one slot for the second week running. So if Clooney can't get them in — and I'm talking outside of the Ocean's franchise — then who can? Brad Pitt? Well, he couldn't open The Assassination Of Jesse James despite amazing reviews. Matt Damon? Keanu Reeves? Jim Carrey? Vince Vaughn? Denzel? Russell Crowe? Christian Bale? Leonardo DiCaprio? Will Ferrell? Ben Stiller? Arguably the most bankable star currently on the planet is Johnny Depp. But even he couldn't get Sweeney's box office up to anywhere near it deserved to have been, although that might also have something to do with how the film was marketed in the US as much as anything else. I remember a few years back when Hollywood began talking about the next generation of stars, the Colin Farrells, Josh Hartnetts, Paul Walkers, and Jude Laws. Now while I have much time and respect for at least two of those, they haven't really connected to audiences in the way Hollywood might have hoped. It seems to me, writing this, that, alongside Depp, one of the biggest stars of the moment is Judd Aptow whose Forgetting Sarah Marshall looks set to be another big hit this summer. And he's not even an actor. He's a brand, clearly. So who are today's truly bankable stars? Who out there today could open a movie and pull in the punters the way Cruise did in the 80s when people flocked to see him star in just about anything, even a film about a bartender making cocktails? As for Craig? Only time will tell.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Vote for Harvey Dent!

Danny boy

Nice to see Daniel Craig using some of his newfound Bondian clout to help his mates out — namely music-video director Baillie Walsh whose feature debut Flashbacks Of A Fool Craig stars in and executive produces. The pair met on the set of John Maybury's 1998 Francis Bacon biopic, Love is the Devil (Walsh was Maybury's partner at the time). In Liz Hoggard's Independent On Sunday profile, Craig is quoted as saying: "We just hit it off immediately. He's made seminal musical videos such as Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy' and I love his work with INXS. Baillie is my closest male friend. He wrote the script [for Flashbacks...] about six years ago, with me in mind. I think it's semi-autobiographical for him, because he grew up in Clacton-on-Sea, but he knows there's lots of stuff in it I share feelings about. We've had an on-and-off goal of trying to get it off the ground. It just so happened that I did James Bond, and I think that helped a little bit."

Are you feeling scary?

Love this story from the New York Times regarding the in-cinema advertising for the forthcoming release of the Prom Night remake with distributor Screen Gems roping in multiplex staff to help sell the movie. It's all very William Castle.

"In 120 movie theaters across the country, Screen Gems set up advertising displays in corners and hallways," writes Brook Barnes. "The company built the displays, called standees, to look like the entrance to a ballroom. 'Open the door for a night to die for,' beckoned signs on the cardboard doors. Once patrons took the bait, an employee would pop out with arms flailing.

"'We want people to come away thinking that Prom Night is going to be a good, scary movie,' said Marc Weinstock, the president of marketing at Screen Gems.

"With horror movies delivering mixed box office results lately due to a glut in the marketplace, Mr. Weinstock needs all the help he can get. One signal that the stunt is working, at least in the scaring department, is that video clips have popped up on YouTube showing people opening the cardboard doors, shrieking and running away. 'That’s exactly what I want to see,' Mr. Weinstock said."

Weekend roundup

This weekend was, by any measure, ridiciously jam-packed but I still found time to finally see Garth Jennings' entirely delightful Son Of Rambow which, as many UK reviewers have pointed out, is the best British school comedy since Gregory's Girl. Exquisitely crafted, with a fine attention to 80s detail and two wonderful central performances from Bill Milner and Will Poulter, two schoolkids who make their own film inspired by First Blood, it was everything I'd hoped, and more besides. The fact that Jennings and his producing partner Nick Goldsmith had to find their entire financing outside of the UK — the film was originally developed by a previous incarnation of FilmFour — astounds me.

It was something of an intrinisically British movie weekend, since I had to review the DVD release of Lindsay Anderson's follow up to If... O Lucky Man! which required watching the film twice (once with the commentary from Malcolm McDowell, screenwriter David Sherwin and composer Alan Price), plus the feature-length documentary on McDowell.

Add in another documentary, Rob Stewart's excellent Sharkwater and, all in all, it wasn't a bad weekend's viewing.

Coming at ya

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston, who's died aged 84, was a larger-than-life figure for me growing up, watching his films on TV, be it parting the Red Sea, riding a chariot, or battling apes. And yet, his whole career, his whole persona, his own being had, in recent years, been reduced to that one chilling moment in Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine when, as president of the NRA, he was shown holding aloft a rifle and proclaiming those immortal words: "From my cold dead hands." It was uncomfortable viewing, and forever changed the way I viewed Heston the man, and, I have to admit, Heston the screen legend. Still, his star quality and sheer presence can't be denied, even if one vehemently disagreed with his politics. If I weren't so busy today, I would have watched Touch Of Evil or the original Planet Of The Apes as my own kind of tribute to the man. As it is, I'll have to make do with this.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Blindness teaser

I can still vividly remember the experience of discovering City of God at the Cannes Film Festival. Sitting in a cinema, early one morning, with maybe 20 other folk, knowing only what the one-page press release told me, and after 15 minutes realising that you were witnessing not just a masterpiece fully formed but the arrival of a major new filmmaking talent in Fernando Meirelles. The Constant Gardener showed the Brazilian shifting gears, working in English, with name actors and, if I'm honest, I expected a little more than I got, although that's not saying I didn't like it, such is the expectation one film had engendered in me. I know very little about his latest, Blindness, other than what I've seen. I've not read the book it's based on and while there seems to be a touch of The Happening about this trailer, with Meirelles involved I'll be there.

I've gone Def

Hi-Def that is. Yesterday, I embraced the future, acquiring a Sony BDP S500 Blu-ray machine. Consider me very excited.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

One small step...

One of my earliest ambitions was, like so many young boys, to be an astronaut when I grew up. And while, clearly, that's one ambition I never realised, that dream of space has stayed with me to this day. One of my favourite press trips was for Apollo 13, visiting the Space Center in Houston, getting to stand in the original mission control, and going on a behind the scenes tour the public don't get. (I also visited the famed astronauts' bar but that's another story.) One of my favourite books, too, of recent years was Andrew Smith's astonishing Moondust in which he tracks down all the men still alive who've walked on the moon. It's a terrific read, full of pathos and emotion, one that beautifully captured the sense of fear and wonder these men felt as they shot out into the void and a few days later stepped foot on the lunar surface, and how that trip has forever altered their lives.

You can imagine my excitement, then, to read the news on that Universal has acquired the nonfiction book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong which it will turn into a film about the first person to set foot on the moon. According to the story, NASA historian James R. Hansen got rare direct access to Armstrong, a test pilot-turned-astronaut who was so driven to reach the moon and play the role of American hero that he became known as "the Ice Commander". "The closer he got to the moon, the further away he became from his family," Perlman is quote as saying. "He had a family tragedy before Apollo that turned him into this driven astronaut, and he became such a perfect hero that while Buzz Aldrin was announced to be the first man on the moon, NASA reversed its decision because Neil was regarded as more heroic." Armstrong returned from the moon as one of the most famous men on Earth but didn't capitalize on it with a political career or endorsements. He reconnected with his family, shut out the world and became an intensely private man.

So much so that even Smith, if I'm remembering correctly, only got the briefest of words with him. I'm aware that this story broke yesterday, but I'm really hoping it's not an elaborate April Fool.

Big balls

So that clowntravelagency treasure hunt thing was a hoot, even if we didn't get the as-rumoured new Dark Knight trailer out of it. If you missed out on the viral shennanigans, there's now a wiki page devoted to it — click the headline to link to it — including photos of some of the swag collected. There's now a new game, too, one that requires a visit to Have fun.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Summer Glau

There are many reasons why The Sarah Connor Chronicles is must-see TV in my house. And Summer Glau is more than one of them.

Sweeney DVD

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street is available on DVD in the US from today in both single and double-disc editions. Apparently a mini version of my Sweeney book is included with the two-disc set, while among the extras is the press conference I hosted in London with Burton, Depp, Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Richard Zanuck.