Friday 31 July 2009

Rose Byrne

Underrated and beautiful. The Daily Telegraph interviews the talented Aussie actress.

The Informant! UK poster

This striking UK quad for Steven Soderbergh's latest popped up online yesterday. Sorry for only just getting round to posting it. But if you hadn't yet seen it...

Alien prequel officially announced

The blogosphere has reacted enthusiastically to the news yesterday that Ridley Scott will direct a prequel to his landmark movie Alien. And while I certainly share that enthusiasm, I'm even more intrigued by the writer on the project, a chap by the name of Jon Spaihts. I must admit, I'd never of Spaihts before, but reading Michael Fleming's Variety story, it seems like I'm going to be watching films written by him for years to come.

"Spaihts has become a go-to-guy for space thrillers, writes Fleming. "After Keanu Reeves became attached to his Warner Bros. sci-fi script Shadow 19, Reeves hired Spaihts to write the space journey epic Passengers which is berthed at Morgan Creek. That script got Spaihts the meeting with Fox and Scott Free and he won the job with an Alien reboot take that the studio and Scott loved. Fox has separately hired him to rewrite The Darkest Hour, with Timur Bekamambetov to produce with Tom Jacobson. Spaihts is writing Children Of Mars for Disney and Scott Rudin and he will follow by rewriting St. George And The Dragon for Sony and Red Wagon."

Busy bloke.

Thursday 30 July 2009

Fantastic Mr Fox trailer

It's a Wes Anderson film, with puppets. Formal framing, great design, hip music, quirky characters talking directly to camera. Plus Bill Murray. And Jason Schwartzman. In short, it's stop-motion animation, but not as we know it.

Just a shame they didn't figure Roald Dahl's name was worth mentioning. "Based on the book by the author of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory." Pur-lease.

That aside, I like this. I like this a lot.

Empire: Smoking Hot Preview issue

The new issue of Empire arrived in the post today with its typically comprehensive preview and a nice five pages on Alice.

Venice 2009 line-up

The line-up for the 66th Venice Film Festival was announced a short time ago and while there's no place for the Coens' A Serious Man, there's a lot of interesting and potentially great stuff unspooling, including John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, George Romero's Survival Of The Dead, Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant remake Port Of Call New Orleans, Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime, Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story, Faith Akin's Soul Kitchen, Claire Denis' White Material, and Shinya Tsukamoto's Tetsuo The Bullet Man all playing in the official competition, and Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza's [REC]2, Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare At Goats, Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest, Abel Ferrara's Napoli Napoli Napoli, Joe Dante's The Hole and Soderbergh's The Informant among those showing out of competition. It looks a terrific line-up. And I hope to see as many as I possibly can.

Full details of all the films at this year's Venice Film Festival can be found here.

Film review: The Taking Of Pelham 123 (**1/2)

As remakes go, it's hardly faithful, taking the set up — a gang of robbers hold up a New York subway train and demand cash in exchange for not killing the passengers — and very little else, but it's never less than entertaining. Director Tony Scott, whatever you say about him (and I normally say nice things) knows how a) to tell a story compellingly, b) to shoot action with an eye to the audience, and c) to hook in a terrific cast. Here, he's working with Denzel Washington for the fourth time after Crimson Tide, Man On Fire and Deja Vu, while Scott debutant John Travolta looks more like a 70s porn star than the former Wall Street banker he turns out to be. Based loosely on John Godey's novel which was previously an adapted into Joseph Sargent's 1974 feature The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three starring Walter Matthau from which Tarantino pilfered the colour-coded criminal monikers for Reservoir Dogs, and a 1998 TV movie with Edward James Olmos, this Brian Helgeland-scripted reboot amps up the technology and turns down the slowburn tension in favour of more action and bursts of gratuitous violence, although Washington's morally suspect transport worker Garber is allowed to engage in a series of scenery-chewing tete-a-tetes via radio mike with Travolta's nefarious Ryder. Scott holds back slightly on the hyper visuals that dogged Domino, although there is one ridiculous conversation involving a gallon of milk that will have you rolling your eyes. Slickly enjoyable if intellectually bankrupt, you'll have a fine time watching but forgot about it the moment the credits roll.

Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D

Pixar's John Lasseter is the recipient of this year's Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and they're going to be showing these two as part of a special 3D strand. For everyone else, they're out in October.

A Serious Man trailer

A new Coen Brothers film is always a cause for celebration and I'm hoping this is going to be playing in Venice when the line-up is revealed today. For now, here's the trailer for A Serious Man which is available via Apple. The film stars Michael Stuhlbarg and Richard Kind and, according to the Apple blurb, is "the story of an ordinary man's search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV". Looks great. And bleedin' hilarious. And very Jewish. "The rabbi is busy..." Gotta love it.

Believe the hype

For once, it's true. Carey Mulligan is the brightest acting talent to emerge in years.

Last night I finally got to see Lone Scherfig's adaptation of Lynn Barber's memoir An Education which had been the Sundance success story this year and everything that's been said and written about this young actress is justified. She's an exceptional talent and her finely nuanced performance as the 16-year-old Twickenham schoolgirl wooed by Peter Sarsgaard's older man looks odds-on to scoop her an armful of gongs come awards' season. The film, too, is quite superb, with a sensitive (and often very funny) script by Nick Hornby and a great comic turn from Alfred Molina as Mulligan's father.

I first noticed this captivating young actress as Keira Knightley's younger sister in Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice and then as Sally Sparrow in the brilliant Dr Who episode Blink. She had a blink and you'd miss her part opposite Johnny Depp in Public Enemies, stars with Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon in The Greatest and Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal in Jim Sheridan's Brothers, and plays the lead role of Kathy opposite Knightley's Ruth and Andrew Garfield's Tommy in the eagerly anticipated Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation Never Let Me Go.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Wolfman bumped. Again

Universal last night announced that The Wolfman reboot starring Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt was being moved from November 6 in the US to February 12, 2010.

It's the fourth such move for the Joe Johnston-directed film which had initially been due on February 13 this year before being moved first to April 3, then November 6.

According to Variety, the move is, inevitably, to do with money and finding the perfect release date. But when a film moves so often it gives rise to all sorts of negative rumours, especially given the fact The Wolfman underwent a few weeks of reshoots earlier this year, mainly focussing on a new ending.

Having witnessed Rick Baker's makeup up close and personal, and given the calibre of the cast, I actually can't wait to see the film.

But now it seems I'm going to have to wait a while longer.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Loving Dollhouse

I must admit, I wasn't sure at first. But then it all clicked for me during the episode Man On The Street in which Federal Agent Paul Ballard's moon-eyed neighbour Mellie turned out to be a sleeper active named November, and I suddenly started to have a sense of where Joss Whedon was going with it. Can't wait for the above box set to watch it advert free.

Hamm and Hall

Two of my favourite actors of the moment, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and the very lovely and talented Rebecca Hall who starred in Chris Nolan's The Prestige and Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona, have joined the cast of Ben Affleck's The Town, his follow up to the pitch perfect directorial debut Gone Baby Gone.

Adapted from the Chuck Hogan novel Prince Of Thieves, The Town stars Affleck as a bank robber smitten with the teller (Hall) of the bank he held up. Hamm will play the FBI agent who's after him and who also falls for Hall's character. The film will shoot in Boston next month.


Congratulations to British filmmaker Marc Price whose no-budget zombie film Colin has scored a theatrical distribution deal with Kaleidoscope Entertainment and will be released in British cinemas in October after first showing at Frightfest. The film, which reportedly cost £45 to make, and which made something of a splash at Cannes this year, was shot on a camcorder and took 18 months to complete. It's a great underdog story, along the lines of Robert Rodriguez and El Mariachi, although I'm not sure I completely buy that it cost less than fifty quid to make. Here's the trailer.

Fantastic opener

Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox will open this year's 53rd Times BFI London Film Festival on Wednesday October 14.

Anderson, whose Darjeeling Limited closed the festival two years ago, declared: "Fantastic Mr Fox is a British film, based on a Roald Dahl book, set in the UK, produced in the UK, so I am especially pleased to have been invited to be the opening night movie of this year's London Film Festival. We had a wonderful experience at the LFF with my previous film and I am eagerly looking forward to introducing Fantastic Mr Fox to the world in this wonderful venue."

Anderson, George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwwartzman are expected to attend the opening, along with other members of the voice cast.

This year's festival runs October 14-29 and the full programme will be announced on September 9.

Monday 27 July 2009

Coming soon

Hammer Glamour, published September 25, priced £24.99, a lavish new coffee table book from the good folk at Titan Books.

Written by Hammer historian Marcus Hearn, this lavish hardback celebrates Hammer's femme fatales with their barely restrained clevage, and is, to quote the press release, "bursting at the seams with rare and previously unpublished photographs". Sounds good to me.

Stuff I read today...

Emma Brockes skips along the Yellow Brick Road to celebrate The Wizard Of Oz at 70.

The Guardian muses on Hollywood's strained relationship with the internet.

A King Kong prequel is, apparently, heading our way.

The New York Times lays into Orphan.

Where The Wild Things Are featurette

I adore Maurice Sendak's book Where The Wild Things Are and can't wait to see what Spike Jonze has done with it. This exclusive featurette, which played at Comic-Con and which is now available on the Apple trailers site, reveals the love and care and passion Jonze and his co-writer Dave Eggars have brought to their adaptation. And boy, it sure looks gorgeous.

Sunday 26 July 2009

Tron: Legacy footage

I loved the original Tron and this looks the same but different. If you know what I mean.

Saturday 25 July 2009

Comic-Con '09: Kick Ass

I was particularly pleased to see that Kick Ass did indeed kick ass at Comic-Con the other day, drawing wild praise from all who witnessed Matthew Vaughn's hardcore adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's hardcore superhero comic. The film, which stars Aaron Johnson as Kick Ass, Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist and Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl (pictured) promises to reset the bar on not only what's possible in comic book movies but what's acceptable.

Elsewhere Titan Books unveiled the Kick Ass: Movie Book which features "creator Mark Millar's unique commentary on the conversion of his bestselling comic to the big screen, with hundred of photos" and interviews by yours truly.

Wes Anderson on Fantastic Mr Fox

"It was the first book I ever owned," writer-director Wes Anderson tells USA Today in an exclusive peak at his adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's classic Fantastic Mr Fox. "My brothers and I loved Mr Fox and all the digging. We were obsessed with underground forts and tunnels."

As I've said before, I visited the Fantastic Mr Fox set several times during the course of production and interviewed many of the people involved in the making of this unique and delightful movie. Expect a trailer in the not too distant future.

Comic-Con '09: Astro Boy

Wired has a first look at Astro Boy.

Friday 24 July 2009

Alice teaser (again)

Here's a much better quality version of the Alice teaser. It's funny to think I was there the day Alice fell down the rabbit hole...

And remember, this isn't how the finished version's necessarily going to look. As Tim has pointed out, this is where they are now.

Comic-Con 2009: Avatar panel

How I wish I'd been at this and seen the 20 plus minutes of footage from Avatar that James Cameron unveiled yesterday, but the good news is that August 21, at IMAX cinemas the world over, is Avatar Day. Fifteen minutes of Avatar will be shown, free, in IMAX 3D for everyone to see, ahead of its December release.

Check your nearest IMAX cinema for details.

Book Of Eli trailer

Looks like The Road with more action but minus the cannibals, to me. That said, I'm a sucker for a post-apocalyptic tale. And it's great to see The Hughes Brothers back on the big screen. Click here for the HiDef version from Apple.

Down the rabbit hole

Aint It Cool has posted pictures and a description of the Alice In Wonderland touring exhibition that I got an exclusive peak at in London in June.

Back then, no photos were allowed. Now that the teaser trailer's out, and the first official photos have run, it's clearly a different matter.

Thursday 23 July 2009

Nightmares & Ninjas

Got it!

Tony Scott interview

I'm a huge fan of Tony Scott, both as a filmmaker and as a bloke, and one day I'll dig out the piece I wrote for Premiere about the constant cameo appearance of a baseball cap in his early movies and post it here.

The Times' Kevin Maher meets Ridley's younger brother and finds him "gentle and avuncular and quietly reflective".

Red Queen and her court

Oh, the irony

So. I was watching the post-Cannes cut of Inglourious Basterds last night, followed by a Q&A with Quentin Tarantino, when the Alice teaser leaked onto the net ahead of its Facebook premiere, and by the time I'd heard about it, it had been pulled. Oh well...

Update: Apparently the trailer's here. Not that I can access it. Maybe it's a UK thing.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Stuff I read today...

Zack Synder reveals how he almost cast Brad Pitt as Nite Owl in The Guardian.

Wired ponders what remains "unfilmable" in the light of Watchmen being filmed.

Harry Knowles chats with Robert Zemeckis.

Alice trailer countdown

As I hinted a while back, the Alice In Wonderland teaser will premiere this Thursday at Comic-Con but lucky Facebook users will have a chance to see it even sooner. To wit, according to this press release:

The Loyal Subjects of the Red Queen, the Loyal Subjects of the White Queen and the Disloyal Subjects of the Mad Hatter are all building armies on Facebook. The fan page with the biggest army at 4pm PDT on Thursday July 23 will get to see an exclusive new trailer from Disney's Alice In Wonderland before anyone else.

So be sure to log onto Facebook and choose a side.

The Loyal Subjects of the Red Queen:

The Loyal Subjects of the White Queen:

The Disloyal Subjects of the Mad Hatter:

Pietro Scalia at BAFTA

On Friday night I shall be hosting...


Pietro Scalia has worked with an auspicious list of directors including Bernardo Bertolucci, Sam Raimi, Oliver Stone, Gus Van Sant, and of course, Ridley Scott, with whom he has a long term working partnership. With credits such as JFK, The Quick and the Dead, Good Will Hunting, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, American Gangster, Body of Lies and an impressive array of Oscar and BAFTA nominations, he's become one of the industry's highest regarded editors. In an 'everything you always wanted to ask about editing...' session, he'll join us at BAFTA to talk through highlights from his work and discuss his philosophy on the craft of editing and the ever-developing language of film.

"Editing is storytelling. The notion of invisible or visible editing is an antiquated view about what editing really is. The art of editing is more then a technical craft about seamless building of the raw materials. The dailies footage and recorded sounds are the interpretation of the written text, distilled through the eyes of the director and every other creative contributor during production. They do not constitute a predetermined film narrative. For me the art of editing is being able to crystallize the dramatic ideas into a coherent and entertaining series of images and sounds, that most fully emerge the viewer into the suspension of disbelief and bring the experience of the film to its fullest. Editing makes the artificial feel real. When a film works, then all the elements of technique become invisible and in turn leave a visible imprint on the mind and heart of the viewer." Pietro Scalia, from Cineaste, March 2009


A meeting with Oscar and Bafta-winning editor Pietro Scalia (Gladiator, JFK, Black Hawk Down) to discuss Friday night's interview at BAFTA (more details in a moment), then a screening of Tony Scott's crisp, efficient, enjoyable remake The Taking Of Pelham 123, followed by a screening of the new Dark Castle horror flick Orphan which opens in the US next week and the UK in August. I'll review it in due course but it's pure hokum from start to gory finish, with some solid shocks, a lot of head-in-your-hands, scream-at-the-screen-in-disbelief-at-the-inability-of-certain-characters-to-see-what's-going-on-right-in-front-of-their-eyes moments, and a spoilerific twist. Still can't decide if it was rubbish or I liked it.

Monday 20 July 2009

Potter pondering

I haven't read Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince and I'm debating whether to see David Yates' film adaptation which opened last week and made a ton of money for the good folk at Warner Brothers this past weekend. I've never been obsessed by Harry Potter. I read the first five books, enjoyed them for what they were, but I wouldn't say I loved them, unlike some I know. I saw the first five movies — I even went to the London premieres of the first three and have interviewed many of these responsible for the films over the years — but think only Alfonso Cuaron's Prisoner Of Azkaban is a great movie, although Yates did a fine job with Order Of The Phoenix and I'm sure he's probably done a good job with Half-Blood Prince. But I missed the first press screening of Half-Blood Prince and, well, I just haven't got round to paying to see it yet, and, to be honest, I'd rather see Public Enemies again. Or read a book. Or a comic. Or watch a DVD. But that's just me.

Forty years ago...

I'm not old enough to remember Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, but the Apollo 11 mission and the subsequent lunar landings, as well as the various Space Shuttle trips, have always fascinated me. As a kid I built space rockets and knew who every astronaut was. I've visited the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, and have even been to the original Mission Control in Houston where the Apollo missions were co-ordinated from, so I guess you could call me a space geek.

And so the 40th anniversary of Armstrong stepping out onto the lunar surface and uttering those immortal words "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" and the attendant media coverage and avalanche of documentaries and television programmes surrounding it, has been most welcome in my household.

I've also been glued to this terrific website which is tracking the Apollo 11 mission in "real-time" and which I heartily recommend checking out.

Sunday 19 July 2009

Calling all Tim Burton fans...

Make sure you check out Tim Burton's Official Website which has had a funky overhaul in preparation for the autumn launch of The Art of Tim Burton and which lets you move Stain Boy around a virtual gallery of Burton's artwork.

Friday 17 July 2009

Alice In Wonderland: A Visual Companion

I wasn't going to mention this just yet, but seeing as Amazon already has a page up for my book, Alice In Wonderland: A Visual Companion, I figured I'd bring it your attention. It's a somewhat premature announcement, considering the book's not out until March 2, 2010, but if you fancy pre-ordering...

Hobbit trouble?

The Guardian is reporting that trouble is potentially afoot in Middle Earth.

Guillermo del Toro's film version of The Hobbit could be killed off in a pending battle between a Hollywood giant and the family of the book's author, JRR Tolkien," writes Xan Brooks. "The heirs to the Tolkien estate are suing New Line Cinema, the studio behind the Lord Of The Rings adaptations, claiming $220m (£133m) in compensation for undistributed profits from the films. For good measure, they are also demanding the option to terminate further film rights to Tolkien's work, citing breach of contract.

"Should the case go all the way to trial, we are confident that New Line will lose its rights to The Hobbit," said Bonnie Eskenazi, the lawyer working for the author's son, Christopher, and the family's charity, the Tolkien Trust. The case – officially billed as Christopher Reuel Tolkien v New Line Cinema Corp – is due to be heard at Los Angeles superior court in October.

Yikes. But at least if The Hobbit goes belly up, Del Toro's got a whole slate of cool sounding movies waiting in the wings, including his take on Frankenstein.


I was fortunate to visit the set of Fantastic Mr Fox although, for now, I am unable to speak of it. You'll find this photo and another here.

Downbeat denouements

Finally got round to watching Frank Darabont's excellent adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist the other night. It was everything I'd expected. Well crafted with a smart script and neat monsters, and head and shoulders above typical genre fare.

What I didn't expect, however, was that ending. If you've not seen The Mist, fear not, I won't go into spoilerifc details but boy, Darabont's disturbing denouement left me shaken and depressed. And I like downbeat endings. Se7en? Brilliant. The Parallax View? Hell, yeah. But The Mist's really upset me.

It's been years since I read King's original novella, but, from what I remember, he left it open-ended. Darabont's is just plain nasty and fucked up. And all power to him for getting it made that way.

Mia's Alice

Following on from yesterday's Entertainment Weekly cover, here's a shot of Mia Wasikowska as Alice, part of EW's Comic-Con coverage. Doesn't it look amazing?

Thursday 16 July 2009

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Duncan Jones talks Moon...

... with The Daily Telegraph and Time Out.

More Alice

Empire Online has posted hi-res versions of Mary Ellen Mark's photos that appeared in Vanity Fair, as well as this exclusive shot of Anne Hathaway's White Queen. And no, that's not the Dormouse, in case you were wondering.

An Education trailer

I missed this when it screened in London on Monday, but hope to catch up with it soon. Incidentally, I met Carey Mulligan earlier this year on the set of Never Let Me Go and have to report that she's as charming as she is talented.

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Say it ain't so

Steven Soderbergh tells The Guardian the experience of shooting Che, plus the last-minute cancellation of Moneyball, has left him reeling. "In terms of my career, I can see the end of it," he says. "I've had that sensation for a few years now. And so I've got a list of stuff that I want to do — that I hope I can do — and once that's all finished I may just disappear."

Monday 13 July 2009


I haven't seen Susanne Bier's Brothers, of which this Jim Sheridan-directed movie is a remake. But I love his cast and I sure love this spare and elegant poster. If the film is as half as good, I'll be happy.

Just because...

Criterion are bringing out Repulsion on Blu-ray and while my Region B player won't play the damn thing, that's no reason not to run this lovely 1080p screen grab featuring the truly stunning Catherine Denevue that I found on the indispensable DVDBeaver. Luckily the film's also available on Standard Def DVD. Now, here's a title I really don't mind double-dipping on.

Sunday 12 July 2009

The Imaginarium Of Terry Gilliam

A few, quick thoughts for those of you eager to know about The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

First, though, a bit of context. When I emerged from Leicester Square tube station at around 5.45pm on Friday and headed towards Soho for the Parnassus screening, there was a strong smell of smoke in the air, crowds on the streets, and TV crews and fire engines parked at the Old Compton Street junction with Dean Street, which is where the screening was due to take place and which the police had cordoned off. It turned out that an office building on Dean Street had gone up in flames and my immediate thought, other than I hope no one had been killed or injured, was that the screening was going to be cancelled, and that the curse of Terry Gilliam was somehow going to strike again.

Fortunately not. The screening went ahead and I have to report that for Gilliam fans, it's the film we've all been waiting for. Pure, unadulterated Gilliam from beginning to end — and the Gilliam of Time Bandits, Baron Munchausen and BrazilParnassus is perhaps the closest thing there is to actually travelling into the mind of one of cinema's most idiosyncratic and inventive artists.

The plot revolves around Christopher Plummer's thousand-year-old Parnassus and his wager with Tom Waits' Devil who's turned up, somewhat prematurely, to collect his winnings in the form of Parssus's soon to be sixteen-year-old daughter Valentina (model Lily Cole). Together with Andrew Garfield's eager Anton and Verne Troyer's faithful Percy, the four form a traveling troupe of actors and storytellers who find, one night, Heath Ledger's Tony hanging by a rope beneath a London bridge, a morbid scene made even harder to watch given Ledger's tragic death mere weeks after filming it. Figuring him to be The Hanging Man of the Tarot and a sign of good fortune in his long-standing wager with Old Nick, Parnassus welcomes Tony to their vaudeville stage show which features, as its main attraction, a special mirror — a portal into a magical wonderland young Alice would have approved of — which offers the entrant a peak into their imagination, whatever it maybe.

It's with this land that Gilliam cements his place as an amazing fantasist, the various CGI worlds brimming with surreal, Dali-esque fantasies and nightmare touches, be it a series of giant, floating Parnassus heads, or giant jellyfish, or rivers that transform into snakes, and a land in which souls are forced to choose between Parnassus or the Devil. It's in this land, too, that Ledger's Tony becomes Johnny Depp and Jude Law and Colin Farrell, a ploy that might well have backfired, a la Plan 9 From Outer Space, but works a treat, each actor not only looking like Heath to varying degrees but playing his character too.

It's a movie not without some flaws, but it matters not one iota. This was a movie from the heart even before Ledger's tragic and untimely demise. It's even more of one now.

Welcome back Terry, you were missed.

Friday 10 July 2009

Very excited...

In less than three hours the lights will go down at a central London cinema and I will finally see Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, a film I visited the set of more than 18 months ago. Here's hoping...

HUSH set visit

I visited the set of Mark Tonderai's UK road thriller HUSH in September 2007 and my report can finally be seen in the pages of this month's Fangoria, on sale now.

Comic-Con '09

I won't be there alas, but one Tim Burton will be, as part of Disney's 3D Panel.

Here's the Disney press release with all the details...




BURBANK, Calif. (July 9 , 2009) — Animation greats Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter and directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton will take part in their first ever Comic-Con at the San Diego Convention Center July 23-24. The filmmakers will be on hand to help Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures showcase a wide-ranging roster of upcoming films, including 3D juggernauts ALICE IN WONDERLAND, TRON and DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and animated gems THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, PONYO and the TOY STORY trilogy.

Zemeckis, Burton , Miyazaki and Lasseter will take part in industry panels.

COMIC-CON’S FIRST EVER 3D PANEL — Veteran directors Robert Zemeckis and Tim Burton join TRON producers Sean Bailey and Steve Lisberger on Thurs., July 23 at 11 a.m. for an unprecedented presentation featuring behind-the-scenes filmmaker insights about the highly anticipated 3D adventures DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL, ALICE IN WONDERLAND and TRON. In addition to Q&A opportunities with each of the filmmakers, the 90-minute panel will feature never-before-seen concept art, trailers, actual 3D film footage and other Comic-Con-only footage debuts. In a groundbreaking technical feat, this is the first time ever that 3D footage will be shown at Comic-Con. Patton Oswalt will moderate.

ANIMATION PANEL — Animation legends Hayao Miyazaki and John Lasseter join veteran animation directors Lee Unkrich, Kirk Wise, Ron Clements and John Musker on Fri., July 24 at 12:45 p.m. for an animation panel which will highlight upcoming animated films, including Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY/TOY STORY 2 double feature, Disney•Pixar’s TOY STORY 3, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ half-hour holiday TV special PREP & LANDING, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG and Miyazaki’s PONYO. John Lasseter will host the panel and Patton Oswalt will moderate a group Q&A following the presentation, which will include filmmaker insights, trailers and select film sequences.

Thirst trailer

Tinker, Tailor remake

I love the choice of Let The Right One In director Tomas Alfredson for Working Title's feature-length version of the John le Carré Cold War thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The 1979 BBC adaptation which starred Alex Guiness as George Smiley was brilliant television, and the recent Radio Four series the Complete Smiley had really wetted my appetite for seeing the spymaster on the big screen. Peter Morgan has been charged with adapting the material.

Moon Q&A

The transcript from Wednesday night's Q&A with Moon director Duncan Jones and producer Stuart Fenegan will be online soon, along with footage from the event. I will link to them when they appear.

Jones and Fenegan were funny and bright and all round nice guys, and are hoping the buzz around Moon, which opens in the UK next Friday and is expanding its run in the US, will help them with the financing for their next project, a Blade Runner-esque thriller set in Berlin called Mute which they hope to shoot next year. Jones said it takes place in the same universe as Moon and Sam Rockwell's Sam Bell will have a cameo.

Tuesday 7 July 2009


I saw Moon last night in preparation for an onstage interview I'm hosting with the film's director Duncan Jones at the BFI Southbank tomorrow night, and all I can say now is that it's a quite brilliant piece of filmmaking, one that marks the arrival of a major, major directing talent. Smart, tense, with a terrifically contained script by Nathan Parker and a wonderful performance from Sam Rockwell, it is, however, almost impossible to talk about without spoiling. So, instead, you should go see it when it's released in the UK on July 17.

Tomorrow's screening and Q&A is sold out but very often there are returns on the night. If you're going, hope to see you there. If not, I'm sure they'll have the interview up on the BFI Southbank website soon enough.

Rumour mill

Make of this what you will, but a "source" is claiming George Clooney has declared an interest in playing Jack Ryan if and when the Tom Clancy franchise is revived. Well, "this site" says that's a great idea.

Lost talk

A few things that came up in last Friday's Lost talk.

Damon Lindelof ruled out any movie or comic spin-offs once the show ends next year.

Lindelof and fellow executive producer Carlton Cuse said they owed it to the fans to tie up as many loose ends as possible in season six. “We won’t be vague and ambiguous," says Lindelof. "There will be a lot of answers. We feel that if we hold anything back in the final season, it would be bad. Everyone’s come this far and they want a conclusion to the story.”

They promised season six would reunite everyone, would feel “more like series one” and that Smokey would become “an interesting character in and of itself” in the final season.

The pair also ruled out a happy ending. “Bittersweet comes with the territory,” said Lindelof. “The ending we’re aspiring to is fair. The ending of series six will be different from other finales because there will be no cliffhanger.”

Monday 6 July 2009

Heavy is the crown...

"Kids’ stuff is a thing of the past in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. Suddenly looking quite grown up, the students at Hogwarts are forced to grapple with heavy issues of mortality, memory and loss in this sixth installment in the series of bigscreen adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s Potter tales. Dazzlingly well made and perhaps deliberately less fanciful than the previous entries, this one is played in a mode closer to palpable life-or-death drama than any of the others and is quite effective as such. Delayed by Warner Bros. from a late 2008 release date so as to spread the wealth after The Dark Knight scored so mightily last summer, this Prince is poised to follow its predecessors as one of the year’s two or three top-earning films." So writes Variety's Todd McCarthy.

Sunday 5 July 2009

All grown up

Continuing today's Harry Potter theme. It's Hermione, in case you were wondering. From the August issue of Elle.

Harry Potter interviewed

I missed Friday night's press screening of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince because of BAFTA's Lost event. Still, here's a Daniel Radcliffe interview to get you in the mood, and an early review from The Guardian.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Frightfest 2009 line-up

Frightfest, the UK's finest horror film festival, has just announced its tenth anniversary line up and, as usual, its a doozy, kicking off with the world premiere of Christopher Smith's Triangle (pictured) and including Dread, Trick R Treat and the remastered (and shouldn't be remade) An American Werewolf In London.

More information about the individual films can be found here. For ticket information click here.

This year's event has moved from London's Odeon West End to the Empire, with not one but two screens showing the best of the current genre crop.

Thursday 27th August
Main Screen
6.30 pm - Triangle
9.15 pm - The Hills Run Red
11.30 pm - Infestation + Deadwalkers

Friday 28th August
Main Screen
11.00am - The Horseman
1.45 pm - Beware The Moon
4.1O pm - An American Werewolf In London - Remastered
7.20 pm - Shadow
9.35pm - The Horde
Midnight - Macabre + Paris By Night Of The Livivng Dead

Discovery Screen
Noon - Best Worst Movie
2.15 pm - I Sell The Dead
4.15 pm - I Think We're Alone Now
6.45 pm - Colin
9.00pm - Black

Saturday 29th August
Main Screen
11.30 am - Smash Cut
1.45 pm - Hierro
3.45 pm - Millennium
7.00 pm - Giallo
9.00 pm - Trick r' Treat
11.15 pm Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl + Sad Case

Discovery Screen
Noon - The Horror of Writing' Competition
1.45 pm - Evil Things
4.15pm - Fragment
6.45 pm - It's Alive
9.00 pm - Pontypool

Sunday 30th August
Main Screen
11.30 am - Dead Snow
1.45 pm - Human Centipede
3.50 pm - Coffin Rock
6.45 pm - Night Of The Demons
9.00 pm - Clive Barker's Dread
11.15 pm - 100 Best Deaths

Discovery Screen
Noon - Black
2.40 pm - Pontypool
5.00 pm - I Think We're Alone Now
7.00 pm - I Sell The Dead
9.00 pm - Best Worst Movie

Monday 31th August
Main Screen
11.00 am - Zombie Women of Satan
1.15pm - The House Of The Devil
3.30 pm - Case 39
6.30pm - Heartless
9.15pm - The Descent Part 2

Discovery Screen
11.00am - Colin
2.15 pm - It's Alive
4.15 pm - Fragment
6.45 pm - Evil Things

Friday 3 July 2009

Lost in London

Tonight I'm off to a special BAFTA event in which Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Jack Bender discuss the show. Mega excited. Now if only they'll drop some hints about the final season which apparently has been given an extra hour by the folk at ABC to enable them to cram in all that needs to be crammed in.

Thursday 2 July 2009

Steely Dan

I have been a fan of the Dan since I was at school and it was considered very uncool to like them. Last night I saw Becker and Fagen live for the first time and they were sensational. Laugh all you want, but you're wrong.

Karl Malden, 1912-2009

Wednesday 1 July 2009

The Informant! trailer

Love this! Particularly the exclamation mark! Tells you all you need to know!