In the past month or so a lot of news about the eagerly anticipated Hobbit movie has come out. I’ve been getting over excited by the various updates coming from facebook, twitter and TORN, but for those of you who don’t have a constant supply of Tolkien related news, here is a handy break down of all the gossip from Middle Earth
- The movie has been split in half. Which was just about to annoy me until I realised this meant twice as much hobbitty goodness. The first film is called An Unexpected Journey and will be released on 14th December 2012. Part two is There And Back Again and will be out the following Christmas. Start getting your sleeping bags ready for Leicester Square 😉
- Empire magazine were the first to run a cover, giving us the first look at the new movie:
- Martin Freeman looks better as a hobbit than a human.
- Benedict Cumberbatch has replaced Bill Nighy as the voice of Smaug. Which means at one point Holmes will be talking to Watson. That just about makes up for the loss of Nighy.
- Christopher Lee (infamously cut from ROTK) will be in the movie. He is filming his scenes in the UK.
- Thanks to some creative tweeting from Derren Brown (of all people) there’s a suggestion that filming has already begun.
- Andy Serkis, having already completed a lot of his MoCap work, is directing the second unit. Which is just cool.
- Stephen Fry is playing the Master of Laketown. Which is also pretty damn fantastic
- Elijah Wood will have a cameo appearance
- So will Orlando Bloom
- A flurry of pictures were released last week, giving us a first look at how the cast will look in full dwarf get up:
- Basically, it’s going to be awesome.
I don’t really have time to write a full on review so instead I’m giving you a couple of paragraphs based on some stuff I scribbled down last night. Note: I’ve really tried to tone down use of the word “awesome.”
Sherlock Holmes is awesome. It is definitely one of the best films I’ve seen in a while. The chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr is spot on, creating a brilliant brotherly relationship with all the awkward macho-ness of Victorian gentlemen added on. Of course this kind of fast talking quick witted dialogue is the reason Downey Jr was invented-which is why the role suits him so well, but Law plays a brilliant striaght man, with a great dry sarcasm and complete lack of surprise at Holmes erratic behaviour.
OK so this version probably doesn’t live up to the books I haven’t read, but to be honest, who cares? I like this kind of action hero come detective character who has a few issues with drinking eye medicine. (For those who like trivia, that reference in the film is a nod to Holmes cocaine addiction.) Normally when a film is obvioulsy setting up for a franchise I start to become wary of obvious sequel lead ins, but with Holmes I was already couting the days to the next movie before the credits had even rolled. This is definitely a double act that could endure for a while yet, with almost limitless plot possibilities!
While we’re talking about plot, some have criticised the black magic story in the film saying it’s too supernatiral for Holmes, but I disagree. The fact that everything came down to it’s logical Scientific explanation suitted Holmes perfectly, while the character of Blackwood tapped into the culture of superstition at the time.
A few other quick thoughts. Hans Zimmer’s score is (as usual) brilliant and despite sounding like the wrong man for the job Guy Richie’s direction works well. There are a few of his trademarks there (I’m pretty sure slow-mo bare knuckle boxing was his idea) but in the context of the film nothing sticks out. A lot of effort went into recreating Victorian London as well, and the costume design is really good. Speaking of, one final bit of trivia for you: the costume designer obviously has a sense of humour-pay attention to where she has her name in the credits/picture montage. I’m pretty sure she didn’t have much work to do in that scene 😉
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You may well have heard about this as it’s circulating the net pretty fast, but Empire have set up their “cryptic canvas” as a celebration of 50 years of movies. All you have to do is find the 50 movies. It’s harder than it looks….
At the moment I’m stuck on a pitiful 28/50. So anyone willing to trade some answers….
*Update* Many wasted hours later puts my score up to 48/50.
**much later** I DID IT! I found all 50 (with a little help from some friends) If you want clues I’m here for you.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Here’s some random Wolverine trivia I’ve picked up from various sources….
- The part of Wolverine was originally offerd to Joaquin Phoenix but he turned it down. Thank God! As much as I love Phoenix (before he became an *ahem* rap artist) that would never have worked.
- Three Mile Island, the site of Stryker’s base in the film, exists, and suffered a partial core meltdown in 1979. In the film, Gambit remarks on how no-one wants to get too close to a nuclear reactor, so the goings on at the base are kept secret. The destruction of the cooling towers by the Wolverine/Weapon XI showdown is a nod to the meltdown, implying that the government used it as a cover story.
- When Logan rescues the prisoners form the base, the party includes Toad, who reappears in X1. Also incarcerated is Quicksilver-Magneto’s super-speedy son. He’s the white haired mutant tied up in what looks like bungee ropes and trying to escape by running at the bars.
- Dominic Monaghan was originally cast in the role of Beak, but the part was changed to Bolt during filming. This is probably due in no small part to the fact that Beak’s only ability is turning into a grotesque (and painful) half-bird half-man mess!
- On the back window of the truck belonging to the nice old couple who rescue Logan is a sticker saying “Not all those who wander are lost.” This is a line from Tolkein’s ranger poem:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost,
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring,
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
I have more, but I reckon I’ve probably written too much about Wolverine on here now. I’m off to see Star Trek on Wednesday…Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
OK, first, right click here, open in a new tab, press play, and then read while you listen. I wanted to add the track myself but it was the wrong file type and I’m not clever enough to convert it. Hopefully they’ll appreciate the hits.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll probably have noticed that music is something of a big deal to me. When it comes to film scores, I’m becoming more and more convinced that composers like John Williams, Howard Shore and Hans Zimmer are the new classical masters. Modern classical music (oxymoron?) tends to be the more contemporary Maxwell-Davies style, which is definitely not to everyones taste, while the great sweeping scores seem to be left more or less to the movie composers.
Movie scores are quite often beautiful and I would argue comparable to the greatest symphonies. (Before you start, I’m expecting to get shot down in flames for that, and I am fully aware that my classical knowledge is limited at best, but I do have some idea what I’m talking about).
Take Howard Shore for example. I’m a firm believer that a huge amount of the success of Lord of the Rings is owed to his breathtaking score. The orchestration mirrors the plot so perfectly that you could almost remove the dialogue and still understand what’s going on. Of course, it helps that he’s also got the stunning New Zealand backdrop to set it off. Shore’s The Breaking of the Fellowship the final “movement” of the Fellowship of the Ring (to which you are currently listening, I hope) is quite simply one of the most beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, and I know that it forms a big part of why I love that film.
In the case of someone more prolific, John Williams has penned some of the most famous themes in history. Not every man on the street will be able to hum Beethoven’s 9th or Mozart’s Requiem, but ask him to sing Star Wars or Indiana Jones and he’ll definitely know what you’re talking about.
*Random trivial aside* The Indiana Jones theme is actually part of the Star Wars theme played backwards, an in joke by Lucas and Williams, go ahead, try it.
Williams is responsible for most of my library of movie scores, from Jaws, Jurassic Park, and even Home Alone to Harry Potter (which I hate but still love the score of). He’s the most famous movie composer of all time, and deserves the respect he has. In fact, I think he deserves more. Why shouldn’t he sit with Beethoven as a modern classical master?
Other composers I urge you to look out for are Hans Zimmer, the man behind Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean (along with Klaus Badelt) who has a particular theme he re-uses in all of his movies as a kind of signature (once you’ve heard it you can’t miss it, its even in Rain Man!) and James Horner, the genius creator of the heart breakingly beautiful score to Braveheart. Coming second only to LOTR in my favourite scores of all time, he magically combines traditional Scottish themes (and pipes) with sweeping orchestration which undoubtedly plays a major role in the effect that film has on me (read: unecessary floods of tears)
And it’s not just the original scores that can transform a movie. As Watchmen showed, the re-use of modern or even classical music can be just as evocative. The moment in Equilibrium when Christian Bale hears the first movement of Beethoven’s 9th is a perfect example. Layer Cake also springs to mind, with a soundtrack that brilliantly reflects the action, especially the Ordinary World scene. Billy Elliot is also one of my favourite films for soundtrack, with songs like Town Called Malice and London Calling perfect reflections of the rioting and conflict on screen, not to mention the iconic opening to Apocalypse Now (This is the End), or the perfect settings of Philadelphia, Good Morning Vietnam, Midnight Cowboy, The Graduate…
I could carry on like this for hours. Believe me. I guess the point of this post is to make you listen as well as look. I remember once remarking on the beautiful strings in the final scene of Pirates while watching it with a friend, and she was surprised I payed that close attention to the music. So this is me asking you to open your ears. The underscore of your favourite film will have already had a big effect on why you love it, you just might not have realised it yet.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Those of you who saw this weeks QI will know where this came from, but after my sister sent me the youtube link I thought I should share it with some more people because it really is weird.
The Wilhem Scream is the most used sound effect in cinematic history. It turns up in everything from Star Wars to Toy Story and yet people don’t realise how much its overused. Once you’ve started noticing it though you can’t miss it.
The story goes that sound designer Ben Burtt heard it being used The Charge at Feather River (naming it after Private Wilhelm) and then began incorporating it into every film he worked on as a sort of calling card.
Check out the video:
(This video isn’t mine etc etc…)Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )