February 2007

From Sunshine to South Africa

Ponte City paperback With Sunshine about to hit the screens, Danny Boyle is looking towards his next project. According to Variety (via), this will be Ponte Tower, a thriller set in the 54-storey cylindrical Ponte Tower in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This was considered one of the citys most desirable addresses and a powerful symbol of white affluence under apartheid when it was built in 1975, but after the end of apartheid many gangs moved into the building and it had become extremely unsafe.

The film will be loosely based on a book by German novelist Norman Ohler about a girl from Soweto who moves to Ponte Tower at the end of apartheid and comes under the control of a charming druglord.

Boyle will be travelling to South Africa shortly to develop the project which will be a UK/South Africa co-production.

Consider my interest well and truly piqued.


Yesterday, I mentioned that a social networking website called MyFilms is about to be launched. The url theyve been using up to now is myfilms.com.

It turns out that MyFilms dont actually own the myfilms.com domain name. The site they meant to promote was myfilms.co.uk.

I shouldnt laugh. Bwahahaha!


After Flixster and Withoutabox, The Guardian reports that yet another film oriented social network is on the way, and it sounds quite interesting.

The website is called myfilms.com (theres nothing there yet - it launches sometime next month) and aims to increase the range and breadth of cinema going in the UK, according to Pete Buckingham, head of distribution and exhibition at the UK Film Council which is backing the site.

Obviously its way too early to say anything about this site, but its ambitions are certainly laudable and, if things go as intended, this could well be a site thats worth watching out for.

Neil Jordan to make a Killing on Carnival Row

This time last year, Guillermo del Toro was in talks develop and direct dark fantasy, Killing on Carnival Row for New Line - the big independent that backed The Lord of the Rings, and then famously fell out with Peter Jackson.

Killing on Carnival Row sounds like quite an interesting film. Its set in an alternative Victorian London populated with humans, fairies and other creatures and centres on a police detective investigating a series of murders against the fairies. Inevitably, the detective becomes the prime suspect and, well, you can probably guess the rest.

However, given the size of del Toros slate, it shouldnt be entirely surprising that this is one film that he is no longer involved with. Disappointing, but not a shock.

However, this particular cloud does have a silver lining in that Neil Jordan is to take on the directing duties for the film. Although hes probably best known for The Crying Game and Breakfast on Pluto, Jordan was also behind The Company of Wolves and Interview with the Vampire - and Mona Lisa.

So he could turn out to be exactly the right person to handle a dark fantasy police thriller.

The spirit of exploitation lives on

Solace in Cinema have a copy of the latest Grindhouse poster online which, given how close we are to the films release is probably going to be (or be very close to) the final version.

They have also tipped up the news that The Weinstein company will be splitting up the film into two pieces in foreign territories. The official excuse for this, according to Variety, is:

[M]ost non-English-speaking territories have little tradition of a grindhouse double bill. So the central conceit of the film — two short exploitation films, separated by faux trailers for upcoming cheapies — would be lost.

Riiiight. So its nothing to do with trying to make people pay twice for one film. Its not like Tarantino and the Weinsteins have ever pulled this stunt before (*cough* Kill Bill *cough*), is it?

The poster is after the jump and the Tarantino Archives have started an online petition.
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Starship Sofa

The Starshipsofa guys If you ever look at my blogroll, you may have noticed several podcasts on there. I keep meaning to mention some of these more explicitly but, being the disorganised soul that I am, its something I still havent gotten around to.

However, having just listened to Episode 29 of Starship Sofa, I can stay silent no longer.

Starship Sofa is a science fiction podcast in which the two hosts - Tony C. Smith and Ciaran OCarroll - pick a subject and, taking inspiration from Ronny Corbett, embark on a digression packed conversation around their chosen field. The results are always entertaining, often informative and well worth a listen.

Check them out but I have to warn you that if youre using headphones, the first 14 minutes of Episode 29 are beast heard in private unless youre comfortable with a room full of people wondering why youve just started laughing like a drain.

Never mind the quality, feel the hype

Despite receiving largely poor reviews, Ghost Rider has topped the North American box office chart on its opening weekend.

And this is news?

I was going to write something here about the way the marketing people have moved in on the Hollywood mainstream, inflicting on us a seemingly endless series of films that are over-hyped, over-long and completely safe. Every week, a different film tops the box office and every following week its completely forgotten.

More and more films are being made, but there is ever less inventiveness on show. What we are getting is the same tired old formulae being regurgitated again and again, and then attached to a recognisable brand (comic book, remake, I dread to think what else) and regurgitated again. These films are bland, safe, boring and repeatedly sink without trace.

But what really irritates me is that, even knowing all this, we all still troop to the multiplexes and pay to see what weve already heard of - even if its only a name. As long as we keep on buying crap its no great surprise that the studios keep on selling it to us.

Gravatars are Go!

Gravatar logo If you check out any of the comments on any of the posts, you should start to notice an icon appearing next to each of the comments. These are coming from the revamped and much improved Gravatar site.

If you head on over you can get an icon of your own which will appear not just on this site but on any Gravatar enabled blog.


If only

Sigourney Weaver I havent said much about James Camerons upcoming science fiction actioner Avatar yet, primarily because its still early days and there hasnt been a lot to say. However, one thing that is worth mentioning is that Sigourney Weaver will be reuniting with Cameron for this film.

Weaver will play Grace, a grizzled explorer and mentor to a wounded Marine (played by Sam Worthington) leading his people to survival in a massive galactic conflict, but what really caught my attention was this:

Sigourney and I have always looked back fondly on our collaboration in Aliens [1986], and were excited at the prospect of working together again, Cameron told reporters. She has a unique blend of strength, sensitivity and intelligence needed to play the character of Grace, and she has a special significance for fans of science fiction.

If I recall correctly, both Cameron and Weaver were expressing interest in making Alien 5 a few years ago. And what a film that would have been compared to what we actually got.

The first rule of Film Club is - you do not talk about Film Club

On Thursday Gordon Brown launched a film-sharing initiative that aims to give 10,000 schools across the country access to up to 400 film titles ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to foreign language titles.

Mr Brown said greater exposure to world cinema would deepen childrens understanding of different cultures and ideas. The new programme will be known as Film Club.

Film Club is a great example of how schools can offer young people the chance to do something engaging and exciting at the end of their school day. For the first time, Film Club will allow young people to watch a much wider range of films from world cinema together and discuss them in groups.

We all know films can inspire us to think more deeply about the world around us, learn about different experiences and cultures and think creatively about bringing our own ideas to life.

The movies shown by Film Club can be both entertaining and educational, but, most encouragingly, they get young people talking about the issues and ideas raised and wanting to see and learn more.

The scheme is currently in its pilot phase, which runs until the end of the spring term in schools across Yorkshire, London, Kent, Surrey and Northern Ireland.

The organisers have an impressive selection of films listed on their site, arranged by theme, by age and alphabetically. They are partnering with LoveFilm, among others, and the scheme looks very much like a virtual film library, administered through schools.

But film does broaden the mind (usually), so anything that enables more children to see a greater variety of films sounds like a good idea to me, and I sincerely hope that this scheme works out.