May 2007

Wrong Trousers Day 2007

Wallace and Gromt\'s Children\'s Foundation This year, Wallace Gromits Wrong Trousers Day lands on Friday 29th June. This is your chance to wear silly shorts - and for a good cause.

Wallace Gromits Wrong Trousers Day raises funds for Wallace Gromits Childrens Foundation, which supports childrens healthcare throughout the UK.

To find out more and to register for the event, head over to www.wrongtrousersday.org

Death on screen

Death: the High Cost of Living Film Ick (via) are reporting that Neil Gaiman is to direct his first feature film - an adaptation of his Death: The High Cost of Living graphic novel.

Death is a spin-off from the hugely successful Sandman series and tells of how once every 100 years, Death - the anthropomorphic personification of the end of life - takes human form and lives among us, to understand what it is that we’re losing when she dies. In the story she meets, and befriends, Sexton Furnival a suicidal teenager and finds herself being hunted by evil forces which prey on her new vulnerability now that she is human. Meanwhile, Mad Hettie threatens to kill Deaths suicidal friend if Death wont help her find her heart.

The story has it that the role of Death has caught the interest of one famous young actress in particular, although there is no indication of who. So I shall cross my fingers and hope that the film does get made and that Natalie Portman gets the title role.

From screen to stage: All About my Mother

This sounds good. Kevin Spacey is planning to produce a theatrical version of Pedro Almodóvars multi-award winning All About My Mother for the Old Vic this autumn.

Lesley Manville is said to be in final negotiations to play Manuela who, following the death of her teenage son in a car accident, sets out to find his transvestite father.

Talking about taboos

Yesterday I mentioned the Dutch reality TV, due to be transmitted on Friday, in which viewers send text messages to a dying woman to help her decide which of three patients should receive her kidney.

Although controversial, this programme has raised the issue of the shortage of donor organs in the EU - where ten people waiting for an organ transplant die every day.

Today EU health commissioner Markos Kyprianou has unveiled a new plan proposing to promote donations from living donors as well as to establish efficient systems – for example specially trained medical staff – for identifying those that could become organ donors upon their death.

The most cost-effective means of increasing public willingness to donate seems to be improving the knowledge of health professionals and the media about transplantation issues, the commissions paper states.

Obviously, Kyprianous scheme isnt a direct response to the BNN programme - the EU doesnt move that quickly - but equally, if The Great Donor Show hadnt been scheduled its very unlikely that anyone would be talking about the issue today.

On the value of bad taste

The Great Donor Show Dutch broadcaster BNN has come under fire over The Big Donor Show in which a terminally ill woman selects one of three patients to receive her kidneys.

Joop Atsma, of the ruling Christian Democrat Party described the idea of people voting on who gets a kidney crazy.

But Alexander Pechtold of the Dutch social liberal party, D66, pointed out: For years and years we have had problems in the Netherlands with organ donations and especially kidney donations. You can have a discussion about if this is distasteful, but finally we have a public debate.

Bart de Graaff, the founder of BNN died from kidney failure after spending years on a waiting list for a transplant.

A bad body of work just got worse

Film adaptations of computer games - a genre that has been notorious for churning out films which manage to be both commercially successful but generally unwatchable - have just taken a downward turn with the news (via) that 20th Century Fox are to make a big-screen version of The Sims.

The five-year-old franchise is the best selling PC game in history, with worldwide sales topping 85 million, bringing in over $1.6 billion. Pic will be a live-action version.

And that tells you everything you need to know about why this film is being made.

Maybe Im being too quick to write this film off, but seeing as the film is being produced by John Davis - the man who gave us Norbit - I think Im justified in assuming that a high level of suckiness will be present in this thrilling story of people choosing furniture.

What hero are you?

Destined Hunters were once unaware of the dangers that existed in the world. As fate would have it, their eyes were opened to the evil all around them, and their worst nightmares began to manifest! These daring and agile heroes chase after demons and monsters of all kinds to make the world a safer place.

What hero are you?

Fairground Attraction

I am hugely indebted to Brass Goggles for pointing me in the direction of a rather lovely tale of fairground rivalry otherwise known as the video for Emily Loizeaus Je Suis Jalous (I Am Jealous).

He-Man Returns. Again

And while Im on the subject of dodgy film adaptations, Filmstalker is reporting that Joel Silver has bought the rights to the He-Man film and has hired Justin Marks to write the script.

This is Justin Marks who is also writing the script for SuperMax, the Green Arrow in jail film that David Goyer wants to direct. And Voltron in which five pilots learn how to operate lion robots which come together to form a giant mechanical warrior.

And what is so special about He-Man? This series of half-hour animated adverts has already spawned one film - which was rubbish, but about as good as you can get when youre making a homo-erotic kids film.

Toxic Neuromancer

William Gibsons début novel, Neuromancer was one of the defining books of the cyberpunk genre that was so popular in the 1980s and early 90s. So the news (via) that a film adaptation is in the offing shouldnt be entirely surprising.

The $70 million film is to be produced by Peter Hoffmans Seven Arts and Joseph Kahn has signed up to direct.

Hoffman said the project is not just a good sci-fi adventure but a story full of hot topics - issues like artificial intelligence, bio-engineering and alternate theories of immortality will be dealt with dramatically.

This is good. There are a lot of concepts in Neuromancer that were fascinating when the book was published in in 1984, and are well worth revisiting today.

Not so good is that Hoffman goes on to say:

Therell be a sort of love interest as well.

Of course, a story such as Neuromancer will need the involvement of a director who can deal with complex concepts in an interesting and dramatic manner, which brings me to Joseph Kahn. So far, Kahn has one film under his belt - 2004s Torque. The other high point of his career was the video for Britney Spears Toxic.

So far, Im less than thrilled about this film.

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