Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Lost in Austen
Part 2 (of 4)

Mutual Friends
1x03 Episode Three


Casino Royale Collector's Edition DVD & Blu-ray Trailer
Finally getting the release it deserved first time round, here's a trail for the great-looking three-disc re-release of Casino Royale (Collector's Edition in the States, Deluxe Edition over here, I believe). Time to flog my 2-disc on eBay, methinks.

Ghost Town Trailer
After a surprisingly long wait, it's The Ricky Gervais Movie. Except it isn't -- that'd be This Side of the Truth, which is completed but not due til sometime in '09 -- but he does star in this one. And he plays the same character he played in The Office, Extras, cameo-size parts in films, his stand-up gigs, and on every chat show interview he's ever done. He can be a very funny guy, but this repetition is as bad as the overuse of catchphrases that he derides so much. Still, the film looks quite funny.

Fast & Furious Teaser Trailer
The third (can you believe it?) sequel to The Fast & the Furious, with a title so different I'm sure it won't cause confusion for anyone. With Vin Diesel (and a couple of others) finally returning to the franchise, and Paul Walker back having skipped a film, I won't be surprised if your average brain dead boy racer -- the film's primary market, surely -- thinks this is a pointless re-release and returns to their DVD of the original. That said, this first trailer -- mostly consisting of one action sequence and little plot detail -- makes it look like it could be as surprisingly entertaining as the first, though hopefully with less reliance on CGI.

Knowing Trailer
An interesting premise, but similar films recently have turned out to be pretty crappy so it's best not to be too hopeful.

Quantum of Solace Trailer [2nd watch]
Following the excellent teaser -- and, of course, the huge level of hype -- this had a lot to live up to. It's a slightly unusual trailer, with minimal use of the iconic Bond theme (it's really in need of it properly at the end) and an odd pace (a slightly lacklustre 'big final montage', for one thing), but it still delivers because everything looks great. Not exactly an exciting trailer in its own right, then, but the movie it promises looks bloody fantastic. Only seven weeks til the UK release!

Sukiyaki Western Django Trailer
Spaghetti Western (or should that be something like 'Sushi Western'?) from "famed Japanese auteur" Takashi Miike. It's hard to tell if it's going to be trashy & cool or just trashy. Whether they were or not, the bits featuring Tarantino look cheaply tacked on for a Western audience.


Attenborough: "ET Better Than Gandhi" by Dave Golder
(from SFX)
Sir Richard Attenborough, director of acclaimed Oscar-winning movie Gandhi, has said that "his film was honoured partly for its subject matter and that Spielberg's ET was a better movie, cinematically speaking." Bless dear old Dickie. (While I first came across this courtesy of SFX, it's spread wider, including BBC News and IMDb's Daily Poll (permalink for results of the latter).)

More Marvel Films From Fox? by Helen O'Hara
(from Empire Online)
Good news all round, if you ask me. "X-Men Origins: X-Men Mates: Deadpool" -- yep, best title ever. Though, if I'm honest, more Daredevil pleases me more -- I actually really liked the first one; still not seen the director's cut though... Is a reboot a good idea? Well, while I wouldn't mind it being a sequel, there's never any harm in getting rid of Ben Affleck, and as the original hardly captured the public's imagination few will notice if it's just ignored. As for what rebooting can do for quality... the same concept didn't work for The Incredible Hulk at the box office, but it certainly made for a much better film. But Casino Royale and Batman Begins were also reboots, and look what happened there.

Also check out the news about Queen's new album. Yay!

Queen are back!

Somehow I mostly missed this til today, but Queen's first new studio album for 13 years -- entitled The Cosmos Rocks -- is out next Monday! Yay! I'm thoroughly over-excited, so here's a few bits & bobs about it:

Classic Rock Magazine's review is rather positive, which is obviously a good sign. "The Cosmos Rocks, while characterised by having Rodgers's raw blues in place of Freddie's flamboyance, is undisputedly the work of Queen. Not only can The Cosmos Rocks sit proudly in the Queen canon, it can also do the same alongside Rodgers's work with Free and Bad Company... Overall The Cosmos Rocks has more than enough power to take your breath away. Freddie's legacy is in safe hands."

Freddie's legacy

The lack of Freddie Mercury is understandably something that has concerned many, often leaving uninformed commentators to suggest he'd be spinning in his grave. Really? These comments from the order page for the "Exclusive Queen Online Tour Edition" of the album suggest otherwise:

"Rodgers... can stand assured in the fact that Mercury always rated him as one of the best rock voices of his time. It is public record that Mercury would make a point of dropping into the Marquee or any number of other London venues when Rodgers was performing with his band Free. Mercury often in his past acknowledged Free's Fire and Water as one of the albums to most influence Queen."

So ner to all those Rodgers haters. That page also has these promising snippets of info to impart:

"The first thing you notice... is "all tracks written by Queen and Paul Rodgers"..."produced and performed by Brian May, Paul Rodgers and Roger Taylor" (indicating that between them they played all instruments, including bass - Paul and Brian swapping duties - in case you were going to ask). This is obviously not a case of Rodgers lightly stepping in to fill a vocal gap, as some might have been drawn to assume would be the case when the three of them got into the studio together." (Another ner!)

Old style

"There's a lot of guitar orchestras and some of our old trademarks, but at the core of it you'll hear the three of us playing. People really, truly playing together in the studio - you don't get that much these days. But, you will get it on their new album. Do they still call them 'albums'? I don't even know. But this is really, we believe, an Album in the old sense of the word - something you can put on and listen to all the way through, and it takes you on a journey... the subjects and moods in it are widely spaced - but nevertheless, a challenge to the listener to put his day on hold for an hour or so, be drawn in, make connections, and experience something new."

"These days it has seemed to us that few people have this in mind - CD's by large tend to be a collection of songs, often produced by different teams, assembled in random sequence - with the idea that folks will shuffle the order on their iPods anyway. Of course you always have that option! But our teachers were the Beatles, Hendrix, blues + soul and... you know where we’re going with this."

"'Albums' in the old sense" are certainly preferable to a mere collection of songs as far as I'm concerned, so bring it on.

Buy buy buy

Of course, Queen have pleasingly embraced new technology in other, more fan-friendly ways. As well as being available as a, y'know, CD, the new album can also be had in a CD & DVD edition (featuring a full 15-track live gig on the DVD!), a digital download, and that Queen Online exclusive version, with slipcase and poster. There's even a vinyl version, just to fill out the spread. On top of that there's the Album Club that you can join for £2. For your money, you get three live tracks from the 2008 European Tour; first listen to tracks from The Cosmos Rocks; automatic entry into 12 prize draws to win exclusive prizes; exclusive video and pictures galleries; opportunity to purchase an exclusive ‘Album Club’ T-shirt; an exclusive album club forum; plus the latest tour news, set lists and reviews. Considering three tracks on iTunes would set you back £2.37 anyway, it's not bad really. (Those lucky enough to have joined before 8th September get 15 free tracks, the gits. Look out for them on Torrent sites, then.)

Anyway, that'll do for now. The countdown to release begins now... HMV better get my copy to me for Monday! (Hey, sometimes they get stuff to me the Saturday before release -- fingers crossed!)

100 Films makes Top 10!

I just wanted to briefly boast that my other, film-centric blog, 100 Films in a Year, has made it into the list of Top 10 Journals at its host site,

I'd also like to point out that the list is determined by reader/member votes on blogs, not hits or what have you, so is an assessment of quality rather than just counting the number of people who've somehow found my site via a search engine.

A minor achievement, perhaps, but it still feels good.

Reviews Update

While I'm at it, the last time I posted an update on reviews from 100 Films was way back on 26th June, so here's a round-up of what reviews I've posted since then:

Brideshead Revisited (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience (2008)
The Golden Compass (2007)
Hairspray (2007)
Hamlet (1996)
The Happening (2008)
Hard Boiled (1992)
I Am Legend: Alternate Theatrical Version (2007/2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)
Presto (2008)
Superhero Movie (2008)
WALL-E (2008)
Wanted (2008)

As always, there's more to come in the future.