Empire States: Subtext Messages: Hidden Agendas And Why They Matter
Posted on Friday January 15, 2010, 16:37 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
First of all, just to make one thing clear, this blog isn’t about defending my one-star review of Taken, nor is it an excuse to snipe back at those who vehemently disagree with me on our forum. Of course, I’m aware that I’m at one end of the spectrum on this one (Hell, I’m still having arguments with people in the office over it, and my own editor gave Liam Neeson’s rancid rampage of revenge three stars on DVD, as is entirely his prerogative), but I still stand by the review. And I don’t intend on repeating all the same points here.
Indeed, I’m glad it’s led to such a debate (frankly, I could live without the personal insults, but, hey, I’ve always thought that if you can’t handle criticism, you shouldn’t be a critic), yet while following the thread one thing did strike me. It would seem that, by commenting on the film’s insidious xenophobia and misogyny I am, to quote poster Appelby “reading way too much” int...
Comment Now (9 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: The Next Dimension: Does 3D Really Work?
Posted on Friday May 15, 2009, 10:56 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
The Japanese call it shoboshobo. The technical term is asthenopia. I call it 3D red-eye. And it’s the main reason why I remain skeptical — I’d like to think respectfully skeptical — about the burgeoning 3D revolution.
Some time ago I went to see Beowulf at the London IMAX. This was my last 3D experience, and for a while I was determined that it would remain my last 3D experience. I had no problem with the film itself; I enjoyed it primarily due to Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary’s script, a bold new take on one of the oldest of legends. But the 3D itself failed to make it anything more of an immersive entertainment than it would have been in 2D. In fact, it was a barrier to enjoyment. Sat, as I was, very slightly off-centre in the auditorium, everything on-screen blurred at the edges. I found myself having to lean leftways very slightly to minimise the effect as much as possible. Then, afterwards I realised my eyeballs felt like they’d been glasspapered. I look...
Comment Now (63 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: How To Cheat A Reboot: Star Trek's Kobayashi Maru Solution
Posted on Monday May 11, 2009, 11:59 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
**CONTAINS SOME STAR TREK SPOILERS IN PARAGRAPHS TWO AND THREE**
There was a time when the concept of the ‘reboot’, rather than the remake or prequel, felt new. Batman Begins wasn’t necessarily the first (although at this point I’m honestly struggling to think of another that isn’t simply a remake, like, say, The Mask Of Zorro), but it was done so brazenly that it reminded us that big franchise properties can be successfully rebuilt from the ground up within recent memory of the last stab. Yet, after further examples like Casino Royale and Hulk (which was kind of a sequel anyway), I didn’t expect to be surprised by a franchise reboot again. Then JJ Abrams came along.
Abrams’ Star Trek is very possibly a first. With it, he has taken a well-loved universe and made it his own, while at the same time recognising and respecting that universe as it was before he started applying his own tweaks. He’s ingeniousl...
Comment Now (47 comments)
Back To Top
Infinite Lives: Confessions Of A MMORPG Addict
Posted on Tuesday January 20, 2009, 14:20 by Dan Jolin in Infinite Lives
There’s a certain kind of videogame that I just can’t get enough of: the RPG (that’s role-playing game to the non-nerds out there). This is largely due to a mis-spent youth playing Dungeons & Dragons (although, later, the Palladium system proved a smarter alternative, as the übernerds out there may appreciate), itself the result of a desire to put myself, or rather some aspect of myself — harder, better looking, much better at casting fireballs — into a world of adventure that could in some way be shaped by my actions.
Now I’m in my mid-thirties, with a wife, a child and the grave responsibility to watch bad films so that others may not, it’s not so easy to get around a table with my sad, geeky chums — only one of whom, you may wish to note, also now has a spouse and offspring, although I’m pretty sure they’ve all had sex without paying for it. Besides, while I still may have a Manual Of The Planes and Ars Arcana somewhere in...
Comment Now (20 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: My Favourite Christmas Movie: Brazil
Posted on Thursday December 11, 2008, 10:48 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
The thing about setting your movie during Christmas is that it’s hard to make Christmas incidental. As viewers, we can’t quite shake off that perhaps even miniscule tremor of excitement caused by the sight of light-bedecked fir trees or the jingle of sleigh-bells. Either that, or it just makes us groan, tense up and wait for the schmaltz to hit. Even so, some movies’ Yuletide-positioning tends to be overlooked, largely due to the (welcome) fact that they exist in a different genre, rather than the ‘Christmas movie’ genre itself: Die Hard, for example, or Terry Gilliam’s superb dystopian alterno-noir comedy, Brazil.
Which is a shame, in a way, as Christmas and all our instincts concerning anything connected with the holiday give Brazil so much. After an explosion and a mishap with a bug and a typewriter, the film presents a traditional seasonal scene: a family gathered in front of a tree while Mother tells a story of Santa coming down the chimney. With devio...
Comment Now (29 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Shelf Abuse - Or How To Organise Your DVDs
Posted on Wednesday November 26, 2008, 16:54 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
Earth-shattering news! I’ve recently moved house. Which, aside from the usual acute stresses, has brought up a rather important issue: how do I arrange my DVD collection in my new front room? In Old House, there was no order. One section was vaguely assigned ‘favourites’, although if I’m honest, that was the most visible element and I wanted it filled with the coolest-looking titles (the Region 1 limited edition wooden box version of The (original) Wicker Man; all three extended editions of The Lord Of The Rings; the Dollars trilogy set; the vanilla disc of Commando), which would best say to visitors: “Behold My Discs Ye Mighty And Be Slightly Impressed”. The rest was a random pile gradually built up over years of blagging and raiding the Reviews Editor’s post.
I did make an effort to resolve this unseemly chaos about a year ago. On the advice of Nick “Triple G” De Semlyen, I bought a digital library which files all your titles for you by using y...
Comment Now (118 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Thou Shalt Not Kill... Even If You're Jodie Foster
Posted on Monday October 1, 2007, 16:07 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
Warning: minor plot spoilers ahead…
There’s a very good reason why Michael Winner’s Parting Shots is perched at the top of my list of worst films ever made. Well, there are MANY very good reasons (I’ll list them for anyone who asks), but above all the film’s extreme technical indelicacies is its purely, deeply, truly, madly offensive right-wing proposition that the actions of a murderous vigilante (in this case a photographer diagnosed with cancer who decides to kill everyone he blames for screwing up his life – played by, *cough*, Chris Rea) are not only justifiable, but heroic. Even more galling, it adds the erroneous suggestion that we all secretly would like to do what Rea’s character’s doing. (Winner, of course, has snuffled around this odious territory before in Death Wish and Dirty Weekend, so by Parting Shots – fittingly his last film – he’d pretty much honed all his worst tendencies.)
Comment Now (37 comments)
Back To Top
Empire States: Monster? Alien? Let's Call The Whole Thing Off...
Posted on Tuesday August 21, 2007, 10:42 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
Casting my eyes over the film schedules of the not-too-distant future, as is my wont, I spotted an upcoming animated Paramount movie, due in July 2009, called Monsters Vs Aliens. My instant reaction, no doubt thrown out there by my still active inner child, was: Best. Title. Ever. But then I thought some more. What do they mean by ‘Monster’? What do they mean by ‘Alien’? Isn’t one very often the other?
Just think of some the greatest movie monsters: John Carpenter’s The Thing, the xenomorphs of the Alien franchise, the Rancor (for that matter, any one of a number of George Lucas’ creations), the bugs from Starship Troopers… They’re all extra-terrestrial. Sure, you’ve also got the likes of the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s original Monster, the Mummy, etc. And then there’s those aliens that clearly aren’t monstrous: Jeff Bridges in Starman, the Star Trek galaxy’s various pasty-faced, pointy-eared types. But were you to dr...
Comment Now (48 comments)
Back To Top