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Empire StatesWhy Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?

Posted on Wednesday April 9, 2014, 10:48 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?

This week Vulture published an article arguing that Captain America is “only interesting if he’s a prick”. It echoes quite a few conversations I’ve heard where people complain that Cap is “boring” or “vanilla” or whatever, like the only heroes they want to see are the ones who reflect the worst in themselves. And frankly, I’m beginning to wonder what the hell is wrong with everyone.

Batman broods. We get it. Like Angel in Buffy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, it’s part of his essence. Many superheroes, action heroes and sci-fi stars have troubled pasts that they sometimes like to reflect upon while staring handsomely into the distance. But does it feel to anyone else like maybe we have a few too many troubled heroes these days? And that maybe this whole dark, brooding, troubled, tortured thing h...

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Empire StatesAre iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?

Posted on Tuesday April 8, 2014, 11:15 by Ben Kirby in Empire States
Are iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?

When shooting Lawrence Of Arabia, one of the biggest challenges David Lean and cinematographer Freddie Young faced was operating the camera and the film. Sand, unsurprisingly got everywhere, the film was warped by the heat, and most of the rushes couldn’t even be viewed until the crew had returned to London. Thank God, then, for technology. Today, we live in a world where not only can a whole Empire Videoblogisode be filmed on a mobile phone, but so can an actual, proper, honest-to-goodness film.
Sally Potter’s Rage (2009) had the conceit of being filmed on a mobile (even if it was, in reality, a digital camera), and was even released simultaneously in the cinemas and on phones in the UK. Yet in 2014, this is seeming like less of a gimmick. In the last few years, we’ve had plenty of short films – like 2011’s ‘Framed’ – that were shot on a mobile, and 2014 sees the...

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Empire StatesScreen To Stage: Let The Right One In

Posted on Friday April 4, 2014, 14:59 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In has just opened at the London Apollo, following successful runs at the Royal Court and National Theatre Scotland, which is good news for vampire fans who are looking for a theatrical fix. After all, while our stages groan with doomed princes, '20s playboys and Mormon missionaries, there are relatively few literal bloodsuckers. And this is a strong adaptation of the book / film / whatever, but it hews close to what made Tomas Alfredson's 2008 film work and so its strengths become, for some, also weaknesses. This gives you much of the same impact but also retreads the same snow and blood into the same ground.

As in John Ajvide Lindqvist's book, bullied young Oscar meets a mysterious girl, Eli, who turns out to have an aversion to sunlight and a thing for blood. The setting - or at least the accents - are Scottish this time, but it's still a slow-burning story about a desperate need for connection as much as it is a horror or a thriller. The book has already ...

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Empire StatesMy Encounter With Shia LaBeouf

Posted on Thursday February 13, 2014, 01:14 by James White in Empire States
My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf

There are some moments in life that really help crystalize your standing in the world. Today was one of mine. One of my colleagues recently got to train to be a spy, shoot guns and hang with Sir Kenneth of Branagh. Me? The magazine’s West Coast Editor? I was going to sit across a table from Shia LaBeouf in an art gallery in the middle of Los Angeles. Yes, really. Instead of (mock) mortal peril, I was risking sun exposure and the chance of aching legs from standing around.

Let’s back up a little. First came the controversy. Last December, LaBeouf – best known for his sterling work shouting “NO!” a lot as Sam Witwicky in the first three Transformers movies – released a short film called Howard Cantour that was, the world quickly established, largely cribbed from a Daniel Clowes graphic novel. LaBeouf used skywriting to apologise to Clowes...

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Empire StatesEmpire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego

Posted on Monday January 27, 2014, 17:18 by Ally Wybrew in Empire States
Empire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego

It’s been a while since anyone was killed on a press day – it’s bad PR – but I still had survival in mind when I arrived at the McLaren Technology Centre to interview Niki ‘Hollywood’ Faulkner, Chris Hemsworth’s driving stunt double in Rush, and drive the rocket-like McLaren 12C. And I was hardly imbued with confidence by the brief chat I had with Faulkner before climbing into the supercar. “I’ve been blown up in a car,” he points out with the nonchalance of a man recalling his lunchtime sandwich. “I had to drive along, this bomb went off and the whole back of the car got blown off.” Right. “That’s nice,” we mutter, sweeping the McLaren for explosives. Sure, it was an unlikely eventuality on a £170,000’s worth of supercar, but you never know.

Feigning calm, I stepped into the 600ph car. But would my driving experience be anything like James Hunt’s antics in Ron Howard’s BAFTA-nomina...

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Empire StatesThe Case For The Wolf Of Wall Street, Surprisingly Feminist Film

Posted on Friday January 17, 2014, 12:18 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
The Case For The Wolf Of Wall Street, Surprisingly Feminist Film

*This blog contains spoilers for The Wolf Of Wall Street. Frankly, I doubt they'll actually spoil your enjoyment of the film, because it's great, but please take that into account.*

There's been criticism of The Wolf Of Wall Street for its depiction of women, and it's easy to see why. Numerically speaking, the majority of women in the film are prostitutes, and the film's male characters uniformly grope and harrass them - when they're not engaged in frequently demeaning sex. I can't think of a single scene where these prostitutes were not partially or entirely naked. Besides the call girls, there are a number of female employees glimpsed on the brokerage floor, one of whom volunteers to have her head shaved in return for $10,000, which she reportedly plans to use on breast implants. Another has public sex with a colleague. The two leads are both married to women they cheat upon frequently, and the film's most importan...

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Empire StatesThe Movie Drinking Games Too Dangerous To Attempt

Posted on Thursday January 16, 2014, 16:05 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
The Movie Drinking Games Too Dangerous To Attempt

Titanic was on TV recently, and one thing leapt out: the number of times that the names "Jack" and "Rose" are said. I joked that you could build a drinking game around it, but then I watched a little further. In total, there are something like 130 mentions of both - particularly concentrated during the sinking, as you'd expect - and it seems like even the barest sip per mention would soon see you completely stocious (particularly if, as suggested by one Tweeter, you drank Jack Daniels when his name was mentioned and rosé for her). So please, please, do not try this at home*. But in a spirit of public awareness, the Empire team and I then brainstormed the other film drinking games that you should definitely not attempt.

We can't stress this enough. We're listing these as a joke. ON NO ACCOUNT attempt these.

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Empire StatesScreen To Stage: From Here To Eternity

Posted on Thursday November 7, 2013, 09:24 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Screen To Stage: From Here To Eternity

From Here To Eternity is not the easiest sell in the world, as musicals go. After all, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory: The Musical seems like a natural fit for the stage, with all the bright colours and general insanity. But a World War II movie about GIs butting heads before the war is even joined, falling for married women or prostitutes and getting thrown in the stockade? It's a little harder to see immediately where you fit in the high kicks and the sequins. What's more, we're talking about a story by the famously somber author James Jones, also responsible for The Thin Red Line, who was there in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor and who then fought his way across the Pacific. To make light of that legacy would be to lose your audience before you even begin. Luckily, the show treats its characters with respect, and turns out better than we had any right to expect.

The thing to remember is that Les Miserables isn't exactly an obvious source for a musical either, and the dying...

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Empire StatesThere's No Pixar Film In 2014. Here Are 7 Steps To Help You Survive The Wait

Posted on Thursday September 19, 2013, 16:01 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
There's No Pixar Film In 2014. Here Are 7 Steps To Help You Survive The Wait

Today Pixar announced that they are moving the planned release date of The Good Dinosaur from 2014 to 2015, to allow more time to rejig the movie following the removal of Bob Peterson as director. Originally due in May next year, the film will now be out in late 2015, after the summer release of Inside Out. Finding Dory, originally down for 2015 as well, has been shunted to 2016. This all means that 2014, for the first time since 2005, will be A Year Without A Pixar Film. How will you cope? Well, we have a few suggestions.

1. Cultivate zen
Realise, deep within your soul, that it's a better idea to change a film's planned release date to have the time to get it right, than to rush something out before it's ready. Contemplate a nearby tortoise or snail or something, sniff some incense and breathe deeply through your nose. Everything ...

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Empire States‘Is Jackie Chan Dead?’ And Other Amazing Film Questions From Google’s Auto-Suggest Function

Posted on Tuesday September 17, 2013, 15:53 by Ali Plumb in Empire States
‘Is Jackie Chan Dead?’ And Other Amazing Film Questions From Google’s Auto-Suggest Function

Type the word ‘is’, followed by a space, into Google, and you’re given four auto-suggestions. They are: ‘is it down’; ‘is jackie chan dead’; ‘is shingles contagious’ and ‘is nelson mandela dead’. One of these is regretably understandable (Mandela is elderly and in poor health but happily, at the time of writing, is not dead), one is pretty dumb (shingles are contagious, yes), another is nonsensical (is what down?) and the other... is incredibly worrying (Chan, who is not that old or that unhealthy, despite his frequent bone-breaking).

This inspired me to see what other cinematic Auto-Suggest gems I could find. Using the starting words of “Why”, “Is” and “When”, here are just ten examples based on characters from The Avengers....

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RECENT POSTS

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
By Helen O'Hara

Are iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?
By Ben Kirby

Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
By Helen O'Hara

My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf
By James White

Empire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego
By Ally Wybrew

The Case For The Wolf Of Wall Street, Surprisingly Feminist Film
By Helen O'Hara

The Movie Drinking Games Too Dangerous To Attempt
By Helen O'Hara

Screen To Stage: From Here To Eternity
By Helen O'Hara

There's No Pixar Film In 2014. Here Are 7 Steps To Help You Survive The Wait
By Helen O'Hara

‘Is Jackie Chan Dead?’ And Other Amazing Film Questions From Google’s Auto-Suggest Function
By Ali Plumb


RECENT COMMENTS

Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"what..??!! THIS is news to me..all i've been hearing bout this movie's NOTHING but terrific...  Avengers12
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Chris Evans and the entire fucking film is boring, and THAT's the problem, not the character."  Jonny24
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Because people are idiots? ;) Earnestness, honesty and a hopeful attitude are jus"  spideed2
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Captain America is not boring. Steve Rogers is boring. It's nearly impossible to "  doug64
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Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
"Nice to see this review pop up - I was wondering if you'd been to see it, Helen... I agree with most"  gumphd
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"It's not that the film version of Captain America is uncool, it's the comic book character as resurr"  dansator
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"I meant to say "I don't have a problem with Cap being old fashioned, which some folks think is "  coyoteone
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"I don't have a problem with Cap being old fashioned and boring, and frankly, I'm sick of this trend "  coyoteone
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Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
"Thanks for writing about this - I was thinking about going to see it but maybe not now. I remember t"  Mpyrereader
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Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
"Just back from seeing The Winter Solider and for me it's the best of the Marvel films so far. The se"  LustForLeith
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