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Empire StatesEmpire Goes To Jerusalem

Posted on Friday January 16, 2015, 10:17 by Will Lawrence in Empire States
Empire Goes To Jerusalem

That Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine targeted by extremists earlier this month, carries cartoons of the prophet Mohammed on the cover of its issue published January 14 is seen by many not only to strike a blow for non-violent free speech, but also to highlight the importance of comedy in bidding to affect change.

In a world where many promote a 'them and us' mind-set, the collective appeal of good comedy can stimulate accord. Clever people the world over agree. I caught up with comedy big-brain Dan Patterson during a trip to Jerusalem just before Christmas, where some clever souls had put together an impressive forum, Comedy for a Change, which attracted high profile funny men from all over the globe, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, atheist, whatever.

During a natter with Patterson he told me that comedy is an effective tool for pricking the intentions of the high and mighty. "It's like the lifting of the screen on The Wizard of Oz," says the man behind TV shows Whose L...

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Empire StatesScreen To Stage: The Hobbit Stars

Posted on Friday September 5, 2014, 17:55 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Screen To Stage: The Hobbit Stars

Usually when I've written these Screen To Stage blogs, I've been trying to compare a film to its stage adaptation. This time, I'm doing something a little different. This summer sees Martin Freeman play Richard III at the Trafalgar Studios, and Richard Armitage star in The Crucible at the Old Vic. So how did the Hobbit stars fare in their roles, and compared to one another?...

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Empire StatesScreen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love

Posted on Friday July 18, 2014, 13:12 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
Screen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love

Putting Shakespeare In Love onstage feels like a no-brainer. It's a film that often sounds like a play, with all those throwaway Shakespearean lines surrounding the actually Shakespearean lines, and of course it's a film about putting on a play. It's a film that has a lot to say about the importance and strength of drama, and the vital necessity of having a bit with a dog. And in fact here the truth of Henslowe's maxim that "comedy, love and a bit with a dog; that's what they want" is amply demonstrated. The stage show delivers all three in spades, and judged purely on its own considerable merits it succeeds. The only problem is that it proves hard to outdo the film, so people familiar with the original may find this a little less satisfying than those who come to it fresh.

The story is virtually unchanged: William Shakespeare (Tom Bateman), sometime actor and relatively succesful playwright, is struggling for inspiration and under monetary pressur...

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Empire States9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley

Posted on Saturday June 28, 2014, 18:14 by Ali Plumb in Empire States

1. It’s big
While Hogwarts (and the ride inside it, Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey) and Hogsmeade itself (and the ride beside it, Dragon Challenge) is a decently-sized destination – especially considering the queues lining up around the franchise outlet of Ollivander’s Wand Shop – its new sister site Diagon Alley is flipping massive in comparison.

Though you might initially think that Diagon Alley would be, well, just Diagon alley, the new section of Harry Potternalia in Universal Studios Orlando also includes the more sinister lane that branches off it (Knockturn Alley) as well as an entirely new street and a covered market. Think Borough Market - huge crowds and railway bridges above you - but don't go expecting giant cathedrals slap bang in the middle of it. There’s also Gringotts Ba...

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Empire StatesPete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out

Posted on Wednesday June 25, 2014, 16:58 by James White in Empire States
Pete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out

Director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera are the Pixar-based duo who last brought us the adventurous, famously tear-jerking tale of an old man, a house and a lot of balloons in Up. For their next project, they’re switching the age focus the other way, chronicling the world of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. But she’s not the main character: she’s the setting. Inside Out takes place within Riley’s mind, exploring how her emotions Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear deal with a traumatic move from the Midwest to San Francisco when Riley’s family is uprooted by her father’s job. The girl is struggling to cope with the new situation as she hits the age when kids start to lose their childlike sense of happiness and head towards the grumpier tween / teen years. Then Joy and Sadness find themselves trapped elsewhere in her mind, and must make their way back to “headquarters” even as their colleagues try to hold things together...

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Empire StatesMiss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…

Posted on Tuesday June 24, 2014, 15:49 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…

Arguable spoiler warning. It is week one of the post-Game Of Thrones year. Nobody you love (or love to hate) is going to die in an entertainingly horrible way on the TV this week. If, like me, you feel that Thrones is the most colossally entertaining televisual event of any year, you’re probably feeling like a large hole has been punched, once more, into your cultural life. Especially if, like me, you can’t even turn to the novels, having binged on all the books after Season One ran… Then slogged through A Dance With Dragons when that eventually came out after Season Two.

There is a way to fill that hole, at least temporarily, which doesn’t involve cosplay or novelty mugs. And it’s with a once obscure (in this country at least) French medieval-history series first published in the 1950s.

Stay with me…

Publisher HarperCollins has already cottoned on to, and admirably exploited...

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Empire StatesH. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute

Posted on Tuesday May 13, 2014, 14:10 by Ian Nathan in Empire States
H. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute

Swiss artist H. R. Giger, who has died at the age of 74, was known for biomechanical visions replete with horror and strange beauty. Few designers with an eye for all that is strange and spectacular in sci-fi have remained uninfluenced by his remarkable work. Empire's Ian Nathan, author of Alien Vault: The Definitive Story Behind The Film, pays tribute.

H. R. Giger was, of course, involved in Alien long before Ridley Scott. The mercurial Swiss artist, who had pursued a unique style he described as “biomechanical”, was part of the team of artists and eccentrics (including Salvador Dali) assembled to envisage Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted adaptation of Dune, and had been retained by screenwriter Dan O’Bannon to visualise the eggs and facehugger for his B-movie concept Starbeast. The film that would eventually evolve into Scott’s science-fiction masterpiece.

But befor...

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Empire StatesHow Edible Cinema Finally Allows You To Eat A Movie

Posted on Monday April 28, 2014, 10:29 by Ali Plumb in Empire States

There are a few moviegoing “experiences” out there – some requiring you to dress up, others involving a jacuzzi – but I don’t think I’ll keep any of their literature in my memory drawer. Here’s a scan of my lovingly crumpled menu from Edible Cinema’s Trading Places screening from back in December 2013, which I bring up now because a new Edible Cinema event is coming up soon, and it’s important you know about it.

The premise is simple: each audience member sits in a seat with a tray of numbered footstuffs in front of them. A low light is kept on to see what’s what, and just beneath the screen itself there's a handy Edible Cinema assistant who raises the appropriate number on a piece of card when you’re required to eat (or drink) something. Otherwise, it’s a relatively normal screening of a relatively normal film – albeit one that featur...

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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 videblogisode 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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Earlier Posts  


Empire States (444)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


Empire Goes To Jerusalem
By Will Lawrence

Screen To Stage: The Hobbit Stars
By Helen O'Hara

Screen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love
By Helen O'Hara

9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
By Ali Plumb

Pete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out
By James White

Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
By Dan Jolin

H. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute
By Ian Nathan

How Edible Cinema Finally Allows You To Eat A Movie
By Ali Plumb

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

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


Empire Goes To Jerusalem
"Such an interesting post. I am very happy to read this amazing article of yours. Thank you so much f"  claraashii
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Chinese Propaganda Is Hitting Hollywood
"Purchase Reverbnation Plays"  tofifi808
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50 Shades Of What Now?
"Just thought I'd return to this as FSOG is now out at cinemas. I haven't read the books or seen the "  Cookiedough
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Empire Goes To Jerusalem
"Good blog I really like it."  silvermovies
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8 (Possible) Reasons John Carter Bombed At The Box Office
"The trailer gave me the feeling that this would be something of a 6+ family movie. And a guy on an e"  my5p
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Screen To Stage: Shakespeare In Love
"Have just re-watched this twice over the past few weeks and forgot how fantastic it was. I'm now des"  fire_and_water5025
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9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
"This looks unbelievably good... wish I could afford to go!"  Roo
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Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"Nice to know Martin enlisted another author to help in his world-building. Time to get acquainted wi"  Imperion
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9¾ Things We Learnt At Universal Studios Florida's Diagon Alley
" The original Hogwarts section and what was duelling dragons (has now"  Sexual Harassment Panda
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Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
"Actually i recomend The Foucault Pendulum for several reasons, in the first place it explores the es"  andresfelipeurb
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