Empire States: 9¾ 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 States: Pete Docter And Jonas Rivera Talk Pixar's Inside Out
Posted on Wednesday June 25, 2014, 16:58 by James White in Empire States
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 States: Miss Game Of Thrones Already? Here's The Solution…
Posted on Tuesday June 24, 2014, 15:49 by Dan Jolin in Empire States
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 States: H. R. Giger: An Empire Tribute
Posted on Tuesday May 13, 2014, 14:10 by Ian Nathan in Empire States
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.
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Empire States: How 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 States: Why Do People Think Captain America Is Boring?
Posted on Wednesday April 9, 2014, 10:48 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
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 States: Are iPads And Smartphones Changing The Face Of Filmmaking?
Posted on Tuesday April 8, 2014, 11:15 by Ben Kirby in Empire States
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 States: Screen To Stage: Let The Right One In
Posted on Friday April 4, 2014, 14:59 by Helen O'Hara in Empire States
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 States: My Encounter With Shia LaBeouf
Posted on Thursday February 13, 2014, 01:14 by James White in Empire States
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 States: Empire Meets Chris Hemsworth’s ‘Rush’ Alter Ego
Posted on Monday January 27, 2014, 17:18 by Ally Wybrew in Empire States
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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