Small Screen: House Of Cards: Our First Reaction
Posted on Tuesday February 5, 2013, 11:57 by Olly Richards in Small Screen
The opening salvo in Netflix’ televisual revolution is predictably glossy, starry and expensive. But the streamer’s first move into original programming is also bravely adult, reaching for its audience with smart dialogue, tangles of political backstabbing, and slow burn storylines. It’s gunning for the prestige of HBO, not the ass ‘n’ action of Starz. And it’s a killer first blow.
Based on the British mini-series of the same name, now some 23 years old, itself adapted from Michael Dobbs' novel, House of Cards chronicles the slithering rise of Francis Underwood, a US congressman denied the position promised him by a newly-elected President. Not one to let even the slightest of betrayals go unpunished, Underwood begins a scheme that will destroy as many people as necessary in order to achieve what he wants. He’s the most dangerous creature in Washington, a man of great pettiness and almost limitless power. Underwood is brought to life by Kevin Spacey, grea...
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: Terminator: Salvation, Push and Max Payne
Posted on Tuesday August 12, 2008, 17:18 by Olly Richards in
Terminator Salvation, the fourth installment in the Terminator series has made an incredible about-turn since it was first rumoured. Fans initially showed something less than delight at the hiring of director McG and also questioned the reason to make another in the series. Then it was announced that we'd finally get to see the fabled war between machine and man. Then Christian Bale joined. Then Helena Bonham Carter and Bryce Dallas Howard signed on. Then the trailer aired. Finally, the film made a bow at Comic-Con and became one of the biggest hits of the convention, emerging as one of the most anticipated blockbusters on the horizon. You'll be able to see that whoop-inducing Comic-Con footage in full at this weekend's Movie-Con. Bring your best cheering voice.
Also joining the line-up is Push, which was a surprise hit at Comic-Con. Directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning and Djimon Hounsou, the film follows a group of young people who are being pursued by the US governme...
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Empire States: Be Still My Geeking Heart
Posted on Tuesday August 12, 2008, 14:42 by Olly Richards in Empire States
I'm surprised this hasn't been picked up more widely, but I caught this story via the frequently excellent io9. Turns out that Joss Whedon was once pitching to make a Batman movie. Let's just think about that sentence for a moment. Joss Whedon, which is an ancient geek term for God, was planning to make a movie about Batman, which is an even more ancient geek term for 'ooooh, yay, where's my wallet?'. That could have been something special. Also, why did I not know this? I feel I should have been informed.
I'll be the last person to criticise anything that Christopher Nolan has done with the Batman franchise, but I would give anything to see Whedon's take on Gotham. Some people don't get Whedon – and these people are punished by being forced to endure a Buffy-less hell of their own making, poor dears – and think of him as someone who only trades in pop-culture quips and dark camp. He's so...
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Empire States: It's Political Correctness Gone Stupid
Posted on Monday August 11, 2008, 17:13 by Olly Richards in Empire States
You've probably heard in the news today about this New York Times piece covering a protest against Tropic Thunder, which is being released in the US on Friday. A number of groups representing those with disabilities, including the organisers of The Special Olympics, are calling for a boycott of the comedy over its depiction of mentally impaired people. Sigh...
The crux of the groups objections is the footage of 'Simple Jack', a film within a film that sees Ben Stiller's character, an action star in search of credibility, playing a horribly stereotypical mentally impaired man. They also object to the multiple uses of the word retard. What they seem to have missed, as so many of these protests do, is that it's the people expressing the less than enlightened views who are being mocked, not the people they are themselves mocking. Stiller's character is a bad actor who thinks tha...
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: Twilight & Knowing
Posted on Friday August 8, 2008, 15:05 by Olly Richards in
We apologise in advance for any possible screams, but there's likely to be a strong reaction when Twilight unveils footage at Movie-Con. When scenes of the adaptation of the first in Stephenie Meyer's vampire romance series were shown at Comic-Con the squeals could be heard as far as Bora Bora. The film, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, follows a teenage girl (Kristen Stewart) who moves to a new town and becomes drawn to a hunky 17-year-old (Robert Pattinson)...who is actually a 108-year-old vampire. The books are already enormously popular, so see for yourself how it translates to film. Empire cannot be held responsible for any deafness resulting from fan fervour.
Also added to the schedule is Knowing, Alex Proyas' first film since 2005's I, Robot. It stars Nicolas Cage as a professor who digs up a time capsule at his son's school and finds that it contains a lot of predictions that have come true. Believing that the contents foreshadows the end of the world, he begins a race to preve...
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: The Wolfman
Posted on Friday August 8, 2008, 14:30 by Olly Richards in
The Movie-Con line-up just got a whole lot hairier with the announcement that The Wolfman will be showing footage at the event. Joe Johnston's horror-drama updates the beloved 1941 film about a man who returns to his troubled home and is inconveniently bitten by a wolf, causing him to turn into a man-beast each time the moon is full.
The new version of the film stars Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot, an actor who heads home to his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins) following the death of his brother. Old family wounds are opened and new ones made as Lawrence succumbs to his new wolfy ways. Emily Blunt also stars as the fiancee of Lawrence's lost brother, with Hugo Weaving as a detective investigating the violent deaths that are occuring in the village.
This will be the first chance for UK audiences to see footage of what promises to be a particularly grown-up horror....
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Posted on Thursday August 7, 2008, 11:25 by Olly Richards in
We can now confirm that footage from Zack Snyder's Watchmen will be showing at Movie-Con. This will be the first chance for UK audiences to see scenes from this adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel about a world where costumed 'superheroes' have been outlawed. But that doesn't stop a small group going back on duty when a number of their contemporaries turn up dead. With a rapturous reaction to footage at Comic-Con and hundreds of thousands of internet downloads of the recent trailer, this looks like it could be something special.
Dave Gibbons will be swinging by the BFI Southbank to introduce the footage and answer some fan questions. As the man who drew the Watchmen universe, this guy knows every tiny detail of this project. So we expect you to test him....
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Empire States: Which Dead Film Stars Would You Invite To Dinner?
Posted on Wednesday July 9, 2008, 16:14 by Olly Richards in Empire States
So there were Helen, James and I, chatting to Marilyn Monroe about her boyfriend, Elvis, and the upkeep involved in wearing a white dress most nights of the week, which was, all things considered, not where we had expected the night to lead. We were at a launch party for Smirnoff Black's season of classic films at the Bluebird Restaurant in Chelsea, which are happening all month (details here). Go, but don't do what I did and smash a glass menu, inviting a number of other guests, who have apparently never smashed anything in their lives, to look at me like a dog had just lavishly vomited me on the carpet.
'Marilyn' (actually a delightful lookalike named Suzie) spent a while chatting with us, because we are film website nerds and people from Chelsea appear not to be able to actually see us, let alone talk to us, and after a while we got on to the unusual discussion of which dead film stars each o...
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Empire States: Has CG Killed Our Imaginations?
Posted on Thursday May 1, 2008, 14:03 by Olly Richards in Empire States
I read with interest a lot of the reader comments about the new Incredible Hulk trailer. The main problem for those who didn't like it seems to be that the Hulk doesn't look real enough. It's a perfectly valid criticism – he doesn't always look utterly perfect and tangible – but it made me wonder if we've reached a point in cinema where we've lost the ability to suspend our disbelief. We are, after all, talking about a 10-foot tall green man, something you would be rather surprised to see standing in the queue at your local Tesco. Precisely how realistic can something entirely unrealistic be?
We never used to be so picky. If somebody watches the original King Kong or any of the works of Ray Harryhausen, you will never hear them complain about how the skeletons were a bit jerky or that the big ape's fur didn't blow realistically when he was climbing the Empire State Building (if they do complain, however, you should feel free to shoot them on the grounds of wrongness and philistini...
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Empire States: Can't We Just Leave Tom Cruise Alone?
Posted on Tuesday April 8, 2008, 17:26 by Olly Richards in Empire States
Why is everyone still picking on Tom Cruise? OK, jumping on a sofa to declare your love for someone is weird. And, yes, he is part of a religion that sounds, to some of us, like it may use Star Trek fan fiction as its holy scripture. But I don’t care about any celebrity’s religious beliefs. The thing is, Cruise has done nothing bad to anyone and, most importantly, continues to make very good movies and be very good in them. So why does he continue to be entertainment blog whipping-boy number one?
I ask the question because, after a couple of years of mild snarking at Cruise’s expense, things seem to be turning vitriolic. A recent article by Roger Friedman on the FOX News website (I hate to encourage eyes to such bilge, but you can read it here) tears the actor apart without restraint or any pretence at objectivity, saying that his next film Valkyrie is destined for ridicule – based chie...
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