Category Archives: Genre
by Indy Datta
Imagine what Jack Vance could have done with this. The main action of After Earth is an inverted planetary romance – the father and son team of Cypher and Kitai Raige (Will and Jaden Smith respectively) marooned on a future earth abandoned by humanity and now purportedly transformed into a world as thrillingly alien as any other, a world they must negotiate and conquer in order to survive. The scope thus given for a writer to reimagine our familiar world is endless, that act of imaginative transformation as close as anything can be to the very essence of science fiction. But, like so many ostensibly science fictional films, After Earth does nothing more than borrow genre clothes as a kind of drag: and it has no wonders to show us because its mind, such as it is, is on other things.
Sam Osborn watches Neil Jordan’s new film.
Byzantium is a vampire movie. Another one? I hear a collective sigh. After all, we have been inundated with movies of this genre lately, especially with Stephanie Meyer’s kind contribution to the cause ruining the genre for generations to come. Anyway, I feel I am straying off point here a little. In director Neil Jordan’s last vampire outing (Interview with the Vampire) we met Lestat and Louis, one a murderous, animalistic killer and the other a tormented soul. In Byzantium, based on the Moira Buffini play A Vampire Story, we meet Clara and Eleanor who bear a striking resemblance to their male counterparts. Byzantium focuses on the relationship between the mother and daughter vampire duo and their struggle for their very survival.
By Ricky Young.
From the moment the 11th Doctor crashed into Amelia Pond’s garden while still wearing the 10th Doctor’s suit, Doctor Who has existed in a dream-world. The very first person he met was unhooked from reality, without origin or backstory, sitting on a crack in time and ready for her first chapter title; she wasn’t a real girl, she was The Girl Who Waited. From that point on, we’ve been shown a woozy and off-kilter version of reality, where things only made sense if they really, really had to, and exists a million miles away from the council estates, shopgirls and urgently-flickered news-broadcasts of the previous era. Doctor Who has certainly never been world you visit for unflinching docu-realism, of course, but the self-conscious focus on ‘stories’, meta-stories, and the consequences of myths and fairytales has led to an airless and looping feeling where nothing moves forward, nothing changes, nothing ends and nothing ever truly dies.
When MostlyFilm last talked about Doctor Who, immediately after the loud, deeply-unsatisfying semi-mystery that was the departure of the Ponds, we hoped that fans of loud, deeply-unsatisfying semi-mysteries would have had their fill by now, and that the audience, the actors, the production team and show-runner Steven Moffat could move on from loud, deeply-unsatisfying semi-mysteries into a new and exciting phase of The Programme That Can Be Anything. (After all, we’re not haters for the sake of it – we thought S5 was pretty damn good.)
What fools we were.
Season 7b existed as little more than another loud and deeply-unsatisfying semi-mystery, its final moments setting up yet another loud and probably deeply-unsatisfying semi-mystery as a 50th birthday present. Shh, though. MostlyFilm has angered the show-runner before, and an angry Steven Moffat isn’t anything we ever want to experience again.. Continue reading this article ›
Continue reading this article ›
It had to happen eventually. Hollywood, or more accurately the half-dozen or so studios that make up the majority of its output, has seemingly realized that there might, just might, be more to life than turning every comic book that’s ever been doodled into a vacuous, overwrought blockbuster. The sixth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise is out this week. It will be a vacuous, overwrought blockbuster, too – but the right kind. And it could represent the rebirth of action cinema.
I say ‘could’, because it needs to make a giant pile of money first – and that’s why you need to go and watch it. Don’t go begrudgingly, though. If it’s anything like its predecessor, it promises to be an awesome, hair-raising mixture of preposterous car stunts, oiled muscly bodies and random bouts of artillery fire. And for some of us, that’s what cinema is all about.
by Indy Datta
Or, as festival director Louis Savy, or one of his good-natured and indefatigable team will inform you before almost every screening, Scifi London for short. I’ve been going to the festival since its inception in 2002; reviews after the jump of the films I managed to see this year.
By Sam Osborn
It was inevitable that a remake of The Evil Dead would open itself up to criticism and comparisons from fans of Sam Raimi’s cult 1981 original. Did we really need to be worried? As it turns out the answer is no. The feature debut of Fede Alavarez, who was chosen for the task by Sam Raimi, the new film is simply titled Evil Dead.
As in the original, the story focuses on five college-aged friends who travel to a secluded cabin in the woods. However in this new adaptation, the isolated location has been chosen to support Mia’s attempts to detox. The cabin is owned by the parents of siblings David and Mia and, although now dilapidated, contains lots of warm and comforting memories for Mia. Or so it seems… Fairly early on, after the discovery of something untoward in the basement along with a strange item, The Book of the Dead, it becomes apparent that things are not all that they seem – and that there is worse to come.
Tags: Evil Dead
by Spank The Monkey
On the left, we have Maniac, directed by William Lustig in 1980. It’s a notorious horror movie, one which got caught up in the UK ‘video nasty’ moral panic of the time. It was banned by the BBFC until 2002, when it finally appeared on DVD with nearly a minute’s worth of cuts. It’s still not possible to buy the uncut version here.
On the right, we have Maniac, directed by Franck Khalfoun in 2012. It’s a remake co-written and produced by French horror director Alexandre Aja, who was also involved in the remakes of The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha. It has a bigger budget, a famous lead, and a clean bill of health from the British censor. It’s just disappearing from UK cinemas, after one of those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it releases that have become so fashionable nowadays – you might be able to catch it at the Prince Charles if you run.
What can we learn from watching both versions of Maniac back-to-back? Apart from ‘all women are evil and must be punished,’ obviously.
by Indy Datta
In 1995, the first movie outing for taciturn dystopian-future law enforcer Judge Joseph Dredd – a Sylvester Stallone vehicle directed by Danny Cannon – was released to scathing reviews. Although comic book adaptations were, even then, big box office (Joel Schumacher’s grating, garish Batman Forever, released in the same year, was as big a hit as the two Tim Burton movies that preceded it), the sales pitch for Cannon’s film was all about Sylvester Stallone, still at that time one of the most bankable international movie stars. To the chagrin of the hardcore fans, the 1995 version of putting the money on screen meant putting all of Stallone’s face on the screen, even though Dredd’s face had in the pages of 2000 AD, jutting chin apart, been kept from view beneath his helmet since his first appearance in 1977. In the name of commerciality, the film traduced the source material in numerous other ways, big and small – from giving Dredd a love interest to, unforgivably, retaining the services of Rob Schneider as a comedy sidekick. Despite all the cynical pandering, Judge Dredd bombed. Fast forward to 2012, a world where comic book movies are the mainstream, with the latest incarnation of Batman not only hoovering up ridiculous amounts of cash, but demanding to be taken seriously. The makers of Dredd looked like they were doing everything right – the helmet would stay on, hiding star Karl Urban’s face throughout; Dredd’s creator John Wagner would be part of a creative dream team including Danny Boyle’s go-to screenwriter Alex Garland; the violence wouldn’t be watered down to garner a kid-friendly rating; Rob Schneider (or his 2012 equivalent, Rob Schneider) would remain uncontacted. Despite all this, Dredd bombed.
by Indy Datta
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Shining is, courtesy of the BFI, getting a theatric rerelease this week (with previews tonight), in the longer US cut, previously little seen in Britain on the big screen. And last week saw the theatrical release of Rodney Ascher’s documentary, Room 237, a dense, impressionistic collage of varyingly outré interpretations of Kubrick’s film, narrated by the authors of the theories; simultaneously illustrated and undermined by Ascher’s selection and juxtaposition of images from the film and elsewhere. Some thoughts after I make you jump.
by Blake Backlash
That title seems emblematic of film noir. In so many noirs the city is a malevolent presence, a place that seems both to warp and to be warped by the tortured psyche of the protagonist. If you had to send a telegram summarising the message of most film noir, the curt, four word missive: Hell Is a City, would be a pretty good way to get the job done cheaply.
But a part of what makes this film interesting are the other, non-noir traditions it draws upon. It’s British but it’s a markedly different work than the films I discussed in my MostlyFilm article on Brit Noir, back in March. Significantly, the three films I looked at then are set in London and the South. By contrast, Hell Is a City is set in Manchester. That shift north also brings with it a shift from a heightened reality to an emphasis on veracity. And along with that comes a more serious attempt to more authentically depict the lives of the British working-class.