Apes Rising – action trailer vs character trailer

'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' not only has a ridiculously long name, but also has Trailer Issues. When I went to see X-Men: First Class (excellent film - great characterisation, spirit of the comics if not the letter of the canon), I saw this trailer: And I thought 'meh'. Don't get me wrong, I like a good action movie. I like a good explosion and an ape hanging from a helicopter is pretty cool. But why do I care about this movie? The main guy is a jerk scientist and everyone knows how it ends! Tonight, I went to see Captain America (good movie - fair characterisation, big explosions, bit too much to cram into one film) and I saw this trailer: And it drew me in. This is a real story about one man and his chimp, a story about a relationship that is humanising to both characters. I care about the science guy and I care about the chimp. It now...
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Lord of the Rings: to extend or not to extend?

Yesterday, for the second time in my life, I experienced an Extended Lord of the Rings marathon. My long-suffering partner had yet to see Lord of the Rings and was thrown in at the deep end. He survived - didn't even turn into an Elf (more's the pity?). But is sitting through over eleven hours of film really worth it? Couldn't one just watch the theatrical edition? Surely the extended versions are just for nerds and die-hard film fans? Consider: 1) Boromir One of the most important reasons to Watch Extended for me is Boromir's characterisation. In Theatrical, he is a weak man, tempted by the ring to bring power and glory to Gondor. He comes across as treacherous and, while struggling with himself, he ultimately comes out on top - but is it too little too late to redeem the man? In Extended, we see a lot more of the Gondor he's left behind. He has more conversation with Aragorn and shows more concern...
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Sherlock: Pilot’s Progress

Previously on this blog, I discussed why I thought watching both Sherlock pilots was an excellent exercise for film-makers. A couple of weeks ago, I was afforded the opportunity to test this theory. My good friends at Realm Pictures had yet to see any of the Sherlock series and were therefore in an ideal position: they could watch the unaired pilot first, consider improvements, and then watch the aired version. ***As before, extensive episode content discussed beyond this point. WATCH FIRST.*** I shouldn't try to predict my friends' reactions. Also, seeing through fresh eyes and undergoing that experience with them gave me new perspective. The first thing was that they felt the cab connection was obvious early (I watched it with friends the first time and nobody got it, but I've always been terrible at murder mysteries). They also preferred the first Sherlock meeting scene in the computer lab, but they may be down to taste. They were not fond of the little text labels...
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Plays and players

Just got back from seeing The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish and Lunch Hour. Fast, funny and incredible for one-act, one-location plays. Then, my friends wanted to head out for drinks and chips. I am on a diet and wanted to walk home. Suddenly, everyone's afrit for my personal safety but I wander off anyway. Big mistake. Oh, I'm perfectly fine and unmolested. However, I saw monsters in every shadow and kept going over in my head the scene from my short where the heroine walks alone across campus, watched menacingly from the shadows... Turned up at home with my heart pounding a mile a minute and an impatient text from my friend ensuring I'm back safely. Safe and sorry, yeesh. Things more interesting than my inability to walk home without scaring myself silly: A great article on how to be your own script reader - in the face of your own worst critic and glamoriser. Samuel Clemens' idea of a book review Throw money at...
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Top 5 Fictional Swords

Seeing as some search engines seem to send seekers of swords to my site, I thought I would oblige for my hundredth post: Sword #5: Watson's Sword Cane Let's open with a Holmesian example and how a sword may epitomise a man's character: Dr John Watson carries a deadly weapon concealed within an innocuous gentleman's cane. And I bet he can kick serious ass with the thing. I gleefully await the moment in SH2 when he takes out half a room with it. Without even breaking a sweat. Before afternoon tea with Mary. Sword #4: The Vorpal Sword One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. How can you not love the vorpal blade that destryoyzled the Jabberwocky? It would have me calloohing and callaying for joy too. So, what do we know about it? Not an awful lot - apart from that it's pretty vorpal and belongs to the Beamish Boy....
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Sherlock: A Study in Pilots

Today, I watched the original Sherlock pilot. It comes on the DVDs as an extra, the 60-minute version of A Study in Pink. *WARNING - EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF EPISODE CONTENT. WATCH FIRST.* My friends told me that it was pretty much the same as the aired pilot, with similar scenes and dialogue, and barely worth watching. When I saw Steven Moffat speak about Sherlock, he said that the unaired pilot suffers badly in comparison to the remake - but that, at the time, execs and distributors were wild about it and couldn't understand why the creative team wanted to remake it. My friends are right: the dialogue is exactly the same in places and the set pieces - the meeting at Barts, the pink murder scene, the "date" at the restaurant - are pretty much transferable between the two. And, then again, they're not. The entire look and feel of the two pilots is completely different, something that I believe I must attribute...
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RED

You may recall my disgusted review of 'The Expendables'. When I went to see that film, it was preceded by the trailer for RED, which excited me more than the whole of the nonsense feature that followed it. On Wednesday, I went to see RED. Half my friends mutinied in Nando's and decided they wanted to see The Social Network instead. My other friends had already seen that film, and so we decided to continue with the plan. It was a really good film. An all-star cast that really worked together with believable characterisation and sharp dialogue. It had a classic three act structure, and the turning points were hit well. My one grumble is that while MLP got a lot of screen time, she didn't do much in the way of awesome. But that's okay - she doesn't know how to hold a gun! Give her time (and a sequel?) and I'm sure she'll be kicking ass and taking names. And I...
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