Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Porcine Influenza

Swine flu then. Knocked me out for two weeks. Two weeks where I couldn't do much more than sit on the sofa gazing at the goggle box, sometimes raising the strength to use my Xbox controller. It was actually less fun than it sounds but it did give me a chance to watch a hell of a lot of films.

Had a bit of a John Carpenter retrospective, re-watching They Live and Assault on Precinct 13 and (incredibly) watching The Fog for the first time. Followed those up with some New York films, The Warriors and the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three. The Warriors is so stylish, so exciting, just a great film. Pelham One Two Three blew us away though. The characters were so real, and so quickly established. I loved that everyone looked like real people, no beautiful Hollywood faces. Why don't films look like that any more? And that ending! They're running trailers for the remake on TV that make me want to weep!

Finished the third draft of The Quiet Night Inn on Monday night (Tuesday morning) so that's good. Quite a lot of little changes made and a lot of pages cut. Course now I've had a brilliant idea which involves a massive change to the script so draft four starts as soon as I get my strength back.

Unfortunately returning to work after two weeks off is taking it's toll at the moment. I'm a zombie by five pm every day. Not in a cool way though. There's also some quite major real life stuff going on which I'll be able to mention soon. It's not directly related to my writing but will have a big impact on it, in a positive way I mean! More news soon.

Feeling very motivated at the moment, probably due to a combination of watching loads of films, revisiting James Moran's blog from the very beginning, and just being excited about what I'm working on again. Nice.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Zombies, children and snow

Saw The Children a couple of weeks ago and thought it was absolutely stunning; atmospheric, creepy and not at all afraid to deliver on it's promises. Written and directed by Tom Shankland, The Children is about two families spending Christmas together who find their children begin to behave oddly.The cast are uniformly excellent (even the children) but special mention to Hannah Tointon as the rebellious teenaged daughter who is the first to see something is afoot. Tense and genuinely scary, The Children is the best new horror film I've seen for some years.

Rotten Tomatoes
Eat My Brains
Official Site


Speaking of awesome horror films...

Dead Snow is finally getting a limited release in cinemas before hitting DVD's (and blu-rays, see how inclusive I am) in August. It's also being shown during FrightFest this year. Dead Snow concerns a group of young friends on vacation who run into trouble with a platoon of Nazi Zombies. This film isn't going to win any oscars but has an infectious enthusiasm and will please fans of the genre. This is really a love letter to Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, and horror films in general from Tommy Wirkola. It also features snow and zombies, two of my favourite things.

Rotten Tomatoes
Official site
Eat My Brains

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Torchwood and stuff

Well they caught me out there. I always watch Torchie and I've enjoyed every episode on some level but I would never have called myself a Torchwood fan as such. It's a good, fun show. It's a bit daft. It's a romp. That's about the level of thought involved on my part.

So where the fuck did Children of Earth come from?! There was I all ready for five nights of gallivanting and rude jokes. What do I get instead? Probably the most impressive and affecting drama event British television has seen for decades. Make no mistake this was landmark event sf happening on six million screens every night for a week. I don't know if I'm happier about the TW production team beating the shit out of Britain with such a hard hitting and devastating story or with the British public for sticking with it all week (it's ratings were not only excellent but consistent!).

Of course then the Torchwood 'fans' had to go and leave a nasty taste in every one's mouth by having a pop at TV's James Moran, hardest working screenwriting blogger in the world. Apparently they have an issue with something that happened in the story. Twats. I didn't like it when Apollo Creed died in Rocky IV but I didn't get in Stallone
's face about it. Grow up. James Moran appears to have been a victim of his own availability, and the result is that we regular readers of his blog are the one's who will now miss out while the Woodies all piss off to argue amongst themselves or burn RTD in effigy. Arseholes.

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If you haven't seen any of Getting On (Wednesdays, BBC4) it's well worth checking it out on the I-player. It's a very, very funny sitcom written by and starring Jo Brand, Joanna Scanlon and Vicki Pepperdine and directed by Peter Capaldi. The BBC describe it as a "darkly comic drama series about life on an NHS geriatric ward", which is accurate.

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Last recommendation for today is Chuck (Mondays, Virgin 1). This is a great series about a young chap who works in the equivalent to a Curry's store and finds himself drawn into the world of international spies. It's great fun watching Chuck balance the demands of the NSA and CIA against those of his employers and his big sister. It also benefits from co-starring Adam Baldwin of Firefly fame who is hilarious as a hard-as-nails NSA hitman posing as a shop assistant. Check it out.

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Wow. Two posts in one day, you lucky dabs. I was also going to tell you about space flu and the rewrite from Hell but I think I'll hold back for the weekend...


Flickchart is really much more fun than it ought to be. The idea is that Flickchart shows you two films and you choose which you prefer. On the basis of your selections Flickchart then starts building a list of your favourite films. The more selections you make, the more accurate your list becomes, in my experience anyway.

There are a lot of films missing at the moment as the site is still pretty new. In particular non US films are currently under represented (which explains why Hell Drivers in uncharacteristically absent from my favourites).

You're also able to look at charts reflecting the choices of all flickchart users. You can view the best films of all time, or even select genre's, directors, decades etc.

I recommend you check it out, better clear an hour or so though as it's fiendishly addictive! More than the charts, or the rankings, I just love being presented with films that I'd forgotten existed (for example Megaforce or Sssssss