Monday, 29 November 2010

The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner dies

Sad news today as it has been announced that director Irvin Kershner died. He directed Never Say Never Again and Robocop 2, but I know him best as the director of "My Favourite Movie Of All Time", also know as The Empire Strikes Back.

I consider myself lucky enough to have been around to see the Star Wars movies when they first appeared in cinemas and grew up watching them, reading the comics and of course playing with the toys. My favourite of the original three movies was always Empire.

Just recently I have been reading the 30th Anniversary The Making of the Empire Strikes Back book and it's crammed full of interviews with the cast and crew, conducted as the movie was being made. Throughout the book Kershner's contribution to the movie is clear.

The movie probably has such a following because it continues the original story instead of repeating it.  The heroes get split up, Han gets captured and turned into an ice cube, Luke gets his hand cut off before Vader tells him something surprising. Plus Boba Fett. Plus the Battle of Hoth. Plus Yoda!

I could gush on for ages because that movie was such a pivotal part of my childhood.

Thanks Irvin.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Ruth Wilson At Emmys and Small Island wins

Ruth was in attendance at the Emmy awards this week. Also Small Island wone and award for best mini-series. Here's a pic of Ruth.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Iron Man 2 actually quite good shock

I thought I'd do another post tonight while I was at it.

I finally got to see Iron Man 2 on DVD after missing it in the cinemas. The reviews that came out at the time were a bit sniffy about it. "It's ok, not as good as the first one" seemed to be the general consensus.

With that in mind I watched the movie and thought, "hey, it's not bad." At the weekend I decided to watch it again and now I have realised it's actually a very solid Marvel adaptation and is much better than "just ok".

The first movie ended with Tony Stark revealing that he was Iron Man and the second movie begins with the US government quite believably wanting their hands on the Iron Man "Weapon". This is one of the main story treads throughout the movie.

Another major plot point is that using the suit is slowly killing Tony and his behaviour becomes more erratic. I'm not an expert on the Iron Man comics but I'm aware of the character's alcoholism and a story called "Demon in a Bottle". I guess this is the movie acknowledging the comics while staying kid-friendly.

Speaking of kid-friendly there is shameless piece of product placement...

Sam Rockwell is in danger of stealing the show as rival weapon manufacturer Justin Hammer who wants to sell Iron Man suits to the US military. His description of the "ex wife" missile is a highlight. Mickey Rourke is not bad as Russian Ivan Vanko, aka Whiplash.

And finally I get to see the Black Widow in action, as played by Scarlett Johansson. The Black Widow is one of my favourite Marvel characters so I would have liked to have heard just a tiny hint of a Russian accent but otherwise I have to admit Scarlett did a decent job playing the Widow as suitably bad-ass.

If there's a negative it's Sam Jackson's Nick Fury. He turns up halfway through and does his trademark Sam Jackson act, which is just a little jarring has he's playing against the relaxed and understated Robert Downey Jr who can do a lot with very little. Sam Jackson has to do a LOT with a LOT and it's out of place, frankly.

All in all an enjoyable movie. And to finish off here's a gratuitous look at the Black Widow poster.

Jane Eyre movie trailer

Good Lord, has it really been a month since my last update?

Anyhow, the trailer for the new movie version for Jane Eyre staring Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Rochester has turned up.

I had a look and it was a very odd experience watching it because they have used the same location for Thornfield as that used in the 2006 BBC adaptation staring Ruth Wilson. (Indeed it was also used for the 1995 movie.)

I have seen the 2006 version many times (understatement!) so it resulted in the new movie feeling like remake of the series rather than a new version of the book.

For example if you have seen the BBC version then you may recognise these gardens...

And also this staircase...

I'll give movie a chance. It looks like they have tried to make it cinematic and creepy. The girl looks the part but I wonder if she won't be acted off the screen by our memories of Ruth Wilson. What a thankless task following Ruth! Well, maybe Mia will be good.

Oh, and Judi Dench is in it as well.

Here's the trailer...