Archive for February, 2010

The Wolfman Review

Posted in Film Reviews And Conversations with tags , on February 19, 2010 by Adam Broome
It has been recently recognised that I saw only 3 films at the cinema last year – two of which were SO BAD… – So, having let the Avatar hype die down a little, I return to the big screen for a film that has been in production for the best part of two years.

For those not in the know, this is basically a remake of the original werewolf film – The Wolfman from 1941. I believed this would place the story in present day – I was surprised when it turned out to be a period drama. Benicio Del Toro plays Lawrence Talbot, who has returned to his English estate to investigate the death of his brother, apparently ripped to pieces by some animal-like thing.
Okay, so we all know where it goes from here. The story is cliche city, it has to be said, from Del Toro falling in love with his brother’s fiance, to Hugo Weaving’s detective coming in on the case. It’s not long before a line of characters have been set up, and Del Toro has been bitten – you just sit back, wait for the full moon, and watch the carnage unfold, placing bets on who you think will survive until the end of the film.
Anthony Hopkins puts in the best performance as only a true Englishman could do (although it must be said, the American cast do not do badly trying to impersonate us). His character is also the only one that manages to add a bit of much-welcomed depth to the story as the heads and limbs fly.
The special effects are done quite well, the cinematography is well-shot. The story is shallow, but gallops along at a pace fast enough to make it hard to notice. The set pieces are also done quite well – from an attack on a gypsy encampment to a chase through Victorian London (one part which comes straight out of An American Werewolf…). All set pieces come with bloodbath galore (think Kill Bill) which sets this close to becoming a slasher film. Despite many action scenes however, some scenes are set up but unused, which feel like a missed opportunity. Locations are repeated several times, which may eventually lead you wanting to see something else other than a manor house or a forest.
With nice performances, this is a comfortable film to officially start the year on. It is what it is, and pretends to be nothing else. It is both a homage and a remake of a B-Movie, and it is just that – lots of jumps (and I usually HATE ‘jump’ films), lots of gore. I can see why they released it near Valentines Day – the perfect horror film to cuddle close to. It wont change your view of the world, but it is entertaining, and it is a welcome step in trying to forget the real horror films of last year.

7/10

Introduction To ‘Hyde Again’ (Add+Vantage Project)

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , on February 11, 2010 by Adam Broome

So here we are, at the first of what hopefully are many transitions of ‘ideas to films’ incarnated from my childhood and teenage years. I specifically chose my Add+Vantage module to make a film trailer, but I have instead ended up deciding to make a TV show trailer instead. The genre is horror / drama, the idea is that it will be shown in ITV at the 9:00pm watershed. All other marketing aside, next week I aim to complete both the photo shoot for the posters, and the actual trailer itself (clocking in at just over a minute long).

I’ll let you know how that goes as and when, but right now, this post is to introduce you to the main idea. As you may have already guessed, it is linked to Robert Lois Stevenson’s classic tale about Dr Jekyll and his ‘Mr Hyde’ alter ego. It is in fact a modern retelling, conjured up during my second year at college when I was seventeen. It was both a response to the BBC’s very own retelling (entitled Hyde, starring James Nesbitt – a classic moment of me thinking that I could do the same thing a lot better), and a response to my current feelings towards the fact I was under-age to participate in the activities my friends were.

Hyde Again is in some ways a mini biography of my own experiences at college. It originally followed the exploits of a seventeen year old college student who was suffering not only from the usual angst, but also a mad crush on a girl who didn’t like him back, and the fact his friends had all turned eighteen and he had not. The story goes off on it’s tangent when the boy walks back home one day and trips over a box buried beneath a tree. Inside the box is a potion… and the rest as they see is history.

What follows was not the transformation into a monster, but more the gaining of extreme confidence. I wanted the story to be psychological more than physical (although some physical changes did occur). One notable scene involved the ‘Hyde’ version of the boy kissing one of the most attractive students in the college right in front of his crush who had turned him down. Hyde also beats up two bouncers to gain access to a nightclub, where his friends argue that he’s not old enough to be in there. One of my favourite scenes was the first time the transformation happens, and as Hyde celebrates his new-found freedom, a group of hoodies attack him – and subsequently all get killed (a popular scene in many of my stories that were created at the time).

Originally intended as a TV show, this did become a theatre production for a short time, before reverting back to being a TV show. Here I have a chance to make the idea a reality. In need of a lead, I quickly came across a good development – to change the character from male to female. This contrasts with the usual ‘Mr’ Hyde, and perhaps adds new meaning to the concept. Props have been minimal yet hard to create. Extras are needed for only a few seconds, yet still prove illusive. This will be challenge… but it’s something I want to do.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how the whole thing ended. Well, the murder of the hoodies gets the cops onto the lead character, who’s subsequent actions during the local nightlife slowly allow them to close in. At the same time, his friends decide to investigate the radical behavior on their own, eventually finding the capsule. It all ends in Hyde killing his best friend in front of his crush… a man who consequently turns out to be the chief investigator’s son. The rest just ends in a bloodbath, with the lead character dying as a form of his usual self, crying, and just saying that he wanted to have his friends back (emo much?). There was a little more to it than that, but yeah… that stays with me 🙂

If you are interested in the project, I’m on facebook, just leave a message or something. Still looking for some people to play students. Let’s see how this goes!

x

Equals Three – The Future Of Television?

Posted in University Work (Old) with tags , , on February 5, 2010 by Adam Broome

So a few months back I started watching a show on Youtube called Equals Three. Over these last few months, the show has slowly but surely become more popular. Within the last few weeks, however, the show has begun to reach popularity of startling proportions. The man who hosts the show – Ray William Johnson – is now the most popular ‘Ray’ on Youtube. He has more hits than Ray Charles, Ray J (whoever that is) or Ray Stevens. In relation to the Media Production module I am currently studying (Convergent Media), I had an intriguing thought last night – could this be the future of television? Perhaps, the meaning of ‘celebrity’?

Let’s backtrack to two years ago. Ray William Johnson starts his own show called ‘Equals Three’ (or the ‘=3’ logo). It is the latest in a succession of shows on his channel. I’m unsure why the show has it’s name – perhaps because it usually features the top three viral videos ‘of the moment’, or perhaps because it looks like a teddy-bear smiling when you look at it sideways. Whatever the reason, the show continued going for over a year, with little in the way of gaining popularity.

That was, until, one such video (entitled ‘DON’T CALL ME FAT!’ – see bottom of this entry) managed to make the ‘most played’ list on the Youtube homepage (also my very own first ‘Equals Three’ experience). To date, the video has over seven million views, and remains the most-watched episode of Equals Three. Once people had seen the episode, I can assume, like me, they started watching all the other episodes. Generally clocking in at about five minutes each episode, Equals Three is a quick, humorous show that people can easily fit into even their most busiest of schedules.
However, it took only the next few months before ‘Zoosk’ managed to get a spot on Ray’s channel homepage. This could be perceived as a sign of worry for many of the media tycoons (especially those who operate in the television industry), trying to make a profit out of something that has become popular. And oh boy, should they be worried.
What we have here is a comedy show, which shows anywhere between two to four videos (usually three nowadays, as the show has become more professional over the months), with a running comedic commentary by Mr. RWJ himself. The videos, however, although often funny, can vary from the weird to the downright bizarre. Equals Three only shows the most popular (or ‘hottest’) videos on Youtube at the moment. Go through the backlog of episodes, and you have a virtual history of every extremely popular video (or video that went ‘viral’) that went around Youtube over the past eighteen months. It’s almost an index of the history of popular Youtube videos. Immediately this clashes with our very own ‘Rude Tube’ here in Britain, shown on Channel 4 at the start of every year, charting the top 100 ‘most watched’ videos on Youtube. Equals Three is (at present) updated twice a week. That’s a lot more than 100 videos a year – and a lot more ‘of the moment’.
But the reasons for causing panic in the TV industry doesn’t stop there. Indeed, Equals Three is free to view. It is available to view anytime. Ray William Johnson is a good presenter. It is just a guy sitting at this computer at home, but the wit is there. This show is funnier than most stuff on television nowadays. At the end of each episode, RWJ gets fellow subscribers to ask their own ‘Comment Question Of The Day’, where a question is asked, and viewers can respond in the comments section. So, perhaps most importantly, this show is interactive. No need to phone anyone up. No calling charge. Quick. Easy. And probably a lot less open to corruption and scandal. Oh… did I mention it was free?
So I realised I am bearing witness to the start of a revolution. This is it. The lack of ability for large corporate firms to regulate the internet. RWJ is a responsible person (although I’m sure he would ‘lol’ at that if he read this), and particularly rude or offensive videos get edited. This is a small-scale television show on the internet. It is just RWJ, his computer, and the subscribers / viewers. It is the power of the people, and the internet. If shows start appearing like this, made with little or no maintenance

costs, it spells disaster for the television industry. This is media converging on the internet. People have got control for free, and as long as they are responsible with this power, there is little or nothing the powers-that-be can do to stop it.

As for RWJ himself, having taken over as the most popular ‘Ray’ on Youtube, I’m sure it won’t be long before Equals Three starts reaching out to the outside world. And it will be a time when I can say I was there at the beginning… well, near the beginning.

The link to that all-famous video (and also to RWJ’s Youtube channel, including all episodes of Equals Three):

http://www.youtube.com/user/RayWilliamJohnson#p/u/44/K2oLoBpFmho

I’m Adam Broome, and I approve this message!