Archive for August, 2010

One little finger

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Back in February, fresh off the back of getting my pal Dane hooked on Canabalt, we started eulogising ranting about the fact that some of the characters, environments and storylines starting their lives as iPhone games were going to start making the jump to becoming major movies and entertainment properties.

My basis for this?  Firstly, that Canabalt has more character and atmosphere in one pixelated pinkie than a lot of movies do in their whole engorged and unsightly bodies.  The synth-heavy score alone is enough to get you tapping your fingers, not to mention the fact that if you don’t, you’ll die. Really really quickly.

Secondly, you just have to look at the way mobile games are now planting new properties and IP in the collective consciousness of vast, global consumer audiences, then nurturing this into deep-rooted brand awareness through the interminably addictive gameplay characterising the most popular titles.  Titles like Angry Birds.

I haven’t played Angry Birds – it’s release coincided with my conversion to HTC, and a more general putting away of childish things.  You only have to look at the numbers though, as quoted in this essentially banal but suitably informative piece in Variety, to see that it clearly has that special something for a lot of people.  An awful lot of people.

It follows Canabalt and, before that, Flight Control, as one of those runaway titles made possible by everything the iPhone and the Apple App Store have done to extend the meaningful reach of mobile gaming. 

It will be interesting to see whether Rovio, the makers of the game, are successful in their plans to turn it into a major franchise. Even if they fail, I’m calling it as only a matter of time before the we’re looking at a major entertainment property with its origins in the imagination of a mobile game developer.

In the mean time, I guess we’ll have to use our imaginations. 

I give you…

CANABALT

and…

FLIGHT CONTROL

Devil’s in the detail

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Mike called this when is debuted back at Comic-con, and a suitably grubby handheld version washed up on YouTube.

Thankfully they’ve just released the real deal:

I like the way it opens, with an urgent sequence that says pretty much nothing of what’s to come, wrong-footing anybody unfamiliar with the comic series completely. I like the fact that he’s on horseback, and all the associations that brings, a lone rider in a west that’s as wild and lawless as it’s ever been. And I love the Walker Brothers, that tune really catches those final few moments.

The devil’s in the detail though. Mike called it again a few minutes ago:

[blackbirdpie id=”22012759521″]

The world meets nobody halfway.

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

We’re going to see a whole lot of theories appearing this week as to why The Expendables is demolishing Scott Pilgrim at the US box office. Theories, like this one.

Some of them will be cogent, well-reasoned arguments, underpinned by trenchant insights into the intricate nuances of film marketing as it relates to your average all-American popcorn-loving soda-drinking movie-goer.

Some of them will not.

Here’s mine:

Chat or the pervert gets it

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

This has been popping up on a few movie feeds – it seems to have originated from a strong contender for Best Movie Blog I’ve Discovered Today – Very Aware.

It’s a promo for The Last Exorcism (a movie I know little or nothing about, and am unlikely to watch, being that I scare real easy) involving ChatRoulette (a website I’ve never used, on the grounds that I prefer to indecently expose myself in the privacy of my own instant messaging client).

I might not be much of a horror fan, but what I do know is that since times immemorial the genre has given us nefarious entities with a particular proclivity for punishing the sexual indiscretions of careless American teenagers.

This peaked around the turn of the eighties with a volley of slasher movies including Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980) and Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), all of which played like one long commercial for middle American family values.  Well, kind of.

Even the original slasher movie, Hitchcock’s Psycho, sees a perverse retribution visited upon the alluring Janet Leigh by an unwitting Norman Bates.  Of course, her crime isn’t one of overt promiscuity, but that of stealing a shitload of cash.  She’s up for it though, you can see it a mile off.  Besides which, as far as Alfred was concerned, the simple act of wearing a knee-length skirt could be taken a cast-iron indicator of a woman’s carefree sexual intent.

In more recent times it’s become all about playing with the differents screens and cameras that have become so ubiquitous in our daily lives.  What began with evil groping its way through a television screen in The Ring (1998) has seen us further tormented by the panic-stricken camcorder footage of The Blair Witch Project (1999), the jumpy and unnerving news footage of REC (2007) and the deliberately objective perspective of the webcam capturing some of the most haunting moments of Paranormal Activity (2007).

With all of this in mind, and being that it attracts a demographic broken down by New York film-maker Casey Neistat as 71% male, 15% female and 14% perverts, I suppose it was only a matter of time before evil began haunting the virtual corridors of ChatRoulette.

Who knows, maybe sooner or later someone will make a movie about it.

By which I mean a better movie than this one:

Self-congratulatory demonstration that I can, in my own small way, predict the future.

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

From a post I wrote about mobile social networking back in January 2008:

If you take my 150 [Facebook] ‘friends’ and, allowing for overlap, reckon that each of them brings a further 50 uniques to the mix, I have the potential to hit 7,500 people, each of whom would know me, or someone who knows me. Filter that down to people living in LA, and you’re probably still in triple figures. A few of them are probably going to know somewhere decent to drink in Venice, some of them might even be out in the area and up for meeting up, and, who knows, if I wasn’t happily married I might even enjoy a night of consequence-free sexual intercourse with one of them. A long shot, perhaps, but I’d take my chances over The Flirt Hotline.

Introducing, launched yesterday… Facebook Places.

Miller time

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Word reaches us from Slashfilm that “Gucci has released a trailer for their new television commercial/short film directed by comic artist/creator turned director Frank Miller (Sin City, The Spirit), starring Evan Rachel Wood and Chris Evans, and featuring the music of Friendly Fires. The ad to promote Gucci Guilty — the new fragrance for her, will premiere during the MTV Video Music Awards on September 12th.”

Even as one of Frank Miller’s most ardent fans I’m quick to concede that his solo directing efforts have been disastrous. I can’t remember ever giving up on a film quite as quickly as I did for The Spirit, a film constituting evidence enough that Mr Miller should not be left to direct major features without the steadying hand of Zack Snyder (300), Robert Rodrigez (Sin City) or similar there to guide him.

At the same time he being the writer and artist behind my favourite comic of all time, The Dark Knight Returns, means that I can only worship him as a god, and have an instinctive interest in whatever creative bounty he cares to toss down from the blackened ramparts of his Olympian pleasure-dome.

Miller’s apparent limitations as a director in his own right make him the perfect choice for an art-as-advertising piece of hybrid brand-funded short film-making like this. For a brand like Gucci, Miller’s trademark film-noir style, modernised as it is by a distinctly twenty-first century narrative sensibility, should be perfect. They’ve even given him some proper actors to play with.

In this binary digital life where an increasing premium on brevity increasingly permits us to lapse into cultural laziness and rhetorical sensationalism, I’m sure many people have already decided that they either love this or hate it, and are busy tweeting to that effect.

For my part, I’m actually pretty curious to see the output, and I’m keeping an open mind. I’d sooner see the fashion industry spenind its marketing dollars patronising an artist like Miller than persisting with the kind of turgid advertising they’ve traditionally used to patronise me.

Brands – especially otherwise insubstantial lifestyle and fashion brands – have a huge interest in finding ways to drive community and active participation around their products characterised by the same fanaticism that permeates the film industry.

A recent example of this was Spike Jonze’s excellent short I’m Here, which was funded by Absolut Vodka and made freely available to watch online. The film itself appeared completely artistically unaffected by the brand association, to which it owed the very circumstances of its existence. I’m not saying we should expect the same kind of fare from ‘Gucci Guilty’ – just that the same principles are at work, and that this is my kind of product placement.

The Blog Post

Monday, August 16th, 2010

When I first heard that they were making ‘Facebook: The Movie’ I may have been a tad dismissive.

Then I heard that David Fincher was directing, and that they were calling it The Social Network. I saw a pretty punchy one-sheet (above). And this trailer:

Suddenly I’m thinking this might be the movie that runs Inception close when it comes to Best Picture.

Then it spawned one of my favourite memes of recent times – a clarion call to sassy geek film-makers the world over, and the kind of thing movie marketers can only dream of.

Introducing… The Video Website

The Twit Network

and …The Auction Site.

Looks like this one could run and run.

Bagsy I get to do Plurk.

The Lynx Nudibranch

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I stumbled on an amazing collection of videos, of which this is one, describing itself as ‘aquarium art’.  It’s collected on a blog called Morphologic, which may also be of interest.

I’m posting it here if for no other reason than because my mum, who is a marine biologist – and probably reads this blog with greater regularity and interest than anybody else – will absolutely LOVE it.

The end is important in all things

Friday, August 6th, 2010

#02 in the “Trailers For Films You Probably Haven’t Watched For A While, And Really Should Have Done” series.