Thursday, January 31, 2013

THE WALKING DEAD: DEAD YOURSELF has put me at ease should I ever get infected.

Yesterday I discovered The Walking Dead: DEAD YOURSELF app. Being the fan I am of the comic and the show I immediately decided to Zombify myself.

Even I was a bit disturbed with the results but at least if there ever is a zombie apocalypse and I do get turned it's peace of mind for me to know I'll look convincing as a member of the undead.

To undead yourself go here !

The Amazing Spider-Man: Web slings into my favourite superhero films.

It's not until you watch Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man again you realise how poor Sam Raimi's films were.
Don't get me wrong I enjoyed Raimi's films, Spider-Man was an interesting and good if slightly underwhelming film. Spider-Man 2 was completely awesome. Spider-Man 3 was a total mess but the reboot is more the sort of Spider-Man I liked reading within the Ultimate version of the character. Marc Webb has done a great job of telling what is essentially the same story over again, but in a more in-depth way.

Andrew Garfield portrays the science genius of Peter Parker without being the full blown nerd that Toby Maguire was perfectly and while Raimi's Spider-man films brought in many new fans for the franchise and made Spidey more 'mainstream' I think many did not realise MJ didn't actually come into Peter's life until later. I think the absence of her in this film was a good decision because Gwen Stacy (Peter's first love) played an important role in his younger years. Emma Stone was a breath of fresh air compared to the eventual tedium that was Kirsten Dunst as MJ.

Rhys Ifans as Curt Conner's/The Lizard was ok but nothing special. He gets enough screen-time and action to be a pretty cool villain but if I've one complaint with him it's that I wish they would've his face look more reptile looking. The CGI is very well done on him. I also liked that they didn't make Connor's really evil, just insane because of the serum. Also the fact that they didn't kill him off makes me happy. I wouldn't mind seeing him again sometime.
I really enjoyed Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben he was far better than Cliff Robertson (from Raimi's films). The same goes for Sally Fields as Aunt May over Rosemary Harris. Denis Leary as Captain Stacy was also brilliant.
The subway scene where Peter first experiences his new found powers is a favourite of mine and I loved the good Lord Stan Lee's cameo.
The only thing about this film that bugs me is the convenience of the layout of cranes throughout the city towards the end of the film. It was going so well without that silliness  and that had to go and ruin it. All in all though I think Marc Webb has done a superb job on the Spider-man reboot

I look forward to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which is due in 2014. Jamie Foxx has already signed as Electro and only last week it was reported Paul Giamatti has joined the cast as Rhino. I'm not sure how I feel about the Rhino news but it's almost like it's heading toward Batman & Robin territory. I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"Ma-Ma is not the law... I am the law."

Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character from the British science fiction anthology 2000 AD and is the magazine's longest running character having been featured within it's pages since its second issue in 1977. For people not aware Dredd is a law enforcement officer in a violent North American city of the future called Mega City One. It's here that uniformed Judges combine the powers of police, judge, jury and executioner. Dredd and his fellow Judges are empowered to arrest, sentence, and even execute criminals on the spot.
My first experience of Judge Dredd was as a teenager back in the 90's where I would sit in my local library and read complete books starring him. The stories were often quite graphic in violence but also had the charm of being able to pull of emotional elements such as humour, sadness and in some cases thought provoking dilemma.

That was all I knew of Dredd really until the infamous 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone as the no nonsense lawman of the future. The visual effects and designs in the film were brilliant but the major problem was Stallone. His performance in the film bares no resemblance to the the dark and gritty anti hero of Judge Dredd I remember in the comic strip. He also breaks the rule most hardcore Dredd fans were annoyed about. He removes the helmet.
Part of the mystery of Dredd was the fact you never see his face making him more mysterious and just the face of the law. Last time I looked someone had posted the full movie on You Tube so if you have never seen it then check it out. I'll be honest when I say it's an enjoyable film but not a very good representation of the character if you ask me.
Fast forward seventeen years and the Peter Travis/Alex Garland movie DREDD is absolutely nothing like the Stallone film. It's a million times better.
Any worries about it being as bad as the Stallone movie are all shot down in the opening chase scene and the amount of bullets, action and gore that follows. 

"Sir, helmets interfere with my psychic abilities."
"Think a bullet in the head might interfere with them more."

Karl Urban is Dredd and was born to play this role. He delivers the serious nature of the character while still giving him a bit of humanity. It's another fine edition to his already growing CV and shows what a chameleon he is when it comes to the different roles he takes. He manages to balance the harshness of Dredd while still managing to make you smile at the sly humour he puts across with some of his lines and actions.

The rest of the cast do their job well. Olivia Thirlby (an actress I hadn't heard of before this) is excellent as Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson. Tough, sexy and providing a spark of humanity and idealism to counter Dredd's  more cynical outlook. I do think Lena Headey's Ma-Ma could of used some more screen time and a bit more fleshing out character wise though. 
While she was a threat in all the scenes she was in when I look back now she doesn't actually do much. I did enjoy the slo-mo and psychic effects. They are suitably trippy.

Mega City One (the small glimpses we see of it) is perfectly envisioned to suit the brutal look of the film. I'll admit it wasn't  translated from the comics 100% but it works in the context of the film and the characters, and that is far better than just simply copying what existed on the page.
I also love Paul Leonard-Morgan's electronic music for the film. I picked up the soundtrack a while back and it's worth a listen on it's own.

I am absolutely gutted though that it's unlikely there will be a sequel due to bad box office takings. This film deserved to do much better yet I think people were put off for many reasons that escape me.

I keep my fingers crossed in hope.