Category Archives: Film

On The Horizon – Kickstarter

Hey guys, this blog isn’t completely dead. It’s just in a written limbo during my work at Gamertime (which I recommend following if you want to keep up with my more recent game-related work.

Though there is something else, something I need your help with. You may know that as well as writing on here and at Gamertime, I also write screenplays and scripts, well one of those scripts is being turned into a short film. Only problem is that we need money to make this film the best it can be.

So we did what most would do in this situation and made a Kickstarter page for it. I’m not asking much, even if you could donate £1 to this project it will really help us. We have also created exciting perks for any of you who donate more including access to our previous work and also a sneak peek at the film once it is finished.

So please, check out the kickstarter page and if it is something you would be interested in helping us with, consider donating to the project.

Thank you very much, guys and girls. Every donation is a blessing.

Here is a link to the page:

http://kck.st/1BuEOES

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‘House of Cards’ For a Man Who Hates Politics

I’ve been told by numerous friends to watch Netflix original series ‘House of Cards’, though I was tempted by the offer of more Kevin Spacey on my screen (from past film experiences, watching something that involves Kevin Spacey has always been a good idea), but at the same time I was detested by the fact that it’s a 26 episode long ordeal in American politics.

I’ll just put this out there; I am not a political man. I know without politics a country couldn’t run as it does, but that doesn’t mean I have any interest in it. I think of countries are like fridges, ovens or any other kitchen appliance. I don’t know how it runs, I just expect it to run. Also if it stops running, I just call up someone who can make it run again… that part may not apply to politics.

Which is why it baffled me when I actually turned out to love House of Cards. In fact; I’ve spent the majority of today day catching up on the first season, and when this article is posted I will probably resume my catch up.

It does help that every so often in the show; Kevin Spacey will break the fourth wall and address the audience ‘Malcolm in the Middle style’, but instead of complaining about his mum being unfair or that Hal has started making meth; he’s explaining his plan and his opinions of other people to let you in on the action. He keeps you up to date on what’s happening. It stops the show from becoming confusing or boring, and it works. If shows like Lost did this it… actually it would still be ruddy confusing but at least we would an insight on what the characters are thinking.

For anyone who’s not sure on whether or not they should watch House of Cards, I’ll put it like this; House of Cards has some similarities to Game of Thrones. The politics of these two shows are both quite dirty, using spiteful tactics and any method to screw over another character. That makes very entertaining television.

Oh also, House of Cards has less tits showing, but more drug abuse. If you’re into that.

So in short; get Netflix. Don’t have money? Get the free trial and spend the next month of your life indulging yourself on some gorgeous Spacey based politics.

All Hail Spacey

All Hail Spacey

The Walking Dead: Soap Opera

We’ve had some truly fantastic television shows grace our little glowing boxes in the corner of the living room. Sadly there are some facts that make you realise though TV has its ups, it has plenty more downs. There’s the fact that Breaking Bad ended its final season back in September, Scrubs did indeed get a ninth season despite the ending to the eighth was perfect and nearly made me shed tears; oh and also Two and a Half Men will undoubtedly get another season because that dead horse is twitching just about enough to entertain the moron masses.

Though in this television darkness, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not enough light to fit a person through, also it’s not even at the end of the tunnel; it’s a trick to make you believe it’s at the end when it’s more likely the middle. Heck, it’s probably just a creepy man in a trench coat holding a flashlight with one hand whilst the other hand fiddles around underneath his coat; this man is called ‘The Walking Dead’.

The Walking Dead was a show based on the graphic novel of the same name and released by edgy TV station; AMC, the same station that brought you happy-go-lucky drug-a-thon; Breaking Bad.

The Walking Dead originally graced our screens in the latter half of 2010 with a short but sweet, six episode long first season.

Part 2 starts tonight. Image courtesy of Fanpop

Let me tell you, the first season of The Walking Dead was fantastic. Due to the six episode limit, ever episode had to be filled with as much action, gunfire and tension as physically possible… oh, also it had zombies in it, which is always a positive note for television. It was everything you could have ever wanted in a zombie apocalypse television show.

Though after season one, came season two (strangely enough) and it promised to be a bigger, better and more nail bitingly terrifying than the last. Sadly it didn’t really deliver, it felt like this honeymoon was over and we were thrown back into normal life… with zombies in it.

As we know, when the honeymoon period is over, its back to married life which involves bickering and the teardown of relationships, which is possibly the best way to describe seasons two and three of The Walking Dead because for ten out of the thirteen episode seasons, it was primarily bickering leaving you with only 2-3 episodes of genuine excitement.

The Walking Dead stopped feeling like a genuinely exciting, zombie apocalypse television show and started to feel more similar to a completely different genre. The Walking Dead very quickly became an American soap opera… with zombies.

Season 2 and 3 was filled with dramas based on relationships, tension but the danger of the zombies began to drift away. A few episodes would go by where you wouldn’t see any zombies at all, making the title ‘The Walking Dead’ and made it seem more like ‘The Bickering Living’.

It seems the zombies have taken a back seat as the villains during season 2&3, whilst regular people became the new villains. That’s right, regular people. Regular, boring people, like you or me. How dull. They walk around with guns and actually speak which means when one dies you don’t get the laughs like when a zombie dies, every time a person died you would just think how it would affect a completely different character, perhaps we haven’t even met that character yet… or maybe that’s just me. It almost got to the point that you could easily mistake this zombie apocalypse as light snow in Alabama, it had similar visuals with cars being abandoned on motorways, the collapse of society and the world believing god is angry with them for something they did/didn’t do.

In season 3; the zombie drought only got worse as the show had the nerve to put the zombies tantalisingly close by making them seen but keeping them stuck behind a fence which meant most of the viewers would return to The Walking Dead during season 3 simply to see if the zombies would get through the fence in this episode.

Though seasons 2 & 3 pushed me close to the point of giving up on the series, series 4 seems to have learnt its lesson. It no longer goes for the soap opera style and is going back to its roots of being a zombie apocalypse drama, how it should be. The zombies are more prominent, people are still dangerous but not the main focus, but more importantly; events actually happen throughout season 4 rather than leaving it all to the last three episodes of the season.

Part Two of season 4 starts tonight and I must admit, I’m pretty darn excited if part one was anything to go by. I’m just hoping they forget about the soap opera story and leave that to Danny Dyer in  Eastenders. Just give me zombies or give me death, or just something moderately entertaining.

Note: This may seem as my shitting on The Walking Dead, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great show but seasons 2 & 3 were prime examples of quality drops in television.

A Weird Kind of Rodeo – Up All Night

Hey folks,

I thought I would take a break with the usual articles I make to advertise my other work (don’t hate me), this isn’t me selling out, its more for just getting more of my work to you; the viewer.

Before I went home for the summer, I filmed a 3 part internet series with my friends at “A Weird Kind of Rodeo”. The First episode (which can be viewed HERE) has been out for a few months and has had a few views and a positive response, so that’s always nice. Now I thought I would do a little post on here to celebrate the release of the second episode which signifies the start of the new year of University for us at AWKOR. So before I ramble on too much, here’s the new episode:

I’ll probably write an article later on in the year on my experiences with AWKOR, probably when it’s our 1 year anniversary (sometime in October).

Until then, I should have another article prepared for you by next week.

MrGseff

The Good, The Bad, The Film Trailers

Before the internet was a huge deal and before YouTube was one of the biggest websites on the internet, the only ways we could see trailers for new films was to go to the cinema and watch them before the film started or if you were lucky, you might catch one during an ad break on television, because of this trailers had to do their best to convince you to see the film in cinemas. It was basically the idea that when you went to the cinema, the trailers would give you the opportunity to plan what you were going to see the next time you went to the cinema. This meant a lot of work went into trailers. They were the primary advertisements for films.

Alas, this is a world we no longer live in. Trailers are still shown in cinemas before the start of a film but with many websites set up to show you the newest trailers as soon as they’re released and multiple versions of that very same trailer being uploaded onto YouTube by various users means that what used to only be seen by cinema goers can now be seen by everyone. Ever.

You would think that would make film companies try harder with the release of trailers as they will be viewed by a larger amount of people. Sadly, this isn’t entirely the case. As it is easier for a film trailer to be seen it is also easier for a film company to release more and more trailers for the same film, so if the first trailer for a film didn’t take your fancy, don’t worry as there will be at least 3 more trailers to be released up until the release of the film so by the time it comes out you can feel like you’ve already seen it (or at least all of the bits worth watching).

I have personally experienced what I would consider a bad trailer. I went to the cinema to watch Edgar Wright’s third instalment of The Blood and Ice cream trilogy; The World’s End (You should see The World’s End).

During the previews, I saw the trailer for this summer’s new comedy; “We’re the Millers” starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudekis. For the first half of the trailer, it did its job well. Half way through I thought to myself “Seems like a good film, will probably go see it”. Sadly the trailer didn’t stop when I thought that, despite the fact it convinced me by showing a fair few jokes and gags from the film it continued to show even more jokes, gags, plot points and even went as far to reveal a joke that I would imagine being a vital part to the end of the film.

When the trailer finally ended, my thought process had changed from the positive impression I felt before to “Well, I don’t really need to see this film anymore as I feel like I have already seen it”.

Ok, it might be a slight over exaggeration, but after seeing that trailer I didn’t think I needed to see any more of the film.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking We’re the Millers as a film. From its reviews, I gather it’s actually quite good, but after seeing that trailer, I didn’t feel like I needed to see any more of the film. Rather than a trailer it felt like an abridged version of the film.

It is difficult to create the trailer for a comedy as it needs to have the perfect mix of giving the right amount of jokes and gags and also by giving as few plot points as possible but still letting the audience know the basic plot of the film.

For example, in “We’re the Millers” the basic plot was that David Clark had to travel to Mexico to pick up ‘A smidge’ of marijuana for his boss and that he planned to go over the border with people disguised as a family as he finds that families rarely get searched going over the border.

That enough plot with a few of the gags thrown in, is enough to convince people that the film is worth seeing.

Comedies aren’t the only genre that often shows too much when creating trailers. As October is coming up, you can expect to see a lot more revealing horror trailers.

This is another trailer I experienced when going to the cinema to see a completely different film, during the previews of this particular film (I can’t remember which film this was, it was almost a year ago), I saw the trailer for “Sinister” a new horror starring Ethan Hawke.

Unlike most horror film trailers, this actually had moments that made me jump and it successfully convinced me to see the film, so in that aspect it did its job as a trailer.

Sadly the entirety of the jump out of your seat parts of the film, I had already seen meaning the rest of the film was pretty boring.

So Sinister’s trailer failed in a different way to We’re the Millers. It gave the right amount of scares to make me want to see it but sadly the right amount of scares turned into all the scares the film could offer.

When I complained about this to a friend he explained to me that I shouldn’t watch a horror trailer. That advice doesn’t really work when you’re in a movie theatre and the trailer is playing on a giant screen in front of you in a dark room, you have nothing to distract yourself from what’s on screen, so you just tend to watch the screen.

An example of a good Horror film trailer goes to Paranormal Activity (The original, none of those sequels… we’ll just pretend they never happened).

The trailer to Paranormal Activity gave the audience a decent amount of plot so they could vaguely understand what was going on, but whenever they wanted to show a scary part of the trailer, they wouldn’t show you. Instead they would show you the audience’s reaction to the scary part. So you get to know the film is scary without seeing why, unless you see the film yourself.  This also means by seeing the trailer, you haven’t ruined the film for yourself.

I understand this is very critical of me to attack film trailers as companies try to do what they think is right to advertise their films to the masses, it’s just sometimes a company can be too generous with that trailer and give us too much. When people want to see a trailer, they want to be convinced to see the movie; they don’t want to see an abridged version of the movie… leave that to Wikipedia page plot synopsis.

 MrGseff

Summer Project: The Movie List

This project originally started at the beginning of Sixth Form (College) when my friends made me realise that for a student aspiring to go into media, I have not seen many of the films I should have. This was true as I usually watched random films which rated from bad to mediocre.

So through this realisation my friends and I wrote up a list of films I need to see before I start University. As I have been going through A-levels, I rarely found the time to sit down and watch 3 hour films hence why this project hasn’t started until now, as I have finished College and now have the spare time to watch all the films on the list over the course of this summer.

So my aim is to watch all the films on the list shown below and afterwards, I shall review the film and give my personal opinion on it. The reviews will either be done via an article like this or a video on Youtube.

The reason this article is here is to keep my list updated without uploading another screen cap of it every  time I watch a new film.

Here is the list:

Usual Suspects

Rambo First Blood (All of them)

  • ·         First Blood
  • Rambo First Blood Part II
  • Part III
  • ·         Rambo (IV)

Commando

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Snatch

Silence of the Lambs

Clockwork Orange

Lethal Weapon (All of them)

Never Let Me Go

Last King of Scotland

Highlander

The Island

The Beach

Children of Men

Sixth Sense

Enemy at the Gates

The Fly

Forest Gump

Saving Private Ryan

Apocalypse Now

2001 A Space Odyssey

Event Horizon

Die Hard (All of them)

  • ·         Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2
  • Die Hard 3
  • Die Hard 4.0

Zulu

Clint Eastwood Westerns

  • ·         Good, The Bad, The Ugly
  • Fistful of Dollars
  • A Few Dollars More

Reservoir Dogs

Falling Down

Downfall

Das Boot

City of God

The Invasion

Toy Soldiers

Mars Attacks

Bullit

Blade Runner

E.T.

Groundhog Day

Shawshank Redemption

Bucket List

The Departed

This is Spinal Tap

Platoon

The Shining

Fight Club

House of Flying Daggers

Blade (Trilogy)

Se7en

Naked Gun (All of them)

Swordfish

The Italian Job

Assassins

Wayne’s World 1&2

Dumb & Dumber

Gladiator

Point Break

Bad Boys

Face Off

Mission Impossible

Transporter

Office Space

Magnificent 7

Blues Brothers

Full Metal Jacket

Men Who Stare at Goats

Pandorum

Wall Street

Running Man

Logan’s Run

Billy Elliott

Close Encouters of the 3rd Kind

Sleuth

The Truman Show

 

If you have any suggestions of films to add to the list, leave a comment, I will add it if I have not yet seen or have an interest to.

Update: Watched ‘Blade Runner’ so it has recently been struck off the list. Reviews will come shortly (after Wakestock music festival).

Update #2: Just Finished Shawshank Redemption. That too has now been struck off my list. Again, reviews will be written/recorded sometime after July 8th (Post – Wakestock)

Piracy is not a lost sale, just a potential sale

Side Note: When I wrote my previous article on 17th January, little did I know that in a few days the internet would be in protest and a file share site would be destroyed by a supposed ‘land of the free’ who ‘care for freedom of speech’.

As file sharing website; Megaupload was recently taken down by Team America: World Police, I thought it would be the appropriate time to talk about one of the most used arguments by companies when it comes to piracy and that is ‘Piracy is a lost sale’. This indicates that through piracy, someone who planned to buy a product did not as they pirated it for free instead. This is not completely true. There are those who simply pirate because they can and because it is free but since the closure of Megaupload people online have come out and claimed the way they pirate is justified.

This returns to the argument of ‘piracy is a lost sale’. In some cases it is most certainly not, is more likely a potential sale. If someone were to pirate a film or video game, it usually means they had no intention to pay for it in the beginning. At this point, the sale doesn’t even exist; its lack of existence makes it impossible to be lost. If this person found the content they pirated was a far better experience than they anticipated they would be more inclined to put money towards it being now or later when it is at a more reasonable price. If they didn’t enjoy then they remain to not purchase it at its release price and would either move on and not continue with it or wait for it go down to a price they would be willing to pay.

So Long Megaupload

If we took the idea of piracy away from this then the difference would be if they had no intention of buying the product and didn’t pirate it, the material remains unbought a sale is not made, it’s not ‘lost’ but they sure as hell didn’t make one.

Why did I make this example for you to read? Because it is very similar to a situation that happened to me last year with Saints Row the Third. Originally I had zero intention of buying that game until it was lent to me, played it, enjoyed and now when I see it at a good enough price I will purchase it. This means that a sale has been made from this rather than lost.

In some terms piracy is a form of advertising, as the person pirating could inform the people he/she knows that it is worth the money and therefore more sales are made than there would have been if piracy didn’t exist.

When it comes to lost sales, you may as well arrest someone for telling his friend not to see a film because it’s not very good, because that is an example of a truly lost sale as the intention of purchasing the film either in the form of a ticket in the cinema or on home entertainment is lost.

To be honest piracy as advertising is helpful towards the customers as more often than not people purchase items blindly, not knowing whether they are going to enjoy their purchase, review sites can’t help them as quite a few popular review sites have been paid to glorify a game/film (example: Dragon Age 2 getting a higher score than Origins on IGN… seriously, how did they come to that conclusion?!), and most games don’t release demos anymore so people end up paying £40+ for an experience that might not be enjoyable, and £40 is a large sum of money for the majority of people who play video games.

Author Neil Gaiman released a video of his thoughts on piracy and how it helped his sales rather than hindered it, and Jonathan Coulton; the man who wrote ‘Still Alive’ and ‘Want You Gone’ from the Portal games has openly mocked the closure of Megaupload by making sarcastic tweets question whether any artists or film makers have noticed revenue ‘flooding in’ since the closure of the site.

P.S. I am not trying to completely justify piracy and claim it should be legalised because if that were to happen nobody would ever buy anything, but I am trying to say piracy isn’t the worst thing in the world and to argue that the term ‘lost sale’ is damn stupid.

Jonathan Coulton’s views on Megaupload