Sunday, 27 January 2013

STAR WARS EPISODE VII: Predictions for the Abrams Continutaion


So now It's been officially confirmed that JJ Abrams will be helming the new Star wars movie, the internet can properly get underway with making ill-judged predictions and get carried away with massive amounts of fannish dreaming until we find out any genuine details about the project. This stuff is what the internet was made for, aside from cats and porn.

I see these days as a moment when the old school nerds amongst the now-culturally-essential-web can reclaim some of our basement-dwelling glory and get back to flaming each other about old sci-fi. Well, will everything old being new again, I guess this thirty-plus year old franchise is new again, so here are a few (not entirely serious) predictions for this brand new Star Wars adventure from Disney/Lucasfilm/JJ Abrams.


 -Lens flares shaped like Mickey Mouse within five seconds of the opening text crawl ending. 

-Background cameos from the Cloverfield monster, LOST characters and the USS Enterprise.

 -No politics (oh please, please PLEASE no politics).

-Absolutely no material from the Expanded Universe, essentially invalidating thirty years of people spending money on what was basically a dead film franchise.

-villains far more compelling than Sidious/Dooku/Grievous/Maul.

-space battles edited as though the camera has a painfully short attention span.

-shaky cam. However, IF ABRAMS USES SHAKY CAM DURING ANY SCENES INVOLVING LIGHTSABERS, I SHALL NOT BE PLEASED AND MAY BE FORCED TO BLOG ABOUT IT.

-gorgeous, lingering panning shots of spacecraft (Mmmmm).

-a ludicrously attractive cast, even for roles which should be kinda gnarly.

-Zoe Saldana (isn't she in his contracts or something? Heh)

-a lady Sith lord. Probably Zoe Saldana.

-Gungans being tortured. Possibly even crucified (that may just be wishful thinking).

Above all, what I'm expecting is a really good film, which is all we can really hope for after so many people were disappointed with the prequels. To be honest, I was really hoping Joss Whedon would get the gig, as his skills with ensemble casts would have made for a much more gung-ho Star Wars than the prequels (think about it – that Serenity/Avengers/Buffy ensemble feel in the Star wars universe with a rag-tag band of heroes – that would be perfect). Well, really what I wanted to see was Mal and the crew of the Serenity kicking the Sith's ass, but thats the fanboy in me getting carried away. Here's to the future of Star Wars – I'm pleased it's got one now!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

PINNICK GALES PRIDGEN - So good it hurts

I'm currently deep into writing my share of reviews for the next issue of POWERPLAY and came across this album, which is out next month. Sometimes you get to hear an album where everything just falls into place. This is one of those. Fans of JOE BONAMASSA, JIMI HENDRIX, CREAM, CHICKENFOOT, STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN, LIVING COLOUR and suchlike are absolutely going to love this.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

CITV: The 'Old Skool' weekend left us wanting more!

So, last weekend CITV ran two days of classic shows from their past, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of CITV as an ongoing concern. Thus we were treated to two days of spectacularly entertaining stuff from the 1980s and 1990s, which varied in quality but never failed to entertain.

Seeing stuff like Knightmare, Spatz, The Raggy Dolls, Count Duckula, Fun House, Press Gang, Children's Ward and the like made my lady and I crave more. Checking online, it was clear that a hell of a lot of people felt the same way.

This got me thinking, how about a classic CITV channel in its own right? There is a massive wealth of material out there which can still be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and while there would surely be rights issues, I'm sure there are ways around that here and now. I mean, these shows are hardly going to be a major concern any more, so any new revenue generated by them would surely be in the favour of the rights holders. In addition, I'd imagine that revenue would be more than what they may gather with the limited DVD sales available to classic shows.

A dedicated channel of CITV classics would appeal to both children and a large number of adults, including parents who would love to share this stuff with their children how it should be seen – on the TV, not on YouTube.

Some early Knightmare (not the later stuff we saw at the weekend – stuff with Pickle! Pickle being camp and sinister) along with lots of Funhouse (which has aged surprisingly well, even taking into consideration the many tragic hairstyles of Pat Sharpe) would be a good start, but things like Press Gang would be a really important thing to show.

Press Gang in particular was a landmark in TV for kids, as it didn't talk down to them (at the time “us”) and offered some proper drama (like trying to deal with Dexter Fletcher's dodgy American accent). The same goes for Children's Ward, which I wasn't a big fan of but recognize how much it was enjoyed by other kids at the time. Stuff like that, interspersed with cartoons, classic links, perhaps the occasional full rerun of a Saturday morning show (or at least clips), classic interviews and so on would be superb.

I mean, if Challenge can get away with showing terrible old gameshows, then surely there would be a decent audience for some more Old Skool TV fun? At least that way, we adults who grew from the original CITV audiences would then be able to say to our kids: “Look, I TOLD YOU it was better in my day!”



Thursday, 10 January 2013

Review: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE MULTIPLEX by Mark Kermode

What's wrong with modern movies? Asks the cover to the latest Mark Kermode book, and a damn good question it is. I have had a growing apathy towards big studio films of late, with only Avengers Assemble (or whatever it was called in your territory) really blowing me away in recent years.

Something seems to be wrong with multiplex films, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. I did wonder whether it was my march through to the middle of my thirties doing it to me, but no, as this rather splendid book lays out very clearly, it's the films that are getting worse, and through lowered expectations, audiences are accepting that as the norm.

As with his previous (and just as great) book, It's Only A Movie, I disagree with Kermode on a number of points regarding various flicks and points, but that's a matter of taste more than him being wrong in any way.

The arguments he puts forward throughout these highly entertaining 313 pages are all very valid, and I implore any serious fan of film, and indeed anyone who suffers the obscene prices and substandard films at multiplexes, to buy a copy and rage alongside him.

His well-thought-out rants against the overuse of 3D, tosh like Sex And The City 2 and the fact that no so-called flop actually loses money for studios are engrossing, entertaining and above all, absolutely spot on. Laid out with an epic amount of humour from the moment the lights go down until the credits roll, this is a fantastic book for anyone who is passionate about film and wants more than just diluted Hollywood fare in their cinematic diet. Excellent.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

CRIMSON GLORY - "LONELY"

Happy new year! Ladies and gents, here's 2013 and I have so much to tell you about, but I wanted to get the year's blogging underway in simple and beautiful style with one of the greatest prog metal songs of all time. The artist is CRIMSON GLORY, and it;s from their legendary album "Transcendence".

I am posting it here without the accompanying music video, as the video was very much of its time and I believe it detracts from the majesty of this song. I do love the video, but the song is a masterpiece which I have held dear for many years, and I want more people to hear it without judging it on the video alone.