I was supposed to write this update about 2 weeks ago now, however the idea slipped my mind and I completely forgot about it. When the idea came back to me I thought the best thing to do was write it up as soon as possible before I forgot about it.

Well the title states it all really. I wanted to write a blog update on 3 directors which are my favourite 3 directors. Now I’m not saying that these directors are the greatest in the world, but these are the directors that have influenced me and made me want to become a director in the near future.

 

James Cameron

He may have only done 6 films, but those 6 films have all been highly successful and most of them are in my personal top 10 favourite films of all time. James Cameron is very well known in the film industry for his action/sci-fi flicks and has earned his success from films such as ‘The Terminator’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ and ‘Titanic’. All his films have been financially successful and his film ‘Titanic’ went on to become the highest grossing film of all time, even to this date!

When I was 6 years old I managed to get hold of the film Aliens from my father’s video shelf. After seeing the film I said to myself ‘I need to make films!’ As crazy as it sounds, it’s actually true, after seeing ‘Aliens’ I wanted to become a film director. I love everything about Cameron’s films, from the script, to the action, to the mise-en-scene. It is all perfectly constructed and well thought out. Say what you wish about this director, but in my eyes he is a genius, and a truly brilliant film maker.

 

Christopher Nolan

Yet again this is another brilliant film maker. Christopher Nolan is a fairly recent director in Hollywood and was first brought to my eye a few years ago with his film ‘Memento’. The film is played to its audience in reverse, so the first scene you see is actually the end of the film, whilst the end scene you see is actually the beginning. Confusing? Well it may sound unusual, but this film is one of the most exciting and entertaining thrillers I have ever seen. The other two great creations of Nolan’s which I love is Batman Begins, and its sequel, ‘The Dark Knight’.  Like James Cameron, Christopher Nolan thinks about his films before he shoots, and constructs them in a beautiful manor. I am very much looking forward to his new film ‘Inception’ which is to be released in the summer of 2010.

 

Stanley Kubrick

Everyone and their Nan’s have heard about this man. Stanley Kubrick is one of the most respected and talented film makers of the 20th century. He has created classics such as ‘A Clockwork Orange’, ‘The Shinning’, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and ‘Dr Strangelove: How I learnt to stop worrying and love the bomb’.  My two personal favourites of Kubrick’s is ‘2001’ and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ which are in my top 10 personal favourite films of all time. Space Odyssey is a truly remarkable film which had absolutely mind blowing visuals, even of today’s standards (and this film was made in the 1960’s!). ‘A Clockwork Orange’ was a fantastic movie which no other director dared to even make. This film is highly controversial, which tackles violent and uncomfortable subjects in a brilliant and unique way. Love or hate the man, Stanley Kubrick is one of the most talented film makers of the last century, and he shall always be remembered for that.

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PhotobucketUsually people like to write reviews on films just after they have seen one. Mainly because it is fresh in their mind and they can easily remember the bits they did and didn’t like about it. However because I am so incredibly busy (or lazy?) it has taken me a week since I have seen the film I am moments from reviewing. Well instead of me wasting and more time I think I will just get on with the review.  

 

I went to the Aberystwyth arts centre last Tuesday to catch the latest film that they were showing. The film was called Bronson and lucky for me, it was a British film. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for Hollywood. I love to pay £6 to enter a room for 2 hours, where I can see some of the biggest explosions money can possibly buy, followed by a super cheesy ending which resembles nothing that would really happen in real life. But never the less I love British film to bits. It’s honest, it’s daring and it does something that I don’t think Hollywood has ever done; it’s realistic. The basic outline of this film is, Bronson (who changed his name from Michael Gordon Peterson) is based on an actual person who was in fact born in Aberystwyth and moved to England during his childhood. As he grew up, Bronson became involved in a series of crimes. The crime that resulted in his first prison sentence was when he raided a post office with a sawn off shot gun, getting away with just £20. Today Charles Bronson is Britain’s most, violent, most expensive criminal and is kept in solitary confinement in order to prevent his violent behaviour toward other prisoners and police. The film follows Bronson’s prison life, and goes through the first 37 years of his prison sentence, which originally was only meant to last for 4 years. But as a result of such violence within the different prisons he was sent to, that sentence was dramatically lengthened.  

 

The acting in this film is outstanding. Tom Hardy (Bronson) gives off a performance which is rather extraordinary indeed. It’s a unique, stylish and memorable approach to such a dangerous criminal. The 30 something actor nails his performance making the character of Bronson a ruthless criminal, yet also adds dimensional to him at the same time. Even though the Bronson character is a violent and insane individual, through the 2 hours of this film, you start to take a real liking to him and his outlook on life. The acting however, as well as the directing is the only elements that saved this film. Sadly the plot for this film is far from brilliant and has a rather unusual layout. Now I know this may sound unfair to say as it is a biography that stays true to the events. However I left the cinema feeling a little unsatisfied. Reason for this is throughout the film Bronson tells us how he wanted to be famous, how he knew he was meant for better things. Throughout the film we see Bronson commit more outrageous crimes and actually does become famous in an infamous manor. But the character himself never expresses his feelings toward his fame. The character never evolves or develops at the end of the film and at the final; the character is still the same as he was in the first 20 minutes. There is no big change, no realisation within the character, nothing that gives closure to all the violence and story we have just been shown. For two hours we are sat through violence, and drama, and then suddenly the credits just role, with no satisfactory ending.  

 

All in all Bronson is a well made film, with good directing and fantastic acting from the highly talented Tom Hardy. However the story does drag down the rating. Even though it is a biography of a real person, a more satisfying ending would have really made this film an excellent experience.

 

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2008 was a reasonably good year for films with such releases as ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. However this year in my opinion has had a much bigger quantity of decent film releases. Below is the film’s I have seen in cinema so far during 2009 and are of decent quality. 

 

 

1)      ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor

Plot: A Mumbai teen who has lived his life growing up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian edition of who wants to be a Millionaire. He is arrested afterwards under suspicion of cheating. Whilst he is being interrogated, he begins to look back on events that have taken place in his past, explaining why he really knew all of the answers.

Rating: 9/10 – Great story with some wonderful acting and beautiful moments. The Directing in this film is also superb from the fantastic Danny Boyle.

 

2)      ‘Watchmen’

Director: Zack Snyder

Starring: Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman

Plot: When retired superhero the Comedian is murdered, Rorschach the vigilante begins to investigate, leading to a terrifying conclusion.

Rating: 10/10 – A stunning superhero film set in an alternative 1985. A complicated yet great story leaves you satisfied by the time the credits begin to role.

 

3)      ‘Gran Torino’

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Clint Eastwood

Plot: Walk Kowalski, a Vietnam War veteran attempts to reform his neighbour who attempted to steal his 1972 Gran Torino.

Rating: 9/10 – A wonderful story from the brilliant Clint Eastwood who directed and starred in the film. It is a real gem. 

 

4)      ‘Star Trek’

Director: J.J. Abram’s

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto

Plot: Set in the early days of Captain James T. Kirk and his fellow crew members as they set out on the USS Enterprise.

Rating: 10/10 – An amazing revival to star trek. This instalment reboots the franchise which pleases the fans of the original and makes way for a brand new group of viewers at the same time.

 

Films still to come in 2009:

 

Terminator Salvation

Director McG and Actor Christian Bale bring us the 4th in the Terminator series. Set after Judgement day the resistance must try to find a way to end the war against the machines once and for all.

 

Transformers 2

Michael Bay returns for a second time, bringing us the long awaited sequel to the 2007 blockbuster Transformers.

 

Avatar

Director James Cameron returns to the silver screen after 12 years with his new film set entirely on an alien world. The film has been filmed with new 3-D technology which has promised viewers and experience so good, it will be the star wars of the 21st century.

AS Media Project

April 22, 2009

Well I was sitting here thinking on what to write about next when it suddenly came to me! Instead of talking about the latest films or my favourite films, I could talk about my media studies thriller that I made during my first year of college.

Well its bin a few years now but what the heck, this is a great excuse to show more people the work I made back in the good old days of college.

 

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted my thriller too look like from the very start of the course, however I was concerned that my group would have different plans. Anyhow I drew up a story board and did a brief screenplay laying out the order in which I wanted all the action to take place. And to my surprise and relief, my group really liked the idea, so quite early into the coursework, we set out and managed to film a load of footage to use during editing.

It was not until the editing that my vision slowly started to move away from what I originally intended to create, as my group began to develop ideas that differed from my original idea. However this was not actually a bad thing, because the final result was a nice mixture of different ideas and in the end we got a good grade, which is all I really needed from this work.

 

Recently I decided to grab together the remaining footage we had from filming (did not manage to find that much of it), and then edit it together in the way I originally planned to lay it out. It was very hard to recreate the vision I once had for my thriller, as it was 2 years ago and I had not enough footage left to do it, but I managed to recreate a version which is as close as I can get to my very first idea.

 

This video is the version that me and my group created during the course:

 

 

This video is the alternative version that I created afterwards; I attempted to recreate my original idea which was altered during editing:

Photobucket Sequels are not exactly the greatest creation ever made in my opinion. Most of the time a sequel usually turns out to be a rehash of a classic film with the same story line, except for it is a little bit different. Take Ghostbusters 2 for example, it has the exact same story line as the original; the Ghostbusters crew are seen as a joke, until they are needed to capture a ghost, Dana Barrett (Weaver) experiences the supernatural and becomes a part of something out of this world, Venkman (Murray) wants Dana but does not get her until the end. All of this is exactly the same as the first film, except it’s a little bit different.

However not all sequels are like this, in fact some sequels have been so good in my opinion, that they have even outdone their predecessors. Below is a list of 10 films which I feel really have stood the test of time and have made very good and original movie sequels.

 

10: Toy Story 2

The sequel to the Disney Pixar movie ‘Toy Story’ was originally meant to be a straight to video release. However after some discussion, it was decided that the film had a cinema release. This was indeed a very wise idea, as the movie made over $500 million worldwide.

I remember seeing this movie at the age of 9 with my mother, father and younger brother. I can remember that not long after seeing this film, I was obsessed with it. I feel that the script, direction and performances in this film were ten times the quality of the original Toy Story (which was still also a very impressive film).

 

9: The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The first Jurassic Park was released in the summer 1993, and for those who witnessed it in theatres, said it was one heck of an experience. I unfortunately did not get to see the original in the cinemas, as I was only a teeny child at that time. However I was fortunate enough to see its sequel, the lost world in cinemas at the age of 6. I can remember as if it was yesterday, watching that giant tyrannosaurus rex roaming through the City of LA, the Velociraptures running through the long grass, the hero’s of the film holding on to dear life as their trailer was being pushed off the edge of a fatal cliff. It truly was an experience that I will never forget.

 

8: Shrek 2

I enjoyed the first Shrek movie very much; it was a very original take on a bunch of unoriginal material, which was a very entertaining mix. However the 2004 sequel Shrek 2 was so much more of an entertaining experience. From the pop culture references that popped up almost every 5 minutes to the energetic and exciting characters, made this film truly superior in my eyes to its predecessor.

 

7: X-men 2

The first film of the series brought the marvel comic X-men to the big screen for the first time in a very impressive way. I loved the first X-men film and felt that its dark and gritty style suited the story very much (it also resurrected that comic book adaptation once again which was damaged in 1997 due to ‘batman and robin’). When I went to see its sequel in 2003 I was not expecting to see anything brilliant. However within the first 5 minutes of the film’s opening, I was already blown away by what can only be described as a stunning sequence involving the night crawler invading the Whitehouse. This really is one of my favourite comic book movies out there and deserves all of the praise that it gets.

 

6: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

I will be honest; I am not a complete lord of the rings fan. I have never read the books and when I saw the first film I was not completely satisfied with what I saw. However the second part of this trilogy was something else on an entirely different level. The Two Towers has one particular sequence which I feel is one of the finest sequences ever made in film history. And that is the war scene towards the end. The amount of effort and care put into that scene truly makes this film a superbly crafted masterpiece, and has made me respect director Peter Jackson for the fine filmmaker that he is.

 

5: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

A film which is the owner of possibly one of the greatest twists of all time. The Empire Strikes back truly is a stunning sequel which was better than its breathtaking predecessor. This is probably the darkest star wars film out of the franchise; however this suits the movie and makes it one of the most exciting instalments of the star wars series.

 

4: The Dark Knight

An overrated film this maybe, but ‘The Dark Knight’ is still a fine piece of art by one of my favourite directors of this decade. The Batman franchise died a horrible and painful death in 1997 with the mess that is known as ‘Batman and Robin’, however its reputation was respectfully restored in 2005 with Christopher Nolan’s reboot, named ‘Batman Begins’. Where ‘begins’ followed the detailed development of Bruce Wayne becoming Batman, its sequel, ‘The Dark Knight’ focused more on its antagonist, the joker. The villain was given a stunning rebirth and the story of the film truly was a deep and meaningful experience. This is a must see film for those who have not yet seen and will go down in film history as a classic, a reputation that not many superhero films will get.

 

3: Spiderman 2

I don’t know what it is about this sequel, but in my eyes, this film truly is fantastic. This is how comic book movies should be; it had great action, stunning visuals, great characters, humour, drama, and a very touching love story between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Now I was not really keen on the first Spiderman film, it was too cartoony and too silly for my liking, I don’t know why but I never really saw it as a great film. However ‘Spiderman 2’ was a sequel that I can watch over and over again. It is one of my favourite films and is a beautiful sequel which deserves much praise. It’s such a shame that the third film was a letdown.

 

2: Aliens

If someone mentions the film Aliens, I always have a smile on my face. I love this film, and always have done ever since I was 6 years old.  Its predecessor ‘Alien’ was very big in its day and is a sci-fi/horror movie. It’s sequel ‘Aliens’ however went in a different direction, instead of mimicking the first film, director James Cameron, decided that the second film would be an all out action movie. However this time there would not just be one of the creatures to kill, but instead hundreds of them against state of the art marine fire power. This idea was possibly one of the wisest moves any sequel has ever taken. Not only is this film one of my favourite film sequels of all time, but it is also one of my favourite films.

 

1: Terminator 2: Judgement Day

All I can say is wow; this film is just too good to be true.  ‘T2’ follows on around 10 years after the events of ‘The Terminator’ and this time; Arnie is the good guy, out to help John Conner survive an evil liquid Cyborg who is out to kill him. This is most probably my all time favourite movie and is one of the greatest action movies to ever be made.  For a film that was made in 1991, the visuals and direction are extremely ahead of their time, if you didn’t know its date, you would assume it was made sometime around the year 2000. If you have not yet seen this film then I urge you too, it really is one of the greatest action/sci-fi films ever made.

With June only around the corner, the new Terminator film is close to hitting our screens. Terminator Salvation is the 4th film in the franchise and director McG is now in charge. When Terminator 3 came out in 2003, I enjoyed the film first time round, but I am one of the few that felt the series should have ended at number 2. Last year when I heard a 4th Terminator film was in production I was not surprised, but I was annoyed. I knew that producers would continue to make these films until they have squeezed every last penny out of the franchise.

When I heard that the Director had only made two feature films which were the Charlie’s Angles series I said to myself that I would stay away from this instalment to the series. I was convinced that the Terminator franchise was as good as dead.

However in recent weeks I came across the Trailers and photographs for the new film and I have to say it is looking rather impressive indeed. The film has had over $200 million spent on it which clearly shows in the trailer and it very well looks like this Terminator film could indeed be an impressive one. Yet still I am not holding my breath as I am a big fan of the first 2 films and this one looks like a hit or miss in my opinion. It could either be a highly entertaining movie which will excite and impress its audience, or it could just be another dumb, overpriced, in your face action movie. Either way I think I will go and see this film during the summer holidays and my expectations are beginning to rise from what they once were.

Two other promising things about this movie is that one, Christian Bale is playing John Conner, and two, writer Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight co-writer) is one of the screenplay writers on board. This could very well mean the story of Terminator Salvation could also be as impressive as its special effects.

 

Over the years, the world of film has grown and become something very different from what it was when it first came into existence. At the very start, before computers and fancy special effects we had black and white films which of course were all very entertaining. But if we look at a film from the 1930’s and then a film from today we can see an unbelievable difference. Films today are bright, colourful, explosive and extremely noisy. You can enter a cinema room for around £6  and for a few hours you can hear sounds whooshing over your head coming from giant 5.1 surround sound speakers, you can watch a giant robot tearing a city to pieces, see explosions coming from all corners of the screen and overall you can experience an in your face rollercoaster ride.

But every few years cinema changes more and more. Even in recent years film has changed. I mean we now have High definition films, something that we did not have back in the 90’s. We can also see films in our own home now in a similar fashion to the cinema, with 50 inch Televisions and beastly surround sound kits.

Film will always change and will always introduce new ways in which it can entertain its audience and earn big bucks. But what could the next change be? What does the world of film  have in store for us next? And also when will the next change be?

Well the next change could very well be a piece of technology that already exists and has been around for a very long time. The piece of technology that I am referring to is 3D films. Yes I know, films and 3D technology have been around for years, and in most cases has not been very successful (‘Jaws 3D’ is an example). However in 2009, producers and news magazines have promised us a film that will change the way in which we see films and push cinema to a whole new level.  This film is named Avatar and it is written and Directed by James Cameron. James Cameron is the creator of the Terminator franchise (1984 to present); he also Directed Aliens (1986) and Titanic (1997). He has created 6 highly successful films during his career, both written and directed perfectly. However for 10 years, James Cameron has been working on a project with new digital 3D technology which is hoped to make 3D films become a mainstream use in cinemas all around the world. Mr Cameron has promised that this film will be revolutionary. However can this legendary film maker keep his word? Can Avatar live up to the hype it is getting on many internet forums? Or will this movie flop? Either way, we shall find out in December 2009.

Warner Bros 2010

February 26, 2009

I don’t think many will argue with me if I say to them that Warner Brothers did pretty well last year with the success of “The Dark Knight” dominating box offices all around the world. However the question I kept asking myself towards the end of 2008 is “what will Warner bro’s do next?” What can we expect to see in the not so distance future? And I am not just on about a third Batman film (which will happen one day), but future films from Warner in general. Well luckily for me on the 25th February, the company released a list containing of their future films and their release dates. Now you have most probably heard a lot of these film titles already, and I am very sure that the list will grow over time.


Sherlock Holmes
Release Date: December 25th 2009
Director: Guy Ritchie
Writer: Guy Ritchie and Anthony Peckham


Clash of the Titans
Release Date: March 26th 2010
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writer: Lawrence Kasdan


Inception
Release Date: July 16th 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan


Jonah Hex
Release Date: August 6th 2010
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Writer: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Release Date: December 2010
Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves (screenplay)


Green Lantern
Release Date: December 17th 2010
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: Michael Green


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Release Date: July 15th 2011
Director: David Yates
Writer: Steve Kloves (screenplay)