Tuesday, 30 December 2008

2008 no more…

So its that time of year again. The wrapping paper has been destroyed, no more turkey left to eat, and only the dregs of the chocolate tin remain (usually the strawberry creams or hard toffees). The year has finally come to a close.

With the usual identity crisis I engage in during this time, I wish to share with you my reflections on the year past. Brother Chris has already done all this, and possibly to a far better degree, however, its always good to get a few opinions. People will want to know how it went down after all.

2008 - An adventure in words!

It’s been a mixed year. On the one hand, there’s been quite a few things that were great, exciting and cool. On the other, there’s been a lot of waiting around for these cool things where I just had to get on with work. Bah!

So to list all the cool things. Way back in February I was chosen as a finalist in the E4 Estings competition and was due to attend the awards ceremony. This was hopefully a taste of things to come. Brother Chris didn’t waste a second on the free bar, nor on the free eats. I was more of an eats person, especially the cool little fruit crumbles that only me and Chris seemed to eat.

The whole night had a surreal element to it which made it all that more memorable, having to wait around for so long, taking an assortment of random photos to use up film and basically the first time at an awards ceremony, however low-key. I didn’t win.

The next big event was the premiere of Ten Dead Men, on which I edited the behind the scenes footage into an hour long documentary, and a series of shorter featurettes. This was a definite highlight of the year. Not only the premiere of Brother Chris first produced screenplay, but also seeing all the stars of the film I’d been watching “behind the scenes” for so long. It was kind of weird seeing these people that I knew, but who did not know me. Along with a surreal experience with Doug Bradley screaming Donald Pleasance’s lines from Halloween two inches from my face, and a close encounter with Lee from Steps. That whole weekend was memorable and I doubt I’ll forget it anytime soon.

Then there was work. And it went on.

Unsure of actual dates, around May/June/July I began work on a script with Chris. Basically writing an outline then sending it to Chris for a tidy up, and any changes he wished to include, then back to me for a first draft, and so on back an forth. This was really great of Chris as he was also balancing the writing of two other scripts at the same time. With the script finished, and all parties happy it has entered the next stage in its life…a mystery I am yet to divulge upon.

Work took over once again. Boo!

In August I started this ‘ere blog, and having a sneaky peak, I wasn’t a happy bunny. I can only remember certain reasons for this and as far as I know these have been eradicated. I say that, I just wanted to use that word. Problems gone basically.

“NEW YORK, NEW YORK a hell of a town!”

September was the time for the New York holiday which was my idea, and funded, at least in part, by me. Don’t take that as a moan, I had the money sitting there, and spend it I did.

Recently I’ve realised how much fun I actually had in New York. I think when I was there I was a little overwhelmed with it all, both in scale and in general holidayness. I hadn’t been on holiday since I was 15 probably. That was eleven years ago, and I think I just didn’t know how to holiday. Anyway, sights were seen, photos taken, food eaten (though not much in my case) and big headed Thor was bought. An excellent time was had by all.

October brought not much to the proceedings. I went to see The Woman in Black at the theatre and I doubt I will experience anything like it again. Bloody scary it was.

Now were pretty much up to date. November held my birthday, and I bought My First Xbox 360. Brother Chris took me to see The Dark Knight on IMAX. This was amazing. Again another memory to keep. After the film we went on a late night tour of the sights, mainly to get back to Victoria Station. A cool weekend was had.

In December I passed my driving test and it was Christmas, which this year I began by watching the majority of My Fair Lady until the rest of the family awoke and present time could begin. Now I can’t get the song "Wouldn't it be Lovely" out of my head.

As you can see the year started off great, then slowly frittered out towards the end. I’m hoping for many opportunities next year, and swear I’ll get more writing done. My head is bulging with ideas after all.

Now the fun stuff.

Game-wise I bought an, Xbox as mentioned, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Throughout 2008 I was catching up on original Xbox games. So for games actually released in 2008, my short memory can only remember that I forked out for the complete Guitar Hero World Tour, a great game, it may not be to everyone’s tastes, and definitely works better with a group, but I enjoy the game solo, always have. I also got Tomb Raider: Underworld. A direct sequel to Legend, and continues in the same universe as Anniversary. Unfortunately, although I still enjoy the franchise the game has lost a little of its originality, and although it sounds silly, I got a little sick of climbing around similar looking ruins.
Lego Indiana Jones was also played but didn’t mark as well as Lego Star Wars. That universe is just too limited. And Indy never fought a giant snake.

Music-wise, I can think of two excellent gigs I attended. First off was Polysics in February. Only the second time I’ve seen them but this did battle for the top stop. Not sure who won actually. Basically, going with a load of mates who had now idea who they’d come to see, and the gig taking place in a tiny, cramped pub,and the fact that I managed to steal the drummers ‘P’ badge, made this gig one of the best ever.

In November, attending the Flogging Molly gig in Manchester proved another highly enjoyable evening. Great company and great music. I can’t be beat.

Film-wise, 2008 was a great year. I won't repeat what Chris has already mentioned as that would be pointless but I agree with what he says about Rambo, Be Kind Rewind, REC and Cloverfield. Always good to mention The Dark Knight as well. In no particular order I want to mention Iron Man and Wanted which I also enjoyed and also Hellboy II was a good ‘un. Now I’ve realised there are far too many to mention. One quick mention, I saw Chocolate on DVD, a film by Prachya Pinkaew and starring JeeJa Yanin. The young star is obviously being groomed to become a female Tony Jaa and with a little more training she'll get there. However this film has been marketed poorly; if you're expecting a full on Muay Thai actioner be prepared for a little story.

I welcomed the return of Indiana Jones. I enjoyed this film, wasn’t too sure of the story but I loved the first half. Indy in the fifties was excellent, I think then it got a bit to CG, and was nicking off Macgyer, what with the giant ants and the knowledge is the treasure. Overall a good adventure picture.

This year Warner Brothers released tow animated movies, Justice League: New Frontier and Batman: Gotham Knight. Both are solid films. Some segments in Gotham Knight are superior to others but overall the film is enjoyable. As is New Frontier. My trouble with this is that I read the Comic this year also, in the massive Absolute Edition, which truly is amazing. Condensing this into a 70 minute film does lose out on the whole but a great job all the same.

Finally, because I’m beginning to lose track of everything, a special mention goes to Joss Whedon who this year unveiled Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog. Created to get around the writers strike, the three-part, 42 minute film was premiered on the Internet in July.

Each part was unveiled over the course of a week and then taken offline. This I think help it as it left your wanting more, but that’s beside the point. I think this was possibly one of the most exciting events only I seemed to have been a part of. I know Chris was interested, but locally, no-one I knew seemed to care, which was disappointing, but I remember I could feel the excitment building. Sneakily checking the website at work to see if the new episode had been posted. But to get back on track, the story was cool, especially the ending. Was not expecting that! And the songs are good, genuinely. The whole experience works really well. I doubt a whole series could work, but the odd one off or feature should definitely be considered.

So whats on the cards for next year, who knows at the moment. I’ll try to get more writing done, as I said, ideas need jotting down, I probably go and see Watchmen, an I’ll definitely buy Ghostbusters: The Game.

I hope 2008 was good for you, and that 2009 will be as good as 2008 was for Chris.

Here’s hoping.

Happy New Year you lucky people.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Merry Christmas to you all!

So I haven't posted much this holiday season. This is mainly to do with the fact that Brother Chris is doing a better job than I ever could with his Christmas Countdown, so check it out here if you haven't been keeping track.


And now the wait is nearly over. For some reason this year I've been struggling with all the festiveness. Not in a Charlie Brown "What's the meaning of it all" (although that did briefly come up) but mainly the traditional side of things. Do I keep up long standing traditions or break them? Do I spend Christmas with family or friends? I guess what I was trying find out, in my own Christmas Special kind of way, is where I stand in this day and age. It's a big question to ask, and one I know I wont find the answer to in at least a few more years, if ever. All I can say at this point is to do what feels right, that's my weak response. I've never been a great decision maker, but at least at the moment I'm sticking to my guns. I'll try to fit in as much as I can. I tried to visit but it just wasn't possible. I'll try again tonight, time permitting, but I'm finding that any plans I make tend to be broken. All I can do is try.

So I'll probably stay in, watch It's a Wonderful Life, reminisce about the past, then finish off the evening with a couple of Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Christmas with the Joker from Batman the Animated Series. These traditions I'm able to continue.

Have fun however you're spending Christmas, to each his own, but a Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Could I do any better...

...yes I think I could.

So what's all this about? Well recently I watched a film at the cinema. Now for some reason I seem to go less and less these days, unless there's a film I'm excited about such as The Indiana Jones' and Dark Knights. Apart from these though I tend to wait for DVD. This is in part to do with the fact that the time between cinema and DVD release is getting shorter and shorter, and part to do with the fact that I have an online rental account with a decreasing wish list that needs filling up from time to time.

Anyway, so I'm sitting in the cinema hoping to enjoy The Transporter 3. I like the Transporter films, and have seen them both around this time at the cinema, so its sort of a mini tradition that I was willing to continue. However on this occasion I left feeling disappointed. Despite it being written by the original writers, Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and with the action choreographed once again by Corey Yuen, this entry fell short. Without getting into too much detail there just wasn't enough going on. Too much was focused on character, which I wouldn't have minded if A) Frank Martin (Jason Statham) was anything like he was in the prequels. He seemed to have loosened up a lot, and B) if sidekick/love interest Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) wasn't in it. She was basically annoying. If Frank was anything like he used to be he would have smacked her on that hill and taken his keys back.

She was one of the main problems really. She just wasn't very good. That and the lack of a decent story, and a weak ending yet again. Robert Knepper (T-Bag in Prison Break) was cool though but he's going to have to start working harder, after this and Hitman I think he's beginning to pick dud roles.

Friday night I watched Botched on DVD. It stars Stephen Dorfffffff and is basically a mish-mash of genres. Heist goes wrong, people start to die in the basement where they were hiding kind of thing. It's ok, there were a few funny moments, but again nothing special. My short review kind of sums up my feelings towards it. It was basically alright. Nothing seems to be beating Congo since I started this blog.

So back to the beginning. Could I do any better. I apologise for the following paragraph, I will come across as big headed.

I think I could do better. If these films got made surely there's a chance for me out there. And If I do say so myself, not only could I do better, but I have done better. Yes, it depends on who reads the scripts and so on. I understand in the case of Transporter 3 that there is already an audience. But with Botched, I know the script I wrote is better, if not equal. And would appeal to pretty much the same audience.

Now I realise I'm just complaining to deaf ears, and nothing will come of it the longer I keep this up. All I'm really saying is if this is the quality of the films that people are putting money into, even if it's the lowest of the low, then I've got to have my chance at some point. It's just getting it out there which is and always will be the problem. Britain is known for its poor film industry. With directors like Neil Marshall and Paul W S Anderson completely ignored, yet Mr 'I'll never make a Sci Fi movie again even though my first attempt was crap anyway' Danny Boyle is King, along with the rest of the miserables, Mike Leigh and Shane Meadows.

Some will disagree now, especially as I've gone off on a massive tangent, but there's enough talent out there that just isn't appreciated just because they prefer to work in genre films, Horror, Sci-Fi, Action. Instead of Richard Curtis romantic comedies or Mike Leigh sitting round your working class house with a funny voice.

To bring it all to some kind of close The British Film Industry isn't going to become a proper film industry until all these areas are covered. It's not as if there's nobody out there wanting it.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

I feel this is blog worthy...

So for a while now I've been mentioning the odd 'personal' things going on in my life that I've blamed my procrastination on. Now is the time for the great reveal. Well I say great, I realise now I'm building up something that isn't that exciting to begin with, but has a long back story so I find it interesting.

I finally passed my driving test. Yes that is it. Nothing else, I'm not ill or dying and nothing is dropping off. I just didn't want to keep moaning about the stupid driving test. It also brought me down a lot basically because I've spent the last year learning, unknowingly (when I started at least) setting up an invisible barrier blocking me from proceeding to another level of interesting with my life. To explain...

The story goes, back in last November, after saving up a handful of cash I decided that as nothing of any interest was happening in life, and by that I mean career/film wise, I felt I should use my time more efficiently. So I took upon the challenge of driving, something I presumed I'd have to learn to do at some point, and as I knew the roads at home, what better place to begin. And so it went until 2008. Things then began to change. Firstly, I got into the final of the E4 Estings competition with my puppet video...

Something interesting was finally happening. Secondly, Brother Chris' film Ten Dead Men was finished. This was great news alone, but I was asked to help out with the behind the scenes making of footage so spent the next few months editing this together. So now it looked as though Chris, through no fault of his own, was finding his feet of the lower rungs of the industry. From then other projects developed which I choose not to go into now in case they die a slow death. Basically things were looking up. I was beginning to make plans with life, what I was going to do, where I was going to go and so on. Then I remember I cannot go anywhere due to my driving lessons. "Alright" I thought, "I'll get this sorted then continue on my mission". Little did I know this would take bloody ages. I'm not a crap driver by the way, just made a couple of bad judgment calls with a couple of really harsh instructors and the test is thrown away. No horns were ever beeped, no pedestrians killed, nothing that on a good day I would fail on. The fates have just been against me.

So finally its out of the way, bringing an onslaught of "So when are you getting a car?" questions. To which my reply is a faked "Not sure yet?", when I'm really thinking "I don't really care, I get to sleep in on Saturdays again and get get back to films and stuff." But few people understand this viewpoint. To drive is to buy a car and talk about engine capacity and the price of petrol and so on.

I never learnt to drive with the aim of getting a car. I learnt to drive because I had nothing better to do. Now I have better things to do. The time for hesitation is through. Procrastination period is closed. I have no more excuses getting me down.

Except I still have to go to work.


In a random turn of blogging, here's the trailer for the long unreleased Ghostbusters game due out sometime mid 2009.

Let's just hope its as good as the Spectrum version. Now altogether in your best muffled and digitised speech: "He Slimed Me!"

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


I was briefly inspired by Brother Chris' blog and also felt like posting a series of Christmas related fun posts. I too like Christmas and it is indeed ace. But, after witnessing the first two posts over on "What Writes at Midnight" I'd probably spend far too much time scouring the internet to find thing. So I'm just going signpost Brother Chris' blog, for those of you that a) aren't Chris and b) haven't seen it.


On a random note, I did find these two videos from the 80's. Weird is the only way I can think to describe them.

This first video leads us onto number two, so here goes...

Pete's poorly kept Christmas Advent blog update Number 1:

Merry Christmas Santa Claus - Max Headroom.

How cool is Matt Frewer! Maybe these videos aren't the best example.