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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How To Structure A Comic Book Movie Franchise

I've noticed a pattern with how comic book movie franchises develop...


Part one: the origin story.
How did they come to be, how they discover their powers, how society deals with the introduction of this superhero.
  • Superman (1978) - the birth and arrival on Earth of Superman, he puts on the costume and starts saving people.
  • Spider-Man (2002) - how Peter Parker becomes Spiderman, learning to deal with his powers.
  • Batman Begins (2005) - how Bruce Wayne psychologically and physically turns into Batman.
Part two: superhero wants to give up their superhero life for something simpler, but then realizes that it's what they're supposed to do.
  • Superman II (1980) - Superman wants to marry Lois who now knows his secret, gives up his powers, tough shit - realizes people need Superman too much.
  • Spider-Man II (2004) - Peter Parker wants to have a relationship with MJ, is happy to lose his powers, tough shit - realizes people need Spiderman too much.
  • The Dark Knight (2008) - Batman wants to have a relationship with Rachel, is happy to give up his superhero status, tough shit - realizes he has to keep being Batman.
Part three: superhero becomes an asshole and people hate him. Promises never to be an asshole again.
  • Superman III (1983) - Superman is exposed to red kryptonite, becomes an asshole.
  • Spider-Man III (2007) - Peter Parker is exposed to the alien symbiote, becomes an asshole.
  • Whatever the next Batman movie is called (20??) - Batman is now the most wanted criminal in Gotham. He's an asshole.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Acolytes Headed Straight To DVD

Des Patridge's "Movie Guru" blog at the Courier-Mail reports that Acolytes - a creepy serial killer teen horror thriller shot on the Sunshine Coast and had a phenomenal sold out screening at the Brisbane International Film Festival - is not going to end up with a cinema release.

http://blogs.news.com.au/couriermail/movies/index.php/couriermail/comments/acolytes#39120

Distributors Palace Films aren't going to spend the money on making prints and distributing the film, which is a shame, because it was a solidly creepy piece of work that had more than its share of scary moments in it.

I don't fully understand how the distribution deal was set up, but why couldn't they apply to Screen Australia for some funding in making prints? Did the Government via the Film Finance Corporation (one of the predecessors to Screen Australia) not partially fund the production in the first place?

It wasn't a brilliant movie (the kids' acting was pretty terrible for a great deal of it), but it was definitely a different kind of movie than the ones we're used to seeing being produced in Australia.

It's disappointing, but, ah well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Contracts For Old Men

Tickets went on sale today for this year's UQ Law Revue - "No Contracts For Old Men".

It's the first law revue since 2003 I haven't been involved with, so I'm quite excited to be sitting in the audience again. The guys in charge this year are very funny and solid writers and the cast is top notch. I anticipate laughter and nostalgia, with maybe a pinch of regret. :p

(check out the 2008 Revue Facebook group - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=24546451730&ref=nf)

Wednesday 27 Aug
Thursday 28 Aug
Friday 29 Aug
Saturday 30 Aug

Showing at the Schonell Theatre, University of Queensland. Curtains up at 7:30PM. Reserved seating, but all of the seating is good. :)

$15 LCard / $20 non-LCard.

Unfortunately tickets are only on sale from in front of the Law Library in the Forgan Smith building between the hours of 10 and 2 (the UQLS does not have EFTPOS facilities yet apparently).

Any queries should be directed to Jonathan Sri at j.sri [ at ] uqls.com.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Owe It All To Ace Of Base

Have the spent the last night or two working on a song that had been nutting around in my head for a while. It's a YouTube-themed song and is done in the style of Kelly Clarkson/Pink/The Veronicas. But with me instead. :p

Anyways, this new one is alright. I'm doing it in a weird way - I have the backing track of guitar and midi drums, bass and strings. But I've had no lyrics - just the title. So, I'm writing a verse and a chorus at a time, then picking up the microphone and recording it over the top of the track. Then I doing the backing vocals where I feel it needs it. So what I'm working with is the patchiest and most unnatural songwriting procedure ever. But it seems to be working.

As an experiment, I muted the midi track and the song sounds really good like that as well (if not better). So when I finish it, I'm going to do a version with the drums, strings and bass, and then mute the track with those and call it the "De-Spectorized Mix". Or "Acoustic". Whatever.

Which brings me to EMBARRASSING FACT ABOUT ME TIME.

People take up the guitar for various reasons, but most of the time, they've done it because they love a particular player or song. In music class in high school, it seemed like every boy in the class didn't give a shit about playing Louie Louie, never mind that it was three simple chords and a basic one to learn for beginners; they wanted to play Wonderwall or Smells Like Teen Spirit straight off the bat.

But for me? The song that made me want to learn guitar was not a traditional guitar hero song. It was not Hendrix or Marley or Cobain or Gallagher or Clapton.

It was an acoustic version of Ace of Base's "Lucky Love" on my cassette copy of "The Bridge".




It's an unorthodox inspiration, but it's the truth. It's an average pop song and one that most people don't remember (even though it went to number one throughout Europe).

So why Ace of Base? They of the woman who only wants another baby, seeing the sign and days of not for working but "a day for catching tan"?

Because I was a fan of Europop in the early-to-mid 90's (and we all were to some extent). Particularly within the Europop craze of the mid-90's, there was an extravagant emphasis on synthesized music. When I voted for songs on the Hot 30 with Stuey and Zoey, I'd vote for the song I knew would be the most popular of the night so I could have a better chance of winning the prize, but if I really wanted to, I'd often vote for the latest Ace of Base track. :)

So I got The Bridge cassette for my birthday and on the second side, they'd included an Acoustic Mix of Lucky Love. Intrigued I skipped to it.

Suddenly I heard a real instrument on a track I was already so familar with on the radio. That steel TWANG of the strumming of the opening chords pierced through the haze of the synth and electronica that came before. Then a real bass. And a real drum kit and shakers. And the guitar kept twanging and plucking, the shakers kept shaking, the keyboard kept tinkling.

It was an instrumentation I wasn't used to with Ace of Base, and it had an effect on me.

And that's the moment I wanted to learn how to play the guitar.

Unorthodox yes, but true.

So when I muted the track with the midi and synth tonight, of all the thoughts that could have come to me, Ace of Base came back into my memory.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My BIFF Experience

Tonight, the 17th Annual Brisbane International Film Festival comes to a close with a sold out screening of John Maybury's The Edge Of Love. For me, this has been one of the most interesting BIFF's that I've been able to attend. Usually, I've only ever attended one - maybe two - movies that screened at BIFF. I remember seeing The American Nightmare in the State Library Theatrette on my 18th birthday, Donnie Darko (before it became the huge cult movie it since has) in the Myer Centre while the Regent was being refurbed, and I remember seeing This Film Is Not Yet Rated at the Centro last year which has yet to get a general release in Australia (yet appeared with an MA rating on World Movies earlier this year).

This year was definitely my favourite BIFF yet. I highly regret not volunteering and getting even more involved in the festival.

I ended up seeing four films, all of which I rated quite well, and I encourage you to see them when they come out in general release.
  • Not Quite Hollywood - as cool as I thought it would be. The highest energy documentary I've seen in some time. See my post elsewhere about it. Getting a general release in a few weeks.

  • Son of Rambow - this was my favourite of the four I saw. Saying the title to people will bring up ideas of what the movie is about, but it's not even close. I got choked up in the last scene. It was so incredibly sweet and nostalgiac and the two boys in the lead role were extraordinarily good. I compared it to Billy Elliott (little boys with dreams beyond their locations) and am putting it up there with Dark Knight as one of the best movies I've seen this year. General release in Australia on September 4th.

  • Acolytes - co-written by my screenwriting tutor (who remembered me when he sat in front of me in the audience), a serial killer thriller about three high school kids who try and blackmail a local serial killer (Joel Edgerton) into murdering a bully who tormented them. But all is not as it seems... More than a few jumps and scares in it, it had a chilling twist at the end. The Glasshouse Mountains never looked so creepy. Wait, yes they did. It's screening in Toronto, and getting a general release in Oz in 2009.

  • Three Blind Mice - Matthew Newton's completely independent shoestring budget movie shot on HD was screened on DigiBeta (they couldn't yet afford a film print), and followed three naval officers in Sydney for one night only before shipping out for another 6 months at sea - one is considering going AWOL after an incident on their ship, one wants to see his fiancee one last time and the other just wants to party hard. Shot entirely at night over two and half weeks, it features a dazzling array of recognizable Aussie actors who pop up completely unexpectedly (won't give them away ;) . Dragged a bit, but it was definitely the little movie that could of all the ones I saw. Solid performances from all involved. It's some promising stuff from Matt Newton. No word on a general release yet though.

I also made it to a very useful seminar hosted by the Australian Film Television And Radio School about how to actual go about entering things into festivals, tips on formats, planning, shipping, etc. Well worth the two hours and $15.

Interestingly, three of the four movies I saw at this "international" film festival were Australian. The advantage of this was that those Australian movies which screened enabled the filmmakers themselves to attend. Not Quite Hollywood was attended by Mark Hartley (director), Antony Ginnane (infamous producer), Brian Trenchard-Smith (director of Turkey Shoot and BMX Bandits), etc. Acolytes was locally made, so there was the writers, the director, producers, costume designers, you name it. It was a sold out session with the home crowd. Matt Newton came to the screening of Three Blind Mice with Gracie Otto (his female lead/editor/girlfriend, who I briefly talked to afterwards about editing - she was self taught as well, awesome!). Matt looked tired, like he'd had a night out the night before, possibly because there was a screening the night before as well, but he was still chipper and interesting during the Q&A.

For the first time, I felt the same way about BIFF as I did about when I first attended the Comedy Festival at Melbourne - you can just go up to the filmmakers/performers at the end, say hey, congratulations and a chat. And they love it, they don't think you're weird. Granted, it's a film festival, so the audience could sometimes be a little snootier than comedy club audiences, but still, it was great for there to be an actual festival atmosphere for once at BIFF.

Congratulations and well done to all involved. :)

--

Big regret? Not volunteering. Will remedy this next year.

Bigger regret? Not seeing Turkey Shoot, Long Weekend or The Man From Hong Kong on the big screen.

Slightly bigger regret? Not going to the Ozploitation seminar at GoMA because I was scared I'd have nothing to add to the proceedings. You idiot.

Biggest regret of the festival? Being too chickenshit to not say hello to the Spierig brothers and tell them that I got top marks for an uni essay I wrote on Undead and I think they're the bees knees. Mike and Pete, if you read this, I'm sorry and thank you. :)

Barack Rolling

Hugh Atkin, former Law Revue video dude and now satirical viral video maker, has done another completely sterling effort in video editing with his latest "Barack Roll". This is guaranteed to go viral, and it deserves it. :)



I'm starting to see a pattern in Hugh's videos...

Recent Internet Meme/Viral Video + US Presidential Race = Guaranteed thousands and thousands of views

Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well done. Look forward to more Hugh. :D

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Tallest Man In The World

Another song I wrote last night, recorded tonight. About the perils of being very very tall. :)



I took into account a mate's suggestion that I should really be playing the songs on camera myself.

Giselle, Bin and Pav (who are credited) helped me out with some of the ideas, as they are very tall and very beautiful friends. :)

--

SIDE NOTE: Saw "Not Quite Hollywood" and "Son Of Rambow" this weekend as part of BIFF. LOVED THEM BOTH. Not Quite Hollywood left me buzzing and Son of Rambow is a beautiful and sweet little movie that belies the implication of its title.

Congratulations to Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) and Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow) for two excellent movies!