Category Archives: Blog

Great minds think alike: Edgar wright predicts award winners in his top 10

Is Edgar Wright psychic or does he just have a polished taste in films?

Esquire has officially announced it’s cutoff point for good movies this year by getting the ball rolling with end-of-year lists. These top 10’s are often a little time and memory-sensitive, giving a lot more attention to the more recent Oscar-friendly sweet-spot. So it’s a good thing they brought in a renowned nerd to get the countdown started: Mr Edgar Wright. Here’s his top 10 for 2014:

Birdman
Boyhood
Edge of Tomorrow
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
The LEGO Movie
Nightcrawler
Snowpiercer
Under the Skin
Whiplash

Granted there are a good few Oscar season entries here like Boyhood, Whiplash and Birdman. But it’s nice to see a few throwbacks to earlier 2014 success like Grand Budapest. Hey, remember when none of us could stop talking about The LEGO Movie? Ahh, heady days.

snowpiercer
Wright has a special place in his heart for Sci-fi, rating “Snowpiercer” and “Under The Skin” among the year’s best.

Well whether it was deliberate or not, Wright has more or less hit the nail on the head in terms of award hopefuls. Around the same time, the International Press Academy announced its nominations for the 19th annual Satellite Awards. There are 19 film categories along with 12 for TV, 2 for DVD’s and 4 for games. Here are the nominees for Best Picture – see if anything looks familiar:

Birdman                                                                                                                         Boyhood,                                                                                                                            Gone Girl,                                                                                                                          Love Is Strange                                                                                                                  Mr. Turner                                                                                                                      Selma,                                                                                                                                    The Grand Budapest Hotel,                                                                                        The Imitation Game                                                                                                       The Theory of Everything                                                                              Whiplash

Aside from a few more Oscar-friendly choices, Wright’s choice for the top 10 halfway towards perfect. No doubt some of his other choices will rear their heads in the yet-to-be-announced categories. It was a surprise to not see Interstellar on the list, but then Nolan films do have that tendency. Love Is Strange is probably the biggest surprise to appear on the list, despite being an unavoidably lovable film. Hopefully there’ll be a few more rugs pulled out from under us as more nominations come in, so we’ll keep you posted.

"Love Is Strange" stole its fair share of hearts earlier in the year.
“Love Is Strange” stole its fair share of hearts earlier in the year.

Oh, and you may be thinking that The LEGO Movie was hardly a contender for a nomination. But Edgar wasn’t totally off base as it got a nomination for the upcoming Annie Awards. So who looks silly now? Probably me again.

What do you think of the Satellite Awards nominations? Did any of your 2014 favourites miss out on a nomination?

Fan of Steel: Is this the first tattoo of the new Star Wars trilogy?

There are full length feature films that won’t get half as much online chatter as the new 88-second Star Wars teaser has fostered in the last four days. It’s entirely understandable though: the thought of a new Star Wars film is as exciting as it is petrifying. We all it want it to be amazing so badly, but we’ve been burned by new hopes before. So it’s nice to argue and obsess over something smaller, something tangible and bite sized that we know we can handle. Essentially, we are the parent who spends weeks picking the right taps for the kitchen so that we don’t have to think about the fact that our kids might be arse holes.

But in the middle of all that mania, there was a man. His name was Jordan Breckon, and the moment he saw the teaser trailer he ran out and got this tattooed on his leg:

The man. The leg. The legend.
The man. The leg. The legend.

You’ll probably recognise this as the roller-ball droid featured in the teaser (I’d mention the number of seconds into the video it appears, but you already know that don’t you?). The likeness is pretty damn good, not to mention it’s kind of enormous. The choice of a ball shaped droid for this possible lapse of judgement is a perfect visualisation: whether you like it or not, Jordan Breckon has balls.

We talk a big game out here, but if we’re honest we don’t have the first idea what’s going to be coming in the next Star Wars film. We have ideas, sure we have ideas, big general plot points and the like, but we couldn’t storyboard a scene. We couldn’t give it a rating out of five. We couldn’t name more than three of the characters. That roller-ball droid could be anything. It could be a bad guy, it could be the disappointing comic relief. It could be a racist. It could be a racist. But Jordan Breckon doesn’t care. His balls are too big to care about that kind of minutia. He saw something awesome in the moment and paid a professional to draw it on his skin forever. I envy everything this man is and everything I will never be. I still can’t decide which avenger I want to be in my imagination! 

When asked about his reaction to all this attention by Buzzfeed, Breckon said “Of course some people will hate and believe what I did is stupid, but that I already knew would happen as you cannot please everyone!”

We all want The Force Awakens to be awe-inspiring. We all want J.J. Abrams to do our childhood justice. We want it for ourselves. But now, I don’t want the film to be good for my sake. I want it to be good for Jordan Breckon’s.

…Seriously though, his mum’s gonna go ape-shit.

Who do we want directing Blade Runner 2?

With Ridley Scott taking the Producer’s chair in the upcoming sequel to the classic 80’s sci-fi noir, the director has yet be announced. It might be too early to start culminating a Christmas list right now ( a lot can happen in a year) there are definitely some sci-fi heavy hitters that we’d love to see running the Tyrell Corporation. Which would be your best guess?

Jonathan Glazer made a terrifying impression with this year's Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson.
Jonathan Glazer made a terrifying impression with this year’s Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson.
  1. Jonathon Glazer – I don’t know if you noticed, but Under the Skin was pretty damn creepy! Scarlett Johansson’s man-eater from the beyond the stars could very well have been a replicant herself…except, you know, for the big pools of bedroom water and the empty skin bags.
  2. Garth Edwards – It’s hard to hear the name Garth Edwards without having flashes of soldiers levelling pistols at giant reptilian monsters of all sorts, and for good reason. But remember that Edwards already had a crack at an ’80s sci-fi franchise with Dredd (2012). Despite the reviews not being fantastic and hopes for a sequel all but diminished, there was a lot of Blade Runner in the grim, endless city-scapes of Mega City One.
  3. Jake Paltrow – Having not directed a movie since 2007’s The Good Night, Gwyneth Paltrow’s baby brother has come out swinging with Young Ones, a post-apocalyptic drama where people get pretty antsy when you try and take their water rations away from them. While the film didn’t quite make the impact it was hoping for, it shows that Paltrow might have promise if he’s given the right material.
  4. William Eubank – Following in a fairly new tradition of shoestring-budget indie sci-fi at Sundance, William Eubank’s The Signal did well, just not really well. If nothing else, the road-trip-turned-thriller proved that Eubank’s got big ideas. Another sci-fi try-hard that could benefit from a little mentoring, from an old master perhaps.
  5. Dan Gilroy – Since I saw Gilroy’s Nightcrawler at the end of last month, I’ve had some trouble sleeping. Maybe it’s Gilroy’s unmistakable talent for working with darkness and night scenes, or it could be the realisation that Jake Gyllenhaal actually appears in my dreams now, with his cutthroat razor grin. I don’t know, but what I do know is that is the kind of dark matter energy that would be really exciting to see in a Blade Runner sequel.
  6. Michael Bay – No, I’m just kidding. Seriously, can you imagine?

So that’s what I’ll be asking for this Christmas. What do you think? Did I leave out your ideal Blade Runner frontrunner? Why not yell at me about it?

Should we be worried that Ridley Scott isn’t directing Blade Runner 2?

Over the last two days we’ve gotten some intriguing if a little empty updates on two defining sci-fi properties. Behind curtain number one we have Independence day, prom king of mid-’90s action sci-fi, slated to return for a long-debated sequel in June 2016 as reported by Deadline. And then we have Blade Runner, the moody ’80s goth who turns out to be coolest guy in school after all, with its own sequel scheduled for who-knows-when. Roland Emmerich is locking down his directorial return for Independence Day, so the soon-to-be franchise is being treated as business-as-usual by movie fans. But Ridley Scott has stated in an interview that he’s going to be sat firmly in his producer’s chair instead of directing Blade Runner 2.

If the whole idea of a Blade Runner sequel wasn’t a big enough gamble, the absence of Scott as director has gotten people into a tizzy, more so than the apparent absence of Harrison Ford in anything but a smaller “third act” role, as described by Scott himself. This revelation, despite being a drop in a bucket of apparent scoops in the lead up to Thanksgiving Weekend, has people split down party lines. The pro-Scott camp has strong doubts that a sequel without Scott directly at the helm could be anything but a lukewarm disaster. On the other hand you have the anti-Scott’s, who are citing Scott’s track record of underperforming projects including Robin Hood, The Counsellor and the controversy over the unseasonably pale Exodus: Gods and Kings as testament that he is going the way of all ageing directors and walking out into the snow storm…at least until The Martian comes out.

Either way, the absence of Scott even by a title bump is making waves, if not moderate ones. The question is, why do we care so much?

har ford
Harrison Ford is hanging around for the Blade Runner sequel, if only for a “Third Act” entrance.

For a regular sequel to a successful first film, it makes sense to want the original director to come back and weave some more of his or her magic. But Blade Runner was 32 years ago. This is the first time in cinematic history that properties have hibernated for decades instead of years and still awoken to relative excitement form the fans. But is the director vital to that revitalisation? Let’s not forget Dumb and Dumber To: a 20 year gap, the writers and directors come back, the key comic performer (Carrey) comes back, and the what should be the greatest high school reunion of all time is a half empty gymnasium with deflated balloons on the walls.

And then you’ve got Star Wars: prequels notwithstanding, it’s been 31 years since Harrison Ford was in a Star Wars Movie, but once again he’s playing doctor and resuscitating his other trigger-happy ’80s icon. But no one is trembling in their boots because George Lucas isn’t directing; if anything people are more excited to have someone new taking the helm – although you could argue that Lucas had his chance at a Star Wars revamp and failed. The fact is, there are no rules for how to make a good sequel with twenty or thirty years of air in between, and there’s an argument that the original director is not required to make a great great grand-sequel.

Over the last 24 months we’ve seen the dams break on the new sci-fi directorial talent in Hollywood. With people like Garth Edwards and Alex Garland establishing themselves as dependable monster hunters and computer hackers, not to mention the wave of indie sci-fi that has kept a steady pace this year, room has to be made to let these guys do what they do best. And what better way to get them to flex their muscles than with properties that audiences are already psyched about? Maybe this is what Scott has in mind by taking a back seat.

How do you feel about the plans for Blade Runner 2?