What Some Films Really Cost to Produce: Accidents When Filming

They’re extraordinary, these special effects guys and stunt guys. To watch those craftsmen at work…There really should be an Oscar for stunt work. These guys are incredible and they’re so careful and so professional. And they’re artists. They do amazing things.” (Helen Mirren, British actress, quote taken from slashfilm.com).

The intention of this post is not to depress or offend anyone. As most of you will know, yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts announced a new category of award called “Achievement in Popular Film”. My point is that, rather than devising this preposterous category, it would have been better for the Academy to finally recognise the invaluable contribution of stunt performers, who sometimes risk their lives to make a great scene for us all to enjoy. What follows are ten instances where the process of making an action film did not go as planned so as to demonstrate that film-making can be dangerous and, thus, the bravery, artistry and contribution of stunt performers (crew/coordinators) should be recognised. In no particular order: 

Harry-Potter-and-the-Deathly-Hallows-Part-1-poster1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010) – David Holmes

David Holmes worked as a stunt double for Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) on the set of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows“. He was also a stunt double for Radcliffe on all previous Harry Potter films. He flew broomsticks being attached to wires, as well as performed various other “magical”, but dangerous actions. Tragically, on the set of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows“, when shooting an explosion scene, Holmes was thrown against a wall and is now paralysed from the chest down. He now races modified cars and has started his own production company.  

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“The Lost City of Z” Review

The Lost City of Z Poster The Lost City of Z (2016)           

There is very little doubt that the forests cover traces of a lost civilisation of a most unsuspected and surprising character” (from a letter of Fawcett to the Royal Geographical Society, December 1921, Grann (2009) at 55).

Based on a great book by David Grann – “The Lost City of Z”, the film tells a true story of Colonel Percy Fawcett, an eminent explorer who believed that there was a hidden ancient civilisation to be found deep in the Amazon jungle and who vanished with his son in the jungle in 1925 while trying to prove its existence. This beautifully-shot film, directed by James Gray, tries to remain faithful to the timeline of the true story as it focuses intensely on the will and determination of Colonel Fawcett, played with dignity and zeal by Charlie Hunnam. The supporting cast is no other than Robert Pattinson as Corporal Costin and Sienna Miller as Fawcett’s wife, but the biggest appeal of the film is probably still the fascinating true story of one explorer on a mission to prove his cause. However, the film’s length is worrying (circa 140 minutes), and, although the film may shine sporadically as a “biography” film, it is largely disappointing as “a jungle adventure” movie. NB. As I will talk at length about the story, there will be spoilers.

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Luca Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” and Steve McQueen’s “Widows” Trailers

Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me By Your Name” (2017) and “I Am Love” (2009)) is rebooting Dario Argento’s cult classic of the same name, and from the many plot similarities, it can be described as a remake (despite what actors may say). There seem to be both similarities and differences in the presentation: the music hints at the original, but some visuals are innovative. My favourite element here will be Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc, a clever cast. It will also be interesting to see her character’s antagonistic tension and relationship with the character of Dakota Johnson. My concern is that I hope the film will remain dark and provocative with nice scary jumps, and not become too ridiculous. I am also disappointed with the cast of Johnson. She seems to be good here, but my belief is that someone younger with more remarkable features should have been cast in the lead role. Since it is Luca Guadagnino, a stylish and thought-provoking presentation is guaranteed. The original material is also intriguing, so it promises to be a good film.   Read more of this post

The Time Travel Blogathon: Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of TomorrowSilver Screenings and Wide Screen World are co-hosting the Time Travel Blogathon, and my contribution is the review of “Edge of Tomorrow“, a fantastic science-fiction film directed by Doug Liman and starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson. Relying on the now fabled “Groundhog Day” concept, “Edge of Tomorrow” is about a Major (Cruise) who is doomed to relive one particular day of the invasion battle with aliens until he is forced to find a solution to the infinite time loop and save the humankind from the destructive alien force. 

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) 

The empires of the future will be empires of the mind (Winston Churchill).

What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge” (Sun Tzu, The Art of War).  

Edge of Tomorrow” is based on a 2004 Japanese novel “All You Need is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. In near future, as Earth is being invaded by aliens, William Cage (Cruise), a Major with no combat experience, is ordered to go to fight the enemy as part of a landing operation in France. Cage is killed during the battle, but, surprisingly, finds himself again alive and well back on the day before the battle. The time loop then repeats itself, and every time Cage is killed, he again starts the day of the battle anew. Trying to get to the bottom of the situation, Cage makes an acquaintance with a Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski or the Angel of Verdun (Blunt). Together they try to piece together the time conundrum and devise a method to defeat the enemy. As a time-travel movie, “Edge of Tomorrow” is simply great and it is fascinating to watch Cage waking up each day with the hope to make that particular day the one where he will be able to vanquish the aliens.  

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The Ultimate 90s Blogathon: Batman Returns (1992)

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Kim at Tranquil Dreams and Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews are hosting this great blogathon titled “Ultimate 90s”, and I have decided to write an entry on Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns” (1992). It will be fair to say that I was practically brought-up on this film and, in many ways, this film reflects my understanding and experience of the 90s decade. Check out my review on Kim’s blogathon page or read it below!

batman_returns_poster2Batman Returns (1992)

Three years after directing “Batman” (1989), Tim Burton came up with yet another Batman film “Batman Returns”. Visually stunning and well thought-out, the film is about the rise to power of Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin (Danny DeVito), who has been hidden away and shunned by society for 33 years in the city of Gotham. In his quest to become the mayor of Gotham, Penguin is unwillingly helped by a dishonest businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) as the Penguin’s freaky followers intermittently wreck havoc on Gotham to discredit the present mayor and eventually make it look like the Penguin is fighting crime. Meanwhile, Shreck’s shy secretary, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), finds out too much about Shreck’s illegal activities, causing Shreck to try to get rid of her, and the result of his efforts is Selina’s transformation into a Catwoman. Bruce Wayne/Batman (Michael Keaton) is also not indifferent to the crimes orchestrated by the Penguin and is determined to stop the Penguin and his gang while having a love-hate relationship with Selina/Catwoman. 

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“Déjà-vu” Mini-Review

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Déjà-vu (2006)

“What if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world, but you knew they’d never believe you?” (Doug Carlin)

In 2006, the now late Tony Scott directed a time-travel thriller “Déjà-vu”, starring Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer, presenting a story of A.T.F. agent Doug Carlin who starts to investigate the bombing of a ferry in New Orleans, but ends up embarking on a romantic time-travel mission to save the lives of many. Coming from a film director known for “True Romance” (1993) and “Enemy of the State” (1998), “Déjà-vu” plays all its cards right, and, despite perhaps failing to convince the audience of the plot’s technological advances, the movie still feels very “complete”, fun to watch and provides just the right amount of suspense to keep one intrigued until the very end.  Read more of this post

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Review

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

 **SPOILER ALERT**

Directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a new film telling the story of Newt Scamander, the famous writer of the Hogwarts’ textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in the magical world of Harry Potter. The film follows Newt as he arrives to New York City, U.S. with a suitcase full of magical creatures. When he inadvertently loses these same creatures, he incurs the wrath of the US Magical Congress, but, as it turns out, it becomes just one of his worries, as he partners with a Non-Maj (Muggle) Kowalsky and (ex)-Auror Tina to find his missing creatures. Especially stunning in IMAX 3D, the movie is spell-binding, gorgeously portraying the wizarding world of the United States in the 1920s, and all the unimaginable creatures in existence. Recently, it has become known that there will be four other movies in the “Fantastic Beast” franchise, all directed by David Yates. 

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