iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
More viral marketing for Watchmen. Following on from the 1970s news pastiche about the tenth anniversary of Dr Manhattan is this 1970s public service film pastiche about the dangers of vigilantism. Both have the sense of time and style down perfectly, which has to bode well for the film.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (TV)
Barack Obama will meet Spider-man in an issue of the regular comic. Spidey will apparently save Obama's inauguration from a supervillain. Apparently Obama admitted to having been a Spidey fan as a kid, Marvel got wind of this, and one thing lead to another, yadda yadda yadda. Look, I'm not making this up, okay? Although looking at some of the panels they're previewing, I kind of wish I were. Edit: also their Obama likeness is *terrible*.

These caricatured Doctor Who figures are *so* cute. Many more here. Not that I understand the point of collectibles. I still get occasional catalogues through the door from Forbidden Planet, and the entire catalogue from start to finish is pretty much composed of TV and movie characters done as figures, figurines, busts, miniatures, plates, T-shirts, scarves... Does anyone actually need 17 different figurines of Buffy in every outfit she ever wore? Or a tastefully sculpted tableau reproducing a scene from Ghostbusters? I mean, where do you put this stuff?

Meanwhile Outpost Gallifrey reports on the quite excessive lengths the BBC went to in order to prevent word of the new Doctor Who leaking out ahead of their announcement. (Can't seem to link to the article directly, but it's dated Jan 6th on that page).

And finally, it looks like Watchmen will get released as planned, probably after Warner Bros agrees to pay Fox huge sums of money. I would normally have no strong feelings about which company profits from a given franchise, but it's hard to read this open letter from the Watchmen Producers without concluding that Fox are a creatively bankrupt bunch of money-grubbers.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (TV)
The second trailer for Watchmen is out. (There are some new posters too.) I know that movie trailers are filled with Lies, but impossibly it looks like they may actually have succeeded in adapting the graphic novel for the big screen. That's a very nice trailer indeed. Director Zack Snyder's 300 was so slick and hollow that I do worry whether this will turn out to be an exercise in obsessive visual style over substance, but some of the dialogue scenes in the trailer hint otherwise. The source material is far richer and more thematically complex than 300 (which is, when all's said and done, a fairly trite, macho, sexist and homophobic work). What's clearly intact in the Watchmen trailer is the deconstruction of what it means to have superhuman beings or vigilantes in a more flawed, realistic and political world.

I notice that the film is R rated, which is a bold move since that'll severely restrict its potential audience. By comparison, The Dark Knight was a 12A (even though that nasty little pencil scene alone should have pushed it to a 15 for me). The fact that they've gone with such a box-office-denting rating shows at least some artistic integrity is involved. Also the official Watchmen site currently crashes my browser. Yes, that's how hardcore this film is.

Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster will direct the movie version of World War Z from a script by J Michael "Tin Ear" Straczynski. Not 100% sure what to make of this but my wife loved the book and the script has at least one glowing review. jms is also scripting a remake of Forbidden Planet, an idea so wrongheaded that even he thinks he's walking on hallowed ground.

Finally, an image has been released of the new Starship Enterprise from the semi-reboot Star Trek movie. Casual viewers would probably shrug and say this looks exactly like every other picture of the Enterprise they've seen. Devoted fans have unleashed the kind of lack-of-perspective hate-storm not seen since Daniel Craig's hair was deemed to be the wrong colour for Bond. (Although at least that fan implosion focused on the main role, not just a bit of hardware.) I kinda like the new design myself, but I don't love it. It's growing on me. There's also an image of an earlier generation of starship from the movie, as well as heaps of cast images. It'll either be awesome, or an utter disaster.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Me and Pixie)
My birthday yielded The Absolute Sandman, Volume 3 (the kind of gorgeous object of desire that's so heavy, nicely bound and on good quality paper that you'd want to own it even if you weren't interested in the contents). Also Alice in Sunderland, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, unchillfiltered Laphroaig whisky (which I'm sampling as we speak), two Raymond Chandler novels, wine, Fererro Rocher and the finest of foodstuffs, Tunnock's Tea Cakes. I'm led to believe a few other presents may be en route, and my wonderful wife even baked me a chocolate cake. With candles. Best Wife Ever.

In order to spread my feelings of goodwill far and wide, have a few links on me.

[livejournal.com profile] ittybittykitt really does feature some of the most brain-meltingly cute kittens ever captured by CCD. Every time I see one of their photos I think that kittens couldn't get any cuter, but somehow they do. I want to adopt them all.

One for [livejournal.com profile] veggiesu: I notice that ITV3 are doing a six-week season of crime thrillers leading up the allegedly "glittering" ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards. What's interesting is that each week they're showing a specially commissioned documentary profiling "the six best crime writers working today" aka Colin Dexter, Ian Rankin, PD James, Lynda La Plante, Val McDermid and Ruth Rendell. (I leave it up to the reader to decide whether these are in fact the six best crime writers working today whose TV adaptations ITV3 happen to own the rights to.) Could be interesting.

One for [livejournal.com profile] swisstone: Head of Roman empress unearthed near the previously unearthed statue of Hadrian in Turkey. Our local news is also banging on about visitors to Hadrian's Wall being up on last year, which they're -- not implausibly -- linking to the British Museum's Hadrian exhibit and associated publicity. I shudder to think that it could have anything to do with Bonekickers instead.

I've put this on Facebook already but look: Chewbacca mouse! Awwww.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Default)
The Wire star hits out at Emmys. Sergeant Ellis Carver thinks the Emmys are ignoring his show, and rightly so. I still can't believe that The Wire has never won an Emmy. It does at least have a single nomination this year: Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for its final episode. Maybe that means it'll get the 'lifetime achievement' sympathy vote.

Fresh from last month's Ben Folds gig, we now have tickets to see Counting Crows supported by Ben Folds in December. This is good. Counting Crows' latest has some strong return-to-form stuff on it but has left me a bit cold overall. Nonetheless the combination of Crows and Folds is pretty much a slam-dunk. Folds has a new album Way to Normal out on 30th September which sounds a good deal more up tempo than anything he's done since the first couple of Ben Folds Five albums.

Hot on the heels of The Dark Knight (spoilery review here) there are preview screenings of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army on 5th August, so we have tickets to see that too. This is double plus good. My Cineworld Unlimited membership is a process by which I willingly allow Cineworld cinemas to scam £12 from me every month in return for me not going to the cinema. To add insult to injury, even though I only found out about the screenings through their Unlimited newsletter, my membership doesn't let me book advance tickets. So I've paid for the tickets. I really should cancel that membership...

The trailers for Hellboy 2 look a bit mediocre but I sense there's a good film hiding behind the crappy marketing. Plus I like the comics and really enjoyed the first flick and Janet is a sucker for dark mythological faerie types, so really the film is pandering to us shamelessly.

Doctor Who

May. 24th, 2008 07:21 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Tomb)
No Doctor Who tonight, of course, because we need to be reminded that, right across Europe, there are people with no ability to sing. However there's a mid series trailer now online (UK only) for the remainder of the year's episodes. I can't say it blows me away or looks as excitingly incomprehensible as last year's equivalent trail, and a large part of that is simply that the images in it - old enemies, old companions - are so familiar.

In related yet random musings, is it me or is the new showrunner Steven Moffat the only person in the world who actually sports Norman Osborn's hairdo from the Spider-man comics?


May. 21st, 2008 08:36 am
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (TV)
My review of Iron Man is up at Strange Horizons today. Should you care to take a look.


Mar. 7th, 2008 08:54 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)

Official images of characters from the Watchmen movie.  Most of these look pretty good, particularly Rorschach whose ink-blot mask translates surprisingly well from the printed page (he's also seen in this recent shot using what seems to be a flaming aerosol can).

For those not familiar with the comic (and it's a good long while since I read it myself) it's set in a parallel 1985 in which Richard Nixon is still President, airships rule the skies, and the Cold War is close to exploding.  The point of divergence for this alternate history is the existence of superheroes (comics are saturated by Pirates instead), who amongst other things turned the tide of the Vietnam War.  The story makes a genuine attempt to extrapolate the influence of such figures, both good and bad, on the real world.  The realism extends to its characters: washed up overweight superheroes, media celebrities or murderous vigilantes.  Typically Alan Moore invests the whole thing with quite astonishingly meticulous detail (it sticks in my mind that one chapter, 'Fearful Symmetry', features panel layouts that are perfectly mirrored down the centre page).  It's the kind of work where you only realise quite how complex and rigorous it is when you read annotations.   According to wikipedia Moore set out to make something akin to a comic-book Moby Dick, and that gives a good impression of its ambition.  I'm very rusty on it now, and flicking back through it the art and in particular the colouring seem dated and off-putting, but I still remember the impact it made on me when I first read it.

Of course a lot of what made it great back in the 1980s, as with Citizen Kane, are things that are now commonplace and therefore invisible to a modern reader.  For example the absence of thought balloons, now standard, the gritty treatment of superheroes, now hackneyed, and the use of storytelling techniques drawn from cinema.  The metafictional commentary in the pirate story excerpts that run through the tale (every bit as interminable as the whaling excerpts in Moby Dick...)  All that will be invisible in a film version.  Is the basic story strong enough when you strip away those elements?  Particularly given that Heroes nicked portions of it wholesale.  We'll just have to see.  I'm at least encouraged by the images I've seen so far.  It may not be the groundbreaking, layered work that the comic was, but it may at least turn out okay.

After all, V for Vendetta (my preferred Alan Moore opus) turned out to be a surprisingly decent film.

Dark Knight

Dec. 7th, 2007 08:45 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)

I like it, though not nearly so much as the poster for the first film, which is probably one of my favourite movie posters of all-time. Interesting that it uses the Heath Ledger make-up with the dark circles around the eyes, rather than a more iconic way of implying The Joker. The film is shaping up nicely, though.


Nov. 19th, 2007 10:09 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (TV)
Some sparkly things that have captured my ever-drifting attention:

Everbody's favourite transporter chief1, Colm Meaney, says he's filmed the pilot episode of David E Kelley's U.S. version of Life on Mars. He's in the Gene Hunt role. I'm extremely interested to see what it's like. The original BBC show, especially the first series, was excellent but there's room for a different take on the concept. Relocating it to LA could just be enough of a difference.

Ben Goldacre's seminal explanation in The Guardian of why homeopathy doesn't make sense (it's really good--read it) has won high praise from James Randi. Which is nice.

Galactica showrunner (and Trek alumnus) Ronald D Moore has a shiny new blog replacing his moribund one on the Sci-Fi Channel site. At present there are musings about Galactica and the Writer's Guild of America strike.

Speaking of the shiny, in the wake of the terrifying number of Trek fan series underway on the internet, there's now a Firefly fan series named Into the Black in production. As with most things in modern fandom, the production values are surprisingly decent. The cast... not so much. At least, not if the YouTube trailer is anything to go by. Also the song is quite scary.

Lastly, for the woman who has everything except a talking Stephen Fry clock: a talking Stephen Fry clock. Cool, but not quite as cool as Lego Batman: The Videogame.

1 Unless you favour Mr Kyle but, really, how geeky would that be?

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (TV)
"A towering powdered wig upon David Fury’s head". Joss Whedon on the Writer's Guild strike.

"'Reality' television, which employs more writers than you can imagine". Brian K Vaughan on the Writer's Guild strike.

"You're fighting over residu-wha?". The United Hollywood blog.

And Penny Arcade too.


Sep. 15th, 2007 04:56 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
Some comics goodness that caught my attention:

There's a well-written piece by Jonathan Ross in The Guardian about his "In Search of Steve Ditko" documentary for BBC4's Comics Britannia strand.

They're making Angel: After the Fall, the officially sanctioned continuation of Angel in comics form. Given how perfectly the series ended I can't say I'm much interested in reading it, but this Tony Harris cover is a lovely image, even if the Spike likeness is a bit off. It looks suspiciously like a John Constantine Hellblazer cover.

I'm not reading the Buffy Season 8 comic either, although I may pick up the trade paperback since Joss is actually 'executive producing' and writing for it and the latest arc is by the ever-impressive Brian K Vaughan1. Jo Chen's covers continue to impress with the latest two issues: Faith vs Buffy and Giles

1 Who pitched it to Joss, apparently, as "Faith the Slayer Slayer".


Jul. 28th, 2007 12:35 am
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (TV)
Several coolish movie things:

Hot on the heels of the probably-very-good casting of Zachary 'Sylar' Quinto as the young Spock comes this simple but pleasingly retro poster for the new Trek prequel film.

A slightly naff yet iconic poster for the new Indiana Jones film. But more interesting still is the news that Karen Allen will be reprising her role as Marian Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

A nice new image of the Joker from Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight plus a pretty nifty teaser trailer (more audio than video, but good nonetheless).

A stunningly visual trailer for the Neil Gaiman / Roger Avary penned Beowulf film with CGI that you'd be hard pressed to tell apart from real actors for most of its length. I still want to see the characters do some real face acting before I'm convinced.

Lastly some interesting casting for Watchmen.

Oh, and as a bonus I'm throwing this one in just because I can't tell how crap it'll be: a trailer for The Last Legion a film that seems to mix the end of the Roman Empire and the legend of King Arthur with such certainty you'd think it was actually telling real history. Could be just as bad as the recent King Arthur but you never know.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Old Indiana Jones! What's nice about this photograph is that it looks like an older Indiana Jones and not just like an older Harrison Ford in a hat. I'm not certain quite why this is; probably just that Indy is such an iconic character. I'm cautiously optimistic about the film even though, if I'm honest, I think Raiders of the Lost Ark is ten times better than either of the sequels.

The I Am Legend movie had been below my radar until recently. Now we have advertising which seems to confuse the concept of a tag line and a poster, and a Quicktime trailer which makes it look like someone took Richard Matheson's I Am Legend and forcibly inserted Will Smith into it, then added some 'splosions. On the positive front the trailer doesn't look terrible, and the same approach failed to ruin I, Robot (despite leaving it a much lesser film than it could have been).

Lastly The Dark Knight. I'm sure the film will hew closely to the gritty style of Batman Begins and the Joker image was very promising in this respect. Unfortunately the latest images of the Bat Bike and Bat Suit are sheer geek gadgetry. They may look okay and retain some militaristic flavour but I'd prefer promo images that treated this like a real drama and not a tool for selling action figures.

New spins

May. 30th, 2007 06:31 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal, Boston Legal) is making a US version of Life on Mars, and the pilot episode will be directed by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing, Studio 60). My instinctive reaction to this idea is to grab a couple of candlesticks and hide behind Peter Cushing, but actually the chances are that a US version of the show would be different enough to be worthwhile. US cop history is more than rich enough to provide a subtly different seam of influences, and the nostalgic imagery would be very different. It depends on whether they're adapting the UK scripts or taking the premise and spinning it into new stories. The latter would be a much better idea.

I've been meaning to mention this for ages, so by now most people have probably seen this really disturbing promo image of Heath Ledger as the Joker from the upcoming Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight. It's an impressively pared down interpretation and one that bodes well for how gritty and risk-taking the movie version could be compared to the rather camp Jack Nicholson performance. If anything it's almost too far gone, but there's another low quality image here that gives more of an overview of how the character will look, showing that the green hair and purple jacket are intact after a fashion. I like this look for the character overall. My wife is much less convinced. I think she's still hoping that they'll cast Mark Hamill.


May. 28th, 2007 11:50 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
I think I'm becoming a blockbuster-movie grouch.

We saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End tonight. Maybe I was in the wrong mood but it left me slightly bored: a self-indulgent hodge-podge with no real structure. It's hard to feel much engagement when you can't follow who is double-crossing whom, and on what ship, and why. The last third of the film does pick up a little and there are a few charming moments--including a couple that haven't already been done to death in the trailers--but they're not enough to stop the film from feeling leaden. For what it's worth there's an extra scene after the end credits (assuming that you can outlast the cinema staff in a tense battle of wills).

I also finally got around to watching Superman Returns on DVD last night. The opening credits leave the impression that the film will be a fetishistic recreation of the original Richard Donner film, stunningly beautiful, and interminably long. The opening credits do not lie. The plot is very straightforward but takes over two and half hours to langorously unfold, leaving the characters to carry the film. Unfortunately the direction and performances take their lead from the arch and slightly sappy tone of Superman: the Movie, leaving everything feeling unreal and reminding me why I don't particularly like the original Superman movies in the first place. (So why I bothered watching this one is anyone's guess). I still don't understand why I should care that Clark Kent is mooning over Lois Lane, and the very youthful Brandon Routh just isn't the Man of Steel. The real treat is to see Superman's powers rendered believably for the first time, particularly in the stunning plane rescue sequence. That nearly validated my decision to see the film. That, plus Kevin Spacey playing Gene Hackman playing Lex Luthor.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
My review of Spider-man 3 is up at Strange Horizons. If you don't read it, how will you know I didn't talk about you behind your back?

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Third Man)
Just got back from seeing 300 and for some reason I feel like I have a great deal to say about a supremely pulpy film.

So here goes... )


Mar. 10th, 2007 12:29 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
There's a nice behind-the-scenes article on Babylon 5: The Lost Tales over at CG Society (Society of Digital Artists) with a lot of new photos and a few story spoilers.

AICN have a test image of Rorschach from the ever-mired-in-Development-Hell Watchmen movie. I'm still ambivalent about the movie, but the high-res image is very well-realised and faithful to the comic. Janet says that it just looks like a man in a cloth mask, but that in Watchmen this is probably part of the point.

A version of the image has been snuck into the middle of a new promo for 300 for some reason, a film which has just exceeded box-office predictions on its first day of release. The movie looks visually gorgeous and is getting very positive reviews, although I suspect it may be just a teensy bit OTT and hyper-macho for my sensitive tastes.

EDIT: For those who don't read Neil Gaiman's blog: Bob Dylan sings Dr. Seuss.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
Lots of snippets of news from the New York Comic Con. The B5 Direct-to-DVD release is proceeding apace and may be slated for a July release. Now it turns out that we may also be getting some Direct-to-DVD side-stories from Battlestar Galactica. Maybe they figured they had so many vital bits of plot left over from the actual episodes that they'd cobble together a movie from the missing scenes. Cough.

Meanwhile we're getting another Serenity comic from Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews, again set between the series and the film. The first one was okay, I guess, but not quite the same as watching more Firefly proper.

And lastly, Paramount has finally confirmed that a new Star Trek prequel movie has been officially greenlit, with JJ Abrams (Alias, M:I3) at the helm. It's clearly way too soon to resurrect Trek, but if they're going to insist then a brand new set of writers and actors milking nostalgia in a fresh way is probably the best bet. More bizarrely, silly casting rumours abound. How about Matt Damon as Kirk (Hmmm), Adrian Brody as Spock (Hmmmmm) and Gary Sinise as McCoy (Genius!)

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
Buffy S8 - Xander and Buffy Buffy S8 - Willow

There's a nice little interview with Joss Whedon over at geekmonthly.com focusing mainly on the "8th Season" Buffy comic he's co-writing and 'executive producing': Part One, Two, Three, and Four. Spoilers for the comic, naturally.

In the 'pretty pictures' department there are also some lovely new CGI images from the remastered version of 'The Doomsday Machine', one of Classic Trek's best efforts. Although my affection for Star Trek has waned over the years, I somehow still get a kick from seeing images like these.

As previously mentioned I'm heading to London for my brother's Stag Do this weekend, but sadly far too briefly to even consider meeting fellow denizens of the interwebs. It's pretty much going to be arrive, booze, recover, leave. Hopefully in that order. As a result you'll all have to survive the weekend without my dazzling LJ repartee. Much like every other weekend.


Feb. 6th, 2007 07:47 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Sandman)
Oh dear god. Joel Schumacher is allegedly considering doing a Sandman movie. Is it possible to take out a restraining order against a Director?

Thankfully he seems to be interested in a non-specific "one day" kind of way, but imagining Schumacher's unashamedly brash sensibility applied to The Sandman just makes the blood run cold.

(EDIT: Neil Gaiman seems sanguine about the likelihood of this particular rumour ever becoming reality.)

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
A few things that caught my eye recently:

Joss Whedon is no longer writing the Wonder Woman film, a movie he's been trying to script for months now. I can't say I'm devastated since Wonder Woman is not the most exciting character in the world, but I feel reasonably certain that Joss's take on her would have been more interesting than the alternatives.

The Buffy: The Vampire Slayer comic overseen by Joss Whedon as a hypothetical eighth season of the TV Series is due soon. He talks about it (with spoilers) on the extremely hyperactive MTV.com. The comic artwork at darkhorse.com looks rather nice, including this lovely painting of Willow.

Meanwhile Outpost Gallifrey have reported a couple of pieces of Torchwood 'news' recently. One is the potentially good news (on the relative scale of "good" in which Torchwood operates) that Sapphire and Steel creator PJ Hammond is writing another episode next year, following up on "Small Worlds" last year. Disappointingly he also mentions that talks with ITV about a new Sapphire and Steel series broke down, so I'm sure we can look forward to more of Jack and Gwen wandering around pretending to be David McCallum and Joanna Lumley. More bizarrely, there are proposals afoot to name Cardiff's new Shopping Centre after Torchwood, a move that wouldn't make the organisation noticeably less secret.

On the Doctor Who Audio Drama front the site also reports that: "The 100th Release of the Big Finish Doctor Who range is Earthstorm by award-winning author Stephen Baxter, which features the Sixth Doctor and is due to be released late September. Baxter is one of Britain's most respected hard science-fiction novelists, his books include The Time Ships, which was an authorised sequel to H.G. Wells' influential classic The Time Machine."

In what I'm sure is a very patronising attitude to Doctor Who I find this slightly incongruous, not least because I'm currently reading Baxter's Coalescent. No, not that [livejournal.com profile] coalescent.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Default)
A few bits of video linkage that caught my eye recently.

Firstly, how cool is this sliding door? It would obviously annoy the crap out of you if you actually had one, but the technolust is too powerful to resist. Janet thinks we should get one.

Those who saw my recent post about the Frank Miller adaptation 300 may have seen the video showcasing several scenes from the film (from a recent comics convention). The official trailer is now available, and it's every bit as testosterone drenched as the previous video, only in better quality. It's also rather stylish, and very beautiful. And it features a shouty man with lots of teeth.

In one of my excessivly geeky moments I talked about the remastering of the original 1960s Star Trek show; primarily this is just a high-definition clean-up and rescanning of the original film/negative, although it's not yet airing in HD. Controversially they've also chosen to update the effects using CGI. Less controversially they're hewing incredibly closely to the look and feel of the original effects, the only complaints so far being that the CGI space shots are allegedly even blander than the original model work. (Well, not the only complaints since Trek fans are a fickle bunch. In fact the faithfulness of the effects is in itself becoming controversial, with some individuals feeling that there's no point in redoing the effects if they're not going to try something a little more daring.) Me, I love the original Trek with the completely non-rational portion of my brain1, and I know a lot of the episodes very well indeed, even though it's years since I actually sat down to watch one of them from start to finish. I'm also generally opposed to special editions, since part of the pleasure in watching something old is in analysing how it looks, whether it's dated well, what still works, what looks hokey, etc. There's a part of your brain which stands back from the story and appreciates it as an artefact of its era. But that said, these do look pretty good. Some sample pictures and videos here and here, including this nice new Enterprise flyby.

1 Yes, there are some rational bits.


Sep. 21st, 2006 10:07 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Third Man)
This trailer is lovely.

It's for the film adaptation of Frank Miller's original graphic novel 300, which retells the classic Spartan battle of Thermopylae in which 300 men stood against a vast army.

I'm not Miller's biggest fan, but the graphic novel is mythic and bold in both images and storytelling, and is as much about the meaning we draw from stories as it is about historical reality. The film is produced against green screens in the same way as Sin City or Mirrormask, and looks just as stylised as a combination of Miller's strong sense of design and CGI would lead you to suspect. It could make a fine, if entirely testosterone drenched, movie experience.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Heath Ledger as the Joker? I'm not seeing it so far. He's not a bad actor but surely the part requires someone a little less flat-footed; a little bit edgy. (If they really need to cast a good looking bloke I think Christian Bale would actually be great for the part, but I hear he's busy.)

On the plus side they're calling the film The Dark Knight, which is a classy decision, and Christopher Nolan is still at the helm. On that basis I'm willing to give Ledger a fair chance, but so far I just don't feel it.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Watching the latest TV spot for Superman Returns today I was struck by its approach, which can be aptly summed up as "imagine being Superman".

It's something I've realised I don't do.

Spider-man, sure: he's a guy I can empathise with. Growing up I always wanted to be Spider-man. He was lonely and troubled, but he secretly had these amazing powers, and when he was in his superhero disguise he made big with the wisecracks. He was cool. The X-Men too. The X-men were people you could relate to - ordinary individuals who woke up one day and realised that they were different. You wanted to have their powers, but you also related to the way that they were hated and feared. Like Spidey, their power was also their curse.

I never empathised with Superman. I didn't put myself in his shoes. For me, he was always someone I watched from the outside, not someone I could imagine being. For a start he was just too nice: he was perfect, and perfect is dull. Even his secret identity was just a cover story: Peter Parker was genuinely lonely and troubled, but Clark Kent was just pretending.

I guess that's why, for me, Superman only really works when he's portrayed as a god: distant, perfect, above the hum-drum run of humanity. He's awe-inspiring but he's also distant, unreachable and unknowable. On that level I almost find him sympathetic, because that's his real burden: not to have girl trouble and fall over the hat-stand on the way into the office, but to be so far above humanity that he weighs the life and death of millions in his hands. I actually like him in the Kingdom Come miniseries for that reason. It's also the reason why this poster works so well for me, and why I find the solitary opening fanfare of the Superman music the most affecting part of the theme.

I have to say the latest TV spots for Superman Returns are actually pretty spectacular, but they still don't really move or excite me, because on the whole they try to sell Superman as if he's someone I should care about.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Sandman)
I spent a very pleasant day out in a sunny garden reading comics trade paperbacks. Ah, that's the life! None of the comics in question are typical superhero fare, and all are a good deal more interesting for it. So, other than the beginnings of a tan, here are the fruits of my labours:

Ex Machina, Fables and Lucifer... )


Jun. 13th, 2006 10:11 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
It has Whedon. It has Joss. It has Interview. It's a Joss Whedon interview.

Yes, another one. This time being interviewed by fellow comics scribe Brian Michael Bendis. Less insanity and more content than usual, with a slant towards comics which may fly over some people's heads, but also plenty of Buffy and Firefly stuff and the revelation that he loved the Battlestar Galactica miniseries.

X-Men 3

Jun. 8th, 2006 12:12 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Your lives will be sallow and empty if you don't read my review of X-Men: The Last Stand on Strange Horizons.

Okay, my life will be sallow and empty. Yours... not so much.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Oh my god. It's Batman Lego.

Not entirely sure about the design. Catwoman is cuter, and Two Face is ace.


May. 17th, 2006 11:06 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Okay, I must confess that everything I've seen and heard so far about Superman Returns has left me lacking in whelm. I'm not Supes' biggest fan to begin with, but the trailer left the film looking slow, plotless and essentially like a retread of the first two Superman movies with younger actors. However, this is a damned pretty poster; in its own way as iconic an image of the character as the Batman Begins poster which impressed me.

It has style, composition and most of all it captures the sense of wonder that makes Superman work on those rare occasions when I find him interesting. It's also the first time that I've felt Brandon Routh looked like Superman and not like some guy in a silly outfit. I suspect this may be because I can't see his face.


Mar. 17th, 2006 11:39 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Sandman)
My sister was supposed to be visiting this weekend but Ticketline managed to take the money for the rail tickets from her account and fail to actually deliver the tickets, or have any record of her order. This wasn't helped by the fact that they ask you not to ring them unless your tickets still haven't turned up the day before you travel, leaving no time to resolve the problem. So now my sister is visiting in a few weeks time instead! This may be for the best as a nice relaxing weekend seems like a good plan after a fairly stressful week at work, and it'll give us the opportunity to see V for Vendetta into the bargain.

It also gives me the chance to mention the many things I've heard, read and seen over the last few months without bothering to write about them.

Books, Music and Films, oh my... )

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
An interview with Joss Whedon about the usual: Serenity, Wonder Woman, Spike and Buffy comics. He seems to have taken his medication for this one.

Which is more than can be said for this one, as Joss prognosticates hilariously about what TV will be like in the future.

And this one, in which he's clearly lost it entirely as he mourns the passing of the Universal Serenity message board.

Meanwhile this 2004-ish interview with David Fury talks at some length about the end of Buffy and Angel.1

1I found this one during a deeply unwise low-level fly-by of umtbvs. I've learned my lesson, and will henceforth leave the trolls to simmer gently in their own juices, [livejournal.com profile] icundell excepted of course. :-)

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
This is very nice (click for a much larger image).

For every thing I hear about this film which worries me, something else comes along which restores my faith. This poster is the epitome of how a V for Vendetta poster should look, one that evokes both the source material and its influences, and more importantly one that emphatically does not scream "vacuous blockbuster".

It may end up having nothing to do with the quality of the film, but it does reassure me that the people involved have a faint clue.

EDIT: As do these:

All varying degrees of gorgeousness.

The Joss

Nov. 11th, 2005 12:23 am
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
An incredibly hyper Joss Whedon post is here. Some good stuff about a Buffy comic and the Serenity DVD, but mainly it made me laugh lots. He so crazy.

Sample quote:

Well, first of all, what a blast I've had with the release of Serenity! $267 million at the box office -- in Des Moines alone! Ten sequels lined up, March declared "National Serenity Awesomeness Month", Nathan made President for Life of Canada AND Greece (his will be a bloody and righteous rule), and Summer's feet to be exhibited at the Tate, when she has time to stand around at the Tate. (She should bring a book.)

Talk talk

Aug. 29th, 2005 04:39 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Sandman)
A couple of lovely little quotes that caught my eye recently.

James Marsters talks about playing Brainiac on Smallville compared to playing Spike on Buffy:
"The thing I really love about this role, is that I have a very clear objective," Marsters said. "I know my objective from the very beginning and it's going to carry me through the whole season.

"That was the problem with Spike. In all honesty, that character had no objective 90 percent of the time. (laughs). I would have to make it up. (In Spike accent) 'I've come in to kill Xander again, but I've changed my mind.
Dave McKean talks about setting up a computer-rendering studio for his Mirrormask movie with Neil Gaiman:
"The [computers] need at least three months to get to know each other before an animator goes anywhere near them," says McKean. "I learned that computers are as human as the rest of us. Our technical director named all the machines after different bands. The four Macs in the edit suite were named after the Beatles; fair enough, I was John. But then we needed a fifth so he named it Yoko, and they all stopped talking to each other."

Me again

Aug. 1st, 2005 08:59 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Serenity)
There is a really deeply spiffy interview with Joss Whedon here which is worth your time. Lots of in depth discussion about his contribution to films in general, including Toy Story, Speed, Wonder Woman and of course Serenity, with no significant spoilers that I've noticed.

EDIT: ...and Batman, and Global Frequency, and Iron Man, and Powers, and....

EDIT 2: ...and House, and Veronica Mars... phew! Long interview.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
The trailer for V for Vendetta is out. And it's rather good, actually. Promising, even.


Jun. 29th, 2005 09:11 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
Despite my ambivalent feelings about the movie, this is a rather fine poster. The nicest since that really lovely Batman Begins one.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
As I've mentioned once or twice, the Alan Moore/David Lloyd Graphic Novel V for Vendetta made a big impact on me when I first read it, and it's stayed with me ever since.

It's a tale of a future where the UK has become a fascist state (no comments please), and of an anonymous provocateur who styles himself after Guy Fawkes. The book tackles issues of democracy and totalitarianism, the individual's right to rebel against the state, the ambiguous line between terrorism and protest... all sorts of things. It's an intellectual book, but also one with great wit and style, and a peculiarly British air about it, aided by David Lloyd's very particular art style.

The Wachowski Brothers of The Matrix fame are now making a film of this graphic novel, and so it's natural to feel a certain amount of trepidation; after all the graphic novel is prickly, smart and British, and the Matrix is arguably none of the above.

Another mark in the Negatives column... )
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
Okay, we finally saw Constantine tonight (because, y'know, it's Easter, so we may as well watch a religious movie...)

Until now I've been very much in the "give it a chance" camp: I know it'll never be 100% faithful to the comic. I accept that Keanu is atrociously wrong for the part. But I'll think of him as John Constantine's American cousin, remove my preconceptions, and it may well be a decent movie despite all that.

Unfortunately, it wasn't.

Spoilers below... )
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Now THAT is a good movie poster.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Sandman)
In between my Read More Novels kick I’ve been keeping up with all manner of graphic novels / trade paperback comics collections.

For people who don’t read comics, it’s nearly incomprehensible why any adult would want to do such a thing, I know. For me the fusion between words and pictures is a sublime thing, in the same way that a pop song is neither music nor a poem, but a unique combination of the two. It can be rubbish, but when it’s written and drawn well, it can be Art.

My tastes are generally skewed away from superhero stuff, and I tend to follow writers rather than artists. DC’s much-touted Vertigo range has housed some of the finest mature-readers comics ever written, including The Sandman, but it’s also sometimes guilty of being weird for weird’s sake, and its recent output often seems overly-familiar; like endless riffs on past successes. Nonetheless when it’s good it’s a haven for non-superhero comics, so I decided to pick up a few of their ongoing series.

Human Target )

Fables )

Y: The Last Man )

Lucifer )

Global Frequency )

I do still dabble in the odd superhero when it involves a favourite writer (yes, Mr Whedon, I’m looking at you), but I think I’ll leave my eccentric collection of superhero comics until another day…

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
Watchmen the Movie is really happening.

Mixed feelings become even more mixed.... )

We'll see. I'll give them a chance. Hell, I'll even go and see Constantine, despite the fact that they've taken a bleach-blond, swearing, chain-smoking, bit-of-a-bastard English magician and turned him into Keanu Reeves with a bit of stubble.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
Compare and contrast....


The movie poster isn't bad, although it's too dingy to have the iconic impact of the comics version; I even had to brighten it up a bit just to show the detail. Nice logo.

I'm still of very mixed feelings about the concept of a movie. Especially as "From the Creators of The Matrix trilogy" appears to mean "produced by". But, hey! It's directed by the First Assistant Director of The Matrix. Better than being the Second Assistant Director, I suppose...

(The tag-line isn't as bad as Elektra's, though: "From the forces who brought you the X-Men". Sounds like The Naked Gun 2 1/2: "From the brother of the Director of Ghost.")
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
Meanwhile on the ambivalance front there's yet another name attached to the movie of Alan Moore's OTHER superlative graphic novel, Watchmen.

This obsessively intricate tale of cold war paranoia, and deconstructed superheroes (not to mention metaphorical pirates) is yet another one of the finest graphic novels ever created. Why do I feel all the complexity and subtext will fly out of the window in a movie version - which in any case lacks the appropriate context to deconstruct superheroes, since they normally look so ridiculous on the big screen to begin with. When Terry Gilliam was attached I at least had some hopes, although I'm not sure Gilliam's sensibility really suits the comic.

iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (V for Vendetta)
Colour me ambivalent, but it looks like they're making a movie of Alan Moore's superlative graphic novel, V for Vendetta.

If you haven't read it, a) do so immediately, and b) it's a very fine, very political story of a parallel 1984-style totalitarian Britain, and a mysterious figure who dresses as Guy Fawkes and brings anarchy and individualism to the system. It has all the intelligence and technical skill of Watchmen, but a much rougher, freer, more emotional feel. I loved it when I first read it, many years ago.


Jun. 27th, 2004 08:13 pm
iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Batman)
Just saw this speech by Neil Gaiman, which includes sensible things about comics as a medium.

I’ve rediscovered my love of comics lately. Or rather, trade paperback collections of comics, since I can no longer be bothered faffing about with the flimsy little monthly leaflets. (Yes, I am that person who doesn’t support monthly comics but waits for the trade, resulting in poor sales and quality series being cancelled.)

I used to read heaps of Spiderman comics as a kid, but grew past them, as you tend to. Like a lot of people, Neil Gaiman really got me back into comics as an adult, when I read volume two of his immensely famous Sandman series. It was unlike anything I expected comics to be - contemporary, mature, intelligent. From there his standalone graphic novels like Violent Cases and Signal to Noise just blew me away. Likewise Alan Moore’s stuff (especially V for Vendetta) was just definingly good. Nowadays I’m reading much more broadly (even getting past my snobbery and dipping my toes back in the best written end of the superhero market).

Read more, in which the author develops an alarming tendency to ramble... )


iainjclark: Dave McKean Sandman image (Default)

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