Harry Potter Studio Trip – 3 months ago

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I wrote this for Studio magazine and since I didn’t get paid for it, here it is.

Just outside Watford, lurking on the outskirts of the suburbs, is Leavesden studios, home of the new Harry Potter Studio Tour. Any Potter fan would be thrilled at the chance to roam around the magical sets of the wizarding franchise, so I went and scoped out the attraction to make sure it meets the high expectations of the films’ ferocious fans.

The first glimpse of magic happens at Watford Junction station where specially decorated buses await eager fans to take the 15 minute drive to Leavesden. Although it’s surely easier to drive, taking the train is a little like actually going to Hogwarts and kids will be thrilled to get on the Potter themed buses so don’t miss out.
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Kapow Comic Con

After years of UK geeks bemoaning the lack of a San Diego Comic Con equivalent, we finally got to experience the same heat, crowds and sweaty nerd love this past weekend at the first ever Kapow! Comic Con. Kick-Ass and Wanted writer Mark Millar is the man behind the event and he pulled out all the stops as there was something for everyone; comics (a lot), movies (big ones) and games (um, there was an IGN section, does that count?)

Anywho, we ventured out of the Breadline broom cupboard, clad in our geekiest attire, joined the thousands of people headed to the Business Design Centre in sunny Islington. While the nerd herd queued up outside, we floated through the doors, slapping security guards aside with our VIP passes. Do It!

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Pot(ter)


In the past few weeks, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows fever has swept over the Internet like a giant magical tsunami, engulfing every movie blog it encounters. But somewhere, in the midst of the chaos, shock waves began to ripple through many a wi-fi enabled coffee shop as less-than-glowing reviews were bandied around the Internet.

Critics are picking apart The Deathly Hallows as if it were a still warm corpse, which begs the question: will the Deathly Hallows fail to maintain the series’ success in the face of these negative reviews? No, of course not, don’t be so ridiculous. However, the reviews did get me wondering about how the film has become such a global phenomenon and that in the last two months it has turned people from the age of five to fifty into a merch-buying, film-watching, wand-waving lunatics? Do It!

Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D Preview

Although I’m not actually that excited about Resident Evil: Afterlife, I love me a sneak preview screening, so I got myself all revved up to see a featurette and a 3D scene for the latest instalment of the zombie series.

Director Paul. W. S. Anderson appears in the short video with stars Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter, all of whom couldn’t possibly give the movie higher praise if they tried. Paul explains that he shot the film with the same 3D technology that James Cameron designed for Avatar and that he’s trying to use the negative space between the screen and the audience.

He’s genuinely enthusiastic about 3D but just like a kid in a candy store, he’s eaten too many sweets and the outcome isn’t pretty. But shortly after donning the chunkiest pair of 3D glasses I’ve ever seen to watch the preview footage, I quickly realised that Cameron should have kept his technology a secret because it’s clearly not safe in anyone else’s hands.

The sequence that was shown is one you can see in the trailer – a huge guy with nails in his head, swinging an axe around a shower room. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen more wildly unnecessary slow-motion in my life. Due to the creature’s strength, size and the weight of its axe/hammer, it’s not exactly fast-moving to begin with and putting it slow-motion utterly erases any real tension within the scene.

What Paul fails to realise is that while ‘immersive’ is a popular buzz word these days, utilising the negative space doesn’t have to be such a harsh experience. It’s almost like the 3D effects were constantly trying to reach out and physically touch my eyeballs. This unpleasant sensation gives the viewer no sense of real depth – something Cameron had no problem with because he actually knew what he was doing with his own cameras. Don’t play with the big boy’s toys until you’ve read the instructions, Paul.

The movie also had a shiny, almost polarized look to it that actually made the film difficult to watch because it’s so busy trying to get your brain’s attention that it’s actually distracting. Overall, it looks like it’s an axe-swing and a miss for Resident Evil: Afterlife.

The video below wasn’t the featurette shown at the screening, but it’s pretty similar and if you still can’t wait to see the movie then, well…there’s nothing more I can do for you.

San Diego Comic Con 2010 Round-up

Well, I may not have been there but that’s not going to stop me from bringing you as many juicy titbits of information from the 2010 San Diego Comic Con as I can! Fans who attended the convention were treated to all kinds of goodies: exclusive footage from upcoming films and TV shows, meet and greets with the stars, panel talks and getting to see all the props and merch that the studios were pimping out.

The exclusive videos – also known as a sizzle reels – were just for the convention goers but now some of them are available online so I waited until I had something good to show you. Not every video is currently available but as soon as I get it, you’ll get it. There are a tonne of panels at the SDCC so I’ve cherrypicked the best to bring you our SDCC 2010 roundup, who knows, maybe next year I’ll actually be there..

MEGAMIND

DreamWorks Animation’s next big thing is Megamind which follows a supervillain who accidentally kills off his nemesis, the heroic Metro Man. Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are providing the vocal talent and it looks like Will got a little too excited to be at Comic Con and donned a very spiffy Megamind costume.

Tina and Jonah joined him on stage and ribbed him for dressing up as he lamented his decision, ‘”I feel a little bit like a turd up here.”’

Aside from the cast’s comedy stylings, the audience were treated to some tasty 3D footage that you can check out right now, courtesy of Yahoo! Movies.

Clickity click: http://d.yimg.com/m/up/ypp/movies/player.swf

THOR

Marvel heroes were out in force this year and one of the biggest came in the shape of Thor. With the exception of Anthony Hopkins, the whole cast turned out for the panel including Chris Hemsworth, Clark Gregg, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings and director Kenneth Brannagh.

Audience members were treated to the following clip in 3D where they could fully appreciate the bulging biceps Chris Hemsworth was rocking. There’s been some copyright issues surrounding the video and so its been fecking difficult to find the comicon footage. So difficult in fact that I couldn’t actually do it. Sorry. Do It!

Guess Who I Interviewed…Vincenzo Natali!

I caught up with Vincenzo Natali, director of new sci-fi drama Splice, and chatted to him about his creepy new film, his adaptation of Neuromancer and his feelings towards the burgeoning format of 3D. He was an absolute pleasure to talk to and, as you’ll see, quite a chatty chap…

Vincenzo, you wrote Splice with two other people, was that a good experience?

It was great, thank God for my partners or I’d still be writing. If I didn’t have Doug [Taylor] and Antoinette [Terry Bryant] I would never have finished the script! Do It!

Sweet Dreams! Best Movie Dream Sequences!

In honour of Christopher Nolan’s Inception, one of the biggest movies of the year, i’ve decided to sink into the cinematic land of nod to take a look at some of the best movie dreams.

They say that Hollywood is where dreams can come true and by golly they were right. So I poured over a bunch of movies in which characters are visited by the sandman and it actually helped us overcome our own recurring dream/nightmare – Claudia Winkleman presenting Film 2010.

It sure has been a cathartic exercise here in the Breadline broom cupboard and now I’d like to share my experiences with you by giving you the rundown of best dream sequences in movies. Enjoy.

AMERICAN BEAUTY

After seeing Kevin Spacey practically jizzing in his pants over Mena Suvari in American Beauty, we never looked at a rose in the same way. His character, Lester Burnham, becomes fixated on the young temptress and starts having rose-based fantasies about her. Technically, these are sex fantasies but we’re classing them as daydreams, so just suck it up and enjoy.


Do It!

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