Monthly Archives: August 2012

Sometimes, All You Need Are Horses And Explosions

My good friend Jake posted this on his Facebook today:

That is all.

Oh, and I reviewed a video game collection that most people will have already played today.

That’s really all.

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Joss Fury, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D

Short one today as I spent the best part of my day in York writing things down in notebooks surrounded by scripts in an attempt to make the feat of producing the upcoming series of I Am Tim just barely feasible. Always tiring. Also fun. And maybe, just maybe a little bit, possible. But I kinda just got off the train so a phoneblog is all you get. Sue me, why not?

So I leave you with my article on the (AMAZING) news that Joss Whedon is developing, writing and perhaps also directing the pilot for a live-action Marvel TV show about S.H.I.E.L.D, aptly entitled S.H.I.E.L.D.

I like this section best:

As a lifelong fan of Joss Whedon this is fantastic news for two reasons:

Joss is working in television, the medium that made his name with Buffy, Angel and Firefly, and not on FOX. What’s not to love?

Bloggers will think twice about giving poor reviews of the show because its name just takes So. God. Damn. Long. To. Type.

Links don’t want to work it seems, so:

Talking Whoops!

Today I interviewed Miles Watts, York filmmaker extraordinaire, on Blogomatic about the feature he’s making that wraps production tonight.

Here are some things we said (I’ll include a writing-related one so that it appears vaguely relevant to the purpose of this blog):

Was it difficult writing a screenplay you didn’t originate the story for, or did you enjoy playing within the confines of someone else’s world?

It was really fun writing the screenplay from Sam’s short story and then honing it over the course of about a year. Sam’s ideas are really great and he left Tony and I to develop and flesh out the story and characters, and then he stepped in with ideas for some of the film’s best moments and one-liners.

We all left our egos at the door and at every step have done what’s best for the film in terms of jokes and funny moments. And then the improvements the cast have made with a changed line here, a character moment there, have served as a further draft of the script. We’re all very happy with the collaborative nature of it.

You can find the rest of the interview, should you choose to read it, here.

It’s very strange interviewing someone; stranger still doing it by email. You send them a whole list of questions and they reply, undoubtedly in their own voice but also with the answers thoroughly thought-out and omitting the usual slurs, pauses and leaps of thought that occur during live interviews. But you learn so much from a person without ever coming face to face with them to ask. A heck of a lot better, in many ways, I think we’ll all agree.

And so much easier to transcribe.

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Hello Tomorrow

I’m sending this from the past to the future. Hello, future. The world of 10am seems new and hard and cold compared to the primitive warmth of 7am, but I thought better to send this missive to a time when people might actually be alive enough to think about reading it rather than the ungodly early hours of the morning – which are, as it happens, the most godly of all hours, being that I’m currently enjoying the sun’s lazy ascent in the company of mercifully few others by the sea.

Yeah, I can’t sleep: it happens every once in a while, and if I carry on this foolhardy mission then you’ll quickly become aware of how freakishly frequent ‘once in a while’ can be.

I was laying in bed, still wide awake at 6am when I decided nothing good was coming of being immobile. What does, apart from during T-Rex encounters? This could have been one of any number of reasons: it could have been the fact that I only got up at 2pm yesterday afternoon, a perfect example of my imperfect body clock; it could have been that the book I’d just been reading (still Child of God) had left me with a strange taste in my mouth and caused unwanted thoughts to stir my imagination; it could have been the self-flagellation I’d been giving myself for a good few hours for saying some things that were better off staying in my head, and will probably remain to for quite some time now thanks to my screwing the proverbial pooch; it could even have been (and this is the more likely) my romantic but useless musings about a girl I really shouldn’t have been thinking of, but was. I say girl – I really mean girls, because once you let one in it’s pretty hard to keep the rest out.

If the one I was thinking about is reading this and wondering if it’s really you, you guessed right – it is. Call or tweet me at your nearest convenience and we’ll get back together/go on a first date/give me your number/tell me your name/continue to let me stare at you on the bus (delete as applicable).

All this and many other things contributed to my stirring, so I looked out the window and knew I could catch the sun at its prettiest if I got a move on. I packed a book and a light breakfast, snuck out of the house real quiet-like on my bike and ended up at the end of a pier overlooked by a lighthouse.

I was struck by two things en route to where I’m writing this: one, the sheer beauty of the Sun. I mean, honestly, even when it’s not yet been up long enough to warm you and it’s so blindingly bright you can hardly stand to look at it for more than a second, it’s still the main reason that you and everything else is allowed to exist. Even the bad things. The Sun lets me have an argument with somebody over a movie I don’t even care about. It lets me have an existential crisis whenever I (don’t) feel like it. Hell, it even lets me blog on the odd occasion. Other people have iterated this far more eloquently than I am, so I’ll stop now. But you get what I’m saying: I don’t appreciate that big ball of gas as often as I really should.

Number two on the list of Things That Struck Mark On The Way To The Lighthouse was that strangers are still just as awkward with each other even at this early hour and this remote a meeting place. I mean, I am too, that’s my disposition; it just seems odd to me that other people don’t trust that your motives are as pure or innocent as theirs, even though you’ve likely come out here for the same reason…because you like it.

So now I’m stuck: I planned on reading but both the (stupidly) unexpected cold and the Pretence Alarms – I brought the book down mainly because I thought it was a nice image and partly because I thought I’d be bored – made me think again. Sooner or later the seafront’ll be open for business and I’ll have to move along before I get swept away by the fawning, sweaty tourists and disillusioned locals alike (I’ve not lived here for three years so I don’t feel like either). By the time you’ve read this I’ll have inevitably found a new haunt or trade – in fact I’ve just decided I’m going to become a bridge-dwelling troll and prey on the unsuspecting – but both the journey and the time spent at my destination have served their purpose.

The problems of early this morning seem trivial now, as do my actions toward them. They’ll be fixed with time, patience and a little less ignorance. The only immediate problem – and this could either be negligible or hilarious – is my current bowel situation resulting from that single cup of coffee I felt was absolutely necessary if I was ever going to make the coast in one piece.

Unfortunately I’m not really a coffee drinker and assumed three spoonfuls was about the average dose.

Hello, 10am. Sorry about what I did to the bathroom.

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Nothing To See Here

Sometimes you forget you’re not in a bubble and do things that you think won’t upset people but will purely interest them.

Then you snap out of it when you find out you’re dead wrong and wonder why you ever thought you’d get a mild reaction at most.

I, of course, cannot relate to you what mischief I’m talking about, so this is merely pointless teasing. But hopefully I’ll get you wondering and maybe you’ll come up with something more interesting than the truth.

Which is all we can really hope for anyway.


Scorsese vs. Japan

Martin Scorsese, currently my all-time favourite film director and owner of some genuinely impressive eyebrows, is being sued by a producer for not making their film yet – which would be an adaptation of the Japanese novel Silence. Apparently he’s been pushing it behind other projects ever since Kundun (1997), and the final straw was Scorsese deciding to make another Leonardo DiCaprio-starrer, The Wolf of Wall Street, instead of a movie about two 17th century Jesuit priests who travel to Japan in search of their missing brothers.

Scorsese’s lawyers have responded by treating the lawsuit as ridiculous and a media stunt, but frankly if I ran a company that had made a hefty investment in a project that’s earmarked for an elderly filmmaker and was forced to wait 15 years for the damn thing to actually be confirmed, I’d want to blow smoke up his ass too. That and I’d really rather see Daniel-Day Lewis and Javier Bardem in a new Scorsese picture than another DiCaprio vehicle.

Hell, at least he’s not doing Raging Bull II.

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Attack of the Killer Tree Trunks

Today logs were trying to murder me.

I was rearranging the vast piles of wood in my parents’ log shelter (yeah, middle class warning right here), a task which involves a Tetris-like level of organisation and patience if you don’t want to fear for your life under teetering columns of insect hotels.

Turns out that, while I think I’m a pretty good Tetris player, I haven’t exactly been able to transfer those skills to the real world and ended up on the wrong end of a couple of terrifying collapses. Luckily only one of them did any damage and just bruised my toe, but the job’s not yet finished and I know it’s only a matter of time before the dog comes across a broken, splintered hand sticking out of a potential IKEA catalogue.

To make myself feel better about my imminent death, I watched Adam Buxton (of the inimitable Adam & Joe)’s BUG, a show on Sky Atlantic in which the fuzzy funnyman presents innovative and extraordinary music videos along with the sometimes hilarious and regularly confounding comments left on their YouTube pages.

It worked, and here are a couple of reasons why:

Between these guys and Michel Gondry’s music video work, it looks like the French have the ‘insanely creative practical effects’  market fairly locked down, eh?

On this episode they also showed part of a video that combines historical commentary AND video games into one fantastic spectacle that’s well worth sitting through its 7-minute runtime:

That video has a pretty significant connection to (and just a little bit of  influence on) the award-winning* short film I made in my final year at uni, Pieces Falling Into Place. Now’s as good a time to check it out if you haven’t seen it before, and if you already have then why the heck not give it another whirl anyway?

Some of you who’ve witnessed my shameless self-promotion before now might be a little sick of me still flogging this horse, but I figure I should mention my past work on here at least once, y’know? Plus it’s my blog so I’ll do as I damn please.


Last but far from least is one of Count Buckules’s own songs, just because I love it so:

If you don’t smile at any point during it, then I’m really not sure we can be friends.

*Okay, so I may have gotten it at my uni’s end of course ceremony, but STILL. It’s made of glass and I get to keep it and everything.

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Lost & Found

I went to the local theatre tonight to see Lost & Found, two interconnected plays about two people working summer hotel jobs written by married playwrights Jane Thornton and John Godber, and it’s pretty easy to tell who wrote what.

I won’t go into the specifics of the thing, just say that it was excellently observed whip-smart and charmingly performed by the two sole cast members. And while there were some big laughs for everyone, there were some moments when the whole audience were holding their guts in that I just couldn’t manage to raise a chuckle before…because it was kind of depressing.

Both plays are about romantic relationships, the messiness and problems therein, and like I said, it’s well observed, but that’s the problem. It’s important to note that most of the audience consisted of middle aged and up couples (always a disappointing sight at any theatre performance), and you could tell when something hit home because the laughs would sound kind of…confessional. That sounds weird, but if you’ve experienced it you’ll know what I mean.

So these people were laughing at the foibles and relationship problems they’ve likely been struggling with, like the characters, for years. And I found it somewhat hard to see the funny side of that. You’re just supposed to grin and bear being doomed to that? Maybe it’s my naive young mind hoping for more than a hellish holiday with someone I can barely stand, but I just didn’t get why everybody ate it up like they did. The whole thing was moving, don’t get me wrong, but it felt like they were kind of missing the horrible point of it all, simply choosing to laugh through the rose-tinted veil of “we’re like them, honey, only not nearly as bad,” which made things a little worse. I guess most of the audience were in the less uncomfortable phase of the ‘grin and bear it’  solution.

Or maybe they were just middle-class folks who don’t have to worry about shite holidays.

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With A Vaguely Sozzled Vengeance

I spent most of the day in York, er, working.

Swear to God.

I’m definitely not drogging (drunk blogging). But I definitely did just make up that fine portmanteau.

See? My spelling’s all fine and everything.

Here’s this week’s Reboot column.


It’s Not Weird To Have A Man-Crush On A Guy With The Same Name As Me, Right?

So it turns out suggesting to your mum that The Kids Are All Right might be a fun movie to watch together is not the brightest idea in the world, especially if she happens to get incredibly uncomfortable with a) swearing, b) nakedness of any kind and c) same-sex relationships. All of these are in abundance in this movie. Occasionally simultaneously.

She’s not bigoted, it’s just that…well, she’s middle aged and British. She’s designed to be weird about these things.

On the other hand, she’s laughed enough times to assure me that it’s not offended her sensibilities too much. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s a pretty damn good movie with a coup of an adult cast in Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo.

And I will watch anything with Julianne Moore or Mark Ruffalo. Seriously. I’d watch him talking about paint drying for two hours because he’d just be so affable about it.

Also, I’m pretty sure I fell in love with his sideburns in Zodiac.

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