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The Beat: Batfleck and Dumbing Down Snowpiercer

A couple of new film-related articles up on The Beat - I don't tend to link to everything that I write there, but you can find all my work at The Beat at this link here.

My site is due a re-design so I'll incorporate a link to that in the top very soon.

Some commentary on the new Batfleck (ie, the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman)...

... and the dumbing down of Snowpiercer for English-speaking audiences, which arguably deserves far more outrage.

"I’ve talked at length before here on The Beat about both Snowpiercer and Le Transperceneige, as it really looked set to the be surprise hit of the year. A dystopian future tale, set upon a perpetually circuiting train that houses the remnants of the human race, where class tensions arise and revolution is in the air...

"The idea that such a film needs to be dumbed down for English speaking fans is rather bizarre, with Weinstein reportedly asking for “ introductory and closing voice-overs to be added in“. As film critic and programmer Tony Rayns says, “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.’” Rayns also says that the UK is protesting the cuts and hopes other countries follow suit."



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FYI, RIPD is not MIB. IMO.

The official trailer for upcoming movie R.I.P.D. hit the internet last week, and sparked a stampede of people rushing to label the supernatural buddy cop romp as stepping a little too neatly into the swanky shoes of the Men in Black. Some went so far as to write R.I.P.D. off as a poor MiB rip-off. Here’s why they’re wrong.

Okay, so looking at the actual trailer, the argument for R.I.P.D. being a MiB clone is actually pretty strong. Dagnabbit. But wait. There are two reasons the comparison is flawed. But let’s look at the similarities first.

Read the full article at The Beat!



Snowpiercer: The Most Overlooked Comics Film of 2013?

While much of the comics and film press has been focusing on various men of metal (iron, steel and adamantium respectively) alongside promising sequels and the lovely Thor, one comic film is being a tad overlooked. Starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer, this looks set to be a very different kind of comic book film, and perhaps a surprise blockbuster.

Based on the popular bande dessinée Le Transperceneige, this is the story of a future world where the remnants of humanity live on board a single train, powered by a perpetual motion engine. The Earth is encased in a bitter Ice Age, induced by a failed attempt to halt global warming. The train, one thousand and one carriages long, holds an entire society within; the last society, segregated by class via position. The further away from the engine, the more poverty and tension can be found. Revolution is in the air.

Read the full article at The Beat!

Snowpiercer: Chris Evans


SciFi Now: Interview with Frank Quitely and Review of Dredd

The latest issue of SciFi Now (#76) not only has my extensively geeky review of the fabulous Dredd DVD and Blu-ray, but also my fab interview with the one and only Frank Quitely. So make sure you pick it up this month, or buy it digitally.

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Dredd film, but this was a great opportunity to really dig into the various easter eggs, nods to comics from throughout the decades, and even spot that little hint of Judge Death. As for Frank Quitely, it's always a pleasure to talk to the Nicest Man in comics about his upcoming projects and inspirations, and fun to see everyone drooling over his photo!

Many thanks to Jonathan Mayo for providing the exclusive photo of Mr Quitely. And while you're visiting, you could always check out my list of the Top 15 Comics That Are Ripe for Adaptation.

Frank Quitely by Jonathan Mayo


Dredd: A Brilliant Portrayal of Women in Comics

The last few years have seen comic books become the go-to source material for cinema, from Blade and X-Men right through to The Dark Knight Rises and Avengers. Most have featured women characters although those that focus solely on our favourite heroines are better forgotten in comparison to the glut of popular movies based on leading men. Team titles too have been hit and miss with women generally being judged for their looks before their character, although Helen Mirren and Angelina Jolie have both stolen the show in Red and Wanted respectively. Still, it was annoying for many fans to see Black Widow waving her ass in posters and always with that zipper down, despite her greater than expected screen time. Now one film has single-handedly bucked that trend, passing the Bechdel test, and with the best portrayal of women in an action film I have seen in years: Dredd.

Put simply, and this is extraordinary, there is no difference between the portrayal of male and female characters in this film. The women are not sexualised, weaker, shown less, or more emotional, and their wardrobes are genderless, but neither are they simply rendered as personality devoid hard-asses... The women characters are excellent characters who happen to be women.

Judge Anderson and Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd. Britain's favourite hero, dispensing the law in a future police state, satirising the very real and ever increasing threat of authoritarianism to our lives. Brutalised in a previous Sylvester Stallone movie that turned him from seriously stern Judge to camp crusader, Dredd is back with a grim and gritty film that harks back to his earliest strips.

Judge Anderson. A long-time friend of Dredd's, a tense friendship at times, Anderson is a female Judge with psychic powers. In the film we see Anderson as a rookie, sent out with Dredd on an evaluation run. Her outfit, her armour, is near identical to Dredd's - the singular difference being her lack of helmet, to better allow her psychic abilities. Anderson is portrayed as being more sympathetic than Dredd, but then again, so is just about every other Judge. In the comics, Anderson has been around since the early days and proved so popular that she headlines her own spin-off series, Anderson: Psi-Division.

Ma-Ma. The villain of the piece and a complete psychopath. This woman runs her criminal gang with an iron fist, torturing and killing anyone who disappoints her or stands in her way. Her domain is the Peach Trees 200 story tower block, housing those who are sworn to her, and others who live in fear. Ma-Ma does not slink her way around or use her womanly wiles; she is fucked up, brutal and efficient.

Hit the jump for more (with spoilers).


The Dark Knight Rises and Selina Kyle

A life-consuming dissertation and a lack of excitement about Nolan's latest offering meant that by the time I managed to see The Dark Knight Rises, several key points had already been inadvertantly spoiled. Thankfully a combination of my truly appalling memory and an overwhelming gullibility when watching films resulted in me promptly forgetting said spoilers and enjoying the film with fresh eyes. That said, this piece contains spoilers.

I should have been excited of course. The opening shots from The Dark Knight are still etched into my otherwise awful memory banks, as daylight - daylight! - shone on Gotham before insanity was unleashed. The Dark Knight was a juggernaut of a film, jumping straight into the action with the understanding that the groundwork had already been laid in Batman Begins. The utter freedom of a second film in a trilogy - no need for a solid beginning or ending, just all middle - meant that the film never stopped. In fact half way through it pivots and hits reverse, screaming into a new direction that left more conventional linear films seem old and stale.
Killer heels