Do I know where hell is…

Hell is in hello! Sods law took charge this evening within my humble abode – just after Nipper decided to seek and retrieve his rubber Kong from behind the TV and sound system. His gain was my loss, because every lead that could have been unplugged – was done so! Two DVD players, the SKY box, the whole sound system, as well as the telecom lead, TV aerial, and a few others cables that must be for show? Being a switched on cookie I had the forethought to photograph the same set up after moving it around last year. Setting it all up previously almost drove me to the brink of insanity, as well as reaching for a bottle of Port before climbing aboard the bus to get there! 

Job complete (after much muttering and cursing in a cramped space) I reached for a DVD to test the digital behemoth, which just happened to be an unopened copy of ‘Paint Your Wagon’ that I must have received as a Christmas gift? Without realising the time, two hours flew-bye, which left me with happy memories and a grin from ear to ear – besides an ear worm of ‘I was born under a wandering star!’ Now it’s your turn if you choose to hit play (Lee Marvin starts caterwauling 1min 15sec in.) When I get to heaven, tie me to a tree, For I’ll begin to roam and soon you’ll know where I will be… We both have the same tin ear, it must be an Ex Marine thing!  Yours_Aye.

Two faced or what?

Two Heads againThe Thing With Two Heads! 1972 film ‘Starring’ Roosevelt Grier & Ray Milland. ‘A rich but racist man is dying and hatches an elaborate scheme for transplanting his head onto another man’s body. His health deteriorates rapidly, and doctors are forced to transplant his head onto the only available candidate: a black man from death row.’ The Thing With Two Heads; Trailer. Rated PG. 1972Two headsI am so glad this film popped up on LiveLeak, it brought so many memories flooding back. Quick Dit: Mid 80’s era. 40 CDO RM deployed to Otterburn Ranges for a fortnight’s live firing package. Each evening after supper there would be a clatter-clatter (reel to reel) film shown in the main dining hall. Every one was ready and seated to watch Gallipoli The lights dimmed; a cheer went out; and there before our eyes in full Technicolor appeared ‘The Thing With Two Heads?’ Some clown had switched the films and ripped us off!    Second Parachute Regiment as it happened, who were now watching Gallipoli instead, as they had placed an expressive note inside one of the cans admitting guilt… Barstewards!


The cheers turned to groans, as the innocent volunteer ‘projectionist’ fell under a hail of beer tins. With nothing else to do (days of pre-digital) the majority of us remained seated and watched stupefied as the ‘epic’ rolled on, and on. I have never heard so much raucous laughter in all of my life… The film was so painfully awful to watch, yet hilarious at the same time due to its clichés and story line. For those amongst you who may well have missed this classic – fear not!

“Ladies & Gentlemen, as well as children accompanied by a responsible adult; I present to you the film in full.” The Thing With Two Heads                    Yours Aye.

Oh how the camera lies; brilliantly

Life of PiIf you have a spare 30 minutes I would urge you to sit down with a cup of coffee/tea (delete as appropriate) and watch the following clip entitled ‘Rhythm & Hues: Life After Pi.’ It details the collapse of the Video Effects (VFX) industry around Hollywood and the US; one company in particular being ‘Rhythm & Hues.’Thor Rhythm & Hues filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy shortly before its work on Life of Pi, which  won the Oscar for best VFX (‘Video Effects’). One year on a new documentary examines the incident and the impact it had on mobilizing the VFX industry to try to fix its troubled business model. The inept moguls of Hollywood have a lot to answer for.Iron Man without VFX  The full 30-minute documentary went online on Feb. 25. It is also the first chapter in an upcoming feature-length documentary titled ‘Hollywood Ending – Why the Movie Capital of the World is Forcing Filmmakers to Leave.’Maitrix

(Official)Thirty minute trailer for Rhythm & Hues: Life After Pi. The lime green box below will make sense once you have watched the fascinating trailer. The camera does lie; often… Movie without Visual Effects Yours Aye

Filmed as it happened…

article-2563909-1BB8205900000578-222_636x382  The American military’s attempt to enlist the film industry’s help, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor brought the U.S. into the war, began as the brainchild of a few senior officers. Directors such as John Ford, Frank Capra, John Huston, George Stevens and William Wyler had already shown that they could win the people.article-2563909-1BAD08A300000578-626_634x410

At 6.30am on June 4, 1942, film director John Ford, a three-time Oscar winner, hunkered down on the concrete roof of the power station on Midway Atoll, one of a cluster of tiny North Pacific islands roughly halfway between the California coast and Tokyo. The 48-year-old and his crew, equipped with 16mm cameras and hundreds of feet of Kodachrome colour film, were preparing to shoot. But this was a blockbuster unlike any he had filmed before.WWII ATTACK ON PEARL HARBORAs Ford watched from his tower, with its unobstructed views across the island and far out to sea, a swarm of Zeroes, the Japanese Imperial Navy’s long-range fighter planes, began to fill the sky over the Pacific. He and his team started shooting film as soon as the first formation approached. Then, as he later reported, ‘hell started to break loose’. ‘The planes started falling – some of ours, a lot of Jap planes,’ Ford said. ‘One [Zero] dove, dropped a bomb and tried to pull out, and crashed into the ground.’ Ford saw the Zeroes dive-bombing at objectives like water towers. He had his camera trained on the hangar as a Zero dropped a bomb from 50ft. ‘The whole thing went up.’ MORE HEREHow an elite squad of Hollywood’s greatest directors recorded the bravest – and bloodiest – actions of World War II  Yours Aye.

George Clooney Gets Hosed in the Monuments Men

If you are working in the media business, it is crucial that you identify your photos correctly. For example, in pictures of a new movie called the “Monuments Men,” you don’t want to call John Goodman George Clooney. Or call George Clooney Bill Murray.

-George Clooney, Bill Murray and John Goodman film their movie The Monuments Men on the South Coast of England on June 5, 2013.
George Clooney, Bill Murray and John Goodman film their movie The Monuments Men on the South Coast of England on June 5, 2013.

I’ll say George Clooney got the short end of the stick. To call John Goodman by his name and to label him Bill Murray must’ve really hurt. . .

Israel and World War Z

People read back-stories into movies all the time that are not there. I especially like the comparison between Israel and World War Z:

Israelis and Arabs aren’t likely to get along in the real world any time soon, but they briefly pull it off in the film adaptation of Max Brooks’ mega best-selling novel, World War Z. People who hate Israel for a living are giving the movie a big thumbs-down because of it.

Michael Totten is a heckuva blogger. I surely hope you read his stuff.

Does Helen Mirren Go Rogue or Rouge in Red 2?

Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren, otherwise known as Helen Lydia Mironoff, has a movie coming out on Friday. She is reprising her role as Victoria in Red 2. Looking at her, her being an almost proper lady and all, you would not expect a beating heart that lusts after guns:

FOX411: What has this franchise allowed you to do that no other project has given you the chance to do before?
Mirren: Shoot a big ass gun (laughs). I’ve never done that before.  Also… I just love this project. I’m not saying this is all I want to do for the rest of my life, but within the context with everything else I do it’s just the greatest. I love it. I was thrilled that it was going to become a franchise because obviously when we did the first one there was no understanding of that at all. It was a one off. So it’s fantastic we got the opportunity to do it the second time.

FOX411: What does it mean to you [to reunite with] a lot of your cast members?
Mirren: You know it’s like meeting up with your best friends from college that you haven’t seen for 30 or 40 years. Although it’s not that long since we were together but it’s… like we were working together the day before yesterday. And I think that’s an indication of how happy we were working together in the first place.

Red 2
Red 2

The movie, Red 2, has an interesting team behind it:

RED 2 is an upcoming 2013 American action comedy film and sequel to the 2010 film RED, which was inspired by the limited comic book series of the same name created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, and published by the DC Comics imprint Homage.

The film stars Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lee Byung-hun, Anthony Hopkins, and Helen Mirren, with Dean Parisot directing a screenplay by Jon and Erich Hoeber. RED 2 is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2013.

I imagine I will be breaking my Hollywood fast and hitting the theaters sometime soon.

Cold steel hand from the sea

I have endured some serious sleepless nights these past few weeks or so, which I have put down to the heat of summer. Even with the assistance of my good friend ‘Captain Morgan’ I have only managed a couple of pitiful hours in the dead zone. The dogs love it as they now expect to be out and about as the first grey chink of morning light breaks over the Eastern horizon. Methinks some thing is amiss, it’s not as if I do not exercise my brain as well as my body. Last night I reverted to the old school way of reading, and chose a true story in paper back The Wonga Coup: Simon Mann’s Plot to Seize Oil Billions in Africa by Adam Roberts, (from which the cowardly Mark Thatcher does not walk away smelling of roses).images 

Now I understand why Simon Mann has every right to Cry Havoc, which is my next read. I just hope Ridley Scott includes the whole ball of corruption and dirty politics in his film portrayal of the book. Having settled into a nice leather easy chair, I read of the coup until the words disappeared slowly from the page. I awoke with two snoring dogs sleeping in front of a fan, and a ticking clock with the big hand on 12 and the little hand on 7… Unbelievably I had slept for several hours.             Click pic to enlargeRM Commando Replacing the book back onto the shelf I noticed a hard back that I received as a gift at Christmas, ‘Commando’ THE DIRTY DOZEN, a collection of the best 12 Commando comic books ever. “Thought to self, research the comics on line as they were classics from my childhood“.
DownloadedFileI did so after breakfast, Britain’s sole surviving war comic Commando and was shocked to see that the iconic short story Commando comic magazines are no longer printed in the UK. They are now printed by a German media group ‘GGP Media’ who are based in Possneck, Thuringia – near where the revolutionary Messerschmitt Me 262 fighter jets were being built in an underground weapons factory in the Second World War! My paper childhood heroes crumbled in front of me, such is life I suppose. But hey! I am not cross because of the irony of it all, we have moved on to become allies against a more common foe.

Yours Aye.

Boycott the Boycott of Ender’s Game

Here we go, Ender’s Game, the movie is coming out in November. I’ll be deployed to Japan, but I’ll see the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s book when it finally hits those shores. The plot for those of you unaware:

“Ender’s Game” follows the adventures of Ender Wiggin, a gifted young boy who’s trained at an advanced military school to lead the attack against the second wave of an alien invasion that left the Earth decimated 70 years earlier. The film, directed by Gavin Hood and starring Asa Butterfield,Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin, and Hailee Steinfeld, will hit theaters on November 1.

What would a movie be without a little controversy, by a group called Geeks OUT:

It’s one of the most highly anticipated films of the upcoming holiday movie season, though “Ender’s Game” now has a considerable amount of controversy to go with the hype.

Geeks OUT has launched an online protest of the film due to author Orson Scott Card being an outspoken opponent of gay marriage. Called “Skip Ender’s Game,” the boycott urges potential audiences to steer clear of the film, which is based on Card’s popular 1985 novel.

“Do NOT see this movie! Do not buy a ticket at the theater, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand,” Geeks OUT officials write. “Ignore all merchandise and toys. However much you may have admired his books, keep your money out of Orson Scott Card’s pockets.”

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in Ender's Game
Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in Ender’s Game

Geeks OUT is organizing a series of “Skip Ender’s Game” events in New York, Orlando, Seattle, and other major U.S. cities to coincide with the movie’s debut this November.

Orson Scott Card has been an outspoken opponent of gay rights for several years. In 2009, he joined the board of directors at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which opposes same-sex marriage and was created to pass California’s Proposition 8. His own personal views on the LGBT community were expressed in a Mormon Times piece that same year: “Marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.”

In that same op-ed piece, Card wrote that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America,” that homosexuality was a “tragic genetic mix-up” and that “allowing courts to redefine marriage was a slippery slope towards total homosexual political rule and the classifying of anyone who disagreed as ‘mentally ill.'”

Tolerance for me, but not for thee. . .

Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story

I cannot think of a better antagonist than Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri. You might know him better as the Iron Sheik. And now he is ailing, but Page and Jian Magen are crowd-sourcing Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story. You can help fund it!

The Shahs of Sunset, The Bravo show, produced by Ryan Seacrest, also stars Mike Shouhed, Golnesa 'GG' Gharachedaghi, Asa Soltan Rahmati, Reza Farahan, and Lilly Ghalichi.
The Shahs of Sunset, produced by Ryan Seacrest, with Mike Shouhed, Golnesa ‘GG’ Gharachedaghi, Asa Soltan Rahmati, Reza Farahan, and Lilly Ghalichi.

You know the GQ’d Persian folks from the Shahs of Sunset are!

300: Rise of an Empire!

The movie 300 sparked a rekindled interest in things Spartan (but not things Michigan State.) The phrase, molon labe (come and get ’em) resurfaced and now Hollyland is looking at another take on the brand:

Sparta’s warriors may have waged fierce land battles in the 2006 box-office hit 300, but they hadn’t even gotten their feet wet yet.

In the parallel film 300: Rise of an Empire (out Aug. 2), which takes place at about the same time as its predecessor, Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and his common-man troops fight the rest of the Persian army at sea.

300- Rise of an Empire
300- Rise of an Empire

The aquatic setting allows for a completely new dynamic — even if both films take their stylized look from the original graphic novel by Frank Miller.

Empire “is tied visually to the original,” says director Noam Murro, but with so much happening within small boats, “there is a whole different choreography of fighting and war.”

The sea battle also allows the scale of the movie to change. The first 300 took place primarily on a narrow pass known as the “Hot Gates,” where the Spartans sought tactical advantage due to their significantly smaller numbers. But Empire “happens over time in many different locations,” says Murro. “The opportunities for the six distinct battles are even greater with different locations and tactics.”

he David-vs.-Goliath theme remains intact, however.

“The few against the many is still here,” says Murro. “It’s hundreds vs. hundreds of thousands. It’s about taking on the mightiest power of all with wisdom and tactics.”

In this case, the mightiest power is primarily led by Artemesia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy, who is second in command to the mortal-turned-god leader Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). She has the added incentive of seeking to settle a blood score against the Greeks who killed her family when she was a child.

Should it not be called 301?

SPITFIRE 944. A Hero and a few good men

A few years back I was carrying out some research on a local WWII airfield (now redundant) that was home to a Spitfire Squadron, whose role was to protect York from Nazi bombers. Whilst trawling the net I came across a short film that was produced for the Sundance film festival, which I almost gave up on watching (I am so glad that I persevered). Up until this morning I had forgotten about the remarkable story, until it appeared on the Blog of Theo Spark, ‘Last of the Few’800px-Spitfire_944_fest_poster_a

SPITFIRE 944 – YouTube 22 year old Pilot Lieutenant John S. Blyth, is one of many WWII servicemen who took it in their stride and got the job done. They are all heroes in the true sense of the word. It required a few good men to bring the story of John S Blyth to the screen, which I am thankful for. If you have a few minutes on your hands, you too can share this young American’s amazing story

Yours Aye.

Baby Zelig Grows Up

I am not entirely sure who Peter Dinklage or Erica Schmidt is, but I do know their baby Zelig. The little bundle of joy was named after the main character of Woody Allen’s movie Zelig(A fictional documentary about the life of human chameleon Leonard Zelig, a man who becomes a celebrity in the 1920s due to his ability to look and act like whoever is around him. Clever editing places Zelig in real newsreel footage of Woodrow Wilson, Babe Ruth, and others.) The problem is that the new baby Zelig is female and the original Leonard Zelig is male. Ach, so be it. Let’s not tell the Dinklages…