Trailer for Dunkirk, the new film from Christopher Nolan

Wednesday, 18 January, 2017

The second trailer for Dunkirk, the new feature from US film director Christopher Nolan. A story set around the evacuation of Allied forces from France in 1940. Due for release in July. Nolan’s work is consistently top notch. I’m looking forward to this one.

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Star Wars Downunder, a fan made film by Michael Cox

Thursday, 12 January, 2017

It’s a fan made film, so I know you sometimes need to be in the right place, at the right time, to hear about these sorts of things, but I’m still not sure how I missed Star Wars Downunder. Made by filmmaker Michael Cox in 2013, “Downunder” brings a distinctly Australian taste, in the form of beer no less, to the popular sci-fi saga.

See the full film here, 30 minutes in length, or take a look at the trailer for a preview.

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The return of film photography, is this peak digital photography?

Thursday, 12 January, 2017

Richmond Park, London. Photo by John Lampard

Technology company Kodak says it will resume manufacturing Ektachrome camera film for 35mm still frame, and Super 8 motion picture formats, by the end of the year. Does the move constitute evidence that we’ve reached peak digital photography though? Don’t be so sure.

While the return of Ektachrome will surely delight aficionados of film photography, are we all about to give up on the likes of Instagram, or stop using the now not too shabby cameras in our smartphones? I doubt it.

Here’s the thing. Film photography is for the patient. For those skilled in the art of capturing the right image at the right time, without using up the limited allocation of shots, usually thirty-six, that’s available to them on a single roll of film.

That excludes me. Then there’s the matter of the time and cost of processing. Some might call digital photography fake and cheap, and the domain of those seeking instant gratification. But not me. There’s simply too much quality digital photography for that to be possible.

Yes, we may be seeing more film photography, which is fine by me. And true, we have may reached peak digital photography, but I don’t think we’re about to see it spiral out of favour anytime soon. Also, I took the above photo, in London’s Richmond Park, with film. So there.

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Fender or Gibson? Coke or Pepsi? Vimeo or Youtube?

Thursday, 22 December, 2016

I like my Vimeo videos. In fact I like any videos, that I can embed here without hassle, but there’s something about a Vimeo video. I’ll defer to Lifehacker in this regard, who have put together a collection of their top thirty-one Vimeo video picks for 2016:

Most people head directly to YouTube when they need an online video fix. This is a mistake. Vimeo might not be as popular as Google’s all-conquering behemoth, but this is actually one of its core strengths – the average quality is much higher and there’s a lot less crap to sift through.

Glancing through, I can see four that I’ve posted this year. Maybe there’s more. See the list here.

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Back to the Future, pulling apart top notch story-telling

Monday, 7 November, 2016

Back to the Future is a film I watch once a year, and part of its enduring appeal is down to the structure of its story. Screenwriters and authors take note, this is how to write successfully. Parts two and three are ok, but they really don’t hold a candle to the original.

Also, revisit Back to the Future’s opening sequence. It’s incredible just how much of the story is set up from there.

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It might be an idea to hold-off upgrading your smartphone every year

Tuesday, 6 September, 2016

You might want to hold off upgrading to the latest model of whatever smartphone you use, until you’ve seen Death by Design, a new documentary by US television producer, Sue Williams. Not easy, I know, many people like to get hold of the newest phone every year, if they can.

The feature takes a look at the manufacturing process of these devices, and the fate that awaits phones ditched in favour of a newer model. Both take their toll on the environment.

Williams isn’t saying never upgrade, rather she urges people to consider keeping their current phone for a few years, before replacing it.

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Photos of films in a single long exposure image by Jason Shulman

Wednesday, 10 August, 2016

Photo by Jason Shulman

Is it an abstract? Is it a watercolour? No, it’s a photo of a film. An entire film. A film called A Trip to the Moon, in this case, that was made in 1902.

Photo by Jason Shulman

It’s part of a project, the aptly named Photographs of Films, by London based sculptor and photographer Jason Shulman. Curious as to what might result if he took a long exposure photo of a film as it played, Shulman decided to find out.

Photo by Jason Shulman

Aren’t the final images intriguing though? The second/middle image here is of 1968’s, Yellow Submarine, while the third, that I recognised immediately, is 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Stand by Me, it’s been thirty years since that fateful summer

Monday, 1 August, 2016

And it’s been thirty years since Stand by Me, directed by Rob Reiner, was released. It seems hard to believe, but the film may never have been made, as Stephen King, who wrote the short novel that the screenplay was based on, wasn’t, at first, willing to be involved.

After convincing a reluctant Stephen King to allow them to adapt his novella, “The Body,” for the screen, writers Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon brought the project to AVCO Embassy Pictures, a production and distribution company owned by Norman Lear. For King, who based the story on his own childhood, it was a leap of faith. The horror writer had bad experiences with Hollywood and was unhappy with adaptations of his books “The Shining” and “Christine.”

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The best science fiction films of the twenty-first century

Friday, 29 July, 2016

2046, Another Earth, Never Let Me Go, Melancholia, Ex Machina, and Moon, are among the top fifty science fiction films of this century. While I’ve seen these titles, plus many of the other inclusions, there are a fair few that I’m yet to see.

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Some film trailers give away too much. So stop watching them

Thursday, 28 July, 2016

It’s something I’ve been trying to do just recently, not look at trailers for films I plan to see. Not always possible, as many are played immediately before another film I am about to see, while at the cinema.

In some cases though, as Chris Ryan writes, trailers, especially when there are three or four per feature, can almost tell the whole story. And give away the best scenes as well.

Trailers are ruining comedies by including all the funny parts. Seth Rogen: Your movies are funny, and I don’t really need to pay to see them anymore because all the jokes are free in the four Neighbors 2 trailers. Trailers are ruining horror movies by revealing all the scares. Trailers are ruining great movies. Almost all of Sicario’s best scenes are In. The. Trailer. … What?

I will post, however, the trailer for Love & Friendship, a comedy based on the writings of Jane Austen. Trailers should be more like this, arousing curiosity, without revealing too much.

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