dinsdag 27 november 2012

First day on the job!

 Today I finally had my first bit of work posted on my new employer MovieScene.nl. Here's the result:


Expect to see this sort of thing, links and all, more often around here. For legal reasons I'm not allowed to directly copy what I wrote for MovieScene on this, my blog. But since I don't want to choose one over the other, this is a viable alternative, indicating that I'm still active on both fronts. It may not look very appealing, but for me substance is more important than style. Properly spelled of course.

And yes, I'm hugely looking forward to X-Men: Days of Future Past. The original comic book story is widely renowned as one of the best X-Men stories ever, Bryan Singer has earned my trust with his previous X-Men installments, First Class was top-notch, and both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are among my favorite actors ever. With so many rights, what could possibly go wrong?

Probably a few things, but let's keep a little optimism for a change...

zaterdag 24 november 2012

Today's Film: The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow

Rating: ***/*****, or 7/10

Probably Roland Emmerich's most typical disaster movie, delivering grandiose spectacle as catastrophe strikes and actors attempt to survive the many pixels the visual FX departments throw at them accordingly. Joining on the doomsday bandwagon of both scientists and laymen alike, Emmerich depicts the coming of a new ice age due to mankind's arrogant tampering with the planet's environment. Caused by global warming, ocean currents change and a series of super storms evolve, hitting the northern hemisphere hard, resulting in giant tornadoes levelling Los Angeles and tsunamis engulfing New York City. Things get even worse when temperatures drop rapidly and the latter town freezes over completely, leaving a boy (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his friends trapped in the city library, with his father (Dennis Quaid) setting out on a desperate trek across the frozen wasteland to come and save him. Though the prospects of global warming (or global meltdown for that matter) aren't particularly attractive in real life either, Emmerich goes all-out without really bothering with the laws of nature for realism's sake. The movie is therefore much maligned amongst the scientific community for its preposterous display of dramatic natural effects supposedly caused by global warming, but the message stands that we had better try to avoid the Earth cooling down or warming up for our own health anyway. Like any disaster movie, the true star of the film is the disaster itself which makes for a highly entertaining watch, while the human drama in-between moments of thrilling calamities is less compelling, at times even obnoxious for getting into the way of the action. Most spectacular is the flooding of New York, despite the overly digital quality of the piece. After that, the big freeze and a wolf attack upon the protagonists provide some more thrills but the best bits have come and gone, though all too brief moments of satire, like Americans crossing their southern border to get into Mexico illegally, generate a good laugh occasionally. Emmerich would find even more stuff to demolish in his disaster flick to-end-all disaster flicks 2012, as the fate of whole mankind and indeed the entire world lies in the balance: after all, the southern hemisphere got off too lightly in this film.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid, Emmy Rossum

Directed by Roland Emmerich

USA: 20th Century-Fox, 2004

donderdag 22 november 2012

Today's Film: Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Dawn of the Dead

Rating: ****/*****, or 8/10

Few remakes ever surpass their predecessors, but this one gets remarkably close, if it's not a definite improvement over the already great original George A. Romero zombie classic from 1978. Zack Snyder, who would go on to direct 300, Watchmen and unfortunately Sucker Punch, first proved his talent for adapting – in this case re-adapting – other people's work with this gripping, gory and hugely entertaining horror flick. A zombie plague engulfs America after which a band of survivors barricades itself in a shopping mall for safety. Tensions run high in the group as its members continue to find themselves attacked by the living dead and eventually a choice must be made: do these people decide to stay in their safe haven where they got everything they need except their freedom, or do they take their chances storming out in an attempt to find out whether there's other people still alive out there in some remote and secure location, with the hopes of joining them. 

The story remains largely the same (except for the absence of a violent, marauding biker gang invading the mall), but the hungry undead are more lethal than ever, this time also adding speed to help satiate their lust for devouring human flesh, making them much easier to take seriously than Romero's slow, lumbering walking dead, thus only enhancing the suspense (and the body count). Fantastic make-up efects galore in this picture, providing a wide array of eerie zombies and disturbing scenes of dismemberment and bloodshed. Still, Snyder doesn't let the gore rule the film, but prefers to locate the horror in the story itself. Of particularly great shock effect is the film's fabulous opening, which starts off very restrained and seemingly normal with a nurse just going home after a hard day's work, going to bed at night and waking up the next morning finding her neighbourhood burning in utter chaos and despair as it has suddenly fallen prey to a zombie apocalypse. Though the movie treats us to many a memorable moment of naked, merciless terror later on, this gruesome opening stands out as its most horrifying scene. The TV show The Walking Dead – though itself based on a graphic novel – would later feature a very similar world of undead post-apocalyptics, clearly inspired by this remake and building on its premise of a ragtag group of survivors trapped in a hellish world ruled by hungry corpses.

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber

Directed by Zack Snyder

USA: Strike Entertainment, 2004

zondag 18 november 2012

I'm back!

I've been gone for quite a while, as some of you might have noticed. I had some nasty start-up problems with my computer, forcing me to return it to the store I bought it from for a full reboot. It's back now (though as of yet without sound...), and thus so am I. However, the status quo has changed. I recently joined MovieScene.nl as an editor and poster of film news and reviews, meaning I'll be posting many items there, some of which I would usually have posted here. I'm sadly not allowed to post the same pieces of writing on both sites, so occasionally you'll find a very short post here with a link redirecting you to my latest item(s) for MovieScene. For The Day the Nerd Stood Still it's not an ideal situation, but it's better than full scale neglect.

Of course I'll continue posting reviews and such here whenever I can (though I seriously have to practice the art of keeping things brief instead of going into to much detail as I did so far, since I'll lack the time for overly long pieces of writing). I also hope to keep updating the Movie Archives continuously, and I have been thinking about making every new entry into a sort of 'Movie of the Day' feature, even though I'll still post movies alphabetically and many movies among them I wouldn't recommend to anyone, but that will only encourage my readers to actually read my work instead of mindlessly assuming the Movie of the Day is any good. For those of you who end up missing this vital piece of information, I apologize in advance for the dreadful movies you will have to endure.

We'll see where things go from here. There's bound to be change, some of it good, some of it not so much, but believe me when I say the Nerd won't be Standing Still for good, even though you might have been inclined to think otherwise due to recent inactivity here.

To the Undiscovered Country! The future...