Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update on Writing a Movie in 21 Days

Okay, so I didn't manage to write a movie in 21 days. But I did manage it in less than a month and a half, which means since Christmas I've knocked out the best part of two movies. Plus I have to say, the actual process of writing All I Want for Christmas was the easiest I've encountered yet, and the first draft is actually pretty decent. So sincere thanks to Viki King and her crazy but brilliant book!

I'm now thinking of cranking out a first draft of my movie set in the UAE....

Update on Writing a Movie in 21 Days

Okay, so I didn't manage to write a movie in 21 days. But I did manage it in less than a month and a half, which means since Christmas I've knocked out the best part of two movies. Plus I have to say, the actual process of writing All I Want for Christmas was the easiest I've encountered yet, and the first draft is actually pretty decent. So sincere thanks to Viki King and her crazy but brilliant book!

I'm now thinking of cranking out a first draft of my movie set in the UAE....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back to the Eighties

It's not often you go and see a film without high hopes and get pleasantly surprised. Too many times it's the other way around (thank you, Watchmen).

So I was glad to see 17 Again, a film I really only went to see for Matthew Perry's sarcastic schtick. This schtick, however, was not in evidence and if the film was relying on Perry for laughs it would have fallen flat. Thankfully it has the energetic and amusing Zac Efron to make up for any other shortcomings.

Efron plays the younger version of Mike O'Donnell, a high-school basketball star who back in 1989 decides to give up his hopes of a sports scholarship to stand by his pregnant girlfriend. In the present day, now played by Perry, Mike's life has been a bitter disaster as he spends his time thinking of what might have been. His wife is divorcing him, his kids hate him and his younger colleagues are being promoted over him.

A chance encounter with a mysterious janitor at his old school leads to Mike falling off a bridge and finding himself back in his younger body. Cue fun and games as he tries to negotiate life as a 35 year old man in a 17 year old's body, going back to high school and coming face to face with his rather unhappy kids.

I've never seen any of the High School Musical films; in fact the only previous part I'd seen Zac Efron in was Hairspray but he really impresses as Mike in this movie and it would be far less entertaining without him. He is ably supported by Leslie Mann as his soon-to-be ex-wife and the brilliant Thomas Lennon as his nerdy high school friend turned internet millionaire.

I dare you to see this heartwarming comedy flick and not laugh (a lot).

Back to the Eighties

It's not often you go and see a film without high hopes and get pleasantly surprised. Too many times it's the other way around (thank you, Watchmen).

So I was glad to see 17 Again, a film I really only went to see for Matthew Perry's sarcastic schtick. This schtick, however, was not in evidence and if the film was relying on Perry for laughs it would have fallen flat. Thankfully it has the energetic and amusing Zac Efron to make up for any other shortcomings.

Efron plays the younger version of Mike O'Donnell, a high-school basketball star who back in 1989 decides to give up his hopes of a sports scholarship to stand by his pregnant girlfriend. In the present day, now played by Perry, Mike's life has been a bitter disaster as he spends his time thinking of what might have been. His wife is divorcing him, his kids hate him and his younger colleagues are being promoted over him.

A chance encounter with a mysterious janitor at his old school leads to Mike falling off a bridge and finding himself back in his younger body. Cue fun and games as he tries to negotiate life as a 35 year old man in a 17 year old's body, going back to high school and coming face to face with his rather unhappy kids.

I've never seen any of the High School Musical films; in fact the only previous part I'd seen Zac Efron in was Hairspray but he really impresses as Mike in this movie and it would be far less entertaining without him. He is ably supported by Leslie Mann as his soon-to-be ex-wife and the brilliant Thomas Lennon as his nerdy high school friend turned internet millionaire.

I dare you to see this heartwarming comedy flick and not laugh (a lot).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sun, Sand and Boats

I’m back from the sun and sand (lots and lots of sand) in the UAE and am contemplating an idea for a script set there. To be honest, you can’t go to the Emirates and not think of movie ideas – the place is just so cinematic.

Meanwhile I’m chugging along with the Christmas movie, which is nearly done, and loving the nice weather this weekend. Went to see The Boat That Rocked last night – have to say, I really enjoyed it. A lot of critics seem to reckon it’s immature humour: well then, I have an immature sense of humour. The soundtrack is great and the performances are all good, in particular the magnificent Bill Nighy and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who I’d pay to watch in anything. Worth a look, whatever Michael Dwyer thinks.

Sun, Sand and Boats

I’m back from the sun and sand (lots and lots of sand) in the UAE and am contemplating an idea for a script set there. To be honest, you can’t go to the Emirates and not think of movie ideas – the place is just so cinematic.

Meanwhile I’m chugging along with the Christmas movie, which is nearly done, and loving the nice weather this weekend. Went to see The Boat That Rocked last night – have to say, I really enjoyed it. A lot of critics seem to reckon it’s immature humour: well then, I have an immature sense of humour. The soundtrack is great and the performances are all good, in particular the magnificent Bill Nighy and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who I’d pay to watch in anything. Worth a look, whatever Michael Dwyer thinks.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

12 Rounds, No Knockout

Just saw a new action movie called 12 Rounds in the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, in the company of the largest number of men dressed in white dish dashas (traditional men's dress) I've ever seen.

I actually thought this one could be a winner, directed as it was by action-helmer Renny Harlin. Then again, Harlin did Die Hard 2 (excellent) AND Speed 2 (execrable). Unfortunately this one is more of a Speed 2 type of experience. On the good side, it's not out in Ireland until late May, so I've had a pretty good preview.

WWF wrestler John Cena plays a New Orleans cop called Danny Fisher who almost by accident, takes down international criminal Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen with an utterly bizarre accent). A year later, Jackson breaks out of prison and kidnaps Fisher's girlfriend Molly, forcing him to take part in 12 impossible tasks to win her back. The tasks range from rescuing a very fat man from a lift that's about to drop 20 storeys, to saving the occupants of a tram car with no brakes, to stopping a bomb on a bus. Yes, that last one might seem familiar....

And that's not the only plot device lifted from Speed. We have Fisher's almost comically-doomed police partner, who's the brains of the operation and gets wounded in the opening sequence. There's Fisher's house getting blown up with an innocent character inside (just like the bus at the start of Speed).

Despite being incredibly derivative, I did enjoy this utterly brainless action flick. John Cena might not be winning any Oscars soon but he is an engaging leading character and in fact is no more wooden than Keanu Reeves in, um, Speed. The weak link in my opinion is Gillen, who's not remotely convincing as an evil mastermind. I kept giggling whenever he appeared on screen. Bring back Dennis Hopper!!!

12 Rounds, No Knockout

Just saw a new action movie called 12 Rounds in the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi, in the company of the largest number of men dressed in white dish dashas (traditional men's dress) I've ever seen.

I actually thought this one could be a winner, directed as it was by action-helmer Renny Harlin. Then again, Harlin did Die Hard 2 (excellent) AND Speed 2 (execrable). Unfortunately this one is more of a Speed 2 type of experience. On the good side, it's not out in Ireland until late May, so I've had a pretty good preview.

WWF wrestler John Cena plays a New Orleans cop called Danny Fisher who almost by accident, takes down international criminal Miles Jackson (Aiden Gillen with an utterly bizarre accent). A year later, Jackson breaks out of prison and kidnaps Fisher's girlfriend Molly, forcing him to take part in 12 impossible tasks to win her back. The tasks range from rescuing a very fat man from a lift that's about to drop 20 storeys, to saving the occupants of a tram car with no brakes, to stopping a bomb on a bus. Yes, that last one might seem familiar....

And that's not the only plot device lifted from Speed. We have Fisher's almost comically-doomed police partner, who's the brains of the operation and gets wounded in the opening sequence. There's Fisher's house getting blown up with an innocent character inside (just like the bus at the start of Speed).

Despite being incredibly derivative, I did enjoy this utterly brainless action flick. John Cena might not be winning any Oscars soon but he is an engaging leading character and in fact is no more wooden than Keanu Reeves in, um, Speed. The weak link in my opinion is Gillen, who's not remotely convincing as an evil mastermind. I kept giggling whenever he appeared on screen. Bring back Dennis Hopper!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Etihad have the best in-flight movies. Period.

Flew to Abu Dhabi last night - I have to just say that Etihad airlines have the best food (even in economy), the best noise-cancelling headsets (was even able to ignore a toddler called Suleiman who wouldn't shut up) and the best range of movies and TV shows. You can pick from about 30 new releases and about another 30 old films, not to mention dozens of TV shows. You can even watch Bollywood movies!

I watched Boiler Room, a rather lame movie I'd never seen the end of, and the classic Rebel Without a Cause. I'd never seen Rebel all the way through. What really hits you when you see it is how incredibly influential it was. Everything about James Dean's performance, from his voice to his dress sense, has been copied so many times - and not just in other movies (music videos, fashion shoots etc etc). I personally think Robert Attinson is ripping off Dean's image at the moment in the Twilight movies (the quiff, the moody attitude). And leaving aside Dean completely, other elements of the film like the disaffected teens, the one sympathetic cop, the chicken race - are all now movie staples.

But the biggest shock - Dennis Hopper as one of the bad guy's gang! 18-year-old Dennis Hopper! Really weird to begin with but he was brilliant even then.

Can't wait til the return flight - that is how much of a movie nerd I am....

Etihad have the best in-flight movies. Period.

Flew to Abu Dhabi last night - I have to just say that Etihad airlines have the best food (even in economy), the best noise-cancelling headsets (was even able to ignore a toddler called Suleiman who wouldn't shut up) and the best range of movies and TV shows. You can pick from about 30 new releases and about another 30 old films, not to mention dozens of TV shows. You can even watch Bollywood movies!

I watched Boiler Room, a rather lame movie I'd never seen the end of, and the classic Rebel Without a Cause. I'd never seen Rebel all the way through. What really hits you when you see it is how incredibly influential it was. Everything about James Dean's performance, from his voice to his dress sense, has been copied so many times - and not just in other movies (music videos, fashion shoots etc etc). I personally think Robert Attinson is ripping off Dean's image at the moment in the Twilight movies (the quiff, the moody attitude). And leaving aside Dean completely, other elements of the film like the disaffected teens, the one sympathetic cop, the chicken race - are all now movie staples.

But the biggest shock - Dennis Hopper as one of the bad guy's gang! 18-year-old Dennis Hopper! Really weird to begin with but he was brilliant even then.

Can't wait til the return flight - that is how much of a movie nerd I am....