Robin Williams was one of those actors that you kind of took for granted. He may not have been majorly in the public eye during recent years but there was a certain amount of comfort in the thought that he was quietly kicking about somewhere, doing his thing and making people laugh. A lot has been said during the past few hours as those who had worked with him pay their heartfelt respect but they are few compared to the number of fans he leaves behind. We’ve already heard from those who have lost a friend, a colleague, someone they knew – which makes it all the more strange for us: the fans; the people who felt like we knew him purely due to the impact and longevity of his work. It’s a bizarre and almost irrational thing – to develop an emotional response over the death of someone who you’ve never even met, and yet you only need take one look at Twitter today to see how many people are sharing the same feeling.
Author Archives: simonbland
That Rhys Darby. He’s a funny bloke, aye.
His stuff in Short Poppies and Flight of the Conchords was hilarious, aye?
And his new one, What We Do In The Shadows…That looks great, ayyye!?
Confused. Me to. The phrase ‘aye’ is huge in New Zealand. Chances are you heard it banded around every few minutes during Flight of the Conchords by its comically gifted Kiwi cast but exactly how and when should it be used in everyday conversation?
A few weeks ago I caught up with Rhys Darby (AKA Conchords manager Murray Hewitt) for a quick chat ahead of his current UK stand-up tour. Before our interview came to an end, I thought it’d be a crime to pass up the chance to get a first-hand tutorial from the ‘Aye’-master himself. What follows is a dissection of the phrase and a detailed explanation of how you can incorporate it into your day-to-day life.
That’s good, aye.
2014 marks the 30 year anniversary of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, one of the most controversial sequels in geek culture. Immediate reaction to this dark prequel wasn’t kind. After all, it sees our fedora wearing hero flung into the depths of occult madness and child slavery. No easy sell. Story man George Lucas was to blame for the film’s divisive tone, hoping to utilize the same brooding uncertainty that made The Empire Strikes Back so popular to Indy’s advantage. Fans didn’t really agree and a few years later even director Steven Spielberg admitted it was a risky move and one he wasn’t quite sure paid off.
Time has a way of providing perspective though and with two more Indiana Jones sequels available to fans (one golden, one made of questionable crystal), Temple of Doom feels deservant of a second look. Here’s 14 reasons why Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the one of the most underrated follow ups of all time…
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Reboots divide audiences. Some people like them, most people hate them. Here, I’ll explain how to reboot a classic movie in the most annoying way possible. That way, if the President of Hollywood just so happens to stumble upon this feature, he or she will find a handy guide of what NOT to do. Then they’ll ignore it and do it anyway. First up, JAWS.
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Philomena is the sobering tale of one mother’s quest for closure and the cold brutality of religion. In alternative hands, its rich, real-life subject matter would have no doubt made for a compelling documentary, complete with unexpected twists, turns and plenty of tears. Instead, Philomena Lee’s story is presented to us through the filter of comedian Steve Coogan, whose ability to coerce droplets of delicious dry humour out of this most shocking of stories is a welcome relief. It’s Coogan’s screenplay – and Stephen Frears’ warm directing skills – which transform this story from a heartbreaking drama into something funny, thought provoking and oddly heartwarming.
Ron Howard’s Rush draw you in faster than one of its finely tuned Formula One racecars. The movie’s ability to keep you on tenterhooks in spite of its arguably niché subject matter is admirable to say the least. However, in terms of captivating real-life dramas, Howard and his cast couldn’t be working with a juicier tale. This is a dark re-imagining of the classic rabbit and hare parable made all the more tense by its reality-based stakes. With glory or failure and life or death hanging in the balance, this fast paced duel-biopic is enough to get even the most flat tyred racing fan revved up.
At the tail end of 2012 I was lucky enough to chat with newcomer director Jordan Galland. It was an exciting time for him, he’d just put the finishing touches on his new movie Alter Egos, a down-to-earth tale following a group of not-so-super superheroes struggling with the pressures of everyday life. He’d also just secured distribution by Red State director Kevin Smith’s brand new company, SModcast Pictures.
The chat was due to appear in a 2013 issue of SFX, however due to the complex timing that sometimes comes with long-lead print deadlines and the film’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it UK premier and cinema run, the piece sadly fell through the cracks. I had a great time talking to Jordan however and always hated the fact that the piece never saw the light of day. After contacting Jordan’s PR people I was recently given the go-ahead to publish the Q&A in full right here on my blog. By now the film has been available on various streaming outlets and DVD for a while, so some of you should have had a chance to see it. If not, go check it out!
Did you watch it? Are you back? Great stuff, right?
In the meantime, here’s my full interview with Jordan Galland where we discuss filming super powers on a budget, composing a score with his buddy Sean Lennon, working with indie-movie king Kevin Smith and talk of an Alter Egos TV show…Enjoy!