The old saying goes that there's only 7 stories in Hollywood and the studios find new ways to tell them over and over. That's not far from the truth and usually they're able to find new and different angles so that unsuspecting audiences are nonethewiser (well, the average movie-goer anyway). Buddy-cop movies, rom-coms, teen-coms... they're all the same but the good ones always have a new hook or something different to offer. But there are two formulas, which never change and never will.
What is it about coaches & teams and teachers & students? For decades Hollywood studios have pumped out one after the other, the next the same as the last. You all know the formulas and, in fact, both are the same. A losing team is inspired by a new coach or a rowdy classroom is inspired by a new teacher... these are proven, sure-fire hits and there must be a reason we flock to them, despite having seen it all before. What is there to gain from watching REMEMBER THE TITANS if you've already seen COACH CARTER? And if you loved TO SIR WITH LOVE then what's the point of watching DANGEROUS MINDS?
I guess we can relate. We've all been students and most of us will have had that one teacher who inspired great things... or that one coach who encouraged you to be all that you could be. Most of us are good people and want the best from one another and stories of triumph instill a sense of belief in ourselves. Perhaps subconsciously they perpetuate a driving force in us to always grow and learn. The quality of most of these films is excellent. From classics like BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, GOODBYE MR CHIPS, TO SIR WITH LOVE to modern re-tellings like DEAD POETS SOCIETY, DANGEROUS MINDS AND FREEDOM WRITERS - if they weren't all so generic, they could be considered exceptional.
The popularity and longevity of this formula proves that we love them. The fact that they never change shows that we don't really want them to either. So what is it that you get out of these films? Are you a fan or more specifically, are you a closet fan? I would love to hear different thoughts. Please join the discussion.
MONSTER FEST is upon us and it's shaping up to be a ripper. Over the past few months Monster Pictures have been teasing us with little snippets of what lies in store and last Friday selected guests were invited to Monster HQ for the official launch party. It was a great night of drinking, mingling and Amazonian tribal dancing (ah huh). I was one of the first guests to arrive and was warmly greeted by Monster's two leading men, Neil Foley and Grant Hardie. It seems I was well known to them and they both welcomed me to their devious abode. The place was decked out with MONSTER FEST 2013 posters and one fucking awesome heavy-duty cardboard standee. The festival artwork had only been revealed earlier that day and it was all so fresh and exciting. They've outdone themselves this year.
Following the promo video the rest of the night was more mingle time. Neil and Co. made their final speech by thanking everyone for their support and wished us all a happy festival. I have been to all kinds of film functions and gatherings but I have never felt so welcomed. Monster do it for the fans (us) and they go above and beyond to embrace each and every one of us. They are a one of a kind mob.
Scattered around the room were the new festival programs. I picked up a couple and briefly scoured the line-up. A few of us tried to discuss what was on offer but with the loud buzz of chatter it was tricky. It was clear that there was plenty for us to get stuck into and when I got home later that evening I went through the program with a highlighter and marked all of the films I want to see... hmm, the whole program was fluoro from my markings. lol. You can see for yourself. Click HERE to visit the official MONSTER FEST pozible page where you can purchase/pledge tickets and download the program.
And so I will be spending a lot of time at Cinema Nova this November, consuming copious amounts of horror films. I am particularly looking forward to watching the 40th anniversary of THE EXORCIST with special guest, Linda Blair. And of course BIG ASS SPIDER is a drawcard film for me too - y'all know my penchant for creature feature B-movies - Bring that shit on. Some other definites for me include THE JUNGLE, CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY VANILLA and ACROSS THE RIVER - just to name some.
While I wont be able to manage EVERY single session at MONSTER FEST I will do my best share it with you. I will also endeavor to link you to other people's blogs and comments to help bring you a comprehensive account of the event. I am pumped and hope that those of you in Melbourne will be able to see some of the films too. November cannot come soon enough!
Inspired by a conversation this morning on Facebook I thought I would take this moment to look at some movies, which have been shat upon with alternative titles. Being based in Melbourne I am posting this from a local perspective and so most of these are the names given to Australian releases. Some of them will apply to other territories and of course the same thing often happens in reverse (ie Mad Max 2 V The Road Warrior).
The reasons for these alternative titles is varied. Sometimes it's a reasonable maneuver to avoid confusion with a previously release. For example Phantasm was renamed The Never Dead so it wasn't mistaken for Fantasm (funny that they chose a name that can suck Evil Dead fans in). That reason is fair enough... but then there are stupid decisions, which are nothing more than a patronising attempt to capitalise on an established property. A great example is John Landis's Innocent Blood. Because he previously made An American Werewolf in London and so the Aussie distributor decided to release the movie as A French Vampire in America. Naturally this causesconfusion and some people approached it as a sequel. Landis himself was a vocal opponent to the change.
Check out these Australian release posters and click them to see what their real titles are. Perhaps you only know them by their Aussie names, in which case the original titles might come as a surprise. This list only scratches the surface and I reckon it's a great opportunity for discussion. Do you prefer the alternative titles? Are you strongly opposed to them? Can you name some more? JUMP IN!
Uwe Boll cops a bad rap. People slag him off as a hack and one of the worst (if not THE worst) directors of all time... and yet amusingly if you listed all of his movies these same people will tell you how crap each of them are - Hey wait a minute - If these people hate him so much then why do they keep returning for more? Surely if he sucked so much they wouldn't bother. But they do and the reason is simple. They enjoy his movies and they enjoy attacking him in equal measure. I've never understood aggressive criticism. If his work was entirely bad then okay, but that's not the case with Boll's catalogue. As with all things taste is subjective and what floats your boat might sink someone else's. Spielberg and Scorsese - Uwe Boll aint... but his work deserves a little more generosity than what is granted. There's no question that he's made some stinkers but there's some genuinely interesting and entertaining movies amongst them. Movies like Postal, Seed, Tunnel Rats, Darfur, Max Schmeling and Rampage clearly demonstrate a man with film making talent. This is a man who works independently and enthusiastically and while his fundraising methods and financial performances are debatable, the films themselves (even when bad) are visually arresting. I am always generous with directors and movies in general and I prefer to look at things optimistically. No writer or director sets out to make shit and when they do... I look for some redemption. Some stars who have appeared in his films include Ben Kingsley, Jason Statham, Ron Pearlman and Ray Liotta (amongst others). While them agreeing to appear in such projects is financially motivated, these are people who aren't short of work and could easily afford to decline the opportunity. It would seem to me that they consider Boll a director worth working with. I love cult cinema and I love b-movies and my geeky perspective regards Uwe Boll as an undervalued, underrated and misunderstood figure... and if that costs me respect, then THIS.