Archive for April 5, 2008

Lost in Cyberspace

Posted in FILM, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2008 by dcairns

When you run a blog on WordPress, one of the handy features they give you (when they’re not totally changing the format and functions without warning, while leaving the “Help” section unmodified), is a guide to the search terms people use each day to find the blog.

Why are you all so strange? Some of the search requests are so specific to Shadowplay that I have to assume somebody’s not bothered to bookmark me and just uses a different weird search every time they want to find the site. But the ones I like best are the deeply peculiar requests that are in no way going to find satisfaction here, but which coincide in some peculiar way with some turn of phrase I’ve used or some subject I’ve mentioned in passing, like Walpamur Petrifying Liquid.

Here are a few:

The Great War Zeppelin (quite a popular one, this. All I did was mention Zeppo Marx.)

Giant squid (probably THE most popular search. Why, people?)

Songs with the word shovel (just BEAUTIFUL. I wanna party with this guy.)

Jessica Rabbit nude (very popular, beaten only by Angelina Jolie.)

Shelley Duvall fake (I’m slightly mystified.)

Williams Syndrome pictures (People, you need to learn about Google image search.)

Pittsburgh films Demonlover (Not sure I’ve ever mentioned the Olivier Assayas movie DEMONLOVER, which I like a lot, but I have mentioned the city of Pittsburgh in connection to George Romero, I think.)

Arthur Clarke pederast (I became the web’s top source on this pressing issue when the Great Man died. Sorry, Art.)

Videos feet smelling (No comment.)

Cut her hair really short.

Rot wang.

Balloo emote (I love this one like a brother.)

Shorter people quotes (?)

Surreal train (OK, you got me, I’m hooked. Now please EXPLAIN.)

Mathew Broderick on March 15th, 2008 (Intriguing, but I’m damned if I’m going to Google this in turn to try and find out what he was up to. Give the man his privacy!)

Mans final breath.

Sexual mental hospital stories.

Lactulose (Which leads folks unerringly to MY MOST POPULAR POST EVER.)

The worst toilet in Scotland (Somebody wants to find it?)

Stolen ambles (OK, now I’m officially FREAKED OUT.)

Wigs sex (Well, sure, we’ve all done this, right?)

I’m gonna open up your gate Phaedra song.

Smeel feet movies (If anything, MORE disturbing than “Videos feet smelling” since it conjures the image of a horribly stupid person with a somewhat disgusting and comical fetish. Stay on the internet! Avoid reality!)

There is a post to be written about what John Waters calls “shrimpers” in the cinema, a field taking in not only Tarantino but also probably Bunuel. But I’m not ready to write it!

Spartan furnishings

Posted in Comics, FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2008 by dcairns

The digital epic look of “300”, interestingly enough, was nearly prefigured by Oliver Stone’s sprawling arse-marathon ALEXANDER.

That lacklustre blockbuster had a long and involved gestation, as Stone tried and failed to set the colossal project up at different studios.

The film was going to cost 400 million, and that was deemed TOO MUCH by one interested-but-not-THAT-interested studio. So it became a question of shaving off 100 mill, and that was attempted by looking at different countries to shoot in. Hungary? Morocco? Thailand? But there IS no country where you can shave off 100 mill just by going there.

The assistant director boarded a plane to fly to a meeting with Stone. His reading material was the new draft of the script. The first thing he noticed was that it was now fifty pages longer…

He arrives at the meeting. Stone bursts in, possibly flying high on a variety of herbs and spices. “David Lean is dead! I don’t want to make this film out of some third-world hotel — we’ll shoot it in L.A. and C.G. everything in.”

The AD gently tried to explain: “What you’re doing there is, you’re adding ANOTHER $100 million to the special effects budget.”

ALEXANDER finally happened, at another studio, minus the CGI and with a different AD. And so did “300”, a movie conceived from scratch as a CGI reinvention of the epic. Jettisoning any idea of reality and scale, it concentrated on flash and sizzle and pop-promo panache. It also ignored historical reality and conjured an aesthetic that, however hamfisted, works. As my costume designer says, whatever you think of the hotpants look modelled by King Leonidas and his Spartan leather boys, it’s an effective aesthetic that suits the film. The historically correct nappies modelled in ALEXANDER do nothing for the characters’ dignity, and the real sets and locations and elephants give the film that cumbersome quality we associate with so many bad historical epics from Hollywood’s past.

shiny nappy people

A sad thing about “300” — it has its origins in comic-book writer childhood Frank Miller’s viewing of the old Rudolph Maté movie 300 SPARTANS, a smarter-than-average ancient world romp. As the movie rumbled to its inevitable Carthaginian solution, little Frank started to fear the worst. “Are they all going to die?” he asked his dad. It was a revelation to him that a movie, and indeed history, could end that way.

300 SPARTANS ends with the glorious defeat. The 2006 “300” ends with the beginning of another battle, one that we are told will be victorious. It’s the same Hollywood Ending as BRAVEHEART and PEARL HARBOR — follow a historical defeat with a grafted-on victory to create a spurious hapy ending that’s literally strayed in from a different movie or a different page of the history books.


The result of this bowdlerisation is that little boys seeing “300” (and despite certification we know they’ll see it in their millions) will be denied the transfiguring experience little Frank shared with his pop all those years ago, when he realised the cathartic force of tragedy (Hollywood style).