Terry Gilliam’s Latest Film to Continue?

Following on from Heath Ledger’s unfortunate, accidental death the filming of Terry Gilliam’s latest epic was put on hold. With one of his lead actors dead, Gilliam and the rest of The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus team were faced with an awkward and probably uncomfortable decision – stop the film entirely, or find some other way to do it without Ledger, perhaps using computer animation or a new actor.

Well, according to the BBC they’ve decided to push on with a typically Gilliamesque solution. Ledger’s character will be played by not one, but three of the most outstanding actors in film today – Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law! Depp comes as no surprise, as he and Gilliam work together regularly, but the other two are somewhat from left field. As a Gilliam fan I’ll be waiting to see how he pulls this together, and as a fan of Heath Ledger’s work it’s great to know that his final legacy will make it to the screen with such a ‘supporting’ cast paying tribute to him along the way.

End of the Montel Era

It looks like long term daytime talkshow host Montel Williams is calling it a day. This hits a personal note for me as at Fountain Mobile we ran Montel’s first ever series of text message campaigns, so we got to go see the filming of a show a few year’s back. Looked pretty strange having a line of folks in business suits amidst the usual throngs, but they ‘hid’ us underneath a camera boom so we probably weren’t in the broadcast that much. Never did see it though.

We Heart Beautiful Katamari (Old Skool)

Since both M and I are addicted to ‘We Heart Katamari’, the genius, bizarre game that involves rolling stuff up into a ball (like food, toys, people, countries and so on) we finally bit the bullet and retro-graded to buy the original – Katamari Damacy. So apologies to anyone who expected to see us this weekend.

The original Katamari outing is, strangely enough, almost identical to its sequel. You have the enigmatic/mentally deranged King of All Cosmos giving quests to his son the Prince to restore all the stars to the sky, after an apparent drunk driving accident caused them all to be knocked down. You have the wonderful techno-jazz sound-a-like songs. You have cows and bears that really p*ss you off. You have confusing instructions that make no sense. And, of course, you have to roll. Where the game differs is, unsurprisingly, in the handling of the Katamari, the round ball you use to roll everything up. The game mechanics obviously haven’t been as smoothed off as they are in the sequel – so you sometimes find yourself frustrated/confused/shouting about a situation where the katamari is stuck for no reason, or loses a pile of collected items from a very very slow collision, or just won’t get out of a corner – plus the game designers hadn’t yet implemented the ability to see through walls when they get in the way so sometimes you can’t see where you are… Of course all of this is due to us being used to the sequel, and once you learn to forget the other mechanics the fun is still all there, and that’s the important thing. Really.

The only bad news in all this is that the latest Katamari game – Beautiful Katamari – is only currently out on XBox 360. Dammit! There is a rumour about a Wii version, but who needs yet another reason to yearn for a Wii? Please send answers written on a Nintendo Wii to the usual address.

More Gaiman Stuff in the Works

After many years of wishing everyone would hurry up and put Neil Gaiman’s excellent Sandman books out there as a movie, I’ve now decided that it would probably just upset me and most other folks who have their own Sandman vision in their heads. It’s funny how with books you’d expect this concern, but with Sandman being a comic you might think they’d be no issues – but having seen a few comic conversions recently I’ve realised how much editing they’d have to do and the story is the thing. So I’m happy not to hear of any Sandman movie news. Ever.

That said I’m always happy to hear of more Gaiman related movie news when I’m not so emotionally invested in the books. I loved Stardust, I’m much more tempted to go see Beowulf now I’ve found out Gaiman worked on the script and soon we can see Coraline – an adaptation of one of his wonderful children’s books.

What I’d really love to see out of Sandman is a stand-alone movie, penned by Gaiman and using the characters without impacting the main storyline. That would be awesome.

Colbert back on the Air

Even though the writer’s strike is still on the ever awesome Colbert Report, along with other less wonderful daily shows (sorry Sandra), is back on the air. Woo! Of course now that I’m living in Montreal without cable I have no way of knowing how amazing Stephen is being without a script… unless of course there was some kind of way to see him on the internet or something… Nah. That would never happen because that’s why the writer’s are striking… Oh wait.

And that was a standing ovation of over two minutes… only slightly spoilt by the geeky overweight guy saying ‘I love you, Stephen!’ at the end. We get it. We all love him. He knows, we don’t need to tell him. Doi.

The Darjeeling Unlimited

It’s been a few years since genius film-maker Wes Anderson’s last film, The Life Aquatic, so it was with great pleasure that tonight we went to see his latest, The Darjeeling Limited. Unsurprisingly we weren’t disappointed, Anderson’s trademark visual style has been transposed effortlessly onto an Indian continent backdrop and the story, written by Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, is wonderfully uplifting and melancholic at the same time.

The movie centers around three estranged brothers on a journey across India on the Darjeeling Limited line. Each brother has his own character flaws, and the inter-play between them all is wonderfully engaging. As their journey progresses across the country other colourful characters are introduced, each with varying impact on the brothers and their life trajectories. Family relations, trust, spirituality and escapism are all investigated as the brothers continue their journey, and by the end of the film they are all changed – but for how long is the question given the embedded character flaws that have kept them going up till now.

Darjeeling Limited is a another great film from Anderson, perhaps not his best but it’s hard to tell these things on first watching. The dynamic nature of Life Aquatic is missing somewhat, being replaced more by emotional tones than melodies. If you love Anderson, you’ll love this – and if you’ve never seen his films then this is a great place to start.

Oh, and as a bonus before the main feature there’s a short – Hotel Chevalier – which fills out a sub-plot of the main movie, plus gives you a chance to how short both Natalie Portman and Jason Schwartzman are. Amongst other things.

Guitar Hero Tab: Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by The Rolling Stones

One of my favourite tunes off Guitar Hero II, an amazing game that you should go buy if you don’t already have it, is ‘Can’t you Hear me Knocking’ by the Rolling Stones. It’s a driving, simple but grippin’ blues riff that sticks in your head like super-glue or the latest chart topper by Britney… when she has something that hits the charts that is.

Anyways, as part of my irregular series on guitar practice I decided to tackle this classic tune, or at least Keith’s rhythm part.. which thankfully is relatively simple, once you’ve tuned your guitar to G, and ignored some of the nuances. Like playing guitar with a burning ciggie stuck in your fretboard… To try it yourself check out the tab here.

Ps, if you’re feeling suitably rockin’ after that, go check out some of my mate Alex’s smashing rock t-shirts, for the guitar god in all of us.

Upcoming: Radiohead interview on Monday 19th

Steve Lamacq over at BBC Radio 6 has an interview with Radiohead this coming Monday – 19th November*. This should be interesting listening, as its their first interview since In Rainbows was released online for the wonderful price of ‘whatever you feel like paying’. Also on that page is a great cover of The Smiths from the Radiohead boys which I’ve embedded below:

* Don’t worry if you miss it on the 19th, you can listen to it on the BBC’s player for a week after that.

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Something

For our last night in London we splurged out and went to see Patrick Stuart in Macbeth, at the Gielgud Theatre. There was one word for this performance – outstanding. I’ve never actually seen Macbeth, or Stewart act for that matter, but both the production and the acting from the entire cast kept me riveted to my seat the whole three hours. Great stuff, with an intense modern production, some disturbing effects and fine timing of Shakespeare’s words. Highlights, aside from Patrick Stewart’s amazing Macbeth and Kate Fleetwood’s magnetic Lady Macbeth, were the three sisters as nurses, the sheer gore of the production and the re-enactment of the dinner scene once with and once without the ghost of Banquo. Genius.

As an aside; In an attempt to be ‘organised’ we tried to get tickets yesterday, but it was already sold out as the run finishes 1st December – but they told us that at 10am every day excess premium tickets can come up, so today at 9.56am we got to the counter and got the last two tickets, much to the dismay of the person behind us. So a big thanks to London Underground for getting their act together this morning for a change {:).

The Monty Python Appreciation Society

Many years ago back at school I founded ‘The Monty Python Appreciation Society’, which impressive as it sounds was in fact just an excuse for a gang of us to borrow the school video and watch episodes of Python at lunchtimes. Ah, the joys of being a geek. To be fair we had more reason than many people, as Terry Jones used to be Head Boy at our school, so there was a tenuous link which was exploited to full, lazy effect.

Now thanks to my birthday present from mum I get to relive those school highlights, since I now have the complete box set of Monty Python to enjoy. Amazingly, aside from a few sketches, it stands the test of time admirably and still makes me laugh out loud. Plus there are the quotes. Mmmm… quoteage.