I have a son.
He has a soft Batman toy/teddy. A Batmobile. Various Batman onesies and T-Shirts. And the Batduck, pictured above.
Why do I think he'll like Superman just to spite me?
I love me a bit of Bond and I am currently working my way through John Pearson's 1973 book The Authorised Biography of James Bond. It takes the conceit that Bond was real, knew Ian Fleming and that his adventures were published to make the enemy think he was too fantastical to be real.
Not all the way through yet but it's fun with Pearson weaving in bits of Fleming's life with Bond's and he has a good sense of the action of Bond as well as the attention to details that Fleming adored. As a meta-history it's a lot of fun.
And references to people called Oberhauser and Da Silva would suggest that I am not the only one who has read this book....
I could be accused of blowing my own trumpet, but this is my blog so there...
The film section of the London Critics' Circle, of which I am member, have announced they will be having their first ever award for Best British Short Film which will be part of the annual Critics' Circle Awards in London on January 17th 2016
This was somewhat spearheaded by myself (again, my blog, so you can hear those trumpets blaring) as I thought it was important to give critics the chance to see some great shorts and also give shorts a bit more recognition. Thanks to some great UK film festivals - Leeds, Encounters, Aesthetica, Glasgow and London SFF - we have 5 great nominees and the chance for UK critics to see some brilliant shorts.
Here's to it becoming an annual fixture and the chance for festivals, critics and short filmmakers to all intersect.
You can see the press release here: http://www.criticscircle.org.uk/film/?ID=466
I'll continue the Brussels theme with a picture of the rocket shop from the Tintin adventures Destination Moon and Explorers on the Moon.
It's just such a great design and the fact that there's a massive version at Brussels Airport is just cool...
As I have been in Belgium the past few days, I have been wallowing in the delight of comic shops. I love the country in which I make my home most of the time, but the one thing lacking in Estonia is a comic book culture and - indeed comic shops. Those havens of graphic novels, collectables and - indeed - comics are always missed when they're not there
Of course, I tend not ot buy much. Not only are comic shops on the continent seemingly much more expensive than those in the UK, but the sheer amount of stuff available - and me forgetting where I left off - makes it a bit of a daunting task to know where to start again after so long
I did pick up the first issue of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight III: The Master Race despite the fact that:
a) Miller is a right wing nutjob nowadays (well, he always was but now it's even more obvious)
b) I have no idea where I'll be able to pick up the rest of the parts
c) The Dark Knight Strikes Back was ropy as all hell
Still, it was nice to have a comic book in my hands again after a long time. And if anyone wants to send me the new issues of DKIII, I'll send you sweeties in return
And if you think this is the last time I mention Batman in my Nerdmas blog, then you'll be very much mistaken...
Well, that plan to post every day went out of the window. Well, to be fair I have been away on a jury at the Leuven Short Film Festival in Belgium, so I may as well try and catch up with their poster which was pleasingly based on 80s Computer Games. With a chance to play Pac-Man during the festival as well, it proved to be a collision between two of my great nerd loves. That being films and computer games.
But films are how I earn my living and the computer games have fallen a bit by the wayside. I am thinking that Xmas is the time to catch up with Batman: Arkham Knight. If it actually works for the PC
So I am a Doctor Who fan (Sylvetser McCoy is my favourite. He's the one I grew up with. Deal with it).) From the classic series to the current series with Peter Capaldi, I've always loved the adventures of the Time Lord.
But mostly living is a country where the good Doctor is not part of the cultural fabric (bar the occasional showing on BBC Entertainment and Finnish TV) I was rather surprised to find the above annual in a second hand shop in Tartu (Estonia's second largest city.)
Just what process brought it there? An English immigrant arriving and deciding to leave his nerd past behind him.? A poor Doctor Who fan deciding to visit and the annual was left behind only to find it's way into a second hand store? A curly haired actor with a big grin and mischievous eyes travelling around Europe secreting them in obscure placers fro delighted fans?
We'll never know. Suffice to say, this fan snapped it up and it now nestles safely on my shelf...
I am a geek. A nerd. A fanboy. An idiot manchild who has failed to grow up. Call me what you will.
But in an effort to try and keep posting things on my site on a regular basis (which in turn I hope keeps me more on the ball with my writing and trying to get more done despite the many stresses and strains on my time) I have decided to do a daily thing in which I show off all the nerd bits of my life.
So where better to begin than my advent calendar for this year?
I reviewed latest Bond adventure SPECTRE for Estonian weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress a little while back. As everyone may know, I am a bit of Bond fan ....
Below is the review in English.
Spectres of the Past
If Skyfall proved anything it was how the cinematic version of James Bond seems to be stuck in a strange limbo world in which nostalgia clashes with modernity. One of the most successful entries in to the Bond franchise in many years, the film struck a chord thanks to the relatively strong character development that was placed amongst the numerous well-staged set pieces. But people also yearned for the past – the old style of Bond films with the numerous silly gadgets and the bad puns and the outrageously monikered villains. Spectre is an exercise in trying to stylistically marry the past and future of the franchise that – while not always successful – shows the Bond formula will continue to work for many years to come.
Narratively the film treads a relatively simplistic path: Bond finds himself on the trail of a mysterious criminal organisation. It soon becomes clear that its ties to him are much more personal than at first glance. As 007 investigates the organisation and his own past, the UK sees the possibility of the ‘00’ section being shut down with the creation of a global network of surveillance making them obsolete. Can Bond and MI6 make it in a new world?
Director Sam Mendes has certainly delivered a film of technical bravura. The opening section – set during the Day Of The Dead in Mexico – is a masterclass in creating action cinema while other sequences (such as a cleverly staged fight scene on a train) are also used to celebrate Bond films of the past by echoing the likes of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and From Russia With Love.
As good as the action is when it’s presented, the film’s pacing is a little off. While it’s fun to see Bond actually doing his job (using his intelligence to uncover the plans of the bad guys) there are long swathes of plot development before a climax that almost seems to come out of nowhere. Similarly, the constant reminder of Bond’s relationship to the villain (as well as the connection of the film to Craig’s previous three efforts as 007) feel much too contrived (even for a Bond film). It would have been more effective just to have Bond battle bad guys simply because they are bad, rather than having to add an extra grudge to raise the personal stakes.
That said, the film’s comment of surveillance and the powers of the government are somewhat interesting – especially as we live in the times of Edward Snowden – and there is some nice investigation of Bond’s role in the modern world.
The performances are good. Craig has slightly lightened up his Bond (at least managing to give a nod to a few more Roger Moore-esque jokes) and Lea Seydoux is vulnerable yet tough as Dr Madeline Swann. Christoph Waltz clearly enjoys playing the main villain of the piece flitting between been calm menace and gleeful lunacy and Dave Bautista deserves praise as Hinx, a throwback to the hulking yet silent henchmen of old.
Spectre is flawed as it feels as if it tries to do much at once and it clearly shows in the narrative and pacing. Yet there are a number of great moments that do make it a worthy and memorable edition to the Bond canon – and to blockbuster cinema in general. But with an ending that could work very well as a farewell to Craig, it will be interesting to see where Bond’s travels take him and whether the franchise embraces its past or heads to a different future
Steve Jobs (Dir Danny Boyle, 2015 - Seen on 29.11.2015 at Black Nights Film Festival)
*Interesting choice to take three launches of Jobs’ products to tell the story of the man behind the success of Apple. It provides a certain focus but it means the dialogue has to sometimes flit into the realms of tortuous exposition.
*Nice opening with archive footage of Arthur C Clarke explaining how computers will soon be in every home
*There’s a moment when Jobs washes his feet: the religious allegory seems plain. While the film never outright goes for him having a God complex, when someone says to him “Things don’t become so because you say so,” indicates some of the feelings towards him
*Very insular and stagey. This could almost be a stage play but Boyle tries to imbue it with cinematic life. But the literal stage settings bring forth the idea of jobs being a cultural icon as much as he was a technical one
*Fassbender very dialled back. His Jobs is a quiet egomaniac. Winslet as Mac head of marketing Johanna Hoffman is actually the stand out here.
*Moments are specifically designed to remind us we are watching a film and only getting one side of a story. Links in well with everything regarding Jobs’ own self-mythologizing and ability to manipulate the press.
*It’s been said before but is there any modern director with such a lack of distinctive ‘style’ than Danny Boyle. Steven Soderbergh perhaps?
*Nice line: “Hollywood: they made computers scary things”