It is difficult to sum up the body of work of director Terry Gilliam in one word, but perhaps by default “erratic” would be the necessary adjective, in the subject matter he address, his approach to those themes, in the style and structure of his films, and the frequency of their appearance. It was 2009 when his last feature was released, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
, brilliantly reconceived when Heath Ledger tragically died during production, his remaining scenes completed by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as different manifestations of Ledger’s character, yet 2005 had seen two Gilliam productions released, both The Brothers Grimm
, long held back for studio alterations, and the acclaimed Tideland
To say that a film based on a realtively unknown comic has become, in the space of two and a half minutes, the most anticipated movie of 2014 is a testament to the power of advertising, but the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer has been greeted with near universal acclaim, and it looks like it should be a fun movie that’s certainly scored a complement of excellent actors, but that joy has been eclipsed by the vitriol that has greeted the announcement of the casting for the Fantastic Four reboot.
With a resume which includes Scarface, The Untouchables, Casualties of War, Carlito's Way, The Black Dahlia and the first cinematic Mission: Impossible, the name Brian De Palma is synonymous with action and crime thrillers, though he has also adapted his style to another genre with the two supernatural chillers he created in the late seventies, Carrie and The Fury, but within his extensive credits is another supernatural fantasy featuring deception, blackmail, revenge, false imprisonment and murder, yet set within the structure of a rock musical.
Hailing from sunny Canberra, Australia, Ryan K Lindsay is a talented and prolific writer, both for and about comics. From his shorts with publishers such as ComixTribe, Shadowline and Challenger to his work on franchises such as Ghost Town and My Little Pony, Ryan has an impressive and expanding portfolio and also edited The Devil is in the Details, a volume of essays on Daredevil. Ryan demonstrates a depth of understanding for the medium of comics that has both garnered him acclaim and put him firmly at the top of many ‘one-to-watch’ lists of rising star creators. Despite his being a full-time teacher on top of a prolific writing schedule, Ryan generously gave some of his precious time to talk about his projects as well as his thoughts on his craft and his experiences as a creator in the current comic climate.
The themes of humanity versus machine and humanity alongside machine have been explored in minute detail through science fiction novels, films and television, from Dennis Feltham Jones' 1966 novel Colossus, filmed in 1970 as Colossus: The Forbin Project, Philip K Dick's 1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? best known as the basis of Blade Runner, through to the HAL 9000 unit of 2001 A Space Odyssey, the murderous Hector of Saturn 3, Ulysses of Making Mr Right, the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica, the lovebot Lenore of Serenity and on both sides of the case the various Terminator units.
The world is overpopulated. Resources are dwindling. Before long we’re going to exhaust the planet we live on. This isn’t just part of the plot of Exit Generation, by Sam Read and Caio Olivera, it’s a worrying truth of the modern world, a truth Sam Read picks up and runs with, beginning with the evacuation of Earth for greener pastures, but the story really takes place one awesome twist and twenty years later.
Now in its tenth year, the Glasgow Film Festival continues to expand with major premieres including Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem starring Christoph Waltz and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, exciting offerings from European and Scandinavian cinema and it has also become the second home of FrightFest, which dominates the last weekend of the festival, with many of the screenings attended by directors and stars. With only twenty four hours in a day, Geek Chocolate crammed in as much of the packed programme as possible.
Imagine, if you will, a world in which a non-human, bow-tie-wearing super-genius takes his human companion(s) on various adventures in his time machine which also happen to act as thinly-veiled history lessons for the children in the audience. The time machine even includes a universal translator which makes everyone they encounter appear to speak English! No, it's not the Doctor, but Mr Peabody, a talking dog and billionaire aesthete whose adventures in space and time precede our favourite Time Lord's by several years, with the characters of Peabody, the genius dog and his adopted human son Sherman first airing in the late fifties as educational animations in the Rocky and Bullwinkle television series.
The tenth film to be released in the Marvel cinematic universe and the second this year following on from the spring release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy is a leftfield choice in the deep space location, the obviously more humorous style and that while it takes the lead of The Avengers in featuring an ensemble, unlike that mighty crushing blockbuster cast, none of the characters featured have been established in their own lead up movies or are well known beyond the, admittedly expansive, field of comic enthusiasts. Also strange is the choice of director, James Gunn, a man with extensive screenwriting experience but whose best known feature as director was his 2006 debut, the science fiction comedy horror mashup Slither, which failed to make a significant impact at the box office. While the characters may be unknown the cast is possibly one of the strongest Marvel have assembled, most with experience in drama and comedy, indicating that action and laughs are to be the order of the day.
Returning to the world of 2000AD’s figurehead character and the definitive dystopian future lawman Judge Joseph Dredd, faithfully brought to the screen in 2012’s magnificent Dredd, Underbelly both expands the movie’s version of Mega City One and manages to hold true to the movie’s heady and intoxicating blend of breakneck pacing and smartly executed ultra violence.