Archive for the Sound & Vision Category

Storyboard Still from an Abandoned Music Video #5

Posted in Lovely pictures, Sound & Vision on April 26, 2012 by brunswick

Storyboard Still from an Abandoned Music Video #4

Posted in Lovely pictures, Sound & Vision on April 19, 2012 by brunswick

Storyboard Still from an Abandoned Music Video #3

Posted in Lovely pictures, Sound & Vision on April 12, 2012 by brunswick

Storyboard Still from an Abandoned Music Video #2

Posted in Lovely pictures, Sound & Vision on April 6, 2012 by brunswick

Storyboard Still from an Abandoned Music Video #1

Posted in Lovely pictures, Sound & Vision on April 3, 2012 by brunswick

The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton by Noel Fielding

Posted in Graphic Novel review, Sound & Vision on April 1, 2012 by brunswick

The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton
by Noel Fielding
Canongate, 2011

The Mighty Boosh was one of the most art-designed British comedy shows in years. Just as the “look” of Monty Python will always be defined by Terry Gilliam’s gleefully violent cut-outs, the Boosh’s memorably colourful, angular cartoony design style was seen in everything from the homemade costumes (Polo mint accessories and broadly-applied face paint) to the show’s title sequence.

This book is a collection of Noel Fielding’s non-Boosh artwork, mostly large acrylic canvases with the occasional surreal short story thrown in. Would it have been published if he weren’t on the telly? Probably not, but it’s still lots of fun. Some of it’s a bit like a Level 2 NCEA art portfolio, particularly the fannish portraits of the Stones and Ramones, but this is taken to amusing lengths in an installation featuring a terrified Fielding cowering in bed surrounded by portraits of Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry.

The last Boosh project to date was Journey of the Childmen, a draggy behind-the scenes documentary from their 2008 tour which revealed a depressed and drugged-out Fielding. The job clearly wasn’t fun anymore, a decline which can be seen by comparing their two tour DVDs. It’s good to see that he’s regained his enthusiasm in Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy, a brightly coloured high-sugar low-budget romp with several Boosh regulars (including his rather game brother Michael). It’s like playing Candy Land while trapped inside an energy drink with a walrus.

John Carter (formerly of Mars)

Posted in Sound & Vision, Unwarranted criticism on March 22, 2012 by brunswick

I saw this last week, but forgot to mention it. It’s not as bad as you’d think from the IshtarHeaven’s Gate comparisons. All of the woes mentioned in the press are due to its lame loss-of-nerve marketing campaign (witness the crucial loss of “of Mars” from the title, after the failure of Disney’s Mars Needs Moms last year).

It’s never going to be as successful as Avatar, but it’ll be the sort of thing people rent or download with equal enjoyment. At its worst, it’s half an hour too long and there’s far too much arsing about in the Martian desert*. At its best there’s lots of lovely production design – if the Star Wars prequels had been this good, people would still love George Lucas.

Admittedly, due to the vintage and influence of the story it’s in a slightly awkward position – hard-to follow, but also over-familiar. The framing story is lots of fun – See! Edgar Rice Burroughs, befuddled! Yes, it’s very silly, but it’s nice to see a sci-fi film that isn’t a superhero property, play-it-safe sequel, or handjob for the US military.

*The same can be said of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.

The Adventures of Tintin

Posted in Sound & Vision, Unwarranted criticism on December 19, 2011 by brunswick

The Adventures of Tintin (2011)

What a curious piece of entertainment this is. A project doubtless born of sincerity appears to have been swallowed up whole by the blockbuster machine, birthing a film which will please American filmgoers who have never heard of Tintin before, and annoying pretty much everyone else, especially the serious fans. There’s a great beginning with a 2D animated title sequence (if only the rest of the film had been like that!) and a fun opening scene paying homage to Hergé, but soon the action film cliches are being layered on with a digital shovel.

Many things about the plot make absolutely no sense, the result of stitching together The Secret of the Unicorn, bits of The Crab with the Golden Claws and the ending of Red Rackham’s Treasure, and then stamping up and down on the lino to force out the air bubbles. Spielberg seems determined to atone for Indiana Jones 4 by constantly referencing classic Indy, adding gratuitous firearms, a blizzard of action, exotic locations and nausea-inducing swoops through Weta’s gorgeous but over-detailed universe, to the thudding accompaniment of a John Williams score. No corner of the screen is left unstuffed, no moment left silent. The actors do their best (notably Jamie Bell filling out Tintin’s cipher of a character) but they might as well have hired nobodies and saved themselves a few bucks. Really? The pilot was played by Cary Elwes? DID NOT NOTICE.

Hergé’s style was all about simplification. All unnecessary detail was stripped out of his influential artwork; no shadows, shading, or women*. Weta’s heroic craftsmanship has resulted in an overstuffed mise-en-scene, a world full of grotesque faces and cartoon physics. It looks so realistic, why bother with motion capture at all? Yes, there’s slapstick in the original, but just because you can do an incredible one-shot set piece involving a city, an opened dam, hundreds of Moroccans, a tank, a motorbike and a falcon DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO.

*You know it’s true. Bianca Castafiore turns up briefly as an anti-Bond girl, she and Tintin’s landlady Mrs Finch are the only named female characters.


Posted in Cartoon stuff, Sound & Vision on December 14, 2011 by brunswick

No sign of Capital Times today, but because it’s printed up north, it’s very likely it was affected by that big power cut the other day. Anyway, the online version has been updated, except for the cover.

I went to the first NZSO Close Encounters of the Symphonic Kind concert with Anita this evening for some classical music 101… it was very entertaining, although some of the grandchildren in the audience visibly squirmed when Chief Executive Peter Walls carefully explained each movement prior to the performance. I also didn’t like the way he apologized for using “technical language” like arpeggios… it’s not his fault music appreciation isn’t taught in NZ schools.

There were very few people in the full Town Hall audience between the ages of 12 and 60, and I spent much of The Magic Flute overture watching the antics of a tiny girl across the balcony from me who had been enchanted for the first fifteen minutes, then grew bored and querulous, then took to pirouetting tenaciously in the aisle to Mozart while her mother died of embarrassment. Bless.

The latest Jane Eyre

Posted in Sound & Vision, Unwarranted criticism on October 4, 2011 by brunswick

Jane Eyre (2011)

This latest version is a well-paced trot through the venerable Bildungsroman with two unexpected stars: the English moors, looking as cold and inhospitable as the surface of Mars, and the face of Mia Wasikowska. Denied the narration of the book, hers is not a particularly proactive Jane, but Wasikowska has the quality of cognition, invaluable in a leading actress. Accentuated by a flickering fireplace, you can see her thinking and reacting, even though Michael Fassbender’s Rochester has most of the jaw-time.

The plot whirs along without dwelling much on Jane’s awful childhood and schooling, apart from a brief interlude in the famous window seat where she hides from her cousin John Reed, one of English literature’s prime dicks, who fetches her an awful CGI-enhanced thwack across the head with Bewick’s History of British Birds. The kindly Miss Temple, who clears Jane’s name at Lowood Institution, appears to be M.I.A., but frankly the less time we spend there, the more time we have for tight frock-coats and Byronic teeth-gnashing, way-hey!

Without Jane’s interior monologue, the romance that develops between her and Rochester seems a bit unlikely, apart from their obvious bond as the only two characters in the film capable of introspection. Thankfully it hasn’t been fashionably sexed-up, although with those corsets you’d either need a scene-dissolve or a Quick Unpick to avoid a two-parter. The last twenty minutes efficiently gallop through the ironclad plot, and the only objection I had to the ending is that Rochester’s injuries are less disfiguring than in the book, and there’s a quick blackout instead of the immortal “Reader, I married him.”