Friday, 16 May 2008

First print review!

The first print review of Ten Dead Men will be appearing in Impact magazine which I believe will be in the shops sometime next week. It's a very positive review indeed and worth getting the magazine to read the whole thing, but here's the bit about me:

'Chris Regan’s script never bogs the movie down with too much unnecessary exposition, but does give the characters individuality so we actually know who each of the major characters are and why they’re being put through the wringer. And anyone who can get a “Talking Heads: Once In A Lifetime” reference into a movie, delivered by the voice of Pinhead gets my respect!'

Admittedly Mike Leeder who wrote the review is credited as executive producer on the film so is no doubt a bit biased, but the review seems quite honest on the whole and never pretends the film is something more than it is. It's pretty special for me too as I know Mike Leeder from listening to commentaries on Premier Asia releases so it's weird and very cool to have him talking about a film I wrote. And he got my Talking Heads reference!

That's all the news I have for the moment. Ross is heading to Cannes this weekend so fingers crossed it will go well and we should have a better idea of where the future of the film lies next week. Otherwise I've mainly been doing subtitles on The Penalty King so haven't been doing that much writing recently.

I have seen a couple of good films this month. Iron Man was one, but I'm not going to talk about that because there are enough people saying how great it is. What I will say is that it's the closest thing to a near perfectly structured script I've seen in a long time.

Tonight I saw Doomsday which I loved despite a lot of negative reviews. I am a huge Neil Marshall fan anyway so I was never going to hate it, but I genuinely think it was a great example of a well-crafted British genre film. I'll try not to rant too much about it, but it was a brilliant love letter to John Carpenter and the action films of the eighties as well as being a fantastic British film and having a brilliant female action lead.

Now the first point is a personal taste thing - if you don't get on board with the eighties/John Carpenter thing then you're not going to enjoy the film. And I have to say, some of it was a bit too close to Escape from New York to not seem like an uninspired remake, but I'll let that go. Also, I think it's worth mentioning that when one arty film-maker pays homage to another arty film-maker (e.g. Steve Buscemi's Interview - there are probably better examples but that's the one I saw most recently) we all marvel at their creative genius, but when a genre director pays homage to another genre director we say they're lacking originality. I like to pretend this high-brow/low-brow rubbish doesn't exist anymore, but in some ways it's bigger now than it ever was. Anyway, what I'm saying is, I get why some reviewers didn't let Marshall get away with some of it. What I don't get is how anyone can ignore my second and third points.

Female lead first - to be honest I wish there were more of them in action films but all the films centred around female leads to date (Tomb Raider, Underworld etc) have been rubbish. Rhona Mitra's character in Doomsday really works without ever seeming implausible or exploitative, and along with The Descent I think Marshall is the only director around at the moment who can actually write good parts for women in genre films.

Last point, I'm not a huge nationalist and am quite happy to admit that America, along with most other countries in the world, always have and always will make better films than us. However, I do think we should support the films that try to take on Hollywood at its own game and Marshall certainly does that. Doomsday stands up next to the biggest Hollywood blockbusters in size and scope and yet at the same time is a very British film, as the casting of Hoskins and McDowall shows. Yes, I am biased, I want films like Doomsday to succeed because it means that there's a bigger chance of films like Ten Dead Men succeeding. But also I think it's a shame that we nurture the Ken Loachs and the Mike Leighs while the Chris Nolan's and the Ridley/Tony Scott's (and loads more I can't think of) have to go to Hollywood to make their films. It bothers me too because given the lack of support Doomsday has had I wouldn't be surprised if Marshall makes his next film in the States rather than here. And by lack of support I don't just mean the bad reviews - I had to go out of my way to see Doomsday because it wasn't showing in Brighton! As far as I can see the only films out other than Iron Man are a load of terrible looking rom-coms, and despite the stupid number of screens between them neither of the two cinemas in Brighton are showing Doomsday!

So go see it. You may not agree with me, you may hate it like a lot of the critics seem to, but the British film industry needs this film and as many others like it as we can produce, otherwise we may as well give up now. Rant over.

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