Friday 28 September 2012

CarrCom Blubs - The Map of Five

We've explored the few blubs in the first CarrCom production, so now it's time to move over to the sequel: The Map of Five. This film had a lot more room for such errors due to more locations, characters and narrative elements, and with a dreadful script alongside atrocious acting, it couldn't be more apt to have its own blub list...

  • Revealing (3:30) - Perhaps one of the most well known blubs in the film due to me mentioning it endlessly. George knocks the back gate and yells "Yo, Nath! Let me in, the door's locked!". Though seemingly okay, this line actually makes no measure of sense - for one, it is a back gate and not a door, but also the gate is always locked to anyone outside when closed. George implies the gate has been manually locked, but it is closed and he would need a key to enter regardless. How moronic.
  • Revealing (4:33) - When speaking his line ("Yes, alright, I am!"), Nathan looks at the camera twice.
  • Editing problem (4:35) - Right after the line is spoken, there is an awkward cut as George moves away - this was a failed attempt to make it look like the same shot.
  • Other (4:47) - Are we seriously gonna believe that Nathan couldn't see the map on the floor right next to the desk?
  • Audio problem (7:22) - When George snaps at Nathan, the start of his dialogue is slightly cut out, making the line sound very jarring.
  • Audio problems (7:22 - 8:10) - Throughout this scene where the two boys talk outside Andrew's locked house, there are continuous audio problems with the sounds of cars and other background noises constantly playing and then cutting out. This also occurs visually, as we'll see in a minute.
  • Revealing (7:56) - When we cut in to Nathan exiting the driveway and being called by George, a car appears in the background out of nowhere.
  • Revealing (8:04) - This time we cut to a close up of Nathan. The previous shot was from inside the house as George entered, with no cars visible on the road, yet when we cut to this next shot a red car passes Nathan immediately.
  • Editing problem (10:14) - When we fade back to Nathan after the flashback of Andrew writing the journal, there is a flaw with the transition which makes the close up shot jarringly shift.
  • Revealing (10:48) - Nathan pushes the open the door to see Andrew's corpse motionless on the bedroom carpet. However, this makes no sense - if you pay attention to where Andrew's legs are, it would not have been possible for Nathan to have opened the door without some force and shifting them aside. Derp.
  • Revealing (12:05) - When George explains to Nathan about the voice he heard from the phone, Nathan is trying with all his might to surpress a smirk.
  • Other (12:47) - Though it may not be a genuine blub, it's still a noticeable cock up - this close up of Nathan's eye, which repeats multiple times alongside one of George's, is blurry as hell.
  • Revealing (12:54) - After speaking his line here, George looks at the camera.
  • Revealing (12:55) - Nathan is looking up the stairs alongside George, but in the previous shot he had turned around to face the door.
A much bigger one this time round, but that concludes this week's blub list! Next time we'll dive into the mistakes of The Reign of Five, the final film in this masterful trilogy.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Movie Review - House at the End of the Street

Horror films have seen a large overhaul in recent years; gone are the days of spooky Gothic castles, blood-sucking suave monsters or armies of the undead, replaced by detailed glimpses of graphic torture, suburban modern settings and endless jump scares. House at the End of the Street might as well be the poster child for these modernized, dull conventions; don't be fooled by the apparent scariness, for the only time I pissed myself in the film was when I couldn't stop laughing.

Seeking a fresh start in life after a recent divorce with her husband, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move into a large rural house in a quiet neighbourhood, one quite awkwardly positioned near a local abandoned house which was once the site of a terrible murder. Upon discovering that Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot), the son of the murdered family, does in fact live alone at the seemingly isolated building, Elissa begins to develop a bond with him despite his poor reputation with the locals, yet soon discovers she has made one of the biggest and most dangerous mistakes of her life.

House at the End of the Street is a film that never quite understands what it's trying to do, often lacking in any sort of thrills or scares and completely devoid of any true horror atmosphere. Mostly, the film seems to be a poorly acted teenage drama with some lifeless romance, contrived emotional sequences and a storyline that feels like it was written on the spot and never analyzed again. The narrative is a confused mess of poor explanations and nonsensical outcomes, and despite the film's entertaining climactic sequence of events, it all feels lacking in any sort of spark or atmosphere.

The acting across this almighty borefest is beyond dreadful, with the only decent performer being Thieriot who does manage to portray his character with some sort of lingering disturbance and inner sadness, but the character is so flawed and generic that he doesn't have an awful lot to work with. Jennifer Lawrence is lifeless, so much so that you can witness the strain on her acting ability when she attempts to contrive some emotional elements to her drab character. Her mother, played by Elisabeth Shue, is not only a boring and useless character, but also horribly acted; the acting is universally laughable, making a film that's already not scary even worse. Crikey.

House at the End of the Street squanders nothing with its premise - because the premise is so bad, generic, dull and uninteresting that it seems it was conceived in a matter of seconds by a team of people wanting to milk the success of recent contemporary horror flicks. It's a boring, confused mess, devoid of what makes a horror film a horror film and trying desperately to develop characters that cannot be taken seriously due to atrocious acting and laughable concepts. All I can say is, I want my money back.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

CarrCom Blubs - Five

Welcome to my next mini series of blog posts featuring my CarrCom film projects. This time, rather than take a look at the trailers, stills or behind the scenes coverage, let's have a peak at the botched up moments! Not the stuff you may have seen in the outtake reels, but some more subtle continuity or revealing errors which show just how stupid we people at CarrCom are.

To start off, we'll take a look at the blubs in Five, the first CarrCom film. Enjoy!

  • Continuity (2:05) - Here we see Andrew's mouse cursor scroll up to the X on the MSN window just as he closes it. If you look closely at the MSN window, you can see messages exchanged between Five and Andrew that were never shown beforehand. This is because the scene was cut down as it began to drag.
  • Revealing (3:07) - When Andrew gets to his feet having previously been unconscious, he peers at the window which is inexplicably open. Then, as he walks over to it, he looks at the camera very briefly. God, what moron portrayed him?
  • Continuity (4:26) - After Andrew hears Five's voice down the phone when attempting to call the police, he drops the phone and runs back to his bedroom. The brief shot of the hallway as he flees the kitchen reveals that the small white note with '5' written on it is no longer there.
  • Continuity (5:11) - When Andrew reaches for one of the post it notes strewn across the hallway wall, he uses his left hand. It then cuts to a close up, where he is now using his right hand. We cut back to the former shot, where he is using his left hand again. We then cut to a mid shot, where he's gone back to his right hand!
  • Visible crew/equipment (7:31) - In this close up shot of Andrew thrusting the knife into his chest, one of the tripod legs is visible in the bottom of the frame.
  • Nitpicking Plot Hole (entire film) - Where the hell are Andrew's parents?

Well, not a very large one, but interesting all the same! I'll continue this series with my other films in good time! Thanks for reading!

Saturday 15 September 2012

Nightmare - Filming begins!

Today marks an important day for the world - okay, not that many people, but it's still a big day for me personally.

This is because Nightmare, CarrCom's fifth film due to for a 2013 release, is now being filmed! The opening scene was shot today at my grandad's house in Portswood, an area near my house, which is a very important setting in the film.

Filming will go on until the start of next year due to our dedication to college and the need to travel a lot for filming locations, but I'm sure once it's all done it will be worth watching! It's being shot with the same camera that The Attic was shot with, so don't expect it to be HD, but it will likely be the last film of mine to be recorded with this camera as it is admittedly very outdated.

I hope you all look forward to Nightmare and I'll be sure to keep you posted with upcoming news, trailers, clips and stills!

Monday 10 September 2012

Movie Review - Dredd

Though the embarrassing interpretation of the 2000 AD character from 1995 is gone but not forgotten, the famed law enforcer Judge Dredd dons his uniform in the live action environment once again with this year's Dredd, a new deliciously gritty and violent adaptation that serves to reintegrate the character into contemporary cinema whilst also abolishing all memory of Stallone's craptastic fare - a mission that is most definitely successful.

Dredd takes place in the futuristic Mega City One, a decadent urban wasteland cemented in the middle of a lifeless desert. The city is fuelled by crime and injustice, with only one thing enforcing law and order: The Hall of Justice and its officers, the Judges. Housing the power of Judge, Jury and Executioner, the feared yet renowned Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is tasked with assessing new recruit Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a psychic whose powers compensate for her apparent lack of ability. Both Judges soon find themselves trapped in a 200 story slum when investigating the spread of Slo-Mo, a recreational drug evolving into an epidemic, and must locate the drug's creator Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) whilst fighting off her clan for the sake of their lives.

Dredd was built off a budget of $45 million, seemingly meagre compared to the enormous $100-200 million budgets of Hollywood science fiction blockbusters. The budget is something that is surprisingly unnoticeable; the science fiction setting is captured nicely through some fantastic mise en scene, from the detailed and futuristic Mega City One to the contemporary yet high tech firearms. The sci-fi element feels perfectly natural and realistic across this decadent society, and though it's always there throughout the film, the action is generally built off bloody firefights and intense hand to hand battles. The Slo-Mo drug makes for some highly exaggerated gory moments, all of which aren't overly disturbing due to their stylization, and often exploits the 3D effect for some interesting moments. Though this can partially justify the depth to the visuals, the 3D is often unnoticeable and so conservative that you'll often forget it's even there.

The film is universally well acted, with Karl Urban easily improving upon the hilarity and stupidity of Stallone's performance seventeen years ago (not that he had much to surpass). His ability to handle Dredd's lack of emotion yet craft him into an interesting character is highly impressive; Dredd is never rendered to be an unbeatable superhero, but a man just doing his job who feels little to no compassion for those who cause injustice and crime in his city. He has his moments of humour, but Dredd is a professional and ruthless badass - his mentor like relationship with Judge Anderson is entertaining and thankfully never shoehorned into a contrived romance. Thirlby injects a bit more emotion and compassion into the film's plot and still entertains, and the remorseful Ma-Ma is flawlessly portrayed by Lena Headey; she's scary, psychotic and intimidating, working perfectly as the antagonist.

Dredd has moments of bloody violence and some hefty graphic content, so it's not one for the kiddies. Though adapted from a comic book, it proves to be nailed in its own gritty vibe in a way that really works; the violence is very stylized and entertaining, and the shock value that comes with some of it enjoyably knows no bounds. The narrative feels a tad flimsy at times and the film can sometimes chug onward at a sluggish pace, but it's all in all a well rounded cinematic portrayal of an entertaining character and those who felt betrayed at Stallone's laughable rendition can now put their troubled minds to rest.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Happy 18th - to yours truly!

Unlike my 17th birthday, I will not spend any of my 18th at college - because it's a glorious Sunday! This year I hit the big adult number and have been repeatedly asked if I am going to pop out drinking in the evening, but it's not really my scene, so nah.

I got a variety of pressies from several people: The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy and a book about filmmaking from my girlfriend, The Inbetweeners Series 1, 2 & 3 and Monsters, Inc on DVD from my my mother and a new shirt, shower gel and deodorant from my dad. The latter is a good present, but I'm unsure if it's my dad secretly trying to say I reek like a skip.

Seriously, I don't.

In terms of money I received £85 from various family members, as well as a £20 gift card for a clothes shop. My girlfriend also got me a chocolate Crunchy cake, complete with 18 sparkling candles! I'm to pop out later for an evening meal with her, but overall, it'll be a day of relaxation. Fun times indeed.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

NIGHTMARE - Coming 2013!

Originally named Night Terrors, my next film is now under the title of Nightmare and due for release in 2013!

I'm aware this information was posted to my Twitter and Facebook accounts a few weeks ago, but here I am pleased to announce the full details of the film, including its current progress in development. I am not going to start setting release dates, but I want to get cracking with filming by the end of this year, so the film could possibly be ready for an April 2013 release, maybe even sooner.

Inspired by a short film I created in as part of a school competition in 2010 and of nightmares my mother had, the film tells the story of a young man named Henry Sorin (whom I will portray), whose childhood was plagued with parental abuse, crushing his confidence, social skills and leaving him a recluse living in his own flat alongside his only friend, Bill Parkinson (Nathan Carr). While suffering continuous unwanted images of his troubled past, Henry also experiences something else: recurring night terrors, taking place within the same derelict house, involving various supernatural and frightening occurrences. Noting their content but confident that they cannot harm him, Henry grows uneasy when the nightmares begin to edge their way into his own life, coinciding with his own past and forcing him to come to terms with a terrifying truth...

The film is going to be a spiritual successor to The Attic, with a run time of roughly 45 - 60 minutes and a similar supernatural horror atmosphere. Rest assured, while it may retain some of the conventions The Attic itself used, it is not a rehash of my past efforts, but a new film with new concepts and themes. At the time of writing, the screenplay is still in the works, and will be finished in good time so it turns out the best it can possibly be.

Thanks for your continued support for CarrCom Films projects, and I hope you look forward to Nightmare!

Saturday 1 September 2012

Movie Review - The Possession

A craze partially ignited by the famed Paranormal Activity in 2007, the supernatural horror genre has a seen a huge increase in popularity and demand, with 2012 being one of many recent years where a large number of such films have been churned out to hungry audiences: The Woman in Black, The Devil Inside, The Pact, Paranormal Activity 4....and, following the conventional path of exorcisms, The Possession - based on a true story (very loosely, I imagine) about a family subjected to the terrors of a malevolent demon.

Taking his kids up to his newly purchased house during a divorce with his wife, Clyde Brenek (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) stumbles across and buys a mysterious ancient box at a yard sale for his daughter Em (Natasha Calis) at her own request. Following this, a strange series of events all leading back to Em herself begin to pollute the house, from overgrown moths fluttering across the corridors to strange noises echoing throughout the walls. As Em grows increasingly more inhuman and disturbed, it becomes clear that the opening of the box has released a dreadful curse; one that Clyde and his ex-wife Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) must now put a stop to before time runs out...

The Possession adopts all the conventions of its genre to a T, making it a highly predictable fare and one that is devoid of any true surprises. It may provide a good scare every so often, but these spaced out moments are not enough to endorse the bloated length and lack of interesting content - sure, it's only around 85 minutes, but the first hour or so can be such an immense bore that the film loses steam before it even reaches its climactic finale. It may have the likeable characters and polished sound design/visuals to redeem it from some of the flaws, but to say that it sometimes drags is a vast understatement.

The acting is mostly impressive, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan providing one of the most solid and interesting performances in the film, and newcomer Natasha Calis perfectly exemplifying the insane and monstrous qualities adopted when under the influence of her possession. Aside from this, the cast is a gathering of uninteresting cardboard cutouts, with Clyde's ex-wife Stephanie demonstrating severe idiocy and uselessness throughout, and Em's sister Hannah (Madison Davenport) just being irritating beyond belief.

The Possession is a reasonably entertaining supernatural flick, with some genuine tension established in certain scenes and a decent enough storyline to provide a strong backbone to the events. Unfortunately, it's just vastly predictable from start to finish and often kills its own atmosphere with repeated jump scares which, as you'd expect, grow tiresome and annoying after so many times. Not only this, but the culmination of all these events is one of both hilarity and utter stupidity: the ending is without a doubt one of the dumbest elements to the film and one that is almost comedic. Seems to be a new convention of supernatural horrors these days...