Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas is coming in London

Some random pics of the Christmas displays on Oxford Street and Carnaby Street. Plus some travelling Hare Krishna.

Seen in London - Jimmy Carr

Forgive the blurry pic, but cant take surepticious pics of celebrities very easily lol. But I stood next to Jimmy Carr, the comedian on the Tube home. I told him he rocked (which he does) as he got off. He smiled and said thanks lol

Already seen Michael McIntyre in London, so just need to see Bill Bailey and I've seen all my favourite comedians since I've been down here. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009


I have joined (reluctantly) the latest online fad - Twatter, sorry I mean Twitter. ;)

Lord knows how prolific I will be, but should you have a burning urge to follow my inane ramblings then my account is under MartinWWalker.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My top 10 films from the past decade

I recently was asked to do a list of my top ten films from the past decade for another website I follow. As I spent so much time on it, I might as well post it here too! :)

So a best 10 films of the decade, eh? That's a pickle of a noodle-scratcher and no mistake.

Going through all my old films made me realise that nearly all my favourite all-time films are from the 90's or before.

But there have been some doozies since 2000, including my all time favourite film(s). So here goes.........

1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 - 2003). Director Peter Jackson

But surely that's three films? No its fucking not, its one film split into 3 regardless of how its been released.

It should be noted that this is my favourite book. My Dad used to read it to my when I was a youngling. Peter Jacksons version is a real high-point in film making in my opinion. The perfect mix of art house and big budget Hollywood. Quality acting, production design, and killer writing. Proof that fanboys will accept changes to lore if it is done with care and respect.

Visually stimulating, acting of award quality by a note perfect cast. And one rabid LOTR fanboys favourite film(s) ever. In no small way the DVD extras showing every aspect of the production sowed the seeds that would eventually 7 years later lead me to quit my steady government job and try and make it in the film world. I hope one day to meet PJ and personally thank him.

2. A History of Violence (2005). Director David Cronenberg

Cronenberg and Viggo! That's boner inducing stuff straight away. Throw in Maria Bello being ridiculously sexy in a cheer leaders outfit, and some of the roughest screen sex ever with the staircase scene. Add remarkable actors as real bad guys (Ed Harris and William Hurt) and this is a mind-searing film.

Following Viggos everyman who becomes a tv hero after killing (most brutally) two thugs who try to hold up his diner, we see how his new found celebrity brings his house of cards crashing down. Mobsters from Philly turn up saying Viggo is not a small town diner owner, but Joey Cusack a mob hitman who disappeared years ago after barbed-wiring Ed Harris face.

I love the slow burn as Viggos family goes off the rails. His slightly bullied son goes berserk on the local jock dickhead, and Maria Bello starts to get turned on by by the idea of Viggo the mobster. Viggo is the perfect actor. He can play sensitive or psycho, and can flip between the two. The showdown at William Hurts house is brutal yet real. And the final scene at the family dinner table is just PERFECT. Cronenberg at his very best, and securing Viggos place as the thinking mans Hard Bastard. A role he re-visited with Cronenberg in the also excellent Eastern Promises.

3. Dawn of the Dead (2004). Director Zack Synder.

Ok, i'm a an unashamed zombie freak. So colour me very surprised that this film makes it into, not only the positively though-of category, but my top 10 of the decade. This film is my trump card whenever anyone moans at a remake of a popular film. I now have to say "Wait and see", because Dawn was sooooo good as a film. Believe me, I was the most vocal hater when this was first announced. Romero's Dawn in my favourite Horror of all time. I was proper scarred as kid by it when I got to see the uncut (and banned in the UK) version. Month long nightmares has a way of burning a film into your psyche. This remake had so much to live upto.

So it didn't. It took the basic premise of hiding in a shopping mall as the world ends in a zombie Apocalypse then built its own story around it. I had no real problem with fast zombies (although I'm sure they wouldn't still be sprinting after a few months of rotting). I just went with the director, and from the very opening of the film he scared the shit out of me. The opening with the little girl, then the whole neighbourhood having gone to shit was damn powerful stuff. And it never really let up from there. The scenes in the mall were brilliant, with always good Mekhi Phifer and Ving Rhames both having strong arcs. And some brilliant set pieces including the underground carpark and the final escape on the converted buses. Dawn 04 does not try to replace Dawn 78, so it can sit happily next to it as the two best zombie films ever made. And both set in a shopping mall and have the same name. Who would have though it.

4. 28 Days later (2002). Director Danny Boyle

The film that rebooted Zombies for the new millennium. Dawn 04 most certainly owes 28 Days Later a big hug.

The film opens with a scene that is legend making, both in terms of visual impact, but also in terms of the large hairy ones Danny Boyle must have to have even attempted to shut down London for filming. Atmospheric and eerie, 28 Days is a visual masterpiece. From out n out (fast) zombie film, it morphs into darker film that touches on the real violence that exists in the human soul. At the end the audience wonders for a while who the real blood crazed monster is, those infected outside or Cillian Murphys character as he goes from victim to executioner of the squad of soldiers gone bad, led by Christopher Eccleston. A genuine modern horror classic.

5. X Men (2000). Director Bryan Singer

Absolute proof, along with LOTR that just because its big budget fantasy, sci-fi, or comic book, it doesn't have to be unintelligent, or peddling to lowest common denominator. Are you listening Michael Bay and Transformers?

From a killer opening set in a concentration camp (in a comic book movie?!), X Men is another parable on the human condition, namely our bigotry and intolerance to each other. Throw in some brilliant action from Wolverine and co, and this is a summer blockbuster with balls and brains. And Hollywood - if you want some hokie dialogue reading, give it to a couple of Shakespearean actors to read. Worked a charm in LOTR as well.

6. City of God (2002). Directed Fernando Meirelles

Its fucking Shakespeare, man. Shakespeare in the Brazilian slums as we follow the Prince as he murders and schemes his way to the top, then his inevitable fall from there. And with a suitable body count to match. I put off watching this for ages until Empire magazine (which I follow) put it as their best film of the year. Not best foreign film, but best film. Full. Stop.

And they weren't wrong. All the more impressive when you realise the director was working with actual street kids and gang members, and loads of it was improvised on the spot. It is a searing film and I was left speechless by the end.

7. Downfall {Der Untergang} (2004). Director Oliver Hirschbiegel

Perhaps the films that stick with you the most are the ones you had low expectations, or even had no expectations at all (before the internet I came across both The Matrix and Shawshank totally blind, with no prior knowledge of either other than the writing on the video boxes). I didn't know much about this other than it was a German attempt to show a very human portrayal of Uncle Adolf.

And he was a human. He can't have been the pantomime villain that all other portrayals showed him as.

So we have this richly plotted film, impeccably acted by all (including Goebels and his wife). But front and centre is a blistering performance by Bruno Ganz as Hitler. Showing him in turns mad, bad, deranged, weak, tender, and always a fucked-up Human Being. I think the German nation needed to show Adolf themselves as a final chapter of coming to terms with the national shame that was WW2.

8. Almost Famous (2000). Director Cameron Crowe

Surely one of the nicest films ever made. A love letter to music, innocence (and waiting to lose it), and Rock n Roll.

Another pitch perfect ensemble, but real stand out turns from Philip Seymore Hoffman, Frances MacDormand, and Billy Crudup. Newcomer Patrick Fugit shines with wide-eyed innocence as we follow his attempts to interview B list rockers Stillwater while he follows them on a tour of the country. Apart from likable characters the film has some set pieces that are some of the best ever committed to film. The LSD party following into the bus trip set to Tiny Dancer are pure film poetry, and who didn't want to be young Patrick as the hot-as-hell groupies The Band Aids take his virginity ("Lets de-flower the virgin").

The film swings from high comedy (Russel's phonecall with Frances' pissed-off Mum) and real patios (Kate Hudson OD'ing on Qualudes), and sometimes in the same scene (the plane journey). I just love this film!

9. Ratatouille (2007). Director Brad Bird

I had to have one PIXAR on here. And I have debated WALL:E, The Incredible's, and even Up to go here, but in the end I keep coming back to Ratatouille.

A perfect little, follow your dreams regardless story, Ratatouille is beauty personified - which is saying something for a film starring a garbage eating rodent. But the animation, especially on the fur (watch it as it gets wet) is just fucking gawjus! There is brilliant comedy, genuinely earned emotions, a love story, and a couple of cool baddies in Skinner (Ian Holm) and Anton Ego the food critic aka The Grim Eater (Peter O' Toole). The thing that consistently raises Ratatouille over the other ridiculously brilliant PIXAR fare of the last decade is one scene alone. The one-eyed colonel happens to think this is one of the great movie scenes, full stop. It is the scene where Anton Ego finally tastes the Ratatouille dish that has been sent out to him. His flashback to his childhood and a mothers loving touch is pure movie magic, and I remember clapping the screen as it played it. Its shit like that that makes me a movie fan.

God bless PIXAR. Long may they continue to be the gold standard that ALL other film makers are held against. Animation be damned! These fuckers are all about STORY. The future of films at Disney is in safe hands with Lassiter at the helm.

10. Intolerable Cruelty (2003). Directors Joel & Ethan Coen

Go on, laugh it up Fuzzballs! This one surely will get the blood boiling, but this is my favourite Coens film. I love the Coens with Fargo, Millers Crossing and Hudsucker Proxy beings favs of mine, but Intolerable Cruelty is just about my favourite comedy of all time.

The very defination of screwball comedy, it is the chemistry between George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones that makes this film zing. He showed (to me) what brilliant comedy chops he has, and she has never looked more gorgeous. Fantastic zany support (well what did you expect? Its a Coens), with the always watchable Edwward Herrmann and Geoffrey Rush (the Colonels favourite actor). Wonderful scenes like the court room (Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy) and Wheezy Joe just leave me giggling like I'm watching Airplane! or something. And the cross, double cross, triple cross of who's marrying who and what for just make this film a joy from start to finish. Go Coens!

And thats my list. Hope you all like it. Honorable mention must go out to:

Memento (2001) Christopher Nolan,

Shaun of the Dead (2004) Edgar Wright,

Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) Kevin Smith,

Atonement (2007) Joe Wright,

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) Gore Verbinski

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3D Building Project

From Netherlands-based design firm, NuFormer Digital Media, comes a new way of projecting three-dimensional images onto a building exterior. Custom-designed to fit any building fa├žade and scale up to any size, the video mapped objects are made visible by a set of powerful projectors. Without physically constructing new architecture or permanently altering the streetscape, NuFormer hardware/software technology enables users to transform an outdoor public space into a virtual yet live experience. Consider the possibilities to communicate, entertain, educate. Think of how 3-D projections can be used for advertising, product launches, conferences, concerts, festivals. This is a whole new medium waiting to be tapped.

Projection on Buildings from NuFormer Digital Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Animal abuse

Please read!

If you are an owner of a dog or know someone who has a dog which belongs to a 'dangerous breed' category, or if you have a child visiting your house, please take this as a warning.

Don't leave your dog with any small child unattended under any circumstances!

Only one little moment was enough for the following to happen.

Thank you!

The Dog

Friday, November 13, 2009


Who's been marking up Mars? This portion of a recent high-resolution picture from the HiRISE camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows twisting dark trails criss-crossing light colored terrain on the martian surface. Newly formed trails like these had presented researchers with a tantalizing martian mystery but are now known to be the work of miniature wind vortices known to occur on the red planet - martian dust devils. Such spinning columns of rising air heated by the warm surface are also common in dry and desert areas on planet Earth. Typically lasting only a few minutes, dust devils become visible as they pick up loose red-colored dust leaving the darker and heavier sand beneath intact. On Mars, dust devils can be up to 8 kilometers high. Dust devils have been credited with unexpected cleanings of mars rover solar panels.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The great APOD website from NASA has been busy in my absence online.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seen in London - Strange folk on the Tube

And only one of them was on Haloween! lol

Your "AWWWW" for the day

When hurricane Hannah separated two white tigers from their mother, Anjana came to the Rescue. Anjana, a chimp at TIGERS in South Carolina, became surrogate mom and playmate to the cubs, even helping with bottle feeding, according to The Sun.

But here's the truly amazing part: This is something Anjana does all the time, having helped raised leopard and lion cubs on several occasions.

Thats a wrap!

We finally wrapped on Lipstikka. In fact it was 2 weeks ago, but since then I've been without a computer as my old laptop died!

I now finally have a nice, new, shiny laptop and am back on the WWW again. :) And it was bloody painful to be offline for so long too!

It was a great shoot. Although we were small, there was a real good vibe on set, and a great cameradorie between all of us. I cant wait to see how it looks when it is all put together.

Next I have a short film (in 3D), a gritty, urban TV pilot, and a batshit insane feature about a sock puppet! ;) Busy, busy!