Trailer Park: The Dark Knight Rises

Trailer #3 for the new Batman flick ...and it's the best one yet. HD here.


1st May 2012 - Add Comment - Tweet

Saul Bass Video Pitch for Bell Systems

Have a look at this fascinating video made by Saul Bass in the 1970's, as his pitch to redesign the identity of Bell System AT&T.

The first half is all about identity design, the second half is the actual pitch. Amazing that anyone was making a video pitch in the 1970s.

Via Brand New.

From the AT&T Archives:

Bass' work in logo design and movie title credit sequences spanned the latter half of the 20th century, with prominent work in each field. He worked closely with AT&T, designing not only the 1970 "bell" logo that was ubiquitous for a decade, but also, upon the divestiture of AT&T, he designed the original "death star" logo, unveiled in 1984.

One reason for this bell logo's ubiquity? That redesign was the largest corporate re-identity program in the U.S., ever. The redesign covered:

* 135,000 Bell system vehicles
* 22,000 buildings
* 1,250,000 phone booths
* 170,000,000 telephone directories

This film was made by his company as a presentation to AT&T executives. It would have extended to be shown to the public, but a number of his ideas in the film were not ultimately adopted, like his phone booth designs, and men's and women's uniforms. But a great many were—including, most memorably, the telephone vans and hardhat designs of the 1970s. He designed down to the details, showcasing in this film a myriad of ideas, right down to the yellow pages book designs, cufflinks for executives, and flags.

Bass' other very recognizable logo designs that persist today include those for Minolta, Girl Scouts of America, Avery International, Geffen Records, Warner Int'l, and many more. Bass' design for AT&T was the foundation for the logo that the company has today, redesigned in 2005 by Interbrand.

Produced by Saul Bass

Footage courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ


18th Jan 2012 - Add Comment - Tweet

Batman Returns

(dir. Tim Burton)

Warner Bros

THEN: The seemingly perfect casting of DeVito, plus 80's babe Michelle Pfieffer made this seem like the ideal follow-up to Burton's (at-the-time) phenomenal 1989 Batman re-imagination.

A change in scheduling moved the production from London's Pinewood back to Burbank in California, where a whole new Gotham took up 50% of the Warner Brothers back-lot, which at the time provided a mixed continuity. Little did we know the inconsistency of the future franchise.

NOW: With some of the pressure off after the success of the first movie, Tim Burton created a movie which fits far more homogeneously into his directorial cannon, thanks to the the skull-headed clowns, the Christmas setting and the disturbed strangeness of the penguin. Many of the problems from 1992 still exist - too many anatagonists, the dumb Max Shreck character (Christopher Walken), the doofus Penguin - but Michelle Pfeiffer pretty much plays the definitive Catwoman (with a sympathetic Selena Kyle origin story to boot). There's also no over-the-top Jack Nicholson to chew his way through the back-lot scenery and no shoe-horned Prince soundtrack.

In retrospect, the change of shooting location made for a massive improvement in the art direction of this second movie, without the visible location repetition that shrinks the scale of the first. The result is a surprisingly organic Gotham and a much fuller world. There are still many touches of the camp comedy of the TV show - which is bizarre, considering how dark and dirty Burton's Batman films seemed at the time.

Retroactive-praise aside, this is still way too long, pretty campy and extremely dopey for a superhero movie. Action and suspense-wise it offers virtually nothing, but it can certainly take some credit for paving the way for Christopher Nolan's far more thoughtful re-boot.


16th Sep 2009 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Devendra B: What Will B

new album from the psych-folk bongo fury master Devendra Banhart on the way - signed to Warner's Reprise label for this one, should be out in autumn


3rd Aug 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Neil Young

Sugar Mountain Live At Canterbury House 1968

Warner Bros

Great entry in the ongoing Neil Young archive marathon. This set's taken from a solo gig he played soon after walking out on Buffalo Springfield in 1968 to see if, you know, he'd be able to hack it as a solo artist or not...

Full of lots of bits of chat - talking about growing his hair; what he gets from writing songs ("you know, besides residuals"); introducing "new ones" and Springfield hits like Mr Soul (which apparently "took only five minutes to write - and it takes only five minutes to sing. If you can think of any words I should change after I finish, be sure and let me know!"); playing tantalising little excerpts of others like Winterlong without actually going into it (maybe he hadn't written the words yet); talking about his time working in a Toronto book store (he got fired for "irregularity" - some "really great diet pills" were involved...); and generally perfecting that fragile acoustic sound that we know and love... 

Won't necessarily win over any new fans, but if you're on board the Young train (or electric car) you'll enjoy it. Completists should note that it won't be included in 2009's bumper Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 (1963 – 1972) 10-disc Blu-ray and DVD package.


Emcee Introduction 
On The Way Home
Songwriting Rap
Mr Soul
Recording Rap
Expecting To Fly
Last Trip To Tulsa
Bookstore Rap
I Used To Rap
Winterlong/Out Of My Mind
Out Of My Mind
If I Could Have Her Tonight
Classical Gas Rap
Sugar Mountain
Sugar Mountain
I've Been Waiting For You
Songs Rap
Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Tuning Rap/The Old Laughing Lady
Old Laughing Lady
Broken Arrow


28th Nov 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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"Ystad - the Texas of Sweden..."

Kenneth Branagh stars in the first of three feature-length versions of Henning Mankell's best-selling detective novels. If (like us) you're not familiar with the series, then you're in something of a minority - well in the rest of Europe anyhow, where they've sold around 25 million copies. There's even a Wallander Tour in the real town of Ystad.

Initially it's a pretty unusual set-up. We're in Sweden, but everyone's speaking English. They don't even bother with anything like that bit at the start of The Hunt For Red October where they're talking in Russian for about a minute before zooming in and then letting Sean Connery go back to Scottish for the rest of the film. 

Then, until someone pulls out a mobile, you could be forgiven for thinking it was set in the 1950s - there's a kind of otherworldly, timeless quality to the country setting - it looks like a modern European country, but because Sweden's been so stylish for so long, it's hard to place when it actually is. Even the police station looks like a *Wallpaper shoot. 

But after the first ten minutes or so, you get used to the environment, and don't really notice until you're introduced to another Lars or Nyberg etc. The occasional nods to recent Swedish history - immigration, permissiveness, politics etc - add another dimension to an intelligent, well-paced story. No Ikea or meatballs though. 

The first in the trilogy running on BBC1 over three Sunday nights (and then out on DVD after), Sidetracked, introduces Kurt Wallander - divorced, living alone, trying to get on with his dad and daughter - no quirky character traits like Monk or Life here - just the stuff of life, played out realistically. That's not to suggest that it's boring, or soapy - far from it - just that it's played in the realm of the real as much as possible, which is what makes it work so well (even when it's a gruesome case involving scalping, three dead men in apparently unrelated cases, and a young woman who sets herself on fire).

For all the cliches about Branagh being the ultimate luvvie you kind of forget sometimes what got him that reputation in the first place: he is a really great actor. With Wallander he seems to have finally found the perfect character to fit his style.

It's a film that's moving, exciting, dark and occasionally heartbreaking - and for once we're presented with a policeman who's not jaded by the sight of another dead body, but rather takes it totally to heart, finding it almost impossible to understand how a human could kill another human. 

Branagh is joined by David Warner as his dad (great casting, and nice to see the Tron/Company Of Wolves star given such a meaty role); Sarah Smart as his assistant (she was the hanger-on woman in the excellent Five Days last year) and there's a small role for Skins generation one star Nicholas Hoult in the first episode.

As a sidenote, Wallander was shot using the new Red digital cameras - and it looks great, like digital has finally evolved to find its own aesthetic, in the same way that 35mm or Super8 have their own distinct looks.

Sidetracked is followed by Firewall and One Step Behind if you're familiar with the series - if they're as good as the first, this is a series that should run and run (as long as they can get Branagh back to TV after Thor). 


21st Nov 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Lucky You

(dir. Curtis Hanson)

Warner Bros

Hot shot poker player Huck Cheaver (Eric Bana) struggles to raise the $10,000 needed to get into the World Series of poker. His chances seem slim when his world champion father returns to town and cleans him out. Luckily, he meets aspiring singer Drew Barrymore, who puts a few things into perspective and teaches Huck a few life lessons. A deal with a loan shark gets him into the final and Huck has finally has the chance to prove himself to his father.

Eric Bana's series of hollywood mis-steps continues with this dull poker-drama from 2007. As usual, you can see the thinking behind his unfortunate choice - written by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Ali, Munich, The Good Shepherd) and directed by LA Confidentail man Curtis Hanson. Unfortunately Hanson's reputation is one of inconsistency, having followed LA Confidentilal with a series of not unsuccessful left-turns - the excellent Wonderboys, then 8 Mile, then In Her Shoes. What's the comon demonimator here?

You've seen this movie a million times before - Rocky, Karate Kid, Color Of Money - but with poker the subject matter is so dull that a near-constant stream of exposition is needed to let the viewer know what's happening. "Two Kings? Huck's going to need a Jack or better to win this one!". Hanson's already covered this story in the excellent 8 Mile, and without the captivating double act of Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in Color of Money, or the flashy direction of Casino, this is just another dull Vegas drama.

Robert Duvall is the wise old man who teaches his distant son a thing or two - the hard way. Drew Barrymore delivers a fairly typical sub-par performance, telling Bana the cold hard truth and making him look inside himself. Unfortunately on this occasion he doesn't find a green giant.


22nd Aug 2008 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Watch The Watchmen

Empire are posting the Watchmen trailer Fri 18 July, 5am UK time

UPDATE: it's in HD over at Apple and the official site's been updated too. Only 230 days to go...


17th Jul 2008 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

Who Blogs The Watchmen?

 zack snyder's working up a nice blog at the watchmen site, bodes well that dave gibbons (the original artist) seems to think it looks good


21st Feb 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

Death of HDDVD

With Warner Bros officially jumping ship from HD-DVD to Blu-Ray, it seems that the format war is close to an end - with HD-DVD looking likely to go the way of Betamax.

Universal and Paramount are the only big studios still supporting the format and speculation has it that Paramount has a specific clause in their contract to allow them to also leave if Warner Bros do. So there.

With movies downloading sure to become as big as music, it may be a fairly short lived victory.


14th Jan 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

(dir. Andrew Dominik)

Warner Bros

With much of the gang captured and brother Frank heading into retirement, the outlaw Jesse James leads a rag-tag bunch of thieves through Missouri. Robert Ford has big hopes for his position in the gang, but the lack of respect he is paid leads him to turn on the leader in a search for his own fame.

The traditional aspects of the Western take a back seat in this movie, which instead deals with the end of the gunslinging era and the beginning of the media age. Celebrity and fame come into consideration, as Robert Ford clamours for a taste of Jesse James' celebrity - before his own fame leads to his downfall. That's not to say there aren't any shoot-outs however, or an atmospheric train-robbery which makes the most of Roger Deakins' photography.

Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell put in excellent performances as the two Ford brothers and Brad Pitt is chilling as the quiet, bullying, megalomaniac gang leader who steps into his brother's shoes and spreads utter paranoia through the entire gang. This paranoia makes for the films strength - building massive tension in the lead up to the final act.

Chopper Director Andrew Dominick took some five years getting this film together and it is clearly a project that a lot attention has been paid to. While the mood and tone is suitably slow however, something is missing from this film which holds it back from hitting either the elegiac magnificence of Terrence Malick or the high-tension drama of Sergio Leone that it so clearly aspires too.


3rd Dec 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Watching The Watchmen

nice details in these on-set pics from Zach Snyder's Watchmen - a Tales Of The Black Freighter poster, a Pale Horse gig, President Nixon back for another term, the Gunga Diner - and is that Rorshach walking along?


27th Nov 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

Buck 65



Well now I'm confused. With 2003's seminal Talkin' Honky Blues Buck 65 kept one eye in the rear view mirror of hip hop and the other trained way ahead into a land only he knew about. This departure from his roots was reinforced on Secret House Against The World but for different reasons. On both albums he was infusing his rhyme style with heart wrenching folk fables and personal observations that rocketed him way beyond the grasp of hip hop. So now, with what I think is his 11th album, he seems to have come back home.

This statement is neither completely true nor a terrible thing but more a curious shift from the course he seemed to be heading. Situation is a concept album of sorts and this just adds to my confusion. The record is based around the many defining events of 1957, a date that Buck claims was the start of underground and independent culture and that 50 years on we are on the cusp of a similar renaissance. This in itself is an interesting concept but with his last 2 albums Buck seemed to be an artist that was leading the way in this renaissance but with this return to hip hop appears to be a safe step backwards. I know that the whole album is a glance back over the last 50 years but in following that concept so closely Situation can, at times sound like my dad complaining that things weren't like that in his day.

But I wouldn't want to labour the negative too much as this is still a great listen. The return to hip hop means Buck's trademark one-man-band scratches and cuts are faster than ever and the beats heavy and rapid. The homemade sound has been buffed up and the production is tight. Thematically, Situation sheds the autobiographical approach in favour of a more fictional storytelling. In many of the songs Buck vividly creates a myriad of strange characters that, in all their many guises, inhabit the dark and seedy world of 1957. Shutter Buggin' sees him as a sleazy and reluctant pornographer who's just in it for the cash while his vice-squad cop in Spread 'Em deals with the same low-life but from the other side.

Songs like Ho-Boys and The Beatific hark back to the Buck of recent past with their delicate piano melody and understated beats. His rhymes are masked in the regular abstract imagery here and fit better with his gruff delivery. This can be said for many of the songs throughout the second half of this record. It seems to settle into itself and not feel the need to hammer home the concept. These songs have more longevity due to their reluctance to give it all up at once. With Mr Nobody and the beautiful The Outskirts the tempo is brought right down and this is when I think Buck is at his strongest. His style suits a shuffling pace and coupled with the delicate guitar and saxophone he manages to create real melancholia and with it his 1957 concept seems all the more believable.

Buck 65 is undoubtedly one of the more interesting MC's around at the moment. His back catalogue shows clearly his ability to dazzle and surprise. He is capable of intricately weaving rhymes about an abusive father or the size of his manhood all in the same album but this is the first time such a defined structure has been imposed on his work. I am not sure it really works to the extent that it's meant to as the constant references to the past can sound tired and the whole back-in-the-day hip hop thing has a very short lifespan. But, as soon as the lines are blurred around this concept the record starts to come into its own. Situation is a collection of great songs and while it may not work as a whole it is as expertly crafted as you'd expect from an artist who has always been about a hip hop renaissance.


21st Nov 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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You Can Watch The Watchmen

the Guardian's offering a walk-on part in the upcoming Watchmen film to big up the DVD of director Zach Snyder's leather pants epic 300


3rd Oct 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

New Video

Well Thought Out Twinkles is a nice retro-fuzz clip from 90's throwbacks Silversun Pickups.

Windows Media
Real Player


3rd Jul 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

The Dark Knight Begins

Two new teaser sites up for next summer's Batman Begins sequel The Dark Night. One with the new logo, and a second promoting future two-faced DA Harvey Dent.


17th May 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

New Videos

Some new videos for your consideration:

The Shakes - I Want A Better Life - REAL / WINDOWSMEDIA


The Enemy - Away From Here - REAL / WINDOWSMEDIA / QUICKTIME


29th Mar 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

The Dukes Of Hazzard

(dir. Jay Chandrasekhar)

Warner Bros

Notably mainly for it's ZZ Top sound-tracked car chase and Luke Duke's Zeppelin T-shirt, this mindless entertainment is watchable enough ...especially if you happen to be flying long haul. "Appalachian Americans if you please".


23rd Feb 2007 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Science Of Sleep

We may have reviewed it last year, but Michel Gondry's The Science Of Sleep is finally out in the UK this week. A dream worth dreaming...


17th Feb 2007 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet


trailer for gondry's the science of sleep up - makes it look a bit cheesier than it actually is… it's a pretty smooth ride, really


16th Jul 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet

a scanner darkly

early word is that the new richard linklater film a scanner darkly is a really enjoyable cross between a stoner comedy and a paranoid thriller. yes, something for chimps to look forward to this summer


14th Jun 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet

Once In A Lifetime

(dir. Paul Crowder, John Dower)

…the extraordinary story of the New York Cosmos

Once In A Lifetime is a tightly shot documentary tracing the story of how the Warner Bros execs tried to sell "soccer" to the States by packing a team full of 80s galacticos - Pele got on board first (after intervention from Henry Kissinger), then Italian striker Giorgio Chinaglia, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto etc etc.

Great soundtrack, Matt Dillon narrating, Mick Jagger, Warhol and Robert Redford hanging out in the changing rooms, a Cosmos table waiting for them at Studio 54, and the resistance of US TV to this "upstart" non-baseball sport make for an entertaining pre-World Cup experience. Good goals too…


28th May 2006 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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kiss kiss, bang bang

surprised to report that the new robert downey jr/val kilmer outing kiss kiss, bang bang is actually a lot better than the trailer makes it look. chimpreview here


27th Sep 2005 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet