Tuesday, 22 October 2013

RespawningCouch Podcast: Audio Review: Captain Phillips

This week, I review Paul Greengrass' latest film Captain Phillips. Does he successfully manage to translate the extraordinary and intense events of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama in 2009 onto screen?

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Things A "Movie Lover" Collects: Statues/ Figures

A very recent and expensive voyage I’ve taken has been into the world of overly priced and highly addictive action figures and statues. Namely Hot Toys and Sideshow, my unfortunate obsession with the Marvel Femme Fatale ‘Black Widow’ and the LiveForFilm website brought them to my attention after their Avengers line had been announced. Hot Toys, a Hong Kong based company, specialises in 1/6th and 1/4th representations of iconic and recent film characters. Acquiring film licences such as The Dark Knight, Predator and The Avengers, the end result has been a stream of specularly recreated figures that are simply works of art. From the headsculpts and costumes to the buckles on their footwear, Hot Toys’ artists/ craftsmen spend an incredible amount of time and effort to implement these intricate details and screen accuracies: 

On the other hand Sideshow, an American distributor of Hot Toys, has also made a name for itself through their foray into 1/4 scale statues. Similarly attaining licences from Iron Man, Star Wars and actual comic books, they have produced an impressive breadth of highly detailed and well crafted representations. With prices ranging from £200-500, my collection only comprises of Black Widow from Iron Man 2, obviously:

I myself had always had an apprehensive train of thought towards the idea of collecting statues and figures. Back in the good old days Star Wars was the craze with the re-releases in the cinemas. Naturally my brother and I collected the figures, sets and ships that are all currently presiding in the attic. Gundam Wing and Totoro Plushes increased with my exposure to my Japanese roots, but the thought of spending £155 on a “toy” never crossed my mind. But are they worth it? Some people collect these things as an “investment”, and while I stand to make a tidy sum if I were to sell them, to me their simply works of art created by fans and enthusiasts of films and cinema. I love the characters and, for the most part, the films. While the likes of Sucker Punch and The Spirit were absolutely terrible, their costume designs and visual look always appealed.  A larger percentage of my collection surrounds The Avengers, primarily because of their creative and unique designs. Whether it’s Captain America’s iconic red/white/blue design, to Iron Man’s impressive stature, there’s a joy in gazing upon each figure and changing their poses. 

In a cynical light, the hobby could be labelled as glorified ‘doll collecting’, but after spending a lot and time staring/ displaying them, I can’t help but appreciate these as a near-perfect, artistic and physical representations of beloved film characters. Like the rise of vinyl toys, these optimise the new pop-cultural nature of "art" in general. Mind you, my wallet is crying. 

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Update on the Blog and Podcast

Hey Guys. Just a little update about what's going on with the podcast and the blog. On this episode I just talk about stuff I've managed to see, play and ermmmm....remember? 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Things A "Movie Lover" Collects: Posters

It’s kind of strange that it wasn’t until I was 17 that movie posters became a huge deal. To be honest, up until that point my room was a barren space populated by a desk, bed, wardrobe and bookshelves. My walls had a number of music and swimming certificates and the odd poster of Keeley Hazell. Frankly the idea of “collecting” hadn’t escaped rocks or random trinkets, meanwhile my general notion of film and cinema was rather woeful. However over the last 5 years, especially and strangely during my time at university, I’ve accrued a wide number of different screen-prints, movie posters, comic-art and bus shelter ads. 

My first official film poster was this: 

My Neighbour Totoro remains an all-time favourite film. But instead of simply acquiring a crappy copy of the original movie poster, I decided to look on eBay, another recent craze of mine. While not an original piece of art (I wish), the poster depicts the original designs of the characters (as found in the Art Book). I don’t believe I’ve actually seen one like this anywhere, so I’m guessing it’s pretty rare. Even though Mei’s name is spelt wrong, it’s still an amazing piece that captures the unique creativity and charm of Miyazaki’s work. I have a similar styled poster for Laputa: Castle in the Sky. 

My second year of University saw my craze with covering walls step up a notch. This time it was screen-prints. With the release of Scott Pilgrim I sank into an embarrassing obsession with the comic and the film, to the point that I start to dress like him; the Parka, Adidas Superstars II, and the Smashing Pumpkins’ T-shirt. In hindsight, Scott Pilgrim kickstarted my voyage into comic books and its associated culture. The result was me managing to scoop up a limited edition print from the highly talented artist Kevin Tong (check his work out). Limited to 600, I absolutely love this print and was quite fortunate in acquiring it. 

Those familiar with film merchandise or film posters will have undoubtably heard of Mondo. Based in Austin, Texas, Mondo has become the epitome of film art and more importantly continues to showcase the revival of film posters being celebrated as a genre of art. Artists like Ken Taylor, Olly Moss and Tyler Stout have introduced their incredible designs, composition and artistic skills to create fascinating and highly sought after pieces that take influence from great artists such as Reynold Brown and Drew Struzan. The sheer success and popularity of Mondo has led to an epic rush at the sight of a new poster. Initially costing customers $40, prints sellout in a matter of seconds. The downside of these ‘limited’ runs is that scumbags start selling them on afterward at extreme prices on eBay. I’ve managed to acquire two; Olly Moss’s Black Widow and Kevin Tong/ Bryan O’Malley’s Battle Royale. Both illustrate different approaches to film posters and the varied nature of the art. I should brag that these are currently worth 6 times their original price tag. A bit of an investment me thinks. 

Recently I collected a number of “Bus Shelter” ads. My male tendencies are at the heart of this. None are particularly based on films, but rather actresses I have a crush on; Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence. Not much to say, but there’s something quite satisfying (or weird) in having a 160cm tall Scarlett Johansson on your wall.  

So there’s a quick run-through of my obsession with film posters. I have a number of other pieces of memorabilia that I’ll be showcasing/ showing off in the next coming weeks. Apologies for the constantly changing nature of my articles.