Thursday, April 26, 2007

"...unfortunately, there's no song called Mac the Gun..."

Mes Amis

Dig it, hep cats.
This week has been like a double dose of sunshine.
The first dose came courtesy of Danny Boyle's new flick. Its a movie about a bunch of depressed souls in the near future piloting a honking big bomb out to kickstart our dying sun.
It starts off really well, with nice visuals and a feel reminiscent of the beginning of Alien. There's a clinical coolness to the production that works very well, and a kind of everyday working environment to the spaceship that effectively grounds the action.
But soon enough you start realising that he's not just nicked his design aesthetics from Alien, he's also cribbing from 2001 and 2010 with certain setpieces (the hyperventilating in a spacesuit particularly made me think of 2010, and some of the shots of the exterior of the ship made me think of Kubrick's original). But its all fine, because it could be going somewhere interesting as the crew starts facing disasters that threaten the mission. And they find the original mission that went missing just hanging about dead in space.
And suddenly things go pearshaped as Boyle does his usual trick of ramping up the action at the expense of atmosphere and complexity of plot.
Its a real shame because there's a lot of potential to explore the psychologies of our disparate crew and Boyle seems to ignore this in favour of producing what becomes, essentially, a slasher movie. Like a more sophisticated version of Jason X.
Its all deeply dissapointing and a waste of some beautiful direction and all the potential showed in the first half of the movie. As ever with Science Fiction, it seems no one is willing to let it take itself seriously. There has to be bad guys and explosions. We can't let the tension come from the situation itself which is bad enough.
Although at least they didn't take the Event Horizon turn I thought I saw coming. Even if it does look like Danny Boyle cribbed from that movie as well.
But its all entertaining enough, and The Scarecrow from Batman Begins got a few nice scenes to play as well.
Our second dose of Sunshine came from a man who is far more dangerous than any psycho in outer space: El Muerte.
Allan "Sunshine" Guthrie has no end to his talents. Not only can he write a visceral, raw and madly surreal journey into the heart of noir, but he can also do performance readings.
Backed by a swinging three piece band, he entertained a roomful of publishers, booksellers, reviewers, fellow authors and assorted vip's as he read from Hard Man. It was an experiment. A bold move. And, dig this, it worked, with the music and Guthrie's reading complimenting each other perfectly.
As you can see from the photograph, Polygon are going all out to promote the man, and when I came into Waverly Station at Edinburgh a few hours before the celebratory launch, I was greeted by that massive billboard when I stepped off the train.
What it fails to mention, is that anyone who doesn't buy the book will be assasinated. Death by spork. So now you know what you have to do.
Au revoir, hep-cats

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