Monday, 22 February 2010


MOON, for us the best film of 2009, won a BAFTA for director Duncan Jones for outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer at last night's awards bash.

This might seem like a fringe category shoehorned in to make sure that British talent wins something (mainly because it is), but the fact is that the film should have been vying for major awards like Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor etc especially over the likes of AVATAR and DISTRICT 9, both of which were entertaining but not a patch on the intelligent, mesmerising, stunning MOON.

So, well done Duncan, you deserved better and more, but be consoled by the fact that your film is the better one and won the Sci Fi Freak's award the Golden Freakie, for best film of 2009.

BAFTA gets it right over AVATAR

AVATAR, now the biggest moneyspinning movie of all time, failed to become a big winner at last night's BAFTA bash when the British academy gave it awards only in two of the categories for which it was nominated.

This was not a backlash against the film's success or popularity, but rather a sign of the academy getting it right when handing out the awards.

The CGI epic won for special effects and production design and there isn't anyone who would disagree with those, surely. The virtual movie has pushed computerised movie making way beyond anything it previously was (though there are many who don't think that is necessarily a good thing) and the planet Pandora was never anything less than stunning. In many other aspects (plot, dialogue, acting etc) it really didn't make the grade.

So well done BAFTA for getting it right and not being swayed by the success or popularity into giving out awards that it didn't deserve.

Monday, 8 February 2010

What's in a name?

The art of the episode title is something that the science fiction and fantasy genres have got a head start on thanks to their pushing the boundaries in terms of subject matter. Because they don't necessarily have to relate to reality, sci fi shows can go out there at bit with their titles as well, borrowing from literary sources and quoting all out of context, but coming up with titles as wierd, wonderful and portentous as the shows themselves.

STAR TREK in all its variations has come up with some wonderful titles. FOR THE WORLD IS HOLLOW AND I HAVE TOUCHED THE SKY for example. It just reeks of quality and makes you want to know more. And who wouldn't have wanted to take a holiday in the CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER? DEEP SPACE NINE went LOOKING FOR PAR’MACH IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES and tried to right WRONGS DARKER THAN DEATH OR NIGHT.

More modern pretender to the throne BATTLESTAR GALACTICA had a more practical line in episode titles, but still gave us A DISQUIET FOLLOWS MY SOUL and ISLANDED IN A STREAM OF STARS, both of them quality titles.

Of course, a title doesn't have to have a literary quality to it to be great. LOST'S best episode title was the more mundane ALL THE BEST COWBOYS HAVE DADDY ISSUES and SOMEHOW SATAN GOT BEHIND ME was offered up by X-FILES follow up MILLENNIUM.

And then there are the funny ones. A funny title usually has to be clever such as PUSHING DAISIES episode DIM SUM, LOSE SOME. A TOWN CALLED EUREKA found a knack for these in its later seasons, giving us the puns of BAD TO THE DRONE, SHOW ME THE MUMMY, FROM FEAR TO ETERNITY and SHIP HAPPENS. Cleverest of them all, however, was 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN's I AM DICK PENTAMETER. That same show, though came up with the much less clever, but just as fun BIG ANGRY VIRGIN FROM OUTER SPACE. How could you resist an episode with that for a title?

There can also be the promise of advice from these shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER was able to offer the advice NEVER KILL A BOY ON THE FIRST DATE which would appear to be good advice whilst HEROES offered to tell us HOW TO STOP AN EXPLODING MAN.

The daddy of all the great episode titling shows, though, was BABYLON 5, which delighted in great, literary sounding titles. Get a load of these - MIDNIGHT ON THE FIRING LINE, THE GEOMETRY OF SHADOWS, PASSING THROUGH GETHSEMANE, CEREMONIES OF LIGHT AND DARK, FALLING TOWARDS APOTHEOSIS and INTERSECTIONS IN REAL TIME.

And the greatest episode title of all time. Well, for our money that goes to BABYLON 5 as well for the impossible to dislike THE DECONSTRUCTION OF FALLING STARS.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

2010 Razzies for Sci Fi - now that's more like it

The Razzies - or the anti oscars - have a better track record of picking what's worst in the movies than their illustrious opposites have in picking the best, but then it's an easier job. For 2010 the big winners (or losers dependant on how you look at it) are

TRANSFORMERS:REVENGE OF THE FALLEN - This is nominated for the worst film, worst director (yes, you Michael Bay, hang your head in shame), Worst screen couple for Shia LaBoeuf and Megan Fox, Worst Actress for Megan Fox, worst supporting actress for Julie White's embarrassing turn as LaBoeuf's high mother and worst remake,ripoff or sequel. It should be noted that this film also got the Golden Freakie as our worst film of 2009.

LAND OF THE LOST - This comedy without jokes is up for worst film, director, screenplay, worst remake,ripoff or sequel, worst screeenplay, worst couple for Will Ferrell and anyone who he was on screen with and worst supporting actor for Jorna Taccone. This was an unworthy runner up in the Golden Freakies for worst film of the year on the Sci Fi Freak Site.

MEGAN FOX - It's a bit unfair that she is nominated for worst actress in TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN as she was effectively hamstrung by the role in the film and it is well out of order that she was nominated again for JENNIFER'S BODY.

GI JOE:RISE OF COBRA - is also up for worst movie.

EDDIE MURPHY - is up for the worst actor of the decade and we think he ought to get it on the strength of MEET DAVE alone.

Oscar Nominations for Sci Fi Movies - what's up with that?

The 2010 Oscar nominations are out and it doesn't come as no surprise that AVATAR leads the science fiction field whilst much better films MOON and LET THE OTHER ONE IN don't even get a mention.

The list is

PICTURE - Avatar and District 9 (neither of which deserve a nomination let alone the award. I mean they were fun, but best picture of the year? I don't think so.)

DIRECTOR - James Cameron for AVATAR (can you direct a film made inside a computer?)


ART DIRECTION - AVATAR and THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR PARNASSUS (OK, so AVATAR was very pretty so we might forgive them this)

CINEMATOGRAPHY - AVATAR and HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE (Does a film made in a computer actually have cinematography?)

Sound Mixing - AVATAR, STAR TREK and TRANSFORMERS:REVENGE OF THE FALLEN (Transformers? Really? Crash, bang, wallop! is mixing sound?)

SOUND EDITING - AVATAR and STAR TREK (apparently editing is different from mixing and STAR TREK sounds good.

MUSIC SCORE - AVATAR (Did anyone actually notice the music?)

COSTUME - THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR PARNASSUS (What, nothing for the loincloths of AVATAR?)

FILM EDITING - AVATAR and DISTRICT 9. (Again, as AVATAR was made in a computer how much film was edited?)



So, once again, to get a nomination for the Oscars you have to be American, big, successful and not too complicated or containing a thoughtful plot. Show some aliens and then blow them up is the way to the American Academy's heart. We can only reflect on the fact that they only give genre films the big awards when the absolutely have to, so the question is whether AVATAR's made enough money that they don't feel they need to reward it any more for things it doesn't deserve.