Outside the Frame

News, reviews and all the moves on all that entertains from Outside the Frame

A Game of Thrones pilot a go!

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The latest news on the television series adaptation of A Game of Thrones has been announced by George R. R. Martin on his website. And what great news it is: HBO have given the go ahead for a pilot to produced. As always the production of a whole season depends on how well the pilot goes. So to quote the great man himself, “let’s all hope the pilot will kick serious ass.” 

Here is the link to the official announcement from George himself:

http://grrm.livejournal.com/58155.html

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Written by Dale Weber

Monday, 17 November, 2008 at 5:30 pm

THE WORD

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Corresponding with this weeks The Big Lebowski review, this segment of THE WORD comes from that very film.

As with any film by the Coen Brothers, The Big Lebowski is filled with some of the funniest and witty dialogue in cinema. Basically anything The Dude or Walter says is ripe for endless quoting by fanboys. Anyways, this weeks chosen word is the opening passage of the film narrated by Sam Elliott’s The Stranger. For best effect, one should listen to it spoken with the deep tumbleweed-sounding gravelly tones of Sam Elliott. But seeing it written is pretty darn good too:

 

Way out west there was this fella I wanna tell ya about. Goes by the name of Jeff Lebowski. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. See, this Lebowski, he called himself “The Dude”. Now, “Dude” – there’s a name no man would self-apply where I come from. But then there was a lot about the Dude that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. And a lot about where he lived, likewise. But then again, maybe that’s why I found the place so darned interestin’. See, they call Los Angeles the “City Of Angels”; but I didn’t find it to be that, exactly. But I’ll allow it as there are some nice folks there. ‘Course I ain’t never been to London, and I ain’t never seen France. And I ain’t never seen no queen in her damned undies, so the feller says. But I’ll tell you what – after seeing Los Angeles, and this here story I’m about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin’ every bit as stupefyin’ as you’d seen in any of them other places. And in English, too. So I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin’ like the good Lord gypped me. Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place in the early ’90s – just about the time of our conflict with Sad’m and the I-raqis. I only mention it because sometimes there’s a man… I won’t say a hero, ’cause, what’s a hero? Sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about the Dude here – the Dude from Los Angeles. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude. The Dude, from Los Angeles. And even if he’s a lazy man – and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in all of Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide. Sometimes there’s a man, sometimes, there’s a man. Well, I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I’ve done introduced it enough.

 

From the film The Big Lebowski, by Joel and Ethan Coen

Written by Dale Weber

Friday, 7 November, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Film Review: The Big Lebowski

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The Coen brothers are anything but your standard directors. But of course that is what makes them so good.

And The Big Lebowski is anything but your ordinary film. Nailing down what the film is about is quite a slippery task, but then that really is the point. The film tells the story of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, an ageing unemployed hippy living in Los Angeles, who through a case of mistaken identity, gets caught up in a confusing ordeal involving kidnapping, extortion, the porn industry, and of course, bowling. Confused for a much richer Jeffrey Lebowski by some dim-witted thugs seeking money owed, who end up soiling his beloved rug, The Dude embarks on a crusade to be compensated for said rug that “really tied the room together”. Along the way The Dude finds himself mixed up with German nihilists, porn stars, a feminist artist, a severed toe, a sexually perverted rival bowler and the Malibu police department.

Within this twisting narrative, it is really the characters that shine through. And that is what they are: “characters”. The whole film is a heightened example of the absurd, and each character is more absurd than the next. From the three German nihilists who are a mix of Nazi’s, sadists and Kraftwerk, to Julianne Moore’s peculiar feminist artist Maude Lebowski, to John Turturro’s briefly seen but delightfully crazy Jesus Quintana, they are like nothing you have ever seen, and utterly Coenesque. Perhaps the most memorable is John Goodman as loose cannon Walter Sobchak, The Dude’s bowling buddy. Here Goodman puts in the best performance of his career, a highly-strung barrel of nerves, rage and delusion that leaves you laughing with glee and shaking your head in shock.

And then there is The Dude. As Sam Elliot’s narrator tells us, The Dude is a man of his time: An ex-radical hippy, who is simply passing the time through Los Angeles in the early 90’s. And Jeff Bridges IS The Dude. His shuffling performance is accomplished with such ease, and executed with great comedic nuance. From his shabby wardrobe and taste for White-Russians to his mumbling speech and exasperated response to the burdens imposed upon him, The Dude is one of the greatest comic film creations in recent history, and one the collaboration of Bridges and the Coens should be proud of.

It is also the filmmaking talent of the Coen brothers that have made The Big Lebowski into a cult-hit phenomenon. The unravelling of this muddled narrative is a joy to follow, and it is the comedy found within this unfolding, that keeps the audience wanting more. The surreal quality of the film is cleverly handled and the two dream sequences of The Dude are an inspired mix of events from the story and drug-addled insanity. The music in the film is much more than just background noise but plays an incorporated part in the telling of The Dude’s story. And the narration by Sam Elliot’s character at the beginning and end of the film is a nice touch.

The Big Lebowski is an absolute must-see for any fan of the Coen brothers, as well as for anyone who is bored by typical modern film fare. It is worth the watch just to see how an intriguing narrative, wonderful characters, fantastic dialogue and brilliant filmmaking are present in a film of utter irreverence and absolute absurdity, but one that works. You just have to remember one thing: The Dude abides.

Written by Dale Weber

Friday, 7 November, 2008 at 11:19 am

New Watchmen Poster

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Here is the latest poster for the film adaptation of graphic novel Watchmen as reported by SuperHeroHype:

http://www.superherohype.com/news/watchmennews.php?id=7756

Written by Dale Weber

Thursday, 6 November, 2008 at 6:57 pm

THE WORD

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To tie in with this week’s review of the Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero, we have two passages from that very novel for this installment of THE WORD.

Easton Ellis’s first novel, Less Than Zero, tells the story of Clay, a college student on America’s east coast who returns home to Los Angeles over the winter break. The novel explores the nihilistic and debauched lifestyles of the young children of the rich Hollywood elite. Clay is troubled throughout the novel by the world around him but is apathetic in trying to separate himself from his peers. 

The first comes form a conversation between Clay and his ex-girlfriend after they sleep together:

 

I button up my jeans and turn to leave.
“Clay?”
“Yeah, Blair.”
“If I don’t see you before Christmas,” she stops. “Have a good one”.
I look at her a moment. “Hey, you too.”
She picks up the stuffed black cat and strokes its head.
I step out the door and start to close it.
“Clay?” she whispers loudly.
I stop but don’t turn around. “Yeah?”
“Nothing.”

 

And another, as Clay and his dealer Rip are taking a drive:

 

“Where are we going?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Just driving.”
“But this road doesn’t go anywhere,” I told him.
“That doesn’t matter.”
“What does?” I asked, after a little while.
“Just that we’re on it, dude,” he said.

 

From the novel Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis.

Written by Dale Weber

Friday, 17 October, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Novel Review: Less Than Zero

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“People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles”. These are the opening words to Bret Easton Ellis’s Debut novel Less Than Zero, and with them sets up the atmosphere for the rest of the story. According to Ellis, through his narrator Clay, Los Angeles in the mid-eighties was a Mecca for a generation of vacuous, nihilistic, but very tanned, young men and women. The children of the players of Hollywood, these youths have way too much expendable cash to spend and even more time to spend it. Clay, and all those who inhabit his world, lead empty and meaningless lives, with all the money in the world but no real currency in life. They have parties together, frequent clubs together, get tanned together and snort drugs together, but never truly interact with each other. Their lives are, in the end, a whole bunch of nothing; less than zero. No wonder they are afraid to merge.

The narrative of Less Than Zero follows Clay, who has returned home to Los Angeles from college somewhere on the East Coast for a month over the Christmas break. Calling Clay the protagonist of the story would be quite an overstatement. Yes, it is through his eyes that we follow the story, but he hardly drives the narrative. He merely exists, barely, in this hazy world of sex, drugs and parties. All the while he is back at home Clay partakes in all the debauched activities of his peers, but it seems merely a way to pass the time. He seems rather disturbed and sickened by the lifestyles of his friends and family but does nothing to separate himself from this world. For the most part Clay is rather amoral about anything and everything, but at times he displays some form of morality, at least in comparison to his friends. Of course when your friends engage in some particularly horrifying acts, any act of opposition would be moral.

For a debut novel, Less Than Zero is certainly impressive. Shocking, disconcerting, filled with sexual deviance and amoral lifestyles, yet oddly thoughtful, Bret Easton Ellis portrays a world that seems horrifyingly real. Undoubtedly quite a bit exaggerated in depicting the L.A. of the eighties, surely no-one can be this empty and hollow, it does manage to capture a snapshot of the social deviance that comes along with a city so saturated with consumerism and celebrity.

The novel however does feel a little flat at times. The lack of a real narrative arc or of anything really significant happening may leave a reader feeling a little bit empty. Clearly that is the point. But while he perfectly illustrates the meaningless and emotionally barren lives of these young L.A. “zombies”, Easton Ellis leaves the story itself a little barren. We do feel just as disconcerted as Clay by the world he inhabits, and along with him, yearn for something more, something real, something alive. And although Easton Ellis obviously intends for us to feel the way same way as Clay, at times this does leave the reader a little lost.

 Lacking the punch and wit of his later novels, Less Than Zero is still a remarkable read. To say that one will get enjoyment out of it is perhaps the wrong word to use. Rather you will be unnerved, shocked, and a little bit disturbed, but also fascinated and enthralled. While the lives of Clay and his friends may be less than zero, the book is far more than that. 

Written by Dale Weber

Friday, 17 October, 2008 at 11:33 am

Posted in Novels

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Who will watch the Watchmen? I know I will!

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For any Watchmen fans out there who might be anxious about Zack Snyder’s films adaptation should check out this SuperHeroHype.com report on the latest footage revealed at a Warner Bros.’s studio. 

From the description, I would say this is definitely a film to look forward to, for fans of Alan Moore’s graphic novel, as well as newbies. There is always going to be trepidation when adapting such a complex, and well-loved source material to the screen. And certainly according to some of the comments being left at SuperHeroHype by fans, there is no way the film-makers can please everyone. A little bit of creative license is always going to happen when fitting a story into a new medium. From the trailer, the posters, the comments from Snyder himself and of course the description of this latest footage, I get the feeling that the film will not only look fantastic but will succeed in capturing intricacies of narrative and the mood of the graphic novel as a whole. At least we can all hope!

And here is the trailer if you have not seen it yet:

http://www.apple.com/trailers/wb/watchmen/

Written by Dale Weber

Tuesday, 14 October, 2008 at 5:56 pm