Saturday, 13 August 2011

Big Screen Day 1: A little dizzying

After three years of Movie-Con, Empire magazine decided to up the ante and create something even more like San Diego's Comic-Con, taking over London's vast O2 with a blinding array of previews, screenings, workshops, panel discussions and movie experiences. Frankly it's a little dizzying, with so much going on that it's difficult to figure out where to go. But there's great stuff around every corner.

On Day 1, I attended Universal's  preview session, which started with a trailer and some extended clips from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, introduced on tape by Gary Oldman from the set of The Dark Knight Rises and followed by a rather dull Q&A with writer Peter Straughan and producer Robyn Slovo.  The clips made little sense out of context, but the film looks pretty fantastic. There was then another video intro, from a seemingly surgically enhanced Seann William Scott for American Pie Reunion, but no footage. And this was followed by a series of extended trailers: John Cusack in The Raven (looks like an intriguing Jack the Ripper-style thriller), Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds in The Change-Up (looks weak), Mark Wahlberg in Contraband (a slightly above-standard thriller), Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn (pretty stupid), The Debt (good film, weak trailer), Tower Heist (too comical), Battleship (overserious) and the Tarsem-meets-300 Greek gods romp Immortals (which looks pretty amazing actually).

I also attended a discussion on censorship with Empire's Kim Newman and Tom Six, director of The Human Centipede and its sequel, which has been banned in the UK by the BBFC despite being passed uncut in both America and Australia, both of which are usually more jittery about these things than Britain. The conversation was lively and engaging, mainly because Six is so relaxed and funny - he's genuinely bemused that his film has been censored, and yet he's annoyed that the BBFC is encouraging people to illegally download the film here. He also still plans to make part 3 of the trilogy. And Newman summed it up by noting that banning a movie simply never works as the film doesn't go away; it actually becomes more desirable.

Finally, I roamed around the "Live Quarter", an exhibition space packed with mammoth booths advertising Hollywood movies, plus displays of some impressive movie props. Here are some photos putting me in Tintin, Pirates, Cars 2 and Real Steel. More tomorrow ...

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