JIM’S MOVIE CHEAT SHEET – 25 September
VALE YORAM GROSS
Veteran animator Yoram Gross has died, age 88. Responsible for Dot and the Kangaroo (1977) and the series of successful Dot adventure films that followed, he also brought Blinky Bill to the big screen in 1992, which was followed by a hit TV series.
He was awarded the Order of Australia in 1995 for his contributions to the Australian film industry and is cited as one of the producers of the new Blinky Bill movie.
Born in Poland, Gross was one of the pioneers of quality Australian children’s programming who liked embedding unforced pro-environment messages into his storylines.
‘AMY’ BECOMES CAUTIONARY TALE
Of all the acclaim rightly accorded to the documentary Amy, perhaps the most poignant is the news that the film is being used as a cautionary tale in a juvenile detention centre in Bangkok.
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation and the Stop Drink Network have been using the tragic story of Amy Winehouse to warn young people about the perils of drug and alcohol abuse.
A good initiative, though it just makes her tale all the sadder, doesn’t it?
‘THE MARTIAN’ HITS ORBIT
The fabulous new Ridley Scott sci-fi adventure film The Martian got a special screening on the International Space Station, where astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly – who are researching the impact on the human body long trips through space, such one to Mars, would have – were the first people not on Earth to see the film.
Thing is, though they issued tweets about how excited they were to see it, there were no follow-up comments or snap reviews. Perhaps, like many others in the space industry, they were distracted by the dramatic license Scott and his crew had taken to ramp up the danger and tension. (Apparently, you can’t have damaging sandstorms on Mars because of the thin atmosphere, and the low-gravity would have everybody hopping around like on the Moon, not walking.)
Or, just maybe, the film offered no competition to the stunning views of Earth they can see out of any window at any given time. Be sure to check out their Twitter feeds to share some of the wonder.
SCOTT PERSISTS WITH ‘PROMETHEUS’ FOLLY
Having just spoken highly of Scott and his triumph with The Martian, the man remains in a cold, unrelenting embrace with the idea of making more Prometheus films, which he now intends to spin-off into a franchise.
The impression given back in 2012 was that the first film would be a stand-alone backstory to the events seen in the first Alien film.
Then we found out that wasn’t the case, that Prometheus was more a prequel to a prequel with a second film to bridge the gap in the timeline.
Now, would you believe, comes word that Scott might end up making as many as four Prometheus films before we get to the Alien timeline. And let’s not forget that Neill Blomkamp is making the next Alien film, so we’ll now have parallel franchises, just like with the X-Men flicks. Woopee.
This all begs the question: Why, Ridley? He’s proved with The Martian that he still has that visionary eye. So why is he persisting with this? Might be time to write him an open letter.
EVEREST MOUNTS THE MULTIPLEXES
While adventure film Everest hit #1 with a $4.7 million take on 251 screens, the real excitement came with the Australian family film Oddball (#4) taking a massive $2.7m on 289, while Blinky Bill (#6) took a neat $743,340 on 266.
There are three other films with the Aussie stamp on them in the top 20: The Gift (#9; $2.4m); Last Cab to Darwin (#11; $7m) and Holding the Man (#15; $1.04m). Hard to remember a time when successful local films accounted for 25% of the Top 20.