Battle Los Angeles

I am well-known amongst my friends for loving movies where aliens blow shit up. In Battle: Los Angeles, the aliens are more destructive than most. They land off the coast of Santa Monica (and twenty other world cities – shocker!) in preparation for a simultaneous attack. And a small group of soldiers from disparate backgrounds are left to rescue a handful of civilians and save the day. Think Independence Day lite. There’s even a mother ship that controls the drones, so it’s hardly original. In fact there are enough holes in the plot to drive a humvee through. On the plus side though, the battle scenes are frenetic and pretty thrilling, and the whole thing is ultimately saved from irrelevance by the ruggedly handsome Aaron Eckhart, who is sympathetic, compelling, and (how do I say this?) vigorous. If California hadn’t gone all Prop-8-Hate-State, I’d probably marry him or something.

Actually, the tragedy of Battle: Los Angeles is that it filmed in Louisiana. I had coffee today with a great lady from the Location Managers Guild of America, who was telling me how production in this town has basically been eviscerated. Sounds like there are more movies filming in Cape Town today than there are in Hollywood.

Movieset

Digital Media Wire reports that the Vancouver-based company Movieset has received a ZAR11.4 million investment from the British Columbia Discovery Fund as part of a ZAR38 million round of financing, led by Rho Canada. The tecchie geek in me rejoices! –MovieSet offers behind-the-scenes video of films in production.

Check out for example, the star interviews from Battle in Seattle, a movie on the five remarkable days in 1999, when tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the World Trade Organization. Battle in Seattle opens internationally in September this year.

Movieset has some lofty goals. Its CEO claims it will:

“revolutionize the way movies are produced and marketed and transform the relationship between filmmakers and fans, shifting the emphasis to the creative journey rather than just the end product.”

I don’t know about that. But there will always be movie fans who want more of an interaction with their favourite movies than 120 minutes in a cinema. If you don’t believe me, ask Universal Studio Theme Parks – now in Orlando, Hollywood, Japan and Spain.

The Breed

In bed over the weekend with a bad back, I took the opportunity to catch up on a couple of movies Made in Cape Town.

The first – Wes Craven’s The Breed – was shot on Steenbras Dam, a beautiful stretch of water just over Sir Lowry’s Pass on the way out of town from Somerset West – where it was playing stand-in for an unnamed island somewhere off the coast of North America.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH3kjGzhb3w&]

Now I wasn’t expecting much from this film, and I wasn’t therefore disappointed. Five sketchily drawn friends (the good jock, the bad jock, the sporty girl, the ditzy blonde and the token black guy) de-camp to an isolated island off the coast, where they fall prey to a pack of super-intelligent killer sheepdogs. (I kid you not.)  It’s hardly great or ground-breaking film making, and it’s really, really hard to be scared by Belgian Shepherds.

Yet, in spite of the weak and sometimes inexplicable storyline, I thought Steenbras performed rather well. And SA actors Nick Boraine and Lisa Marie Schneider get their asses whumped early in the story line, which is always fun…..