March 27, 2014

Top Movie Set Accidents and Disasters

Movie sets can be dangerous places and not just for the stunt guys and girls. There are fight scenes, and things exploding, battles on the tops of trains, airplanes, animals…Throughout Hollywood history, there have been accidents on set that have marked that movie forever. Some mishaps have resulted in cunning script re-writes; others have ended in tragic deaths. That final movie we all enjoy watching? Well, we never know what may have happened behind the scenes. Stunt-work carries the highest risk. It is responsible for over half of all the injuries that occur during film making. For every 200 movie-set injuries, there is an average of five deaths. Helicopters are the biggest cause of death. One of the most well-known movie set disasters occurred in 1982 during the filming of ‘The Twilight Zone’. A low-flying helicopter, caught in the pyrotechnics, horrifically decapitated and killed Vic Morrow and two, young child actors.

Other Set Related Deaths
Many of those that have lost their lives whilst filming are well known to us. Brandon Lee, for example, was shot whilst filming ‘The Crow’, in 1994. There were supposed to be blanks in the gun. The bullet which tragically culled him had been lodged, unbeknownst to anyone, in the gun's barrel. Other famous deaths include the 46 members of cast and crew that filmed ‘The Conqueror’ in 1956. These 46, among them John Wayne, subsequently died of cancer. The film set had been located in an area where there was high nuclear activity, close to a site for atom bomb testing.

There is a plethora of lesser known, but equally gruesome, deaths in movie-making history. In 1941, whilst filming ‘They Died with Their Boots On’, extra Jack Budlong, tossed his sword when he realized he was going to be thrown from his horse. When he fell, he was impaled on the very sword that he’d thrown; the sword having landed sharp-side up. In 1969, during the filming of ‘Shark’, a stuntman was mauled to death on camera by a shark. The shark was supposed to be sedated. In 1972, a sound technician, James Chapman, was savaged by a lion whilst on location in South Africa.  

The Accidentally Prone
If there was an award for the most number of injuries, Jackie Chan would win (literally) hands down. On various sets, he’s sustained so many injuries they are difficult to recount. He has cracked his skull and now has a permanent plug. He has dislocated his sternum and shoulder. He’s suffered crushed legs between two cars, a slashed arm by a sword that was supposed to be blunt, an injured chin, (which made speaking his lines difficult), an injured neck (during the famous, clock tower, fall scene) and he nearly suffocated when he injured his throat in ‘The Young Master’.

On movie sets elsewhere, other spectacular accidents have happened. Whilst filming ‘Seven’, Brad Pitt fell through a windscreen, requiring surgery on his hand and a rewrite of the script to explain why ‘Detective David Mills’ was suddenly wearing a cast. Nicole Kidman also wore a cast in ‘Moulin Rouge’ after injuring her knee. Many of her scenes were adjusted so that she could be seated. When filming ‘Die Hard’, Bruce Willis lost two thirds of his hearing after firing a gun, with extra loud blanks, under a table. Somewhat spoiling the atmosphere of a love-making scene, Halle Berry nearly choked to death due to having a fig in her mouth. During filming for ‘Cover Up’ in 1985, Jon Erik Hexum was declared brain dead after firing a gun, which he believed to hold blanks, into his own skull. He had been playing Russian Roulette during a break in filming.

Make Sure you’ve got it Covered
Working on a set, making a film, or even just staging an event, can have risks. If you’re thinking of staging any of your own ‘don’t try this at home’ Jackass style stunts make sure you have the right insurance. If there’s any chance anyone could be injured due to your actions, or because you’re responsible for an event, it's vital you cover yourself. Whilst filming, Cyborg, in 1989, Jean Claude van Damme, ended up accidentally stabbing Jackson ‘Rock’ Pickney in the eye, leading to him suffering permanent loss of vision. Pickney sued Van Damme for a whopping $487,500. You never know what might happen. Van Diesel’s stunt double’s final moments are captured in the film XXX for all to see. Harry L. O’Connor struck a bridge at high speed whilst parasailing. Harry had attempted the move for a second time believing he could achieve a better shot. The stunt was kept in the film, as a mark of respect, edited just before he hits the bridge.

You don’t have to be flying in a helicopter or jumping through exploding buildings to sustain an injury on set. Buddy Ebsen, the original Tinman, in the Wizard of Oz, was so allergic to the make-up used, his lung collapsed and he suffered life-long breathing problems. It is fascinating to know what is really going on behind the glossy movie scenes. It's often more gruesome than it seems.

November 8, 2013

New Logo - Please Vote!!

Dear Readers,

I am putting up a new logo for my Blog. Currently I have 3 options to choose from. Please vote which one you think is the best looking one.

Option 1

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October 1, 2013

Top 5 Movies with Spin-Offs

Since 1997, Harry Potter has been enchanting the literate and in 2001, with the arrival of his movies, the world. 

The legacy of Harry Potter will live on forever but is the wizarding world meant to expand? JK Rowling announced in that she would be making a spin off television series with Warner Bros Studios. 

It won’t be about Harry Potter though.

Remember that popular text book that everyone had- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? Well it’s not exactly about that either. It’s about the author, Newt Scamander. 

This will take place in New York City, 70 years before Harry Potter is born. Extension of the wizarding world, not prequel or sequel.

It will be an interesting setting to see as the Harry Potter series didn’t have any American representatives in it. “The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films”. How will it compare and what in the world could take the place of the ultimate villain You-Know-Who?

What can we expect of this spin off? Let’s look back on some amazing films and their babies.
In 1977, Star Wars greeted the world and let us bask in its awesomeness until 1983 with the release of the last of the original trilogy. George Lucas was hopped up on the Force and decided that the trilogy just wasn’t enough at which point he decided that a Star Wars spin-off would be the best course of action at which point Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure was born.

Just the name is enough to make you question if you want to watch this or not. It is about a family who’s shuttlecraft crashes on Endor. The family is split up, the adults captured by a giant and the children left alone. An Ewok, looking for his sons, finds them and together they go on an adventure to save the parents. 

X-Men was also a brilliant series. There was X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, And X-Men First Class. All of the X-Men and Professor Xavier together fighting against the forces of evil and battling internal conflicts and striving for acceptance.  

Then somewhere in the middle, they thought that Wolverine needed his own story and they called it X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It starts 200 years ago with the mutant brothers Logan and Victor. They go through hardships, are recruited by Stryker as special agent mutant commandos and Logan quits to be a lumberjack, falls in love with a teacher and when Stryker wants Logan to rejoin the command and is turned town, Stryker sends the sadistic and murderous brother and now Logan is out for blood. 

It didn’t do so well…

Batman. Need I say more? Well, I will anyways. Batman has had a history of fantastic films but the one I specifically want to point out is Batman Returns. Brilliant. Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance as Catwoman was immaculately executed. Then a few years later came Catwoman’s own story. Not with Michelle Pfieffer or even the history and creation of Catwoman that the DC creators had but a Catwoman that really wasn’t much like the character at all with the exception of black clothes and having it out for the boss. Needless to say, it flopped. Thank god that Christopher Nolan came along and redeemed the good name of Catwoman. 

In the late 90’s, everyone was all about The Mummy and why shouldn’t we have been? Brendan Fraser as an archeologist at a cursed site in Egypt is awesome! The spin off was a little less Indian Jones and a little more about The Rock-hard pecs. This one has an evil king with an evil sorceress who foresees his evil victories. Free tribes hire an assassin and The Rock goes to work (*spoiler* he’s the Scorpion King). 

Forgetting Sarah Marshall came out in 2008 and was phenomenal. It appealed to the girls love of romantic comedies and the humor that guys want. It also had a musical with Muppets and you can’t beat that. From this movie came the spin-off Get Him to the Greek featuring Russell Brand’s character Aldous Snow (which is essentially everyday Russell Brand) and awkward Jonah Hill trying to get him to put aside the vices and make it to gigs on time. Shenanigans ensue at the very, very end there’s a bit of character development and a hint of redemption. 

So while the trends of the past don’t exactly leave us wanting more, perhaps Ms. Rowling and her ingenious writing will actually make for a spectacular television series. Here’s hoping.  

Author Bio: Laura Bensen is a freelance writer for the People Magazine sect of Magazines.com. She is an avid lover of movies, shows, books, and comics that fall in the action, sci-fi, or fantasy. 

July 6, 2013

Clever camera shots from the movies

In these days of CGI and special effects, it’s a wonder anyone bothers to use a clever camera shot to get the effect they want in the movie. Playing with camera angles seems like a thing of the past, when budgets were lower and technology was less advanced, but did you know some directors actually still use forced perspective and camera trickery in modern films? Sometimes it just really is the best way of doing things and having them look realistic – too much CGI can ruin a film.

First of all, did you know Lord of the Rings uses a lot of forced perspective in order to make the Hobbits look small? Forced perspective is when perspective is used to trick your eyes into thinking the size and distance of an object is different to what it actually is. Here’s an example from LOTR:

Frodo and Gandalf travel together in a cart, and Frodo appears dwarfed by Gandalf. 

In reality, the bench is split, and Frodo is sitting a few feet behind Gandalf – Gandalf’s body hides the split in the bench.

Camera shots like this are used extensively through Lord of the Rings; there are instances where it may be too difficult to play with perspective, and instead a child is used if the shot doesn’t feature a Hobbit’s face. However, forced perspective can even be used when the actors are moving, like in this scene where Frodo and Gandalf are sat around a table:

Frodo appears to be pouring from a normal-sized kettle, but the tableware looks too small for Gandalf. 

In reality Frodo is sat at a table with ‘Hobbit-sized” tableware, and Gandalf is sitting at a table with miniature tableware.

Once you see behind the scenes, forced perspective is really easy to understand and you can get your head around how everything works; but there are other clever movie shots that create angles that leave the mind reeling. Watch this clip from the 1997 movie ‘Contact’, and note the clip where the young girl runs down the corridor – not all is as it seems.



When the young girl runs down the hallway, you believe the camera is in front of her, and you’re preceding her as she runs; but suddenly you realize you’ve actually been watching her from the mirror at the end of the hall. So how was that filmed? The girl is actually imposed into the scene using a blue screen. Which means she’s not really running down the corridor, it’s just a bit of digital trickery.

Contact isn’t the only film to use mirrors to trick the watcher either; take this scene from ‘Sucker Punch’ for example:



The scene tricks you by using what you expect to see, and turning that expectation on its head. This scene is actually filmed using stunt doubles!

Turns out when it comes to films, even though CGI can create some scenes that are beyond belief, sometimes it’s the traditional methods that can work the best!

This guest post was contributed by Holly Powell on behalf of 3D Broadcast Sales, broadcasting equipment specialists.

May 14, 2013

Unforgettable underwear from the movies

When doing the research for this blog post, I came to realize that actresses in underwear looking good was much easier to find than men in underwear looking good. It looks as though men just don’t get in their underwear quite as often, or maybe there’s just not the same buzz around it online. So, in order to find a solution to this, here’s a list of the top unforgettable underwear scenes from movies, they don’t necessarily all look their best, but they are sure to jog your memory of some classic movies. Let me know if you think of anymore.

Blades of Glory 
John Hader got caught in the movie Blades of Glory wearing just these purple y-fronts. The best thing about this is that rumour has it, he rehearsed this scene in just those pants too!


Risky Business
The hilarious home dance scene which involves Tom Cruise sliding into the room in a pair of socks then jumping around in his pants singing to Old Time Rock and Roll is one that everybody knows or has heard of. Don’t deny it, you’ve recreated this scene a few times at home yourself.


The Paperboy
According to Zac Efron, this scene was completely improvised, what was meant to be a dramatic and serious scene turned out to be fun and slightly flirty dance in the rain. If anyone’s going to look good spontaneously dancing in just white pants, soaking wet through with a woman 20 years older then it’s Mr Efron.


Borat
How could we have this list without Borat’s bright green mankini? The hideous luminous lycra concoction in the picture below is enough to put you off  going to the beach for life, but it’s become iconic none the less and you’ve got to admire his confidence if nothing else.


The Notebook
The moment Noah and Allie do what very few couples do and decide to undress standing opposite each other in a sort of awkward check for approval from the other person. Romantic none the less, and we get to see those knee-length boxers that we recognize from the 1940’s. Would you wear them nowadays?


The Full Monty
A classic movie from the 90’s known for the bold unemployed guys who decide to make money in quite a unique way. If the awkward dancing and pasty bodies weren’t enough, check out the red thongs they choose as “costume”, hilarious every time you watch!


Couples Retreat
The moment Marcel pushes the four couples outside of their comfort zone and makes them strip in front of each other. An awkward situation for them all but in particular Shane, who isn’t wearing underwear and gets forced to take his pants off anyway.


Magic Mike – One for the ladies
Finally, one for the ladies, Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey along with their stripper colleagues show off their ripped bodies in this modern day Full Monty style film. Looks like movie strippers still haven’t found an alternative for those shiny thongs.


This guest post was contributed by Holly Powell, a fan of all things men’s fashion and movies on behalf of Underwear Unlimited.co.uk.

February 6, 2013

Top 5 Car Chase Scenes of the 2000s

The trailer for A Place Beyond the Pines, has been recently released and, at first glance, the movie looks killer. The movie touts big names Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Ray Liotta, and, my personal favorite, Eva Mendes. The plot centers around a motorcycle driver/carnie played by Gosling who decides to rob banks for the woman he loves—which sounds awfully close to the plot of Drive (2011), where a stunt car driver decides to rob banks… for the woman he loves. It looks like Pines will have a much thicker plot than that, but the parallel made me decide to take a look at some of the best car chase scenes from the 2000s.

Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000)
What a better way to kick off the new century than with a remake of the 1974 movie of the same name. Great chase and a beautiful 1967 Ford Mustang named Eleanor—what more can you ask for?

Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Even though most of this car chase was created through CGI, that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s totally awesome. This clip doesn’t contain the original audio, but it’s just as enjoyable as the original.

Wanted (2008)
What a ridiculous movie and car chase. This movie has everything: bending bullets, a red Dodge Viper, and the ultra-sexy Angelina Jolie.

The Dark Knight (2008)
This was not a conventional pick, but it absolutely deserved to be on the list. Not only one of the best movies of the 2000’s, one of the best car chase scenes as well.

Terminator Salvation (2009)
Another unconventional pick, the terminator motorcycles just had to make this list. Rumor is that Arnold will be signing on for Terminator 5, which means that we can only hope for another awesome truck chase with a T-1000.