I'm Stephen Graves - technology, music, film and TV journalist, and director of short films.
I've written for titles including Stuff, SFX, Starburst and Classic Rock. My short film "A Stitch In Time" has played at the East End Film Festival and is distributed by Shorts International.
I’m making a film! And I need your help. It’s called Fred’s Shed, and it’s about an old man, his wife, a shed and the mysterious contraption therein.
I’ve scrimped and saved and raised some of the budget myself, but film-making is an expensive business, so I’m asking you to check out our Indiegogo page and – if you like what you see there – dip into your pockets. There are perks!
So, I got to interview Joe Letteri, senior VFX supervisor for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey recently. Since he’s also worked on (deep breath) Man of Steel, Tintin, Avatar, King Kong, The Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park, it’s fair to say that I was geeking out a bit. Read the interview here!
Naturally, it’s going up to mark the UK release of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, due out this week – which its director insists is actually a “Southern” rather than a Western, given its unconventional setting of the antebellum South. But we figured, what the hell, it’s got cowboy hats and horses and six-guns in it.
With Django Unchained, Tarantino’s drawn inspiration from further afield than the classic Westerns I’ve highlighted in the Stuff.tv list – for those wanting to dig a little deeper into the Italian spaghetti Westerns that influenced QT, this New York Times article is an excellent place to start.
Hopefully, Django Unchained will spur Hollywood into reviving the genre – at the moment the only other Western on the horizon is Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp’s popcorn actioner The Lone Ranger (which I’m actually rather looking forward to, despite the naysayers). Maybe the long-delayed adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian will finally get off the ground.
One thing’s for sure, though – the Western has been written off time and time again, only to return with a vengeance. This uniquely American genre is definitely not riding off into the sunset any time soon.
That means, of course, that it features my personal favourite Christmas movie, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – which, as per my own Yuletide tradition, I shall be popping into the Blu-ray player this festive season.
Naturally, it also includes Batman Returns, which I’ve previously written extensively about here. Go see if your favourites made the list.
In which sci-fi author Ian Watson discusses his time working with Stanley Kubrick on the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Kubrick died before he got the chance to direct the film; Steven Spielberg brought his own version to the screen some years later.
Among the many gems to be found in Watson’s memoir is this:
I had written a novel entitled Inquisitor set in the wacky far-future world of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000; he wanted a pre-publication printout right away. “Who knows, Ian?” he mused. “Maybe this is my next movie?”
Yes, we nearly got Stanley Kubrick’s Warhammer 40,000.