Friday, January 18, 2019

"Mortal Engines" and S.F. Sketchfest

I've been a huge fan of Peter Jackson since seeing some of his early films - my favorites were "Meet the Feebles", "Forgotten Silver" and "Bad Taste".  I felt he was one of the few filmmakers to use outrageous humor to tell wonderful stories.  Of course, he made his biggest success with the "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" trilogies, where he seemed to leave his subversive humor behind.  I guess that shows where outrageous humor can take you.

He now has produced a new film called "Mortal Engines", directed by Christian Rivers.  I hadn't read much about this film, so I actually saw it by accident because I liked the title.  In any case, I immediately was stunned by the visual flare and imagination.  It's kind of a steam-punk dystopian story, yet it's clearly very different from your normal steam-punk film.  Although I must admit to loving "The Wild Wild West".  The cool concept of "Mortal Engines" is that in the future, all cities will be mounted on huge tank treads and will move around the globe, gobbling up smaller cities (capitalism run amok).

Peter has such a dramatic flair for visual storytelling and action sequences, the film totally blew me away.  To me the cast was largely unknown, except for Hugo Weaving, who played the bad guy (a Donald Trump-like character).  But the star of the film was the visual design.  It's the kind of film I want to watch over and over - I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see some breathtaking storytelling.  I give it an A-plus.

I just returned from San Francisco, where I attended and presented at the 18th Annual Sketchfest - it's basically a Comic-Con for stand-up comedians.  And even though I'm not a stand-up comedian, I felt totally at home with the organizers and audiences.  In fact, my show was sold out and the audiences went crazy for my new short films.  If you live in the Northern California area, I highly recommend it.

This week's gag cartoon is more of a Zen cartoon, not particularly funny, but more of an observation, I call it "Aging". 

--Bill P.

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