• science fiction and stoners

    At the weekend I watched three videos in a row. I was in the mood for science fiction, with a dash of comedy, so I plumped for The Mutant Chronicles, Babylon A.D., and Pineapple Express. Here be spoilers, so don’t read on if you haven’t seen the movies. The Mutant Chronicles is directed by Simon Hunter and written by Philip Eisner, and is extraordinarily bad for a film with a lot of talent in it. It’s set in a future that’s aiming for a retro-World War I vibe, but shows no evidence of future-thinking or a convincing worldview. It’s burdened with a wad of exposition that’s chewed over and spat…

  • tweet a bad movie

    Just to prove that twitter has the potential to be a platform for exciting developments – and this Wired article outlines the tech possibilities – Irish screenwriter Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd) has decided to stage a social experiment: By way of illustration, I’m organising a Bad Film Club event online for Friday night (13th Feb). At exactly 9.00pm, myself and some likeminded Twitterers will be pressing ‘play’ on M Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Happening’, and blogging our responses to the magic as it unfolds. Now, this is uncharted territory for me, and I have no way of knowing whether it’ll work, but dammit, it’s worth a shot, isn’t it? Everyone…

  • Dublin Film Festival picks

    The Jameson Dublin International Film Festival announced its programme for this year’s festival, and tickets are now on sale via their web site and box office. Here are my suggestions for those of you interested in fantastic themes: On Valentine’s Day, you can see I Sell The Dead: in which grave robbers recount stories from their trade. It co-stars Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden, with a performance by cult horror favourite Ron Perlman. Irish writer/director Glenn McQuaid will be at the screening. This would be my perfect date movie. There’s a Gala event going on at Dundrum on February 15: a screening of the animated feature film, Coraline 3D, which…

  • Screenwriting the Future

    During my blogging duties for the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild I posted the following piece, which I figured would be worth replicating here for those who follow this blog: De Montfort University in Leicester is hosting a one-day seminar on TV screenwriting on Saturday 7th March 2009 at the Leicester City campus, and the focus will be on Fantastic Writing – science fiction, fantasy and magic: Writing the future, the past and other worlds. Confirmed guests include James Moran (Doctor Who, Torchwood and Spooks), Phil Ford (Sarah Jane Adventures, Dr Who and Torchwood), Stephen Volk (Afterlife) and Graham Joyce – winner of the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy…

  • Winter Cheer

    I started writing this blog post a week ago, but then I became happily distracted by the visit from a dear friend of mine. October and November are busy months for me. It’s when the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild organises its annual screenwriting awards, the ZeBBies, and it generates a lot of extra work. On November 25th we had the ZeBBie Awards Ceremony in the Sugar Club in Dublin, and it was a fun night. I put on a frock and shiny shoes. People were bewildered but complimentary. I spent all of that Tuesday at the Arts Council’s conference, New Media, New Audience? The panel I participated on was…

  • recovery

    I’m recovering from my tumble two weeks ago. I spent most of the first week lying down, with sporadic bouts of hobbling around. My left foot displayed a shocking palette of colours for a while, some of which have not yet faded. I’m thankful I’ve a resilient body, and the ability to work from home. You’d think this would mean I had plenty time to write, watch movies, and read, but for the first period I was incredibly lethargic and unfocused. There were times when I just did nothing – this is difficult for me, but I decided to take the injury seriously and rest completely. Coincidentally, Martin was away…

  • "I feel trapped like a moth, in a bath."

    Irish screenwriter Graham Linehan (co-writer of Father Ted and Black Books, and the creator of The IT Crowd) has a blog – my cool discovery of today. In his latest entry he discusses his progress on the third season of The IT Crowd, which has kept him rather busy. Too distracted to enjoy his usual research into a cool look for the set and the cast. He says: How would you like to help in designing the look of series 3? Specifically, you’d be helping us choose the stuff that litters the main set. I’m talking about posters, comics, fanzines, T-shirts? anything you’ve seen in the last few months that…

  • well deserved

    Most people on the Irish science fiction scene know John Vaughan – the Cork man who has been known to talk the hind leg off a donkey (I’ve seen the crippled animal myself), and is passionate about making films. This afternoon I discovered via Filmbase that his short film, “My Dad”, which he wrote and directed, and screened at Octocon last year, won the Best Short category in the Action on Film International Film Festival. He also won the award for the Best Unproduced Action (Short) Screenplay: “For Your Troubles”. John has slogged long and hard in a tough industry, and I’m delighted his efforts are getting the acclaim they…

  • the horror… the horror… except for the good news

    Yesterday I heard from Brian Yount and Mort Castle, the editors of Doorways Magazine, that they are buying my weird short story “Water” for their publication. I’m delighted, because it’s a pro market, and a great magazine. I finally watched I Am Legend last night. I’ve been putting off seeing this film because I love the Richard Matheson novel so much. I haven’t read it in an age, but have a distinct memory of the book, which is pretty rare. This screenplay was written by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman, and it was directed by Francis Lawrence. I thought overall Will Smith put in a terrific performance as the gaunt…

  • good reading and poor viewing

    Hurray! Today the postie delivered my handsome contributor copy of Shroud Magazine, issue 2. I’m sharing the edition with my rather more famous countryman, Kealan Patrick Burke, along with Colleen Anderson, Steve Vernon, Marie Brennan, Nathaniel Lambert, Nate Kenyon, Tom Piccirilli and Ken Bruen, and Christa M. Miller. It’s a beautiful, well-produced, magazine. I’m proud my short story “Home” is in it. Recently, a mysterious benefactor in RTÉ sent me a free copy of Halloween (2007), the version (re)written and directed by Rob Zombie. I’ve gone on record in the past of not enjoying Rob Zombie’s films. Mr. Zombie likes the monsters who chop up and mutilate other folks. The…