Archive for 2009

Timo’s Top 10 films of 2009!

December 25th, 2009 by Timo Vuorensola

SPECIAL MENTION: STAR TREK & DISTRICT 9

Star Trek and District 9 were surprisingly similar films in many ways. At first, they felt like a bite out of a fresh apple, but slowly they started to taste mealier, ditching head first into a pool of cliches and unanswered expectations. Visually, both were outstanding – at first. District 9 ran out of money somewhere around the midpoint, and JJ Abram’s visions of running around on powerplants and blinding the audience with lens flares became too apparent by the end.



And finally, both had quite amazing marketing campaings: Star Trek was sold to me as a teen gay drama in space, and District 9 as a harsh commentary on prejudicament and western immigration politics. Unfortunately, neither of the films eventually responded to things that made me interested. But they were both definitively remarkable films, and deserve to be mentioned.





10. METROPIA

Whine, whine, boo-hoo it was boring, the story was crappy, the world was shitty and nothing happened in it. Wrong. It was a great film, the atmosphere was amazing, the story was maybe the strangest and wildest of the whole year and the cast was excellent. Metropia was not flawless, but a brave, ambitious and exactly what the world of animation needs – completely different from Pixar/Dreamworks dominating the market nowadays. I think we’ll see loads of groundbreaking films from the director Tarik Saleh in the future. So quit whining and respect the film!

Here’s Essi‘s review of Metropia.

9. UP!

Pixar never fails. I love everything they’ve done so far, even Cars, and Up! didn’t let me down. The first 20 minutes of the film is easilly the best and most moving 20 minutes in 2009 – hell, maybe in 2000′s. Unfortunately, as the film takes the absurd Pixarian twist, surprisingly enough the story doesn’t live up to the expectations (which is strange, since usually it’s exactly the absurdity that makes their films so excellent). Nevertheless, Up! is a lovely story and Edward Asner delivers one of the best lead performances of the year as the old man Carl Fredricksen. And as a viewer, I feel like somebody respects my time, unlike with most of Dreamwork’s pieces of shit they keep on spitting on the big screen every year.

(BTW. Ever wondered what’s the main difference between Pixar and Dreamworks? Well, here’s quite a good explanation.)

8. CORALINE

Stop-motion 3D animation is here to stay, and Coraline is a living proof that you don’t need a CGI-rendered animation when you have a visionary director working on a story that’s based on a book by one of the greatest modern storytellers. Those being, of course, Neil Gaiman and Henry Selick, in reverse order. Coraline is fun, atmospheric, brave, experimental, beautiful and dark and creepy enough! It’s a humble courtesy for the animaton lovers.


7. AVATAR

The film looks like one of those creepy airbrush-painted dolphin posters that were quite popular in among the most tasteless of us back in early 90′s. The story may not be the most original one – hell, you know exactly what’s going to happen from the very first minutes, and if not, make sure to watch a trailer, it’ll spoil the rest for you. But still, it’s a honest work of love from the grown-up nerd James Cameron, and if you’re able to leave behind the cynicism that’s probably fueling your lost fight against mediocrity, the film is quite damn enjoyable. Most importantly, it’s a film that will last quite long, and spawn heaps of sequels, TV-serieses, cool merchandising – and create a massive fanbase around it. You should enjoy it while you still can – it’s either theaters now, or never on your home telly. The 3D environment is such a big element of the whole film that watching it in 2D is almost like watching bad quality internet porn instead of… Well, the real thing.

Here’s Essi’s review of Avatar.

6. PONYO

The overlord Hayao Miyazaki is back, and takes a dive into the story of the Little Mermaid, giving it a surreal and fantastic twist, and delivering another masterpiece into a long line of masterpieces from the Ghibli Studios. Ponyo felt completely different from any other animation this year – honest and loving in a way only Miyazaki can do. His style is unique, and we sure should hope he stays in good enough shape to make at least few more, because as much as there’s nobody to step in for mr. David Lynch once his time is up, also Miyazaki is unique in this way.

5. MARY AND MAX

“So, you want to make a monochromatic animation about mental illnesses, and you want an all-star cast to it? Yeah, good luck with the funding…” Mary and Max was one of the biggest and most positive surprises – no, out-of-the-blues – this year. It’s a really touching, intelligent and extremely well-written animation about a life-long friendship between a girl in Australia and a man in New York. The story follows the letter exchange between these two, and builds up two perfectly believeable lives with all of the stranger-than-fiction odds and quirks life brings to you.

4. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

To be honest, I was a bit bored with Quentin Tarantino before watching Inglourious Basterds. I mean ever since Jackie Brown, his films haven’t been that impressive, and I started to feel like he had “found his slot” in the industry and descended from this once so promising young director into another retro freak repeating the same joke film after film. But I was wrong. Inglourious Basterds proved that there’s quite a lot of gunpowder still running through his veins, and he’s brave enough to do a film that’s basically long dialogues following each other, seasoned with hefty dozes of sudden violence. And there’s never enough of alternate history movies out there.

Here’s Essi’s review of Inglourious Basterds.

We got so excited about the film that we even did our own version of the trailer – sort of :) Enjoy “Iroun Sky Basterds”!

3. MOON

Semi-hard science fiction with slow pacing, great music, awesome performance and close relations to my next film, Iron Sky, when it comes to Moon as an environment, and Helium-3 as a new target for pure humane greed. Moon is the directioral debute for Duncan Jones who, with this film, catapulted himself among the most interesting directors of the next century. It was recently announced that he will direct the feature film adaptation of Escape from the Deep: The Epic Story of a Legendary Submarine and Her Courageous Crew by Alex Kershaw. Jones also revealed that he will be doing “another science fiction film, called Mute, which takes place in a future Berlin. It’s a Blade Runner-inspired piece, a little love letter to that film.” And he will also direct Summit Entertainment project Source Code, a Science-Fiction thriller from Vendome Pictures, which will be produced by Mark Gordon. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal is in negotiations to play a major role in the film. So there you go, quite interesting films – and Duncan Jones is also a very active Twitterer.

2. A SERIOUS MAN

The Coen Brothers are able to “tilt my camera”, so to speak, so that suddenly everything around me feels a bit stranger and makes a little bit less sense, making life a little bit more exciting experience. A Serious Man was definitively one of those films – but it’s also a film you can do with two conditions: you need to be Jewish, and you need to have an Oscar to prove you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you’d end up lynched.


1. DEAD SNOW

We’ve been raving about Dead Snow enough for one one year already, and to be honest, I’m not even sure if the film’s actual official release year is 2009 (that’s what IMDB claims, though, but I saw it in 2008 already) but who the hell cares? I just can’t get enough of the Norwegian Nazi Zombies, and Tommy Wirkola‘s excellent timing in both comedy and horror genres is stellar. He’s among the few directors I’m following very closely, and I’m very interested to see how his next film, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, turns out!

Here’s my review of Dead Snow.

Everyone – have a merry christmas time and remember not to go outside after dark – who knows what’s lurking there!

Ps! I challenge other Energidiots to do their own lists, too!

(Via ZombieRoom)

Merry Christmas and some good news!

December 24th, 2009 by Timo Vuorensola

It’s a Christmas morning, and I’m sitting in a small red cottage in the middle of vast fields of snow in eastern Finland, close to the city of Kotka. I’ve just slept almost 10 hours, which is exactly 5 hours more that I’ve slept on a nightly basis for the last two months – so I feel strangely rested, peaceful and clear-headed.

I thought about writing briefly about few new things going on right now – and then eat myself unconscious!

First and foremost, we’ve just updated the Iron Sky website. Jarmo Puskala, scriptwriter/webmaster, did a great job fighting against loads of vile and vicious viruses on all of our sites (the problem’s now fixed, thanks J!), and smashing together the new layout for the website. At first look, it might not seem that different from what it used to be, but the functionalities are much better and the site works better to what we believe web sites are used today. Our philosophy in the web design is to feed stuff from many sources to the front page, and activate our users to join our community in whatever way they feel the best.

Because of this, on the frontpage we’re feeding our Flickr feed, YouTube feed, Wreckamovie feed and our blog in the form of News from the Front and Blog. From the Press page you’ll find latest Iron Sky -related articles and can read all of the earlier articles through our Delicious feed
From the Community page you’ll find the main community sites we’re active with, and best ways you can jump in and become one with the Iron Sky.

The Support page encourages you to blog and tweet about Iron Sky to help us spread the word around the word – remember, we have basically a marketing budget of zero, so we need *all* the help we can get from the community!

Most interestingly, a new feature we’ve been testing for some time now, and activated to full burn after the site re-design is the Demand Iron Sky. The idea here is pretty simple: you tell us which city you live in, and let us know you’d like to see the film on theaters in your city. The more people we have from your city signing up, the easier it’s for us to get a theatrical distribution there. So be active, and get your friends to Demand Iron Sky, too!

In other news, we’re happy to announce that we’ve secured more funding from Europe: both The Nordisk Film & TV Fond and Eurimages have granted us production support for Iron Sky, a sum totaling up to about 800000€! So merry christmas to us! :)

Oh, if you want to give us a christmas present, here’s our wishlist:

1. Demand Iron Sky. If you’ve already demanded, get someone you know demand for it. Muchos gracias!

2. Watch Iron Sky teaser on YouTube. I know you’ve already seen it, but we’d like to get above 1 million views before the end of the year, so re-watch it and share it on Facebook and Twitter!

Oh, and if you feel extremely generous, buy War Bond, and help us make the film look as good as it should – every dollar counts, trust me!

Thanks, everyone!

Alright, I think that’s about it. The rice porridge is being carried on the table as we speak, and the sauna is heating up. So it’s time for me – on behalf of the whole Iron Sky team in Finland, Germany and Canada – to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

The good old days – as seen by Jarmo’s phone.

December 18th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Last week we posted some new pictures from Timo’s phone. This friday we’ll be going to bizarro world and post some old pictures from my phone.

Energia's first christmas party.

Our first Christmas party at our old office. In this pic we can see a very young looking Antti and certain Mr. Lyden who we share the Tampere office with these days.

Slayer cake!

Timo carved “Slayer” on a swiss roll. Why? I have no idea.

Prototype

Prototyping the Raumsturmfuhrer cap.

Juhan Af Grann and Star Wreck

Juhan af Grann and Star Wreck. Met him at a ufo conference where we were asked to give a talk. Me and Antti spent the day there where rest of the team was in Helsinki shooting the Iron Sky teaser. Back then we hadn’t yet publicly admitted we were making a film about space nazis, wich was a shame since Juhan af Grann mentioned the idea of ufos being built by nazis being such a stupid idea he’s not even going to go there.

Script meeting table

We of course took the idea quite seriously and were reading quite a bit about Nazi Germany between the script meetings – if you’re going to make a comedy about something it’s better to know the subject inside out…

Jarmo the Nazi biker

After the Iron Sky teaser was shot and we got the props and clothes back to the office of course I had to try out the Nazi biker costume. Und mein bad german akzent.

Timo goes to space

We had cool things to play with, like this inner cap from a fighter helmet Timo is modeling…

Jarmo goes to space

…and I stuck my head in the actual helmet. It’s easier said and done, since it’s meant to form an airtight seal with the pressure suit.

The helmet is an original Mig-25 fighter pilot’s helmet. Basicly it’s a space suit, since the Mig-25 was designed to reach altitudes around 25 kilometers. It’s also one of the fastest aeroplanes ever built, with a top speed of Mach 3.2 (that’s 3500 km/h or 2,170 mph). Back in it’s day it was considered so awesome that the Hollywood propaganda machine sent Clint Eastwood to steal it’s fictional successor in the film Firefox. Sadly it weas quickly made obsolete by missiles, so these days only couple of third-world airforces operate the plane and there’s even two of them sitting here at the Tampere airport, just rusting away.

Hitler at a flea market

Spotted this painting of Adolf Hitler at a local flea market. Obiously it was tempting, but a bit too expensive at 70e. Also quite frankly I was kind of worried about giving money to someone who would have a painting of Hitler lying around at their house…

Shooting a music video #2

Shooting a music video #3

That year we also shot a music video for White Flame at an abandoned insane asylum near Tampere. The band’s singer is captured by evil totalitarian uniform wearing women from the Moon, played by Swedish girl band Sister Love.

The shoot was fun and the post-production was long, but checking the upper floors of the huge, dark asylum for trespassers at 2am was a very memorable experience. I’ll never watch horror films the same way again.

Shoggoth on the roof

And talking of horror, here’s a Shoggoth on the roof during the 2007 Finncon. Later that night after a “few” more beers Timo tried to eat a log.

That’s all I’ve got, so I guess next we’ll take a look at pictures from Samuli’s phone…

Iron Sky teaser in Lego

December 17th, 2009 by Jarmo Puskala

Toni Nummela has done a great job re-creating the Iron Sky teaser with Lego. This joins Rust Sky in the Hall of Awesome Iron Sky Remixes.

Iron Sky teaser done with cheap Duplo LEGO standins. This video was shot in about two hours and edited in about five hours. No pre-planning was made and everything was shot adlib and in order. Difficult part was to make this all by myself: move the camera, match the timing and move the LEGO-stuff – or find a creative way to do it otherwise.

For those familiar with Iron Sky teaser: watch out for an infamous rendering bug after the motorcycle.