Naming Sequels

Aliens Aliens

I’ve finally figured out what my favouite sequel naming convention is.

It’s an important issue. How do you figure out the right way to name your follow-up? If you’re making multiple films within a franchise, do you simply add a number to the first film’s title, like Superman II did? Or do you add a whole word to create an action like Batman Returns? Or do you add unwieldy subtitles to the film to ensure it looks ridiculous at first then perceptive when the sequels arrive, like Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl? Do you try the first approach, then switch to the second halfway through, like Mission: Impossible? Or go with both subtitles and numbers when individual films are split up, like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One?

They’re all fine options, but the best is easily the Aliens model: add a single, random letter to the original title and create a whole new word! Unless I’ve completely misunderstood the Aliens title. But I don’t think I have.

Inspired by the brilliance of James Cameron’s franchise nomenclature, I’ve curated a selection of other great films and their sequels that have taken Cameron’s lead. Clearly, it’s the only way to go.

Argo Fargo Continue reading

My Jurassic World Theory

Jurassic WorldThere are some crazy theories going around about Jurassic World, and they’re all nuts except for mine which is real and backed up with evidence/headings. So gird your loins as I take you through my comprehensive five-stage theory.

1. This Film Is Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

You know how in all films and television series, characters will often say “I’m an only child” or “I definitely don’t have a twin” or “I ate my brother in the womb” so you know that a mysterious identical sibling won’t show up and ruin the drama with improbable coincidences? And did you further note that Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy and Vincent D’Onofrio in Daredevil both failed to say this? That’s right. Let that sink in.

It would be absurd to claim that Pratt and D’Onofrio are playing the exact same characters as they did in the MCU (as has been ridiculously suggested – fan theories, am I right?), but I don’t see any reason why Pratt’s Owen couldn’t have been separated at birth from Peter Quill, or that D’Onofrio’s Hoskins couldn’t be the long-lost identical twin of Wilson Fisk. They similar tendencies towards heroism and scheming villainy respectively suggest this connection is water tight.

CP and VD

Separated at birth? When viewed side-by-side, it’s hard to disagree!

2. Claire and Karen Escaped From The Village

Ever wondered what happened after M Night Shyamalan’s The Village ended? Well, wonder no more. After Ivy (Bryce Dallas Howard) returns to the village with the medicine, the elders vowed to continue pretending that they were living in 19th century Pennsylvania, right? Well, Ivy wasn’t having any of that. She’d experienced the real world. (Spoiler alert.)

Ivy escapes with her sister Kitty (Judy Greer), where they connect with 21st century society, ably assisted by Guard At Desk (M Night Shyamalan). Ivy changes her name to Claire, and Kitty changes hers to Karen, but they continue living as sisters. Karen quickly remarries, but Claire can’t get past the idea that she was kept in an enclosure her whole life like some sort of animal, forced to believe that she was living in a bygone era. This growing obsession naturally led her to become the Operations Manager of a dinosaur theme park, where she would have control over the anachronistic inmates!

(For those who think this theory is impossible because Ivy was blind in The Village, I suggest you go back and watch Jurassic World again. Every scene involving Claire makes a lot more sense once you realise she can’t actually see a thing.)

Small details – from Claire's ongoing dislike of using sleeves to the casting of the exact same actresses – suggest a stronger connection than many may have realised!

Small details – from Claire’s ongoing dislike of using sleeves properly, to the casting of the exact same actresses – suggest a stronger connection than many may have realised!

3. This Film Picks Up After the End of Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox

What, you thought that The Lunchbox’s ending was ambiguous? Ha, you fool. Saajan (Irrfan Khan) did indeed go in search of Nashik and either married her or couldn’t find or whatever. But later when he checked his bank balance, he discovered he’d saved up enough from his mundane desk job to buy and operate a multi-trillion dollar dinosaur theme park created by John Hammond, who, Jurassic World informs us, he was inexplicably friends with.

Convinced that his middle names “Simon” and “Masrani” will look cooler to the press, Saajan begins going by them. Still not convinced? Check this out: Simon is learning to fly a helicopter in Jurassic World. Now go and rewatch The Lunchbox. I defy you to find a single line of dialogue that says Saajan is already a fully-licensed helicopter pilot. Can’t find one? That’s because they’re the same person.

The Lunchbox

“Dear Saajan, please take great care of this container filled with dinosaur DNA. PS: We got Dodgson here.”

4. Jurassic World Exists In the Same Universe As Orange Is the New Black

If you were looking for people to operate a zoo containing some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet, who would you hire? A zookeeper? Go to hell. That’s dumb. You’re dumb. You would naturally employ an experienced prison guard. Someone who knows how to keep inmates in check and doors locked.

In Orange Is the New Black, Susan “Vivian” Fischer started out as a trainee prison guard (season one), but soon became a hardened, experienced corrections expert (off-screen). This expertise was put to use by Simon “Saajan Fernandes” Masrani and Claire “Ivy Walker” Nosurname, once they realised – and this is where it gets head-expodey, so hold on – that all the dinosaurs in the park were female. You’d forgotten that, hadn’t you? It only makes sense you’d employ guards from a women’s prison, and there’s no better women’s prison than Litchfield Penitentiary.

Lauren Lapkus

Don’t let the change in warddrobe fool you – you’re looking at the same character!

5. You’ve Seen That T-Rex Before

Did you notice how all the raptors in Jurassic World have names (Delta, Blue, Cueball, The Man With The Plan, Noam Chomsky) but the Tyrannosaurus Rex didn’t? That’s because he already has a name, and that name is – wait for it – Theodore. That’s right. Following the traumatic events of 1995’s Theodore Rex, Theo took himself away from society, holed away in the dinosaur equivalent of an insane asylum, waiting to be brought out of retirement for a big case. He was hoping it would be some sort of political mystery that would require his particular type of forensic expertise, but it turned out to be nothing more than mortal combat with a new type of fearsome, genetically-engineered creature.

Theodore Rex

Thought this was the last you’d seen of Theodore? Think again.

Jurassic World has made enough money to ensure that a sequel will definitely be made. Will that sequel develop these comprehensive conclusions further, cementing this theory into solid fact? Once we finally get the returning cameo that fans have been clamouring for, we’ll know for sure: we’ve spent twenty years wondering what happened to Detective Katie Coltraine (Whoopi Goldberg), and it’s time we found out.

Footnote 1: I’ve seen a theory that this film exists in the same universe as 1993’s Jurassic Park. I don’t really see it. A couple of cutesy name checks don’t make it a sequel. Stop reaching.

Footnote 2: Forgot to mention, Jurassic World is also the latest installment of François Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel hexalogy.

About Last Night’s About Tonight

About Tonight

I was recently asked to host About Tonight, Channel 31’s tonight show with a rotating roster of presenters. Hosting a tonight show was a bit of a bucket list tick for me: I got to banter with the band leader, do an opening monologue, and sit at a desk holding a pen even though I had no reason to write anything down at any point.

CEsTy7EVIAApxY2Actually, it was two bucket list items: I’d always wanted to interview a politician, and About Tonight had booked Senator Scott Ludlam. I wanted to talk to him about the new data retention laws, given how vocal he is in his opposition to them. And to keep things interesting, I had to pretend I didn’t agree with him. But I did provoke him into calling me a smartarse on air, so I call it a win.

The theme of the episode was the impending death of community television at the hands of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, so I spoke to Ludlam about it from a legislative perspective, interviewed Grant Hansen (creator and host of the wildly successful Marngrook Footy Show) about what it was like to get a show up in Channel 31’s heyday, and asked The Katering Show producer Tamasin Simpkin about creating a runaway hit exclusively for the web. On top of that, my house band was Vasili, the legendary accordion-playing host of Vasili’s Garden, the most enduring success story of Channel 31.

The entire show is available to watch via YouTube, which, despite the fact that this episode is about how C31 needs more time to move online, is not nearly as ironic as you’d think.

Thanks again to everyone at Channel 31 and About Tonight for the opportunity. And sorry about the singing.


I Totally Changed The Nightly Show

Nightly Show Australian Map

A couple of month ago, I wrote this article for Spook Magazine about The Nightly Show. At the end of the piece, I pointed out that the map behind Larry had two light bulbs in what appeared to be random Australian locales:

The Nightly Show ends with Wilmore himself answering a Keep It 100 question, one he doesn’t get to see until he’s on camera. So let’s give him one of our own. Larry, we in Australia are delighted that our country features so prominently on your non-traditional flipped world map. But two flashing lights – which usually indicate the location of cities – seem to highlight two Western Australia parks: the Nuytsland Nature Reserve and the Karlamilyi National Park. Is this a deliberate and pointed reference that’s keeping with the remit of The Nightly Show’s stated agenda, highlighting places that are more closely aligned with Aboriginal culture than the lily-white likes of Sydney and Melbourne, or did you just stick little light bulbs in random spots?

It’s not out of the ordinary for shows made in other countries to stick light bulbs in random parts of the map, falsely assuming that Australia is as evenly populated as the USA or Europe. But given Wilmore’s show is all about keeping it real, I hoped to get some sort of explanation… either an admission that it was entirely random, or a revelation of some hitherto unknown meaning.

But we received no response. And then, a few weeks later, this happened:

Nightly Oz Map 2

They’d changed the set and tweaked the light bulbs and suddenly Australia had two new areas highlighted.

Look, I’m not saying I was completely and solely responsible for this, but I did actually contact The Nightly Show’s media reps to ask if I was, and they didn’t get back to me. So the lack of denial is all the tacit confirmation I need.

You’re welcome, Sydney and Mackay. But mostly Mackay. You finally got your due.

Batman vs Iron Man


I say Batman vs Iron Man, but it’s more specific than that. In fact, it’s Iron Man Three vs Batman Forever. From the moment I saw Iron Man Three, the thing that struck me – aside from how damn great it was – was that it was, in a surprising number of ways, identical to the 1995 classi– er, film Batman Forever.

I briefly suggested the similarities when we talked IM3 on Hell Is For Hyphenates, and I’ve tried arguing my case a few times in conversation, but I don’t think I’ve ever successfully convinced anyone that they’re pretty much the same film. So I’ve decided to prove my thesis via captioned screenshots.

Sceptical? Or, if you’re in North America, skeptical? Then read on and prepare to be convinced, nerds. Continue reading

The Best Films of 2014


You know, they laughed at Galileo, too. Especially when he published his list of fifty favourite planets, and other astronomers were like “Dude, we don’t have ten planets in this solar system, and we won’t even discover Neptune for another two hundred years.”

Nevertheless, he was remembered as the father of modern observational astronomy, and I believe the same will happen to me, which is annoying because all I’m trying to do is publish a list of my favourite films of the year.

There are many reasons I do a top fifty. The main one is that with the sheer number of films I see each year, both new releases and film festival titles, if I’m not seeing fifty films minimum that I can say I love – not just like but love – then I’ll pack it in and take up something easier. Like astronomy. Sorry, I don’t know why I’m so hung up on astronomy at the moment.

There are lots of other reasons, but I won’t go into them all now. But the long and short of it is that I loved all of these films and would recommend them in a heartbeat.

Don’t try to look for any logic in the release dates here. I try to go for the film’s proper year of release, which means titles like Django Unchained, The Wolf of Wall StreetHer, 12 Years a Slave and Inside Llewyn Davis were on last year’s list. However, some Australian release dates mean I couldn’t make this an across-the-board rule. And despite my best efforts, I was unable to see titles such as Inherent Vice, SelmaCitizenFour and The Overnighters. So it’s an unwieldy mix, but just go with it.

Continue reading