Saturday, April 30, 2011

A thumbs up.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 08

Day 08: The Film You Can Best Quote...Muriel's Wedding

"You're terrible, Muriel"

"Deidre Chambers. What a coincidence."

"Let her finish her orgasm."

"You want to have a drink with me?"

"If I feel you've changed, I'll tell you. I'm honest."

"I'd rather swallow razor blades than drink with you."

"I'm not alone. I'm with Muriel."

"...my life is as good as an ABBA song. It's as good as Dancing Queen."

"You can't come in here and threaten brides, I don't care how unfortunate you are."

"Are you black?"

"I'm not DEAD Cheryl."

"What a bunch of cocksuckers"

Runners-up: Gone With the Wind, Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge!, Star Wars, Whatever Happened To Baby Jane

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 07

Day 07: A Film that Reminds You of Your Past...Matilda
My memory suggests that this is one of the greatest films for children...it may also be a perfect film for older audiences with its cast, direction by Danny DeVito (sadly underrated) and a story by Roald Dahl.

Runners-up: Batteries Not Included, FernGully, The Rescuers

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Essential cinema. Pina.

"Dance, dancer...otherwise we are lost."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

10 thoughts on...Love Never Dies

  1. This was the disaster of musical theatre that preceded Spider-Man. Released onto the West End to mixed (at best) reviews from critics and an online onslaught from 'Phans', Love Never Dies had its Broadway debut abandoned and underwent a rework late last year, probably in an effort to salvage the show from a destructive reputation. Since then it has received 7 Olivier Awards and reaction has generally improved...but I would suggest the show needs further restructuring to improve a plot that is not only unfocused but incredibly sporadic. This may work for fluff like Glee but it does not work for a show dependent on an emotional response from the audience, a response undermined by contrived scenarios where the reactions of the majority of characters function to serve the story and fail to resonate on a deeper level.
  2. Fortunately the crucial character, that of the Phantom (Ramin Karimloo), provides enough persona to engage the audience to his story. This is due to Karimloo's terrific performance (more on him later) and that the narrative favours him by providing a straightforward goal (to hear his love, Christine, sing again) and obstacle (to defeat Raoul, the husband of Christine). This is notably absent from all the other central characters, even Christine...
  3. Poor Christine. Cecilia Graham does her best and is hypnotising during her musical performances but this role is frustratingly underwritten. Her introduction is hijacked by Raoul who does not give her the opportunity to speak/sing for herself, then she feels like a prop for the Phantom and Raoul to argue over (apparently she has no preference) before being sacrificed to provide the show with a climatic end. It feel as if feminism never happened.
  4. Meg as a murderer? PLEASE!
  5. But what is plot? The music is haunting, memorable and enchanting. There is so much to celebrate within this score by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater and (later) Charles Hart. This will be what I treasure most from the show, as with all good musicals. Then there is the...
  6. Special-effects and set direction that are flawless. After seeing The Wizard of Oz, I wasn't expecting anything to surpass the impressive effect of a tornado on stage...I was wrong. Here is is astonishing yet subtle and mesmerizing. Perfection.
  7. Christine should never have married Raoul. He was always dull, even when played by the beautiful Patrick Wilson.
  8. Ramin Karmiloo has the most beautiful voice. I am not sure why he wasn't cast as the Phantom in the film of The Phantom of the Opera, where he instead played Christine's father instead. Emmy Rossum would have had a deserving partner...not that this would have improved the film in any other way (such a shame!).
  9. SPOILER! So the Phantom and Christine have a child reared by Christine and Raoul...I could have been saved by this. Haven't we seen this scenario too many times already? Still, he asks as a wonderful prop to convey a message to look with your heart and offers some depth to the relationships between Christine and the male leads.
  10. So regardless of the plot, I enjoyed the show. It is not the disaster you may have been led to believe...Check it out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 06

Day 06: A Film that Reminds You of Somewhere...How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
A school trip to Belfast in 2003. I think this is the film we went to see...regardless this is the film I remember seeing. And I remember enjoying it. More than the rest of the trip.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Professional advice.


"I'm gonna give you some good advice, Brian Clough. No matter how good you think you are or how clever, how many new fancy friends you make on the telly, the reality of footballing life is this: the chairman is the boss, then comes the directors, then the secretary, then the fans, then the players and then finally, last of all, bottom of the heap, the lowest of the low comes the one, who in the end, we all know we can do without...the fucking manager."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

6 ways to celebrate...the 48th year of John Cameron Mitchell.

  1. Put on some make-up and pull the wig from the shelf.
  2. Be in the presence of Tilda Swinton.
  3. Become an extra in a real orgy you're directing
  4. Direct Nicole Kidman to her best performance yet (FACT!)...
  5. ...and frustratingly watch as your masterpiece is ignored by audiences and critics.
  6. GET CRACKING ON YOUR NEXT PROJECT!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bed x4

Thursday, April 21, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 05

Day 05: A Film That Reminds You of Someone...Spider-Man

I know I'm cheating but I refuse to have it any other way. This is a film that reminds me of two very special individuals who together have rocked my world...my grandparents.

First there a few things you should know about the terrific twosome...they have refused to go to the cinema (apparently it for 'young' people), they are not admirers of contemporary cinema and they rarely watch a film in its entirety. So, I was unsurprisingly surprised when they greeted me one day with enthusiastic news of a film that had moved them. Being my grandparents, they could not recall the title or the actors but my grandmother could describe the nasty conclusion that met the villain (for someone who was so disgusted by the violence she could certainly remember quite a bit of detail). It was unmistakably Spider-Man.

Once the title was discovered they both gushed over the story, the romance, the explosions, the damsel in distress...they were completely enthused by their experience. It was adorable. And unforgettable.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

And the nominees are...(?)


I may be 19 days late for April Fools Day but here is my foolish prediction for the 5 nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actress 2012.

Keira Kinghtley for A Dangerous Method
Elizabeth Olson for Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady
Mia Wasikowska for Jane Eyre
Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn

Last year I predicted two of the eventual nominees and how will I do this year? I have huge hopes for Williams - who the Academy obviously adore and should do great work as Marilyn Monroe - and I think she has the greatest opportunity to win.

The others are a mixture of what the Academy usually root for in this category...an established celebrity playing real people (Streep), a young and pretty newcomer (Olson), a young and pretty talent portraying a literary heroine (Wasikowska), and a young and pretty talent showing more range than usual (Knightley).

Then there is Tilda Swinton in We Need to Talk About Kevin (who is always Oscar worthy) and Rooney Mara as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I would have included the latter if it were not for my dislike of the original film and my disgruntlement at the possible inclination to compensate David Fincher for his perceived lack of award success with The Social Network.

Of course, this is all speculation and most probably incorrect.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 04

Day 04: A Film You Watch To Feel Down...Dancer in the Dark


Runners-up: Breaking the Waves, Dogville, Hunger, The Passion of the Christ, The Social Network

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

10 thoughts on...Pushing Daisies.

  1. This may be the most intricately woven narrative for a television series I have yet seen. The central concept that Lee Pace A) can bring back people back from the dead by touching them, B) will kill them again if he touches them, and C) brings back his 'true love' (Anna Friel) but will never be able to touch her without killing her is complicated enough. Then you throw in two aunts (Field Cate, Ellen Greene) of Friel who are unaware of her resurrection, a love scorn co-worker (Kristin Chenoweth) of Pace who misunderstands the situation and a detective (Chi McBride) who exploits Pace's power...how do you sell a show like this?! The simple answer is that you can't; instead it is destined to grow in cult status and be adored by the minority...
  2. ...which it should be! It is rare to find a world as wondrous as this. From the vibrant visuals to the marvelous cast, this is an energetic and enjoyable ride that continuously rewards until the final episodes of the second series where focus is lost and the high-concept is treated as a gimmick. Did the filmmakers lose interest in the central idea behind their creation? Or were they too distracted by the untapped (within the show) talent of their supporting cast?
  3. Lee Pace is gorgeous.
  4. The second series should never have moved into ensemble territory. Yes, we all adore them but this is the story of Friel and Pace.
  5. Kristin Chenoweth is a revelation. How often is it that you see a female character with so much frustration/desperation for love without being a by-numbers rom-com heroin or the villain? She is a fascinating and original creation. I demand more Chenoweth on our screens STAT.
  6. Why the hell did the show have to introduce the father of Friel and the father of Pace? Terrible idea.
  7. The rushed finale robbed us all of a proper resolution for all of the characters...
  8. I think the concept of this show would be better suited to British television. The black humour (with the potential to be darker), oddball antics (think Spaced) and poor CGI (think Doctor Who) would be much better suited on our screens. Would it be too much to ask for a reverse of the popular conversion, where the BBC/ITV create a British version?
  9. Anna Friel is quite adorable. She has won me over. Why isn't she a star?
  10. I am going to miss filling my evenings with this...

Monday, April 18, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 03

Day 03: A Film You Watch To Feel Good...While You Were Sleeping


I learnt something very valuable today...I'd pick a romantic-comedy when I want to feel good. Not only that but I want one with an incredibly likable female lead, a catchy soundtrack and a storyline that would make me cringe if it was ever to happen in reality.

Right now I would choose While You Were Sleeping, the story of a gal who saves the man of her dreams who lies unconscious while she is mistaken as his finance by his family and falls in love with his brother. Sounds wonderful right?! In all seriousness this is a storyline that is less than sophisticated but is saved by the limitless charm of Sandra Bullock.

Her childlike yearning for love is nothing less than adorable. She is without a friend in the world (there isn't even a supportive friend character) and her desperate yearning for companionship is incredibly endearing. And is summed up magnificently in the scene leading up to her wedding to the unconscious man of her dreams...
She does not want to live her life alone. She wants her dreams fulfilled. And this desire is so strong it is almost blinding her to the fact that the brother, Jack (Bill Pullman), is a much better match than the vain Peter (Peter Gallagher). Of course she realises this before it is too late and they do go to Italy where she undoubtedly gets a stamp in her passport.

How could such a story with such a character not make me feel good?

Runners-up: Bridget Jones' Diary, Muriel's Wedding, Overboard, Under the Tuscan Sun

Monday, April 18, 2011

Smile.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 02

Day 02: Your Least Favourite Film...Nine

There are projects that will disappoint. Then there are films directed by Rob Marshall that are certain to do so. I will reserve my frustration with him for Day 12 (when I discuss 'Your Least Favourite Director') and focus on our topic of today.

My particular frustration with this film is the talent that it attracted and the squandering of said talent through the use of destructive narrative device. A script by Anthony Minghella with an incredibly talented cast and a terrific score by Maury Yeston...none truly illuminate the screen thanks to a disastrous decision to perform each musical number through the mind of the protagonist, Guido (Daniel Day Lewis), on a stage. Guido is a film director, not a theatre director so why he would imagine moments of his life in this manner is idiotic. Furthermore the songs are projections from Guido and therefore not genuine expressions from the individual characters, meaning he is much more observant than he appears or no one involved bothered to correct such a central flaw.

I can't remember feeling so frustrated with a film.

Runners-up: A Beautiful Mind, Never Let Me Go, The Reader, Twilight

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Show me... x4

Happy.

Sad.

Surprised.

Constipated.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

30 Day Film Challenge: Day 01

I love a challenge. And this one is as good as any. I can't promise that the 30 days will be consecutive but they will be done...I promise.

Day 01: Your Favourite Film...Moulin Rouge!


Every so often I stumble across a film that feels like it was made for me. Egotistical? Of course, but there is more to it than simply that. When a film expresses aspects of your sense of self on screen it is magical...when a film is bombarded with such aspects there is only one word to describe the effect; blissful. Moulin Rouge! is such a film. Why I name it as my favourite film (as opposed to other films with a similar effect such as Beauty and the Beast, The Fountain or Star Wars) is the moment in my life when I first saw it.

I was thirteen-years-old. I was not the happiest boy. I felt odd and, as such, alone. I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to find love (difficult when you live in an area with an 'out' population of homosexuals of 1) and I spent most of my time dreaming of a future I felt would always be beyond my reach. None of this is particularly peculiar but my reaction to Moulin Rouge! was as spectacular as the film itself.

I saw a world where anything was possible, where the emphasis was on the struggle to achieve those goals I so longingly wished to struggle towards. Did it matter that Christian (Ewan McGregor) and Satine (Nicole Kidman) were not given their happy ending? No, they realised their love in the face of impossibility and that was reward enough. This ignited a sense of empowerment that I have yet to lose and, in hindsight, is quite astonishing.

Though this itself is not an original theme, it was set in a world celebrating creativity, odd personalities and love with a style that combined contemporary filmmaking with that of yesteryear. It is a breathtaking piece of cinema and no other film can compete for the position of my favourite film.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A thumbs up.

This has become an accidental series...but I can't help but concur with Marisa Tomei's thumbs up for the trailer of her new film which hints that Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and herself will all delight. The fact that Crazy, Stupid, Love is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris) raises my expectations even further. I hope I agree with Tomei in a few months time...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A thumbs up.

As is almost always the case, I wholeheartedly agree with Sally Hawkins' thumbs up. See Submarine when you can. Refreshingly good.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

10 thoughts on...Source Code.

1. I warned my friend boyfriend as we queued to buy our tickets for Source Code that I am only a fan of science-fiction thrillers when they are impeccable. This is impeccable. I am a fan.
2. It is rare to see schmaltz so well woven into a script. Sure there are a handful of moments where sentimentality takes hold but this is the story of last minutes...schmaltz rings true!
3. I love Michelle Monaghan. (She also has a striking resemblance to Ms. Kate Middleton).
4. I love Jake Gyllenhaal. Period. I am also very happy to see him deserve the title he desperately sought with The Prince of Persia, that of a cinematic hero.
5. This is so much better than Inception.
6. I wish the antagonist did not have some unexplained disability. The detached demeanour was enough to signal the character...no one needs another crippled scientist.
7. Vera Farmiga is as terrific as ever. She manages the difficult task of grounding a surreal narrative occupied in the reality of the audience. Kudos. (And she looks great).
8. Duncan Jones is already a treasure.
9. The score was terrific. Chris Bacon has a long career ahead of him as a film composer.
10. I couldn't wait to write on this blog...despite not writing in quite a long time. Perhaps the sheer joy of this film has ignited my passion for celebrating film online.