Thursday, 16 February 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Shakespeare Adaptation

Ah Shakespeare. So many great stories and so many ways to tell them. My little claim to Shakespeare fame (as many other young wannabe actors) was playing Bottom in a big school production in secondary school. But it was set in the 60s and the mechanicals were The Beatles so we all had Liverpudlian accents. The drama teacher directing called the production 'A Midsummer Night's Magical Mystery Dream' and used music from that album in the show. A bit of a mess but we pulled it off. I took great pride in making people laugh on stage while performing the play within a play. Having gave up my dreams of the stage by 16 years old I feel that after all the pantomines and plays, performing Shakespeare was still an achievement. Especially with the amount of damn lines.
I'm guessing Romeo + Juliet will be popular this week as it is an amazing film but I picked it a few times so now for something a bit different.

Much Ado About Nothing 
Joss Weadon's adaptation came about shooting in between bigger projects. He simply gathered his friends at his house and made a film. I love this play and I loved the cast (Fran Kranz!) and the fact it was shot in such a short time and practically one loctaion is an amazing feet. There are several things going on here (as there always is with Shakespeare) but the main plot point is about Beatrice and Benedict, once lovers but now enemies. Their friends, fed up with their arguments, trick them into thinking that each other is in love with them and just watch how their feelings unfold. 

Forbidden Planet
A different kind of version of 'The Tempest' a strange story about a ship wrecked crew landing on a myterious island that belongs to a wizard and his daughter. But in this version, a very young Leslie Nielsen heads up the crew of a space ship with lands on planet where everyone myteriously died and the only ones left are a scientist and his daughter oh and Robby the Robot.

10 Things I Hate About You

Who'd have thought that Shakespeare could be adapted to a high school film? Well it was and its one of the best 'teen comedy dramas' ever. Featuring a cast of great actors, some young, some just hilarious (like Alison Janey). When Bianca Stratford, high school would be darling, can't date until her older shrew like sister does, new kid Cameron (in love with Bianca) enlists the help of Patrick to date/tame Kat. But it turns out that Patrick and Kat are great match but the course of true love never did run smooth especially in teen dramas.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Around the World: Iceland

I think I now know that I'm not a 'Icelandic comedy person'. After The Homecoming last year and now the promising Rams, either the comedy goes over my head or the comedy is so well hidden I couldn't see it. 

Rams is about two brothers, both sheep farmers who live next door to each other. They haven't spoken in decades and barely interact with each other. After an annual competition, Gummi inspects his brother's winning ram to discover it has a disease. Turns out all the sheep in the valley are infected and the authorities have declared the sheep must be slaughtered. But neither Gummi or Kiddi are standing for it. Each in their own way they rebel against this decree. But sooner or later they will have to work together.

The story is wonderfully simple; two brothers who are rivals but live next door to one another react differently to the lose of their beloved sheep. Things do take a dramatic turn towards the end of the film where Kiddi, the aggressive drunk throughout the film changes and tries to take care of his brother, the more reasonable and smarter of the two. Gummi is at the centre of the film but he illustrates how the farmers in the valley live and lost they are without their sheep. Aside from the film being so wonderfully different to anything else, I still can't understand the comedy. I think I need to see more Icelandic films, not comedies, just other films from the country. The film had an odd pace which I enjoyed and even though what was happening was at times distressing, it was still serene and unlike typical British or American films. 

Keep an eye out for my next destination.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

No One Expects The Cavalcade of Perversions

I have been trying to find a way to describe John Waters' Multiple Maniacs. It is true to its tagline 'a celluloid atrocity' but what I've struggled with is whether it is a good thing or not. I have only seen a few of Waters' films (Serial Mom, A Dirty Shame, bits of Hairspray) and I found them bizarre and some scenes unwatchable but I appreciated that Waters' cult status was because of his style, vision and writing, it just wasn't something I could watch repeatedly. But I went to see Multiple Maniacs with an open mind and oh my did I need an open mind for this one.

Shot on a micro budget and filmed in exotic locations such as Baltimore and Waters’ parents garden, the film has a down and dirt quality from the start. From the, what looked like, hand scrolled credits to the fantastically over the top, underplayed acting, the introduction to Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions is enticing as well as disgusting. Offering such attractions as ‘the puke eater’ and ‘a heroin addict going cold turkey’ and two people licking someone else’s hairy armpits. But as Mr David (David Lochary), coaxes a small crowd into the free exhibition with an amusing list of what is to be found inside the tents, there is a feeling that something else is going to happen. Enter Lady Divine (Divine) lounging naked looking into a mirror (what a screen introduction) and barking orders at the troupe.  Things aren’t great between her and her boyfriend, Mr David hinting at unrest in the ‘family’. This is the real ‘story’ with the free show being a front for a robbery/murder. The plot shifts to Mr David having an affair with Bonnie (Mary Vivian Pearce) and plotting Lady Divine’s murder, while she is set on revenge for Mr David’s betrayal. 

In between in all the blood, drugs, mayhem, the film has an odd interlude where Divine seeks solace in a church after being attacked. She tried to pray but instead succumbs to the allure of a woman (Mink Stole) who sleeps in confessionals and gives people ‘Rosary Jobs’. She and Divine have a weird and bizarre sexual encounter in the church, which is intercut with each of them going through the Stations of the Cross in voiceover as well as the a scene with the rest of the cast re-enacting the story. It was strangely in-depth with detail of what happened at each stage. But, this isn’t the strangest thing to happen in the film that is saved for near the ending. This section of the film could be seen as an attempt from Lady Divine to find answers her behavior and her murderous glee but she is corrupted and seduced by the strange and depraved.  

Despite the scene in the church and brutal murders that happen, Divine’s rampage through the streets of the city is a terrifying thing to behold. Covered in blood and god knows what else in a one piece swimming costume and a fur coat. She embraces the maniac inside and just lets loose. It could be described as a revenge film or a crime story but for me I see it as film about being able to let your crazy side out.  

There are some fantastic moments in this film, the lobster especially as it is unexpected and literally for no reason, with comedic and horror elements too, its hybrid that once you start watching you can’t stop as sometimes, its hard to believe what you’re watching is happening, which could be great cinema. Overall, I think it’s a film you need to see for yourself as I am actually not doing it justice.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Prodigy/Genius

I should have just picked The Royal Tenenbaums as all three of them are child prodigies but instead I went for a genius, an wanted prodigy and an unlikely prodigy.

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

The Imitation Game
Alan Turing was a genius. He was a cryptanalyst who cracked the German codes during World War two. The film is of two parts, his life during the war with his code cracking team at Bletchley Park and the second part in the 50s where he is arrested for having sex with another man. The film did try to hone in on Turing and his life but mainly focused on two aspects of his life, his intelligence and his sexuality.

A classic Roald Dahl book made into an awesome 90s classic. Danny Devito directs, narrates and acts in the (I'm sure) loved film about a girl, clever beyond her years, who finds that she has telekinetic powers. She teaches her terrible parents a lesson as well as the villainous headteacher of her school.

Billy Elliot 
A boy from a mining town, wants to be a ballet dancer and has the talent to be one. But he keeps the secret about his lessons from his father and brother. This film was brilliant, is brilliant. Great cast and actually quite a good soundtrack. Had Cosmic Dancer in my head for ages after. Such a simple story that speaks volumes. Its such a shame they turned it into a musical....

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Around the World: Japan

It's been a little while since I travelled to my next film destination and on a rainy Sunday afternoon I decied that a quirky comedy from Japan was the right choice.

Haname thinks she's curses.  Ever since her father left her and her mother and she everything he ever gave her into a swamp. The last image of a good luck cat waving goodbye haunts her. When her magazine she writes for closes and her mother ends up in a coma she finds a letter revealing her real father. She searches for him. Now calling himself Light Bulb he is an junk shop owner. She also meets punk rocker Gus and a lady seeking an unusual machine that predicts your future partner and mysterious family vault. Haname's mini adventures make her change and inspires her own shop and even her own instant swamp.

A strange tale about a woman over coming her curse and skeptical view on life. She goes through some difficult times but comes out covered in mud on the other which is a good thing for this story.

Haname's journey is really about self discovery but not told in a cliché way. She appreciates the odd things in life and finds beauty in a rusty nail but eventually opens her mind and heart and beats her own curse. A great film from Satoshi Miki, makes me want to seek more of his work.

Look out for the next destination!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies About Artists (Painters)

Little Ashes
This was an odd watch. I didn't know anything about Salvador Dali apart from some of his paintings and his work with Hitchcock, but this was more about his relationship with the poet Federico García Lorca and his friendship with Luis Buñuel. Focusing more on the artist and his artistic friends before they became famous. Nothing special to be honest.

Far better the second time I watched it. I think I've used this film before but I couldn't resist again. Salam Hayek was perfect as the unique artist Frida Kahlo. With an amazing life and art that is sometimes hard to look at, its a visual masterpiece.

Mr Turner
A more recent biopic about the one and only J.M.W. Turner for whom the Turner Prize is named after. Seems an insult now though as the award goes to terrible art that isn't really art. Anyway the film is about Turner's later life, including the death of his father and his relationship with a widow who lives by the sea. It's very long but it's mike Leigh at his best. 

Don't forget to check out where it all started over at Wandering Through the Shelves.

Monday, 30 January 2017

It's the Count! It's the Count! It's the Count!

This week the new Vulturehound magazine issue was released! I have a short piece about A Series of Unfortunate Events that features. I am still obsessed with this show, ended up watching it back to back because I loved it so much! It was like Brett Helquist's illustrations had come to life and Patrick Warburton's amazing voice channelled Lemony Snicket's words perfectly to the screen.

The article I wrote is more about Jim Carey's Olaf compared to Neil Patrick Harris' interpretation but I do gush about how much I loved the books and TV show.

The new issue of Vulturehound can be read HERE in all its glory. One not to miss, especially The Walking Dead fans out there.